My experience of hypnobirthing enabled me to feel calm and relaxed during labour and birth. The birth of eldest daughter, Jemima, was fairly traumatic so as the birth of my son drew nearer, I began to feel increasingly anxious. Last time, I had felt frightened and unprepared for the pain as my labour progressed; this time, I wanted to feel as calm and relaxed as possible.
Several friends recommended hypnobirthing to me. The more I found out about it, the more interested I became and, with just two weeks until my due date, my husband and I booked onto a hypnobirthing course with Emma Harwood-Jones. She taught us breathing techniques for each stage of labour: calm breathing, surge (contraction) breathing & birth breathing. She also did a fear release hypnosis on me to dispel any fears I had about giving birth and to help me feel relaxed about the labour. I read the book Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan and also listened to the recommended hypnobirthing tracks every night. A key part of hypnobirthing is the use of positive affirmations and language: ‘pain’ or ‘hurt’ are not referred to and contractions are known as ‘surges ‘.
In the run up to the labour, I definitely felt a lot more relaxed than before and found myself feeling positive about, and even looking forward to, the whole experience of labour and birth.
My due date was 18th February but our little boy did not want to come out! I tried all sorts of natural induction techniques (reflexology, acupuncture and spicy food to name a few) but nothing worked and, on 1st March, I went into hospital to be induced.
The birth was extremely quick in the end; less than 6 hours from start to finish. Once the surges started, I remembered to do the surge breathing, which helped me to cope, especially as they got more intense. My husband was fantastic and kept reminding me of the various techniques we had learned. We walked all around the hospital in order to speed up the labour. After about 4 hours, my surges were coming every minute and a half, lasting for 30-40 seconds. My husband was keen for me to be examined as they were so close together, but I didn’t think they were lasting long enough for me to be too far along. However, we were taken to the birth centre and I was given the good news that I was already 8cm dilated. I wanted to try gas & air at this point, but found that it did not help me at all. The surges started to get very powerful and intense, and I have to say that I was definitely aware of the pain! My waters broke and baby Joshua was born 30 minutes later. I did not have much chance to use the birth breathing techniques as, by that stage, everyone was shouting at me to push!
Overall, I would recommend hypnobirthing classes to anyone feeling at all anxious about giving birth. My experience of hypnobirthing instilled in me a sense of calmness about the birth and I am sure that it helped me to relax as the labour progressed. I think that the breathing element of hypnobirthing really helped me to cope with the surges, particularly in the earlier stages of labour and I am delighted that I was able to experience a drug free and uncomplicated natural birth.