What is hypnobirthing?

"Hypnobirthing!" If ONLY I could re-name it! Black and white image of a labouring woman in a birth pool doing hypnobirthing and looking calm

Because it sounds ridiculous doesn't it.
I know the name put me off - that's why I didn't do it for my first pregnancy. Second time around, I found out more about it and my mind was blown....

What are the benefits of hypnobirthing? 

Studies and birth reports from women who have used hypnobirthing in their labours have shown that hypnobirthing can help you have:

  • a more comfortable birth (sometimes even pain-free!!)
  • a calm environment for your baby to be born into 
  • less need for pharmaceutical pain relief 
  • reduced medical intervention 
  • a supportive birth partner who has a more active role 
  • more positive feelings about their birth experience
So what is it? Let's start with what it's not...
  • There's no hippy chanting...
  • There are no swinging pocket watches...
  • There's no clucking like a chicken...
  • And I'm not going to hypnotize you!
Because none of that is my bag - particularly when giving birth!!

Hypnobirthing actually rooted in science and is fully evidence-based - my training was accredited by the Royal College of Midwives. 


First and foremost, its about understanding how birth works! Understanding how your mind and body work mean that you know how to support your body in pregnancy, labour and postnatally, PLUS it means everything feels a whole lot less scary (and a whole lot more amazing!) Having a baby is a hormonal process and so however you give birth, it's important that that process is supported. 

In the run up to giving birth, you have an incredible cocktail of hormones in your body. The key ones to focus on are oxytocin and adrenaline. Oxytocin is what powers your labour, makes your body produce amazing pain-killing endorphins, and leads to a shorter labour. Post-birth, it also helps you bond with your baby, breastfeed, and reduce negative emotions. (Yep, we reeeeally want the oxytocin flowing!) Adrenaline, a stress hormone, is largely unhelpful during labour - it tells your body that its not safe to have your baby yet, and so it slows things down and it also makes it more painful. 

A lot of factors influence our hormones - from environment to positioning to your birth team to your thoughts and emotions. Hypnobirthing teaches you how to increase the oxytocin and reduce the adrenaline (with a whole load of techniques like breathing, massage, movement and altering your birth space) so that you feel calmer, more comfortable, and have a shorter, easier labour. 

Reducing the fear

We all have fears, worries and anxieties about birth and those in turn affect the hormones that we produce, the way we labour and how everything feels. Not only is it stressful to spend your pregnancy - a really special time in your life - feeling anxious about giving birth, but it also impacts on the birth experience that you have. 

When we are fearful, we produce adrenaline - and remember what adrenaline does? See the above section! It slows labour down and makes it more painful. It also makes labour more stressful for you and your baby. So it's important to identify where your fears come from and address them. Often they are fears that we pick up from other people or from our society in general (ever seen a calm, positive birth on telly?! Me neither....) but through empowering antenatal education and positive mindset work during your pregnancy, it really is possible to feel calm and confident by the time you give birth. I've seen some incredible transformations in my clients! 

None of this has to involve hours of meditation if that's not your thing (I know it wasn't mine!) But it is possible to find simple ways of fitting practical, bitesize birth prep (that prepares you both mentally and physically) into your busy life. Being able to calm your mind has a great big ripple effect - it affects the decisions you make, it affects the way you feel mentally and emotionally, it benefits your baby, it benefits you physically and it makes your labour shorter and more comfortable. Win win!!

Understanding your rights and options

Heard stories from friends and family about how they had to give birth a certain way... or how they weren't allowed to do something during labour? It can be really eye-opening to hear just what your rights and options during pregnancy and birth really are. What if I told you that actually you could have the water birth that you wanted but were told "no way" to? Or that you did have the right to give birth by caesarean, simply through choice rather than medical necessity? Or that by speaking to the right people, you may be able to give birth at the midwife-led unit even when its been refused? 

After all... If you don't know your options, you don't have any!

Getting yourself a gold-standard birth partner!

Your birth partner probably doesn't realise it yet....but they are the secret ingredient in your positive birth! All those things you've heard about birth partners just sitting anxiously in the corner on their phone... or fainting at the blood... or annoying you with badly times jokes and chat... get rid of that. It doesn't need to be that way! And all the most incredible birth stories usually feature a really amazing birth partner. To comfort, protect, encourage, support and advocate for you. 

Hypnobirthing is for you and your birth partner. You're a team (with your baby!) This is practical birth prep for all of you that makes such a difference. 

Woman in hospital bed breastfeeding her new baby whilst smiling

Preparing for all types of birth

I will ensure that you have all the information, resources and techniques that you need to make your plan A as likely as possible. But we can't control birth - you know that and I know that. So we need to go beyond plan A. We need to look at all those "what if...?" scenarios so that if they become the best option for you and your baby, you're feeling prepared for them. You know what they involve and you know how to make them a positive experience. 

Water birth, hospital birth, home birth, induction, assisted birth, caesarean birth - we cover the lot. We learn about what they entail, their benefits, their risks, your options with each and how you can make them calm, confident experiences. Because positive birth can look like any of these things.

So whilst I'm not going to tell you that you can control birth, that doesn't mean that you can't still feel in control!  

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