Interview about Hypnobirthing for an NCT Magazine UK

What is hypno-birthing? 

Hypnobirthing is simply a generic term that means the use of hypnosis for birth.  There are several different forms of hypnobirthing, which all work towards helping the mum have a natural birth.

We are all in hypnosis, without knowing it, about 60% of the day so this is something that comes naturally to us all. It occurs just before you fall asleep and just as you awaken.

Other examples include losing track of time when reading a good book or when watching something interesting on television or when you do anything you enjoy doing.  Have you ever driven from A to B, arrived at your destination and not remembered how you drove there?  If so, you were in the daydreaming state of natural hypnosis.

In essence, hypnosis is simply a state of heightened relaxation and altered awareness.  In hypnosis you are awake, aware of what is going on around you and you are in control.

Hypnobirthing is based on the work of Dr Grantly Dick-Read, an English physician whose principles provided the foundations of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). He is famously quoted as saying; “In no other animal species is the process of birth apparently associated with any suffering, pain or agony, except where pathology exists or in an unnatural state, such as captivity.” He went on to conclude that fear and tension was responsible for 95 per cent of labour pain, which could be eliminated through relaxation techniques.

What does it involve and how does it prepare you for the birth of your baby?

Hypnobirthing is the intended use of hypnosis to allow you to tap into your inner resources, which we all have in our subconscious minds, to create feelings of well-being.

These feelings of well-being are created by using special breathing techniques to maintain calmness, positive affirmations, visualisation, colours for relaxation and healing and of course self-hypnosis which is created by using all these techniques.

Hypnobirthing helps you to:

  • Put things in their true perspective.
  • Relax, stay calm and in control – in a calm, relaxed state your muscles and skin can stretch easily and naturally in a pain-free way.
  • Stay focused on the process that your body is going through and be in tune with what your body and your intuition are telling you.
  • Be healthy and sleep well.
  • Heal quickly and recover faster.
  • Bond with your baby.
  • Breastfeed easily, if you choose to do this.
  • Be happy and have confidence in your abilities as a mother.
  • Get back to pre-pregnancy weight, shape and dimensions very soon after the birth.

How did you become interested in it?

I was a biology teacher for 35 years, 25 of them in a 6th form college teaching A level biology.  I trained as a hypnotherapist in 2000 because I had had a shoulder injury for 4 years that the medics could do nothing about.  I had previously learnt self-hypnosis and used this to heal the shoulder and deal with the pain. Thus with an understanding of the human body,
 and having studied hypnotherapy I combined these two areas of knowledge and created the Inner Power Hypnobirthing
 method for natural childbirth.

The Inner Power Hypnobirthing method takes you through pregnancy, the birth, bonding with your baby, healing quickly after the birth, having all the energy you need and coping as a new mum, breastfeeding easily and very importantly getting one’s figure back after the birth.

I teach couples very simply about the biology of the female body and the process of birth reassuring both parents that the female body is in fact beautifully designed to give birth. This natural ability seems almost to have become forgotten. My method, combining biology and hypnosis, returns power and empowerment to the mother.

It teaches you about the powerful mind-body connection so the tools you learn to have a straightforward, wonderful and magical birth experience can then be used for life to keep you calm and to cope with all situations.

Hypnobirthing can also help you if you have; nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, needle, doctors and hospital phobias; swollen extremities; placenta previa and to move the placenta to a safe place for the birth and to turn a breech baby.

Is hypnobirthing about using hypnosis to create a pain free birth? 

No it is not just that.  It is about removing the ‘fear’ and helping mums-to-be to trust that their bodies are designed to give birth and to work with their intuition and instincts.  Inner Power Hypnobirthing helps the mother to be more relaxed and in control, coping with the contractions easily, so the birth process becomes a less painful experience, which of course is much better for both the mother and the baby.

I do not guarantee a pain-free birth because everyone has a different pain threshold.  However, some of my mothers do achieve this therefore a pain-free birth is indeed possible.

I’d like to point out that I rarely talk about ‘pain’ for if you think pain then that is what you get.  So I always talk about contractions, and this then changes one’s feelings toward the birth.  I feel it is a real shame that many people call the contractions ‘pains’.  The contractions are not meant to be painful.

What can the birthing partner do to support mum during labour?

With hypnobirthing the birthing partner has a very important role in helping the mum-to-be to maintain her self-hypnosis so she is totally relaxed , and to help her with breathing exercises to keep her adrenalin low (this is the panic hormone) so she is in control at all times, working with her body which is biologically designed to give birth, and with her intuition.

When you are relaxed you cannot feel fear and when you are relaxed your body responds by producing serotonins (I call these the Happy Hormones) a morphine based chemical which is the body’s natural epidural.

In this way the birth becomes the magical, empowering experience for both the parents and the baby, and the ‘pain’ for the mum is at the minimum it can be.

I actually find that the dads/birthing partners enjoy having a role to do as it makes them feel so much more involved in the birth process.

What do you find most rewarding in your career as a hypnobirthing teacher?

I like giving back ‘power’ to mums, helping them to trust that their bodies are perfectly designed to give birth easily and naturally.  I enjoy helping mums and dads feel, and be, more confident about the birth process and so they look forward to the experience with excitement knowing that they are going to be in control whatever happens.

All the great testimonials I have received from the parents reinforce my joy and fulfillment in doing a job I love and find deeply rewarding.

I have also published a book BIRTH MADE EASY, which is a complete hypnobirthing guide for the mum and her birthing partner as it comes with a free hypnobirthing CD.   Writing this book and getting it published has been immensely rewarding for me, as I want to give all couples the chance of learning hypnobirthing for under £10.

My book is available on Amazon, Kindle and Apple iBooks and here

Does your work ever involve travel or has it taken you to any exciting places?

Yes, in July I attended the HypnoThoughts Live 2014 Hypnosis Conference in Las Vegas and I gave a two-hour presentation on Inner Power Hypnobirthing which was well received.  Las Vegas is a very exciting place – like a big Disney world for adults and experiencing an American Conference which was much larger than any UK ones I have been to, was very exciting for me. (Written by Paola Bagnall)

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