Last week, I was delighted to receive a birth announcement text message from a couple I had finished teaching the HpnoBirthing course in a group class to only the week before. They were thrilled to let me know that Libby's birth had been, in her mum's words "the most amazing, blissful experience of my life". What was particularly heartwarming about this news was that I knew that between our classes this couple had been striving for the birth they wanted. Having had a very traumatic experience the first time around they decided that they wanted to feel completely in control and planned to give birth in their own home this time around. This choice was almost prevented when they discovered that intravenous antibiotics needed to protect their baby from the Strep B infection had to be administered during labour at the hospital. The hospital advice was that they should therefore birth in hospital for ease of logistics/organisation rather than medical need. My clients were not happy with this and had to repeatedly vocalise their desire to plan to return home post- antibiotics to complete labour and the birthing of their baby at home. Ultimately, they secured the support of both the hospital and community midwifery team at Rotherham hospital. The outcome was that they got the birth experience that they so desired and deserved - a gentle, calm, drug-free waterbirth at home.
So often, as humans conditioned from an early age to believe that saying "No" to what we are asked to do is wrong - do you recall being scolded as a child for saying "No"?- we find it difficult to stand up for what we believe in and so often can ultimately end up feeling so dissappointed that we didn't speak up for what we really wanted at the time. But if, like this couple, we think of it not as saying "No" to what we don't want but as saying "Yes" to what we do believe in and feel is inately right for us, it becomes easier to make ourselves heard.
It is so important that mums feel safe and comfortable with their choice of planned birth place. This is an essential element in our preparation for a calm birth. For my husband and I, our choice was to birth in hospital. For this couple their choice to birth at home was complicated by the need for early medical intervention once labour started. Ultimately they got their wish and the outcome was everything they had hoped and planned for themselves and their baby daughter. Welcome to the world, Libby Bliss.
HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method is the original, authentic and the UK's foremost Hypnobirthing programme. Grounded in science- anatomy, physiology and psychology, it is the only programme with 25 years of evidence- based outcomes to demonstrate its effectiveness in supporting women and their babies prior to and during labour & birth. It is fully supported and trusted as an effective natural birth method by the Royal College of Midwives and its President, Professor Lesley Page, the accomplished midwife, campaigner and academic.
Established in over 30 countries, its popularity in the UK make it the number one birthing programme available. It is fully accredited and underpinned by the Code of ethics by the HypnoBirthing Institute, whose UK Hypnobirthing Advisory Board ensure all its teachings and course materials are fully UK-oriented to meet the particular needs of UK mums and dads, birthing within the infrastructure of NHS Maternity Services.
For me, the most convincing aspect of this particular programme is the fact that it has spread simply because it works - that is, through primarily word-of-mouth recommendation from one mum to another and from one midwife's experience to another. This is what makes the Mongan Method entirely unique and entitled to its reputation as the leading birth and antenatal preparation programme.
A recent research study identified that the length of each individual pregnancy for each woman can vary by up to 37days. With this finding in mind, one has to question the wisdom of a one size fits all approach by hospital and care providers to mediocal induction if natural birth hasn't started by 40 weeks upto 42 weeks. If every pregnancy is different and there is no medical justification for intervening i.e. no established risk to mum and baby, isn't it better to allow each mum's own body and their baby decide when it is time for labour and birth to commence.
After all, if the Bishop's score is low, suggesting the baby and body are not ready yet for labour to start, it is highly unlikely that a sweep or pessary will succeed in inducing labour anyway. All that happens is that mum's experience of a sweep is ofetn uncomfortable and unfruitful whilst they have their hopes falsely raised that labour may begin as a result.
On the other hand, if the Bishop's score is high i.e. 8 or 9, then this is indicative of natural labour being just around the corner anyway. So, that being the case and in the absence of medical need, why intervene?
Natural labour often starts gradually and gently, enabling mum to utilise her HypnoBirthing relaxation and breathing techniques from the outset and with the support of her partner, get easily connected with her own body's rhythm and the ebb and flow of labour as it progresses. She can assume a state of deeper and more profound relaxation as labour progresses.
Chemical induction always works, even if the cervix isn't ripe and ready, and labour will commence full pelt and intensely with surges in very close proximity from the outset. In this scenario, HypnoBirthing breathing and deepening techniques learned in classes and practised during pergnancy will be an invaluable support. It is essential that mum brings herself into a state of deep relaxation prior to chemical induction commencing in order to remain in control, calm and much more comfortable once labour is induced.
The HypnoBirthing programme that I teach raises and encourages couples to carefully consider the pros and cons of each induction method compared with natural induction. This way, couples feel knowledgeable and able to ask their care providers the right questions regarding any induction method that is suggested. This way, rather than feeling vulnerable and powerless, they are able to make an empowered and informed decision as to whether natural induction or medically induction is the better option in order to safeguard mum's and baby's health and wellbeing.
It has been one of the longstanding bedrocks of the HypnoBirthing philosophy that a woman's due date is not an accurate predictor of when her baby is due. Furthermore, that, in the absence of any need for medical intervention to chemically induce labour, that mum's patience and nature's own timeframe is the best determinent of a baby's birthing date.
Indeed, each woman's gestational period can differ by up to 37 days according to the first study of its kind to accurately measure the length of women's pregnancies.
This appears to be contrary to the one-size-fits-all approach to chemically inducing labour at 42 weeks or before currently used by the NHS.
Use of the HypnoBirthing relaxation and super-effective natural induction techniques, including those that soften and ripen the cervix ready for labour to start when mum's body and her baby are ready, are a highly effective way to maximise the likelihood of achieving a gentle,natural start to labour and birth. Thus, minimising the need for chemical induction at the standard 42 weeks which, if the cervix isn't ready for labour to start at the point it is implemented, may result in a highly intense and often very uncomfortable experience for mum and baby.
To read a related article recently published in the Daily Mail click on the following link:
The press has been buzzing with growing speculation and persistent rumours, in the likes of OK magazine, the Daily Mail, BBC Radio 1 and Loraine Kelly's morning show that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge is believed to be practising hypnobirthing techniques in preparation for the birth of her and Prince William's first baby. As a result of increasing media interest I was asked to demystify hypnobirthing and its positive effects in a press interview for the Healthy Living section of the Sheffield Star newspaper. The interview forms the basis of a double-page spread written and edited by journalist Richard Blackledge which was published today, 15th July 2013.
I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience to make more women aware of how HypnoBirthing- the Mongan Method, works simply and effectively to support women, birth partners and babies to have a much better pregnancy, labour, birth & introduction to parenting.
Here's the article and I hope you enjoy reading it. If you do, please share this blog post and the following link with all your friends and acquaintences on your Facebook pages, Twitter, email, or phone text etc and lets help support UK women & babies in getting the kind of birth they truly deserve; natural, calm, gentle, confident and more comfortable.
The press have widely reported that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William are using the HypnoBirthing method to bring their first baby, and heir to the throne calmly and comfortably into the world.
As a teacher of this amazing programme and as someone who has successfully used HypnoBirthing myself, it is uplifting to hear that HypnoBirthing may well be their chosen birth method. It is particularly exciting - and no surprise to those of us who have personal experience of its effects - that, given that the Royal couple have direct access to the best care options and medical advice available, that this natural, gentle approach to labour and birth is believed to be their preference.
With HypnoBirthing, severe pain does not have to accompany labour if breathing is taught correctly. You can also learn to release all of the fears and anxieties you may have, and if you have had a traumatic pregancy and birth previously accept that in all probablility it is unlikely to happen again. HypnoBirthing can help you to enjoy the pregnancy and experience the joy of giving birth.
The following are examples of recent press reports on the Duchess and HypnoBirthing:
I would like to share with you an uplifting birth story of one of the couples I recently taught the HypnoBirthing programme to. When this lady first contacted me, she hada profound phobia of hospitals - so extreme was this phobia that twice when needing to attend hospital as a child, she had suffered cardiac arrest as a direct result of her fear. Pregnant with her first baby, she was determined to experience a gentle, natural birth in the comfort of her own home. I began teaching her the course but after class 1 her waters broke at 35.5 weeks. She also developed a rare liver condition called cholastasis which had to be monitored carefully due to the risk to the baby and mum. After only 3 days the decision was made to induce her due to special circumstrances arsiing from the cholastasis. I taught as much of the programme as I could to her and her birth partner prior to the induction, focussing on the breathing and instant and deep relaxation techniques and information about the physiology of birth and what to do when. In her wisdom, she had read the HypnoBirthing handbook between class 1 and 2 and completely immersed herself in its teachings.
Of course, due to the special circumstances, the opportunity to birth at home was no longer available. This courageous lady was induced by pessary and practised the HypnoBirthing techniques in her hospital room, supported fully by her partner who helped her focus on positioning, relaxation, breathing and the need to keep hydrated. She described the experience as so calm and relaxed it "felt spritual" as she gently gave birth to a baby boy, named Heath. Her experiences were so positive that she is over-the-moon with her decision to do the HypnoBirthing course. The midwives were so impressed that one of them has since completed the course herself to prepare for her first baby's birth in January 2013.
This is a wonderful example of how learning how to release your fears and trusting your instincts and body's ability to birth, aided by the easily-learned HypnoBirthing tecniques- how all can result in a magical birth experience even for those mums who are acutlely afraid of birth, for whatever reason.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to share the programme withy this lady and help her transform her baby's birth, even where medical intervention was necessary into such a memorable, beautiful event.
For those ladies who discover HypnoBirthing late in pregnancy (35 weeks plus) and think it is too late to gain from its benefits, I want to completely reassure you... Provided you complete the classes before you give birth, you will still be in a position to experience the calm, gentle and much more comfortable birth that is associated with having a HypnoBirth.