Overcome your fear of childbirth - Hypnotherapy in Bristol and Bath to help Mum, Dad, and Baby to experience a positive pregnancy, labour, birth, and future!
Childbirth in the Western Hemisphere
Bringing a child into the World is one of the greatest joys a person can know in life.
Unfortunately, actually giving birth to a child has become a source of great concern and anxiety for many people in the modern Western World (including men!). Fear of child birth is very common. You may be surprised to learn that we in the West experience many more complications and problems with regards to childbirth than women in India! Why? Well, first of all......if you are pregnant and reading this, you'll probably be the first to agree that there are no shortage of horror stories about giving birth, and no shortage of people lining up to give you those stories first hand?! Furthermore, if you are lucky enough to have souls around you sensitive enough to recognise that these stories don't help you, then there's always the TV or a magazine to remind you of the bad news! Western images of childbirth are largely images of pain and suffering. Simply put, modern western culture seems largely to have concluded that childbirth is an agonising and torturous ordeal to be endured, and now perhaps, even avoided. Elective Caesarean has become increasingly common as a result. It is useful to understand some of the reasons for this increase in elective Caesarean rates but since the subject is unavoidably polarised and political I have excluded any discussion from this page and have just said a few words about it here if you would like to read more.
The important point to note though is simply that many women have become so traumatised by the images of birth we are most commonly exposed to that there is a feeling that surgery would be preferable. There aren't many things in life that seem so terrible that we'd actually choose major surgery as a viable alternative, and it does just go to illustrate how deep the fear runs for many women.
However, a little understanding can go a long long way. Childbirth is as natural as breathing. Without wanting to state the obvious, it's important to get this into perspective. Women have been giving birth for as long as our species has existed...to all intents and purposes...since always. Having a baby is okay! It's not an illness! It is often a beautiful experience....intense yes....but beautiful still.
Why difficulties arise....
Obviously, there are occasionally complications which are outside of our control but as with all things in life, our experience often conforms to our expectations. If we have been told that something will be dreadful, and we believe the hype, then often our experience will match, mostly as a result of the messages we send to ourselves. To explain; if we "worry" about something, then we are sending a message to our subconscious mind that the future situation is a situation which can be considered to be dangerous. If we are terribly uncomfortable about a future situation, then that is the way that the subconscious mind will read it.....as dangerous. Now, reading danger in the environment, the protective subconscious mind decides that it is necessary to create a fight or flight response to the situation and we experience that sensation as fear.
Now, if we are continuously anxious at the prospect of giving birth, then we are compounding the idea that the birthing process is dangerous.....an idea which the subconscious mind will take on board and respond to, both in the run up to the birth and during the birthing process itself. When labour begins therefore....the subconscious mind recognises that this is the big dreadful moment of danger that you have been ruminating about (warning of). Of course, it then supplies you with a massive fight or flight response (designed to help you survive the situation) which sends you into fear, tension, and as a result......pain. It is the tension which causes the most problems. Being wound up tightly like a clock spring is not helpful when your whole being is essentially trying to "release"....to do what it knows how to do naturally. Tension merely gets in the way...lengthening the labour time.....creating pain, and generally giving Mum and Baby a much harder time than is necessary. And, emotionally too, of course, the whole experience can be fraught with angst, which can be terribly unsatisfying, and for some, even traumatic. But, it doesn't have to be this way at all....
Hypnosis for Childbirth
Hypnosis is an extremely powerful tool for aiding natural childbirth. It works on many levels. Firstly, and most importantly it teaches you to relax. Relaxation is always the key to reducing our anxiety about things...whatever they are! If there have been previous traumatic births or even if you are having persistent negative projections about potential births then there are techniques available to remove the emotionality held around those memories, thus helping to create a "clean slate" on which to base your new expectations. You will also learn quick and easy self-hypnosis techniques. Knowing how to move easily and quickly into a deeply relaxed state of being allows you to have absolute confidence in your ability to cope beautifully with the process of giving birth, and also gives you the tools to dissociate yourself from any discomfort you might be experiencing. Your partner will also be taught to help you deepen your state of relaxation on the day if you wish. You may be aware that many people can experience drug free analgesia (pain relief) and anaesthesia (complete numbness) under hypnosis, and this also can be learned if required as a part of your treatment.
As explained earlier, our expectation of a given situation often dictates our ultimate experience of that event. So following the same line of logic, it's easy to see how to create the experience that you want to have. Using suggestion based hypnotherapy and re-framing techniques, it's possible to send an entirely positive image of the forthcoming birth to your subconscious mind. Then, if you've followed the rules, come the day of your labour, you'll find that your subconscious mind will support you wonderfully through the whole process...recognizing that you're not anxious about the situation and that there is therefore no need for any fight or flight type response......the birthing situation is normal, there's no danger, and the subconscious mind can get on then with doing what it does best ...supporting you naturally through the birthing process....everything remaining very calm......very normal....very beautiful.
It's also possible to address potential difficulties using hypnosis. Mums' blood pressure, amongst other difficulties such as insomnia and discomfort can be helped using visualization or self hypnosis techniques. Breech, transverse, or face presentation babies also can sometimes be persuaded to turn into the correct birthing position using hypnosis, thus avoiding C-Section intervention.
Some Reported Benefits of Using Hypnosis for Childbirth
• Improved sleep prior to birth and afterwards
• Reduction of heartburn
• Control of blood pressure
• Removal of fear and anxiety
• Less need for induction of labour
• Fewer drugs or no drugs means less risk of side effects on mother and baby
• Shorter labours - resistance of the birthing muscles as a response to pain is minimised or eliminated
• Increased production of oxytocin, the hormone that controls the strength and duration of the contractions. The subconscious is in charge of this and if the mother is stressed it will be read as 'Danger' - not a good time to give birth - so there will be conflict between the body and the mind resulting in a reduced production of this hormone. When there is a good supply of oxytocin contractions ultimately can be more comfortable.
• An awake energised mother due to total relaxation throughout the birthing process
• A calm peaceful birthing atmosphere
• Breech and posterior babies can be turned using hypnosis
• Fewer interventions and complications during labour
• A plentiful milk supply
• Babies who sleep and feed better due to fewer drugs in their systems
• Mothers who are less tired and more confident
Treatment, ideally, is begun around the 32 week stage of pregnancy. Labour usually starts between 37 and 42 weeks. We would meet for an initial consultation (which is one hour and free) and then I would expect to see someone for four weekly sessions thereafter. If there is trauma to deal with from past births then you would expect to add at least one more weekly session into the equation, so you might decide to come slightly earlier than 32 weeks. Also, of course if you are in early pregnancy and are worrying excessively about the birth, you would be well advised to visit earlier, since anxiety tends to increase if left untreated. Between sessions you will have hypnosis CD's to work with and you will be also practicing self-hypnosis techniques. Self hypnosis, like any skill, becomes easier and stronger with practice, so the more practice you put in, the better you'll be at it! Partners are welcome too and they of course can be included in many ways. Although strictly speaking the hypnosis parts of the treatments are structured towards Mum, Dad can certainly benefit from some de-stressing too!
This is lovely positive work for me to do. I enjoy it enormously, and it should be noted that this work is suitable even for people who are not overly anxious about their forthcoming birth but who simply want to make sure it's as wonderful as it possibly can be.
For general pregnancy and childbirth information and assistance, please see the National Childbirth Trust website which you can access by clicking here.
If you'd like to book a consultation, then please contact me by clicking here.