This month's guest blog is by hypnobirthing practitioner Emma Harwood-Jones. In this post, Emma introduces us to what hypnobirthing is and provides an overview of the techniques she teaches couples. To find out more, please feel free to get in touch with Emma directly or more information can also be found from her website!
What is Hypnobirthing?
Hi, my name is Emma Harwood-Jones, I am a Hypnobirthing Practitioner, accredited with the HypnoBirthing Institute. I teach hypnobirthing in the Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead and Watford areas.
Hypnobirthing is a way of giving birth using relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques to help make your birthing experience easier, calmer and more in control. Hypnobirthing gives you a positive expectancy for birth by normalising natural childbirth and by allowing you to regularly listen to and reaffirm positive birth affirmations about birth which replace any negative thoughts. Hypnobirthing also allows you to release any anxieties and fears you might be holding about birth through hypnosis using fear release therapy. These techniques enable your body to fully relax during labour and birth which allows your body to give birth as nature intended with your birthing muscles working comfortably and effectively together to open the cervix. Endorphins, the body’s natural tranquiliser, are released to add to the relaxation and oxytocin is released to enhance the surges (contractions).
Hypnobirthing can be explained more fully by understanding the theory of the fear-tension-pain syndrome discovered by Dr. Grantley Dick Read in the 1930s. Through observation, he was able to show how fear and anxiety causes tension in the birthing muscles which in turn causes pain and can slow labour down. When we see or perceive a threat, which during childbirth can be as little as being observed, our body switches into the sympathetic nervous system, the fear fight-flight-freeze response, or the emergency room state (as we call it in hypnobirthing), when our body goes into survival mode. Oxygenated blood is redirected away from the uterus, where we need it most during labour, to parts of the body that we need to run or fight. The muscles and arteries around the uterus constrict and the outer layer of muscles in the uterus works less efficiently, drawing up against a taught layer of inner muscles. Stress hormones are released, blocking out the much-needed endorphins that help with natural pain relief. The outcome is a much more painful experience and a longer, more exhausting labour. Failure to Progress, baby becoming distressed and medical intervention are all more likely in this state.
Using breathing, relaxation and visualisation techniques, you learn to stay in the parasympathetic nervous system or the healing room state (as we call it in hypnobirthing), which is when the body is in a state of balance and well being. In this healing room state you are able to release endorphins which block out the stress hormones and add to your relaxation, as well as oxytocin which enhances the surges (contractions) and helps move labour along.
Hypnobirthing gives your birth companion an important role to play in supporting you during labour and birth by saying encouraging prompts for relaxation, by giving you light touch massage (which helps with the release of endorphins and makes a big difference to the birthing experience) and for being your voice - communicating with the care providers so that you can focus on breathing and relaxation. Through hypnobirthing you and your birth companion learn to ask the right questions so that you can make informed decisions should the need arise during the birth. Hypnobirthing is a bonding experience, bringing you and your birth companion together, working as a team to birth your baby and connecting with your baby pre-natally and post-natally.
Hypnobirthing has empowered many women to have positive and enjoyable birth experiences using their own natural birthing instincts, breathing and visualisation techniques, as well as light touch massage, to stay in control and manage the surges (contractions). Most women do not need any other form of pain relief.
I teach hypnobirthing as a group or private class. Please feel free to contact me on 07738328105 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or visit my website.