What is hypnobirthing?
The Hypnobirthing Australia course is a complete childbirth education program that will help you replace anxiety and apprehension with the ability to birth in a calm, confident, and positive way – no matter what turn your birth takes.
There is so much misrepresentation of birth, conflicting advice, and quite frankly bad information out there…it is really easy to know that you want a positive birth but feel really overwhelmed and unsure how to achieve that.
The course truly helps couples feel prepared, confident, and gets them looking forward to giving birth.
By teaching you how to place your trust in your body, giving you tangible tools to cope with labour, and enabling your partner to know exactly how to support you, hypnobirthing helps you enjoy pregnancy and have a positive birth.
What about the hypnosis part?
Despite the name, hypnobirthing is more about evidence-based information and proven methods of relaxation that help you feel calm than it is about being hypnotised. In fact the hypnosis part of hypnobirthing is probably best described as guided meditations to help you access a deeply relaxed state in which you are releasing endorphins. When you are in this birthing zone, you are totally “with it” and aware…you are still very much an active participant in your birth. You are also in control of deciding when you go into that relaxed state and how deep you go. The goals of self hypnosis are to maintain relaxation, produce endorphins, and to go within yourself to a place where your only focus is on your body, your baby, and your birth.
Will it be pain free?
Hypnobirthing does not promise a pain free birth, but you will absolutely be able to cope with the challenges of labour.
In labour, the cause of pain is often fear (you might not even be aware of this fear as it is often help within our subconscious). The way our mind interprets apprehension causes our body to constrict our birthing muscles, leading to a painful birth experience. Using a combination of evidence-based practices, we aim to remove these worries – therefore avoiding tension, enabling relaxation, and generally creating ideal physical and emotional conditions for a comfortable labour and positive birth.
In the Hypnobirthing Australia program, we differentiate between pain and functional pain. Hypnobirthing women may still experience tightening and pressure, but most describe the sensations of birth as working with their body.
This is where having a clear understanding of the physiology of birth is so important. When you understand what your body is doing, you aren’t afraid of those sensations…instead of labelling contractions as painful, you know that the intensity is simply your body working, efficiently and effectively bringing your baby one step closer to entering the world.
I can honestly say that over the course of two births, I never experienced anything that I would describe as painful…and certainly not the excruciating pain that Hollywood portrays. At times labour did feel like very hard work and the sensations were very strong. But I understood that those sensations were my body working…I could feel my muscles opening and creating space for my baby to move down. That understanding of what my body was trying to accomplish helped me to remain calm and focused. And my hypnobirthing techniques helped me to remain relaxed and to feel in control!
When should I take hypnobirthing?
I often get asked when to take hypnobirthing and the answer is really whenever you are ready and can fit it in!
Usually I recommend between 20 and 30 weeks as that gives you plenty of time to practice the techniques and get confident using them.
That being said, some women want as much information as early as they can get it and opt to take hypnobirthing prior to the 20 week mark.
And others leave it a bit later! I have taught women who are 37 weeks and they have gone on to have amazing births.
Personally, I think taking the course a bit on the early side is preferable as that gives you plenty of time to overcome any obstacles…whether that may be an emotional block, baby’s position, or challenges presented within your model of care.
If you are concerned about timing, please contact me directly and we can chat about your options.
Where do you offer your hypnobirthing classes?
Most of my group classes are taught out of Soul Space – 23 Parker Street in Newmarket.
Private classes are taught either at your home or at Body & Birth Physiotherapy – 188 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington.
What if my partner is reluctant? Or if I don’t have a partner?
A birth partner can be your partner, a doula, your sister, a friend, your mother…whomever you trust and feel like will best support you throughout your pregnancy and birth. The role of a birth partner is both to help you remain relaxed and to advocate for you and for your baby.
No matter who is there with you during labour and birth, it is going to be a huge experience for them…and so, just like you are preparing, they need to prepare too!
I always say partners tend to get more out of the classes than birth mothers do! I find that a birth mother’s knowledge generally sits around 60/100 while most partners know very little about birth other than what they have seen in the movies. So your birth partner will likely go from knowing next to nothing to feeling very comfortable with birth and very confident about their role in the process.
Here is what one dad had to say:
“I was skeptical about hypnobirthing at first but after taking the classes, my partner and I both became of the same mindset around what we wanted for the pregnancy and labour. I also felt it gave me a special role in the birth – I wasn’t just a bystander but an essential part of the birth team and the classes helped me see this. In the rush of our labour, the hospital was not given our birth preferences, but I knew what these were and advocated for them.”
If scheduling is an issue, please talk to me. I have had partners who have had to miss a session or two and we can usually find a way for them to catch up on what they missed!
Will hypnobirthing still be useful to me if I end up not wanting a natural birth? Or needing medical intervention? Or a caesarean?
Absolutely! The techniques that you learn in hypnobirthing will benefit you and your baby regardless of your birth experience.
One of the things I like the most about the Hypnobirthing Australia program is that it isn’t natural birth or bust! The course is all about preparing you to feel in control of your birth, no matter what turn your birth takes. During class we talk about birth preferences, interventions, inductions, caesareans, and how to make the decisions that are best for you!
My primary focus when teaching is to empower you to advocate for yourself and your birth experience so when you reflect on your birthing day, you know that you had the best possible birth given your individual circumstances.
Also, as a registered nurse I am very familiar with the medical system and I can help guide you through the sometimes confusing realms of hospital policies and standard procedures.
If it becomes apparent that a caesarean is the best option for you and your baby, I am proud to offer the Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Caesarean Birth Course. This class helps you build the knowledge, mindset, tools, and support to have a calm caesarean experience. It also helps you understand that even in a more medical birth, you still have options and you can still advocate for your birth preferences. Knowledge and preparation lead to positive births! If you would like more information about the Positive Caesarean Birth Course, please email me!
Is hypnobirthing just for first time mothers? What if I want a VBAC?
It is not at all just for first time mothers! I have taught many second time mothers and even a few third time mothers! Some of those mothers had positive first births…they simply felt like they wanted a few more tools the second time around and they also felt like they wanted to dedicate some time specifically to this baby and this birth (it can be hard to focus on what is to come when you are busy running around after other children).
Other mothers had a negative or even a traumatic previous birth and wanted to ensure that experience was not repeated. If this is your situation, please let me know as I offer a free birth debrief intended to help you process your previous experience before embarking upon your hypnobirthing experience. This is certainly not required, but learning more about birth and looking back at your previous experience through that lens can be confronting…I am happy to support you should find any aspect of preparing for a positive birth challenging.
What if I took hypnobirthing a few years ago with my first baby and I want to take it again?
I highly recommend taking some time to focus on each pregnancy and each birth…and hypnobirthing is the perfect way to do that.
You can either do a three hour refresher course (please contact me for details about this) or if you feel that you would prefer to review all the material, you are more than welcome to join a group class or we can arrange for private sessions.
Does private health cover reimburse for hypnobirthing classes?
Short answer is it depends on your private health cover!
Slightly longer answer is I have an AHPRA number and so some providers are willing to accept claims…and some are not. When you book, please let me know your provider and I will see what I can do!
Really long answer is, if you have private health cover and they do not cover independent childbirth education classes, PLEASE request that they do. Independent childbirth education classes have been shown to help women have shorter labours and births that require fewer medical interventions. So one would think that hypnobirthing would be something that a provider would eagerly cover as it benefits both them and you! However unless women start asking for coverage, it is unlikely that the current policies will change. So please ask!
And of course if you need any help or any supporting documentation to proceed with your claim, just shout.