There are many myths surrounding birth, not least, that it is inherently painful and must be endured, rather than enjoyed. During the first session of a HypnoBirthing course, my main objective is to de-hypnotise couples from this negative expectation by exploring the true science and physiology behind birth. We work to develop a clear understanding of what we must do to support the natural process of birth, rather than inhibit it. And very quickly, couples learn the importance of ‘letting go’ rather than holding on tight. They also come to understand how fear, negative programming, and the way in which women are supported during labour plays a significant role in how birth is experienced.
So what is wrong with birthing today? Why are the majority of women not experiencing their ‘best birth’? Here are a few points to consider:
- Not enough attention is paid to securing a caregiver who will accommodate and encourage a mother’s wishes for natural birth. Quite often, parents make decisions about where to birth based on matters like the distance travelled to the hospital / birth centre, rather than ensuring that the practices and procedures in place at that birth facility are well aligned with their own intentions for birth.
- Women experience early and ongoing programming concerning the horrors of labour. Many NHS antenatal classes still continue to reinforce of the ‘unmanageable pain’ concept and focus instead on interventions, medications, complications and surgery – all causing more fear.
- Negative anticipation and fear is increased as a result of some caregivers’ approach and media drama (eg. One Born Every Minute). The usual discussion is what could possibly be wrong or go wrong. All resulting in fear.
- Birthing environments aren’t ordinarily conducive to the natural flow of birth and adds to the aura of fear and danger. The presence of high-tech equipment in the birthing room suggests it will be needed. Pain scales suggest that pain is inevitable and standard birth practices de-personalise the experience with routine procedures and a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
- The vocabulary used to describe birth (contractions, waters breaking, spontaneous rupture of membranes, labour, pain, bloody show) create negative thoughts and images, influences our outlook and subsequently shapes our experiences.
So how can you build stronger foundations for a calmer, happier birth experience?
STEP 1: “Own” your birth choices and invest time in securing the right caregiver. Explore all the options – hospital, birth centre, home birthing, independent midwives, doulas. Look at their birth statistics. What is the right decision for YOU and YOUR BABY?
STEP 2: Expect better. Look for birth preparation classes that focus on educating in a positive, rather than fear-inducing way, help to build your knowledge and provides both you and your birth partner with techniques that can really make a difference.
STEP 3: Refrain from exposing yourself to negative messages of birth and instead, get educated on what will positively make a positive difference to your birth experience.
STEP 4: Adopt softer language (uterine surges, sensations, tightenings, waters releasing, birth show) whenever discussing birth to support the understanding that birth can be a gentler, natural process free from fear. Encourage those involved in your care, both during pregnancy and birth, to do the same.
Remember: FEAR=TENSION=PAIN If we can all work together to break this cycle, what a different place the world of birth could be!
For more information about HypnoBirthing classes in Bristol and Clevedon, and how I can support you in achieving a calmer, happier birth experience, please call me (Helen) on 07816 787294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Birthing 😉 x