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Since launching The Positive Birth Company, where we provide antenatal and postnatal support to thousands of women and birthing people across the world, I have heard all kinds of questions along the way.
Whether these questions come from friends, colleagues or the PBC community, one thing’s for sure - there is a pool of common misconceptions when it comes to hypnobirthing. So, it’s time to bust a few myths….
A positive birth experience offers lifelong benefits.
Will I get hypnotised?
This is a common one and although it’s unsurprising people may confuse hypnobirthing with being hypnotised, they couldn’t be more wrong. Hypnobirthing is a programme of antenatal education that is evidence based, logical and filled with scientific knowledge to help you have the most positive birth experience possible. It has nothing to do with pocket watches, or “looking into the eyes not around the eyes”!
In our hypnobirthing course, you learn about the physiology of birth, which is fascinating. You find out about your hormone production and how your muscles work, and how these link to each other. You are also taught a set of practical tools, including mindfulness, meditation, and massage, which you can use to relax yourself and remain in control before, during and after the birth. Hypnobirthing may have evolved from hypnotherapy - it is about the connection between body and mind - but, I can confirm, there won’t be any sign of a swinging watch when you start your hypnobirthing journey!
Is hypnobirthing for a specific type of person or birth?
If you are pregnant, hypnobirthing is for you! It really is for every type of person and every type of birth, for your first baby or your fourth. It doesn’t matter where or how you plan to do it. There’s a common misconception that hypnobirthing is a bit ‘alternative’ but I promise you that’s not the case. Whether it’s a planned cesarean in hospital or a vaginal birth at home in a pool - or even if this shifts at the very last minute - hypnobirthing is designed to equip you with the knowledge, tools and framework to help you navigate through all changes and choices.
“Most people can recall their birth experiences vividly for the rest of their lives. Ensuring it's a positive memory that reminds you how strong and capable you are, rather than a traumatic one you need to heal from, is invaluable.”
Can I do hypnobirthing after a traumatic birth?
Absolutely, yes. I couldn’t recommend it more. I’ve lived this very experience. When I gave birth to my first son 14 years ago, it was an incredibly traumatic experience with several complications. Other than some information I gathered at NCT classes, I felt generally uninformed about birth and how to prepare for it.
Fast forward seven years when I was pregnant with my second son, people were starting to talk about hypnobirthing. I was curious and open to trying it, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My second birth wasn’t perfect by any means. There were still challenges and things that didn’t go as planned. Yet, in the moment, I felt euphoric. Most importantly, I felt respected, safe and I understood exactly what was happening and the choices I could make.
From that moment, I knew I wanted to move into the antenatal and postnatal education space. We are brought up to fear birth, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve suffered from a traumatic birth, you can absolutely have a positive one next time.
“If you are pregnant, hypnobirthing is for you! It really is for every type of person and every type of birth, for your first baby or your fourth.”
Can I only do hypnobirthing if I start early in my pregnancy?
It’s never too late to learn hypnobirthing. In a recent survey we sent out to our PBC community, 10% said they started the course beyond the 37-week mark. Our Hypnobirthing Digital Pack has six hours of workshops, with some additional resources, so you could cram that into a few days if you needed to! The most useful thing you could learn, even up to the last days, is breathing. It’s just all about arming yourself with the knowledge and tools, and understanding what your options are.
That said, I would always say the sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards of hypnobirthing. Some of the tools will help throughout your pregnancy at a time where you’re potentially feeling very anxious. Learning the tools and techniques will take the worry away and you will be able to enjoy the process.
All in all...
A positive birth experience offers lifelong benefits. Most people can recall their birth experience vividly for the rest of their lives. Ensuring it’s a positive memory that reminds you how strong and capable you are, rather than a traumatic one you need to heal from, is invaluable and benefits new parents, babies and entire families.
If you’re thinking about hypnobirthing, it’s the right time to start.
Find out more at www.thepostivebirthcompany.co.uk
Siobhan Miller founded The Positive Birth Company in 2016 to support people on their parenthood journey. Siobhan is committed to empowering women, birthing people and birth partners around the world to create positive experiences from conception through to birth and the postpartum period. The Positive Birth Company offers a unique and accessible approach to prenatal, antenatal and postnatal education. Through online courses, its award winning Freya app, bestselling book,and free social media resources, it has reached more than 30 million people around the globe.