Hypnobirthing. So what’s it all about? It can be a tricky concept to understand I think, with the name perhaps conjuring images of being made to cluck like a chicken or waft around in a trance like state. I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth – it also doesn’t involve sitting around barefoot, singing, chanting and holding hands. Nor is it about advocating that a natural, drug free birth is the only way to go, but rather more providing its audience with the education and knowledge to make confident, informed decisions that are right for the individual. Well that all sounds very nice, but still, that’s a lot of words that don’t tell us an awful lot – what exactly does it all really mean?
The World Health Organisation states that there is no justification in any specific geographic region to have more than a 10 to 15 per cent rate of births by caesarean section, yet many countries globally have rates much higher than this with several developed countries quoting rates as high as 33%. So why is this? What hypnobirthing does is provide us with the tools and the knowledge to ask the right questions about these issues to understand and empower our own decisions in our own birthing processes.
Hypnobirthing is an unbiased, independent means to learn about our options, the risks and benefits of interventions, and under what circumstances procedures, interventions or medications may be required, or perhaps even desired. Hypnobirthing isn’t judgemental of our decisions, it simply ensures we have all the information to make the decision that is right for ourselves, in conjunction with the advice of our medical professionals.
Again, that’s all very well, but how exactly does it work? Hypnobirthing provides us with tools that enable us to be prepared for birth with knowledge of what we might expect in any eventuality, and to hopefully better prepare us for what birth has in store. It teaches relaxation techniques to help focus our minds, pelvic floor exercises, the benefits of squatting and perineal massage, breathing exercises to help us to cope with discomfort and to work with – not against our natural bodily instincts, and encourages us to avoid negativity that can affect our mind-sets. There’s a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking, and hypnobirthing helps draw our attention to the effect that negative words can have on our subconscious and how that can affect our experiences. It’s about learning to respect our natural instincts and work with those as best we can, as well as being armed with the information we need to make informed decisions throughout the process. Hypnobirthing emphasises the importance of the role of the father at the birth, why having the person closest to you present to be able to speak with medical professionals and deal with any eventualities on your behalf is important to allow Mum-to-be to simply focus on the task in hand.
Ultimately, hypnobirthing is an empowering approach to birth that encompasses all elements, from providing information on the medical process itself and helpful local resources to analysing what our own greatest fears are and providing us with tools we can use and knowledge that will help us not only know the right questions to ask our medical professionals, but also to help overcome and rationalise those fears. Hypnobirthing can perhaps be a difficult concept to understand prior to starting the course but for me, anything that can offer an insight and assistance into making my own birthing experience a more confident, positive and pleasant one was well worth giving a go and I certainly found the course to be informative, thought-provoking and eye opening, providing information that I would not otherwise necessarily have known or considered.
About the Author – Lindsey ParryOriginally from the UK, Lindsey first moved to the UAE in 2006 but started her career in London as a media professional working in television and publishing. Having stayed within the media industry in various forms throughout the years – most recently as a Features Editor, due to her soon to be newly acquired status of motherhood, is now a part-time freelance writer. Lindsey also writes her own blog about life in the UAE, ArabianNotes.com