Expert / 22 May, 2018 / My Baba
Siobhan Miller is a hypnobirthing teacher and founder of The Positive Birth Company. She is also a mum to 3 boys and on a mission to make hypnobirthing more accessible for everyone; because she believes that every woman deserves the best birth possible and access to the tools to create a positive birth experience. Here are Siobhan’s top ten tips for hypnobirthing.
Do not think you can just ‘wing it’. The key to preparing for a positive birth is in the preparation. Knowledge is power. The more you understand about birth, the better. So sign yourself and your birth partner up for antenatal classes (I’d recommend a hypnobirthing course) either online or offline. Giving birth whether for the first time or the fourth time is a life-defining moment. Invest in your birth. The benefits of a positive birth are life-long for Mum, Baby and entire families.
Think carefully about where you’re going to go to give birth. Consider the type of birth you want and do your research. You do not have to go to the place that is nearest, so shop around and choose the place that will be best for you. The WHICH? website has stats for all hospitals and birth centres in the UK.
Do not underestimate the impact the environment has on your birth. You want to be in a space that feels safe, where you can relax and feel uninhibited for labour to progress. Think about when you need to go to the toilet!! With that in mind, choose wisely where you’ll go and pack things in your birth bag to transform the birthing space into a place of calm and comfort e.g. tea lights, room spray, music etc.
Create an in depth set of birth preferences or a “birth plan”. You can give the document to those looking after you in birth so they have clear guidelines (in writing) as to what you want to happen. It also helps your birth partner whose job it will be to advocate for you and ensure your wishes are respected.
On the topic of birth preferences or plans, it’s important to always have an open mind when approaching birth. There are so many variables that we cannot control for and sometimes things can change. By outlining your preferences for different situations, you’re ensuring that however your birth pans out, what’s most important to you still happens. In this way it’s possible to have a positive birth however birth happens.
As your pregnancy progresses, actively work on building positive associations with birth in your mind. Use positive affirmations – either an MP3 or affirmation cards around your home – to do this. Watch positive birth videos and read positive birth stories. The more you do this, the more confident you will feel as the big day approaches. The more confident you are, the more relaxed you will be and this will make your birth better on every level.
Have a set of practical tools you can use in labour to remain calm and relaxed throughout. For example mastering a breathing technique to use through the surges / contractions is an absolute gamechanger.
Practice! Practice! Practice! All of the tools you learn will more effective if they are second nature and you’ve conditioned yourself to associate them with relaxation. Learning how to properly relax is a skill and it takes time to master new skills. Whether it’s a breathing technique, massage, guided meditations or all of the aforementioned; practice, practice practice!
Get your birth partner involved so they feel empowered to advocate for you and know how to best support you. An active birth partner can make the world of difference. It’s no longer a passive role, a silent supporter on the sideline. A good birth partner will work with Mum to bring baby into the world in the best way possible. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Remember to use your BRAIN if interventions are offered. You are required to give informed consent for any procedure so make sure you are in a position to do so! The responsibility to ensure you are fully informed lies with yourself so don’t be afraid to ask questions. What are the benefits? What are the risks? Are there any alternatives? What does my instinct tell me? What happens if we do nothing for – 5 minutes? The next hour? 24 hours? Remember it is your body, your baby, your birth and always: your choice.
Siobhan runs group hypnobirthing classes monthly in London, Devon and Birmingham and has just launched The Positive Birth Company’s DIGITAL PACK – the world’s most affordable and accessible online hypnobirthing program.