Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with hypnobirthing experts Dany Griffiths and Tamara Cianfini? Don’t worry, you can read all of the advice they shared here
Every week at Mother&Baby we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your fertility, pregnancy and parenting questions from a top expert.
This week, antenatal and hypnobirthing experts Dany Griffiths and Tamara Cianfini were on board to answer your questions.
Dany and Tamara are antenatal teachers and co-founders of The Wise Hippo birthing programme. Their company helps pregnant women and their partners to have a more comfortable and positive birth experience.
If you missed the chat, here’s what happened…
My husband isn’t sure about me doing hypnobirthing (even though lots of my friends recommend it and say it's brilliant) because he thinks he won't be involved in the birth as I'll be 'in my own headspace'. So I haven't looked into it much. Is this the case? And if I do it, are the courses expensive? Can you do it from home?
Tamara: He will be more involved with hypnobirthing as it’s very much about you all working together. It will give him the knowledge to know what to do on the day, as partners do have a very specific role to play. It’s about equiping yourself with as many tools as you can for labour. Dads often become the biggest advocates of hypnobirthing once they learn it, too.
Dads often become the biggest advocates of hypnobirthing once they learn it, too
Dany: So many women will say that their partner was such a major part in their success with hypnobirthing. It is actually the complete opposite to your husband's fear in that dads are so much more involved because they learn the techniques along side mum and are able to help maintain the state of relaxation that she needs.
READ: HIGH FIVES, HYPNOBIRTHING AND HEARTBREAK: ON ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE THIS WEEK...
You being in your own headspace all of the time is a bit of a misunderstanding about hypnosis, as you will move up and down in terms of your depth of trance. You will be active and moving about and we share how you can maintain this with your eyes open (something we do naturally anyway so it is easy to do once you've got an appreciation of that). On the other hand how amazing will it be if you are so calm and relaxed that he is able to just watch you with amazement and pride happy that you are having such a positive experience.
There isn’t any one right way to labour and this is the same with hypnobirthing
Should my partner attend my hypnobirthing classes? And when should I start them (I'm still in my first trimester)?
Tamara: Any time after your 20-week scan is ideal and sometimes in our busy lives our partners can’t make all the classes and that’s OK. We do, however, strongly suggest that they read up as much as possible about your course.
If I use hypnobirthing, can I use pain relief if I need to – or does that defeat the point?
Tamara: We never say you can't use the drugs as this is always your choice but we do however find that many attending our classes have already made the decision to avoid pain relieving drugs if possible.
READ: 'MY LABOUR WAS PAIN-FREE' ONE MUM'S STORY
Dany: There isn’t any one right way to labour and this is the same with hypnobirthing. It isn't about us telling you what you should or shouldn't do during your baby's birth but you choosing what’s right for you. We do recommend that women focus on the best birth possible and being comfortable during that experience because it never makes sense to 'rehearse' a negative outcome. But if someone attends a course saying they still want the drugs we wouldn't tell them that was bad.
What's interesting, though, is that most of the time they don't need them. But if we'd said they couldn't have them they probably wouldn't have attended a course and would therefore have missed out on the wonderful benefits learning these tools can give.
Tamara: We also mention that you may want to add to your birth plan, in that, if you want pain relief you will ask rather than them offering it to you and therefore making you think about it.
I'm a little skeptical about things like hypnobirthing. How do you think it will help me during my labour? And if something did happen to go wrong/my birth plan went down the pan, would I just forget about the hypnobirthing?
We teach women first of all how fear and anxiety affect the body working at its best
Dany: We teach women first of all how fear and anxiety affect the body working at its best. We then teach tools to help let go of fears and to support women in becoming experts in relaxation. This in turn supports a more comfortable birth experience.
The great thing about these tools is that primarily they enable women to keep calm, relaxed and in control no matter what path their birthing takes. We can't promise a perfect birth and sometimes nature needs a hand. In those circumstances it is wonderful to hear women share how well they continued to use the tools when they needed to adapt.
We also explore how we experience pain and how our emotional state can exaggerate what we are feeling
We also explore how we experience pain and how our emotional state can exaggerate what we are feeling. This is not about saying women won't feel any pain, although some don't, but understanding how we can distract the mind away from the sensations and change how we perceive them. Everything we teach is how the mind works anyway, we are just looking at it from a different perspective. As we explain the techniques we show our clients that which makes the tools very simple to learn.
READ: VBAC 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF SUCCESS
I love the sound of it. What do I have to do and who do I speak to if I decide I want to do it please?
Tamara: It’s fantastic that you’re interested in hypnobirthing. The best thing to do is contact your local instructor who will happily talk to you about the classes that they run.
I tried hypnotherapy with my first labour but it didn't work as well as I hoped because my midwife didn't really know much about it or how to help. I'm pregnant with my second child now and unsure whether to try again. Do you think it's worth it?
Dany: Yes, it is definitely worth doing again. Did you do a course before? We spend time in session three talking about how the birth partner can share with the midwife how they can support you with your hypnobirthing.
Information that would be useful for a midwife for example to not ask if you are in any pain or if you'd like pain relief as it causes you to focus too much on the body. You can let her know that you will ask for it if you need it. Ask your birth partner to make them aware when you are having a surge (contraction) so that they don't inadvertently interrupt your deep state of relaxation.
Tamara: I also find that mums often have a very different experience second time around even having done hypnobirthing with their first child. Our focus is achieving the right birth for everyone on the day where informed decisions are made along the way.
We are training more and midwives in hypnobirthing now and more are definitely becoming more familiar with the techniques.
What topics would you like covered during our Wednesday Lunch Club sessions? Let us know in the comments box below.