Hypnosis & hypnobirthing FAQs...
Please read this regularly, even if you have prior experience. There are many myths to dispel...
Q: Does it work?
Yes - hypnobirthing dates back to the early 1900s, when British Doctor Grantly Dick-Read observed that in the absence of fear, people have much more straightforward, more comfortable and quicker births. He set out to spread the word and de-mystify the birth process, and introduced families to the simple tools of self-hypnosis, relaxation and effective breathing. The benefits are now widely accepted by midwives and doctors. The Royal College of Midwives suggest hypnobirthing as a coping strategy in their 'Ten top tips for birth'. For a research overview click here
Is this 'official' hypnobirthing?
Competing companies have laid claim to the term 'hypnobirthing' over the years... It's now legally considered a generic term describing any method of preparing for childbirth using hypnosis.
How can I check your credentials?
For information on my training and background click here
What is hypnosis?
Ever been so absorbed in your thoughts that you can't quite remember some of the journey home?! Hypnosis is a completely natural state of focus, e.g. daydreaming or watching a film. In this focused state, positive suggestions help to reprogram your mind.
Can anyone use hypnosis?
Yes. Because it's a natural state of mind, everyone is capable of entering hypnosis if they want to. The more you do it, the better you get at doing it - just like learning any other skill. It's a myth that some people are unable to be hypnotised. However, if you have epilepsy, a heart condition, narcolepsy or asthma you should consult with your doctor first before using hypnotherapy. Never use hypnotherapy whilst operating heavy machinery (e.g. driving!) or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you suffer from psychiatric or psychotic illnesses that distort your sense of reality.
Will I lose control and become a zombie?
No - you are always completely in control. Stage hypnosis can demonstrate the amazing power of suggestion, but the showmanship element makes it seem like something it's not. A person engaging in self-hypnosis may 'come out of it' any time at will, e.g. if your phone rings you can choose whether to answer it.
Will someone sit next to me during the birth, dangling a pocket watch?
Nope! You will use self-hypnosis to take yourself into a deep state of focus during each contraction. Your birth partner(s) may assist you - using certain practiced positive triggers and ensuring your birth environment is private and homely, but essentially you are the one in control. The more you practice, the better you get at going rapidly into hypnosis. With very regular practice this skill becomes more and more automatic, enabling you on the day of the birth to focus, relax your body and breathe effectively.
How do I know it's 'working'?
Everyone experiences hypnosis a bit differently, but as long as you're actively listening to and agreeing with the suggestions, it's sinking in. Every time you enter hypnosis during pregnancy it becomes more natural. As long as you've followed all of the instructions and practiced regularly as recommended during pregnancy, you can trust in your skills during the birth.
It's also normal to have doubts, this just shows that you really care about preparing effectively for your birth...
What if random thoughts pop into my mind?
It's fine - you don't need silence for self-hypnosis. With practice and experience you'll learn to rise above any potential external or internal distractions. Beginners can sometimes feel frustrated if a random thought pops up... the trick is to let that thought pass quickly through your mind, and return your attention to the sound of my voice. Otherwise you may spend all your time saying "shut-up!" to yourself and miss the whole session! Likewise, don't get hung up about any external noises. Just focus on my voice as the most important sound you hear.
Is hypnosis just relaxation?
No, this is an outdated idea. Evidence finds that hypnosis is a state of deep focus. You can be in hypnosis without feeling relaxed (watching a horror film). Relaxation is often used to help quieten your mind and enter hypnosis (it's super useful for much of the birth journey) but during transition and 2nd stage you might feel more energised than relaxed... If you're able to keep focused you're in hypnosis, no matter how relaxed you are.
Is it ok to 'drift off'?
It depends... Fine if you 'wake up' at the end when instructed to (this means that your mind is listening). But if you genuinely fall asleep every time you use the MP3s, stop listening to them in bed! Hypnosis is most effective when you're focused and actively listening to the suggestions. Make the time to practise when you're not so tired. Try not to drift off completely. Sleepy-heads may need to try sitting upright or even with their eyes open!
Can I use my tracks to help me get to sleep?
Yes, but make sure you allocate yourself proper 'awake' practise time as well.
I feel more alert than I expected?
Everyone experiences hypnosis a bit differently. Some people feel very aware of their surroundings and can perhaps recall every single word of a session, others say they almost forgot where they were and can't remember absolutely everything. Either example and everything in between is completely normal.
What if I have a medicalised birth?
Self-hypnosis is useful for all sorts of medical procedures. Families can create their special calming 'birth bubble' and utilise the benefits of hypnobirthing, even if anaesthetised or in theatre (relaxing music, nice smells etc). It's so much better to meet your baby whilst feeling as happy, relaxed and positive as possible. If your plans look like they might change, check out my 'What if?' guide
Do you have a 'quick reference guide' for birth partners?
Not quite - you're a team, birth partners need to put in the time as well! The course is deliberately simple and can be completed in just a few hours, with a few minutes' ongoing practise together each week. Choose your birth partners wisely ~ excellent support is crucial. After a disappointing experience, Isla in Cornwall compiled a handy checklist of jobs for birth partners
What are potential obstacles to using hypnobirthing successfully?
To answer this question you must first consider your own expectations... Do you simply want to feel calmer and more in control? To have a pain-free or orgasmic birth? To cope until an epidural can be set up? Everyone has different goals, and these may change depending on the path your baby's birth takes.
Secondly, whatever your hypnobirth vision is, the biggest potential obstacle happens during pregnancy. Regular practice and rehearsal in the months and weeks leading up to the birth requires effective knowledge AND commitment. A lack of motivation on the part of either a mother and / or birth partner(s) severely lessens its effectiveness on the day.
Encountering a health professional who isn't experienced, knowledgeable and confident in supporting birth physiology can also be an obstacle. It's well worth discussing your hypnobirthing plan with caregivers around 34-36 weeks to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible on the day.
May I share the MP3s with others?
Sorry, no. I'm a small independent business in a niche, competitive market. I earn much less than you think and depend on my income to help support my family. If my fee is unaffordable for your friends or clients do request a discount.
Do I need any other books or resources?
No, this is a full hypnobirthing course so everything you need is provided for you. Whilst the various brands have more in common than differences, there's a risk of overload or confusion. For general birth books check out anything by Milli Hill, Rebecca Schiller, Ina May Gaskin, Janet Balaskas, Pam England and Michel Odent.