A great addition to my toolkit for teaching breastfeeding to expectant parents in Cornwall
I met Rae (and her beautiful cats) when she was an excited first-time mother in 2014; providing her with birth doula and hypnobirthing support...
"I have practised Alice's hypnobirthing techniques in every pregnancy and birth and I really cannot imagine labouring without them. I am so grateful that her knowledge and skill has helped me have joyous, wonderful births. I feel almost evangelical about spreading the word of hypnobirthing - it gives women back such a mind blowing power and trust in our bodies.
When I was unexpectedly induced because of pre-eclampsia with our first son, the affirmations helped me to stay grounded, happy and focused despite everything going on around me.
I thought my second birth was pretty amazing but when our beautiful third child, our second daughter, arrived everything was even more instinctive and relaxed.
Early and then active labour was at home in our bedroom... chatting as our 3 year old watched Thomas the Tank Engine and our shoe-obsessed 1 year old bossed me around trying to get me to put on leopard print wedges (!), while the cat got into the wardrobe and noisily insisted that I joined her and made a nest to deliver my kittens (!!) I smile so much when I think of it and I was also smiling lots at the time.
As my contractions intensified I used Alice's breathing techniques and continued to listen to the affirmation tracks downloaded to my phone. I felt calm and in control throughout and in a very short space of time (my labour was 4 hours from the first contraction to holding our daughter, something I attribute to hypnobirthing and letting my body take over completely), I was standing and breathing my daughter out... Something I had heard of but not experienced before in my other two births.
It's hard to put the memory I have of it into words, but my body knew exactly what to do and the hypnobirthing helped me be in the perfect mind space to let it. It was incredibly intense, with every inch of my body involved, but not in any way frightening, painful or even an effort really.
I felt the strongest I have ever felt in my life and very in-tune with my daughter too. We were working together for her to be born in the most beautiful way.
Lots of people also commented on how content my little ones seemed in their first few weeks and I'm sure that's down to the peacefulness that hypnobirthing gave me and them through labour.
Thank you Alice. A hundred times over. I am so, so grateful to have first met you and been able to use hynobirthing to bring my three babies into the world xx"
I'm loving all of my postnatal survey feedback! Here's Charlotte in France giving us her recent experience giving birth to her baby girl Alba...
"After being told it wasn't medically advised to have an epidural I started looking for natural ways to cope with the labour.
I felt the course helped me focus my mind and be calm throughout, thereby making labour more effective.
I only started the course 3 weeks prior but the midwife commented it was the most 'zen' labour she had ever been at... she said she would never forget it- so something must have worked!"
Lauren in Illinois tells us about her hypnobirthing experience:
"My first two children were both induced a week late, and with the second one, it was an intense and painful experience. I was really wanting to avoid that again.
My third birth experience using hypno-birthing was pleasant and satisfying. Hypno-birthing really helped me remain calm, relaxed, and positive. I listened to your mp3s and the calming background music throughout the entire experience. When my labor kept stopping and going, it was frustrating, but I just listened to and repeated the affirmations that I had been practicing and it made me feel calm and empowered.
I did end up having pitocin and eventually an epidural, but the mp3s really helped me remain positive.
Thank you for helping me have this wonderful experience! This program is also perfect for parents that already have children. All the classes I found in my area were not only very expensive but were not conducive to parents that would have to find childcare one night a week for multiple months.
This program is affordable and nice because you can go through it at your own pace.
I made a collage of all the affirmations and put it on my wall where I saw it every morning when I woke up.
The only problem I had was staying awake through the hypno-birthing tracks. I tried it at different times of the day and in different places, it didn't matter, I woke up about 20 minutes after the track ended almost every time. I think it is because being pregnant with two kids is exhausting
It also takes up a lot of your spare time, however I feel it was totally worth it. I only started this in my third trimester, I may have gone even further without an epidural if I had started this at the beginning of my pregnancy.
It helped me keep a positive outlook during my pregnancy and during labor, I would recommend hypno-birthing to any new mom-to-be!"
"Our very heartfelt thanks to you for an excellent course. We really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. We feel closer on our journey to having our baby. We felt that your delivery was professional, yet personal and from the heart" Katy Bryce & Adam Weismann, Manaccan
Due to popular demand, I'm excited to announce my new hypnobirthing classes in Norwich and Norfolk!
Private home hypnobirthing workshops enable you and your birth partner(s) to explore hypnobirthing together in the comfort and convenience of your home, in an in-depth personalised way. Face-to-face sessions may also increase motivation and actively engage birth partners.
My hypnobirthing classes in Norfolk may be taken over one 4hr intensive or two separate 2+hr sessions. As it's a private class the content is straight to the point ~ we skip the fluff involved in group classes.
Everything you need is provided, including your full program of hypnobirthing MP3s, ongoing birth consultation, support and my online hypnobirthing guide.
The cost of hypnobirthing in Norwich or Norfolk is £275 including expenses. All areas are covered from Thetford to Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth.
To find out more and send your booking enquiry, jump to: hypnobirthing classes
Isn't it cool what our eggs turn into!
Image credit Second Street Photography, North Carolina
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) and you can be relaxed without being in hypnosis.
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.
(Our cat Chica, relaxing in the sun!)
See you there!
You're doing great Happy Mother's Day x
Congratulations to Alexandra in Jersey...
"I ended up having an unplanned home birth after being sent away from the hospital. The midwife on duty said I was too relaxed to be in labour.
I gave birth within 3 hours of leaving the hospital and think the hypnobirthing training got me through labour safely.
Since then, I have had an apology from the maternity ward who are going to review their processes for hypnobirthing patients."
[Note - print off your treatment notification to warn care providers of this!]
Congratulations Catie and Richard! Love your affirmation...
"I didn't do the course completely properly but I took on board the positivity and the science behind relaxing, which I had failed to fully absorb from doing NCT with my first baby.
I did go into labour with a completely different attitude to last time (when I was just terrified). I tried to do my own version of positive thinking and mentally telling my uterus it was doing a ‘good job’ on each contraction. This time was less painful and much faster. I felt much more connected to my body this time, like we were on the same team.
It was much less painful overall and I didn't have an epidural (but that is partly because it was crazy fast and the hospital was understaffed). I definitely think hypnobirthing made a huge difference to my birth experience and really helped me.
Seasons greetings and best wishes to you all! We've kicked off the festive season by getting married, as you do!
I'm available for hypnobirthing support and bookings throughout Christmas, but wish everyone a happy holidays and wonderful new year...
Well done Rose!
"Thanks so much for your great resources, my birth went as well as I could have hoped, and really was an amazing experience: a six hour, calm home birth
I had lots going on during my pregnancy including the serious illness of a family member, and had been worried that I hadn't been able to focus enough on my birth preparation for it to make a difference, but I'm convinced that the amount that I did manage practice really helped.
I had your birth affirmations playing throughout my labour, and found it invaluable in keeping me focused and relaxed ('accepting the sensations', 'handing control over to my body', keeping my body as 'floppy as a ragdoll'!) The midwives even commented on how relaxed I had been: they didn't examine me until I was already 10cms dilated, and the baby arrived about 20 minutes later - I gave one push and then just kept breathing and out he came in a few minutes!
I feel completely empowered by the whole experience, and I think about it often in my day to day life with a smile. I really think I will draw on the mental and physical resources I now know I have to get me through other challenges in my life in the future. My little boy, Rio, is also a very tranquil little soul and he's already sleeping through the night (at 11 weeks!) which might have something to do with his gentle arrival, who knows?!"
Just in, from Caroline in Massachusetts
"For my first baby, I wanted a drug-free birth and was able to have one thanks to the techniques I learned and practiced in this hypnobirthing course, as well as having a doula.
I felt that my birth moved fairly quickly because I was able to just be in the moment and not feel stressed or anxious. I usually have a lot of anxiety and without hypnobirthing and a doula to help me remember the relaxation and breathing techniques, I think the birth would’ve been much longer and harder...however, I was able to deliver my big baby girl, Claire Valerie (9lbs!) in just a few hours with no complications or interventions.
I would definitely recommend hypnobirthing to anyone hoping to have a natural and more relaxed birth!"
Claire in Italy has a tattoo on her back where an epidural would be sited...
"After meeting with an anaesthesiologist at 30 weeks pregnant and discovering that I was ineligible for an epidural, I actively searched for a program to help me navigate the birthing process, and was SO HAPPY to have discovered hypnobirthing and especially this program!
I meditated once or twice a day and rehearsed positions with my birth partner, which proved critical to getting through 18 hours of medically induced labor.
I'm not a super proactive person, but I found these lessons extremely manageable to complete as they were not too long, plus they kept me 100% calm and in control as my due date approached.
Having listened to the recordings together, my husband coached me through the breathing techniques to cope with the waves, and I was able to rest fully and completely during the 2 minute pauses between waves, which was key to avoiding a cesarean.
At the end, using the pushing breathing techniques, I pushed out my "little" baby boy (9lbs / 4.1kg, 52cm) in 3 contractions and felt like a superhero through the whole process!"
"Hi Alice, I am happy to report I had a fantastic labour. It progressed quickly - in the car I was in active labour - thankfully I learned your visualisation techniques and other coping mechanisms so I put these into place. Had I not done this I don’t think I would have coped as well and labour would not have been as smooth/quick.
I was able to manage the contractions with ease. I arrived at the hospital and gave birth 15 minutes later with a few pushes and a little gas and air.
I have recommended your hypnobirthing to others and am very grateful for the practice, it was money well spent. This was my second birth, the first one was very long and painful, resulting in a forceps delivery so I was so glad this one went as well as it did. Thank you!"
Recent feedback reveals that parents want to know more about induction - the benefits, risks and alternatives, what it involves and how it can cause different, very painful sensations compared to spontaneous birth.
The first hypnobirthing training course I attended in 2006 contained a meme which said: "induction is the quickest way to have a painful, complicated birth." I thought this was a little defeatist! Not all induced mothers have a horrible time, but it's true that induction is more likely to lead to birth plans being thrown out of the window...
- The choice is yours - you may accept or decline induction
- Relax. Birth won't begin or progress well if mums are stressed or anxious
- If mums choose an epidural they haven't 'failed'. Induction is a medical intervention that frequently requires medical pain relief (even if you're the best hypnobirther in the world!) 80% of my induced hypnobirthing mums choose an epidural (vs 10% of my non-induced moms)
- Hypnobirthing helps you stay calm and focused, no matter what!
"Epidural was not where I saw myself going but I was exhausted having had no sleep for days, and it gave me the rest I needed"
20% of births are induced in the UK, why?
Induction is offered if there's any chance that it might be safer for the baby to be born. Reasons can include a poorly mum or baby, but the most common reasons are pregnancy beyond 41+ weeks, or her waters have broken for a while without contractions starting yet.
I'm healthy, low-risk and 41+ weeks - should I accept induction?
It's up to you. If mothers await spontaneous birth after 41+ weeks the risk of a baby dying during pregnancy, birth or shortly afterwards is thought to be around 0.16% (between 1-2 in 1000). With inducing birth at 41+ weeks the risk may be reduced to 0.07% (around 1 in 1000) (if you are over 40 years of age the risks may be at a similar level after 40+ weeks). This NHS leaflet is excellent at explaining the research and options.
What about the waters breaking at full term?
For nearly 1 in 10 women, waters break before their contractions start. They usually commence naturally within a day or two and unless there are any further concerns, the offer of induction should be delayed for up to 24 hours. Induction is offered because the risk of a baby being born with a serious infection might be increased to appox 1% (from a background figure of 0.5%)
What if I decline induction?
The UK national clinical guidelines state:
"If a woman chooses not to have induction of labour, her decision should be respected. Healthcare professionals should discuss the woman's care with her from then on."
'Expectant management' means awaiting spontaneous birth. Increased monitoring is offered including ultrasound scans and CTG monitoring a few times a week.
What does induction involve?
The aim is to encourage the natural physiological birth process as much as possible...
1. Pre-induction: a cervical sweep is typically offered at a mum's routine 41 week appointment. If the cervix has shortened and is stretchy enough, the careprovider can insert two gloved fingers into the vagina, up through the opening of the cervix and sweep their fingers around in a circular motion, to separate the bag of waters from the neck of the womb.
Benefits = for 1 in 8 women it might reduce the chance of further induction methods
Risks = invasive, discomfort, bleeding, irregular contractions, disappointment
Alternatives = awaiting spontaneous birth
2. Prostaglandin drug: a mother is admitted to the antenatal ward at hospital. If her cervix is closed and hasn't thinned much, a dose of artificial prostaglandin (a tablet, gel or plastic tampon) will be inserted high up in the vagina. The aim is to 'ripen' the cervix to trigger natural contractions to start, or at least enough so that the bag of waters can be broken the following day (amniotomy). Women are encouraged to leave the ward and go for a walk, or in some areas may be able to go home and return later. Prostaglandin treatment can take up to a couple of days.
Benefits = around 30% of women give birth naturally without further intervention
Risks = vaginal / cervical soreness, hypertonic uterus, fetal distress syndrome, abnormal labour affecting the baby (between 1:10 - 1:100), nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea (between 1:100 - 1:1000), disappointment, boredom, lack of sleep, birth partner sent home at night
Alternatives = await spontaneous birth, ask about balloon catheter dilation or caesarean
3. Amniotomy / breaking the waters: On delivery ward, if the cervix has thinned and opened enough, a long crochet hook-like device is passed through the vagina and cervix to rupture the amniotic sac. This is done to encourage prostaglandin release / physiological birth to begin, or before the commencement of artificial oxytocin infusion to trigger contractions.
Benefits = Some research suggests quicker progress with less intervention following amniotomy
Risks = scratching the baby, maternal discomfort, introducing infection, small risk of cord prolapse or accidentally puncturing a major blood vessel
Alternatives = await spontaneous birth, ask about more prostaglandin ripening / balloon catheter dilation or caesarean
"Although nothing seemed to have gone to plan I remained very calm throughout the whole experience and what was 3 days seemed like 1 with the most important thing in the end a healthy & happy baby!"
4. Intravenous artificial oxytocin drip: On delivery ward, a synthetic hormone (Pitocin / Syntocinon) is infused to initiate and strengthen contractions to dilate the cervix and aid the baby's passage through the pelvis. Continuous monitoring is required to observe the rate of contractions and the baby's heartrate.
Benefits = can dilate the cervix and birth the baby without the need for caesarean
Risks = Common: abnormal pain requiring epidural, uterine hyperstimulation with fetal distress, headache, nausea, vomiting, slow, fast or irregular heartbeat (mum), failed induction leading to caesarean
Other potential things to note include reduced mobility, and CTG may also increase the risk of caesarean. Epidural also increases the chance of having an assisted delivery (forceps / ventouse)
Alternatives = await spontaneous birth, or ask for a caesarean
"My contractions escalated extremely fast and I only managed to use breathing techniques for about one hour till the pain got unbearable and I asked for an epidural at 5 cm dilated. The relief was instant!"
... Induction is what it is really! With effective preparation and pain relief (be that hypnobirthing or epidural) parents can have a wonderful birth... Read a collection of hypnobirthing induction stories to see how we got on!
(This guide is provided for information only, it is not medical advice. Parents should do their own research and consult with their local care providers)
- The choice is yours - you may accept or decline induction
Well done Harriet and welcome baby Emily!
"Hi Alice :)
Just wanted to email and let you know that yesterday (30:11:2016) I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, baby girl at Helston Birth Unit; I was lucky enough to deliver in the pool as planned.
It was the most incredible experience of my life and this is mainly due to the Hypnobirthing course I did with you. I cannot recommend you and your work enough!
Labour was 12 hours from my waters breaking naturally, to baby being born and I did it all with absolutely no pain relief! I am beyond proud of what we achieved! And I can safely say before meeting you it's something I never thought possible.
Baby and I are both doing so well.
Thanks again Alice. I couldn't have done it without you!"