Katharine was recently asked to join the expert panel for Mother and Baby to answer a question often posed to her:
What is hypnobirthing and how can it help me during labour?
Breathing exercises, visualisations and relaxations have been around for years, and they are helpful. But what sets hypnobirthing apart and makes it so much more effective?
The most important thing is the way it works on fear. Remember the story of The Princess and the Pea? The princess couldn’t sleep because the pea under her mattress irritated her constantly. Even when the servants added more mattresses, she couldn’t sleep because the pea still irritated her. The pea is like fear. Every woman, however much she is looking forward to giving birth, will have seen a TV programme or film which showed a less than positive birth experience. This may be buried deep in her subconscious, but it is there.
The work we do in hypnobirthing releases this fear. Our techniques help you feel calm instead of frightened about labour. When you feel calm, your body produces the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterine muscles work more effectively and efficiently. Oxytocin triggers the production of endorphins, which are often referred to as nature’s pain relief, so your body is perfectly designed to give birth efficiently and comfortably. The perfect system is already in place.
All you have to do is get your fear and anxiety out of the way and let this natural system work in the way it was created to. Giving birth can be the most wonderful and empowering experience of your life.
There are many different hypnobirthing courses of very different lengths and depth of content available, so make sure you check out the course you are planning to do and what it covers before you book it. And remember, you learn the techniques in your hypnobirthing class, but the real work is done in the practice you do at home after the class and before the birth. When a musician performs on stage, is that when she does the work or was the work done in the hours of practice she did in the days, weeks, months and years before the concert? Good luck! Katharine Graves.
Thanks to Jodie Storey and the Mother & Baby Magazine