Fear Free Birth is a new session being introduced by our hypnotherapist, Rachel Bray. After working with antenatal and postnatal women for the last few years she discovered that feeling apprehensive or fearful of giving birth is all too common.
People are more mobile than ever before, and many of us no longer grow up in extended families or strong local communities surrounded by our mothers, grandmothers, cousins and sisters - and their knowledge and experiences of normal and natural birth. Today, most of our ideas and beliefs about childbirth come from film and television, which often portrays it as a dramatic and frightening event. With media and medicine playing important roles in our lives today, it seems that many women do not realise what a natural and joyful event birth can be.
As well as being a hypnotherapist Rachel is a doula (birth partner) and breastfeeding counsellor. She has seen that, with the right kind of birth preparation, we can build up the knowledge and confidence to trust our body and our instincts, and this can make a huge difference to the experience we have when having our babies. As we start to feel sure of our bodies and believe in what they can do, we can allow the birth process to happen with an inner calm and confidence. Think of the athlete training for a race, she believes she is powerful and strong, that she can be successful, and that belief helps her body do what she wants it to. It works the same with birth. If we believe we can do it, we are far more likely to.
Relaxing and remianing at ease allows our powerful birthing hormones to do their job, to work with our bodies and enable us to give birth feeling safe and in control. When you are relaxed your body releases endorphins (literally meaning morphine from within) which are nature's own painkillers. Being relaxed in your mind means you are relaxed in your body, often resulting in a faster labour. Babies who are born with relaxed mothers are usually more laid back, cry less and feed more easily. Research studies from around the world have shown that the use of hypnosis and relaxation techniques in childbirth often means shorter labours, reduced use of pain medication, higher Agpar scores (measurement of baby's wellbeing at birth), and reduced surgical interventions (caesarean and forceps). All these things also mean you will have a quicker recovery after the birth of your baby and are less likely to suffer from postnatal depression or anxiety.
New research published in July 2012 confirmed that women who are scared or fearful of birth have longer labours than those who aren't afraid of giving birth.
With Fear Free Birth sessions you can learn how to enable your body to do what you want it to do, to use the amazing power of your own mind and body to have a positive and beneficial birth experience, giving ourselves and our babies a great start to life. All this enlightening new knowledge can be used not just during your labour and birth, but as your baby grows too. Being able to relax when you feel stressed or overwhelmed is a great life skill to have, and can be used in situations all through your life.
The Fear Free Birth Session uses active birth ideas, deep relaxation and hypnotherapy combined to help you prepare for your birth. It allows you to identify your fears before the birthday of your baby, and then learn and apply skills to help you overcome your fears. Each session lasts an hour and includes techniques to stay calm, and ways to use self-hypnosis to allow you to have a more relaxed, positive and empowered birth experience.
The session costs £45 or £160 for four sessions, including support with your birth plan.