Maternity & Midwifery Forum
Midwifery Sector News

The Hypnobirthing Revolution

Why has KGHypnobirthing spread throughout the country? Because it works.

Time and time again a midwife who attends her first hypnobirthing course exclaims; ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’ And yet many people seem to think we simply offer a few techniques to use in labour.

KGHypnobirthing is far more profound and far more extensive than that.

Breathing, visualisations and relaxation have been around for years, and they are good, but if they were that good hypnobirthing would never have evolved because it wouldn’t have been needed. So what is different?

First we do work to release fear. An analogy is the story of the Princess and the Pea. The princess couldn’t sleep because there was a tiny pea under her mattress that irritated her and kept her awake.

So they added more mattresses, but the irritation was still there, and she still couldn’t sleep. Only when they removed the pea, the irritation, could she sleep. For a woman giving birth, fear is the pea.

Even if she is looking forward to having her baby, and hopefully most women are, at some time she will probably have seen a movie or something on TV depicting a birthing woman screaming and writhing around in agony, and as soon as her bump begins to show she will be the object of horror stories about birth.

Once the fear is released, which is extremely important, the breathing, visualisations and relaxation can work in the way they are designed to do.

Very importantly, we also educate couples on the role of a midwife and the pressures she faces so they are better able to work with their midwife as a team.

You as a midwife will understand only too well the pressures, politics, bureaucracy, and fear of litigation that you face on a daily basis. If parents understand the system they are going into, it will make life easier for their midwife and they are more likely to get the birth they want.

One doctor said to a woman: “If you have any questions, please ask. If you don’t you will be on the standard conveyor belt of treatment.” Every midwife goes into the profession in order to do her best for women and babies, and we want to create a system to facilitate that.

Many midwives who complete our training say that it renewed the vision that brought them into midwifery in the first place. You can read about some fascinating midwives stories that led them to hypnobirthing here.

So, what else? I said that hypnobirthing is not a few techniques to use in labour, which is true, although of course we provide extremely effective deep relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques. But the main work is not done on the course, or at the birth.

The important part of hypnobirthing is the practice that couples do together at home between the course and the birth. It’s exactly the same with every other activity in life. If you are going to be an athlete, you train for years in order to run 100m in less than 10secs.

The work is done in the training, and the 10 secs on the track is the cherry on the cake. All the wonderful birth reports I receive from women who maybe give birth to their first baby in three hours with no drugs, no pain, and no tearing also say: “And I practised lots!” This practice is supremely important.

And fathers. What about the father? The majority of fathers come to the KGH course with their partners sceptical and unwilling. They leave enthusiastic and our staunchest advocates. The reason is that we do our very best to make sure that everything we say is evidence based on the latest research.

The course is very logical and stands up to rational scrutiny. We welcome scepticism. It is an approach to be commended because it means that people are asking questions and making sure they get the outcome they want. Everything in their antenatal and perinatal care should stand up to this scrutiny.

Also, when couple practise together, it produces oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone and it brings them closer together as a couple. A father who knows he played an important part in how his child entered the world also develops a deep bond with the baby. Father’s birth stories can be some of the most profound, we have many you can read here.

There is a misapprehension in some quarters that hypnobirthing is anti-midwife and anti the medical profession. This is absolutely and categorically untrue as far as KGHypnobirthing is concerned.

With hypnobirthing women are more likely to achieve a natural and more comfortable birth, but the training is at least as important and possibly more important for women who may need extra medical help giving birth.

We train couples to value their medical caregivers and work with them. After all, it is because we have a strong autonomous midwifery profession in this country that we are in the forefront of natural birth.

We still have a long way to go, but the more women who give birth gently and naturally, the more the medical facilities will be available for those who need them, and the more babies will enter the world without trauma.

People often remark that a hypnobirthing baby is calm and serene, Birth must be the most formative experience of our lives, so how a baby enters the world is of supreme importance.

You can find out more about KGHypnobirthing and the training that we offer on our website or please give our office a call on 01264 535 002.

By Katharine Graves, founder of KGHypnobirthing and the Hypnobirthing Association; Author of The Hypnobirthing Book

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