HypnoBirthing and Breech Babies

I had the best news today. I worked with a lovely couple before Christmas who were preparing for the birth of their February baby. It was their second baby and the first birth had not turned out as planned; it was supposed to be a home waterbirth but ended up being a hospital birth.

Last month the mum contacted me to say that the baby was in a breech position but she wasn’t overly worried because she knew that HypnoBirthing could help. I visited her at home a week later to use hypnosis to turn the baby. Less than a week later she was able to confirm that the baby had turned and a home waterbirth was still possible.

I have spent this week wondering when I would hear what happened – despite not being that old I do a great impression of an expectant grandmother! I was delighted today to hear that she did indeed have her home waterbirth and that HypnoBirthing had been a great support… and here is the little cutie himself:

When I say to parents that their course fee includes any support they need between the end of the course and the birth of their baby, I really do mean it. I want the parents I work with to have a great birth experience and I feel chuffed to bits to have been able to help in this small way.

One Born (Beautifully) Every Minute

One Born Every Minute showed a fabulously calm and happy birth last night. The couple, Heather and Danny, trusted that birth would happen easily and beautifully and that is exactly what happened.

Congratulations to Heather and Danny on the birth of Eivissa.

A quick clip from One Born Every Minute

One Born Every Minute

I often advise my HypnoBirthing parents to refrain from watching Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute until after their birth experience. HypnoBirthing helps parents to have easier, calmer births. I suspect viewing the types of birth that make great television drama may not help in building their confidence in the great birth they are going to experience.  However, I also suspect that quite a few of the mums ignore my advice and I watch it myself in case I need to address a point raised in a future class. Last night’s episode really struck me so I am going to raise my head above the parapet and comment on it. In doing so I also include a disclaimer here that of course the programme is heavily edited so assumptions made may be wholly inaccurate.

We saw 2 births. One was the birth of Baby Freya. Her parents, Donna and Shaun, were a supportive couple. Donna went into hospital with a relaxed frame of mind and Shaun was on hand to say and do the right thing. Added to this, their midwives were fantastic.  I’m afraid I cried like the proverbial baby when they showed her birth. I’ve included a clip here:

Donna, Shaun and Freya – Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute

The second birth really struck me though and has been a ‘popular’ discussion point on various forms of social media. Kurt (aged 20) and Beth (aged 18) had a baby boy. Their experience was less positive and made uncomfortable viewing. Beth was doing really well and Kurt was being reasonably supportive. The portrayal saw her reach full dilation fairly quickly and without too much discomfort but then it seemed that her body needed a rest. Instead it seemed that a lot of pushing took place that required a high level of coaching and breath-holding. Now I have to admit I was in the process of taking down my Christmas tree so I may have missed something but I didn’t understand why Beth couldn’t just take a rest and there didn’t seem to be enough explanation as to why forceps were required at that point. Most forceps delivery take place in theatre and it seemed that Beth could only take one person in to theatre; she chose her mum. At this point the story is shown from two perspectives:

Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute

Beth’s son was delivered, slightly blue and not breathing. The cord was immediately clamped, he was taken to the resuscitation table and it took 3 minutes for him to breath. Beth meanwhile did not see her son and didn’t seem to be kept informed. She was however told that her larger than average baby was ‘a monster’. I didn’t understand why the umbilical cord, that was providing the baby with oxygen, was so hastily clamped, neither did I understand why Beth and her now breathing baby, could not enjoy some skin-to-skin time before he was taken away for observation.

I felt most uncomfortable about the treatment and portrayal of Kurt. Only one additional person was allowed in theatre and Beth chose her mum. Kurt immediately indicated that he really didn’t mind but it was clear that he was upset. Bethany was wheeled out of the room, leaving Kurt frightened and excluded from the birth of his child. His initial external reaction was one of indifference which soon became anger and some aggression. He was portrayed as a bit of a meat head and that is why I found it such uncomfortable viewing. He wasn’t kept informed of what was happening, he had no idea his son had been born or that Beth and their child were not together. However it was a joy to see how calm and tender he was when he finally saw his baby; he really had just wanted to be a part of his son’s birth.

The portrayal of Kurt’s reaction to being excluded was unnecessarily sensationalist and voyeuristic for me.

I have been considering how this might come up in a future HypnoBirthing class. I will reassure the parents that the skills they learn are going to help them to manage their births better. The mums will know when they are ready for the baby to be born and when that time comes they will breathe their baby down, perhaps resting if necessary, rather than being coached when and how to push. More importantly, the dads are going to fully understand their role in the process. They will know how they can help their partner, how to ask questions so that they know what is going on, how to accept what is going on if events take an unexpected turn and how to be the man who ensures that all three of them enjoy beautiful bonding time.

Birth is an amazing experience. I know it would make poor television to show an easy calm birth but perhaps the television participants should be given a little more consideration too.

I’d really like to hear what you felt of the births shown. What thought did it raise for you?

Birthing in a Coma

I tell my HypnoBirthing parents that a woman’s body is designed to birth a baby without her making any conscious physical effort towards the birth herself. A woman’s body has a Natural Expulsion Reflex that causes the baby to be born. I emphasise this point in class by saying that even a paralysed woman or a woman in a coma can give birth.

On Radio 5 Live today there was a woman who had indeed given birth when paralysed and in a coma – she woke up 2 months after the baby was born! I’ve attached a short audio of the woman telling her amazing story. I shall be referring any doubters to this post in future!

Woman gives birth to baby boy while in a coma

Beautiful HypnoBirthing C-Sections

‘Beautiful HypnoBirthing C-Sections’ – An oxymoron surely?

Beautful HypnoBirthing Ceasarean

Well, no actually. HypnoBirthing is not prescriptive about how and where babies should be born. As a HypnoBirthing Practitioner I want the parents that I work with to be relaxed during their pregnancy, looking forward to the birth of their child. Most of the parents I work with want a wholly natural birth and most experience that but sometimes that can’t happen for a variety of reasons. What I’m most proud of is that all the parents that I have worked with have been happy with their birth experience, however it played out. That happiness derives from the techniques learned and confidence gained from HypnoBirthing.

So, take a look at the following article, by yours truly, on how HypnoBirthing techniques can be used through pregnancy and any type of birth.

Beautiful HypnoBirthing C-Sections

It would be great to have some comments on how HypnoBirthing has helped you with your birth, whatever the circumstances.

C-Sections and Soothing Crying Babies

My media appearances are a bit like buses with several in one day today. Check out the latest (July) copy of Practical Parenting Magazine to see my articles about C-Sections and Crying Babies.

HypnoBirthing can be adapted as childbirth progresses; it can even be used in an elective c-section. HypnoBirthing is not prescriptive about how/where your birth should be but it does give you the confidence to make the decisions that are right for you and your baby as your birth experience unfolds.

Meanwhile, massage can be used to soothe a crying baby. In Practical Parenting I detail what specific strokes could soothe your baby (and you).

What’s a HypnoBirth like for Dads?

HypnoBirthing® is very much for both parents rather than just the expectant mum. Fathers are a very important part of the HypnoBirthing process and dads often thank me for giving them a role during the pregnancy and the birth itself – no more standing in the corner of the delivery room wondering what to do with themselves! Anyway, as before, I think a HypnoBirthing® dad can explain this far better than me so I’m going to hand over to Nof, very proud father of Santino:

Gill and I are the proud parents of Santino.

Prior to the birth we were bombarded by our friends’ birth stories which included 36 hour labour, all manner of drugs and potions, and lots and  lots of pain and screaming!

Gill’s labour lasted for just seven hours. I’m in no doubt that this was due to the breathing exercises and visualisation learnt during Helen’s HypnoBirthing® classes.

As the Dad, it was amazing to feel part of the whole experience and to help keep Gill focused on her breathing. 

Santino was born alert and calm with no distress. It is absolutely true that a baby will pick up on their mother’s anxieties.

Incidentally, I use the techniques gained during our HypnoBirthing® sessions for everyday life

Helen was brilliant and I have no hesitation in recommending her for HypnoBirthing®.

What’s a HypnoBirth like?

I’m asked what HypnoBirths are like all the time so I thought I’d hand over to the lovely Gill and her baby boy for a first-hand description:

To my surprise, my waters broke 3 weeks before my estimated due date!  The classes that we had with Helen really helped to keep me calm because I knew what was happening so wasn’t afraid and the positive affirmations I had been listening to on the Rainbow CD came straight to mind.

I phoned the hospital and they said I should go in so the baby could be monitored.  The baby was fine and as my surges hadn’t properly started yet (they only felt like strong period pains) I was allowed to go home which I was really pleased with.  As it was the evening I thought I better try and get some sleep before things really got going!  I played the Rainbow CD and slept until 3am when I woke to much stronger surges.  I stayed in bed for about an hour practicing my slow breathing and then went down stairs to sit on my birth ball and continue with my breathing and my husband gave me the light touch massage which really helped.  I timed my surges and when they lasted over a minute and were 2 minutes apart I phoned the hospital.  I don’t think the midwife I spoke to believed that I was ready to come in, because I was so calm.  She tried to persuade me to stay at home longer but I knew that my labour was already quite advanced so we made our way to the hospital.

They examined me after about half an hour; they were amazed that I was fully dilated.  I truly believe that this was because I worked with my body every step of the way and helped the baby’s descent through effective breathing techniques and because I was calm, my body naturally did what it was supposed to do.  After another hour and a half and with the help of birth breathing and visualisation our beautiful baby boy had arrived!  He was alert and I felt totally exhilarated and empowered!  We had skin to skin contact and he latched on to breast feed very quickly. 

My husband and I really enjoyed our classes with Helen.  She helped us to feel totally relaxed and explained the concept of HypnoBirthing® perfectly.  We had fun with the classes and learnt an awful lot!  We knew how important it was to put into practice everything that Helen taught us, so we tried to practice as much as possible and listened to the Rainbow CD most nights.   The breathing techniques we learnt also helped us both in our day to day to lives and I can now see how effective positive affirmations and visualisation can be, it’s very powerful! 

I had such an amazing birthing experience.  We couldn’t have done it without the help of Helen and HypnoBirthing®.  I would highly recommend the course to anyone!