Here are just some of the questions that have cropped up regularly over the years.
Feel free to contact me with any others that I haven't got to (I love questions!)
Frequently asked questions
I already meditate and/or do yoga. Why should I do hypnobirthing?
Whilst meditation (and yoga) is a fantastic practice to have and will help keep you calm, it is just one small ingredient within the ‘recipe’ of hypnobirthing (a bit like getting married and having a stunning manicure but no venue booked!). So to heap up the metaphors here - just like being unexpectedly snowed in is less of a problem if your kitchen cupboard is fully stocked, you're going to be able to more easily negotiate any 'unknowns' in your birth if you've got a full range of strategies in place.
Why should I do hypnobirthing?
Because the majority of the information that is available to pregnant woman can be confusing or misleading - and even hugely damaging! Birth has become increasingly linked to drama and entertainment and adds to the fear-load for women and their partners. We take things back to basics in classes and look at all-things mind, body and birthing related from a common-sense perspective (including some beautifully boring births – aka fear-free women having drama-free birthing experiences!). Hypnobirthing teaches you the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ . . . real skills to use to keep your birth straightforward and undramatic.
Do I have to have a natural/home/unmedicated birth in order to do hypnobirthing?
Absolutely not. The NHS is very supportive of hypnobirthing due to the positive outcomes it demonstrates. However and wherever you choose to give birth what you learn with me will help make it the best possible experience. As the testimonials page demonstrates, I’ve helped women who are planning surgical births, as well as those who have had to change their plans to embrace medicalisation and surgery when it hadn’t been in their original plan.
What is hypnobirthing?
It can be surprisingly difficult to define exactly what hypnobirthing is. This is because, rather than it being one magical technique which unlocks the secret of simple, easy birth, it’s actually a collection of rather a lot of small things which, when put together and practiced, have an enormous effect on birth. A bit like an array of ingredients (i.e. the knowledge and the techniques) from which each mum / couple assembles the bits that work best for them to make their personal recipe for their unique birthing experience.
What is hypnosis?
It’s a completely normal, everyday brain state. Your mind is in and out of hypnotic states all the time . . . if you’ve ever felt worried, anxious or angry then you’ve experienced hypnosis. If you’ve ever driven somewhere with no conscious memory of changing gears or operating the pedals then you’ve experienced hypnosis. If you’ve ever had an all-encompassing daydream about being on a tropical beach or abseiling over the Himalayas or tap dancing with Fred Astaire (just me?) then you’ve experienced hypnosis. Hypnosis does very specific and very essential things in our brains which we’d be neither sane nor even alive without. In hypnobirthing we look at de-hypnotising in order to get rid of the effects of the inevitable negative self-hypnosis you’ve been doing and then how we can harness this natural brain state to improve our experiences in birthing (and in life). This is done mostly through encouraging the hypnotic state of relaxation.
What’s the difference between self hypnosis, hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
All hypnosis is self hypnosis. Hypnosis is used to refer to the brain state. Hypnotherapy is when this state is used for therapeutic purposes. All of these are relevant to hypnobirthing.
Will I be ‘out of it’ or controlled by anyone else?
Many people are scared or skeptical of the concept of hypnosis because they equate it with being controlled in some way. There are LOTS of myths about hypnosis and hypnotherapy and this is just one! In a nutshell: All hypnosis is self hypnosis; no-one can hypnotise anyone else without their consent; when you are using self hypnosis you are always in control; rather than being ‘out of it’; you are in a state of super-awareness. When you have practiced directing your focus in the lead up to your birth you can then block out unwanted distractions (and their potentially negative effects) and keep your mind and body working optimally.
Isn't it all just for hippies?
No (though hippies are very welcome!) It’s for anyone who is having a baby. Everything taught on a hypnobirthing course is rooted firmly in science. An important aspect of the course is about distinguishing protocols from evidence-based procedures.
When should I start?
It’s never too early . . . or too late. Most women start somewhere between 20 and 32 weeks. A large part of hypnobirthing preparation is practice to condition your mind and body so taking your own learning-style into account is helpful in deciding at what point in your pregnancy would be best for you to start.
How safe is hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is completely safe. It is aimed at ensuring that your body works as effectively as possible and when you engage with the process and practice the techniques it can only improve your pregnancy and birthing experience.
It needs to be noted though that the mp3s that accompany the course should never be listened to while driving or operating machinery or whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have epilepsy or have been receiving medication for psychiatric illness then please check with your doctor.
Can you guarantee me an easy/natural/pain-free birth!
Sadly no. The goal of my course is to ensure that you are feeling confident, calm and powerful throughout your pregnancy, birth and post-natal period. This ‘looks’ very different in each birth and, while it leads to high numbers of ‘natural’ births (and a fair few who insist that they experienced no pain), it’s by no means a foregone conclusion.
When you are fear-free and confident then your body can ramp up it’s endorphin production - which make your sensations far more manageable (remember: 'pain free' doesn’t mean 'sensation free').
Many things influence birth - both its processes and it’s outcomes - and my job is to make sure that the knowledge and skills you learn will stack the odds in your favour of an experience which you have total ownership of and that feels good to look back on. This might be a short, straightforward one with ‘interesting’ sensations or one that develops over a longer timeframe and requires decisions, changes of plans, possible interventions and feelings of pain. Have a read of others experiences as some examples of what I mean.
Do I need a birth partner?
First and foremost your baby is your birth partner. You will be practicing and birthing with him or her! Even so, having someone else who can be a practical and emotional support is definitely a bonus. Whether this is your baby’s other parent or a friend, grandparent or doula, someone to practice with, plan with and commit to supporting you can be enormously helpful both in the lead up to and during birth. They also benefit because most of the techniques taught are relevant life skills.
How useful is this course for birth partners?
If you are the queen bee in the birthing room your partner is your security officer and comfort blanket rolled into one. He/she will be in charge of logistics, will know your birth plan intimately, will advocate for you if necessary, be in tune with what you need, will keep the space around you calm, will have hypnotherapy skills to keep you in the zone, will know when to lead and when to hold back and merge into the background.
By the end of the course they well have a solid understanding of HOW to do all these things in order to do them confidently.
What is included in the cost of the course?
A textbook and/or workbook
How can hypnobirthing make my birth easier?
To give birth easily we need to have very specific hormones in abundant quantities.These allow the muscles to work optimally which allows birth to flow smoothly. The hormones that allow this to happen are only released by the brain when a woman is feeling calm and safe. If she is scared or anxious then a whole set of different hormones will be released instead and these will ensure that her body is primed to be alert to danger and will mean that birth will inevitably be slower and more stressful. Everything you learn in hypnobirthing is aimed at releasing the hormones that will enable your body to work and inhibiting the ones that will stop it from doing so.
Where are courses held?
I teach group courses from 2 locations in Brighton - Portslade (BN41) or Stanmer (BN1). Individual courses I can do from either of these or can come to you. Skype and Zoom options are doable too.
How much do courses or sessions cost?
Group Courses are £250 per couple. A course is usually 4 sessions of approximately 3.5 hours each. A £50 booking fee will secure your booking.
Private Courses are £400 per couple. The content and the amount of time remains the same though I can, if necessary, individualise content to your specific needs. The timing of the sessions is arranged for mutual convenience. I can also travel to you if you'd prefer.
Bespoke Courses. Please contact me for pricing. Once I know your needs I'll know how much time we'll need. Bespoke covers the following options:
- Refreshers for those who have done the course previously (£75 for a 3 hour session or £95 for 2 x 2 hour sessions).
- An 'express' course for those who are very limited time-wise (contact me for pricing and details)
- Individual sessions for those who are following their own birth preparation and want some specific support (contact me for pricing and details)
- Mentoring for other Hypnobirthing Practitioners (contact me for pricing and details)
I totally understand that birth can be a very expensive business and I'm happy to spread payments should this be helpful (I'd also like to offer the view that a hypnobirthing course is a LOT less than many individual 'essential' items of a baby's nursery and is usually a far more useful and long-lasting investment!)