Want to feel calm and confident about your baby's birth?
Hypnobirthing is a method of birth preparation which is overflowing with common sense. It has become massively popular over it's 30 year history simply because it works. However it a also seems to put a lot of people off because they hear the 'hypno' bit and think "uh uh, hippy alert", so let's just talk about this for a moment . . .
Hypnobirthing for much more than birth . . .
At its most basic Hypnobirthing is like a birthing bootcamp for the mind. It's a systematic and logical approach to preparing head, heart and body for one of the most seismic events in life - becoming a parent. Much of the 'mind-preparation' component of the course is akin to the psychology training any top athlete (and many other performers and high achievers) undertake and it's effects are felt way beyond birth.
And did I mention that it works? Of the hundreds of mums and couples who have attended my courses over the years the majority have really positive birth experiences. There is no 'best' model of birth, and their births have taken many different forms; natural and straightforward, natural with interventions, or surgical - either following labour or by choice. One thing which is consistent however, is that when the principles and techniques taught on the Hypnobirthing course are practiced in the lead up to birth and then followed during labour the birthing experience and outcomes can only be improved.
Karen teaches Hypnobirthing in such a kind and amazing way, Her course turned my Fear-Tension-Pain thinking into a positive affirmation of confidence over my body. I felt prepared whatever the outcome.
Without hypnobirthing techniques, there is no way I could have done it. It gave me tools to draw on, confidence to decline interventions when we felt that was appropriate, an incredibly involved birth partner and, most importantly, the capacity to enter a zone that I didn’t really know existed in me. I am extremely thankful for this."
The recipe for a fear-free birth
How many times have you come across stories about the pain and suffering of labour? And how does this make you feel right now? Pretty scared I suspect - and this is exactly what you need hypnobirthing for! Everything you will learn on my hypnobirthing course will help make your birth easier and more comfortable. I'm NOT saying you won't feel it, I'm just super confident that the techniques you will learn will help the sensations of your birth be far more manageable. Indeed, it's not rare for mums to call them 'pain-free' (as you'll read about in birth stories - mine included. Something I would have scoffed at as a possiblity following my first, non-hypnobirthing birth experience!).
This is because of one simple fact - when you tense up, your muscles struggle to work effectively so all the interacting birthing processes becoming much harder and therefore you feel more pain.
Put even more simply: Fear increases tension; tension increases pain.
Therefore . . .
NO FEAR = NO TENSION
NO TENSION = LESS PAIN
So, when you are calm then you are more relaxed so your body can work optimally and the sensations you will feel will be more manageable.
Logical? Absolutely! Achievable? Definitely!
"But how do I become more relaxed Karen, How? HOW? My head feels like it's one big vortex of anxiety. It seems like all my friends and family (and everyone on 'One Born Every Minute') have had a dreadful time and narrate their stories like soldiers returning from a war zone. Relax??? You're kidding . . . . I just want to go arrrrrggggghhhhh all the time. Or eat ice cream. Or be sick. Or cry. Or put my fingers in my ears and go, "la la la". And I'm not even allowed a glass of wine. So HOW am I expected to get calm????"
THIS is the unique genius of Hypnobirthing - a selection of 'ingredients', mixing lots of logical information with evidence-based knowledge, practical strategies and mind (re)conditioning techniques - all of which are aimed at KEEPING YOUR MIND CALM AND YOUR MUSCLES RELAXED. From these ingredients you then select the bits that best work for you and these become the unique 'recipe' for your ideal birth experience. Part of your preparation in the lead up to your birth will be perfecting your recipe by regular practice - by yourself and with your birth partner (and baby!).
My hypnobirthing course is a complete and satisfying ante-natal education. Throughout the course and beyond you'll be encouraged to think deeply, become informed about your choices and to take responsibility for your birth - including emotional and practical prepartion with your birth partner (so they can advocate for you) and engagement with your caregivers (so they can support you).
The strategies you'll learn will work for wherever and however you choose to give birth. If your birth plans need to change at any point you'll be equipped to remain calm, confident and informed so that you make decisions which are right for your specific set of circumstances. This can be the difference between an experience which you love to remember rather than one you'll wish you could forget (as I know through the women that I've taught AND by my own personal experience)
And we haven't even got to the 'hypno' bit yet . . .
"It was a privilege to take your amazing hypnobirthing course. Those Friday mornings were an education in so many things: Thank you Karen. For what we learned from you, not just about birth but about ourselves. You show a different way and I wish every woman on earth could Hypnobirthing with you."
"I can’t thank you enough for giving me the foundations of hypno birthing. I loved coming to class but actually putting it all into action during birth was epic. I didn’t just give birth I hypno-birthed. My birth was all of the things I could have imagined and more - it was raw, messy, long, exhilarating, empowering and so much more! ….
I had the most wonderful time in labour. I’m not saying it was easy but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I tell everyone about hypnobirthing and how amazing it is. I can’t wait to have my third child so that I get to do it all over again.
we went into the operating theatre with an air of excitement, not fear. We strongly believe hypnobirthing helped us engage in this ready-for-anything attitude - hypnobirthing techniques kept us focused and strong, and as a result the moment we saw our son we were overcome with bewildered happiness and love - it's a special moment Sam and I shall never forget and had we been panicking and scared, we might not have been given that wonderful memory . . . Sam is so immensely proud of me and talks to everyone about what a wonderful, unforgettable experience we had thanks to hypnobirthing …
The 'hypno' bit . . .
No, there won't be any swinging watches and you won't have to quack like a duck.
Neither is it, "3, 2, 1 . . . into a trance and here's your baby!".
My hypnobirthing course has far more in common with sports or performance psychology than with stage hypnosis. If you replace 'hypno' with 'neuroscience' then you'll have a more accurate picture of what this part of the course involves.
It's all completely normal!
Hypnosis is something that we all do, many times a day - because a hypnotic state is a normal brain state. Common positive examples include driving a car, being absorbed in a film or book, playing a sport or doing a hobby you love. Pretty much any activity which involves the mind becoming focused, 'busyness' fading away and an altered perception of time can be classed as 'hypnotic'. This is by no means always positive though - 'negative trance states' are also very common day-to-day experiences. These include strong emotions such as fear, dread and worry, which don't tend to serve us well and can often be driving forces behind problems we experience (because the brain, during this state, is highly suggestible).
• regular relaxation helps retrain your nervous system. Which means you can be calmer in your day to day life, which will have very real effects on the choices you make and the actions you take (there is a HUGE difference in a decision made because it is something you want as opposed to something you want to avoid).
• you will change the way you think about your upcoming birth. The very specific hypnotherapy exercises we'll do in class sessions work at shifting deeply held beliefs and fears which are not serving you and replacing them with confidence and positivity (you'll actually actually be looking forward to your birth!)
• the between-sessions practice you'll be doing mean you'll be training yourself to become deeply relaxed at will. During labour and birth this means that your body can soften and relax rather than tighten and tense, which is the usual response when fearful. If you watch One Born Every Minute or similar programmes you'll see exactly what I mean . . . (actually please DON'T do this because it's NOT the type of visual imagery to help you have a confident and relaxed birth experience. Let this be your first instruction from me on your preparation for a calm birth!)
Your partner receives all these benefits too PLUS training in hypnotherapy skills so they can help you deepen your state of relaxation and a grounding in practical and communication skills so they can be your rock and your protector.
The sort of hypnotic state you'll be practicing in hypnobirthing is very relaxed. You'll be learning to access a calm and highly focused state of mind, a mental state where the brain is open to absorbing new ways of thinking and learning new skills. Here are just a few of the many ways this will help you during your pregnancy, labour, birth and parenting:
Hypnobirthing helps prepare you for birth, it also makes you better at life . . .
What will you learn from the hypnobirthing course?
The contents of this course are not just for labour. They start positively impacting during pregnancy and are of use way beyond birth. Each session will contain practical advice and demonstrations on how to build your confidence and remain calm and in contol. These skills are fully transferable to other areas of your life (including parenting!)
Some of the BENEFITS include:
• Acquiring one of the most useful life skills ever - how to relax deeply and block out the stresses of the external world quickly and at will.
• Learning exercises and techniques to banish fear and replace with confidence.
• You'll have a baby who is infused with endorphins from all the practice you've done and whose parents have worked to ensure he/she have had the best possible experience too. The effects of this are profoundly positive and long reaching.
• You will minimize the chances of drugs and/or medical intervention, but also learn how to get the most out of them if you need or want them.
• A calm, un-stressed pregnancy and birth will keep your baby similarly soothed, and post-birth many mums tell me they have calmer, more content "hypnobabies'.
• Hypnobirthing is amazing for partners as they have an active role throught the pregnancy, labour and beyond. If you are a birth companion reading this - you will learn how invaluable your role is in helping achieve a birth that empowers you ALL.
• Quicker recovery for mums; meaning you're emotionally more positive, mentally more robust, physically stronger.
For me it was all about understanding the unknown and feeling in control. The relaxation techniques enabled me to really enjoy my pregnancy and create a bond with our unborn child. The hypnobirthing sessions we attended helped me with much more than I could have imagined when we first started. My outlook has changed and by giving myself a little bit of time and space to think, I no longer internalise my fears and anxieties, it’s helped me trust in myself and listen to my mind and body, something I will continue to do. Thank you Karen
A very HUGE THANK YOU for all the inspiring teaching, support and laughs during our course with you! It was utterly priceless.
I went in and out of early labour for a few days and used the techniques and visualistion lots. I ended up needing an epidural for my back but had enough sensation to use the techniuqes to “breathe” Jess out!!!! Perfect & happy experience!
I was in complete bliss from the moment I felt his little head about to come out of me . . . what an incredible life affirming moment!
You will 'graduate' knowing . . .
• Strategies for reaching a deep state of relaxation
• Techniques for visualisation and deepening relaxation
• Specific breathing techniques for each stage of labour, along with guidance on how to practice these
• The 'why' and 'what' of your birth plan (including templates) and how to ensure it gets followed
• All about your marvellous pregnant body; how it's programmed to work and why it sometimes doesn't (and how to ensure yours does)
• How your birthing muscles work - and how you can help them operate like well-oiled cogs
• An outline of WHY the mind needs to be on board in order for your body to work and HOW to do this
• The importance of hormones and how to get more of the right ones and banish the unhelpful ones
• How to eat and exercise your way to a healthy baby
• All about birth companions: Why are they important? What do they do? How do they develop the necessary superpowers?
• How to recognise and rid yourself of fear
• Your birthing blueprint; defining how you want your birth to be and what actions you need to take to achieve that
• Mindset; using it to stack the odds in your favour
• Skills for managing the emotional journey of birth
• How to work with your baby and encourage him or her to work with you
• What your birth choices are
• How to be flexible if you want or need to change your plans
• The importance of your birth environment and how to create the best one for you
• Which questions to ask to make informed decisions
• A mind and body toolkit that is also a powerful set of life skills that can be adapted for use in many future situations
We decided to take the Hynobirthing course with Karen after a friend recommended the course. It is the best preparation we could have done. Without the training we’d received through Karen about the hypnobirthing principles, we would not have had the courage to challenge the protocols of the hospital and continue to ask the right questions about the reasons for induction being recommended
"At one point I actually thought to myself "wow, I'm breathing this baby out and I'm loving every second of it"... I never thought I'd say that a few months ago! I was very much in my own world with my eyes closed, I had one hand on my belly and one hand on my baby's head whilst he gently made his way into the world. The midwife then put him into my hands and I lifted him onto my chest
Here are the birth preparation courses and classes I offer (for parenting courses or therapy sessions please look here). The classes are informative, relaxing and fun. You'll gain an abundance of essential knowledge and lots of actionable steps to put into place in preparation for your newest family member.
Private Hypnobirthing Courses
5 sessions, £400 per couple
Online or in person
Dates and times to suit (evenings, some daytimes and weekends available)
Bespoke Hypnobirthing Sessions
Let me know what you need!
- Refreshers (if you've done hypnobirthing previously)
- Intensive course if time is an issue
- Support or mentoring for 'DIY' birth preparation