Is reading the ‘Hypnobirthing Book’ enough?

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I often get contacted by women who are interested in booking a hypnobirthing course who are unsure about it as they have already completed another antenatal course.  They understandably find it difficult to comprehend why they need to complete ‘another’ course.  Their alternative to the course will be to read the hypnobirthing book.  To accompany this they will also listen to the ‘Colour and Calmness CD.  I am an advocate of hypnobirthing in whatever form it takes.  However, I would like to pose this question, can everyone can truly apply the principles and logic which underpin hypnobirthing purely from reading a book?  For some it may work.  For others, not necessarily.

A quote I love, and often read out to the couples in my class sums up what I believe attending a course does for expectant couples;

“Remaining in control in labour and birth means being able to adapt calmly and peacefully to a sometimes rapidly changing situation, having the ability to refocus at each twist and turn without fear or distress but with calmness and confidence.” Ref. Vanessa Jane King Hodge

Don’t forget about the birth partners……

Hypnobirthing is not just for you.  As the expectant mother to learn and understand is vital, but it is equally important for your birth partner to appreciate its value and be fully on board with the technique and logic behind it.  Your birthing partner will be your greatest support and strongest advocate during labour and birth.  They need to appreciate the reasons for this.  Your birth partner will be the protector of your environment.  They are such an important part of the whole process as their presence provides you, as the birthing mother the opportunity to focus on your instinct to birth without unnecessary interruption.  In KG Hypnobirthing this is the principle behind it;

A woman in labour goes into herself and is not in a place to negotiate with anyone.  A
husband or  (birth) partner who also understands the principles of a calm and natural
birth and is prepared to speak for you clearly, calmly and courageously can
make all the difference between an unhappy and an empowering experience.

Katherine Graves

Hypnobirthing is more than just relaxation…..

Relaxation, breathing and visualisation are vital parts of the hypnobirthing course, and if we trusted our instincts to remain in a protected, safe and secure environment to birth our babies as do mammals then this may be enough.  As pregnant women you are in contact with medical caregivers throughout your pregnancy and will make choices about where you want to give birth, as well as receive information about procedures and interventions which may be offered to you.  Hypnobirthing as a taught course empowers you to ask questions, gain information and understanding about what is going on and most importantly make choices about what happens on your pregnancy and birthing journey.  Most often, women I have spoken to who have a difficult and challenging birth experience report that it was the feeling that they were ‘done to’ without it being discussed with them first or did not understand what was going on which left them fearful and frightened.  Hypnobirthing gives you the opportunity to access information specific to you and understand the need to make your own decisions.  Taking responsibility for your own birth.  Remember it is ‘your body and your baby’.

It is natural to have questions or niggles personal to us which we need answered;

Reading about hypnobirthing and the techniques which make it such a powerful tool is fantastic, but sometimes you have your own story, or journey which needs to be evaluated, reflected upon or discussed.  It may be that this pregnancy is second or subsequent or you are being told that you have a family history of traumatic or difficult births.  A hypnobirthing teacher can be a listening ear to all of these individual experiences, provide guidance and understanding to support the experiences you may share and give you a unique perspective which is likely to set your mind at rest.

Knowledge is power but sometimes information overload can lead to overwhelm….

During your pregnancy, how much time has been spent on google, researching pregnancy symptoms, concerns and feeling like you need to know everything there is to know about being pregnant, giving birth to your baby and becoming a mum?  The fact is that sometimes, researching and gathering hoards of information can be counter productive and can lead to additional anxieties and concerns.  In todays busy, fast paced world where information is available at the touch of a button, we sometimes forget about trusting our instincts and doing what we ‘feel’ is right rather than what someone tells us to do.  Hypnobirthing respects this instinctive journey and provides the opportunity to break away from information overload, just focussing on what is needed to learn and understand about birth.  The teaching style will reflect everyone’s individuality and will be tailored to you at whatever stage you are at.

So, if you decide to buy and read The Hypnobirthing Book by Katharine Graves and listen to the KG Colour and Calmness CD I can highly recommend it, but also consider taking part in a taught course too, it really will make all the difference.

I will leave you with a quote from KG Hypnobirthing;

Though mothers come to Hypnobirthing for a calm and gentle birth for themselves, remember that it also means a calm and gentle birth for your baby.  A baby who enters the world drug free and alert, to be greeted by a mother who is also alert, loving and confident, starts life and forms its first relationship in this world in the best possible way.  This is the blueprint for all the other relationships it forms throughout its life, and so has an effect on all the people it meets.  The significance of this cannot be over-estimated.

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