How to overcome your fear of giving birthPublished on
Feeling jittery about giving birth is normal, but for some, the anxiety can be overwhelming. In our guest blog Nicola Wilson from Birth Story Hypnobirthing explains how simple techniques can help you overcome your fears.
How did hypnobirthing help you personally with anxiety as a mum-to-be?
Having grown up with anxiety, I spent much of my childhood and teenage years riding a rollercoaster of worry. While I managed to control those pangs of anxiety into adulthood, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, alongside the overwhelming joy and excitement, those familiar feelings of anxiousness crept back in. In a bid to keep the wobbles of worry at bay, and combat the tales of traumatic birth I’d grown up hearing, I made the decision to seek out hypnobirthing with the programme I now teach - The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme.
How did the techniques get you through giving birth?
Learning about our marvellous body, and how well equipped it is for birth, positive affirmations and relaxation techniques (which I still use to this day), helped me swap birth fears for an informed mindset filled with calmness, confidence and a sense of control which appeased my inner Monica Geller OCD tendencies!
A week past my estimated due date I finally went into labour. With the support of my prepared other half, I managed to get to seven centimetres at home by bouncing on my ball, practicing my relaxing breaths and listening to my hypnobirthing music. Soon it was off to hospital, into a warm birth pool and, within two hours, my daughter was born naturally with no pain relief. After she was freed from the amniotic sac (which explains why my waters didn’t break!), she came calmly floating up to greet me and my partner – arms outstretched and her little face looking up at us in a moment we will never forget.
What are people most scared of?
Be it pain in childbirth, managing a long labour, worries about perineal tearing, how to deal with intervention or curveballs on the day - being anxious about giving birth is very common and totally normal for first-time parents. Childbirth is a major life event. While hugely exciting, it can also be daunting – so if you’re feeling anxious, try not to be hard on yourself.
Hypnobirthing unlocks all of those "unknowns" when it comes to pregnancy and birthing. The course explains the science behind birth, hypnosis - mind vs myth, breathing and relaxation tools, fear release, preferences for birth, how to make informed decisions, the key stages of labour, the role of the birth partner and how to welcome your baby.
What kind of techniques will I use?
Mastering the art of relaxation and breath work is also key when combatting any prenatal nerves about birth. For example, a simple countdown from 5 to 1 can relax your entire body keeping you calm and tranquil.
Preparation and practice creates positivity and the ability to drive-forward the birth that’s right for you and your baby on the day.
Can hypnobirthing help parents with previous birth trauma?
Fear release is a key component of Birth Story hypnobirthing courses. Parents who have experienced a previous traumatic birth can find it incredibly hard to let go, both emotionally and physically.
We know that each pregnancy and birth is unique. Fear release hypnosis allows parents-to-be to release any emotional trauma, concerns and nerves around the experience of pregnancy and birth, allowing you to clear your mind of all potential negativity and learn to focus on labour and birth in a positive and confident way.
Can hypnobirthing help with severe antenatal anxiety?
Yes 100%. Research conducted by Birth Story, among mums-to-be, revealed that a colossal 80% of expectant mothers longed to talk through their first trimester thoughts, feelings and anxieties.
Anxieties can often peak during the first trimester and in a bid to help alleviate antenatal anxiety, I created a UK first - Birth Story's 1st Trimester Positivity Power Hour. This online session offers mums-to-be a safe space and the chance to chat confidentially about how they’re feeling, how they’re finding the first months of pregnancy, and how to confidently navigate first trimester symptoms and understand the mind body connection.
It also allows them to take part in a “fear release session” so they can view pregnancy positively.
Can hypnobirthing techniques be used to help deal with postnatal anxiety?
As a mum myself, I know how difficult that first year of parenthood can be - the loneliness, the lack of sleep, the ebbs and flows of learning all about the miraculous new life you’ve created.
Hypnobirthing provides parents with a toolkit of techniques which are not only invaluable for birth but can also be used in day-to-day life. Hypnobirthing techniques such as The Thought Exchange equips mums and dads to be with the ability to take charge of their thoughts and welcome change with ease.
Relaxation exercises learned for birth are transferable postnatally - whether it be applying Soothing Strokes - a technique for topping up oxytocin in birth - to your baby to comfort them when they’re distressed, or applying facial relaxation tricks when we’ve had one of those nerve-frazzling days.
Alongside my 24/7 teacher text support service our Birth Story Collective is designed to help parents postnatally. From sleep to settling into routines, post-natal exercise and nutritional food for the family, the Birth Story Collective is a family of experts and parents who have experience the highs, lows (and all in between) allowing them to serve up relatable tips, tricks and advice.
ABOUT NICOLA WILSON
Nicola spent her early career managing and creating online content for Jamie Oliver and a handful of the UK’s leading radio stations including Capital, Kiss and Magic FM.
To help even more parents champion change, Nicola qualified as a hypnobirthing instructor, helping for parents seeking a calm, confident and connected experience from pregnancy to parenthood with her new brand – Birth Story Hypnobirthing.
We've teamed up with Birth Story Hypnobirthing to offer all Pura followers 25% OFF all Birth Story Hypnobirthing courses! Simply quote ‘BIRTHSTORY25’ when booking your course with Nicola. To discover which course is right for you, visit birthstoryco.com or email Nicola on firstname.lastname@example.org
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