Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Having sex daily can improve sperm quality

Well guys it looks like there is a reason why you want sex all the time! According to Dr David Greening, from Sydney IVF, in Wollongong, Australia "Sperm don't seem to like staying in warm testicles for too long. The advice might be to keep the rivers flowing."


Whilst men's volumes of sperm increases when they go without ejaculating (which is why couples are normally told to have sex every two to three days if they are trying to conceive), the older the sperm becomes the more genetic damage it can accumulate through exposure to heat and to oxygen free radicals. Dr. Greening's research has found that whilst a man ejaculating daily has less sperm it is of better quality and the numbers still sit within normal fertile parameters.

Therefore, for some it looks like there are advantages to having sex daily (or of course if that is too much to hope for take matters into their own hands guilt free).

Although Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "There may be dangers if we apply this finding to all men uncritically and to all situations.

"For example, in cases where men have low sperm counts to start with, daily ejaculations may well reduce the sperm count still further and whilst sperm may be more healthy the reduced numbers could impede the chance of natural conception. However, if such men are preparing for an assisted conception procedure, this may well not matter and their chances of success may be improved."

I particularly found this report encouraging because one of the things that I like to do when working with couples is to help them enjoy making love again. Remind them of the fun they used to have before they got on the baby making train. Sex has become such a routine for many because it is now all about the 'right time' and ensuring that the man's sperm is at peak performance to tie in with that right time. That right time actually sits within quite a big window because the sperm can live for up to five days so having sex for up to five days before or after the 'right time' can result in a pregnancy. In the right circumstances I will even joke that there is no need to know when that 'right time' is, just have sex every day, and now it seems that actually that maybe beneficial.

One final note on the subject - remember it doesn't have to be Mills and Boons every night. Quickies are great fun too :-)

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Take a breath - good advice :-)

I've just had a very lovely chat with a Kent journalist wanting to write an article about the work that I do.

He asked me the simple question "tell me about your business?" The thing is there is soooooooo much to tell and I get sooooooo excited when I'm telling it that in the end the poor man had to ask me to take a breath - hahahaha.

I asked him if he was the hypnotherapist as it was good advice. I took a breath and put on my 'Hypnomummy' persona and slowed down. But then I got all excited again and sped up. His poor hand was aching trying to keep up with me even with 'shorthand'. I can't help it the excitement just pours out of me and as I'm saying one thing there are a million other things running through my brain saying 'pick me, pick me'. My tongue like the journalists hand just can't keep up.

I hope I gave him enough good information though about the work that I do as I would love to raise more awareness of all of the elements of my work. Hypnosis is proven to double success rates of IVF and increase natural conception by 30% and the work that I have been doing with women is proving that. I love nothing more than seeing a woman overcome those annoying and sometimes more serious ailments of pregnancy and if only I could reach out to many, many more women and change their birth stories for them before they have even happened I would be a very, very happy Hypnomummy.

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Thursday, 25 June 2009

Are we pushing too hard?

If I had to pinpoint one element of hypnobirthing that women have the most difficulty getting their heads around it is 'pushing' or to be more specific the lack of 'pushing'.

During hypnbirthing classes we teach 'mums' that there is no need to do lots of forced 'purple' pushing. This is a very outdated concept and comes from a time that women used to be anaesthetised, and unable to birth their babies, and so forceps were used to extract the baby from the vagina. As times changed, women were conscious when birthing their babies and forceps were no longer routinely used and so it was felt that if the babies were no longer being pulled out of their mothers then surely the mother would have to push them out (maybe as they get older there might be a need to push them out of the nest for their own good but not this young surely).

Yet again we find that doctors think they know more about birth than mother nature does. But for a women with no special circumstances there is absolutely no reason why both she and her baby cannot be left quietly alone and for the baby to gently makes its way down and ultimately out.


New midwives are now trained that forced pushing is not necessary, however, some old school midwives will still try and get you to start pushing just because you are fully dilated. You will want to ignore this instruction (put on your birth plan that you want to do mother-directed birth breathing and have no outside instruction from the midwife as your birth companion will be supporting you with this). For those who feel that it would be difficult to go against what a professional is telling them, please read the attached paper written by the Royal College of Midwives, which supports what we are saying during hypnobirthing classes.
(please note however that the prompts suggested for midwives are to support women who have not had hypnobirthing training and do not necessarily have the help of a knowledgeable birth companion)

Forced pushing is stressful on both the mother and the baby and can in fact slow things down as it closes the sphincters of the vagina ahead of the descending baby. It can be an overwhelmingly exhausting experience for a woman and is one of the reasons why doctors like to intervene if a woman isn't progressing at a pace they are happy with. Unfortunately, it is the fact that they want to intervene at the birthing stage and make the woman push that leads them to think they need to intervene earlier so that she has enough energy to push. Oh! I'm exhausted just writing about it.

However, there is no need. We have a natural expulsive reflex that will gently nudge the baby down and out.

Unlike other techniques you will learn on a hypnobirthing course you can't practise birthing your baby (I'm sure I don't have to explain why :-)). However, there is another function within the body that uses the natural expulsive reflex...... Have you guessed what it is yet? Of course you have - it is when we are having a 'poo'. Now don't ask me why but when my husband attended one of my hypnobirthing courses, when I was pregnant with Evan, and we got to this part of the course he got a little upset with me (not openly but afterwards he said "Dany do you have to mention poo so much can you not say when you open your bowels?" Oh please anyone reading my blog will know that I'm going to say poo - quicker, easier, more simple - actually just like birthing using hypnosis.

I digress back to pooing (not literally you understand)!

Think about it - you don't think to yourself "do you know at some point today I'm going to want to poo so I'll go and sit on the loo for the next few hours and push with all my might until one comes out". Of course you don't. You wait till you get a sensation that you are going to poo, you go and sit on the loo whilst your poo makes its way down and then maybe you might give a little push at the end.

Erm! I do say poo rather a lot don't I?

This is exactly what you want to do when you are birthing your baby and because you will be using the same natural expulsive reflex you can practise your birth humming technique whilst having a poo. This often becomes labeled by my 'dads' as 'poo humming' and is the first thing they love to share with people about hypnobirthing.

Right so if you are still with me let's focus on how you practice your 'poo/birth' humming.

...you simply take a nice deep breath and hum down. As you hum you can imagine the opening of your vagina, like the petals of a lotus flower, folding outward as your baby moves toward the perineal rim.

Now as I was saying you can't for obvious reasons practise this until your baby is ready to be born. However, as you also have a natural expulsive reflex that helps you poo you can practise whilst on the loo.

But before I explain how I'm going to digress once more. If you had never done a poo. ever in your life before, and someone said to you that you were going to pass something relatively big out of a hole that appears quite a bit smaller than your poo you'd quite probably be scared. As it was making its way down you'd probably tense and tighten and be full of fear. In fact it is quite interesting watching my 2 year old daughter at the moment. Her poos are becoming more solid and we're not quite potty training yet but she's becoming very much more aware of what's going on down there. You can see the look of surprise sometimes just before she does a poo as she starts to feel her poo making its way down (and the look of surprise on mine when I find she's poo'd in my slipper but I won't go on about that again).

For your practice. When you are doing a poo, firstly become aware of how your poo feels as it is nudging its way down. Then take in a nice deep breath and hum down directing the breath around your poo and noticing how the muscles relax around it and help its progress. You can practice using the opening lotus flower described above too to imagine more space around and in front of your poo. This technique is also particularly useful for anyone suffering with constipation.

Just once you can also squeeze and tighten and notice how your poo pops back up. So often midwives will say that they could see the baby's head and then it popped back up again. This is a really useful way of appreciating how very clearly tightening and tension will not only stop the baby's descent but also potentially move him or her back the other way (talk about two steps forward and one step back).

The more you practice 'poo' humming the more you are learning how to tune into the natural expulsive reflex of your body and experiencing how your breath and focused attention can enable everything to remain relaxed and open easily. When it comes time to have your baby you will be fully prepared to work with your natural expulsive reflex to help nudge your baby down and out.

If you are interested in finding out more about how hypnosis can support you through pregnancy, labour and birth check out my hypnobirthing classes and home study programmes at http://www.tums2mums.com

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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The sun will come out tomorrow

I have no idea why that title came into my head other than I'm too tired to think straight tonight but really wanted to make a blog entry.

I know what the next topic for my blog is going to be - 'poo' breathing, I mean 'birth' breathing - either way no forced pushing.

All will be revealed tomorrow - although they do say tomorrow never comes!

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Monday, 22 June 2009

Interesting idea for your wedding gift list

Last year an estimated 20,000 brides in Britain were pregnant on their wedding day which made me think how cool it would be if we saw HypnoBirthing classes appearing on their wedding gift list. Or maybe even some forward thinking guest could surprise the couple with the purchase of a course.

So pregnant brides-to-be what do you think? Is the gift of a calm, comfortable birth experience for you and your baby something you could imagine adding to your wedding gift list?

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Assessing Cervical Dilation without Vaginal Exams

I personally have never felt uncomfortable about vaginal exams and was more than happy when I was in labour for the midwife, on her arrival at my house, to check how dilated I was (she was shocked to find me fully dilated because from her years of experience looking at me she had assessed I was about 5 cms dilated). For some women though the thought of having vaginal exams during labour is very intrusive and even uncomfortable. For others they don't know whether to be checked as they don't want to risk being discouraged if they are not far along (although with HypnoBirthing mums they are often a lot further along than both they or the midwife had realised).

However, midwives like to check how women are advancing with their labour. Sadly, although women are told that they can't plan birth (a topic of discussion for another day), in most cases, this is to check women are within their guidelines of how they should be progressing against the clock. (If there is a medical indication that it would be of benefit for you and the baby to have a vaginal exam obviously this is a different matter).

There are many midwives however that believe both can have what they want.

Quoting from the article found at http://tinyurl.com/l92zpf (section 4.3)

"There is a purple line which creeps up the so-called 'natal cleft' (or bum cleavage for the less scientific amongst us) that can be used as a measure of cervical dilatation. The purplish-red line begins at the anal margin at the start of labour and gradually creeps up, like mercury in a thermometer. When it reaches the nape of the buttocks the woman is fully dilated. "

Now whilst this purple line doesn't always show I guess if it is there and a midwife is open to following it, it can help avoid vaginal exams. If you find this interesting therefore you can print off section 4.3 and have a conversation with your midwife to find out if she and any of the other midwives that may attend your birth are aware of this and have ever used it. If they are and it is something that they are happy to consider put on your birth plan that if the purple line is visible you would like them to use this method to assess how you are progressing and place a copy of the article with it. It doesn't mean you won't have a vaginal exam just that you are open to exploring other way of assessing dilation.

How many vaginal exams you may have very much varies from midwife to midwife and a particular birthing locations procedures so it is important to know that, without special circumstances indicating the benefits of a vaginal exam, you don't have to agree to them if you don't want them.

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Fantastic HypnoBirthing stories

I have such a lovely job and receiving wonderful birth stories is one of the best bits.

Because our subconscious doesn't know the difference between real and imagined events I advise my clients not to listen to 'horror' stories about birth. Unfortunately, if they do their subconscious takes on that story as it's own and when that woman goes into labour responds by saying "oh yes I remember this it is scary and frightening and makes me feel unsafe" and in turn sets about stopping the baby from coming until the mother feels safe. But what she is fearing isn't real so how does she do that?

When women attend my HypnoBirthing classes, they learn that when they approach labour and birth without fear and fully relaxed, the muscles of the uterus will work in harmony as they are designed to do and this allows the opportunity for a more comfortable birth experience. They will then learn a variety of hypnosis techniques to keep them nice and relaxed during labour and birth. The also take part in a fear and negative emotion release hypnotic session to help change the way they feel about any negative stories, comments or experiences they have had.

However, because many women have had such powerful negative conditioning with regards to labour and birth, it also helps to read lovely birth stories proving that it is possible to have their baby in a calm, comfortable and relaxed way.

Seek out positive birth stories of birth and if someone tries to share a negative one with you, stick your fingers in your ears and don't listen :-).

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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Pregnant Robot (Noelle) Trains Students

What exactly is it training them on?

How NOT to create the best circumstances for a calm, comfortable birth?


Some of my favourite bits

  • "Everything is as it would be for example the way she is positioned on the table".

    Yes of course silly me not to realise that the best place for a woman to give birth is on her back with her knees in the air so the OBGYN can sit comfortably between her legs as she is giving instructions to PUSH with the next contraction.

  • "She is just like a real PATIENT".

    Says it all really. When is somebody going to tell them that without complication birth is a natural, normal event. The great writers from the Grecian School of medicine were not wrong when they labeled doctors as 'meddlesome interference' when they tried to involve themselves in childbirth.

  • "Hooked up to a monitor and IV".


  • "Complications such as long labour times".

    I wish they'd seen my client who had a 4 day labour, gave birth in leap frog position and looked like she'd barely had a late night at the end of it.

  • "Because the robot cannot speak a person is assigned to be the mother and they can be as creative as they want".

    As long as that mother doesn't want to have any opinion about how her own birth should be I guess.

Funny I saw a response from a US hypnotherapist on Twitter today saying "oh you are in the UK at least HypnoBirthing has a chance there". Now I know why.

However, wherever you are, HypnoBirthing classes not only teaches you how and why you don't have to suffer severe discomfort during labour and birth and a variety of techniques to enable you to achieve that. They also teach you that without special circumstances you are not a patient, you have the right to say no to unnecessary intervention and will give you and your birth companion the confidence to ask questions and ensure you get the best possible birth experience for you and your baby.

Otherwise you are at risk at being treated just like Noelle, as a robot!

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Saturday, 13 June 2009

Is it possible to have a pain free birth?

The simple answer to this question is YES!

Can I promise you that attending HypnoBirthing or Hypnosis for Childbirth sessions with me will guarantee you a pain free birth?

Sadly NO?

We are beautifully designed to give birth with no discomfort. In that respect we are no different to other animals and we don't see them huffing, puffing, screaming, swearing and scratching the fur off of the paw of the dad-to-be. They find themselves a nice quiet, SAFE place, settle down and gently without barely a murmur birth their babies.

How do I know it is possible to have a pain free birth? Because I've done it. I had very little discomfort when I had my daughter.

I remember saying to my sister it is amazing isn't it that I slept through most of my labour and really only got a true sense that anything major was happening in the last 10 mins before Evan was actually born. So really at the point when I felt her head come down, then out and followed by her body 2 mins later as she literally swam out into the birthing pool (which I'd only been in for 20 mins). Her response was "well you are totally brainwashed aren't you Dany?"... But not as you would expect from my training. I was also lucky that I'd never heard negativity about birth. My mum had my brother in hospital and then my sister and I at home. She said I flew out in 4 hours and I never heard a negative word from her about any of our births. I didn't actually realise that birth was considered awful until I became an Hypnotherapist and women starting asking for my help. In fact the only negativity I had about childbirth was the epidural. I remember seeing an awful documentary about it and thinking "why would anyone want one of those? I am never having that done to me".

But why if it is possible can I not promise it? Sadly because most women haven't escaped the horror stories over the years and by the time they attend one of my courses they are either petrified or at the very least accepting that it is going to hurt but want to learn ways of 'coping' with that. The shift from excruciating pain to 'it doesn't have to hurt' is a step too far for some and can in itself create a fear of not being able to achieve that. The annoying thing is it is the very horror stories that create the problem. The reason animals find a SAFE place to give birth is quite obviously survival. There is no point giving birth in the middle of a pride of lions who are going to enjoy those newborn babies as a nice mid-afternoon snack. And unfortunately every time a woman hears a negative story about birth her subconscious gets placed right in the middle of that pride of lions. In other words it becomes frightened and believes that she is not safe. Of course this doesn't really cause any harm until the woman goes into labour (unless it is very profound which can in itself create fertility problems but that is something to be discussed on a different post). When a woman goes into labour full of horror stories she is of course frightened and because the subconscious interprets that as she is not safe it actually takes steps to stop the baby coming. This is exactly what would happen should a labouring animal suddenly find itself in close proximity to a pride of lions (unless it was a lioness of course ;-)). One scenario is appropriate the other is not. Can you guess which one that is?

What I teach during HypnoBirthing and my private Hypnosis for Childbirth classes is how the female body is designed to work and how fear impacts on that. The fear changes the hormones within the labouring mother to stop the baby from coming until she reaches a place of safety. Unfortunately, this is what causes the great pain because instead of the muscles that need to dilate being nice and relaxed they constrict and tighten. The subconscious is waiting for the woman to reach a place of safety, relax and in turn give it the instruction that it is now OK for the baby to be born. But if the fear is in her head how does she reach the place of safety?

So I look at any fears the woman has and remove them at a subconscious level using hypnosis. And I teach a variety of hypnosis techniques in order for her to learn how to quickly go into and maintain a deep state of relaxation and calm. These two things combined gives a woman the best possible chance to have a pain free birth (and many of my clients do). However, some find it to scary to completely open their minds to this possibility and if the mind is focused on something hurting then inevitably it will. They don't want to set themselves up for failure and in fact I am the first to say if I tell you it will be pain free any sign of discomfort would have you thinking that it is not working and you could then spiral out of control. But without special circumstances (complications as described by a doctor) there is no need for pain.

The good news is though that whether one of my 'mums' reports back a pain free birth, or that she had felt her contractions more strongly, or indeed had special circumstances which led to a more difficult birth, they all feel that the hypnosis techniques helped them to remain calm and in control.

All are amazed at the difference in their birth story to the many other stories they hear from women who have not attending HypnoBirthing or other forms of Hypnosis for Childbirth classes.

My aim is to brainwash women into believing that they can have comfortable births rather than the brainwashing we currently have that labour and birth is a difficult, painful experience that a woman has to endure to have her beautiful baby.

Happy Birthing Days everyone!
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Friday, 12 June 2009

This made me laugh :-D

I do come across some funny articles when I'm looking for interesting things to write about on my blog.


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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Health Visitors Reject Call For MMR To Be Made Compulsory


This article made me wonder what thought process and in turn what action parents who decide not to have the MMR immunisation go through.

My sister had the single injections for her son, although as I understand it the mumps one wasn't available when it was time for him to have the second. I don't know what she decided to do for her daughter. My mum was resolute that I did the same but I am a woman that makes up her own mind. I personally had a lengthy conversation with the nurse who had given Evan her other jabs. She gave me some literature to read and then I came away and did further research. Jim and I decided that it was absolutely fine to give Evan the MMR jab. In fact within the month we had to go back to have the second jab early (I think they normally have the second one at 2 or 3) because there had been another outbreak of measles in our area. Something that frightens me far more than the MMR jab.

I find that a lot of people these days are deciding that it is appropriate for their children to have the MMR jab but a lot seem to keep it very hush hush. Maybe they can't be bothered with all the negativity that they might get by admitting to it.

For those who don't want their children to have the MMR jab I appreciate that not all parents can afford the single jabs but surely they realise the dangers of not having anything both for their own child and others. Some I'm sure would argue that the single injections should be made available on the NHS but as I understand it they are not as effective. I know sometimes it is hard to separate the wood from the trees but the facts seem to very clearly state the the original research was completely discredited. I guess that is where the health visitors believe they can make a difference and help with that re-education.

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Twitter Two

I've attempted a silly play on words up there in the title but feel the need to explain.

I am having a second attempt at getting my head around Twitter - hence 'Twitter' and 'Two' and I love owls so I kind of made it sound like an owl. Or for those who are in the know when it comes to owls you need two owls to hear the twit and the twoo because one says twit and the other says twoo. Oh my goodness if you are still with me on this post I congratulate you :-)

Anyway my love of owls has inspired the name of my new online shop, HypnoWise, which isn't launching for a few month yet (I've got a juicy project lined up to launch it and it is going to take a bit of time). I'll of course let you know when it is ready though.


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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Another Fertility Success

I picked up my phone yesterday morning and noticed that I'd missed a call from one of my fertility clients. I offer telephone support throughout treatment so I quickly called back and as my call was answered I heard the words "I have exciting news!". Of course I knew this could only mean one thing but after the long wait these women have had before being able to deliver such news I love to hear them say it. So I asked - "I'm pregnant" she said.

Every time I hear this news it is so incredibly special. I truly am so very lucky to be able to do the work that I do :-)

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