Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Use your BRAINS

One of the most important things couples learn when they attend Hypnobirthing sessions with me or use my Hypnobirthing Home Study Programme is that they are the ones in control of their birth, that every decision they make should be an informed one, rather than feeling that they have been 'TOLD' something 'WILL' happen a certain way.  

Now this doesn't mean that we never agree with doctors and in fact sometimes couples need to put their baby's birth completely in the hands of the medical team (we are very lucky to have skilled doctors when there are true medical emergencies), but should this arise couples maintain their sense of control by understanding that this is completely the right thing to do.  

To ensure this happens I teach couples to ask questions, not to be adversarial, but to help doctors see them and their baby as unique individuals and for their baby's birth to be viewed appropriately in respect of that.

It can be daunting though for some to question what they are being told by a medical profession and this great mnemonic can help keep you focussed:

B – benefits
R – risks
A – alternatives
I – instincts
N – nothing
S – smile

What are the benefits of following the course of action suggested?

What are the risks involved?  In particular ask what the IMMEDIATE dangers and specific medical indications are (ie something that is actually happening not something that MIGHT happen).

Ask about the alternatives (and the benefits and risks of these).

Follow your instincts.  This is important because it doesn’t matter what anyone else would do in your situation it is about what feels right for you personally.

Ask what would happen if you did nothing.  Buying time even if it is for 15 minutes intervals can make the difference between intervention or not.

Smile is there to remind you to remain calm and in control.  Everyone is on the same team and that is for you and your baby to be healthy.  Asking questions isn’t about being antagonist but getting consultants to think outside the box and not treat all women the same.  By asking questions and making decisions based on the answers you are given you will maintain control of your baby's births.  As I mentioned previously even if the decision is to hand your birthing over to the medical team you will have maintained your control by ensuring that it is the right thing for you and the baby.

If you do accept intervention at any point ensure that should this lead on to the suggestion of more intervention that you use your BRAINS again.

If conversations around intervention are required prior to labour starting I would strongly recommend that women take their partner with them to any appointments as this can become very emotional for a pregnant woman.  Also, during labour ideally it will be the birth partners role to ask the questions and for the couple to then discuss the answers and make the decisions together.

Use your BRAINS, be informed and make the right decisions for you and your baby.

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

App Store - Hypnobirthing Home Study

I am very excited to announce the birth of my new baby.  Well my freebie iPhone app that is now available :-)

You can find out more about it here.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Birth Stories to inspire!

A quickie post to share a link to the Hypnobirthing Stories on my website as I've just added some new ones.


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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Looking at the birth process from a physical perspective

Last night I felt very privileged to attend a talk by Michel Odent. For those who don't know him he is a French Obstetrician and leading pioneer for natural childbirth. He is now 81 years old and is an inspiration in himself but the way he talks about birth is captivating. As I listened though I actually became more and more baffled at why the majority of medical professionals do not appear to share the same views as him. His work is proof alone but it is also all just such common sense. Of course we share this same common sense view of birth during hypnobirthing classes, so none of what he was saying was particularly new information for me, but I loved the way he explained certain things and I felt I wanted to share this with my readers.

Odent states that as birthing is an involuntary process we cannot help it but we can inhibit it and knowing this we need to protect it from that happening. We can learn about this by, as the title of this posts says, looking at the birth process from a physical perspective.

As humans we are different from other mammals in that we have a developed neo cortex. This is important for birthing as it has nothing to do with the neo cortex but comes from our archaic, primitive brain. Our inhibitions though do come from the neo cortex and therefore it must be switched off during the birthing process to allow a woman's natural birthing instincts to come to the fore. Let's look at this in more detail

  1. Language stimulates the neo cortex - Silence (or more specifically lack of communication) is a basic need of labour. Language in particular when expressing a question needs activity in the neo cortex to prepare an answer. To further highlight this he asks us to imagine a couple making love, they are in an orgasmic state and the women ask the man "what do you want for dinner". No further explanation needed ;-).
  2. Light can stimulate the neo cortex - the darkness hormone melatonin reduces neo cortex activity.
  3. When we feel observed we observe ourselves and the neo cortex is stimulated
  4. When we perceive a possible danger the neo cortex is stimulated
  5. Emotional states are contagious - if a labouring woman is being supported by someone with high adrenaline levels this may cause her to mirror their hormone activity.
Amongst other things during hypnobirthing classes we teach:
  1. The dad/birth partner to be the labouring woman's advocate and deal with any discussions that need to take place.
  2. To look at ways to dim the lights (particularly in a hospital room) but if this is not possible by using the hypnosis techniques the mum is able to become much more internally focussed and therefore less aware of outside stimuli.
  3. The dad to protect mum from unnecessary interruption and be a gentle loving support.
  4. Couples to decide where the best place is for them to birth and also to understand that they are always the ones in control of their birth experience (even if they hand their birthing over to a doctor because of true medical circumstances if they have asked questions, got answers and made the decision for themselves they will maintain that control). Feeling safe and in control is key to the body functioning normally during birth.
  5. Dads/birth companions are also taught relaxation techniques alongside the mums as we know their adrenaline is catching. They leave the classes feeling fully confident in their role and with the skills to remain calm, relaxed and in control throughout the birth of their baby whilst being of wonderful support to their partner.
Makes sense doesn't it?

Odent smiled at the end of his talk and I had to smile with him when he said "we need modern science to rediscover and explain what is simple and common sense".

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