The main aim of birth hypnotherapy classes is to learn self-hypnosis so you relax during labour and give birth without the use of any chemical pain-management, for example pethidine.
They also aim to teach you and your partner massage techniques which stimulate endorphins, your body’s natural pain-killer. Some classes also teach you visualisation exercises to help you cope with labour. Your partner is encouraged to take an active role in the birth by helping you visualise and by talking you through the relaxation techniques.
The philosophy behind these classes stems from the belief that when women are relaxed rather than frightened the pain they experience in child birth can be virtually eliminated.
Where are they held?
These classes are most often held in private venues or in the course-leader’s home. Some birth hypnotherapy experts will come to your home for private sessions.
What to expect from birth hypnotherapy classes
A relaxed calm environment with lots of comfy cushions and beanbags! You’ll be taught about the three stages of labour and you and your partner will learn specific breathing and visualisation techniques for each of the stages.
Your partner will learn how to help you relax using hypnosis techniques and specific massage techniques.
You’ll learn about positioning for an optimal birth, and how to deal with slowed-down progress during labour. You will probably get to watch DVDs of women achieving a natural birth without pain medication. Some classes will also cover techniques to massage your perineum (the bit of skin between your vagina and anus which can tear during labour).
Sign me up
It’s best to start hypnobirthing classes in the second trimester of pregnancy so you can practise what you’ve learned. You book a course not a class ie it’s not a drop-in experience! Courses usually last between two and four days which can be separated into weekends, days or evening sessions.
A quick search on the internet will list umpteen courses. Look for those which are accredited to large organisations such as ‘Hypnobirthing – the Mongan Method‘ or the ‘Hypnotherapy Association‘.
Expect to pay between £100 and £500 for a course, including materials (eg CDs) which you get to take home.
Why choose a birth hypnotherapy class?
If you’re frightened of giving birth, if you believe in your own ability to manage the pain of childbirth or if you had a bad experience with your first baby and want to try something different for your second or third child.
But don’t choose if
You are 100 percent convinced that nothing will ease the pain of childbirth aside from the epidural you’ve already booked!