Just look at some of the beautiful babies of the couples I have supported in 2020. You will find all of their birth stories on my Facebook Page @Betterbirthandbaby and some of the parents reviews and recommendations too. It was such a pleasure to still be able to support couples to have a positive birth experience in 2020 - Happy New Year folks, and thank you so much for letting me be a part of your baby's birth.
NEW FOR 2020!!
Are you feeling exhausted and anxious about your birth?
Do you feel like you just need a few days for you and your birth partner, to get away from it all?
Or maybe you are finding it difficult to just sit and relax and connect with your growing baby, without feeling the constant pressures of deadlines and work stress?
If you answered YES to any of the above, then my Hypnobirthing Countryside Retreat is the perfect answer….
At this 3 day retreat you will have a wonderfully relaxing and pampered stay in a romantic and peaceful converted barn on the edge of the beautiful Suffolk countryside, and you and your birth partner will learn hypnobirthing techniques to help you to have a positive birth experience.
Your retreat package includes all of the following:
AND if you book your retreat before the end of 2020, you will receive a massive £100 introductory discount taking the price of this exclusive experience down to only £695.
Your Hypnobirthing Countryside Retreat is ready and waiting for you! Get in touch now to check availability and book your perfect getaway.
What's the Plan?
Like most antenatal educators and hypnobirthing practitioners I closed my doors to in-person courses and workshops in March following Government and Professional bodies advice. I moved all of my clients online and have had many a happy hour on zoom calls demonstrating hypnobirthing techniques and chatting about how to reduce the anxieties around pregnancy and birth, especially those around birthing during a global pandemic! I am so grateful to have been able to move my business online and still help support so many couples during this time.. but I am happy to say that I will be starting to run in-person workshops once again from July onwards. It will be wonderful to be able to offer both live online courses via zoom/skype but also in-person courses once again, to those who want that option.
I will be teaching my popular Group Hypnobirthing Workshops solely online via zoom or skype for the time being. This is something I will reassess going forward and as guidance changes over the coming months.
I am writing this blog to outline the changes that I will be implementing for my in-person Private 1-to-1 hypnobirthing workshops to prevent the spread of infection. I will also communicate updates on here as any government guidance or industry guidelines change.
Risk Assessment & 'Let's Stay Safe' Guide:
During July 2020 I have completed and written up a risk assessment following government guidance and will be following all risk mitigation measures that this process has identified - some of which I have outlined below. I have also written a detailed 'Lets Stay Safe' Guide that all Clients will be required to read and understand prior to attending any in-person sessions. Both can be made available on request.
Firstly, let me reassure you that if myself or any family member experience any symptoms I will self isolate. In this circumstance couples will be offered to reschedules their workshop and/or move one or more of their workshop sessions to live online sessions. I will follow the Government and NHS guidelines and advice, and where possible will get tested as well.
Similarly, if you or any member of your household experience any symptoms of cold, flu or Covid-19 please let me know as soon as possible and we will reschedule or move your sessions online. Please also let me know if you experience any symptoms following any of our sessions together (as I will), I will then assess whether I need to cancel other courses and self isolate.
During our Workshop sessions together:
I will be teaching Private 1-to-1 sessions at my home. I live in a large barn on the edge of the Suffolk countryside a couple of miles south of the centre of Bury St Edmunds, just a mile south of the A14. Whether the guidance for social distancing is 1 metre or 2 metres there is enough room at the Barn to be able to distance from each other, whether that is whilst we are learning about hypnobirthing and enjoying relaxation sessions or whether we are having a break, or using the facilities! The living room where the sessions will take place is approximately 7 metres long by 6 metres wide and the breakout area is adjacent to the lounge in the centre of the barn which is around 13 metres long by 10 metres wide, the bathroom is just off this area. I will be posting a mini video and images of the barn on my Facebook Page too so you can see the set up for yourself.
We have enough bathrooms to ensure that couples can have sole use of our downstairs bathroom during the workshop sessions. This bathroom will undergo a deep clean prior to your arrival, have clean hand towels and cleaning products available for your use. During this time I will be recommending couples to bring their own drinks and snacks. I will of course reassess my provision of drinks and snacks as time goes on and as guidance changes. Please note that it is possible to refill your drinks containers with water using our (hands-free) cool filtered water dispenser.
We will be sitting on sofa/couches in the living room so if you wish to, you can bring your own furniture coverings. For relaxation sessions please bring whatever will make you feel comfortable, i.e. pillows, cushions, yoga mat, blankets. Wherever possible and keeping in mind your comfort during the sessions, windows will be open and the venue ventilated as much as possible.
Due to the space available at the venue and being able to follow government guidelines in terms of social distancing I will not be insisting on the wearing of face masks, but if you wish to, then please do so.
I will be washing my hands thoroughly before your arrival and would appreciate couples to do the same as they arrive. Hand sanitiser will also be available for those that wish to use it.
Finally, if you live within a 30 minutes drive of Bury St Edmunds and in a house that we can effectively socially distance according to government guidelines I would also be happy to travel to you for our workshop sessions. Please contact me to discuss.
To receive regular updates about my courses and workshops please link in to my Facebook page where I will also be sharing images and videos of my preparations for reopening. As always, please contact me with any questions you may have. It will be lovely to see some bumps in person again whilst keeping ourselves safe and healthy!
1. Deep Relaxation. Think about ways you like to relax and practice taking yourself into a deeply relaxed state. A pretty simple way is to just breathe really deeply and slowly counting to 4 or 6 on your breath in and then 6 to 8 on your breath out. Focusing on slowing down your out breath first will then slow down your in-breath too.
2. Your Safe Place. Create a relaxing, private safe place to go to in your minds-eye, practice going there in your mind. Feel, see, and hear things as if you are actually there. You can go there when you are in labour too as it will help you to focus your mind, relax your body and cope with contractions.
3. Imagine your Birth. Indulge yourself by fantasizing about your perfect birth in great detail from beginning to end. Do this as much as you can in the last few weeks of birth, daily if possible.
4. Be Positive. Focus on what you do want rather than what you do not want, in terms of planning for your birth and in conversations (with others and yourself!). It has been proven that positive self-talk really works. If you say that you can’t then you won’t but if you say that you can and will then you will!
5. Birth Stories. Protect yourself from negative images about birth - when someone jumps in to tell you about their horror story - stop them and ask them to talk about the good bits, or ask them to tell you about it after the birth! Instead, read and listen to as many positive birth stories as possible. You can find some at www.positivebirthmovement.org and www.tellmeagoodbirthstory.com for example, and link up with your local Positive Birth Movement Group.
6. Exercise Practice physical exercise which is beneficial for birth such as squatting, pelvic floor exercises. Get some fresh air, because let’s face it, it is always good to do exercise of any shape or form in nature, even if it’s just a walk! Great for your mind and your body.
7. Yoga. Take up antenatal Yoga, it can be really beneficial to help you prepare for birth, relaxing you mentally and keeping your muscles active. There are some wonderful antenatal yoga classes in Bury St Edmunds so go and check them all out and find the one that works for you.
8. Rest. It’s simple, find a comfy chair, the floor, your bed, close your eye and take some time out. You may want to listen to some relaxing music, do some meditation, mindfulness or listen to hypnobirthing tracks (you can find some here www.betterbirthandbaby.com/downloads). Whatever works for you, just take a rest. Is there a room at work you can use if you aren’t on maternity leave yet? The benefits for you and baby will be immense.
9. Educate Yourself. Knowing about what happens during birth can really help you to feel calmer and more in control about the birth. Book yourself and your birth partner onto an antenatal class. Hypnobirthing will teach you about how to reduce the pain you may feel when having contractions and will teach you and your birth partner skills to keep you calm and relaxed for a positive birth experience. Read more about what hypnobirthing entails here.
10. Fuel up. Eat lots of healthy food and drink loads of water. Both you and your baby will benefit hugely.
Very excited to say that I have recorded a number of NEW Hypnobirthing Audios for downloading - I now have a total of 6 tracks for you to download from my website.
If you book onto my Hypnobirthing Workshop you will automatically receive 5 of these tracks as part of your booking!
Although the Better Birth & Baby Hypnobirthing workshop is an all encompassing package entailing education, learning, self hypnosis and listening to hypnobirthing downloads to help you and your birth partner have a positive birth experience, you may find simply listening to hypnosis tracks to be a useful addition to your preparation for birth. Taking time out of your busy schedule and listening to hypnobirthing downloads is also incredibly good for both yours and your baby's wellbeing!
You can find all the downloads available for purchase here on my website.
But please remember by listening to hypnosis AND attending a workshop it will mean that you are giving you and your baby the best chance of having that positive birth experience.
You can purchase the Complete Birth Preparation Collection at a discounted rate, this includes all of the 5 birth preparation tracks (see here for descriptions) as one complete birth preparation package [Track 1: Pregnancy Relaxation, Track 2: Letting Go, Track 3: Birth Rehearsal, Track 4: Labour & Birth Companion, Track 5: Birth Partner Relaxation].
You can download each track separately or you can save a massive 25% by downloading all 5 of the Better Birth & Baby birth preparation collection.
The sixth download is a Body & Mind Relaxation track, perfect for listening to after the baby has been born, to relax and rejuvenate or simply to get you to sleep! It's also a great one to buy as a present for that anxious friend or family member !
BEFORE YOU PURCHASE! Please make sure that you like what you are going to be listening to..!! It is so very important to like the voice that you are listening to on hypnobirthing audios so please find a link below to a FREE download a sample of a Better Birth & Baby Hypnobirthing audio...
DOWNLOAD FREE SAMPLE of a Better Birth & Baby Hypnobirthing audio track before you buy!
I am also running a very special offer... If you purchase the Better Birth and Baby Complete Birth Preparation Collection (5 x Hypnobirthing audios) and then decide to book onto my Hypnobirthing Workshop after you have purchased the downloads... you will recieve £10 off my Group Hypnobirthing Workshops or £15 off my Private 1-to-1 Hypnobirthing Workshops.
I really hope you like listening to the new tracks - let me know what you think!
This is me.. a few hours after birth, yeah I might not have any make up on (eeek!!) and I have let him take a photo of me (arrghhh!), but I am feeling awesome, feeling like superwoman, with those amazing birthing hormones still pounding through my body.
I'm not lying, I really did feel great! ..and my baby was happy and healthy too, feeding well and ready for home.
Your body is made perfectly to birth your baby, and YOU can feel like this too. YOU can feel awesome after birth too, because you are supposed to, because our bodies are made to birth babies! But so many things get in the way and can prevent many mums from achieving a straightforward, normal birth. It is mainly the fear of ‘what if’ that gets in the way. There was an article recently published in The Times about how internet forums are driving the fear of childbirth because of everybody sharing their horror stories. I’m not going to lie to you, labour can be tough. It can be overwhelming, intense, and yes - lots would describe it as painful.....but it can be awesome, incredible, and mind-blowing.
14% of women suffer from tocophobia (fear of childbirth), mainly due to all the horror stories out there, and that’s not right. Giving birth should be something that is looked forward to and embraced - not dreaded.
Getting rid of the fear and focussing or switching off your mind during birth isn’t as hard as you think. By learning some skills and techniques to help your body get on with it, to help your mind focus, you will feel more in control and more able to let your subconscious - your birthing brain - just get on with it. You can learn these skills through hypnobirthing, through learning from those who have used these skills, who have used them and felt awesome for doing that! You can also surround yourself in positive stories about giving birth, feed both your conscious and subconscious mind with the mind-blowing awesomeness of the human body to create and birth another. Speak to women who have had normal, positive birth experiences. Watch lovely calm birth clips on your screen, read about how birth can be hard work, primal ..but wonderful.
YOU could be that mum who has invested in her baby’s birth, the only birth your baby will ever have, rather than investing in a top of the range travel system. YOU could be that mum who has spent time being consciously positive about her baby’s birth and unravelling and releasing any old thoughts, habits and feelings towards the birth. You could be that mum who has given herself a far better chance to have the best birth possible. Think sports psychology for birth!
If you aren’t expecting a baby at the moment, next time you see a pregnant woman, tell her she’s got this. Give her tips that will help her to ask questions, to feel empowered in the birth room. Point her towards the Positive Birth Movement, hypnobirthing classes, antenatal classes, a doula - all these things can make a difference.
And if you are expecting... Hey Gorgeous, Congratulations. You too can feel awesome after the birth. Invest in your baby’s only birth. Take control. You’ve got this.
I have a lot of mums and mums-to-be say ‘I’m not sure if hypnobirthing is for me…’ Well, let me dispel a few myths and see how it can work for you.
Does it actually work?
Your body knows how to birth a baby, everything a woman needs is already inbuilt and imprinted. The only thing that can derail this is fear. When Adrenalin comes into play, it cancels out vital birthing hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins. The reason we’re made that way, makes good sense. Picture a pregnant cave woman out gathering wood and berries for her cave. Her contractions start, and by their intensity and frequency she knows if she needs to return to the cave or should hunker down and give birth there and then. Should a Saber-Toothed Tiger suddenly put in an appearance at that point, the resulting adrenaline rush would stop labour in its tracks so she could get herself and her unborn child to safety.
Nowadays, we don’t have to worry about too many four legged animals roaming the labour wards, but Saber-Tooth Tigers can appear in many guises – a strange room, a woman screaming next door, an un-sympathetic midwife or consultant or a TV documentary on how awful birth is. Hypnobirthing gives you valuable tools to remain calm and relaxed at all times, encouraging the powerful birthing hormones to do their stuff and keep Adrenalin at bay.
Scientific research has shown that women who use hypnosis for labour have more frequent undisturbed births with less complications and less need for medical intervention. There is less request for medicated pain relief and labours are shorter.
Will it make my labour pain-free?
No. To promise that labour will be pain free is both mis-leading and, potentially, problem making! The contractions have a physiological purpose – not only do they tell us how far along we are in labour but they also send messages to the brain to produce more of the powerful labour hormones to keep the labour going in the direction it needs to and to help manage those increasingly strengthening contractions. Hypnobirthing techniques help women to work with the contractions, rather than suffer from them. Being able to recognize potential adrenaline causing situations and having the tools to deal with them certainly makes the contractions much more manageable and many women report feeling only the slightest sensation, but to say that you won’t feel them is un-realistic.
Are there different types of ‘hypnobirthing’?
Hypnotherapy has been used as a technique to support labour for many years, with the written records dating back to the mid 1800s. Over the past 15 years, more and more people have realised the link between body and mind during labour may have a bearing on the outcome of the birth and the term 'hypnobirthing' was born. This is now a term used generically to refer to hypnotherapy for childbirth and you will find that here are a ever growing number of different hypobirthing antenatal classes and approaches involving hypnotherapy for birth available. The best advice I can give is to find a hypnobirthing practitioner that you feel comfortable with, even meet them and have a chat if need be. Some fears relating to pregnancy and birth can be intimate and personal; it is crucial that you feel comfortable and relaxed so it is easier to face and resolve your fears and ask lots of questions! Also find a course or workshop that is affordable and includes your birth partner, their role during the birth is really important and it’s paramount that you have them on board with your birth plans right from the start.
What if my birth doesn’t go according to plan? Does that mean I’ve failed?
Absolutely not! There is no such thing as ‘failing’ at birth, it’s not an exam, it’s an experience. The truth is, nobody knows exactly how any birth is going to go. Whilst positive thinking and the techniques taught by hypnobirthing can greatly increase your chances of a straightforward birth, nothing in life is ever guaranteed which is why we encourage you to think about how you want to feel before, during and after the birth. For example, ‘I want to feel empowered and in control’ rather than ‘I want a water birth’. Feelings can remain with you, however you end up giving birth to your baby.
Even if you need to have a caesarean, it is still the birth of your child and whatever the circumstances, relaxed and calm is always going to be be a million times better than stressed and scared. Whichever hormones are surging through your blood stream are also going to be surging through your baby, so it’s easy to see what’s going to be best for all concerned.
Is Hypnosis Dangerous/ Will I be under somebody else’s control?
NO!!! Forget anything on television or in novels. Hypnosis is not magic! A hypnotic state is something we all enter into several times a day – ever driven the car, arrived at your destination and can’t, for the life of you, remember how you got there?-Hypnotic state!! It is not the same as being asleep or unconscious and the only person who has control over the situation is you. We induce a hypnotic state by allowing the subject to relax, focusing on their breathing and their body. In a hypnotic state, the therapist can suggest changes to beliefs and attitudes by having direct access to the subconscious, i.e. ‘As a woman you have a powerful ability to birth your baby’, ‘Contractions are merely powerful movements of the Uterus’, ‘Labour will take as long as necessary to bring your baby safely into the world’. If at any point the person becomes uncomfortable or doesn’t feel safe anymore they will simply open their eyes and come out of it.