As I entered the second trimester of my pregnancy a lot of people started to ask me how I was going to give birth.
With this being my first child, to be completely honest I had no idea how to answer them… that was until I discovered hypnobirthing.
I’d heard many people reference hypnobirthing, stating that they had been on a course or taken an online course and had the most wonderful birth using the techniques they had learnt from it.
The one thing I could be certain of is that I wanted a natural birth, so for me, when people told me this was the way to achieve that it caught my attention.
After lots of research, I discovered there are many hypnobirthing courses out there, but the one that everyone was talking about was KG Hypnobirthing founded by leading hypnobirthing teacher Katherine Graves.
Katharine Graves, leading hypnobirthing teacher, is the founder of KGHypnobirthing the original UK Hypnobirthing and The Hypnobirthing Association. She has personally taught KGHypnobirthing to over 3,000 couples, and KGHypnobirthing has trained over 2,000 teachers, a large number of them midwives.
Katharine trained as a doula with the internationally renowned obstetrician Michael Odent and is accredited by the Royal College of Midwives.
Endorsed by comedian, writer and actor, Russell Brand, after he and his wife had been attended a KGH course, Russell said he believed it was a more conscious and awake approach to birth and that he felt it offered him more of a role as a dad when supporting his wife through labour with pre-agreed ways. (Watch short clip below).
My husband Sam also wanted to get involved so he came along with me to one of the KGH two-day courses at St Thomas Hospital in London.
What is hypnobirthing?
Many people think that hypnobirthing is a little ‘out there’, perhaps boarder lining on being a bit airy fairy, but I can assure you it is not. Its logical, simple and practical.
Hypnobirthing can change and empower both the mother and father and has the most profound effect on the baby which will last a lifetime. For me, that is the best give I can give to my son as he enters the world.
You are taught skills including visualisation and relaxation techniques, as well as using selective language in the birthing room to make your experience as calm as possible.
Through this course, you are also able to create a clearly defined role for your birthing partner. This was ideal for Sam as at times he has felt a little helpless through my pregnancy. Now he will be able to do more than just wipe my brow or hold my hand, he will be a massive asset to me as I go into labour using the techniques, we have learnt on the KGH course.
What happens at the course and what did I learn?
Without giving too much away – when we arrived at the hospital, we had the warmest of greetings from Katharine and her colleague Kemi, also an independent midwife.
We popped on a name badge and took our seats around a large semi-circle. I was surprised to see there were over 20 people on the course, all eager and ready to learn.
We were also given one of Katharine’s book and a work pack to make notes on – (Sam got a little carried away)!
We started off day one introducing ourselves and going through the basics. The basics for me were crucial.
The one thing I have felt during my pregnancy is that I haven’t really been informed about how to have a baby, what to expect, what I should be doing, so that has built up a lot of anxiety for me.
My midwife is wonderful, but she is also very busy – so I wouldn’t expect her to give me a full run down on every single pregnancy topic.
I write this now at 34 weeks pregnant and I still have no birth or care plan created.
Without having been of the KGH course I would have no clue what I should be putting down or what kind of birth I want, however, now I can say I am 100% confident I know what I want and how I will prepare over the next 6 weeks.
Katharine and Kemi gave us a complete antenatal education session. We learnt about hospital procedures and what choices and alternatives are available. From this myself and Sam are now informed enough to make the best choices for our baby.
It’s quite simple, the more relaxed we are during child birth the less resistance our body has making labour more manageable.
Things I didn’t know…
I was really getting hung up about my due date, but I learnt that there is no such thing as a due date! The longest pregnancy recorded was 43 weeks and 3 days!
Most women get to around 40 weeks naturally unless they are induced early. I learnt that I don’t have to be induced and that I can decline this. I never thought I had a choice.
Why? When you are induced the stress put on you can stop the oxytocin (the hormone needed to give birth), which could make the birth more difficult.
We were informed of the things we needed to do before giving birth – making sure we were booked into our local birthing centre and making decisions on certain procedures. Sam and I have agreed we will not accept any procedure that is not backed up with evidence or unless it is medically necessary.
Do note, the course is not just for people who want to have a natural birth like me.
Whilst the likelihood of someone having less intervention after they do a course does happen, sometime KGH has been put ‘in a box’ and women who are having c-sections etc do not think hypnobirthing would help. Far from it, as it can be really helpful for all types of births.
It’s just as important for dads…
I was so proud of Sam during the KGH course, he really immersed himself in it and asked lots of great questions, which not only brought us closer together as a couple, but I now feel 100% confident that I have his support and that he will be my protector and safety net in the birthing room.
He also now has a defined role, there are things he can do such as the visualisation readings, communicating with the midwife on my behalf and making sure.
Since the course…
Its all about practice! Sam has covered our house with some of KGH’s positive affirmations and I am sent daily emails from Katharine and her team reminding me that I can do this. They have been great reminders of what I learnt on the course.
We have been practicing our visualisations before bed, including the hand stroking routine and introducing relaxing smells such as lavender to help me relax.
What I will do next…
Now I will be able to create a bespoke birthing plan with my midwife and create a pre-determined plan of how I want my birth to be. I will be posted again after our baby boy arrives to let you know just what happened!
An added bonus was that we met other parents to be and set up a whats app group, we’ve all kept in touch since!
For more information about KGH see https://www.kghypnobirthing.com/
There are also lots of free resources for people as well: kghb.org/free