Natal Hypnotherapy, Effective Birth Preparation CD
This is pretty much my favourite product ever. I rave about it frequently, and I credit it for my stress-free pregnancy and the relaxed and surprisingly easy birth of my daughter.
When you have a baby there are many drug-free forms of pain relief to help ease your labour. I plumped for a few different methods. On the day I used gas and air, a great temporary relief, and a TENS machine, which reduced the pain to some extent, and also distracted me from it for a time as I fiddled with all the controls and dials!
But for months before D-day (or that should probably be B-day..) I prepared myself mentally by using my Natal Hypnotherapy cd.
The Natal Hypnotherapy cds are soothing voice recordings accompanied by relaxing background music. The recordings provide help with all aspects of baby-making; from the pre-conception period to post-natal recovery; using hypnosis, visualisation, the power of suggestion and deep relaxation. The aim is to make you feel relaxed, confident and completely in control about the whole experience of reproducing.
So far I have used the Effective Birth Preparation CD (for giving birth in a hospital or birth centre) which matched my particular birthing plans, but there are different versions available if you're preparing for a home birth, for a caesarean section, a VBAC(vaginal birth after caesarean) or are expecting more than one baby.
It's recommended that you start listening to the Birth Preparation cds from around 32 weeks of pregnancy, to give you time to learn and absorb the relaxation techniques so that by the time you give birth they have become second nature. However, you can still get tremendous benefit even if you start listening later than this.
- Hypnosis for Pregnancy and Childbirth
The Natal Hypnotherapy Website. Hypnosis CDs, books and gifts for conception, pregnancy and child birth.
Effective Birth Preparation CD
The cd begins with the soothing female voice guiding you through some simple but effective relaxation exercises to calm your body and mind. These exercises are a very useful means of relaxation both during pregnancy and later on during labour. They put your mind into the daydream-like state which is hypnosis. (Don't be alarmed by this word; you will feel deeply relaxed but always totally in control!)
Once you are in this state of deep relaxation, the cd takes you through a guided visualisation of an ideal pregnancy and birth. Amongst other things, it gives you tools to be able to control your own pain-levels, it changes your expectations of contractions and reduces the "fear of the unknown" that all pregnant women experience, especially if they're going to give birth for the first time.
The idea is that the more you experience this "practise birth", the more you absorb the positive suggestions and the more you believe that your body can birth your baby naturally and calmly when it comes to the real thing. Listening to this cd regularly also gets your body used to being deeply relaxed. And a relaxed body and mind are the most essential ingredients for an easy and problem-free labour.
If your mind is calm then your body will also be relaxed, resulting in less painful contractions and allowing pregnancy hormones to flow freely. These natural hormones will increase the effectiveness of your contractions, making your labour quicker and reducing the need for painkilling drugs, interventions or a caesarean.
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From the moment I started listening to my cd I felt instantly relaxed by the soothing voice and music, and I knew I was going to love my hypnotherapy sessions!
I used the cd every night, and sometimes also during the day when I felt the need to relax. Often, after a few minutes of listening I would fall asleep! This is apparently quite a common occurrence, and doesn't matter too much as we can absorb information while we're sleeping. This side-effect was fantastic for me as I'm prone to insomnia, and I knew that if I listened to my cd I would get a good night's sleep; (something which is often rare anyway in the later stages of pregnancy!)
I have to say that I was a bit sceptical at first about whether this product would actually work - and then whether it would be any more than a sleep-aid! But as time went on I did feel a lot more laid-back about my forthcoming pregnancy. This really hit home when friends from my anti-natal group started having their babies, some with real horror stories, but I felt confident that me and my baby would be ok, and that I could handle the birth however it went.
It sounds strange now that I was so relaxed about it, but it wasn't a case of "I've been listening to this cd so we're immune from any problems". Rather that one of the things the cd does is prepare you for the fact that things might not go quite as you planned. But it teaches you that whatever happens, you'll be able to handle it, and if you relax as much as possible then your body has the best chance of naturally doing what it's supposed to do.
On B-day, I was three centimetres dilated by the time we arrived at the hospital, after two nights of intermittent contractions. The midwife decided to keep me in, and thinking that things weren't going to happen in a hurry, she let me rest in the ward.
For the next few hours I could feel the contractions becoming stronger, but I felt calm, and my relaxation exercises helped me to go within myself, focus and keep them manageable. When she did a routine check a short while later the midwife was alarmed to see that I was fully dilated; she'd had no idea that I was anywhere close! The birth itself was slightly complicated and prolonged as my daughter was face-first, but it never became unmanageable. I felt in control the whole time; so much so that before seeing my notes, one of the midwives had assumed that I'd had an epidural!
Lots of women experience completely pain-free births when they use hypnosis. This wasn't the case for me; I could feel pain but by relaxing into the contractions I could reduce it a great deal, and using the practiced techniques I was also able to "turn it down".
It says on the cd that with Natal Hypnotherapy it's possible that you will enjoy giving birth. Well, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I enjoyed every moment of it, but on the whole it was a lovely experience! (And one which resulted in a very beautiful, loud and red-faced little girl!).