MAMA Conference 2018

This weekend I am honoured to be part of the 8th Mama Conference in Glasgow. This is a wonderful annual event where midwives, mums, doulas and other birth professionals come together to share information and build networks.

I am here representing KGH, giving out books and letting others know about hypnobirthing and how it can help them. I love being at conferences, it is a great opportunity to talk to other people who work in maternity, all with the passion for making it better for mums, babies and families.

Most of today has been spent talking about hypnobirthing to midwives, who have seen it in practice, but are not sure what it’s all about. The same questions come up over and again, and they’re the same questions and misconceptions that prospective parents have too.

So, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

  • Do you hypnotise mum’s so they don’t know they’re giving birth?

No! Hypnobirthing is NOT stage hypnosis. The hypno of hypnobirthing is to do with hypnotherapy, which we use in two ways: first to get into a deep stage of relaxation and secondly to think about birth in a different way. We use more traditional hypnotherapy techniques to reduce fear about birth, in the same way you might help with quitting smoking or getting rid of a phobia. There isn’t a pendulum to be found and you won’t be made to cluck like a chicken!

  • Hypnobirthing means pain free, right?

No. Pain is subjective and therefore we can’t generalise and say every birth will be pain free. We do know that a lot of women who use hypnobirthing techniques do have pain free births, but many do not. Hypnobirthing is like having a tool box full of things to use for your birth. Some women reach for the breathing techniques, some reach for the relaxations, others like to use gas and air and some choose epidurals. There is no right and wrong, only what helps you to have a comfortable, positive birth experience.

  • If you choose hypnobirthing you can’t have pain relief, can you?

This is a continuation of the point above. It is your birth and you can choose what you prefer. Practicing hypnobirthing is not martyrdom! It is not a case of, if you use hypnobirthing you cannot use anything else. Many women who practice hypnobirthing in preparation for birth find that they do not need any other tools for birth, but every birth and every woman is different, so every journey and what a woman chooses is going to be different. We are very fortunate in the UK that we have the options of gas and air, opiates, epidural, TENS and water available to us, we have choices.

  • Hypnobirthing is only useful for natural birth, only low risk women can use it.

Nope. .. . hypnobirthing is for everyone. That is because hypnobirthing is not a type of birth it is birth preparation. Many people have the idea that hypnobirthing is natural, drug free, pain free birth, but in reality hypnobirthing is a method of preparing for any type of birth. It is about being informed about your choices, feeling confident, feeling in control, being calm and comfortable so whatever birth you have it is a positive experience. With that in mind you can have a positive home birth, water birth, hospital birth, caesarean birth, induction, birth at the side of the M25, whatever birth you have it can be improved with hypnobirthing education.

Many midwives say after doing the training that it is even more beneficial to ‘high risk’ women, as they often have a harder time staying relaxed and have more decisions to make. The KGHypnobirthing course gives them the skills to deal with whatever comes their way.

There are lots more questions and misconceptions about hypnobirthing that I will address in another blog. But for now I wanted to address some of the ones that came up today.

Now, I’m going to dig into my MAMA goodie bag, put my feet up and enjoy the Glasgow scenery!

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