Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Scientific evidence that hypnotherapy keeps you relaxed during labour

I was contacted on twitter the other day by a lady who had listened to the Natal Hypnotherapy tracks as preparation for her birth. After the birth she posted this incredible image of the tracker report from her Microsoft Band which she put on at the beginning of her home birth.


What we can see from this is the trace of her heart beat, expended energy and duration of labour.  The most striking thing is that throughout her labour her heart rate actually went down apart from a tiny increase during the birth. Her heart rate and level of energy expenditure where high in the beginning (what we term the excitement phase) when she was probably still more active and understandably super excited that she was going to have her baby very soon.

As the labour progresses she begins to slow down her activity, relaxing deeply and only experiencing an increase in heart rate during contractions.  This shows so clearly that staying calm, relaxed and focused means you expend less energy and put less strain on your heart. She burned a total of 493 calories which is the equivalent of playing golf for an hour and a half - a far cry from the Google stimate of an average labouring women burning 50,000 calories!

The reason hypnotherapy works so well in labour is that 
a) mums-to-be condition their bodies to relax so they can "actively" relax muscles on command for example when a contraction begins
b) they have practised deep breathing techniques which help the flow of oxygen to the uterus making it easier for the muscles to work effectively
c) they have over come any fears or worries so that they have little or no adrenaline which can cause tension in muscles.
d) They completely trust their bodies to know exactly what to do and so are not "fighting" the labour in any way.

If you are interested in learning more about things you can do to stay calm, relaxed and focused during labour download this informative poster Click to download your poster

Mum Jen said "This is the third birth during which I have used your Natal Hypnotherapy and all my birth experiences, while all vastly different, were amazing, empowering and life-defining. 

Paul had given me the Microsoft band for my birthday a week earlier and we had talked about using it during labour then. This was also related to an article I read about the lack of female input on technology development in Silicon Valley. While the Microsoft band is fully kitted out to support a round of golf- there aren’t any functions related to pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum experiences like breastfeeding for example. 

So I wanted to record my labour and share it with Microsoft in the hope it would catch an eye and perhaps other people would use their bands to do the same. Obviously, my data is pointless without other data to compare it to. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if a woman, not using Natal Hypnotherapy (or similar) recorded her labour experience? I wonder if her heart rate would spike higher, or build over time (as opposed to mine). If the data would show how much ‘harder’ labour is physically if you are fearful or even the body’s response to the use of other forms of pain relief? 

So, I would love to get the word out and encourage other women to record their experiences and perhaps, even to influence the Microsoft Band’s development."




Would you consider using a band like this to monitor your physical responses during labour?

I would love to know if you used anything like this and what the reading was.

I have asked Jen to be my next guest blogger as I think her birth stories are really inspirational so click "join this site" to read that in the next few days.

You can also get info on all my latest blogs, videos, webinars etc by signing up and getting my 5 steps to a better birth poster Click to download your poster 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Make use of your senses to prepare for birth

When I got out of the shower this morning and put a newly washed towel to my face, the smell of the towel suddenly took me back to my grandmother’s bathroom. Bizzarely, I have not thought about her bathroom for years! As I stood there remenisicng for a few moments, it reminded me of just how powerful our sense of smell is as a trigger for memories and emotions.

So when preparing for birth you can actively start to create these triggers by using all your senses in the lead up to the birth which will give you a heard start to staying calm relaxed and focused.

1.   Smell – start burring oils like lavender or rose when you are relaxing in the later stages of pregnancy.  This works especially well when listening to your hypnosis recordings.  By doing this at least 7 times in the weeks leading up to the birth, your mind will automatically make the association of the smell and your physiological and mental state of relaxation. In addition familiar smells increase the production of the fabulous birthing hormone Oxytocin.

     2.     Sound – I once supported a lady in labour whose hobby was glass ringing (when you run your finger around a glass and it makes a humming sound).  She found the sound incredibly soothing and relaxing in general life.  When in labour her husband just had to run his finger around the glass once and you could visibly see her body completely relax – no one said anything or even touched her – just the sound sent her into deep relaxation. Find some music that you really enjoy that relaxes you and again play that during your pregnancy when you are actively relaxing. If you are using Natal Hypnotherapy then make sure you have the Relaxing Birth Music (the background music) to play during the birth

3.   Touch – so many of us instantly relax when we feel someone’s hands begin to massage our shoulder or when we have a bear hug with a loved one. Touch can feel so safe and reassuring.  You can practice this by asking your partner to place his hand on your shoulder when you are relaxing in the bath or at times when you are listening to your MP3.  Again you will begin to associate the touch with the physiology of relaxing.

     4.     Visual – Isn’t it amazing how looking at an old photo of your wedding or a holiday can immediately bring about feelings and memories?  Again you can use this trigger by putting up photos around you of places and times that made you feel really happy and relaxed.  Keep these with you so you can use them as a visual trigger to help you relax and refocus.  You can even bring in objects like a babygrow as a reminder of what you are working towards.


5.   Taste – this is not such an obvious one but you can still use this sense to help you stay calm and focused.  In the lead up to the birth have a glass of a favourite drink.  As you take a few sips, close your eyes, breathe deeply and really enjoy the taste in your mouth. Relax your shoulders and being to imagine being somewhere really wonderful, really relaxing.  Then take another sip and make the feelings and images even brighter, even stronger.  Do this every time you are about practice your hypnosis.  The taste will soon become another trigger for relaxation and calm.  Then during labour when you have a few sips of the same drink go through the same exercise and the relaxation and calm will automatically follow.



To get more great ideas and top tips Click to here and get a FREE 5 steps to a better birth poster


All the best for now

Maggie