Next up in our series celebrating all things maternal, we are putting the spotlight on Hypnobirthing with guest blogger Lauren Ray Hensey. Lauren, who is based in Strandhill, Co. Sligo, Ireland is an Acupuncturist, Yoga teacher, Childbirth educator and the founder of Full Circle Health which provides a range of services for both women and men. Including yoga classes, acupuncture treatments and hypnobirthing classes. Lauren’s aim is to nourish, inform, assist and empower people in discovering a deeper sense of wellbeing, mentally, emotionally and physically.
What is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing has become more and more popular with expectant mothers in recent years, It combines the knowledge of birth physiology with techniques to help each woman to achieve the birthing experience she desires. Visualisation, relaxation, focused breathing, physical positioning, bonding, deepening exercises and many other techniques are used to help create a fulfilling and life affirming experience. Such is the recognised benefit of hypnobirthing that many maternity hospitals now recommend it as one of the techniques women can use to help them through their pregnancy and labour.
Having taught Hypnobirthing since the birth of my second child in 2006, it’s been an absolute honour to share this special time with expecting women ~ and more often these days ~ with expecting couples. I believe that Hypnobirthing starts from the premise that a woman’s body and her baby know how to give birth. You could even say the birthing process lives deep within our cellular makeup as women. Therefore, what we spend time on in our classes is not teaching a woman how to birth, but rather informing her and her partner about birth.
Your Pregnancy & Birth Toolbox
We gather up what we call “our toolbox” to use throughout pregnancy and birth. From breathing techniques to affirmations, relaxations, specific massage techniques and many more child and mother focused tools, we look at our perfectly created anatomy and physiology as it pertains to bringing a baby into the world.
We explore the birthing process under the premise that how we perceive our environment greatly influences how we react to it, and in order to understand how we are approaching or perceiving a situation, we must know - on a more intimate level - our own thoughts and feelings. It’s an important question for all of us to look at: what makes us comfortable, what helps us to feel safe, what feels threatening to us and what techniques might aid us in feeling supported.
Rest and Renew Mode
We learn that when we access our parasympathetic nervous system ~ our "rest and renew" mode ~ our bodies create the perfect chemical cocktail for baby to be brought naturally into the world. So, to add 2 + 2, when we feel supported and safe, our bodies actually birth better. On the other hand, what many of us may not realise is that when we feel unwell, afraid, or even a general quality of dis-ease these chemicals are replaced by stress hormones such as catecholamine that can slow and even shut down the process of birth.
In general, we can't control what we encounter, but we can control how we react to it. In the birthing realm, we explore that we have the power to choose how we work with ~or fight against~ both those around us and the physiological process that happens in a completely well-orchestrated way for your baby to be born. Below is a testimonial from a client who used hypnobirthing techniques during the birth of her second child.
I attended hypnobirthing classes with Lauren before the birth of my second child. I found Lauren to be skilled, knowledgeable, warm and nurturing. She is also incredibly generous with her time and will listen seriously to even the simplest of your labour-related worries. Lauren was particularly skilled at teaching breathing exercises and her relaxation exercises were second to none! I felt more relaxed and prepared for labour and thankfully I experienced a positive labour where I felt in control. ~JMcL
My Personal Experience
After my children were born, I noticed my perspective changed, my yoga practice changed, and the way I wanted to reach out to others also changed. In many ways I believe I found my calling through having the experiences I was given. From a challenging first pregnancy and labour to the use of Hypnobirthing with my second, I feel genuinely blessed to know the hardships and joy of the whole experience of mothering and parenting that begins during pregnancy.
Whether or not you decide Hypnobirthing is for you, remember even if you feel overwhelmed, either now or in the birth process- know this is natural, your body knows how “to do” this whole pregnancy and birthing thing, even if you have to keep reminding your mind!
In the spirit of better birthing,
Lauren Ray Hensey
If you would like to learn more about Hypnobirthing or Full Circle Health, you can read more here.