What is hypnobirthing?

In the words of Melissa Spilsted, Founder of Hypnobirthing Australia, "Hypnobirthing is a just a fancy name for positive birth". Hypnobirthing helps you to reframe or positively condition your mind about birth so you can approach your birthing day with calm, confidence. Birth is often portrayed in a very negative light in our culture, and sadly many women do have negative (even traumatic) experiences. The fear this creates has a real impact on how we prepare for birth and how labour unfolds. Hypnobirthing gives information (= power) and a suite of proven tools you and your partner can use to stay calm, focused and relaxed in your mind and body through pregnancy and labour. Deep relaxation through self-hypnosis is a key focus (but certainly not all that's covered) because releasing fear, and the tension it creates, really is critical to labour starting and progressing as easily and quickly as possible. Essentially we use guided relaxations, hynotic scripts and anchoring to get into a deeply relaxed state. While we're there we short-cut through to the subconscious mind to top it up with lots of beautiful, positive birth affirmations and imagery. Why? Because our beliefs at the subconscious level shape how we see, feel and react to the world. If we have positive beliefs about ourselves and birth we can have a much more positive experience of labour and birth.
Anyone can do it, with practise, even busy-bee analytical types like me. And, it's a great life skill that will definitely come in handy for parenting!

I don't think I can be hypnotised, is hypnobirthing for me?

Noone can be hypnotised! Stage mesmerism is just that. Stage craft. As a certified Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner I've never got out a pocket watch or made someone act like someone or something they're not. I don't believe in that stuff either!
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotic state is just a deeply relaxed, almost trance like state, where we can switch off the conscious mind, let go of limiting beliefs and make a positive reorganisation happen within the mind. We're not asleep, under a spell or out of control at all. Quite the opposite.
In hypnobirthing we give you the tools to go away and practise so you can get really good at it. It's true that some people are more 'suggestive' or able to let go into a deeply relaxed, hypnotic state more quickly. But, really anyone can do it with enough practise. The more you do it the easier it becomes. I come from a background in research with a busy, analytical mind. One of those people who doesn't ever fall asleep on the massage or acupuncture table. If I can do it, anyone can! And, of course I did. My second baby Fern was born quickly and easily thanks to the Hypnobirthing Australia course.

Is hypnobirthing just for people planning a natural, drug-free birth?

No. A natural birth definitely has short- and long-term benefits for you and your baby, which we discuss in the course. However, the information and tools we give you will help you to have a positive birth experience, no matter how it unfolds. There's even a change of circumstances / positive caesarean Hypnobirthing Australia course for people having a planned caesarean birth.
Milli Hill, Positive Birth Movement founder and author of The Postive Birth Book, said:
"A postive birth means a birth in which a woman feels she has freedom of choice, access to accurate information, and that she is in control, powerful and respected. A birth she approaches, perhaps with some trepidation, but withour fear or dread, and that she then goes on to enjoy, and later remembers with warmth and pride.
A positive birth does not have to be 'natural' or 'drug-free' - it simply has to be informed from a place of positivity as opposed to fear. You can birth with positivity in hospital or at home, with or wthout medical intervention. You can have a positive caesarean, or a positive home waterbirth. Positive birth is about approaching birth realistically, having genuine choice, and feeling empowered by your experience."
Here here! Rest assured, with the Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth course you get accurate, evidence-based information about your choices, guidance on creating your birth preferences and a host of proven tools you and your partner can use in all different circumsances, no matter what happens on the day. You can't control your circumstances, but you can choose how you respond to them and we support you to respond from a place of positvity, not fear.
We also cover all the different types of medical intervention or assistance that is available - how, when, why it can be helpful and the risks associated.

I can't see myself lying down or being still in labour. What about active birthing and other techniques?

The name hypnobirthing makes some people think it's all about being quiet and still in labour. Some women do give birth that way, but lots don't! We also give you plenty of effective, evidence-based tools to create a positive pregnancy, birth and bonding experience, including:

  • movement - spiralling the hips, positions for labour, active birthing
  • vocalisation
  • specific breathing techniques for each stage of labour
  • massage
  • acupressure
  • creating a conducive birth environment
  • using water, heat, TENS, rebozo
  • birth preferences and communictaing with caregivers
  • diet and nutrition
  • staying active in pregnancy
  • optimising baby's position.

What is the Hypnobirthing Australia course curriculum?

There are four units of approximately 3 hours each:

  • Creating & maintaining a positive mindset
  • Our toolkit for birth
  • Preparation & choices for empowered birthing
  • Birth - bringing it all together.
There is a mix of theory and practical, giving you a chance to get hands on and put the tools into action. We have several beautiful birth videos showing Australian and NZ couples who have done the course using the tools. I also give examples from my experience supporting couples in a range of Sydney hospitals that are directly relevant to your pregnancy and birth care. See the Hypnobirthing Australia website for the full details of what's covered in each unit.

When is the best time to do the course?

Anytime from 22-36 weeks. The more time you have to practise the better really.

Do I have to attend with my partner?

If you don't have a partner or your partner is unable to attend you may like to consider bringing along a friend or family member who might be able to support you in labour.
If your partner is the person who is going to be supporting you in labour, it is highly recommened that they do the course with you. A big component of the course is showing them how they can be a really great support, keeping you feeling safe, loved and comfortable throughout labour and birth.
I can teach you privately at your home or mine if the group course dates don't suit you. There's also the online course, with the option for a follow-up 90-minute session with me.