Posted with written permission...
"I would definitely recommend this course to anyone! It really helped me focus on the task at hand and calmed me down in the weeks coming up to my birth. I only started this course at week 35 and wish I had listened a lot more to the mp3s, however in the short space of time it still helped me cope very well with labour.
I was due my little girl on the Friday 7th Sept. My waters broke at 2am on Monday 3rd. My contractions became quite strong from 8.30am onwards, I got into the birthing pool at 10am and my baby girl Lilah was born at 11.24am!
I had her at a birthing centre with only two paracetamol and a water birth. She weighed a massive 10lb! This course reassured me that my body could give birth, as my biggest fear was not being able to push baby out. Although it was tough I just remembered my affirmations and that got me through it.
Thank you so much to Alice for this course." - Ingrid, Leicester
Posted with written permission...
Medena's birth story...
"Your hypnobirthing course was INCREDIBLE. I started quite late in my pregnancy at 33 weeks and was looking for something I could do on my own and with my birth partner at home. I listened to the mp3s every day, often multiple sessions, which helped me immensely to relax, visualise, breathe, fear cleanse, and imagine the birth experience. I could almost recite all the affirmations by heart which I found so so helpful, and empowering.
I really wanted a natural birth and to connect with my body and immerse myself in the experience. My birth plan and dream of giving birth at Cambridge Birth Center had to be adapted when I got diagnosed with mild pre-eclampsia the day after my due date, and I accepted an induction of misoprostol oral tablets and a foley balloon.
Nothing happened for 24 hrs and I was just about to start pitocin and had taken a sleeping pill.. then my water broke and I went into immediate active labour for 6.5 hrs (contractions 90 sec and 2 min apart to start!!!) including 2 hrs pushing, and our baby girl Marina was born!
Even as a track runner and triathlete, it was the toughest physical experience I’ve ever gone through but I stayed emotionally strong and focused throughout using the hypnobirthing mp3s on a little speaker on repeat, breathing techniques (ohm-ing to relax and embrace the contractions), visualisation of my body opening like a flower, massage and encouragement help of my amazing birth partner Alex, and riding the waves towards our baby, birthing ball and using the tub for contractions.
Pushing was harder than I expected and chugging apple juice right beforehand helped a lot with sugar!!
2 days monitoring and we are finally home settling in to parenthood!!!
Thank you Alice! I’d be happy for you to share my birth story, in fact I’d love it. Women should not be fearful of labour, but trust their incredible bodies and know that you CAN DO IT.
My doula raves about how good your mp3s were and loved your voice. I’m so happy I found your course and was empowered to give birth naturally like women have done for 100s of 1000s of years!!"
"I had my beautiful baby girl Florence at 12.54am on Sunday (19/08/18). I was induced with a pessary at Treliske in Cornwall (14 days overdue, decided to induce due to pelvic girlde pain), around 4pm.
By 5.15pm we started counting mild regular contractions. I stood and cuddled my partner through most of these! By 9pm I was monitored and checked at almost 5cm, and I moved upstairs to the new birthing unit a little after 10pm, where I planned to have a water birth.
I had been managing contractions with breathing, affirmations in my head (and from my partner), and the use of lavender and some clary sage on a tissue. I was very warm and decided I wasn't ready for the pool and continued to labour actively.
Using my techniques gained from Alice's MP3s and a little gas and air I was able to let my body take over, and my baby was born very calmly in to the world with just a couple of stitches for me!
It was so different to my first very medical labour.. thanks to Alice's MP3s I was calm and level headed throughout, and so was my partner. As a result we have a beautiful serene little baby girl! I will recommend to anyone who listens!"
A recent study of the causes and outcomes of fear of birth published in the Australian College of Midwives' Women & Birth, concluded that:-
"Stress, anxiety, depression and lack of social support are associated with fear during pregnancy. Need for psychiatric care and presence of traumatic stress symptoms are reported outcomes together with prolonged labour, longer labours, use of epidural and obstetric complications.
Nulliparous and parous women have similar levels of fear but for different reasons. Since the strongest predictor for fear in parous women is a previous negative birth experience or operative birth, we suggest it is important to distinguish between fear of childbirth and fear after birth.
Findings demonstrate the need for creating woman-centred birthing environments where women can feel free and secure with low risk of negative or traumatic birth experiences and consequent fear."
This review is really interesting, because hypnobirthing is all about reducing fear during birth... It's so important during pregnancy to foster confidence, relaxation, mental well-being and good support.
"I had the most amazing birth on Tuesday, my little Sophie was in a rush to come out.
I probably didn’t do as much “active hypnobirthing study” as I should, however I listened to it to go to sleep every night and I could hear the music in my head during labour, especially the “positive birthing affirmations with Wah”.
My waters went on Monday afternoon, followed by slowly building tightenings, which thanks to the online course I knew to expect and breathe through - even managed to sleep for a few hours through them!
Then we went to the midwife-led birthing unit and (thanks to the online videos of breathing techniques), I sounded like I was playing a kazoo throughout my labour and it helped wonderfully.
In between each surge I was my normal chatty self, I would then zone out when each surge came. I instinctively knew each phase of my baby's birth and was in tune with my body completely, even my midwife commented on it!
I had my perfect water birth after 2 hours of labour and 5 minutes of breathing my baby out.
Thank you for your fantastic course and daily affirmations! I will miss those!"
"I enjoyed the daily affirmations email, the weekly story taught me many important things and the info on your website was very helpful. The birth plan was invaluable! Xx
I listened to the mp3s and also had sessions with a local hypnotherapist for some extra practice. The two went very well together. I planned a home birth after reading the lovely stories on your website.
I had an intense early labour through the night and it took all my concentration to breathe through it. I was so uncomfortable between contractions I didn't feel I could get up. I didn't even ask for the hypnobirthing tracks - big mistake. At 5cm I was ready to throw my birth plan out the window and ask for hospital and epidural.
Later I was helped into the pool and when my husband put on the mp3s the relief I felt hearing that familiar music was instant - I felt so much stronger and calmer. And actually that time from 5cm through to birth was far easier than the first half had been, even pleasurable at times.
The gas and air arrived so late I didn't bother with it, I had no pain relief other than the pool, head stroking and the hypnosis. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have coped without the hypnobirthing. My baby was born at home, 8lb10, in the presence of my little boy, everything I had wished for. I'm so proud of the gentle start I gave her and she's a contented little thing."
An effective birth partner is 100% confident about birth and hypnobirthing, super organised and ready & willing to support a mother in any way she wants... After a disappointing experience, Isla in Cornwall wants birth partners to create and follow a 'list of jobs'. I've written a sample list below which includes Isla's suggestions."After a rather traumatic birth experience with their first child, this couple's birth was filled with moments of love and peace. I loved how they were working together, holding hands while she was circling on a birth ball"
Isabell Steinert Photography from '35 raw birth photos of Dads' HuffingtonDuring pregnancy...
- Be honest about how much you'd like to participate, and consider hiring a doula to support you both
- Write a 'tick box' chart for the day. This is agreed together beforehand so you don't forget anything
- Check the bags regularly: make sure that baby, mum and partner(s) have everything they need (including phone chargers). Make sure that you can find items quickly
- Set out and manage the 'mammal-friendly' scene wherever mum happens to be. Use the hypnobirthing MP3s / music, lights / candles, scents and (if applicable) fill the birth pool and keep it up to temperature
- Be present - don't just read the newspaper or watch the TV!
- Make your partner comfortable. In between contractions proactively offer plenty of treats, sweets and various different drinks so she doesn't have to ask you
- Offer the physical support and encouraging words you've been rehearsing in the last few weeks
- Take lots of photos
- Look after the midwife and offer her food / drinks
- Be honest about how much you'd like to participate, and consider hiring a doula to support you both
"I loved your voice, and listened to all your tracks regularly from 34 weeks, especially affirmations. I also went over the theory sections of the website several times.
From the beginning to the end of my labour I listened to you on repeat with my headphones on! It kept me very focused and in my zone, to the point where I panicked at transition when I couldn’t hit repeat on my phone quick enough!
I had a quick birth. My baby's waters broke on their own at home at midnight. I got up to the hospital to be triaged at 1am (3cm dilated). She was born two hours later, with transition very brief.
I remained upright as long as possible and birthed her leaning over the back of a bed on my knees. It felt very intense and powerful.
I used gas and air for an hour at the end and this was a good distraction coupled with the hypnobirthing track.
She came into the world calmly and without a cry, but bright eyed and alert. I attribute this to the techniques learned and the trust placed in my baby to come when she was ready.
‘Your baby and body know what to do' - and thank goodness for that!’ Thank you!
I’m so proud of her and me"
I'm quite enjoying doing these - a new one every day, emailed to Hypnobirthing Online course subscribers :)
"Cora-Mai was born at 9pm on Monday eve after only being induced at 3.15pm the same afternoon! It was a really positive experience.
The midwife did a sweep and put in the pessary at 3.15pm and by 3.30pm I was having really strong contractions lasting almost a minute and only 1-2 mins apart. They took the pessary out after about 2/3 hours to slow things down a bit, but I was just in natural labour by then and there was no stopping it.
When they checked after 3 hours of this there was no dilation and the cervix still needed to thin, so I opted for some pethidine, which was the only pain relief available at that stage as I was still on the ward. I guess it did take the edge off but not much, but what it did do was completely relax me so that I could even use some of my Hypnobirthing techniques and really breathe and try to relax my body during contractions. I found the process so much easier to cope with second time round and knowing what the different stages feel like [Jo's first birth was very intense!]
It was really quick at the end again. The midwife came to say they were going start filling a pool and take me up but I knew I was in transition and I probably wouldn’t make it. They went off to make beds and I had to get Ant to go and tell them that the contractions were starting to bear down.
So they rushed me up as quick as they could, crashing my bed into every lift and door frame on the way, haha. And as I got off the bed and crossed the corridor, her head came out as I walked through the door, so they just chucked a load of towels on the floor and caught her as she came out. It was quite funny at the end, they were all very shocked I did tell them Asta was quick.
Anyway, thank you again so much for your help and advice. Both my babies would of been born far differently if it wasn’t for you and for hypnobirthing, and I really appreciate that - neither do I frown on pain relief because every one is different. For me a bit of help actually helped me achieve how I wanted things to turn out, so I feel in no way disappointed that it played a part.
All that said, I still don’t feel I had much to do with it. Our bodies are amazing and we really just sit back and let it do it’s stuff and try to be brave!
So, the moral of the story is ... I was induced, had pain relief and pretty much gave birth standing up in a corridor, but for me it couldn’t of gone any better it was quick, uncomplicated and Cora-Mai and I are both totally undamaged, what more can you hope for?"
Eleanor from Hayle tells us about her positive birth, transferring in to give birth after a long time at home:-
"Thank you so much for passing on your valuable knowledge and positive birth techniques, helping me to remain calm and relaxed throughout labour and giving birth.
It was a long 36hrs of labour at home before making the decision to go to hospital for extra help as my labour kept stalling.
I did end up having the syntocinon drip and and epidural. I truly believe that having your positive affirmations carried me through each stage of my birth journey with peace and confidence.
I have also found the parenting track really lovely to make a part of my get-ready-for-bed routine and feel your course has played a vital role in our positive parenting journey.
Thank you so very much, a special gift you have."
Congratulations to Emma, Jolyon and Ailla on the arrival of baby Alcea! Emma tells us her birth story...
"At 4am I started to get some strong period pain sensations. I stayed relaxed and tried to mentally tell my baby "you are welcome to arrive this morning", as I'd already had some cramping sensations on previous days that hadn't led to labour.
Within the hour the cramps had moved onto full contractions which I breathed through easily, moving onto my hands and knees, and using visualisations that I had practised with your MP3s. I stayed calm enough that I dozed off between a few of the contractions!
Things progressed well, the midwives were called and once they arrived I was assessed and I was dilating well. I moved downstairs to the pool and once I got in things progressed quickly with a strong urge to push. My husband used key trigger phrases that I had selected from the MP3s that I had found useful, such as 'breathe down to the baby' and calmly laid his hands on my shoulders. I encouraged him to read about the transition phase which he therefore recognised and was able to support me through. I definitely found this the most challenging part of labour.
Within about half an hour of getting in the water, at at 9:11am, I delivered my little girl and brought her up to my chest in the pool. Throughout the labour I didn't require any pain relief and labour progressed smoothly and calmly.
I am delighted by how both of my births have gone and I give great credit to the hypnobirthing techniques that I learnt with you, so thank you! I tell anyone who will listen about hypnobirthing :)
Sienna's birthday, by Klaire...
After my first hypnobirthing experience I felt confident in my body's ability to birth. and felt no fear regarding the process what-so-ever.
I reached 36 weeks in my pregnancy and my braxton hicks were getting so frequent and strong that I was willing my baby to stay put for just a couple of weeks longer.
38 weeks came and went. Every few days I would get regular strong braxton hicks that I excitedly thought could be the start of labour. I spent my 'due date' crying. It seems silly now but I felt like I was 'overdue' after weeks of feeling like labour was a moment away.
The next morning I woke to more mild tightenings. I didn't want to get my hopes up so I mostly ignored them. I got up, made breakfast for my 3 year old son Jacob and got him dressed for nursery.
Afterwards we sat on the floor playing together and I realised the sensations were still frequent. I wanted to focus on them, so I put my headphones in, switched on my hypnobirthing mp3s and closed my eyes. I imagined my baby, in my mind I spoke to her and I told her how ready I was to meet her.
I told my partner Matt that I 'may' be in labour and I wanted him to set up the birth pool (we had an immersion water tank and I wanted to make sure we had enough time to fill the pool with warm water).
We kept Jacob at home with us, he had been well prepared for what he would see and hear at his sister's birth and he excitedly helped set up the birth pool with his Daddy.
I put some clary sage in an oil burner and sat on my birth ball. I was feeling calm and relaxed. I used my hypnobirthing practice to stay focused on the present moment, rather than wondering too much about if the sensations would progress.
At 11am I got into the birth pool, shortly followed by Jacob who wanted to cuddle me and catch the baby, yes he really was that excited!! Jacob was in the pool with me for around 30 mins and I noticed that I hadn't felt a single tightening while he was in the pool. My focus had shifted naturally to him! Matt got Jacob out and put on a movie for him in the lounge.
I asked Matt to rub my shoulders, realising that my labour may have stalled. As Matt massaged me, a huge wave of oxytocin came over me and with it a huge surge!! I instructed Matt to keep his hands - off me - from then on haha! I soon got back into the gentle rhythm of my labour (interestingly throughout my labour whenever Matt or Jacob would kiss or touch me I would have a way too powerful surge! The power of oxytocin was just too immense for me).
Our doula arrived at around midday and sat quietly crocheting in my kitchen watching over me and instinctively knowing when to bring me sips of water or take my excited 3 year old back into the lounge. She was amazing!
I felt so safe with her there, I knew she would advocate for me, having built up a strong relationship during my pregnancy. My contractions strengthened and intensified to the point I really needed to focus on them, but they were not yet painful. I had planned to call an NHS midwife when I felt labour was getting serious.
(Background: I had requested a hands off 'watch and wait' approach to my birth. With no VEs, intermittent monitoring of baby's heart rate, no blood pressure monitoring, no chatting or questions directed at me. Basically I don't like to be touched or disturbed when I am birthing. This didn’t go down well with the Supervisor of Midwives who called me up weeks before my due date to discuss her concerns regarding my birth plan. I lost trust in the midwifery team, I didn't feel confident that my preferences were being heard, I wanted their support, but I was not prepared to be coerced into abiding by the 'nhs protocols' so I made the decision to not involve them, until I felt that birth was imminent.)
At around 2.45pm I felt a very powerful sensation followed by a pop. My waters had gone. Almost instantly my body started pushing and I felt my baby’s head descending. I put my fingers inside my vagina and felt her head, she was close, adrenaline pulsed through my body, I was breathing rapidly. I had skipped 'transition' completely and gone from painless contractions to pushing my baby out. There was no midwife. Just me, my partner and son, and our doula.
I announced I could feel the babies head, my doula sensed the panic in my voice. 'just breathe' she said calmly...
She was right! Panic wouldn't help me birth my baby. I breathed, I focused, I tried to control her rapid descent, I willed my body to open and stretch. I took long deep in-breaths and blew them out with a gentle groan.
Without a break from spontaneous pushing, my baby's head was born as I was leaning forwards on the side of the pool, with both Jacob and Matt holding me. I sat back, kneeling upright, reached down and felt her soft fuzzy head. I then leaned backwards, smiling as my body took a well deserved pause.
As the next wave began to build, I reached down and put my hand on my baby's head, feeling her body glide through my fingers as she gently emerged into the pool. Sienna was born at 3pm.
I looked through the water, at my tiny little baby, still curled up almost unaware that she was no longer in my womb. I gently lifted her out of the water with both hands. As her face met the warm summer air, a little hand stretched out to touch her. It was her big brother who had just witnessed her birth and was already asking to hold her.
I rested my sweet little Sienna on my chest. She was slow to breathe, perhaps a little shocked by her speedy delivery. I felt her cord, it was pulsing strongly. I blew lightly on her face and she took a deep breath and began to grimace. She pinked up quickly and opened her eyes, she was just as alert as her big brother had been when he was born, Sienna took in her world, her family, her doula and then settled in for her first breastfeed.
I felt strong cramps while Sienna was feeding and my placenta came away fully intact after about 40 mins with a few pushes. We popped the placenta into a bowl and had a good look at it, what an amazing organ it is. I passed Sienna to her Daddy who was waiting with a towel for her, and handed the placenta bowl to my doula.
My family sat on the couch admiring our beautiful new addition, while my doula helped me out of the pool wrapped me in my dressing down and showed me to my postpartum ready made sofa 'nest'.
I fed sienna again and noticed her cold white floppy cord pressed into my tummy. I decided we should probably call a midwife. After a little confusion I explained that I wasn't in labour, but had already given birth.
I reassured them all was well and I was told someone would be with me in an hour to assist us with cutting the cord. We all sat and enjoyed making phone calls to loved ones and sharing the news of Sienna's arrival.
My doula left, after a giving me a big cuddle and having a sniff of my sweet baby’s head. We ate some food and realised the midwife had not yet arrived. We called again and one arrived within 10 mins. Matt cut the cord and tied it off using a cord ring. The midwife listened to Sienna's birth story and said it sounded exactly like what I had hoped for. It really was, I am not sure I would have felt brave enough to plan an unassisted home birth. But the way it turned out was perfect. The midwife left.
Matt, Jacob and I put on our PJs, kissed each other good night and went to bed, Sienna tucked into my nightdress skin-to-skin and Jacob cuddled up to his Daddy. We were now a family of four."
"I got through 17 hours of labour using Alice’s wonderful advice without any drugs.....thank you Alice.
The Truro Birth Centre was mega and the staff were amazing, I floated about in the hot tub for quite a few hours and had to go to the delivery suite in the end for an assisted delivery, which wasn’t what we’d planned, but the result was what we wanted.. e.g. a cute baby!
He was calm throughout the whole process and I put this down to Hypnobirthing and the importance placed on being calm, breathing and being positive.
He’s doing well and is just scrumptious. Oh it definitely made a huge difference, I would recommend it to anyone....in fact I am telling everyone who listens about how amazing Hypnobirthing is!"
"Our new addition arrived on Saturday night, a little boy, we had a home birth which was just incredible!
I felt so in control and everything happened very quickly, 3.5 hours in total and only 20 mins of pushing.
My previous labour lasted for 24 hours so quite an improvement. I think this is partially due to the course.
I worried before that perhaps I hadn’t listened to it enough etc but I think even what I did was so worth it. I had the affirmations playing during the birth which was a wonderful gentle reminder to keep going and I could do this.
I was so pleased to get the birth I wanted, as this is our final child and our family is now complete.
We couldn’t afford a course in our area as they’re £250+ so this online version was so much more accessible for me.Anyway, huge thanks to you, I’ll be recommending it to my other pregnant friends!"
Super cool brain science...
Your imagination is a powerful tool. It can dictate, to some extent, how we perceive sensory information including images, sounds, tastes and feelings, including pain.
Re the laurel / yanny phenomenon... Altering the volume or pitch isn't a complete explanation, because with practise you can teach yourself to hear either word at will
Neuroscientist Gabriella Musacchia says that faced with confusing information, the brain decides within a fraction of a second what it will hear.
“We use statistical probability to make almost all of our perceptual decisions... you hear what you listen for."
Play the video and see what happens when you decide to hear either the words 'brainstorm' or 'green needle'.
So what's this got to do with birth?
Some mums report that they decided to interpret the sensations of birth not as pain, but as 'power', 'warmth', 'surges', 'rushes', 'waves' or a 'strong physical sensation that requires all of my focus'.
This isn't woolly wishful thinking. Evidence suggests that self-hypnosis does indeed seem to significantly alter the perception of pain.
Practise controlling physical sensations with the 'comfort dial' (in your pregnancy relaxation MP3).
Test your skills by getting someone to give you a good chinese burn, whilst you focus on keeping calm and breathing deeply!
A great addition to my toolkit for teaching breastfeeding to expectant parents in Cornwall
I met Rae (and her beautiful cats) when she was an excited first-time mother in 2014; providing her with birth doula and hypnobirthing support...
"I have practised Alice's hypnobirthing techniques in every pregnancy and birth and I really cannot imagine labouring without them. I am so grateful that her knowledge and skill has helped me have joyous, wonderful births. I feel almost evangelical about spreading the word of hypnobirthing - it gives women back such a mind blowing power and trust in our bodies.
When I was unexpectedly induced because of pre-eclampsia with our first son, the affirmations helped me to stay grounded, happy and focused despite everything going on around me.
I thought my second birth was pretty amazing but when our beautiful third child, our second daughter, arrived everything was even more instinctive and relaxed.
Early and then active labour was at home in our bedroom... chatting as our 3 year old watched Thomas the Tank Engine and our shoe-obsessed 1 year old bossed me around trying to get me to put on leopard print wedges (!), while the cat got into the wardrobe and noisily insisted that I joined her and made a nest to deliver my kittens (!!) I smile so much when I think of it and I was also smiling lots at the time.
As my contractions intensified I used Alice's breathing techniques and continued to listen to the affirmation tracks downloaded to my phone. I felt calm and in control throughout and in a very short space of time (my labour was 4 hours from the first contraction to holding our daughter, something I attribute to hypnobirthing and letting my body take over completely), I was standing and breathing my daughter out... Something I had heard of but not experienced before in my other two births.
It's hard to put the memory I have of it into words, but my body knew exactly what to do and the hypnobirthing helped me be in the perfect mind space to let it. It was incredibly intense, with every inch of my body involved, but not in any way frightening, painful or even an effort really.
I felt the strongest I have ever felt in my life and very in-tune with my daughter too. We were working together for her to be born in the most beautiful way.
Lots of people also commented on how content my little ones seemed in their first few weeks and I'm sure that's down to the peacefulness that hypnobirthing gave me and them through labour.
Thank you Alice. A hundred times over. I am so, so grateful to have first met you and been able to use hynobirthing to bring my three babies into the world xx"
I'm loving all of my postnatal survey feedback! Here's Charlotte in France giving us her recent experience giving birth to her baby girl Alba...
"After being told it wasn't medically advised to have an epidural I started looking for natural ways to cope with the labour.
I felt the course helped me focus my mind and be calm throughout, thereby making labour more effective.
I only started the course 3 weeks prior but the midwife commented it was the most 'zen' labour she had ever been at... she said she would never forget it- so something must have worked!"
Lauren in Illinois tells us about her hypnobirthing experience:
"My first two children were both induced a week late, and with the second one, it was an intense and painful experience. I was really wanting to avoid that again.
My third birth experience using hypno-birthing was pleasant and satisfying. Hypno-birthing really helped me remain calm, relaxed, and positive. I listened to your mp3s and the calming background music throughout the entire experience. When my labor kept stopping and going, it was frustrating, but I just listened to and repeated the affirmations that I had been practicing and it made me feel calm and empowered.
I did end up having pitocin and eventually an epidural, but the mp3s really helped me remain positive.
Thank you for helping me have this wonderful experience! This program is also perfect for parents that already have children. All the classes I found in my area were not only very expensive but were not conducive to parents that would have to find childcare one night a week for multiple months.
This program is affordable and nice because you can go through it at your own pace.
I made a collage of all the affirmations and put it on my wall where I saw it every morning when I woke up.
The only problem I had was staying awake through the hypno-birthing tracks. I tried it at different times of the day and in different places, it didn't matter, I woke up about 20 minutes after the track ended almost every time. I think it is because being pregnant with two kids is exhausting
It also takes up a lot of your spare time, however I feel it was totally worth it. I only started this in my third trimester, I may have gone even further without an epidural if I had started this at the beginning of my pregnancy.
It helped me keep a positive outlook during my pregnancy and during labor, I would recommend hypno-birthing to any new mom-to-be!"