Very simply, it is using Mindfulness and Hypnosis for the preparation of birth. Here, I will briefly explore what that means, how you use it and its benefits for pregnancy and birth.
What is mindfulness? It simply means being present, here and now. Without distraction. Not ruminating about the past, getting caught up in the ‘shoulds’, not being held up by fear or anxiety, but letting go.
How does it work? It requires us to sit for a limited time, relax and focus, allowing thoughts to come and go. Not labelling them, nor judging them or getting caught up in them. We gradually learn about the transient passing of every thought as we move to the next moment. With daily practice it is a gentle, relaxing and effective way of letting life be as it should.
The effect of mindfulness is best described as 'quieting the chattering monkey’, that constant stream of thoughts and feelings which fill our mind, distracts our concentration, eats time. I like Andi Puddicombe’s analogy of the mind being like a lake; each thought we have creates a ripple, the more we think the more ripples; a restless mind is torrid. When we sit with mindful focus we quiet these thoughts and the ripples fade until still. With a still mind we can see clearly with calm contentment. We strangely feel increasingly resilient to pressures, able to see ourselves in the context of the world around us and better able to gently feel connected to ourselves and our body.
How can mindfulness help during pregnancy and birth? Each pregnancy is a unique and an unfolding journey. Which can, at times, feel anything from a little unsettling to completely overwhelming. Mindfulness helps you see situations with perspective, teaching you how to relate and respond. Benefits to pregnancy includes; deep relaxation, improved sleep, improvement of pregnancy niggles like heartburn, sickness, stress, anxiety. The positive effects to mum are also felt by the growing life in the womb.
A mindful birth connects the mind to the body’s natural ability to give birth. Deep trust, calm focus and clarity brings the ability to be present and truly embrace childbirth. Most birth attendants, such as midwives and doulas, will testify that when left undisturbed, this inward focus is often the natural state the birthing mother turns to.
What is Hypnobirthing? Put simply, it is hypnotherapy for birth. Essentially, hypnotherapy involves inducing a state of deep relaxation which allows access to the subconscious mind to which positive suggestions are offered and fears or anxieties eliminated.
How does it work? The state of hypnosis can be achieved via a skilled hypnotherapist or be taught in a technique of self-hypnosis. There is a powerful link between body and mind. Don’t worry, you are not under any spell, at all times you retain free will.
What is the effect? Hypnobirthing teaches you how to access a deep state of relaxation, you then listen to gentle positive suggestions which dispel fears around birth and affirm your natural capability to birth your baby.
How does this benefit your birth? When you instill positive thoughts and feelings around birth, then you believe and carry those thoughts of a calm, controlled, content birth. In turn you feel this experience.
As a midwife I know that birth is not always without medical interventions, but we know that keeping birth calm and as undisturbed as possible will provide the best results whatever the circumstances. I have witnessed hypnobirthing used in all birth settings including inductions, caesarean sections, and instrumental deliveries. The techniques you learn prepares you for childbirth in any circumstances, anytime.
So, why Mindful Hypnobirthing? If you can use hypnosis to instill positive thoughts and beliefs in the capability to birth and hone the skills of mindfulness with gentle daily practice then you achieve the benefits of both. It seems a natural marriage with obvious complementary and combined benefits. You don’t have to choose one method; mindfulness or hypnobirthing. You can have both.
‘Hypnobirthing is not just about relaxed, calm, pain-free birth, it’s about creating strength, belief and resilience…’ Sophie Fletcher, author of the bestselling book Mindful Hypnobirthing and founder of Mindful Mamma.
Mindful Mamma offers Group and Private workshops which accompany the book Mindful Hypnobirthing along with MP3 meditative audios. Workshops are available around the UK and beyond with qualified practitioners each personally trained by Sophie Fletcher. We also offer practitioner training and short course for existing qualified hypnobirthing practitioners who, like me, wish to incorporate mindfulness to their hypnobirthing practice.
For more information and find your nearest practitioner visit www.mindfulmamma.co.uk
Instagram | Facebook