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Hannah Barnes Hypnobirthing

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But I have a Toddler - how can I find time to do Hypnobirthing??!

So you have a two year old, you're pregnant with your second, and it's really, REALLY tiring. Remember the first time around when you could just nap when you needed to and maternity leave meant vegging on the sofa eating Haribo, watching daytime TV? Not so much the second time round and it's really bloody hard right? And then there's me telling you that you need to find time to relax? And you think 'really lady?!!'. 

Calm Births Hypnobirthing

Calm Births Hypnobirthing

I know lovely, I've been there too - when I was pregnant with my third baby, I was dealing with a 3 year old and a 2 year old and, quite frankly, it sucked a lot of the time. I was just permanently knackered and they were just permanently crazy. It was relentless. I literally forgot I was pregnant for a lot of the first two trimesters - one memorable occasion a lady at a toddler group asked me when I was due, and I actually asked her 'when's what due?' She must've thought I was batsh*t crazy as five seconds later I remembered I was pregnant and told her when I was due.  BUT. I knew that I had to do something, I knew that I had to make time for this poor little baby who hadn't asked to be the third down in the pecking order. I knew how important it was to create space, time and love just for him or her.

And so this is how I know that it can be done - you just have to be a bit more flexible with it. In my continuing experience a lot of the relaxation techniques are actually massively beneficial for parenting too. When the children are going crazy and you're feeling the stress rise up, you have the tools and techniques to make you feel calm - and by practising this you are giving your baby some chill time and love too. Win-Win!!! 

When pregnant with second (or subsequent) baby you often just need to fall into bed at 8pm, but there's nothing stopping you falling into bed plugged in to your Relaxation audio, and falling asleep to the positive self hypnosis tracks. 

I KNOW it's difficult, but I also know that it is so worth it and you and this little baby will benefit so much from you just squeezing in any relaxation practice that you can each day. You deserve it, and this little one does too. 

There are some really interesting studies around how what we do during pregnancy shapes who are babies become. There's a wonderful TED talk here, where a scientist explains several studies that have been undertaken which have determined that our babies whole brain structure is altered according to our behaviours during pregnancy! For example how we eat determines how their metabolism is formed, if they perceive that they are coming into a world of scarcity because Mummy isn't eating much, then their body will form so that they store calories when they eat to keep them going for longer. Amazing right?

I tell you this not to terrify you, but to remind you of how important it is to care for yourself, and to just take any minutes you can to sit quietly with your bump and relax each day.  Many of the relaxation and breathing techniques we learn in Hypnobirthing can be done whilst sitting with a toddler who's playing. Your toddler will just think you're Supermum being all calm and chilled - and I can pretty much guarantee you'll notice a change in their behaviour too. 

In practical terms, a Hypnobirthing course is 5 sessions - so this means either finding a babysitter for 5 two hour slots, or having the classes privately in your home after your other child or children are in bed. It is achievable, and it is definitely worth it, I promise you! 

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How bad IS induction of labour?...

So one question which always lingers in people's minds is how to use HypnoBirthing techniques if they are induced - won't it all go out of the window? Well, the answer is no, it won't. I want to reassure you that the process of induction isn't an evil thing to be dreaded, and you have everything you need to make it a positive experience with HypnoBirthing. You can read about two positive births following Induction here - just look for the stories of baby Flora and also Tabitha.

So induction can be suggested to you for various reasons, sometimes because you are considered to be 'post dates', sometimes due to clinical indications that you or baby would be safer if baby was born sooner than later. This is not a post to merit the pro's and con's of why induction is called for (that's a whole post on it's own!)- but about the process itself. The below outline is on the assumption that you and baby are in no clinical compromise, and it's important to remember that each woman is individual and will therefore be treated accordingly. This is really a guideline for how it works if you are induced for being 'overdue' or there is no clinical urgency to birth your baby. It's really important to know that Midwives are aiming to do everything they can to help your body take over and go into labour with a nudge, they will be encouraging you to do everything possible to help along the way.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

Once you are in your due time (and remember, there is a FIVE week window in which you are considered 'term' - from 37 to 42 weeks) your Midwife might offer you the option of having a Stretch & Sweep (awful name, I know) sometimes referred to as a 'Membrane Sweep'. This is a vaginal examination where the Midwife will locate your cervix and attempt to rotate her finger into the OS - this is hoped to trigger the cervix into releasing prostaglandins, which will encourage your body into labour. This process can be uncomfortable as the cervix can be quite far back, it can cause some uterine tightenings afterwards too. Studies have shown that it can help avoid any further means of induction, and that there is no increased risk of infection to the woman. Personally, I would weigh up how you feel about vaginal examinations - if they feel you with horror and anxiety then it might just be counter productive for you. If you don't really mind and are actually really keen (by 41 weeks for example) to go into labour, then discuss it with your Midwife. This is only offered as an option, it's not something you have to have. Don't forget to eat your dates at this point too - read about that here.

Different NHS trusts have different policies on induction, and so I won't go into specifics of what happens but try to paint a general picture. If it is agreed that induction is the best course of action for you, and you both understand why it is needed and are happy about it, then the ball will start rolling with your admittance to a labour ward. The first thing to happen will be an insertion of a pessary into the vagina which contains prostaglandins, which will help to ripen the cervix. This is a bit like a tampon usually, and is left inside the vagina for 24 hours - you will usually need to stay in the hospital, and the Midwives will encourage you to go for a walk, and to stay active to let gravity help you. This method is often all that is needed to give your body a kick start into going into labour, and then your body takes over and does what it's supposed to do to birth your baby.

If, after 24 hours, surges haven't started or become regular, then you will be examined again to see what is happening. Trusts vary on this, but some will give you a further 12 hours to let nature take over and others will want to intervene straight away. The next stage is usually for the Midwives to attempt to break the membrane seal, or 'break your waters'. This is another vaginal examination but is painless, it's really just popping a balloon with a plastic hook - it doesn't touch your skin or hurt you, it's usually quite a feeling of relief as the fluid releases.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

This is then enough for some people's bodies to take over and go into labour, and varying amounts of time are then allowed for a woman's body to do it's thing. If, after the allotted time, labour still hasn't begun then the Syntocinon drip will be introduced. This is begun on a teensy amount, and gradually and slowly increased if it's needed to in order to encourage your uterus to begin tightening. Now, it is begun slowly, but as your body is being 'put' into labour at that point, you don't have quite the same amount of endorphin build up as if you had begun to labour naturally, and so pain relief is usually offered to you. If you need it, use it - there are no points awarded to someone for needing pain relief and refusing it!! This is the time when you need to remember all of your HypoBirthing techniques to help you to build your own endorphins, plug yourself in to your Relaxation audio, use your visualisations and light touch massage - birth partners need to pull it all out of the bag at this point!  

The key is to remain open minded and positive, just go with the flow at each stage, and embrace each stage as one nearer meeting your baby. Focus on the end goal of holding your baby in your arms, and their gaze meeting yours for the first time. You have all the breathing techniques and relaxation techniques that you need to make this a wonderful, positive birth so enjoy it!! xx 

 

 

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A Dad's perspective..

I had the pleasure this year in working with the lovely Sarah & Jon-Paul, in preparing them to meet their baby. They enjoyed a wonderful calm birth for their gorgeous daughter Adaline, and Jon-Paul subsequently wrote me this wonderful letter from a Dad's perspective, this is a must-read for any Dads unsure about taking the course:

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

"Hannah asked how we felt following the course and I could not think of anything but the feeling of excitement.

Before the course I had not really thought about the labour and birthing process in enough detail. My responsibility and the actions I would need to take to support Sarah were yet to be processed in my mind. When thinking about the actual experience for Sarah, I had felt apprehensive due to the preconception of the pain she would need to deal with.

Even without the course, I know I would have done more to prepare myself to support Sarah. However, I now ask myself the question - would I really have been able to feel the confidence, excitement and feeling of calm that was achieved following this process?

The resources and knowledge about the birth process that Hannah offers was actually the element I did not expect from the course.

The exciting thing however stretches beyond preparedness. Being prepared practically and logistically is one thing, but what this course does (if you are open to it) is to allow a total change in mindset through mental exercise, education and the calming of the body through breathing.

For me, the mindset change through mental exercise and education about the physical process of birth, allowed us as a couple to forget the negative preconception. Terrible pain is not inevitable, birth is not traumatic. Birth is positive. With this new mindset, birthing is what it is and you are empowered to embrace this.

Breathing is a major element for both Mum and Dad. Breathing helps to focus the new mindset through calming the body and mind. The education element of the course showed us that it also plays a huge role in the birthing process for Mum - and it did.

I summarise this course into 3 elements:

1. Breathing resulting in calm and breathing for labour

2. Mental preparation, education and mindset change

3. Preparedness - mentally and logistically.

All elements are as important as each other and in my opinion is the reason HypnoBirthing works.

It makes one think through the birthing process more fully with a qualified and experienced Midwife. This gives you the important skills, knowledge and attitude to deal with the labour and birth.

I have not mentioned the actual birth story at all. Well, my Wife summarised her experienced best: 

"At the first Midwife follow up, when the Midwife asked how my birth was.. I replied: "lovely".

17 weeks in, Adaline remains calm, happy and delightful. Is this down to the Calm Birth process? I feel it is the way in which she entered the world and the lasting mindset of positivity and calm in which we try our best to bring her up with. Thinking about the future, I can't think of anything but the feeling of excitement."

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How to save your baby's life..

Your baby choking... turning blue.. your worst nightmare right? And one of those horror stories that we have all heard about happening - would you know what to do? 

I recently met up with the lovely Rachel Moffatt, who is the founder of Ladybird First Aid - a company devoted to helping parents learn life saving first aid techniques for their children so they know exactly what to do to help their babies. Here is what Rachel said..

The lovely Rachel Moffatt

The lovely Rachel Moffatt

Can you tell me a bit about yourself, and how you got into your business? 

My name is Rachel and I live in Henley on Thames with my husband and 2 children, Jack ,3 and Ella, 1. I originally trained to be a Paediatric Nurse but didn’t complete my training and switched to a Degree in Biology (2:1 Hons) instead. This was a firm foundation for embarking into the Corporate World.

It wasn’t until I had my own children that I myself wanted to participate in a basic Baby and Child First Aid course.  However, I struggled to find one as I had a baby and toddler in tow and it was at this point that I realised how helpful it would be if the trainer could come to your own home in the evening or weekend to teach the class. I started researching to see if anyone offered this in my area but to no avail and so, with my academic and business background, I thought I’d set up my own business to teach first aid, making it as easy as possible for people to participate. I retrained as a First Aid Instructor and I can now offer an array of Certified First Aid courses, including adult courses, but I specialise in Paediatric First Aid.

How long has the business been running, and roughly how many people do you see each week?

Ladybird First Aid has been running for nearly a year and half now and it varies how many people I teach each week.  Sometimes I can teach just 1 class a week, sometimes 5 classes. There may be 4 people in a class, sometimes as many as 20.  It varies which is nice. Babes in arms are welcome too in classes so, if I’m lucky, I get cuddles whilst teaching which is always a bonus.

Tell me what Ladybird First Aid is all about, and what you do for people.

Ladybird First Aid offers parents, grandparents, carers and parents-to-be, baby and child first aid classes in towns and villages in and around the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire borders as well as in the comfort of your own home.In just 2 hours you learn what to do in the vital minutes whilst waiting for the emergency services to arrive.  This includes CPR, recovery position and choking. We also cover burns, head injuries and meningitis plus more… the 2 hour classes can cover babies (birth to aged 1) and children (1 -11 years), just children or children and adults – the choice is yours. The aim of the 2 hour classes is to give parents more confidence and not to scare them; they are nice and friendly and informal! Ladybird First Aid also offers Certified First Aid courses such as 12 hour/ level 3 Paediatric First Aid (Ofsted and EYFS recognised) courses and goes into Primary Schools and Nurseries to teach and as well as running courses on weekends and evenings for Childminders and Nannies.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

 What would an average session look like?

An average session is 2 hours and is in someone’s home in the evening when their children are in bed. Often parents encourage grandparents to participate in the course with them, especially if they are helping with childcare and I frequently receive requests from NCT groups getting together to join in the course. The class can adapt to whatever size room is available; as long as there is enough space in which to practice CPR, we are OK. The classes are always informal and questions are encouraged as we go along. Also, if there is anything specific people wish to cover, this can be accommodated too such as anaphylaxis or using a defibrillator. For larger groups we will hire a venue such as a village hall.

Which areas do you focus on particularly? 

In a nutshell Baby and Child Basic Life Support and especially choking as that is what lots of parents fear most.

 Do you suggest that people refresh their skills after a certain amount of time?

Yes, ideally once a year as I’m afraid that people forget First Aid and what to do! I always remind people that if you are in the unfortunate position where you have to call 999/112, the Emergency Services Operators are fantastic and will talk you through what to do, but obviously if you have done the course, you are that one step ahead.

What is the best way for people to get in touch with you to learn more or book on?

Contact me directly by emailing rachel@ladybirdfirstaid.com or calling 07812 164350

Ladybird First Aid is offering any followers of Calm Births a 10% discount on home or local venue 2 hour classes if the class is taken before 2017. I still have day and evening slots available in December so contact me to book.  My next open/local venue 2hr baby and child first aid class is in Henley on Thames on Wednesday 7th December, 10am – 12noon and there are still spaces available.

You can also find Rachel on Facebook or her website which is: www.ladybirdfirstaid.com 

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