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midwives and hypnobirth

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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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Midwifery vs HypnoBirthing.....

I was asked recently why I left Midwifery to take up HypnoBirthing teaching. It took me a while to formulate an answer if I'm honest.  And then Facebook reminded me this week that it's been two years since I left my job as a Midwife. This brought up very mixed emotions for me, as I looked at the image of my little send off with my amazing colleagues at the maternity unit.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

I love, love LOVED being a Midwife and still believe that it is one of the most challenging, rewarding, amazing jobs in the world. I loved being a part of peoples journey's into becoming a family, or extending their family. To share in one of the biggest experiences in someones life, and hopefully help to make it the best possible experience in their given situation, is an honour and a privilege.

However, sometimes it's just not enough.

Often as a Midwife the first time you meet a couple is when they are coming in to hospital in labour, or when you are called to their home when in labour. By this time the destiny of that birth is almost already written, the mother is already pre-programmed with how she is going to birth. And all you can do as a Midwife is make that journey the safest, calmest, best experience possible in that moment. And a lot of the time that is enough, the woman is able to trust you, trust her body and trust her baby, and she achieves a beautiful, calm birth.

But sometimes, a woman is entering into birth feeling anxious, frightened, and sure that this is going to be the most painful, horrific experience of her life and it's just something she's got to get through. 

And this is why Calm Births is so important to me, I can get in there from the start, before the birth process is even close usually. I can meet families and re-write the destiny of their birth story, I can re-programme the beliefs and dismiss the anxieties around labour and birth. I can do my utmost to ensure that women and their birth partners are entering into labour and birth with a skill set to help them relax, trust in the process and even enjoy the process. 

And yes, I miss out on the birth itself, but I can leave that to my wonderful beautiful Midwife friends who do such an amazing job, and trust that with a combination of awesome antenatal education and lovely Midwives, we can make a difference to women's birth stories.

And that, is why I do what I do.  

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