When teaching classes using hypnobirthing techniques, I often come across people who are sometimes worried about not knowing they are in labour and not getting to the hospital in time. Many women who do the Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing class just don’t experience the type of pain or drama that you associate with labour you see on TV.
I always reassure clients that they will know when they are in labour, and baby is on their way, to trust in their instinct even if they are only experiencing a pressure or tightenings. Usually this is why hypnobirthing babies are so quick to come, because mums can experience tightening or pressure, or nothing at all, in early labour, becoming more aware of labour nearing completion as the tightening or pressure becomes more intense.
A colleague of mine who had done hypnobirthing once talked about a client who took herself into hospital saying she needed an enema, she was found to be 10 cms dilated. Another client of mine just felt a little out of sorts and for some reason wanted to call her midwife, who told her she was 6 cm dilated and in established labour. These women just ‘knew’, without even consciously realising. My personal experience was being put on a monitor to measure my contractions, which confused the midwives even more because the reading didn’t match my responses. The machine must have been broken! I think it even got a kick from one midwife.
How others around you witness a hypnobirthing labour progress.
While mums may know they are in labour others around them may not. It’s often I hear mums say that the midwife thought they were a long way off only for dad to spot the head emerging. I often hear of midwives telling the mums to stay on the phone while they have a contraction to assess how much pain they are in, but usually if you tell them you’ve done hypnobirthing she says “come in quick!”, because a midwife familiar with it will know that presentation can be different. In the 6 years I’ve been teaching, as far as I know, I have never had a mum turned away from a unit told she was not in labour, but last week this happened, twice to the same mum, and her little girl was born into her dads arms on the floor of their hall. Her body took over and she didn’t even know that she was in the ‘pushing stage’ until baby’s head was emerging. Luckily all was well, they have a beautiful little girl, and an incredibly proud dad who has an amazing story to tell his daughter.
This mum knew she was in labour, which is why she went to the unit. She should never have been sent home. But what do you do if you are worried about the midwives not believing you are in labour or not getting to the hospital in time if you are planning a hospital birth and have done hypnobirthing?
- Trust in your instinct, if they are turning you away based on observing you through your surges/pressure/tightenings, tell them you have done hypnobirthing, or are using hypnosis for birth and have learned specific techniques to help with labour. If you are worried ask your practitioner for a small factsheet or letter to give to the midwife on how hypnobirthing mums may present differently. You have the option to request a vaginal examination at that point if your instinct is that you are baby will be here soon but they want to send you home.
- If you are sent home you have the choice to call your community midwife. I have known mums to go home and call the midwife in the community saying that they are comfortable, they don’t want to move again and aren’t going to go back into the hospital, very often mum will feel instinctively that she hasn’t got time to go back into hospital. This is known as an unplanned home birth and legally they have to attend you and come to your home. “
Hi, I had an unplanned homebirth! I went to the hospital, but they sent me home without examining me! When I got home I knew that I was close to having the baby so I rang the community midwife team based at our local childrens centre. They sent a midwife out to me straight away, and when she found that I was fully dilated she called them back to ask for another midwife. As you can image this wasn’t planned for and nothing was prepared for a home birth delivery! All went well. Midwives were fab and stayed for about an hour afterwards to make sure I was ok. All in all a positive experience!
- Have a planned homebirth. Home birth is very safe for low risk mums and is particularly compatible with hypnobirthing. The midwife is much more able to watch your progress by observation over a longer period of time and you don’t have the worry of travelling backwards and forwards between home and hospital.
- When practicing your hypnobirthing, breathing or relaxation imagine a period of time that you want to know you’re in labour. It may be 3 hours before baby is born, or 4 or 6. Perhaps write yourself an affirmation “My body will let me know that my baby is on their way 3 hours before they are born”.
- Think about hiring a Doula. A doula will be with you at home, or when you leave for hospital. They will know you’ve done hypnobirthing and will act as your advocate either getting you to hospital or calling the midwife to your home at the right time.
- Rest assured that this is a very unusual thing to happen, tune into your instinct, your body and your baby. Trust that you know what is happening more than anyone else around you and that this just goes to show how powerful the mind can be. At the end of the day these stories are a wonderful endorsement that hypnobirthing works.