Colchester, Essex Workshop

This one day workshop is running on Saturday 24th February 2018 in Colchester, Essex from 10am to 4pm.

Workshop sizes are small to ensure time for open discussion.  Our workshop will help you and your partner to feel confident, excited and relaxed about your baby’s birth.  This workshop brings to life the bestselling Mindful Hypnobirthing book and you will learn practical mindful hypnobirthing techniques.

Nicola Garland will run this workshop in Colchester.  The venue is easy to access by road and rail and there are places to eat nearby.  The class costs £130 per couple so please book one space to cover you and your birth partner.  To book a place a £30 non-refundable deposit is payable, after which you will receive access to the MP3s. Refreshments are included but please bring your own lunch.  Full payment of balance is due shortly after booking your class to confirm your place.

Nicola Garland is a Mindful Mamma Practitioner running classes in Colchester and the surrounding area.  Please email if you have any questions or if you cannot make this date and wish to arrange a workshop on another day.

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End of plan- Not the End of the World

12317995_10153175255372805_1778958690_o-1Today I’ve got a story to share with you, with the kind permission of Rebecca, whose son Otis was born on the 25th of November this year.  18 months ago Rebecca was terrified of giving birth and so when she became pregnant she knew she needed help. The hypnobirthing class Rebecca did changed that, and although her birth didn’t go to plan it was a very positive experience.

I always say to people that hypnobirthing is about the experience more than the outcome.  A mother who has a positive experience, is well set up for parenthood emotionally and physically. The preparation a mother undertakes during pregnancy also benefits the baby. We know now that stress can have an impact on baby’s development  – hypnobirthing practice reduces that stress and it’s not uncommon for women who have birthed after preparing with mindfulness or hypnosis, to say that their baby seems very calm and settled.  Perhaps also a reflection of their mother’s state of mind.

Caesarean births happen, and there should be no recriminations or sense of failure.  Instead you can allow yourself to celebrate the truth that you nurtured, loved and grew your baby for 9 months, you prepared to welcome your baby with love and you opened your arms with joy for your baby when they were passed into your arms for the first time. Rebecca did not feel bullied, coerced, or pressurised into that decision – she made it from a place of intuition, and a place of acceptance and love.

Thank you for sharing your story Rebecca, and welcome to world baby Otis. x

End of the plan….not the end of the world.

12343312_10153175255697805_1111643507_o-1I attended a Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing workshop in Nottingham when I was about 32 pregnant.  Prior to the workshop I had read the book and had been listening to the hypnobirthing track every day from about 24 weeks.  I was also doing active birthing classes and tried to remain relatively healthy during my pregnancy and was still at the gym 3-4 times a week up to 40 weeks in the hope that this would help make labour a bit easier.

One of my birth preferences was that I would do as much as the labour as I could at home and then go to the tranquility of the Sanctuary Midwife Led Unit at QMC, Nottingham, where I would have a drug free (well maybe a bit of gas and air) water birth and intervention would be kept to a minimum.

I soon found out that baby Slater had other ideas.  Week 40 came and went as did week 41.  I was listening to my hypnosis tracks, using my birthing ball, side stepping up hills and stairs, walking and reciting my affirmations, you name it I was doing it.  Whilst on the one hand I was feeling extremely calm, relaxed and even excited about giving birth I was also aware that time was ticking before talk of induction would be raised.

I had been booked for induction on Sunday 22nd at term +12 and must admit I wasn’t massively keen on the idea.   I already knew that I didn’t have to accept induction and when the 22nd arrived the hospital were happy for me to just pop in and be monitored.  I was told that baby seemed happy and went home praying that he would make his arrival overnight.  This didn’t happen, so on the Monday after much discussion between myself, my husband and the hospital we decided to go ahead with starting the induction process.

On the morning they gave me a 24 hour pessary.  My husband and I did lots of walking around the hospital grounds and I started getting tightenings.  They seemed quite intense and were coming every three of four minutes for about 5 hours.  I stayed overnight at the hospital and used a TENS machine and listened to my hypnobirthing tracks to help me relax enough to get some sleep.  When monitoring me and baby the midwives kept commenting on how well I was handling the discomfort and the fact that even through the tightenings baby was remaining extremely calm.

On the Tuesday they checked and although my cervix had softened it wasn’t open, so they inserted a six hour tablet with the view that this would open my cervix and enable them to break my waters.  The tightenings intensified on Tuesday so I continued to breathe through them, repeated my affirmations, took a bath and my husband was brilliant talking me through my breathing and reading through the relaxations for me.

I was sent down to delivery but come Wednesday morning when they examined me my cervix still wasn’t showing any signs of opening so they were unable to break my waters.  They said that they could try again or I could have a C-section.  After some discussion with my husband and using BRAINS I decided that I would have the section.  Although this had been the last thing I thought I wanted Mindful Mamma ensured I  had the knowledge and confidence to ask the questions I needed answered and enabled me to make an informed choice that I felt was right for me and my baby.

As baby was still showing as very happy on the monitor and I had managed to remain calm and positive throughout I decided that I didn’t wish to continue trying as I didn’t believe that the next phase of induction would work.  I decided that I would rather get baby out whilst we were both calm, rather than risk trying again and ending up with the baby in the distress and needing an emergency section.

12349672_10153175255177805_371543459_oI remained focused and calm throughout the surgery.  The theatre team even commented on this, as I chatted away.  Otis Vincent Slater made his very chilled arrival into the world on Wednesday 25th November at 4:22pm weighing 7lb 14oz.  One week on and the main comments we get from visitors is how content and calm he seems.  I think Mindful Mamma (as well as his daddy’s genes) has played a part in this as it helped me relax and stay calm not only during the birth but also throughout the pregnancy and I think that has affected Otis.

I must also say that a number of midwives I encountered commented on how impressed they were with my birth preferences, attending Mindful Mamma made it possible for me to put together a set of preferences that covered everything I wanted in a simple, yet effective manner.

I don’t think I would have handled the circumstances I found myself in anywhere near as well if I hadn’t completed Mindful Mamma and I have already been recommending the workshop to friends.

Whilst the section wasn’t what I planned and the discomfort and recovery time are frustrating I am taking the positives from the situation.  I’m somebody who is usually running around and busy, busy, I think the section has made me slow down and just enjoy this precious time with Otis in a way that I may not have done if I had had the birth I planned, so every cloud has a silver lining.



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I’m going to be have a labour induction can I use hypnobirthing? Yes!

A Labour Induction and hypnobirthing.

Ellie’s birth

I  know mums who have had a labour induction because of medical reasons, but I also know mums who have been induced because they’ve gone over their dates and have chosen to have a labour induction rather than be monitored.  In another blog I talked about the different options around going overdue and what labour induction really means under these circumstances. But today I’m going to write about mums that have been induced for medical reasons.

Personally I’m not a big fan of labour induction if there is no medical reason for it, but when there is a medical indication then it may be the one of their few options. I speak from experience, I had a labour induction because of medical reasons at 32 weeks, but I still had choices in how I trod that journey and had a successful VBAC. So I know how, even in circumstances you may not have planned for, how being in the right headspace can make a difference.

This week I had the privilege to work as a doula with a couple who too had a labour induction for medical reasons and I saw from the other side how they were able to make choices which had a positive impact.   At one point the mother was sitting on the ball bouncing and chatting while the monitor was recording regular contractions when the doctor came in to have a long chat with us as he hadn’t seen a labour induction like this before and wanted to understand more. (scroll down to the end of the blog to see a short video)

As the contractions got stronger, the dad and I helped mum focus using deep hypnosis anchors that had been strengthened in preparation for labour and massage on her lower back.  We had her moving, not always on the bed where you often see women who have been induced but on the ball, leaning over the bed. Sometimes she did rest on the bed and we did a deep hypnosis relaxation so she could collect her emotional and physical strength.

The labour was quick, and baby was born without any other intervention and mum without any need for stiches. Afterwards the midwife who did the earlier shift popped into see the mum and sent me this message later   “I was over the moon to see she had a beautiful normal birth because I could see how the path may have been leading…with the meconium and decelerations….I went to see Charlotte the next day and she looked utterly radiant sitting and breastfeeding her baby.”

I think I’m guilty of perhaps unwittingly scaring women in the past about having labour induction. It’s true to say that it is often harder as your body is not producing it’s own oxytocin and natural painkillers, but it is still possible to choose to make that journey free of other intervention and to enjoy the experience.

It’s even more important for a mother to understand that if she is having an induction for medical reasons, or even when not, that keeping herself as calm and focused as possible will have a positive impact on the baby. I’ve often heard midwives say that babies with mums who are calmer and more focused, are less likely to become distressed.

These are the keys to making sure that you are well prepared to use hypnosis during birth

Preparing for a labour induction

If you have prepared mentally using hypnosis or hypnobirthing you are conditioning your body to respond positively to cues in your environment such as music, aromatherapy, touch.  This can be invaluable when there may be not much time to ‘think’.  A good hypnosis for birth course will put these in place and emphasise practice along with a birth preparation mp3.

Birth Attendants

Get a great midwife. Say you will be using hypnosis on your birth plan, very often if you have this on your plan you will be matched with the best midwife on the unit to support a birth with as little intervention as possible. The assumption is often if a mum has done hypnobirthing that she can’t do it with an induction, this isn’t true, hypnosis can be a brilliant adjunct to a tougher birth.

A strong, calm birth partner can make a huge difference. Think about a doula or someone, perhaps a friend, who doesn’t have to be there the whole time but who can come and step in to give dad a break.

Keep the (natural) oxytocin up and the adrenaline down

With a labour induction or any other sort of intervention the risk is that the adrenaline creeps in. Hypnosis can help you stay calm, visualisations can help increase your natural oxytocin.  Remember that the best thing you can do is to stay calm, relax your muscles and breathe deeply.   At one birth I was at I remember walking through the hospital to the shop and every single person I walked past turned and gave me a warm smile – oxytocin is amazing stuff.


People assume if you’ve had a labour induction that you’re tied to the bed, the lights have to stay on with the monitor bleeping away.  Wrong!  With an induction take even more care over your environment, you’ll have plenty of time to move the bed, turn the lights off apart from a small spot light. Turn off the lights on the resus unit (they’ll turn these on well before baby is born if they need to), turn the sound off or down on the monitor and cover the screen up with a t-shirt or something. Believe me, a monitor will have everyone in the room fixated on it rather than watching and tuning into mum, so good to keep it’s presence to a minimum.  A baby can also have variable heart rates and be fit and well, if you are untrained every dip may seem a problem and increase fear.  Get a ball in the room and make sure the leads are long enough to move off the bed.

Put some aromatherapy oils on and play some music, ideally your hypnosis mp3s.

Keep positive

Take each moment at a time, be mindful of each tightening and how it is working for you. Birth partners should use positive suggestion all the time, especially to counter any negative suggestions from the medical team.  Nobody can guess how a mother will dilate, how the baby will respond, what the outcome will be, take it one moment at a time and emphasise the positive.

Keep your strength up

In early labour or while waiting for the induction to be set up, while you can, make sure that you eat. It’s very easy to neglect to eat properly when you are waiting for a labour induction. Hanging around for the cannula to go in, then the drip, then waiting for the drip to begin to work can take a long time and it’s easy to lose track of how long it actually takes and to forget to eat. Keep some healthy snacks, sandwiches, and food nearby and keep hydrated.

Even in second stage, stay relaxed, take deep breaths and tune in to your body. 

Several antenatal classes hypnosis and otherwise, talk about learning birth breathing. In Mongan’s HypnoBirthing it’s called a J breath, I’ve also heard it spoken of as a plunger, like a coffee jar, turning the breath inwards and to your bottom.  If there has been a labour  induction because of medical reasons, the staff may want to get baby out quickly and sadly often seem to instinctively in these circumstances switch to “chin on chest, puuuuuussh” far more than allowing a mother to follow her instincts. This is known as valsalva pushing, you can read more about why this can negatively impact a baby  and is now not recommended as good practice by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology here. If you do gravitate more to pushing hard, remember to take deep breaths in between, and to relax your jaw with each breath.

Third stage

If you have had syntocinon as part of your  labour induction you may be advised to have syntometrine to help with the delivery of the placenta. Depending on the circumstances you can still ask for skin to skin immediately, if baby is alert and breathing, even if there is merconium, baby can be put straight onto your chest.