Midwives are to offer hypnobirthing sessions to help pregnant women and their partners achieve a calm and positive birth experience.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will offer a 12-hour course for women and their partners from the autumn as part of an initiative to increase choice around giving birth.
Through visualisation and deep breathing, practised for weeks before the baby’s due date, women use hypnobirthing to work in harmony with their bodies and tune into their natural ability to give birth.
Janet Cairns, Head of Midwifery, said: “We know hypnobirthing has many benefits and can reduce the need for surgical intervention during labour.
“More and more women are using hypnobirthing during labour to help them feel calm and in control and we want to offer mothers and partners the widest possible range of maternity services, delivered by highly skilled and dedicated staff.”
Hypnobirthing is based on the work of English obstetrician Dr Grantly Dick-Read, a leading advocate of natural childbirth who wrote a book called Childbirth without Fear. He suggested excessive pain in labour resulted from women tensing their muscles through fear of giving birth.
Based on positive thinking, affirmations and suggestions, hypnobirthing allows women to use special calming techniques to achieve a more peaceful, comfortable and relaxed birth.
Benefits of hypnobirthing can include shorter labours, fewer surgical interventions, lower levels of stress and fear and a reduction in the need of pain relief.
Women can achieve a sense of euphoria after their babies are born with hypnobirthing, allowing them to bask in a rush of hormones to bond with their babies in the first minutes and hours after birth.
Partners are also able to play a more active part in the birth, supporting the women by sharing the visualisation and breathing techniques practised in the months leading up to their babies being born.
The trust has funded training for 23 midwives and midwifery assistants working in the community, the Labour and Delivery Suite at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital and the Fatima Allam Birth Centre in KG Hypnobirthing, a course accredited by the Royal College of Midwives.
From September, the trust will offer a 12-hour course costing £150, a competitive price compared to services offered by private firms, with the fully trained midwives teaching breathing and visualisation techniques to help women prepare for labour and birth. All money raised by the trust from the service will be reinvested in strengthening maternity services at the hospital.
Midwife Alex McCann, leading the hypnobirthing project, said: “The courses will teach women skills that can help them in labour and birth. It allows them to release their fears and adopt a positive attitude to birth.
“It builds on a positive view of birth, showing that their bodies were meant to do this so they can remain calm and in control.
“Our midwives have been trained as practitioners in hypnobirthing and will teach women and their partners techniques during the course.
“The women will then be given literature and material such as peaceful music so they can practice every day in their homes.
“Although there is a charge for the service, spending time and money on hypnobirthing is an investment that can benefit the woman, her partner and baby emotionally and physically.”
Women can find out more about hypnobirthing at the next HEY Baby Carousel, which will be held at the Clinical Skills Building in Fountain Street near Hull Royal Infirmary on Wednesday, April 24.
They can also contact the birth centre on 01482 607860 or email hyp-tr.KGH@nhs.net
[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]