experiences of natal hypnotherapy?(56 Posts)
I've bought the cd and listened to it for the first time today (the Maggie Howell one).
I didnt think it was something I'd personally go for, but as the big day gets closer I'm thinking I'll try anything!
I just wondered what people's views were after the event on whether it helped or not? I've done a thread search and can see lots of people planning to try it but not much of people's thoughts afterwards on how it had actually helped...
I used it with all 3 of my births (uneventful, problem-free homebirths as it happened). Like you, I was willing to try anything!
It's difficult to say exactly how it helped - I was relaxed and calm throughout, I used the breathing techniques and images from the CD and just hearing the start of the music had a positive effect on my mind.
Of course, it's impossible to say how things may have differed had I not used the CDs, but for me, it gave me confidence that this was something I could actually do and could even be a positive experience. I think that's invaluable - particularly when expecting your first baby and seem to encounter so many negative stories about birth. HTH
I have the CDs as well and am also doing a hypnobirthing class that uses the Mongan method and it's great so far. If definitely recommend the Mongan book as it helps give you the science behind it all along with visualisations and exercises etc.
This is my first so don't know how the birth will go yet but I definitely feel calm about it which is what I'm hoping to carry through to birth.
Some of the tips we've been learning too involve making the environment you are in as ambient and calm as possible when giving birth - e.g. Dark and quiet, using aromatherapy in the works leading up to birth during relaxation so you can use it during birth as well to help you feel calmer etc. We've also been encouraged to learn about things like delayed cord clamping and whether to deliver the placenta naturally or with assistance etc which are things if never thought of before.
Sorry the last bit veers away from your hypnotherapy question, just thought they might be if interest too.
Good luck with the natal hypnotherapy. I have heard only positives from people who have used these techniques - even those who haven't had the "ideal" natural no intervention birth seem to be able to accept calmly any intervention needed and feel positive after the birth.
Marking place as like you OP I'm open to trying and interested in others experiences..
I listened to the birth centre/hospital CD during both my pregnancies and I found it very relaxing/calming. Was definitely helpful during first labour when waiting in hospital for delivery room to be found as I was in a general maternity waiting area so trying to keep calm/quiet (perhaps too calm - I think if I'd made more of a fuss they would have found me a room earlier).
Passed on CD to family/friends and they've all enjoyed it and said it helped with keeping calm and relaxed during labour.
I will keep you posted as I have been listening to the Maggie Howell one too. Am 38 weeks now, traumatic induction then emergency c section last time so am trying it to makes me feel more positive about the prospect of giving birth this time!
Mind you I keep falling asleep halfway through so have only actually heard the final section one or two times (although sure it has been going in subconsciously). I usually jolt awake with a start when she says 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 eyes open and wide awake. I am not sure that is quite the intended effect!
I wouldn't worry Geordie as if you are waking up at the end you aren't asleep, you're just in a "hypnotised" state and it's fine not to consciously hear it as it will be going into your subconscious mind and working its magic (or so the theory goes )
Oooh this is an amazing video of a hypnobirth too
I gave birth on Friday and had listened to the natal hynotherapy tracks regularly throughout the pregnancy although i almost always fell asleep. I consciously used the breathing techniques (golden breath) in early labour, and once established labour kicked in I used a variety of techniques, mainly a stress ball from Juju Sundin's birth skills book, as breathing alone wasn't cutting it. However I listened to the labour music throughout my entire labour, and I've just listened to it again for me and bbay to nap to and found it v relaxing! I also used the breath techniques in between contractions to keep calm. I had a home water birth after two previous sections and didn't have any drugs, not even gas and air. I would recommend the hypnotherapy tracks as one tool in my labour mental kit, together with the Juju Sundin tips, and being at home (afraid of hospitals) with a trusted independent midwife.
Can't recommend Juju Sundin book enough, the hypnotherapy works with it, as Juju recommends all sorts of techniques for pain management including breathing/relaxation/visulation, however, when the pain got too big (her term) for breathing alone, I matched it with other techniques in her book, mainly movement and squeezing of a stress ball.
Oh and I did the Marie Mongan hypnobirthing course before my previous second labour and didn't really use the techniques as much, I stayed pretty calm til 9cm but ended up with emergency section, big difference using natal hypnotherapy in a home environment though, I think just being in hosp put me off the hypnobirthing techniques. Also as soon as I was offered gas and air in hospital it put me off hypnobirthing breathing techniques, so this time I deliberately didn't ask for gas and air.
Have just ordered the Juju Sundin book so thanks for that recommendation! Hoping I don't go into labour before it arrives!
Ooooh thanks fuckwittery, I'd not heard of that book so will order it!
Your birth sounds lovely, and congratulations!
It's my first so am unsure whether to have a home birth or go with midwifery led unit. Need to do some research and see which one I feel more comfortable with. It does seem like a much more relaxing environment as I imagine hospital setting isn't the most calming!
Can't recommend it highly enough. I used it for DS1 and had no other pain relief at all. It doesn't take the pain away but it makes it manageable. It's a brilliant tool to have ready - if you end up having epidural or caesarian so be it, but having this mental tool gives you a weapon in the armoury. Be warned - on those hypnobirth videos, they may LOOK like they're asleep, but they are doing a LOT of mental work! Good luck :-)
I hypnobirthed this year after taking classes with my husband. He was fully supportive and read the books, listened to the CDs etc. My local hospital told me I was not allowed to hypnobirth as I was high risk. I changed hospitals to find a supportive midwife unit. I found a supportive hospital that supported my hypnobirthing this was important to me as I did not want to feel stressed by the midwives whilst I was vulnerable.
I gave birth in the pool, the labour was longer than is normally 'allowed'. used the doppler in the pool instead of continuous monitoring. Used gas and air at the end.
The hypnobirthing cd was enjoyable, baby would move as soon as I started the breathing exercises whilst I was pregnant which is nice to do if you haven't felt baby move for a while.
It wasn't pain free at all, but very calming and positive. I asked for the placenta to remain attached until it was delivered (means baby cannot be whisked away!!!) and fed straight away in the pool.
I genuinely believe I would have had to have a c section without hypnobirthing (my first child was c section). The hypnobirthing definitely increased my confidence.
I did the marie mongan course before my first child was born and practised every day with the cd's too. Had a water birth with no pain relief and it was all very very calm and relaxed. Concentrating on the breathing and listening to your body (which does know what to do) was amazing for me! would highly recommend and i am now pregnant again and looking forward to the next birth :-)
I did my own hypno routine and found it really good at keeping me together and focused during a challenging labour.
I did a course in the Mongan Method of hypnobirthing with ds1 and had a lovely, calm, "textbook" homebirth. I never told my mw's that I had done the hypnobirthing course but they were so hands off and lovely anyway.
I never managed the full visualisation and "hypno" bit as back then I wasn't very good at unwinding my mind but the explanation of what my body would be doing, when and why (uterine contractions/surges, flowing of blood, hormones) etc.. took the mystery out of birth and gave me confidence that my body and my baby would know what it was doing. I used the breathing exercises to manage the "pain", and in the last 60-90 mins I had G&A due to high blood pressure (so it was that or transfer to hospital).
I listened to the rainbow sounds cd every night at bedtime and fell asleep to it, but sleep is the ultimate relaxed/hypno state! Anyway I put the cd on during labour, contracting every 2-3 minutes, and fell asleep for an hour so I was definitely conditioned to it! I still can't tell you what is on the cd beyond the intro music!
I definitely believe there is some truth in fear causes pain as i was managing perfectly fine until the mw turned up, i turned out to be further along than I thought and realised DH was not going to make the birth so I panicked a bit then but gave myself a mental talking to as panicking would only slow the birth down and got on with it
I am expecting dc2 now and will do a refresher course.
Anyone considering a homebirth - you can start at home and if you change your mind transfer to hospital WITH your midwife all the way if you don't like it at any point, but you can't go to hospital, change your mind and bring a mw home with you!
Oh and I only surrounded myself with positive birth stories - no watching OBEM or listening to my colleagues tell me how I cannot possibly give birth without an epidural and episiostimy (sp?)
My first birth was a traumatic, pushing for 3 hours, failed ventouse, kiebler forceps with no pain relief (not even a sniff of gas and air - absolutely awful to be refused pain relief, birth room looked like a sodding abbatoir (sp?) with blood everywhere, badly injured fanjo and that left me with PTSD and PNP.
My second birth was an early induction due to complications and once I was at the pushing stage I was terrified and ended up having a massive panic attack, but DD was out within a few pushes, however I did go into shock afterwards due to the speed of it all.
Decided to take control with my third birth. I hadnt planned to use Natal Hypnotherapy as pain relief - I planned to use it to keep me calm, focused and keep away any hysteria/panic that may creep up on me during the labour. I also looked at different labouring positions and other natural birthing aids. Surprisingly I did end up only needing minimal gas and air during examinations/having my hind waters broke and when I started pushing I was on all fours, completely clear headed, calm and focused. I had my iPod shuffle in my hand the whole time.
I put the iPod down once I started pushing and it was just amazing I remember DD2s birth so clearly and completely. If I ever have a 4th I will use it again.
I used it for my second birth and found it really good, up until the point where the midwives arrived (which was pretty late on) as then it was too distracting with people asking questions etc... to keep focused on it.
I also found it really useful to get to sleep too in the later months of pregnancy. I was nearly always asleep by the end of it, it really helped me to be distracted from restless legs!
I used hypnobirthing for my 40 hour labour - no pain relief (until he got stuck and ended in emergency c-section!) and can honestly say labour was a wonderful and empowering experience. and although there are elements that could be described as pain, a bit like strong period pains, the hynobirthing helps you breath through them and count them down and before you know it that contraction has finished.
I was at home when the midwife came to check me before I went into the stand alone midwife led unit we have here, and I was 6cm when she checked and was still smiling and chatting with lots of calm too listening to the music, my doula keeping me focused with hypnobirthing and a nice warm pack of cherry pips held on my lower back. (I spent the whole time sitting backwards over a dining room chair - you'll find the position that works best for you!)
Anyway, do give hypnobirthing a go - if you can get to a class, or even better have a doula who is trained in hypnobirthing - but if not use the cd, practise as much as possible and try to remember to use it on the day!
Oh and read Ina May's book, it will set you up feeling very positive!
I found it very useful. In fact, midwives didn't realise how far along I was over the phone when I called to see if I could go in because I sounded so calm! I didn't realise how far along I was! Would completely recommend!
It's so great to hear so many lovely birth stories
One thing they've told us to think about at our class is to have a good idea before hand of how you would like things to go before hand - as in what you want to happen if certain things arise and then get birth partner to deal with midwives etc as much as possible (ideally out of the room) so that you can remain focused on birth and remaining calm.
I didn't know this until recently but apparently some sure start centre run free hypnobirthing classes as well.
Am I the only person that this spectacularly didn't work for? I had a horrible birth despite much hypnobirthing preparation. Really feel like I failed to get it, somehow.
My first dc decided to be backwards and poo in her waters and have her heart rate slow down and get knotted up in her horrendous cord.
And be born looking well, dead. For a good few minutes.
However hypnobirthing can only do so much so I don't really think my account is fair. It really helped me on the lead up to the birth and early labor etc. My midwives were fantastic though and really tried to follow my birth plan as much as was possible with everything hitting the fan
My second dc I had in the states under very different circumstances with doctors who had no idea how long it took fr a baby to be delivered naturally... or about anything to do with having a baby naturally. SO I was being constantly hassled to take pitosin epidural and whatever they had going. I was held on my back, bright lights in the room basically the exact opposite of the first labor. And Ironically when ds did actually appear he just pop right out with only a few pushes.. He would have been an excellent hynobirth if I hadn't been harassed so much! And been allowed to labor as I wanted to
Anyway, my point is it can't hurt to do t... It can definitely help with early labor etc. And being in the right mindset for labor during pregnancy.
Don't get too frilly with the birth plan as you'll get those looks from the midwife though...
I actually think the best thing you can take to labor with you is a a god mind set and a pushy birth partner who will help you out if anyone wants you t do something you don't want to
Jacquesie - I should probably have added to my post that DS1s labour was almost 40 hours and a nightmare from start to finish - DD1s induction was 7 hours of mild period pains, they broke my waters and 94 mins later she was born, DD2 whom I used NH for - drum roll - was born within 40 minutes of my waters being broke. Before that the pain was 4 hours of mild period pains. Once my waters break the pain ratchets up about 100000 times to what it is before waters break. I didnt really get time to register the pain with DD2 before it was all over. But the NH did keep me totally calm throughout the whole process which is more than I can say for my first 2 births.
I have used the CDs both times. With ds1 I got to fully dilated by the time they examined me, they didn't think I could be in active labour because I was so calm, and I delivered him in the pool with just G&A. 7 hours start to finish which I think is good for a first baby.
2nd labour very short, got to hospital saying I needed to push and DS2 arrived within minutes. Think I was a little too laid back for that one! I only had 2 hours active labour.
I can't say if I was just lucky or if the hypnotherapy helped. I think anything that encourages you to be confident, not to fight the process and to trust your body has to be positive. It also gave me a lovely nap every day I was on maternity leave. As some other posters said I couldn't tell you what is said beyond the first few minutes of the CD!
I used the Mongan method with all three of mine. All of them were born at home without any pain relief and I had no tears either. My first was a 17 hour labour, second three hours and my third 30 minutes delivered by her dad as the midwife didn't make it in time!
I really believe it helped me and put me in the right mindset to understand birthing and help me visualise the process. I think you have to be dedicated like others have said I listened to the CD nightly which sent me off to sleep! Be prepared for some scoffing from other people, but if you really want to do it just ignore them and their tales of how hideous their labour was!!!
I think anything that encourages you to be confident, not to fight the process and to trust your body has to be positive.
Cannot agree more with this !
i think hypnotherapy is amazing. i like the UK version better than the US one (cant remember names) bcs the US woman seems a bit bonkers in that she dsnt think u have to feel pain which is obviously bollox. the UK woman is more into embracing the pain and thinking of it as being sthg useful and natural (for me this was v important as i am super squeamish and so being able to think of the pain of dilation as natural and good and non-damaging was v helfpul). during the birth i didnt really "use" the techniques but i think it just got me v well prepared. i was so "in the zone" and really ignored my dh for much of the time. if all else fails, it means you have spent a long time on the sofa resting and breathing so it cant possibly be a waste of time. oh, and the baby would go crazy and dance about with all the heavy breathing during my sessions, which was sweet.
The birth of my DD was traumatic but I think the one thing that kept me going throughout and probably stopped me from slipping away mentally afterwards was the natal hypnotherapy. Seriously, I would recommend it to anyone, and have kept my CDs to lend to people. I really think it saved my sanity and helped me feel like I had some control of the situation.
And I also slept through the CD a lot!!
I have 3 very un-hippie-ish friends who all swore by it! Sadly, too late for me, but I wish I had tried it.
I listened to the natal hypnotherapy CD for a couple of months leading up to my due date. Very relaxing!
I was induced but labour was very quick (2 1/2 hours) with no break between contractions. I really couldn't mentally get into my visualisations as the pain was too strong. However I think if I had been in the delivery suite with low lighting, a midwife etc I would have been more able to get into it. Unfortunately I was on the ante-natal ward stuck on a monitor with the midwives thinking I was over-reacting.
I did find it very successful for my first post-birth poo
I thought it was great. I'm a bit of a control freak and I'm a HCP so was fully aware of all the things that can go wrong and how little control a labouring woman can have. That's why I thought I'd give it a try, for the control rather than pain control per se.
Used the Maggie Howell CDs with DC1 from about 32 weeks pg regularly til term, but often fell asleep. Felt very in control the whole labour. Had a long pre labour (48 hours) with no worse than strong period pains, but very tiring. Actual labour 5.5 hours, 7cm on arrival at hospital, DS born 2.5hrs later. I had to be monitored but didn't find it intrusive. Gas and air which I abandoned for pushing. Phenomenal experience.
Used again for dd but got much less time to listen and didn't feel as prepared. Actual labour probably 3 hours ish, 5cm on arrival but fully within the hour. Gas and air only again but I "felt" it as more painful and less controlled. With hindsight I thought I didn't need to bother so much as had done it before, but that was an error. Though it could be that I was delivering at the end of a horrific pg with awful SPD.
I believe you get what you get as far as labour goes, but you can make the best of it by staying as calm as possible, if that makes sense. If that's an epidural, diamorphine or hypnotherapy, whatever works for you. Doing a hypnotherapy course won't guarantee you a "good birth experience", but it won't hurt and may help how you feel about it. I do think it's essential to not have too high an expectation of the event. My birth plan was healthy baby, healthy mum, whatever it takes.
Natal hypnotherapy was perfect for me. I'd labour again in a heartbeat. But I'd never ever want to be pg again, it's hideous, so that's not going to happen!
Lovely birth stories. Mine is a bit more mixed.
I think it can't hurt to try hypnotherapy but as a previous poster says, for me, the best preparation is to be as informed as possible and have a good birth partner who supports you. And also to accept that your birth may not go as planned.
I did hypnobirthing, yoga, pilates before birth and am very fit and flexible. I was confident my body could do birth. I didn't find contractions that painful, even when very strong. Didn't stop my baby getting in distress, a failed induction and an emergency birth with fourth degree tear and surgery afterwards.
I was shocked after my birth but so glad my baby was alive that I was able to cope with what had been so very far from my preparations.
My friend, however, still suffers from PTSD because she believed passionately in hypnobirthing and had a very traumatic birth. That is NOT a criticism of hypnobirthing but simply saying: aim for the hypnobirth but be aware that circumstances beyond your control may arise. My friend was so sure that she would be able to cope in any birth circumstances that it left her very shocked when the experience was so different.
Our experiences made me aware that even the best preparation and hypnobirthing ideal can sometimes run into trouble.
I would say I didn't really remember any of it once I was in labour, though I did use it for both DDs whose births did seem much more relaxed than DS who I didn't use it for. Also with DS I had pethidine and remember contractions being excruciating, but just G&A for the girls so if must have done something.
Rubyroo, I suspect I may be a bit like your friend. I found the birth of DS very traumatic - not because of any complications for DS, I should add, but because the I found the pain itself beyond awful right from the start. I had been so certain I would be able to deal with it after all the hypno-birthing that this was a huge shock. It didn't help that I was in labour for several days, baby was back-to-back and that waters broke very early (as in days before labour), but it was really the actual pain that floored me.
Oh wow I didnt expect to see all these responses when I came back to the thread thank you!
Its lovely to see so many positive stories I'm going to sit and have a proper read through all the replies later on....
I would say that it all became a bit irrelevant during my labour. However it's still worth doing. It helped me to go into labour with a really calm and positive attitude.
One thing I will say it that it is right to go into labour with the firm belief that it will be a good experience and that your body will perform this amazing act perfectly. But if it doesn't happen like that, you didn't fail. I think my expectations were rather high which meant I felt disappointed with how it actually went for me.
I totally agree with this - I had a midwife tell me 'don't feel like you've failed, some women can give birth and some women's bodies just can't' when I ended up with an emergency c section after a long drawn out labour. This was quite possibly the most unhelpful thing she could have said and it really stuck with me until I talked through previous notes with a consultant this time round and made sense of everything that had happened and why. I hate the guilt / success / failure that is associated with childbirth!
I have been reading the Juju Sundin Birth Skills book recommended on this thread and I really like its focus on explaining the physiology of labour as well as the key message of healthy baby and healthy mum being the most important things.
Funnily enough, despite two rubbish births (in the sense that I wanted two vaginal births with limited intervention and I got an severe tear and a c-section) I have never felt guilty.
To me, births happen the way they happen. It is frustrating and sometimes upsetting when it's a bad experience, but not something to feel guilty about.
Childbirth is simply not one of my body's top moments. I'd love to have had some of the calm experiences on this thread. On the other hand, my body has other skills. I'm a champion breastfeeder (useful) and I can cross all my toes over each other (not so useful).*
*Sorry for lowering the tone of the thread, OP.
I did a hypnobirth course. Planned a home birth, firmly believed that fear was the cause of all problems, and that I was doing the right things to avoid any negativity surrounding birth. Had a really positive image of birth and labour, was expecting midwives to be fully supportive.
Then DD was breech - home birth went out the window. Went for planned vagninal breech deliveryb- consultant was very supportive, saw no reason why it wouldn't be fine.
Waters broke and it was the most full on experience I have ever had in my entire life. It hurt. There was no build up, no time to do relaxation - it was like being hit by a truck. Fully dilated in 4 hours, gas and air made me sick. Midwife in hospital nervous. DD fine, despite industrial quantities of meconium. Unbearable pain, requested epidural. Most senior available doctor called, as was hospital policy for breech births. He was lovely man who was so calm, and wanted to know what the problem was, as DD was descending well. No one had told me anything, and at that point I had had an epidural and everything slowed down. DDborn by emergency section - 6 hours start to finish.
The anethetist and senior registrar were the most humane and gentle people I met on my birthing journey. The midwives were nervous and broadly unsupportive, and I suspect out of their depth.
Hypnobirthing did nothing to prepare me for what to do when things go wrong, making me feel like as I was doing hypnobirthing, everything would be fine. My mental state was not helped by not being invite to the hyponobirth class reunion. I feel incredibly naieve looking back.
I wonder how many other "failed" HBers are out there? It's not exactly the done thing to say it didn't work.
I found it really helped in the lead up to labour (weeks 39-40 basically). When labour kicked off I was only excited and happy, not scared at all.
I didn't find it massively helpful with the pain, tbh.
I had a straightforward home birth, for my first baby, for what it's worth. Long though. I'd say it helped until about 24 hours in? Then it was just too much. But I was never afraid harm would come to me or my baby. I totally trusted my body and my midwives and my boyfriend and my best friend who was there. So at the time I felt it had failed because it was still so hard and so painful, but in retrospect perhaps it helped a lot keeping me calm? Also the midwives said afterwards they would have transferred most women in those circumstances but I was coping very well. I didn't feel like I was coping very well.
It's very hard to know how much it helps, but I think it's good to feel positive and strong and safe, and I think it gave me that.
Sad to hear the noter above thinking they "failed" at hypnobirthing - obviously it cannot eliminate complications, it is very much the luck of the draw in so many aspects. I view it more as giving yourself the mental space the make the best out of the childbirth hand you're dealt. Sorry if that is a bit too "honest" - tbh when I was 37 weeks pregnant I ONLY listened to positive birth stories and I'm glad I did, even though I found it hard in the end.
not noter above sorry - noter on previous page.
Also second the noters saying it gave them a lovely nap every day on mat leave. Oooh they were lovely naps.
I did the Katherine Graves method (course, book and CDs, and a lot of hard work!) and thought it was fantastic, despite ending up with an EMCS after a 60+ hour labour! As previous posters have said, as well as encouraging you to take control, relax and maintain a positive outlook, hypnobirthing also encourages you to inform ourself on your choices and what to expect (necessity/lack thereof of induction, third stage, delayed clamping etc). I'd certainly use it again - it certainly contributed to my EMCS not actually being as traumatic as I'd been led to believe.
Was great for early part of my induction, but had an epidural later on.
On paper I had a pretty awful birth - planned a home birth, ended up in theatre with forceps, episiotomy, the works. I'd listened to the natal hypnotherapy CDs for the last few weeks of pregnancy and really think this made my experience bearable, I felt very calm right up to the end and needed no other pain relief
bit pointless as I then had a spinal block at the end
I say go for it BUT be realistic about what it can do; it can help you cope with the labour you're given, but if you're baby gets stuck then no amount of relaxation techniques are going to shift them.
Also like others have said no one noticed how far along I was as I was so relaxed, so I ended up mostly labouring on the ward. Tbh this suited me fine as it meant the midwives left me to my own devices
Very interesting to hear people's experiences on this. I am starting hypnobirthing classes this week and really hope it works for me - and for you too PinkParsnips!
Thanks Shruggy and you!
I've been trying to listen to the cd every day but have to admit I'm finding it irritating for some reason and keep falling fast asleep! (where I'm not even waking up at the end).
I like the idea of it being just one 'tool' in your box of tricks though and it cant do any harm!
hi, does anyone have any app or audio book recommendations? tia
It definitely helped me. I was pretty much ignored on the over-busy ward as I was so relaxed and coping. The birth was something I wasn't scared of in the run up which was a big plus!
It did mean I was given pethidine and left on my own till fully dilated when they rushed me off to labour ward. So next time I will be more assertive!
I think it helps to involve your partner in the relaxation techniques so worth getting the book and going through the exercises as well as the cd. Good luck!
Hypnobirthing and reading/yoga/antenatal classes/having a doula all help with feeling calm, relaxed and informed when going into labour which reduces pain and anxiety and helps one cope with whatever labour throws at you. Ultimately some labours are more complicated than others and sometimes intervention is inevitable, but the calmer and better prepared and supported you can be the better.
I read Mongan book, listened to cd, read lots of other books, did nct course, stayed fit throughout pregnancy and had a doula for first birth. Midwives were struck by how calm I was despite needing transfer into hospital plus intervention for 4 hour 2nd stage. I only realised sometime later that I had not had any pain relief - at no time did it cross my mind that I might need some.
I think anything that helps you stay positive and not fearful of labour is useful. I am having doula again for 2nd birth - if you can afford one they are well worth it. If you can't afford one then I think doula uk can sometimes help.
With DC1 I did hypno CD (Maggie Howell) every day for the last month or so. When it came to the event however, my contractions were so fast right from the start that I never really had a chance to get into the right mindset IYSWIM. When I got into the MLU the lovely student midwife talked me through each contraction, and it helped to focus on her voice, it calmed me down, and I managed to remember what I'd practised.
So I think it did help (and I plan to do it again in 5 months time!) but so hard to know when you've only done it once. But even if it didn't make a difference it was a lovely way to spend an hour every afternoon in the last month of pregnancy, followed by a little nap.
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