Birth Partners can be a game changer when it comes to your birth… want to know why?

I’m a firm believer that birth partners can make a huge impact on our birth experiences and I often say that birth is about team work with there being so many ways that they can support.

Its one of my favourite parts of being a birth coach because I know that through doing a hypnobirthing course, it can significantly increase everyone’s confidence and there really is no better feeling than getting feedback from a family saying that their partner was their rock during birth.

Why do birth partners make such a big difference during birth?

With the mother or parent focusing on labouring or birthing their baby a birth partner is often in the best position to be able to advocate, guide and a support during the birth process.

During birth preparation classes, it gives you and your birth support team the dedicated time and space to chat through anything that your considering for your birth – and honestly, I think its on of the most valuable parts of pregnancy planning!

So many people that I’ve chatted with often think that their birth partner wont enjoy doing a hypnobirthing course but I’m yet to come across one who didn’t… and I’ve taught over 300!

It gives them a really clear role, helps them to see and understand ways that they can really support you and whilst everyone is different – there are a few key things that I’ve noticed people say time and time again when it comes to how their birth partner supported them through hypnobirthing.

Here are some tips for birth partners to confidently prepare for birth

Tip 1 – Learn about the birth journey and what tends to happen during labour

When asking birth partners what they find most useful about our hypnobirthing sessions – its often chatting about the birth process and how they can support.

We often see a change in body language as we get closer to birthing our babies and birth partners being able to spot the changes can be really helpful in terms of the way that birth partner support might change throughout labour.

Often just being there, in the space is enough for the mother or parent to focus on their birth, feeling safe and secure.

Tip 2 – Really invest in understanding what your partners birth preferences are

A birth plan or birth preferences are for everyone involved in the birth, yet the real purpose is for you to explore your options and what feels right for you and your baby.

A birth partner can advocate for you so that you can focus on staying in your birthing zone and through working through the birth preferences together, it can really help your birth partner to understand the reasons for your choices.

Often, parents to be might discuss different scenarios such as induction and caesarean birth and this can really help to build your confidence not only in the fact that hypnobirthing is great for all types of birth but in the fact that it can help you to feel protected and in control in what you want.

Often when speaking with couples, I say have a think about what your givens are regardless of the type of birth. For example, skin to skin with your baby as soon as possible.

Tip 3 – Understand the importance of environment and how our birthing h

Our environment is actually one of the biggest contributing factors to consider when it comes to birth as it can have a significant impact on how the labour or birth happens.

There’s loads of things we can do to change our environment and again, birth partners are often in the best place to set this up or have conversations with others to ensure the space feels calm and right for you.

During The Happy Little Nest hypnobirthing and antenatal classes, we also explore how the maternity care system tends to work as it gives us a really good understanding of why things are in place.

Many procedures are created on a one size fits all basis and during hypnobirthing sessions, we explore how to advocate and do what feels right for you and often its our birth team that supports us with this throughout birth.

Tip 4 – Feel confident around asking questions so that you can relay important information back to your partner

This is often a big one, having some tools to feel confident about asking questions which you might want answering to make an informed choice is so important to birthing parents.

It might be but that you never need to ask questions, but having the tools ready can often help birth partners to feel confident and therefore helps us to feel more in control to let go.

Tip 5 – Trust your partner, trust their intuition during birth

This is a big one. In our society, we’ve often relied a lot on hearing stories, watching tv or have the impression that birth is an urgent medical even when in fact, birth is a very safe event.

A mothers instinct, a fathers instinct or a parents instinct in labour is strong and its important that we learn to listen and support because ultimately – its always the person whose giving births choice in what to do.

Were these tips useful?

I really hope that you find this information useful, feel free to send the link to your birth partner or share with someone who is pregnant.

If your looking for birth preparation courses in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate or online, I’d really recommend that you have a bit of a read about how The Happy Little Nest hypnobirthing courses can support you.

I’m really passionate not only about supporting families to prepare for a vaginal birth but for a caesarean birth and have created a variety of courses to support you.

Hypnobirthing covers many areas of antenatal preparation which will help you and your birth partner to prepare confidently for the birth of your baby!

Which essential oils can I use in pregnancy and birth?

In hypnobirthing, essential oils are often one of the most popular hypnobirthing anchors. Scent is such a powerful sense!

Using scent, particularly when listening to relaxations or practicing calm breathing can create a strong association of relaxation when smelling the scent later on in pregnancy and even birth itself.

Oils can be used in many ways, on pulse points, as pillow mist, a diffuser or oil burner. Some use in bath or just inhale from the bottle.

There are oils that aren’t safe in pregnancy, its worth seeking advice before using – those trained in aromatherapy tend to be best!

For further info – I highly recommend 10 Oils – Aromatherapy Oils for the Childbearing year by Nicola Goodall

Lavender

A personal favourite – this was one of my biggest tools in Charlotte’s pregnancy and birth.

A few of its many benefits –

  • An antiseptic
  • Great for congestion in pregnancy
  • Supporting blood pressure along with other hypnobirthing techniques
  • Supports sleep
  • Postnatal healing
  • It can support with surges and the uterus therefore its often recommended not to use until the 2nd trimester

Lemon

In Williams pregnancy, I loved citrus oils – lemon and orange were my favourite.

Here’s how lemon can support –

  • Can support with nausea
  • Its an antibacterial
  • A refreshing oil that supports clarity
  • A natural cold remedy
  • A natural boosting oil

Frankincense

A pretty famous oil given to mother after birth…

Here are a few of of the benefits –

  • It can support whilst practicing hypnobirthing relaxation tracks, helping the mind to relax
  • Great for increasing circulation and swollenness towards the end of pregnancy
  • A natural cold remedy
  • Its an antiseptic
  • Supports with anxiety during the day and when trying to sleep

Rose

Flowers are brilliant as oils aren’t they!

Here’s a few benefits to rose in pregnancy –

  • A great oil for anxiety
  • Its an anti inflammatory
  • An antiseptic
  • Supporting with sleep
  • Helpful at reduce nausea
  • A great oil for pregnant skin
  • Comforting

Jasmine

Often scent can be really powerful when it comes to memories and associations… this reminds me of a holiday in Thailand!

Here as a few facts –

  • A brilliant all for hypnobirthing relaxations
  • Its an aphrodisiac
  • Helpful for anxiety
  • Brilliant for creativity
  • Can be supportive during surges
  • Supports breastmilk production

Clary Sage

A famous oil for labour and birth.

Its recommended not to use this oil until 37 weeks of pregnancy (full term pregnancy).

Here are some benefits –

  • It can help relax spasms – supporting longer breaths
  • Can act as a muscle relaxant
  • Can support the body to fully to let go
  • Uplifting and supports overcoming anxiety

Using scent is one of the many hypnobirthing anchors that we explore as part of my courses, why not head over to the course page to find out further information about how I can support you to prepare for birth.

Pregnant over Christmas? Here are some great tips for the Festive season for you and your baby bump!

Whilst pregnant, I found the Christmas period so different than I had to another year, people automatically assumed I would be happy to be designated driver, everyone would give me extra portions of food (not a bad perk!) and I didn’t have to help out with the turkey at my parent’s house.. another bonus if your like me and want to get your feet up and watch all the Christmas Day movies.

So here, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for Christmas especially for when you are pregnant.

Enjoy it!

Christmas should be no different to any other year. Do things that make you happy, if you love all the Christmassy food – find some pregnancy friendly alternatives so that don’t feel like your missing out (I’m thinking cheese boards all the way)!

Take time out for yourself

Don’t try and push yourself if you feel like your wanting some space, leave the Christmas party early if you need to. It can be quite exhausting growing a human, socialising and standing on your feet for an evening – Don’t feel bad about leaving the party early, people get it. Your growing a human!

Get out in the fresh air

The crisp air and short walks are perfect over Christmas, are brilliant for helping your baby to get into optimal position and give you all the lovely endorphins from exercise.

Have a pyjama day

Have a day at home watching your favourite films, lots of snuggles and get the oxytocin flowing!

Plan ahead

Make plenty of time for yourself and plan out what self-care goals you are going to do over the next few months whilst you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

Practice hypnobirthing techniques

This is such a brilliant time to start a hypnobirthing practice, darker colder nights and often a little bit more time off work can really help you to get into a brilliant routine.

Remember how incredible next Christmas will be!

Having a baby at Christmas has always been one of the most special moments as a parent. Being able to pop a carrot on a plate and a glass of milk for Santa for the very first time.. oh its just so magical!

How can hypnobirthing help me in labour and birth? Here’s 10 ways..

One of the things that I absolutely love about hypnobirthing is that there really is something for everyone when it comes to looking for tools to prepare for your baby’s birth.

When your considering different forms of antenatal preparation for the birth of your baby – hypnobirthing can help both physically and mentally.

So here are just a few of the ways it can play a huge roll during labour and birth.

1 – It helps you to understand that your mind has a lot more influence over your body

Its true, our mind and our body are essentially the same thing and when it comes to pregnancy and birth – having an understanding of the way that our body can be impacted during birth can really help us to see why a relaxation toolkit… aka.. a hypnobirthing toolkit can be a great idea.

If you think about it, our mind controls so many reactions within our body – like when you find something funny, you laugh. You don’t stop and then think to laugh!

Well its the same in labour, if we feel safe we can let go in order to birth our babies.

2 – Hypnobirthing provides you with a variety of tools that help you to feel calm in a variety of different birthing scenarios

Home birth, induced birth, caesarean birth, hospital birth, freebirth… the list goes on – regardless of the type of birth you are planning for – there are loads of different tools that you can try to help you to prepare for birth.

That’s what I love about hypnobirthing – everyone will use the tools different.

In my hypnobirthing sessions, I break the toolkit down into 3 sections – mind tools such as visualisation, physical tools such as items that can change your environment and breathing techniques

3 – It helps you to understand your body and therefore helps you to work with it instead of against it

I don’t know about you but I didn’t have a clue how my body worked in labour before I had Charlotte. Having an understanding of the purpose of contractions, how our uterus works in labour and how we change in our behaviour as labour progresses can help build your trust in the process.

Birth is a biological requirement and just like with so many other bodily functions.. it just happens.

Also understanding a bit around birth positions, particularly ones that help you work with gravity and support yourself and your baby to birth can give you the confidence that you were designed to do this!

4- Hypnobirthing helps your birth partner to gain confidence in how to support you during birth

Hypnobirthing can be just as useful for your birth partner, after working with hundreds of families – its been really great to see how it can make all the difference to your birth partner.

It can help them see that they do have a really important role during birth and opens up conversations about the different ways that they can support whether that’s through setting up your birth environment or advocating for you during labour.

5 – It can help you tune into your instincts

Often, having an understanding of our bodies along with relaxation techniques helps us to tune into our instincts easier during labour – its often said that hypnobirthing mamas or parents stay at home longer before going to the hospital as they know its not yet time.

It can also help with choosing birthing positions, making decisions in labour and tuning into your baby.

One of the most important things I talk about in my sessions is instinct – for many years, we have almost learnt to not trust our instincts during birth and this doesn’t need to be the case.

6 – It can help you feel confident about advocating for yourself not only in pregnancy but during birth too

A really key part of a hypnobirthing course is understanding how to advocate for yourself during labour and birth.

Sadly, our maternity care system is currently quite stretched with many policies and procedures in place that don’t always work on an individualised basis and this can mean that some parents want further information or a different care pathway.

Whilst hypnobirthing isn’t about giving you advice, a key element is educating you on how to feel confident on knowing your rights.

7 – It can help you to write birth preferences based on what really matters to you

Completing a hypnobirthing course often provides you with most of the information you’d like to write in your birth plans as a hypnobirthing course can really help to highlight ways that you want your birth to look and feel.

This can also be useful for both your birth partner as a tool they can use to advocate for you as well as your caregivers such as a midwife or doctor.

8 – It can help you to feel more comfortable as your labour progresses

During a hypnobirthing course, we will go through loads of techniques that can help you to feel more comfortable as your labour progresses – whether that’s through learning massage techniques that can help ease any discomfort , breathing techniques to help your muscles to relax and active birth positions that you can use for resting or however you feel during labour.

9 – It helps you to understand the different stages of labour and how best to prepare your environment

Often birth partners I work with say that this has been one of the most useful parts of the course as it helps them to understand what to look for in terms of a change in your body language.

We will talk about things like setting up your environment, how to adapt it in different locations if your choosing to birth outside of the home and also things like what to expect when your placenta is born.

10 – It can provide you with confidence and excitement

And of course, last but certainly not least!

This is the whole reason why hypnobirthing exists – to help you to feel more in control of your birth!

Many parents that I’ve worked with often say that our hypnobirthing course has helped them to feel empowered about their choices and for me – this is the ultimate goal as a hypnobirthing teacher!

Different ways to create a positive birth mindset in pregnancy

When I first started preparing for Charlottes birth.. I never really understood why this mattered.

Until I understood what a difference our mind has on the rest of our body.

Our mind is an incredibly powerful thing and when I started to unpick a lot of my fears about birth – they had come from a place of watching too much rubbish tv or other people talking about birth in a negative way around me as a kid.

So when I fell pregnant.. I knew I had work to do.

To overcome a lot of these deeply imbedded anxieties that I’d built up for as long as I could remember.

Creating a positive mindset for birth is very individual… some people already might have some great foundations in place (this is how it absolutely should be!) and some people like me need to explore and find a variety of tools to help build up confidence (you are not alone if this is the way you feel).

As part of my hypnobirthing and antenatal courses, we explore a variety of topics which help you to start to build up that positive mindset.

That might be through understanding how birth works. Or connecting with your birth partner. Or in the case of hypnobirthing, it might be developing a variety of tools that help you to feel calm and in control.

Connecting all of these dots together for many people can make a HUGE difference in their mindset, because it proves to them that they do have more control than what they originally thought.

Here are just a few ways that you can start to build up that positive mindset ready to give birth to your baby –

Working with a birth partner – Chat with your birth partner about what’s important to you when it comes to preparing for birth, tell them how they can best support you to start to build up your birth toolkit

Affirmations – Affirmations are a really quick and easy way to start to build up a positive mindset. Writing a statement in the present tense about pregnancy or birth and reading it every day will start to have a positive impact on your subconscious . Even if you don’t believe the statement to begin with, its a really great way to start to build up a practice.

Reading positive birth stories – This might be one that you want to do straight away or leave until your later on in your pregnancy, reading about different types of birth in a positive way will prove to you that you too can absolutely do it!

Visualisation – Thinking about birth in a positive way, visualising what it might look like can help you to reframe your mind. It’s a bit like playing out what it might be like to walk into an interview, its helping your mind to mentally prepare (there are loads of ways to use visualisation, this tends to be a favourite amongst my clients).

Protecting your space – Out of all of them, I’d probably say that this is the most important. Being mindful of other people in your space and what they are talking about when it comes to your birth can be really important (and hard). I often had people coming up to me trying to tell me their horror stories about birth or trying to tell me what I needed to do during labour and eventually I learned to either switch off from it ask people to change the subject. This way, I could protect my space and focus on birth preparation that made me happy!