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!

What things does my uterus need to work in labour?

I’m a big believer that knowledge is power and when it comes to understanding how birth works – one of the best things you can learn is about the uterus.. after all.. its the star of the show!

When we are in labour, our uterus (or often called the womb) the muscles need to open up in order for us to give birth to our babies.

That’s what our contractions are for. They are opening the body and supporting your baby to move further down into the birth canal and that’s why I always say that they are a good thing – because it means that you are one step closer to meeting your baby.

During birth, there are a few ways that we can support the process by helping our uterus muscles out.

Just like all other muscles in the body – they need things to help them going and if you imagine doing a marathon (which maybe people will say labour is like – I’ve never done a marathon but I get the comparison) its important to try go in as prepared as you can.

Here’s five of my top tips for supporting your uterus in labour

Hydration

Just like other muscles that work really hard… Pre prepare and ask your birth partner to keep toping you up (a straw is great for this!)

Think coconut water, infused fruit waters, honey or good old water itself.

Oxygen

This is one of the reasons our breath is so important. The better we breathe the better our muscles can function. Take a deep breath in through the nose and back out through the mouth – all of this lovely goodness will flow through your body and down to your uterus muscles.

Oxytocin

The birthing hormone. And my absolute favourite topic when it comes to birth and hypnobirthing!

This hormone is so important for birth… an artificial one is often used in induction (syntocinon. It helps contract the uterus. It loves privacy and quieter, darker spaces.

Fuel

Eating isn’t high on our agenda often whilst birthing. Small and easy foods every now and again can help to keep us going.

Think honey, nuts, dates, frozen grapes or even a cube of your favourite chocolate.

An empty bladder

This really helps to give our baby more room to move further down into the birthing canal. Ask those supporting you to remind you to go!

Have a think how you’d like to incorporate these little tips into your birth preferences, chat with your partner or your midwife and pop a plan in place.

Which essential oils can I use in pregnancy and birth?

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.

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!

Elizabeth’s Positive Birth Pool Story, Baby Ben – 2nd Baby

It’s been a little while as we’ve been settling in, but I just wanted to update you on how our birth went! 

I started with regular surges on the morning of Wednesday 19th of April and things hadn’t ramped up much by the Thursday evening, so I called the hospital who said I could pop in for an examination to see how things were progressing. We took all our bags just in case, which was lucky as they asked us to stay in and I got the pool room that I missed out on last time when I was induced with Sophie.

I had the time to set up my hypnobirthing space, with photos, birth affirmations, fairy lights and forest sounds (which I’d been practising and relaxing with since our session). Nathan was incredibly supportive, making sure I had everything I needed and encouraging me through the surges, which carried on for a few more hours at which point the midwife said we could go home if we preferred. I trusted my body though and decided to stay, we managed to take a short nap and when I woke up the surges were getting more intense – I cracked on my music playlist (everything from Blink 182 to Pantera haha!) and stayed active, breathing through the surges. We put the water in the pool at around 11, which really helped me to relax and take some weight off. I also started squeezing my comb at this point (great tip!) as things got more intense.

Our baby boy Ben arrived at 1:29am on the Friday after lots of slow, controlled pushing. I got away with no stitches or tears using the breathing exercises we’d talked about.

The midwives commented afterwards that they’d not seen such a calm and beautiful waterbirth (not that it felt anything like that to me at the time, I definitely made a lot of racket!) which makes me so proud looking back on it. As a very anxious and self-critical person, I tend to focus on everything I think I should be doing better so this was really lovely to hear, and I’ve drawn a lot of courage from it over the past few weeks, which I’ve found really hard.

I can say with certainty that our session with you gave me the confidence and tools to have such an amazing and positive birth experience, which I’ll always be able to look back on as a wonderful memory. What an incredible gift – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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!

Why is hypnobirthing called hypnobirthing?

I get asked this question by mums, dads and parents to be all the time – why is hypnobirthing called hypnobirthing?

I’ll admit – when I first heard the name, I was a bit sceptical I genuinely thought it was a bit of a random name for an antenatal class.

Even when I first started teaching and parents to be were coming to baby shops to look for pushchairs and next to me cots, I was there running stalls – as soon as they saw the banner with hypnobirthing on, they would lower their heads and their gaze and quickly shuffle past!

Still makes me laugh now because pretty much everyone sees the logic in it once they now what its all about.

Hypnobirthing gets its name from hypnosis, I know what your thinking.. hypnosis.. the one where magicians can get you to do things on stage?!

Waving a watch in front of your face?

No, absolutely not.. that’s stage hypnosis and it has nothing to do with how hypnosis can help you to prepare for the birth of your baby.

Hypnosis is almost like a meditation – words written in a specific way to help you to feel relaxed. That’s what I often call the hypnosis tracks that I record for the parents to be taking my hypnobirthing courses – relaxation tracks.

Hypnosis is a non evasive form of therapy and is often used to help people to overcome a variety of anxieties as it has the ability to go deep into the subconscious part of our brain.

As in.. when we hear hypnosis,

Why is that useful when it comes to birth?

When it comes to hypnobirthing, its all about trying to create a reframe within the mind and reinforce positive thoughts about ourselves, our bodies and of course birth itself.

Some people aren’t suspectable to hypnosis yet for the hundreds of women and parents to be that I’ve worked with – many have really enjoyed using hypnosis tracks to prepare for their birth and have even used hypnobirthing in labour.

The sorts of things that we talk about during the relaxations is imagining yourself in nature or it might be preparing to meet your baby for the first time.. its all really simple but powerful stuff.

I would like to stress that there are loads of different types of techniques that I share with families preparing for their baby about during my hypnobirthing classes yet hypnosis still remains the most powerful tool.. hence the name, hypnobirthing.

What are my top 5 tips for birth partners in pregnancy and birth?

Being a birth partner is such an exciting time, supporting your partner, family member or friend during pregnancy and birth feels like a huge deal!

So what are the best things to support someone as a birth partner? Whether its through using hypnobirthing to support or being that person who helps with a variety of things in labour – there’s loads that you can do!

Here are my top 5 –

Understand what an impact our environment can have on us during labour

Hypnobirthing is a great place to really understand how our environment can play a significant impact on us during labour, as a birth partner – you are able to support by protecting the environment, helping it to feel calm and safe.

This is really important to help fuel the birthing hormones!

Eye contact, gentle touch and words of encouragement

Just being there for your partner, stroking their arm, holding their shoulders or even using a lot of eye contact can really help your partner to feel safe – particularly during active labour and transition (the part of labour where we often see mums start to doubt themselves in labour).

Learn all the birth preferences and what they actually mean

Birth preferences are a really tool, during labour its really difficult to chat and focus on anything apart from birthing your baby. That’s why as a birth partner – these are a really great way for you to be your partners advocate – so really get clued up on your partner’s wishes and what they want both from you, medical professionals and the birth itself!

If your partner is using hypnobirthing techniques to prepare for birth – really understand what they are

I’ve worked with a lot of people over the last 4.5 years and often birth partners are a little bit sceptical about hypnobirthing to start with.. within the first 10 minutes of a course, I’m able to help birth partners to really see that actually.. hypnobirthing is very logical and science based.

The reason why hypnobirthing techniques exist is to help people to take control and protect their mental health and body autonomy so being able to get on board with them can really make a huge difference to your partner being able to let go and feel safe throughout the birth of your baby.

Stay calm and trust your partners birthing instincts

Birthing instincts are incredibly strong and your partner is able to listen to their body and really understand what is needed in that particular moment – absolutely on the odd occasion, we may be needed to help take control (especially when women / birthers are getting tired in labour) yet most of the time its really important that we remember that they know what is right for them and your baby.

Let go, have faith and trust in them completely.

I’d love to hear how you put these tips into practice, why not share on social media and tag The Happy Little Nest or alternatively, if you’d like to learn more – have a look at my hypnobirthing and antenatal courses in and around Leeds and online.

Oxytocin vibes,

Laura

What are the best things for me to do in early labour?

When it comes to early labour – so many people that I work with are really keen to understand ways to speed their labour up. But the truth is – there’s only so much that we can do.

The most important thing to consider is ways to help the labour to continue as undisturbed!

Here I share a few things that you might want to consider, you might want to spend some time talking with your birth partner about how they can support you incorporate them into your birth plan.

Share them with your doula if your choosing to have one or even let family members know the ways that they can support you when it comes to that start of your baby’s birth.

Continue as normal for as long as possible – probably the most important one.

One of the most best things you can do during latent labour or early labour is to continue in your day as best as you can.

That might be suggesting to your birth partner continues to go to work, continuing in your plans with your friends or preparing for your baby

Rest, eat well and hydrate – take the opportunity to conserve a little bit of energy. Often when I’ve spoken to people in labour – they’ve spent loads of time bouncing on their birth ball or exhausting themselves trying to progress the labour before its really become established.

Eat a really good meals – once labour really progresses, just like when doing vigorous exercise – many women and birthing people will loose their appetite for food.

So have a good think about the sorts of meals that you might enjoy – meals that will give you loads of slow release energy once it becomes closer to meeting your baby.

Drink plenty of water, energy drinks or coconut water – our uterus (or womb muscles) have to work really hard during labour, they open up in order for your baby to be born and they need fuel to work effectively.

Come up with an action plan in advance different things you might want to do – Often when we start to feel the first contractions in labour or we start to feel differently within our bodies, we almost freeze up and wonder what to do next.

Right down a couple ideas of things that you can do in case this happens, make a cake, ring a friend, have a task to do in your baby’s nursery which can help you to really focus your mind into something else besides what’s going on in your body.

Write them down and share with your birth partner who can almost guide you with it if needed.

Save some of your hypnobirthing anchors for later on – When it comes to things like birth breathing, I often to suggest to clients to get into a rhythm of using this pretty early on in labour to help you create an association in-between your surges / contractions against the calm breathing techniques. Its entirely up to you.

When it comes to other anchors – like setting up your environment, music playlists or massage save them until your labour really progresses and they will be so welcomed at the time!

If your looking for a hypnobirthing or antenatal course – why not explore the options available, with face to face birth preparation courses in Leeds and online for families further afield – there’s plenty of ways to prepare for the birth of your baby!

What do we cover on our hypnobirthing classes in Leeds?

Hypnobirthing is something that I recommend to everyone in pregnancy, whether its your first baby or your fifth baby. Hypnobirthing gives you and your birth partner the opportunity to understand not only how birth tends to work – it helps you to prepare a toolkit of techniques that help you to feel more in control during in labour.

Often, women and birthing people will look to start hypnobirthing in their second or third trimester to give time to explore not only hypnobirthing techniques, practice birth breathing but it also gives you the option to explore things in more detail if your still not sure what you feel is right for you.

Whether that be location of birth such as a hospital birth or a homebirth or if your wanting your baby to have skin to skin or vitamin k at birth.

The Happy Little Nest group face to face group hypnobirthing classes are a brilliant way to not only connect with other parents to be in Leeds, but they give you the opportunity to learn from other people and their experiences.

Group hypnobirthing classes in Leeds cover all elements of hypnobirthing such as breathing techniques, making informed choices for you and your baby, the birth journey and the birth partner role.

For further information – head to the antenatal section of The Happy Little Nest website to find out availability and when the next courses are due to take place or check out the what’s coming up bar below.