How can I use hypnobirthing techniques during antenatal appointments?

When it comes to hypnobirthing techniques, they are sooo adaptable that when it comes to teaching my clients – I’m forever suggesting different ways that they can use their hypnobirthing toolkit outside of wherever they are choosing to give birth!

During antenatal appointments, its great to practice with any relaxation techniques that your planning on using for the birth of your baby as it helps you to put them into practice whilst creating an association with the techniques and birthy sort of environments (e.g. midwives, the hospital etc).

What sorts of techniques and tools can I use during my appointments?

Calm breathing – Breathing well during labour can be an absolute gamechanger, not only does it provide us with a focus, it helps us to stay within the rest and digest nervous system and contributes towards creating the powerful birthing hormones that fuel birth.

Breathing well during any moment, can help us to think more clearly and that’s why its great to use during any type of antenatal appointment.

Simply take a long deep breath in through your nose and a longer one back out through your mouth (during my hypnobirthing classes, we learn about a variety of other tools that you can use whilst using your breathing too)

This will help your mind to become clearer and for your body to feel safe.

Ask for time – This is such a good tip! We often feel like we need to make decisions quite quickly during our antenatal appointments, a lot of us suffer from that fear of taking up someone’s time or that dreaded white coat syndrome.

In the vast majority of circumstances, there is always time before making a decision… when it comes to your body, your baby and your care.. its important that you feel like your able to make choices based on what really feels best for you so ask for time to think about it.

Tell them you’ll call them once you’ve made a choice, ask them if its that urgent that you need to make a decision straight away (this way you can really gage whether or not you do have that time consider things for longer).

You can then do your own research, speak about it with your partner or doula and really listen to your gut before making your choice. Never feel pressurised to make a choice – this is your antenatal appointment, it has to work best for you.

Use positive affirmations – These were a biggie for me with both of my children, having pregnancy anxiety in my first pregnancy meant that I was keen to find different methods that increased my confidence during antenatal appointments from the word go.

Affirmations are a really great way of bigging yourself up – a bit like preparing for a job interview, they can be used to tell yourself certain statements (even if you don’t always believe them at first).

They can almost trick your mind into thinking in a more positive way so have a think of a few simple ones that you can use for your appointments – ‘I can do this’ was a big one for me as well as ‘This is my baby, its always my choice’ was another.

Chant them in your head.. out loud if you prefer, write them down and stick it on the car dashboard, make it a screensaver on your phone or even ask your birth partner or a friend to remind you of it too.

Bring your birth partner or another supporting person – It can often be tricky based on peoples work schedules etc to attend antenatal appointments, however, it can be really great to have an advocate with you.

Doulas can be a really great support during appointments!

There is so much information being flung at us in every direction during pregnancy and often.. it can feel a tad overwhelming so having that extra person with us who is advocating for us can really help build our confidence and they can also be great taking in the information too.

When it comes to conversations during your appointments, its always your choice if you want someone to be able to support you – having that familiar person really can make all the difference.

Hopefully you’ve found some of these tips useful – feel free to share this blog with your pregnant friends or if your looking for a hypnobirthing class or doula support in Leeds – feel free to get in touch about how my services can support you during your pregnancy.

Always remember, your baby, your birth, your choice!

Stay tuned for my future blog post – How can I use hypnobirthing techniques after my baby has been born?

Julie’s Positive C Section Birth

On the morning of 5th October 2019 my partner & I found out that we were expecting our first child. Almost immediately, I began to research vaccination options, water births and hypnobirthing.

With the pregnancy becoming a reality, I was unexpectantly scared of the pregnancy, and more understandably, the birth & of not being ready for the big arrival.

Before we met Laura I had it all sorted in my head – I’m having a water birth, hopefully no more than gas & air (but open to all pain relief if needed) and my hypnobirthing.

Simple!!

I was amazed at the stuff Laura was telling us – who knew that you have a right to say “no” to a stretch & sweep? Who knew you could request preferred birth positions?

Who knew that the “traditional”, Hollywood movie type of delivery on your back is less helpful than others? The one that really got me though was this – you can have birth preferences when having a C-Section. I thought she was mad when she said you can still have birth preferences with a C-Section – how much say do you have when you’re
numb from your toes to your chest & in my mind, at their mercy; but she was absolutely right & due to how things panned out, I was even more grateful for having spent the time and money on the course.

My pregnancy was fairly straightforward, however, my baby decided at week 38 during a positional scan she was absolutely not ready to be engaging. She was having too much fun freely floating around in all that lovely excess amniotic fluid; apart from that, her favourite position was transverse – lying across the top of my stomach.

My baby was officially an “unstable lie” due to her constant moving around. The hospital admitted me immediately and booked me in for a C-Section in just over a week’s time. I reached for my hypnobirthing toolbag & for Laura. I used my affirmation cards, lavender pouch, visualisations, breathing techniques etc during peaks of anxiety & Laura held my hand via WhatsApp & calls all the way.

When the doctors were attempting to make decisions on my & my baby’s behalf about how we would move forward if baby did decide to engage, I had the knowledge & strength to say “no” and “I would appreciate it if you would discuss the options with me, rather than decide for me”. Additionally, I had faith in my gut instinct. All of this was thanks to doing Laura’s hypnobirthing course.

I gained further confidence in my approach when I found out a senior midwife was also fighting my corner in the background as she agreed with me.

I wrote down my birth preferences, discussed them with my partner & ensured there was a copy in my file & a spare for me. My partner was prepared and ready to create a bubble for me & him & he knew that I didn’t want anyone else speaking to me or telling us what was going on.

On the morning of my C-Section I asked if my birth preferences had been noted & was told that the team would read it before I went down to the Labour Ward. I was advised that this had been done when I arrived in the theatre. I won’t lie – I was really scared of the spinal but I was able to get into a zone of calm with the help of a hypnobirthing track & breathing with my partner. The spinal was effective very quickly & once all checks had been made my partner created our bubble. This was the last time it would be just us & he reminisced & breathed with me. He helped me to move the focus away from the room, the noises, the knowledge of what was happening to me.

I have little memory of the birth as I was so focused on our bubble which is how I wanted it. I can honestly say that my birth experience was really positive & that was due to what we learned with Laura. I can also report that our daughter’s birth was a positive experience for my partner as he felt he had a role to play.

Not only was he able to create and maintain a safe space for me, he told me the sex of our baby & gave our daughter her first cuddle.

We did it together.

How can my partner support me in labour?

Having the support of your partner in labour is so important, whilst we are labouring, its really difficult for us to focus on what’s going on around us and if we try – it really prevents our bodies from being able to open up to birth our babies.

Birth really is about teamwork, whether you have a birth partner or not – support is so important and can also come from other people such as midwives and doulas. However, if you do have a partner, them having a clear role at birth really helps them to feel involved ??⠀ ⠀

Have a read of these top tips for how to get your partner involved in the birth of your baby!

Massage – This could either be at the bottom of your back, your hips, or any other area – it’s a great way to release any tension ⠀ ⠀

Voice – Their voice can be a huge reassurance, they could read affirmations, talk about your favourite memories or just be silent for a while if that’s what your body is wanting ⠀ ⠀

Keeping you hydrated and fed (if your in the mood!) is so important to help you maintain your energy so that you can concentrate on your labour⠀

Take part in a hypnobirthing class with you so that they fully understand how our bodies and minds work in labour as well as how to fully support you in the ways that you need! ⠀

Writing the birth preferences together so that they are fully aware of what you want as well as understanding fully what everything on it means. What are your givens for any birth? Make sure your partner knows!

Be the main contact for conversations during labour so that you can remain in your birthing zone – you focus on you and your baby, your partner can focus on the rest.⠀ ⠀

There are tonnes more ways that your partner can support during labour and during my classes, couples develop their own toolkits in order to prepare for birth – head over to my classes page to see what classes are currently available!

Positive Vibes! Tips for a Positive Pregnancy

Feeling positive in pregnancy is so important as it can have a huge impact on your hormones! 


Here a few ways to increase positive vives and therefore all of the good hormones that we want during pregnancy and labour!

  • Cut out all TV and films and watch comedies and romance instead! (I took the opportunity to watch Ab Fab for the first time!)
  • Watch and read LOTS of positive births and tell people you don’t want to hear their negative ones! Spend your time looking at all different types of positive birth so that you can see how women and birth partners had a positive birth experience
  • Make sure that you take time out to relax and do something that you enjoy whether that’s having a hot bubble bath or reading a book
  • Go for a pregnancy massage! I went to lovely Massage Ewe based in Harrogate when I was pregnant and felt so much more calm and relaxed afterwards
  • Invest in hypnobirthing! You learn so much about relaxation whether that’s through hypnosis, positive affirmations and visualizations or just generally feeling more prepared for birth
  • Don’t tell everyone your due date! This immediately puts a timer on your pregnancy and the closer you get.. the more people tend to ask questions. Just say ‘around the month of..’

If you’ve got any more, let me know. I’d love to hear them. Positive vibes are the best!

A happy photo can go a long way!

How to stay cool whilst pregnant in a heat wave

Summer time whilst pregnant isn’t always the most enjoyable time, we are already feeling warmer than normal and the added heat isn’t always what we need. I’ve put a few tips together on how to stay cool during the hot weather. If you have anymore, I’d love to hear them – just share in the comments below!

  • Drink plenty of water as well fluids that contain electrolytes such as coconut water which help to maintain energy
  • Use a cooling spray (compressed water in a can) as opposed to water in a spray bottle as it always remains cool. This can be bought from all good supermarkets and is normally found by the suncream!
  • Keep rooms shaded, blocking out the sun where you can
  • Wear loose fitting clothing and open toe shoes – wear flip flops as you can as your feet need as much air as possible
  • Eat little and often. Try eat foods that are rich in protein and with good water content. Nuts and seeds are brilliant snack to nibble on when you are on the go
  • Put moisturisers and creams in the fridge and use them to refresh your skin throughout the day
  • Stay in the shade if your outdoors
  • Put bottle of water in the freezer and take out when needed
  • Fill the freezer with ice lollies – Coconut Water ones are brilliant and super tasty!
  • Don’t overdo it and enjoy the sunshine!