One of the people I saw yesterday was S who is at Week 36 of her pregnancy. The baby is now growing and she is much bigger out the front and feeling slightly out of balance. She has just finished work this week which means that it is time to focus on the coming baby.
S learned hypnosis for the birth of her first baby and found it very helpful, so she has come back for two sessions to reinforce it for this second one.
Yesterday, in deep pleasant, hypnosis we did a labour practice run. I firstly reminded her of what happens in each stage of labour including how the first stage opens the cervix enough for the baby’s head to come through. During this time the muscles of the uterus contract and the process softens and stretches the cervix. The muscle contractions are like any other muscle contraction. I likened this to moving your arm, contracting your biceps muscle. After doing it awhile it can get a bit sore and tired but it is ok. It is not something you do everyday, it is to be expected. The same happens with your uterine muscles. In hypnosis you learn to accept it as some pressure and to flow with it. Fighting and tensing with the contractions makes it unpleasant. Flowing with the movements makes it easier and quicker for the cervix to soften and stretch. Being in hypnosis, relaxed away in some nice place in your mind makes the time between contractions seem long and the contractions themselves seem very short. The baby is certainly not put under any undue stress and neither are you.
The second stage of labour is the continual contractions as the baby passes through the vagina and into our world. This is the pushing stage. Once again flowing with this helps it to happen quickly. The third stage is the passing of the placenta, which is easier, it happens while the baby is in your arms.
Women who have hypnosis prior to giving birth, and use it for as much of the birth as they can (even if they have complications), notice they recover more easily and their babies are much calmer and settled during those first weeks and months.