Prior to my daughter being born in February 2017, we signed up for a hypnobirthing course, as a couple, to prepare us for pregnancy, birth and the first few months.
Actually we signed up to quite a few things. As Dad, I was interested to read a few books and thought NCT was probably something to tolerate rather than look forward to. I’d had a chat with a few mates who are long-standing Dads and picked up some tips. I’m afraid to say hypnobirthing was definitely something I was tolerating for my partner’s sake.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong: it was the single best piece of preparation we took on. In fact, it was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had for a long time.
I’m not sure where the ‘hypno’ bit comes from. Don’t let that put you off. There are no swinging pocket watches.
Hypnobirthing is about understanding all the choices available to you, as a couple, during pregnancy and birth. It isn’t about forcing anyone to have waterbirths at home, or calling the child Sky or Spirit.
Hypnobirthing carves out quality time to prepare for birth, free of distractions and focussed on good practice and sensible, evidence-based advice.
I found NCT and NHS session a little chaotic as facilitators tried to keep up with ever-changing guidelines. Hypnobirthing simplified all that.
- it gave me a role as the partner, to provide really practical support. Things like massage for Mum, making sure the birth environment was quiet and calm.
- some useful meditative practice, like better breathing (yes, for Dads too).
- gave me an understanding of the NHS’s needs and how to meet these without compromising our plans
- gave us options to consider. You can practice hypnobirthing, even with a C-section in hospital. Hypnobirthing is an approach, not a fixed process
- this was a much more structured experience, than picking through a barrage of book and YouTube recommendations
If you’re a Dad-to-be, hypnobirthing is one of the single best investments of time and money you can both make during pregnancy. Take my word, as a cynic-turned-advocate.
Our hypnobirthing instructor was Bev Samways at Small Acorn. She was brilliant for us. I understand from other Dads that different instructors have different styles, so be sure to pick someone who’s right for you.