Frequently Asked Questions
When should I book a Kinship Hypnobirthing Course?
You can start a Kinship Hypnobirthing Course whenever you feel ready. Many people book on once they've had their 12 week scan and plan to start their course around 20-28 weeks. But in reality, there is no right answer to this question. Some people start around 15/16 weeks (that was me with my first- I was eager to get going!) and others leave it till the last few weeks. It is never too late, even if we need to create a bespoke session to fit it in before your baby arrives. I don't always have availability to offer private sessions but if I don't I will happily refer you to another hypnobirthing instructor who I trust and respect.
Is hypnobirthing free on the NHS? Is it worth doing a paid course?
Some trusts are offering free hypnobirthing classes now, which is wonderful. Hypnobirthing becoming more mainstream and more women and birthing people being able to access hypnobirthing is always a positive thing. That said, there are some important points to note about free, nhs-run hypnobirthing classes.
A Kinship hypnobirthing course is so much more than learning relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. That is an incredible starting point and they are so powerful, but on their own they often aren't enough. In my course we explore birth choices, your human rights in birth and how to advocate for yourself. In a hospital-run course while you may be presented with options, it is likely you are being shown the choices that your trust's policies dictate. This is limiting and hospital policy is not always rooted in evidence, or not the most up-to-date evidence.
An independent hypnobirthing practitioner will give you an unbiased education, and sign post you to the most relevant and evidence-based information. It is important that you have full autonomy over your labour and birth, and my goal is to support you in that.
Can I learn hypnobirthing myself?
As with anything, yes, you can teach yourself some aspects of hypnobirthing. Particularly things like breathing techniques and some 'tools' we use in pregnancy and labour like affirmations or visualisation. These basic but important parts of hypnobirthing we cover early on in the course together and much of the 'work' with these is done in your own time. Positive affirmations, for example, are only effective if you have been practising using them. Printing off some affirmations and popping them on the wall in labour won't do much at all!
Hypnobirthing is about so much more than the relaxation tools, though. It is a full transformation of how you feel about birth, how your birth partner feels about their role. It is learning about your body and developing a trust in it that will serve you not just in labour but for the rest of your life.
If you were going to learn a language, or an instrument, you could, of course, teach yourself. With a book, an app, maybe pre-recorded lessons. But the experience wouldn't compare to being guided and supported by a teacher throughout your journey. My role as a hypnobirthing teacher is not just to give you information and tools. That is the easy part: entry level hypnobirthing. I will guide you, prompt you to explore your own self discovery, to support you, to hold you accountable and to encourage you when you need it. And on a group course your peers will do that too.
So, yes, you could teach yourself. But it isn't the same experience as doing a course with me.
Does my birth partner need to attend?
In a word, YES! Birth partners often get a bad rep in the media and pop culture, which love to portray them as, at best, clueless and, at worst, getting in the way. That is total bullshit and I'm sorry birth partners if you have been made to feel that this is your lot. It does not need to be.
Kinship Hypnobirthing courses have a huge focus on the role of the birth partner. We will spend time on practical, useful things that birth partners can be doing during your pregnancy, labour and birth to support you. We'll also cover the importance of the BP's role in communicating with health care professionals, postpartum support and I'll make sure that you both understand the physiology and psychology of birth. Knowledge is power and they need this information as much as you.
If there is a reason why your birth partner cannot attend all or some of the sessions for any reason, get in touch with me and we can absolutely work around it. It might be recording a few sections of the sessions, or booking in an extra 1:1 session. Alternatively you can book a private course and that way you can make the times work for you.
Lastly, remember your birth partner can be anyone you want. It might be your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mum, dad, auntie, cousin or a best mate. Choose the person or people you feel are going to support you wholeheartedly.
I am planning an elective Caesarean. Is it still worth doing the Kinship Hypnobirthing Course?
Absolutely. Hypnobirthing is for all bodies, and all births. Whatever the reason for you choosing a Caesarean, I am a firm believer that no one type of birth is 'better' than another. As a Caesarean baby myself, whose mum had two extremely positive Caesarean experiences, I have grown up viewing abdominal birth as just another type of birth. That said, it is a specialist topic and requires some specialist support.
There are many elements of the Kinship full Hypnobirthing course that are completely relevant for your Caesarean birth and there are some bits that wont be. If you know you are planning a Caesarean, drop me an email to talk about dates and you can book a 'Refresher session, which is 4 hours spread over 2 sessions of bespoke time with me, getting fully prepped for the a positive caesarean birth. Read Anna's testimonial about the bespoke sessions ahead of her third baby's birth at the end of last year, her first caesarean.
I also have some useful resources in my online Client Hub for parents who have birthed abdominally to utilise in their recovery.
Are you medically trained?
No. My hypnobirthing teacher training is accredited by the Royal College of Midwifery but I hold no medical qualifications. It is my job to make you feel confident and prepared ahead of your birth, and signpost you to relevant and reputable sources of information, such as up-to-date and credible research. It is from this position of being informed and knowledgable about your options that you will feel empowered to make the right decisions for you. It would be unethical and illegal for me to give you medical advice or give you my views on specific medical circumstances. Kinship courses do cover common special circumstances, such as induction of labour, and I will present you with facts and information on those.
Will my birth be pain free? Am I allowed pain meds if I'm hypnobirthing?
The first thing to address in these questions is the word 'allowed.' You are allowed to do whatever you want. In pregnancy, in labour, in birth. It is your human right to, in fact. From a legal standpoint the only thing related to birth that you have to do register your baby's birth. Other than that, it's up to you.
There are a few misconceptions about hypnobirthing. One is that someone can 'fail' at it if they stray from a vaginal birth with no pain relief. This couldn't be further from the truth. Hypnobirthing is not about the way you birth you baby at all, in fact. Far more important than the way you birth them, is the way you feel during your labour and birth, how you experience it. Hypnobirthing is about feeling informed, making the choices that feel right for you. And in some cases, that will be some sort of pain relief whether it is gas and air, an opioid or an epidural.
Which brings me back to the first question. I cannot guarantee you a pain-free birth. Nobody can or should be doing that. Hypnobirthing is actually not 'pain relief.' What a combination of practising deep relaxation and having a full understanding of how the body and brain can work together can do, is help the muscles of your body to work efficiently in birthing your baby. For some this is reported as a 'pain-free birth.' For others, probably most birthing women and people, they will experience what they would describe as pain. Many people report that a mindset shift allows them to see and feel birth as intense and powerful, rather than painful. Or they describe it as a pain they could manage and cope with using the tools and techniques they have available to them through hypnobirthing.