Your Questions Answered
When should I book a course?
In many cases I would argue the earlier the better, as that will give you the most length of time to practise all the techniques before your birth. If you are booking a 1:1 course, we can arrange your class dates as close or as spread out as you like such as 4 classes over 2 weeks or over 8 weeks. Overall I would say anytime after 20, before 30 weeks is ideal.
What should I wear to a class?
You're pregnant so anything that you feel comfortable in goes! If you are at home - Pyjamas! Or comfy jogging bottoms and a baggy t-shirt! The same if you are coming to a class - we will mainly be sitting on chairs or on yoga mats on the floor so it is essential that you are comfy and cosy.
Should I bring anything to a class?
A water bottle to stay hydrated is a good idea. I also don't mind if you bring a snack as classes are 2 hours long and we will try to include breaks to move, chat and have a quick bite. Please just be mindful of others allergies - no nuts - and others pregnancy aversions to strong smells - egg sandwiches are probably not going to make you popular!
A comfy cushion is also a good idea to place on your chair or on the yoga mat or to use as a pillow when practising our relaxation during the guided meditation and hypnosis sections. If your class is during the winter months you may also want to bring a blanket. I would always say it is better to bring them and not use them than wish you had them. If you have your own yoga mat you could also bring this.
Do birth partners need to come?
Birth partners have an important role to play when it comes to making your birth special. This class is for you both - to practise the breathing techniques together, to prepare a birth plan together, to understand all about your choices and help make them together, to understand all about birth and what is happening. You want them to be informed so that on the day they are able to support you confidently and understand what their role is. Your birth partner can be whomever you choose, if you are not in a relationship, a supportive friend or your own parent is absolutely fine, but I strongly encourage you to have a partner with you.
I'm not sure Hypnobirthing is for me?
I get it! Hypnobirthing is a stupid name that puts everyone off! People think its like voodoo or only for people who want to dance at stone circles on the equinox! That why I call most of my classes 'Birth Preparation'. Firstly - Hypnobirthing is mainly antenatal education which is science based. The 'hypno' part refers to the relaxation technique of self-hypnosis. This helps you to relax deeply which is actually a lovely state to be in during birth and probably not what you have seen on TV! But the truth is Hypnobirthing is suitable for anyone expecting a baby who is looking for a calm, confident and positive birth experience. It doesn't matter what type of birth you are working towards, home or hospital, water or caesarean, hypnobirthing techniques can be used for all births, even if you are 'high risk'. Our complete birth course uses hypnobirthing as I truly believe it is beneficial for birth - and trust me, you won't catch me at a dancing at stone circle any time soon! But if it really isn't your thing, don't let that stop you! Its only a small part of the course and you could sit it out if you didn't feel comfortable participating at that time.
Will I be hypnotised?
The 'hypno' part of hypnobirthing is self hypnosis. This is not someone clicking their fingers and you clucking like a chicken. In fact we all experience types of self-hypnosis on a daily basis. Daydreaming is a form of self hypnosis. When we are driving and we suddenly realise we have reached our destination without remembering half the journey - this is also a form. So you can 'wake up' at any time - if you were driving along in a dream and something happened, you would wake up and slam on the breaks. The same is true of our guided hypnosis - you can 'wake up' at any time. It is just about exploring strategies to help aid your relaxation. Practising this regularly means than when you are birthing your baby, you are better able to zone out from distractions and birth your baby calmly and gently.
Why should I prepare for birth?
Can't I just go with the flow? Of course you can, its your pregnancy and your birth and you can have your baby however you like. However firstly, as someone who did this the first time around, let me try to explain, you don't know what you don't know! For example, if doctors tell you they would like to induce you at 12 days after your due date what are your options? Do you have any? Can you have a water birth if you are being induced? What are the risks? There are so many different scenarios in birth and no birthing person is the same, no baby is the same and no birth is the same, so why should you accept or fit into the same 'rule' or hospital guideline. What about your preferences? We often have the understanding that the birth partner can cut the cord, but did you know you or your birth partner can also catch your baby? You don't have to have vaginal exams? You could have an aromatherapy massage in the hospital if you wanted? Like I said, you don't know what you don't know. A birth preparation class will help prepare you so that you are knowledgeable of whats to come as well as give you the tools to help you relax and have a positive birth experience. You don't want to look back on your day after and think - I wish I had done this differently, I wish I had known more.
This birth will be one of the most important things you do in your life - much like a wedding. You wouldn't just turn up and go with the flow - you would do some planning first! You are going to remember the day forever and you want it to be positive! So why would you not do the same for your birth?
Which course is right for us?
I can't answer that for you really, but I would always recommend the full course unless you are having a planned caesarean in which case the positive caesarean workshop is the obvious choice. The full course has many options - 1:1 is suitable if you want a more tailored experience to your circumstances and birth choices, or if you would struggle to come to an evening class due to shift work for example. Online is obviously easier for couples who have previous children as you don't need to source childcare and I don't mind a little one popping on to say hello! The group choice is a great option if you are first time parents-to-be as you will also meet others. You can share your journey together and I always make sure there is time for a chat to get to know each other. You can meet up when babies arrive and go for walks and coffees - not just the mums but birth partners too. The groups are also quite interactive so the time really does fly. If you are short on time or have previous hypnobirthing experience then the workshop would be ideal for you.
No! Absolutely not! Don't panic if you have just discovered hypnobirthing and you feel like its too late! It's never too late. Get in touch and we can discuss which course would be right for you and arrange your sessions closer together so that you can still complete it before baby makes their appearance.
I am 36 weeks pregnant - is it too late to start a course?
Yes! Easy answer! No birth is the same and many women come to a class because they didn't prepare for their first birth and it didn't quite go as they expected - myself included! So of course you can do a course if this is your second, third, forth or tenth baby!
This is my second baby - can I still do a course?
I have been told I am 'high risk' - can I still do a course?
Yes, definitely! I too was classed as 'high risk' and was able to have the positive birth I had planned for.
Please be aware I am not medically trained so I will not be able to provide advice on any medical conditions you have in pregnancy. You should always talk to your midwife or doctor about this. I can however point you in the direction of the latest studies and guidelines, to help you make any decisions relating to your birth. NICE and AIMS are both great websites if you are looking for unbiased medical information.
For a “high-risk” pregnancy, your care-providers may suggest that you give birth in a hospital delivery suite or labour ward. One of the great things about my course is that it is for ALL types of birth, not just water births and home births. Both my births were in hospital on dry land, and the tools you will learn may actually be even more helpful if you are giving birth in a hospital environment. The tools you gain are valuable for ALL births, including inductions, assisted births, and Caesareans.
I want to have an epidural - can I still do the course?
Yes, of course! It is important to state that the objective of birth preparation or Hypnobirthing is NOT a pain-free, drug-free birth. It is a positive birth - whatever that means for you! With or without Hypnobirthing, the sensations of birth are one of the most intense things you will ever feel, and it would be unrealistic of me to promise you a pain-free birth. If you wish to have medical support, including analgesia or an epidural, your tools will still work in harmony with any interventions, and ensure your birth experience is a positive one.
Is your course inclusive?
Yes! The Stirling Birth School welcomes EVERYONE! I do everything I can to make sure my business is a safe space for all. I am really aware that not every pregnant person identifies as female and I will always use your preferred pronouns and inclusive language in all of my sessions. This is something that is very important to me and I am proud to uphold these values in my work. My pronouns are she/her.
Is it worth it?
Is preparing for one of the most important days of your life worth it? Only you can answer that? I do understand however that babies are expensive, from the pram to the cot, the next-to-me, the carrier, not to mention the newborn photo shoot, baby monitor and clothes. Paying for a birth class is of course an added expense, but it is also an investment in a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. So why not ditch the expensive baby gadgets from your wish list and ask for a contribution towards a positive birth experience instead? The feelings you have about your birth will last a whole lot longer than a designer baby grow will. And the skills and tools that you and your birthing partner will learn are completely transferable and can be used for the rest of your life.