5 Questions to Ask a Hypnobirthing Teacher

As hypnobirthing becomes ever more mainstream, demand and supply are growing too. You might imagine that anyone offering “Hypnobirthing/ HypnoBirthing/ Natal Hypnotherapy” etc is going to provide you with the same birth prep for your buck.

Then, once you realise what variations in approach and support exist, where do you start in your efforts to whittle it down to your chosen teacher? What is good value for money when there’s such a spectrum of offers? There is a good fit for everyone, but how can you find yours?

Here are my suggestions- questions to ask perspective teachers that will give you a good sense of whether they will meet your needs.

  1. What are your views on other forms of pain relief (ie- TENS machine and/ or drugs)?
  2. What options can you offer me to work within my budget? And how flexible are your payment terms?
  3. What support do you offer outside the course itself?
  4. Are there any other local pregnancy services you can recommend?
  5. What else are you involved with?

And here are my answers, if you’re interested…

1.For me, this is so important. Do you want to be told that pain in birth is unnatural? That your body is made to do it, and so why should there be pain? That fear is the only cause of this, and so if you work hard enough to rid yourself of fear, and learn to relax, you’ll be pain free? That to even consider another form of relief is to undermine the philosophy of hypnobirthing? Maybe you do. If you are firmly committed to a drug free birth no matter what, this might serve you ok.

If this is you, best stay away from me and my course. Most of my clients start out with a preference to avoid drugs, and most do, but not all, and that’s fine. Of course it is, who am I to tell you what to choose?

I will tell you, for sure, that fear plays a HUGE part in perceived pain in labour, that there are tonnes of ‘natural’ things you can do to effectively increase your comfort levels- relaxation techniques, fear release, massage, breathing, visualisation, positioning, environment, all of this can substantially decrease your feelings of pain. But I will also remind you that for most of us, our lifestyles are far from optimal in terms of what’s best for our bodies. Exercise may be minimal, our diets are likely to be hit and miss, even those of us who are conscientious in eating well are at the mercy of what’s available, mineral depletion in our food, etc. we cannot mistreat our bodies over a lifetime, then expect them to turn up on the day and function perfectly. Also, many of us cannot tick every box to optimise the other factors- what if our partners won’t get on board? What if our caregivers are unsupportive? What if our labour and birth takes a path we didn’t expect? Consider too that potential pain in labour may play an important part in regulating hormone production, and progress, prompting a mother to change position or approach- it’s not pathological pain.

So my view is this- lets challenge the idea that significant pain is a necessary element of labour, let’s alter our outlook and therefore perception of the sensations, but let’s not feel guilty if we consider or choose a little more help. Whatever you do is right, if you do it fully informed. If you want a TENS on standby, or opt for a pethidine nap, that’s fine by me.

2. Hypnobirthing may seem expensive, although usually within a group setting, no more so than other private antenatal education. It’s an investment for sure, and those who’ve made it with me tell me regularly that it’s some of the best money they’ve spent. There are lots of other purchases people are happy to put ahead of their birth preparation too, some of it seems like madness to me. Suzy explains it brilliantly here… But ultimately,  not everyone has a couple of hundred quid they can devote to this. So then what?

Some teachers will only have one standard option, (which is obviously fine & totally their choice, they may feel they work best that way) others will offer more flexibility.

One of the reasons I started my Pregnancy Relaxation Group was to have an affordable way for women to connect with hypnobirthing (and other women). It’s not the same as a full course, clearly. But alongside some self teaching and commitment, plus the online support I offer with it, it’s a good option if money is tight. I love that lots of my antenatal course mamas are coming along as a top up, and sharing their wisdom and confidence in the group, it’s a fab dynamic.

I also offer a combined course with my super wing woman Jade West, hypnobirthing with pregnancy Pilates, HAPPy Bumps. It’s an occasional workshop that we hope to build on soon, and provides a wide skill set at an intermediate price point.

Of course, then there is THE antenatal course– the whole shebang, my most rounded offering, tried and tested wonderful prep, including your partners too, and a premium rate to have this delivered in your own home privately.

You can spend anything with me from £12 for a drop in to relaxation that gets you into the online support group too, up to £650, with a fair few levels in between. If you’re properly skint, I’ll lend you materials and advice for free, just let me know.

My payment terms for a full antenatal course have always been “pay me when you can”. My ideal is to be paid by course completion, but especially when booking are made fairly late, this isn’t realistic for everyone, and I never want payment for the course to be a source of stress. I’ve had people pay me in one chunk, over 2 months, even sometimes up to 6 month instalments. I know this has made a difference to a lot of my clients, and I’ll continue to do this until someone lets me down. Just let me know what works for you.

3. Support outside the course itself- let’s face it, it’s hard to imagine tipping up to your course, listening, digesting, walking away feeling like you’ve got it all sussed. Most of this will be new to you, and your partner, it can take time to embed. Some of us need time to reflect before we are ready ask questions. New things will come along through the pregnancy that you hadn’t even considered. So you might expect a little bit more than ‘the course’ for your money, and you’d be right to think this is a good plan.

I’ve got your back. Whatever you need- let me know. I do not have all the answers. But I have plenty for you to chew over, and many more resources to offer you, supportive figures to introduce you to (more on this soon).

I am always in touch with my gang. Emails, texts, phone calls, tears on my doorstep. Through the pregnancy, sometimes in labour, or within hours of the birth.

Then there are the cake mornings (formerly coffee mornings- now more honestly named). Sharing, encouraging, supporting each other- after all #ittakesavillage to raise a child. I’ll invite you into mine. Online too- a lovely bunch in a couple of closed facebook groups, blossoming into a tribe of super mamas.

4. Are there any other pregnancy services I recommend? Hell yeah. My dream team. Over the past couple of years I have made it my business to make connections with some of the best service providers you could wish for.

You can find out more about them here, in short, The Baby Project, Leigh on Sea is a group of women like me, giddy to support women like you. It feels fantastic to send my clients to these women, knowing how well looked after they will be, and to repeatedly hear the amazing feedback.

You can meet them soon at this upcoming free event  where we also have the fabulous Sarah Ockwell-Smith in attendance sharing secrets of better baby and toddle sleep #holygrail

In short, I’ll hook you up with anyone who will make you life easier, and make pregnancy and parenthood more positive. I knew nothing and no one locally when I had my son. Again I will remind you- #ittakesavillage so don’t feel you have to climb this mountain alone, so much great stuff going on

5.Some teachers will solely be teaching hypnobirthing, others will be doing it alongside a day job, or other activities that revolve around the preggo world. Is that important to you? It may not be, and of course it’s fine- we are all just trying to make our way, balance our priorities.

For me, hypnobirthing is so much more than my job- it was my way in to this world, where I now find myself settled. I cannot help but spend my time supporting positivity in birth etc for women in any way I can. So I co-facilitate the Positive Birth Group South East Essex. I am Vice-Chair of the Maternity Services Liaison Committee based at Southend Hospital. I look after The Baby Project, Leigh on Sea. And I have another HUGE plan on the horizon, a way to make a real difference in the lives of local families. But I need to sit on it for a little while- baby number 2 will need at least some attention…

In my opinion, a teacher fully immersed in this world will be likely to gain knowledge, experience, connections that she would otherwise miss out on. You can tell why she is in it- I don’t make any money from my extra curricular bits above, I just can’t not be involved- LOVE IT ALL.

So there you have it-my monologue interview with you- how did I do?! Are we a good fit?

If you fancy joining my gang of super mamas, I am tentatively considering a return to teaching in July (all of my courses ahead of my mat break are full). So if your baby is expected late August onwards, drop me an email at keri@hypnobirthdays.com to register your interest, and I’ll keep you informed. Would be thrilled to share your journey to a positive birth.

 

 

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