When you scroll online for information about hypnobirthing or search YouTube for inspirational videos, you may notice a theme… Many of the families sharing their story will choose to give birth at home.
There are loads of great reasons why being at home can be brilliant for birth, BUT that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best place for you! (I also think it’s much more likely that someone birthing at home will film their birth to upload to the internet making it seem like that’s where most people using the tools will choose to be, but in reality the majority of our clients actually don’t! Yet still I see posts all the time from mum’s who say they’re ‘sort of using hypnobirthing, but giving birth in hospital, so not doing it properly’ or that ‘it didn’t really work for them as they needed to be in hospital for whatever reason’. I call bullshit on this utter nonsense! A positive, empowered birth (aka hypnobirth!!) can happen ANYWHERE!
When women come in so many shapes and sizes, with wildly different pregnancies, unique hopes & dreams, and individual care providers, so how can we assume that any one place can be the ‘best’ place to give birth when there are so many factors to consider?
The reality is that birthing in hospital, on a consultant led labour ward or a midwife led birth unit, is the perfect place for some mums and babies;
Perhaps your pregnancy or general health is more complex than some, and being in a place where increased medical support is available means you can relax knowing that if its needed, extra help is on hand.
Perhaps you live with extended family and are seeking more privacy than you’ll find there.
Perhaps you’ve just moved to a new house and don’t feel able to relax fully at home yet with boxes around you, walls to paint and home comforts to curate.
Perhaps you love the idea of a homebirth, but as this is your first you feel like the midwife led unit offers the best of both worlds: a homely environment within a hospital.
Perhaps medical machinery and the busyness of a hospital environment allow you to feel catered for and safe.
Perhaps you had planned to be at home, but for whatever reason your circumstances change before or during labour, to mean a change of plan is perfect for you.
Perhaps you know for sure you want allllll the drugs and know where to find the widest range! (although I’d encourage you to consider seeing if other coping strategies are enough for you before heading down that route as so many client start in this place, and on the day find they need far less than they originally expected. We explore the pros and cons of pain relief options on our hypnobirthing course so you can make an informed choice.)
Basically, whatever feels right to you once you understand the options, is where you’ll probably labour best when the time comes, because we need to feel safe to switch off our conscious minds and allow our subconscious to run the show.
You don’t have to justify your place of birth to anyone or feel like you should have chosen somewhere else to fit in with an imaginary ideal of what a hypnobirth looks like. If you know your options, and what the benefits and risks are for each, then you’re good to go. Oh, and you’ll probably be reassured to learn of the high levels of safety in all locations given how risky people make birth sound (check out https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/birthplace for more info). You can even use Which? To help you work out which location or hospital is best for yourself and your baby!
Here are my top tips for if you are planning to have your baby in hospital.
– Own that choice – it’s yours to make, and as an informed, loving parent you will be making the best decisions you can with the information you have for your child.
– Get the practical shit sorted! Does your birth partner know the best route? (avoiding speed bumps and potholes if possible!) Make sure you know the parking arrangements – do you need change, or can you pay on a card as you leave? Have your bag well packed with anything you may want or need. Get your headphones in and relaxation audios on in the car, so your driver isn’t distracted, but you are supported by the soothing words.
– Stay home for as long as you are comfortable to if you’ve been enjoying a straightforward pregnancy. If you don’t dash straight to the hospital when you realise labour is starting, you reduce the chance of your labour slowing on arrival. Enjoy being in your own space, take a bath or shower, bake a birthday cake, paint or draw, dance, bounce on your ball or whatever you enjoy focussing on normally, and make the move when things are well established. You could even go for a walk somewhere locally if you wanted – gravity and movement are on your side.
– Consider how you can make the space more personal, and comfortable – whatever that means for you. Your own pillow, LED candles, aromatherapy oils, your fave lipbalm, affirmation cards, or anything else which helps you feel supported physically or emotionally.
– Learn how to use the BRAIN acronym to make decisions throughout.
If you’d like to know more about all the brilliant stuff covered on one of our courses to help you prepare for a great birth whatever that looks like for you just head here. To book onto a group course in southend, check the dates here, or for a private course contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Southend), or email@example.com (Upminster) directly to discuss availability.