Setting up Your Home for Hypnobirthing
DipHB (KGH) ~ PGCE (Primary Ed) ~ BA (Hons)
Expectant parents who choose hypnobirthing courses for their antenatal education will learn the importance of calm, autonomy and empowerment in pregnancy and labour. A course will give them valuable information and useful techniques that can be followed up at home and practised right up until labour begins. Transforming your home with visual reminders and areas for focus and preparation for a positive birth experience allows Parents to commit to the best birth experience they can have.
Much of the birth preparation a hypnobirthing course covers centres around a positive mindset and addressing any fears around childbirth. Hypnobirthing combines the science of pregnancy and labour, methods for relaxation in pregnancy and then again in labour as well as practical tips for improving your labour. Then there is the birth environment – a source of stress for some people as they struggle to visualise exactly where they will be when they give birth. This could be due to several considerations: the facilities and reputation of the local hospital(s); making arrangements for the care of other children; concerns over the suitability of the home for the birth. With this in mind, some people will be on the fence about birthing in a hospital or at home but regardless of where you may end up having your baby most hypnobirthing teachers would encourage you to remain at home as long as you feel able to do so and why? Because home is where we feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. So, how could you prepare your home for hypnobirthing?
Positive statements could be displayed as this is a common area you are likely to pass through several times during the day. Excitement for birth can be built by frequently seeing positive affirmations such as: My baby will be born at exactly the right time. My body knows how to birth my baby just as it knew how to grow my baby. My surges cannot be stronger than me because they are me. Also any concerns around the baby’s position could be assuaged with an image of a baby in the womb in the most usual position to focus your thoughts.
Whether fitted with a bath or shower, this room will almost certainly be used in early labour as you have a last rinse before labour picks up or if you indulge in a long soak to relax through surges. Treat yourself to a favourite scented candle that can be lit during these times. Special body lotion or massage oil would also be beneficial for any massage techniques your birthing partner uses.
If you choose to retire to your sacred bedroom space then consider the mood and lighting of that environment. It should feel cosy and private, some say to try and replicate the intimate environment that (most) babies were created in.
Rest when you feel you need to but try and resist the urge to curl up in bed and stay there. Upright and active positions help babies into more favourable positions for birth.
If planning a home birth or more specifically a water birth then this is likely to be where the pool or birthing ball is used. Ahead of time, you could discuss how the area (including a pool) will be used with any other children who may be present in the house while labour unfolds. It could be explained to them that during labour there may be some noise or even none at all(!) as their parent works hard to birth their brother or sister and that some adult helpers may also be in attendance. The midwives attending will need an area to set up their equipment for recording your labour and unpacking the kit they may need. They will likely remain in this area as much as they can to avoid disturbing you but are on hand should you need them.
Just as in your bedroom, lower lights, play emotive music or even a funny film so that your endorphins and oxytocin levels are high.
As your due month arrives then take the opportunity to think carefully about the supplies you will need for part or all of your labour at home. This could include stocking up on favourite snacks that will sustain your energy levels. A drinks bottle with a straw that can be easily sipped between surges to ensure good hydration. As for prepping your kitchen to host visiting midwives or care providers simply leaving tea, coffee and bread (for toast) in an obvious place can avoid any stress about providing refreshments for those attending your birth. You can then focus on the important job at hand.
Lastly, if living in a remote location discuss this ahead of time with your midwife to best decide how you will be found. Expectant parents have been known to tie a balloon to the door for caregivers to easily identify their property. I feel the modern version of this would be the What3Words app the app that maps the world and assigns three words as a marker for every three meters.
As with all these suggestions by planning ahead there should be no stress during the labour as entertaining any menial chores or decisions like this will engage your neocortex (thinking brain) when instead you should reside in your mammalian brain going with your instincts to ensure a more calm and comfortable labour.
Links to resources
The Hypnobirthing Book by Katherine Graves