Empowering women through Hypnobirthing - interview with Rachel from Blissful Birthing Oxfordshire
Stepping into 2020, women now are incredibly lucky to have the option to experience birth in a way they feel comfortable with: having the option to choose water birth, home birth, hospital birth, birthing house, midwife-led units, planned C-section and many more. Women Among these is also hypnobirthing, a concept which is becoming more and more popular among expectant parents.
I was recently joined by a local practicing midwife and KG Hypnobirthing Teacher Rachel from Blissful Birthing to chat all things hypnobirthing and how it can empower women to make informed choice and to experience labour and birthing in more calm, relaxed way.
Hypnobirthing has many benefits to mother, partner and baby and it helps women achieve a positive birth experience.
Q: Hi Rachel, thank you so much for joining me for this interview. To start this interview off, can you please in your own words introduce yourself. Who is Rachel?
Hi Klara, it’s lovely to meet you! I have been a midwife for 5 years and love it! My other passion in life is teaching, which is why I have started to teach hypnobirthing and have set up my own business… Blissful Birthing! In my spare time (the little that I have!) – I love going on walks with my Husband and my doggy!
Q: What started off your journey into hypnobirthing and what inspired you to become a midwife? When did you discover your passion for supporting and empowering women throughout such intimate and undoubtedly challenging, but also magical time of their life that birth is?
I have always enjoyed providing antenatal education to parents. In my practice as a midwife, I have seen how effective hypnobirthing is at empowering women and keeping them calm and relaxed. I wanted to feel more equipped to understand hypnobirthing and support women who use it – and after completing the KG Hypnobirthing Teachers Course, I decided to create my own classes so I could spread the word to more women!
Q: What was the reason you decided to become a midwife and how many births have you attended so far in your career?
I love caring for people and always wanted a career where I felt like I could make a difference to other people’s lives – so I opted for midwifery. It’s such a privilege to be part of such as special time in someone’s life! You have to assist in 40 deliveries as a student midwife, but once I qualified I stopped counting!! I have cared for women birthing in hospitals, midwife-led units and at home – but unfortunately I have lost count!
Q: What exactly is hypnobirthing and how do hypnobirthing classes differ from regular antenatal classes?
The course that I teach is Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing (https://www.kghypnobirthing.com/) – the original UK hypnobirthing course designed especially for Mothers in the UK. It is a complete antenatal education programme consisting of:
Practical techniques to achieve a positive and empowering birth (breathing, relaxations, visualisations, comforting massage).
How to release any fear around birth and increase confidenceInformation on the physiology of birth and how the mind and body work together.
How birthing partners can support and have an active role in the birth.
How to work with your caregivers to achieve the best birth possible.
Hypnobirthing has many benefits to mother, partner and baby and it helps women achieve a positive birth experience. I love the phrase “knowledge is power” – and in relation to this, the content of KGH evolves and keeps up-to-date with evidence-based information. Another benefit of the group classes is meeting other local parents who can offer a support network to each other!
Most first-time parents are offered free NHS classes but unfortunately due to resources and capacity, these aren’t always available to everyone who wants to attend or open to women having second or subsequent babies. Anyone who is pregnant can attend my classes, and with my knowledge and passion for all things birth, Blissful Birthing offers a great alternative to other larger antenatal education providers.
Often our decisions are made on assumptions instead of facts – but KGH provides women and their partners with all the information they need to make INFORMED choices on EVIDENCE-based information.
Q:You have trained and work as a midwife in addition to your hypnobirthing. Can you describe the main differences between being a hypnobirthing teacher/coach and midwife from your own experience and point of view?
I am passionate about both my roles, and although they interlink, I am very clear to those who I teach hypnobirthing that I may be a midwife but I am not their midwife. I never offer medical advice during my time teaching hypnobirthing – I stick to the course content and can signpost women to evidence-based resources.
Q: Your classes are mainly focused on positive approach to birth and working with removing fears and being able to make informed choices. Do you think that future mothers and society in general is misinformed about how birth is/can be due to representation in media and society perception?
This is a great question! I believe that in our culture, it is deeply engrained into our minds that birth is medical and a risky event. Although our conscious brain tells us that what we see on TV or in the media is often dramatized, our subconscious doesn’t – and this can negatively affect how we as a society generally feel about labour/birth. Often our decisions are made on assumptions instead of facts – but KGH provides women and their partners with all the information they need to make INFORMED choices on EVIDENCE-based information. I am all about positive birth stories and spreading these, there’s plenty to read at www.kghypnobirthing.com/birth-reports/mothers-hypnobirthing-stories/
Q: What is the number one tip you always give expecting mums and dads?
If they have undertaken a hypnobirthing course… practice, practice, practice! They will be provided with all the resources they need to practice the techniques at home.
Q: What are the benefits of hypnobirthing classes throughout pregnancy and birth?
There are many benefits to Mother, Partner and Baby:
Women are likely to experience a more comfortable and sometimes pain-free birth. Length of labour is often much shorter.
Less drugs and medical intervention are used in hypnobirthing births.
Mums often bounce back quicker after birth as the physical impact of giving birth is reduced.
Birthing partners will learn how to support and have an active role in pregnancy and birth.
Parents who use hypnobirthing often share of their babies being calm, content and sleeping well after hypnobirth.
Q: What kind of questions should expectant parents ask when they are looking for the right pre-natal course for them?
This is a tricky one… I suppose they need to ask themselves: what is it I want to take away from my antenatal classes/education? If it’s feeling more confident and prepared, and to understand ways in which they can have a positive, calm and empowering birth then a KGH course with me at Blissful Birthing is the one for them!
Q: Can hypnobirthing be applied to all types of birth (home/ hospital/ vaginal/ C-section…)?
Absolutely! Hypnobirthing can help women have a positive experience no matter what type of birth this may be.
Q: Birth photography and videography is a rising trend, especially in the recent years. What is your view on this as a practicing midwife?
There are some beautiful birth photos out there and what a lovely memento to have of such a magical time! I imagine that the popularity of birth photography will be increasing. Personally, I haven’t had experience of this as a midwife but if it’s the woman’s choice and she is comfortable with this then it would be supported.
Q: Tell me what made you start your own pre-natal education classes and how do your group classes differ from your one to one sessions.
I have always wanted to set up my own classes and after becoming a KGH teacher it seemed like the perfect time! One-to-one sessions are a great option if a woman needs more time to talk about individual needs and if attending groups is a challenge (we can arrange times that suit both of us). Groups are great for those who would like to meet other local parents and build that support network alongside hypnobirthing. The content for one-to-one and groups is the same.
Q: When and where do you hold your classes?
Each course is run over 4 sessions – these are held in Bicester, Oxfordshire. The dates are predominantly Thursday evenings but may vary from month to month so if anyone is interested, they can just send me an email. Each session lasts approximately 2-2.5 hours. I would suggest doing the course between 25-36 weeks.
Q: What is your favourite part of your job?
The best part of my job is helping others and making a difference to someone else’s experience – it’s so rewarding! When it comes to Hypnobirthing, it is lovely to see how much of a difference it can make to women and their pregnancy, labour and birth experience.
Are you expecting and considering hypnobirthing? Learn more about Rachel and her classes: