Seema Barua, 39, from Essex, had baby Deveena in hospital with hypnotherapy and the assistance of a doula
“After experiencing a difficult birth with my first daughter I was determined to find a different way to bring my second baby into the world – one free of fear and stress. So, I read up about different relaxation techniques and found out about hypnobirthing (which uses a mixture of visualization, relaxation and deep breathing techniques to help you manage the pain of labor and birth). I learnt that when you’re scared, your body releases adrenalin and you go into fight or flight mode, but when you’re relaxed you release oxytocin which helps to reduce pain levels in birth. I also sought out the help of a doula, a kind of birth coach, to help me during the birth.
As I approached the pushing stage, I positioned myself on all fours on my hospital bed, and with each contraction, I would slowly count to 10 as it reached a peak and then wait for it to subside. I got into a good rhythm and started to trust my body to do the job it was built to do. As I breathed deeply into each contraction, I felt utterly fearless and so relaxed! When the midwife said: ‘You need to turn onto your back now,’ I said ‘No!’ I knew that being on all fours, like an animal, was the best way to give birth because it would keep gravity on my side. It was such an empowering feeling to be doing things my way!
I must admit that at one point the pain was so bad, I said to my doula: ‘If I push now, am I going to die?’ She looked me straight in the eye and said: ‘No, this is just your self-doubt phase.’ I’d read about that in my birth prep – that in the late stages of labor women often feel that they just can’t go on – so it made complete sense to me. I gave a big push and out came Deveena. I felt so joyful and relieved that I had managed to achieve the birth I wanted. When I walked out of hospital, I felt like I wanted to go back in there and do it all over again!”
Hypnobirthing tips from Parenting Club midwife Emma Mills
• During the first stage of labour, it’s perfectly normal for the midwife to pop in and out of your room rather than remain with you all the time. This can be scary and isolating for first-time mums so don’t be afraid to press that buzzer if you need some help!
• Bring your favorite pillow with you into the hospital or birth center. You’ll find it comforting to have something soft and familiar with you throughout the birth. And once baby arrives you can lean back on your pillow and cuddle in comfort!
• Practicing relaxation techniques such as hypnobirthing and abdominal breathing at home is a great way to help you and your partner prepare for the birth – it can help you feel more confident, and your partner to feel more involved in the build-up to the big day.