“The first 1001 days include pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life. There is clear and compelling evidence that this is a significant and influential phase in development. This is an age of opportunity. What happens during this period lays the foundation for every child’s future health and well being. It sets the ground work for children’s developing emotional well being, resilience and adaptability: the competencies they need to thrive. During this period we can lay the foundation of health and well being whose benefits last a lifetime – and carry into the next generation.”
First 1001 days Movement
No pressure then!
We know that a child’s life inside the womb, and what they go on to experience in their early days is so important for them. It sounds however, like a lot of pressure on parents to get everything perfect. However one of the most important elements in getting in right for our children, is LOVE. If you can really provide an environment of love and trust, then you are giving your baby everything.
You Have Got This
The research on the importance of building healthy, respectful and loving relationships with our children and the positive impact this has on their future, is clear. Sue Gerhardt’s book ‘Why Love Matters’, is one of the most famous books to make this point. This book explains “Why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health. Highlighting our growing understanding of the part also played by pregnancy in shaping a baby’s future emotional and physical well being.” Sue Gerhardt
Baby Classes with Nicola will provide just that
Baby Massage, Baby Yoga and GroovaRoo Dance are the perfect activities to bond with your baby. They provide high levels of interaction, sensory development, and connection. By attending these classes you will provide your baby with lots of rich physical and emotional input. This strengthens parent-child bonds and it also boosts parent confidence and mood.
Birth Preparation will absolutely help
The evidence also says that pregnancy is an important developmental time period, and it will impact your baby’s future. Your baby feels the effects from the stress hormones in your body. Short term stresses will have little or no effect on baby. Longer term or more chronic stress however can be detrimental.
When we make time for relaxation in pregnancy, baby’s brain grows in a more optimal way. If you experience higher levels of stress from time to time, as the majority of us do, then it is important to counteract this with regular relaxation.
Laura and Richie show that a positive caesarean birth with Hypnobirthing is possible! They did Hypnobirthing with me and fully embraced the experience. Laura was so calm and positive but found out that her baby was breech at 36weeks.
Here is their story.
I had a scan at 36 weeks to find out my placenta had moved (as it had been low lying) but baby was breech.
Got sent for another scan 2 weeks later to find out baby was still presenting as breech (devastated)! At this point I got papers left at the bottom of my bed and told to sign up for an elective section – trying to turn the baby wouldn’t work….. this was the first time I had used my hypnobirthing techniques as before I would have done whatever a doctor advised but instead. I went out and spoke to a midwife and said I wasn’t ready to make a decision / sign any papers. I went home and was able to return the next day.
On my return I got a very different doctor who said trying an External Cephalic Version had a 50-70% chance of working so that’s what I got. In the meantime I tried techniques from spinning babies and a breech baby hypnosis script with Nicola.
The ECV Procedure
Week 38/39 I went in for my ECV, I was prepared, had my hospital bag in the car and my Hypnobirthing relaxation playing….. was this experience pleasant? No…. but was it painful …. also no, it was, well fine. Normally they would only try to turn baby once as they can become distressed. My baby’s heart rate was so stable and I was coping so well with the help of my hypnosis, that they were able too try the turn 4 times! The staff were amazed.
Unfortunately my baby didn’t move but I felt in control and at that point made my decision to sign up for an elective section rather than trying a breech birth. A decision I do not regret and something I felt confident and even began to feel a bit excited about. I was going to meet my baby very soon!
The Big Day!
My babies birthing day arrived! I was filled with excitement and calm all at once. I was ready to meet my baby. We got to the hospital at 7:30am and I was second on the list and got a bed in the maternity ward until the labour ward was ready for me. I sent my partner away about 9am for an hour, I needed to prepare. I got my rainbow relaxation on and got into the zone. Before I knew it, it was my turn. Finally get to meet my baby!!!
The section was just wonderful, from start to finish, I got to speak to the doctor doing my section first and requested skin to skin directly after birth and delayed cord clamping for as long as was safe. All was agreed and in I went. It was such a happy, upbeat and relaxed environment. Everyone was laughing and we managed to film the whole thing (from the curtain up) we also took some photos and the anaesthetist even took some for us.
My baby boy was here, happy and healthy! He didn’t cry for about an hour after birth and started feeding within an hour of being born. It was the most wonderful experience of my life. I felt completely in control, pain free and happiness like I’ve never felt in my life. I now know that a positive caesarean is possible.
What Hypnobirthing Did For Me
Not only did Hypnobirthing work for me during my pregnancy and birth but it was a wonderful tool to use afterwards. If Joshua was having a meltdown I could put the hypnosis audios on and this would calm him…… and me. It gave me techniques to help me stay calm and relaxed. Some I still use now.
I am now 27 weeks pregnant with baby number 2 and hoping for a VBAC, but you know what, it’s okay if it’s not, as long as my baby gets here safe. I am also on week 4 of my hypnobirthing course, one of the best investments I have ever made, after all what’s more important than the day you give birth to your baby?
“Nia arrived safe and sound last night, record fast labour and it really wasn’t painful! 6lb9oz. Heading home now.”
“This was me half an hour before she was born. I was having a great time.” Helen
Helen has an incredible story to share with you. She is an anaesthetist so is highly skilled and trained in pain relief for labour and birth.
For her first baby, she planned from the start to have her pain managed with an epidural, as that’s what she felt most comfortable with and it is what she knew best. When she was pregnant with her second baby she got in touch with me about HypnoBirthing as she felt that although her first birth was a positive experience, she couldn’t help but feel curious about whether she really should have gone down the medicalised route for a healthy Mum and healthy baby.
For her next baby she really wanted to do things differently. Learning about HypnoBirthing completely transformed Helen’s outlook on what an incredible experience labour and birth can be. When you change your mindset to how incredible the birthing body is and what can go right, it opens you up to possibility thinking. It is then amazing what can happen.
“Thank you Nicola for giving me the skills to approach labour in such a different way!“
After working with me over lock–down, with weekly online HypnoBirthing classes, Helen went on to have a completely incredible, pain-free, natural birth. I am so delighted and so proud to be sharing this story. You are just an inspiration Helen. Congratulations x
I would love to share my birth experience. It was so amazing! I went in on Wednesday morning to have my BP checked as it had been high on Monday. It was borderline so they offered to do a sweep but when they examined me I was 2cm dilated and said they could just break my waters. If my BP went any higher it would start really medicalising things. At that point they were happy for no cannula and using water etc so we said yes. I went home for a nap and came in that afternoon.
They broke my waters at 5pm, I had mild contractions while I mobilised and snoozed and listened to my hypnosis tracks. Then at 9pm they started being a bit more regular and stronger. They weren’t sore, just powerful. I started using gas and air but mainly as it made me feel wonderful! At 9:45pm Bob went for a little walk about. 9.55pm they were struggling to pick up heartbeat as she was so low in pelvis. So they examined me to put clip on babies head. At this point I was 4cm dilated.
I was listening to music and very much in a deep relaxed zone. I then suddenly felt the need to make noise and then had a “I don’t know what position to be in” moment and was up, down, on toilet. Bob thankfully came back in 10.05pm. I felt the need to push, got on the bed on all fours and just let my body do what it wanted. I was just aware of Bob telling me I was fine and my inner voice thinking “I totally am, Bob doesnt need to tell me”.
It felt like I was in a complete dream state and not really there. I pushed twice and out she came! Her heart-rate did go very low at the end so there were a lot of people in the room. But I wasn’t really aware of that.
It was amazing! Just so raw and powerful and primal. Amazing!
The story that inspired a childbirth pioneer– and HypnoBirthing
Image re-created by Birth Undisturbed
Dr Grantly Dick Read
Dr Grantly Dick Read was an English obstetrician, childbirth pioneer and advocate for women in the mid 1900s. As a young Dr he attended the birth of ‘The Whitechapel Girl’ in a slum in London in 1911. At this time it was increasingly thought that birth should be medically managed. Dr Read was amazed by this girl and what he witnessed as she gave birth to her baby that night.
She refused pain relief
When he offered her chloroform, which was the norm for many births at this time, she refused and said she didn’t need it. This girl, living in complete poverty with little knowledge of birth, was able to use her natural instincts for a very calm and straightforward birth. He was intrigued as to how she could give birth with little discomfort.
The Fear Tension Pain Theory
This young woman inspired Dr Read when she said her famous line “It didn’t hurt Dr. Was it supposed to?” He then started to see a trend in groups of women. What was it that the women living the simplest of lives had that the other more affluent women did not? He realised that it was actually what they didn’t have that helped them. Fear. They didn’t have an expectation that their birth would be unmanageable. Dr Read seen that those who did not have fear birthed more easily. Those who did have fear had to start their preparation and relaxation early. HypnoBirthing is based on his theory and his life’s work. Thank you Dr Dick Read. For showing us how different birth can be.
We must trust our bodies
The history of childbirth is really incredible. When we look back it is easy to see how we have lost our way. Birth – a process that is safe and healthy for the majority of women, became heavily over medicalised. The birthing body is incredible. When we learn about what is really normal in birth, trust our bodies, and really prepare in the best possible way, it is amazing what we can achieve.
Now that I’ve started running some small classes, I can see that the lock down Mums just need more. More time and understanding. More care and compassion. They have gone through pregnancy and have had their babies with the worry of all their health hanging over them every day. The unknown that this deadly virus has threatened us with. The appointments without their partner, Mum or friend. Wondering if everything will be ok. What if I have to give birth alone? The restrictions in the hospital, the masks, the threat, the fear.
They have faced loneliness that those who had our babies under normal circumstances will never understand. That contact with other Mums that was our sanity, they have not known. Questioning themselves daily in the same four walls. They have missed watching their closest family revel in their baby’s new born cuteness. Wondered if they’ll ever see them hold their baby at all as they watched the daily news update.
They have questioned if they are good enough when their baby cries and wont stop. Their arms ache from being the only one who can hold the baby while they both cry. If only my Mum was here. I need Mothered too. They have thought – maybe I’m doing everything wrong. The battles with feeding and the guilt when it doesn’t go well. Zoom sessions with those they should see face to face. Making the most of conversations and activities with their baby. And when the meeting ends they are back, like that, just the two of them.
I know there have been so many positive moments for them too. You are your baby’s world after all and I see how they have thrived with all the cuddles and closeness. I also see your strength and determination. But the plan these Mums had for their mat leave, that precious time of having adventures together was taken away. They grieve for that time and we must let them, with understanding. They long for more contact even now. We were not meant to do this alone. It takes a village after all.
So now that we are slowly slowly coming back together, I want to recognise you amazing women. I don’t understand what it feels like to have had your baby in lockdown. But I see you, I hear you and I will continue to strive to support you the very best I can.
Maternal Mental health is a subject close to my heart. When I did my HypnoMothering teacher training course, it was the first time that I really understood all the feelings that I’d been hit with when I had my first baby. There was a huge shift for me, and it was very emotional. I was so grateful to be doing this training so that I could go on to empower and reassure and guide women through the transition into Motherhood.
I listened to a podcast recently where a physician spoke of her despair after her daughter was born. Her baby had trouble feeding and sleeping and she just felt overwhelmed. She thought, how can I, with my comfortable life, all my knowledge and resources at my fingertips, not be coping. What do Mums who are not as fortunate do? This did not surprise me. It does not matter how educated, in control or comfortable you are before your baby arrives. Adjusting to life as a Mum is huge and the emotions and challenges we face are part of being human. We ALL have struggles. Nobody has got it together 100% of the time. Understanding this is SO important and it can be such a relief. Improving Maternal Mental health will improve life for us and for our children. It is the key to continuing our parenting journey with more joy, love and happiness.
Congratulations to Nikky and Scott welcomed their beautiful baby girl Eloise on Sunday 8th March 2020.
Nikky and Scott started their HypnoBirthing classes with me in November 2019. At the start, HypnoBirthing was a maybe for this couple, however my course came recommended by good friends of theirs. They really trusted the opinion of this couple who I taught in early 2019, so Nikky and Scott decided to make that investment and get booked in. When they started classes I remember them saying they had no specific preferences for what they wanted for their birth. They would just go with the flow during labour and do what they were told, in the hospital, on the day.
WELL…. what a journey we had. As they started to learn more about what they could control, they had very clear ideas and began to realise what they did want for the birth of their daughter. The insight they gained from HypnoBirthing opened up completely new possibilities for them. Nikky, who hadn’t heard much about HypnoBirthing previously, committed 100% to the course. They both did and were a pleasure to teach. After a short time of learning the HypnoBirthing techniques, Nikky was able to fully and completely let her body go into immediate relaxation. She practised daily. She used her breathing techniques to keep her calm in pregnancy and for practise for the main event. She learned how to help her body and mind to go deeper into relaxation. Scott was there at every class, learning how he could give Nikky his support. The education for birth companions helped him to understand the birth process and how he could advocate for Nikky when needed.
Nikky and Scott both conditioned their minds through hypnosis, to clear out negative or worrying thoughts about the birth. They both knew how and why they should put trust in the natural process of birth. As Marie Mongan said “When we change the way that we view birth, the way that we birth will change.” And this is exactly what Nikky did. Having a partner who was able to do this too, made this a confident team effort, where their reassurance to each other made Nikky’s confident mindset even stronger.
Getting closer to the big day
In in the weeks leading up to her labour Nikky said “I just feel so calm and in control.” I’m so excited I actually just can’t wait for it to happen and for her to be here.” Laughing Nikky said ”I never thought I’d say that!”
Scott felt the same and he commented on a few occasions during the course and after, that he was blown away by the change in Nikky and how she had no apprehensions anymore about giving birth. Having this level of confidence as a first time Mum, really surprised and delighted this couple. Scott said ‘We’ve been telling everyone about HypnoBirthing. Honestly, I don’t know why more people don’t do this. It really has made the biggest difference.”
The excitement starts to build!
When the first signs came that something was happening, I got a message from Nikky at 9am. She said her waters had released the night before but not a lot was happening. She wasn’t feeling regular surges. She was asked by the midwife to go into hospital at 1pm that day as it was procedure to start thinking about induction. In classes we talk through these types of scenarios, and I remain on hand for advice. Nikky was still very happy and calm and in control. Feeling plenty of movement and knowing all was fine with baby, Nikky thought she might hold off on induction plans as long as she could. I gave her some recommendations on how she could help her body to release tension and for things to begin on their own.
In HypnoBirthing we understand the circumstances which indicate that medical intervention is needed. We also learn to trust the body. We learn about the amazing processes the body has to help birth, not hinder it. For the vast majority of women, birth is not a dangerous process that is likely to go wrong. And as one of my HypnoBirthing colleagues Michelle Clift once said, “Mother Nature is not a dumb ass!” I love that. The body really does know what it’s doing. As long as Mum and baby are well and there are no special circumstances, we let things gradually unfold with no pressure or force.
The Birthing Day
When Nikky went in to hospital for her checks as planned, and that induction chat, to her utter amazement when she was examined by the midwife, she was told that actually there would no be need for any intervention as she was 6cms dilated!! Nikky said “HypnoBirthing has worked amazingly. I am in absolute awe and all of the midwives are too because I really haven’t had much discomfort. Will just keep going and I can absolutely rock the birthing phase too. So excited to meet our little bundle.”
So Nikky did not know that she was in established labour. It was a trip to the labour ward at that point. Everyone was absolutely delighted and amazed.
And here is the rest of her story in Nikky’s own words.
“The midwives were amazing and dimmed the lights for me, got me a birth ball to bounce on and put on clary sage aromatherapy oil. Scott was playing my affirmations and helping me through my surge breathing. He was with me on every single surge that I had. When I entered the birthing phase I could feel my body wanting to push and at this point I did have the moment we talked about in class of “I can’t do this anymore” and I asked for pain relief. Both Scott and my midwife were unbelievable and reminded me of what our vision was. The midwife did also tell me that I would still feel every surge exactly as I was now so I knew that I could do this on my own.
There were moments my body was tensing if I hadn’t managed to breathe correctly and Scott was always there touching my shoulder to help me to relax and focus again. We played the rainbow relaxation over and over and even though I was well and truly in a world of my own I heard every word from him keeping me strong and positive. I used my birth breathing and she moved down the birth path. She was placed straight into my arms for skin to skin contact and we were given time for the cord to stop pulsating before it was cut.
I know that our HypnoBirthing was with both of us every single second and even in moments of doubt Scott helped me to remember my strength.”
Thank you for sharing your beautiful HypnoBirthing Story with us Nikky and Scott. You completely transformed your opinions about childbirth. I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated, open, friendly and delightful couple. You will be such fantastic parents to you little girl. Congratulations once again.
Gillian and Kevin attended HypnoBirthing classes at Gentle Beginnings in Kirkliston, Edinburgh in 2019.
They describe their enjoyment of attending the classes, how hypnosis helped at a difficult time when Gillian went overdue. They talk about how they went on to experience a beautiful home birth, and a quick labour with no fear or any complications.
Gillian describes how she was able to carry on getting ready for her day, shower and even blow dry her hair during established labour and then head downstairs to the birthing pool and give birth to her baby girl.
You are at the start of an amazing journey into parenthood. This time in your life is so precious. It is also a time for big decisions around the birth of your baby, a time of real physical and emotional change.
I am so glad you are here. I am Nicola, the founder of Gentle Beginnings and I am delighted you are aiming to experience this journey with your little one as positively and as joyfully as possible.
You are amazing and whatever your feelings are, remember you will do this your way, get the guidance and support that you need along the way and make this time in your life the most positive and special as it can possibly be.