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‘When I arrived at hospital, I was so calm the midwives were thinking of sending me home but when they examined me I was 8cm dilated'

being that what causes pain during birth is the fear of pain. He had witnessed women in slums giving birth using little more than gentle breathing, a far cry from the agony and terror experienced by his more affluent patients in London. The doctor realised that it was the expectation of the pain, and the tension that comes with that, which was working against the natural tightening and relaxing of the muscles of the uterus during labour and causing painful spasms.

MIND CONTROL First off, if you are worried that the term "hypno" means swinging pendulums and being put into glass-eyed trances then think again. There is no hypnosis involved, well not that sort anyway. Only selfhypnosis. It is all about using the breathing techniques and imagery to condition your mind and body so when your baby starts to arrive, you are in control and completely confident that your body can go ahead and do what comes most naturally of all – give birth.

During the classes (four mornings in total with a >



1 If going into hospital try and get a tour of the unit beforehand, or at the very least familiarize yourself with the route and the reception area. This will reduce any unconscious anxiety on the day.

2Make sure that the lights are dimmed and low. Think about the type of environment you would like to sleep in and try and emulate that.

3Ask for fewer interruptions. Ideally on your birth plan give permission to the midwives upfront to listen to the baby with a Doppler whenever they need to, that way you won’t be interrupted for permission every 15/20 minutes – if you are using deep relaxation techniques this is very important.

4Have some relaxation music to help you relax.

5Take your own pillow in. Not only will the scent on the pillow remind you of your bed, a safe secure place and trigger a deep sense of calm in your mind and in your body, but on a practical note pillows are hard to come by in maternity units!


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