How does smell play such an important role in bonding with your baby?

 The Unique Connection between mother and child - does it exist? 

Photo source: Pandora - Unique Connection

Photo source: Pandora – Unique Connection

I loved watching the video which has gone viral on social media. It has everyone talking about how clever the children are to find their mums, and it got me thinking about how so many couples don’t understand the importance of that skin-on-skin bonding that occurs immediately after birth, but not only that, the pre-bonding that is being created during pregnancy that brings that beautiful connection to mother, father and baby (and of course siblings as well).

Here is the video showing children being blindfolded and asked to find their mother in a line-up of women.  All the children were able to locate their mother through touch, smell and I believe their unique energy.

The Unique Connection – video created by Pandora

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRoqk_z2Lgg

Today, evidence has shown the importance of smell in the bonding process of newborn mothers and babies.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

One thing that has come to light recently is this whole new procedure of putting hats on newborn babies.  It was thought that it was better to hat babies so they didn’t lose heat through their head, but now it is evident that mothers keep their babies warm and regulate their temperature through that skin-on-skin contact and by not having a hat on baby this allows mums to smell their babies from head to toe taking in their babies pheromones more easily. 

As babies are feeding from the breast it is natural for the mum to lean down and smell the top of her baby’s head, but with a hat on, this is then a wasted opportunity for bonding even deeper.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Back in the “olden days” they didn’t put hats on newborn babies. The baby was born then given immediately to mothers to be held and kept warm and fed. There was that belief that women trusted their body and their own ability to birth then nurture their baby – it all came down to mothers instincts.

This is bonding.

The mother takes in the smell and feel of their baby.

Baby also gets wired to the smell and touch and sounds of the mother.

This bonding also begins before baby is even born.

During pregnancy a baby will become connected to the mother not only in a physical sense though the umbilical cord to the placenta attached to the uterine wall of the mother, but also connected energetically and spiritually.  The baby comes to identify the sounds of mother and father and in fact when they are born they are more inclined to move towards the sound of their mother or fathers voice even when in a room full of people.

It is important to be aware that whatever the mother feels that energy is then transferred through to her baby.

If she is stressed and upset she is releasing stress hormones that cross the placenta through to her baby and likewise if mum is experiencing great joy and pleasure that produces endorphins (the feel good healing hormones of the body) which also cross to her baby.

In Dr Sarah Buckley’s book “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” she writes:

“The experiences that will begin to fire and wire your baby’s brain start in your womb, with the physical sensations that provide the earliest learning. These include being physically supported by the womb and amniotic fluid, being kept warm by your body warmth, being gently rocked as you walk, being exposed to different tastes from your diet via the amniotic fluid, hearing your voice and voices of other family members, and feeling calm and settled when you are calm and settled. Conversely, high levels of stress during pregnancy can fire and wire your baby’s brain for dysfunctions in learning and over-reactivity to stress.” 

Dr. Sarah Buckley

Dr. Sarah Buckley

 A mother and her partner creates this amazing bond with baby in utero by so many every day activities such as humming, singing, reading, relaxing while rubbing belly, talking to baby and visualising what your baby looks like, or playing with baby when they kick by poking them back gently – you will soon discover this becomes “play time” between you and your baby.

A wonderful way to share your pregnancy with your baby as they are growing up is to take photos and videos during your pregnancy, during your play time and at certain milestones of your pregnancy and creating a “Bonding With Baby Book” where you can sit and share these images with your child as they get older.  This is a fantastic way to bond with children or in particular soothe them when they are sad or upset, as it becomes “your time” for reflection and quality time together. 

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

So let’s look at how all this bonding and connection takes place.

The journal “Neurolmage” suggests that we are instinctively wired for bonding with our babies and the sight and smell of newborns triggers a deep seated response to care for that child.

It is interesting to note that scientists have also found that when a woman gives birth, the father actually grows more neuron connections in certain areas of the brain (prefrontal cortex) which is involved in caretaking and bonding.  When they become fathers the receptors for the chemical vasopressin increase, which is related to nurturing and attachment. 

Dads can have just as strong attachment / bonding as mother as a recent study showed oxytocin levels rise equally in both new mum and dad.

It also appears that babies are born with a brain that expects this bond to form in the first place.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

 Another study funded by the National Institute of Health and conducted by the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation claims that “Infants can learn from their mothers about potential environment threats before their sensory and motor development allows them a comprehensive exploration of the surrounding environment.”  What this means is that the experiences or traumas that a mother has during pregnancy can be passed on to her baby including any stimulus such as smell, which then causes that child to experience distress and anxiety or in some cases post-traumatic stress syndrome, when they smell that smell after birth, without having ever experienced that trauma directly themselves.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

That close physical contact at birth with skin on skin starts the powerful process of bonding between mother and baby. The baby also receives smells from the mums’ nipples, which attracts baby to that area, to instinctively start breastfeeding – creating the beautiful display of the “breast crawl.”

Take a look at this video created by www.breastcrawl.org demonstrating the breast crawl of newborn baby to mother’s breast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3oPb4WdycE#t=15

Babies will recognise the milk from their own mother over the milk from another lactating mother. Skin-on-skin contact helps to imprint all the olfactory stimulus of the mother to the baby and vice versa, providing that security of being able to identify each other when they separated – this is the “imprinting” process which is part of our evolution.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

In one experiment, researchers tested newborns by holding a pad carrying maternal odours 17cm from the baby’s nose. In response, the babies wriggled towards the pad that contains the scent of their own mother.

A recent study also showed that 90% of mothers who were left to bond with their baby uninterrupted for a minimum of one hour were able to identify their baby through smell alone.

My suggestion is rather than baby being brought straight up to mums chest at birth for skin-on-skin contact, baby is placed on mums stomach, so that mum has the opportunity to have time to take in the look, the feel and the smell of her baby.  Baby also gets the opportunity to connect with mum on the outside and will start to smell the breast milk and by using the breast crawl technique will instinctively forage their way to the breast and start suckling, increasing the release of oxytocin for the placenta to be birthed and the mother to embrace her new role as a newborn mother.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

So now go and pick up your baby, hold your baby close, skin-to-skin and breathe in slowly to take your fill of pheromones and enjoy that beautiful connection for life.

My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a pregnancy and postnatal massage specialist at Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Wellness. I am also a certified doula and offer hypnobirthing and childbirth education classes. For more details about my services, please call me on (08) 9303 9111 or email vicki@phoenixtherapies.com.au

Thank you to all my beautiful hypnobirthing families who have shared their amazing photos for this article.

Resources:

http://www.livescience.com/19108-baby-love-human-brain.html

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2004.tb00856.x/abstract

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/26/22/5888.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15841774

http://www.newsweek.com/mothers-fears-are-passed-children-through-smell-study-suggests-261754

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20453850

http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v21/n4s/abs/pr1987171a.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK55973/

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/518

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-brains-of-our-fathers/

http://www.parentingscience.com/newborn-senses.html

http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/26/why-moms-find-that-new-baby-smell-so-delicious/

http://www.breastcrawl.org/introduction.shtml

 

Why I Teach The Hypnobirthing Australia Program

I have been teaching hypnobirthing for a few years now and originally trained in 2009; however I have now chosen to teach the Hypnobirthing Australia program as I was really impressed by the extensive, professional practitioner training that I received earlier this year, which I found lacking when I originally did my hypnobirthing training.

Hypnobirthing-Logo

This program is Australian, modern, up to date, and has high quality class resources including the comprehensive folder that is given to the birthing couple for easy reference to class content and hypnobirthing techniques, beautiful visualisations that are professionally drawn by a graphic artist, along with clear and easy to understand birth prompts for the birth partner.

In our Hypnobirthing Australia classes, the professional powerpoint presentation highlights the conditioning of the sub-conscious mind while participants are enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the class.  We show recent birth DVD’s of Australian and NZ women hypnobirthing exclusive to Hypnobirthing Australia that are not accessible on social media, the internet or YouTube.

More importantly for me I now find that the classes just “flow” and simply make so much more sense.  When I am sharing this information with birthing couples, I see that light bulb moment for the mums of understanding and knowing, and I see the partners really take on board all the information about the mind, the body, the hormones and the emotions and what they can do to make it a more positive experience.

In my classes, I also provide many extra tools to help with the visualisation, conditioning, relaxation and hypnosis triggers to help you along your hypnobirthing journey.

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With the Hypnobirthing Australia course references are also made to world-renowned childbirth and hypnosis experts such as Dr Michel Odent, Dr Sarah Buckley, Dr Grantly Dick-Read, Dr Milton Erickson, Dave Elman and Ina May Gaskin – to name just a few!  It does not focus on just one individuals’ ideals and views on what is the “right way” of pregnancy, labour, birth and parenting and it certainly doesn’t set you up for any unrealistic expectations of having a pain free birth or that by doing hypnobirthing you will be guaranteed a natural birth, however what it does do is provide you with the tools and knowledge to support you in having a positive, calm birth.

Another bonus to being a part of Hypnobirthing Australia is the cohesiveness of an amazing group of women all across Australia who run their own hypnobirthing businesses, but are part of a wonderful team who meet daily on social media and through webinars to receive ongoing training, support, encouragement, knowledge, experience, research and to share positive, amazing birth stories.

This is all coordinated by the Director of Hypnobirthing Australia – Melissa Spilsted, who is undeniably one of the most dynamic, intelligent, charismatic, professional and proactive women I have met in birthing circles.  She is such a positive and calm person, who strives to ensure that Hypnobirthing Australia is seen as a positive childbirth education program working independently of all other programs but in no way discrediting or making false statements that could damage the reputation of any other program.

IMG_1161

In my mind that shows someone with integrity and professionalism – something so many others could learn from in business.  She provides all the Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners with a safe environment to share our thoughts, ideas, suggestions and experiences and is constantly finding ways of value adding to the course and providing the best hypnobirthing program in Australia.

Hypnobirthing Australia was developed in Australia (Queensland) for Australian practitioners who undertake extensive training taught directly by Melissa, to provide quality assurance and who then must continue with ongoing professional development to remain certified.

Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners regularly have webinars for training purposes and we interact with one another in such a positive and productive way daily.  We are a positive and supportive team, not just individuals, and we share our achievements, our concerns, our exciting birth stories and brainstorm on a regular basis and this is invaluable as a practitioner and a fantastic resource.

The team is fortunate to have so many diverse professionals who generally come from a health or birth background such as midwives, counsellors, birth attendants (doulas), massage therapists, naturopaths, nutritionists, clinical hypnotherapists and so on to share their expertise and provide a platform for growth.  Melissa is constantly reviewing Australian birth practices and procedures and updating our course materials on a regular basis so the information that we provide to couples is the best possible information currently available.  We also provide additional links and resources to credible information and studies for couples to further their own research (rather than Google) to enable them to make confident choices to include in their birth preferences.

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There are many differences and similarities between all the hypnobirthing programs and my suggestion to you if you are looking for hypnobirthing classes is to do your research, find out what the differences are between the programs, talk to the practitioners offering classes and find the one that suits you best.

Melissa Spilsted has also written on the Hypnobirthing Australia website some of the differences between our program and some others in the market today.

http://www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au/what-is-the-difference-between-hypnobirthing-australia-hypnobirthing-the-mongan-method-calmbirth/

All Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners are passionate about their work and we love sharing this amazing transformation from fear based birthing to positive, confident birthing no matter how your baby decides to be born.

We know we are changing lives not only during an exciting yet sometimes challenging time for couples as they work their way through the unknown, but for the rest of their lives as well, as all the tools and techniques we teach can be used in so many different circumstances in everyday life.

Even dogs love being a part of the hypnobirthing classes!

Even dogs love being a part of the hypnobirthing classes!

As I read over what I have just written, I notice my heart is just bursting with love, emotion and pride to be a part of such an awesome group and I know that this love, emotion and pride shines through in my hypnobirthing classes when I teach.

And so it is……

If you would like more information about the Hypnobirthing Australia program in Perth, please contact me on 0488 030 006 or email info@hypnobirthingcentrewa.com.au

Happy Hypnobirthing!

Vicki Hobbs
Certified Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner

 

I’m pregnant – why does it hurt so much?

Preparing for birth is like preparing for a marathon.

You need to condition both your mind and your body.

You need to release fear, which creates tension, producing more pain, creating more fear, which starts a whole vicious cycle in the mind and body as described by Obstetrician and leading advocate of natural birth, Dr Grantly Dick-Read in his book ‘Childbirth Without Fear’.

However, let’s look at an area of the physical side of pregnancy.  One of the important physical aspects of the body during pregnancy is the pelvis.  Your pelvis is not one fixed bone, it is made up of the sacrum, coccyx and the two sacroiliac joints, one on the left and one on the right, which are joined at the front by the pubis symphysis, a fibrous cartilage.

Surrounding the pelvis are really important muscles which help to stabilise the pelvis, but let’s really just focus on the psoas muscles (pronounced so-as), which also works to send messages back to the central nervous system.

The psoas major muscles are quite large muscles and are the only muscles that connect your spine to your leg on either side of the spine.  The psoas connects from the last four vertebrae of the spine between the pelvis and the ribs and then wrap around to the front of the pelvis and drop down to attach at the lower end to the top of the thigh bone.

psoas muscle

The iliopsoas is a hip flexor and externally rotates the hip and the psoas (major) part of the muscle assists in lumbar extension and moves the ribs forward into a thrust, lifting the chest.  When these muscles contract they will shorten, when the muscles relax they will lengthen and release tension.  The psoas is shortened more so during pregnancy due to the anterior pelvic tilt, as your uterus expands, baby grows and you are carrying more weight.

During pregnancy, the psoas contributes to pain through the lower back, groin, adductors and can even cause weakness due to the extra pressure from the weight of the uterus.  Being in a sitting position for long periods of time can shorten the psoas muscle causing pain and tension in the pelvic floor, the hips and the spine.

It can also affect the space in the abdomen, affect the alignment of the skeletal system and limit the range of motion in the spine, pelvis and legs, which in turn will limit the functionality of birthing positions such as squatting.

The psoas plays a significant role in Optimal Foetal Positioning (OFP) and can be a reason a baby stays in the breech position, as it can prevent the hips from extending and restrict the opening of the pelvis.  It can cause the disks in the spinal cord to compress and also shorten the hamstrings and calf muscles.  Pregnant women should learn to relax, release and lengthen the psoas muscles on a daily basis so that baby will find an easy transition into the birth canal.

Optimal Foetal Position

Medical Illustration – Nucleus Medical Media

 

Childbirth Educator and Physical Therapist Penny Simkin writes:  “It is less important to know the foetal position than it is important to respond to the needs of the birth.  The muscles, ligaments and bones may need accommodation regardless of foetal position.  In other words, tension in the psoas pair of muscles or pelvic floor can delay an anterior baby and a posterior baby.  Extension of the anterior foetus’ head can prevent engagement in some pelvises.  The main point is that we can, when needed, promote progress regardless of foetal position.”

It is also important to be aware that the hormone ‘relaxin’ does not reduce muscle tension.  It softens the abdominal muscles to cope with the growing size of your belly and relaxes the pelvic floor muscles.  Relaxin promotes the rupture of the membranes, the opening and softening of the cervix and vagina, relaxes the pelvic ligaments and joints, the intrauterine ligaments and the pubis symphysis to help with the smooth transition of baby from womb to world, however pregnant women need to do more of their own work to stretch out and release stress and tension in the muscles (particularly the psoas) as the hormones will not do this for you.

Liz Koch from Core Awareness is an advisor for the well-known Spinning Babies organisation and recommends this simple gravity technique to help release the psoas muscles during pregnancy and to also encourage Optimal Foetal Positioning while relieving stress and anxiety.

Liz Koch - Core Awareness

  1. Lie on your back and use pillows to create a diagonal support from your sit bones to your head (if you’re not pregnant, you can just lie on your back).
  2. Bend your knees, with your heels about 12 – 16 inches away from the buttocks.
  3. Keep your feet about a hip width apart and parallel with each other.
  4. Place your hands on your belly or at the sides of your body and simply rest in this position for 10 – 20 minutes.

Well known Physical Therapist Susan McLaughlin demonstrates how to release the psoas and relax the pelvic floor muscles, which can also be incorporated during pregnancy.

Susan McLaughlin - psoas release

  1. Place the bolster near the bottom of the shoulder blades.
  2. Make sure that the ribs remain relaxed and flush with your abdominal wall.
  3. Extend the legs.
  4. Make sure that the back of your thighs fully touch the floor.
  5. If they don’t you need to bolster up higher.
  6. Relax like this for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Allow your legs and torso to relax.
  8. Practice breathing.
  9. Focus on allowing the pelvic floor muscles to relax on the inhale.
  10. Tension in the pelvic floor can pull on the sacrum, limiting sacral mobility that is necessary to widen the pelvic outlet.

Regular massage will certainly release tension and stress in the pregnant body encouraging the feel good hormones endorphins, aid in increasing circulation and reducing oedema.  A qualified pregnancy massage specialist will be able release the psoas muscles as well as teach a pregnant woman how to stretch and relax the psoas on a daily basis to ensure her body is ready for labour and birth, and assist in Optimal Foetal Positioning.

I am a Pregnancy Massage Specialist with a Diploma in Pregnancy Massage and Maternity Care from both Well Mother and Pregnancy Massage Australia.  My business is Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Wellness  located in the northern suburbs of Perth and I have been operating since 2004.  I work with women during pre-conception, pregnancy and the postnatal period as well as after caesarean section to promote rapid healing both physically and mentally.

I am also a certified Doula, Hypnotherapist and Heal Your Life Facilitator while running another business as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner at the Hypnobirthing Centre WA and a Member of Hypnobirthing Australia.

To book your pregnancy or postnatal massage or just to get more information please call me on (08) 9303 9111 or email vicki@phoenixtherapies.com.au

 

 

Stretch Marks During Pregnancy – is there a miracle cure?

Around 70% of pregnant women develop stretch marks during pregnancy and this is due to scarring that develops in the deeper layers of the skin.  When there is a lot of stress, stretching and strain on the collagen fibres in the skin, and repetitive stress and tension in the deeper fibres (dermis) this causes the fibres to break, which then creates the marks on the surface of the skin that we know as stretch marks.

stretch marks5

Being pregnant creates that type of stress and strain on the skin, and depending on what type of collagen, elastin and skin type you have will determine whether you are more likely to get stretch marks.

Unfortunately there is no way you can prevent stretch marks, as research shows that stretch marks are hereditary, so if your mother had stretch marks during pregnancy, then the likelihood is that you will probably get stretch marks too due to your genetic makeup.

stretch marks4

However, for those who are likely to get stretch marks you can reduce the severity of them with your diet and how much weight you put on or how rapidly you put the weight on.  Stretch marks over time will eventually fade, but the texture of the marks will be permanent.

stretch marks2

Many companies out there are claiming to “cure stretch marks” and you need to be wary of spending thousands of dollars to undergo treatment that you hope will cure your stretch marks.  You may reduce the appearance of them and so maybe in these circumstances many women can regain some confidence in their body image, which is obviously a good thing, however on the other hand many women have found that it did nothing for them – my old saying “we are all individuals, what works for one person may not work for the next.”

stretch marks3

There is no miracle cure for stretch marks – no cream, lotion, potion or machine that can do that so don’t be fooled by clever marketing.  A recent study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment identified that laser treatment that was trialled on 17 women with stretch marks, over six treatments performed weekly, seemed to be effective in improving the texture and appearance of the stretch marks, however again it did not remove them completely.

Laser_Stretch_Mark_Removal

We recommend that you keep your skin hydrated by using a rich, thick cream, which will also help to stop the itchiness of the stretching skin with your growing belly or a lotion such as the well-known brand Bio-Oil, which has active ingredients to help improve the look and tone of stretch marks, however even they highlight on their website:  “Stretch marks are permanent in nature, and although Bio-Oil is formulated to help improve their appearance, it can never remove them.”

boi-oil

When you are applying cream or oil to your belly we recommend you massage it in a clockwise direction – the direction of your digestion.

phoenix-16

Drinking plenty of water will also be helpful in hydrating your body and your skin.

Now it’s time to think of your stretch marks as your “Creator Stripes” as you remind yourself and everyone else who sees them that you have earned these stripes – you are now a mother, a creator, a life long energetic connection to another human being who was created and who grew inside you, and that makes you another amazing, awesome woman of the world.

women are strong

Thank you for nurturing your babies in your bodies and bringing them into the world. What an amazing achievement!

 

Vicki Hobbs
Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre
Hypnobirthing Centre WA

 

(Disclaimer – I do not own some of the images on this page)

Hypnobirthing Story of Lachlan – born 15th April 2014

HBLogo3

On the morning of the 15th April 2014, I went into natural labour with my first baby at 5 days past his guess date.  At 5.00am I woke to go to the loo, and had my show.  I knew this could happen days before labour so tried not to get too excited!  However at 7.00am my waters broke and it was as in the movies… a big rush!  I knew that I had to get labour going within 24 hours to avoid being induced, so I hopped in the shower, got dressed and hubby Jarret and I took the dogs for a walk.  I was getting Braxton Hicks quite regularly, but they were nothing more than a light tightening sensation.

KerryLee & Jarret1

Once home, I got onto my fit ball and started doing hip rotations.  At 10.00am I started to feel light surges and by 10.30am I knew I was officially in labour!  The surges started at 4 minutes apart and quickly got closer and closer together.  They were not painful at all… in fact it is hard to describe the feeling. It was more like intensity and a tightening in my lower tummy.  I practiced my surge breathing and listened to my hypnobirthing music and Surge of the Sea relaxation and visualisation CD, which I really felt worked well for me!

My whole body remained loose and limp… it looked like I was fast asleep most of the time.  I decided to hop into the bath to relax, listening to my affirmations, which kept me very relaxed and calm.

My husband timed the surges, and by 12 noon they were 2 minutes apart.  He suggested we get ready to go into the Birth Centre, however I was unsure as I was expecting things to get far more intense before having to go in.  I wanted to avoid being sent back home, and they were so completely manageable that I really didn’t believe I was ready to go.

The midwife told us we needed to come in ASAP, so we packed our things and got to the Centre at 1.00pm.  I continued listening to the affirmations in the car to avoid slowing my labour with a change of environment and this seemed to work well!

KerryLee & Jarret2

Once at the Birth Centre, I agreed to be examined.  I was already 8cm dilated!  I could not believe it!  I hopped into the bath around 1.30 pm, and relaxed to my hypnobirthing music, practicing my breathing and sipping on water.  At around 3.15 pm I felt I was ready to bear down, and my body started doing this automatically without me even trying.  I told the midwives and they encouraged me to work with my body.  As he moved down the birth canal, the midwives kept asking me if I felt a burning sensation but I didn’t feel a thing.  About 45 minutes later, at 3.56 pm, our baby boy Lachlan was born.

KerryLee & Jarret3

I pulled him out myself which was incredibly empowering.  Apart from being checked when I first arrived, I had no one touch me my entire labour.  It was amazing!

When I pulled Lachlan out of the water, his heart rate dropped and they had to cut the cord straight away.  He gave out a little squeak, but he was not breathing so they had to take him away to give him oxygen.  I hopped out of the bath and started hemorrhaging and lost 850mls of blood in a very short space of time.  I was so in my ‘hypnobirthing zone’ that I was completely unphased by what was happening.

KerryLee & Jarret5

I felt for my poor hubby who was in a state as he did not know who to go with!  I was so calm and relaxed that I told him to go with Lachlan.  He began breathing fine, but they needed to monitor him for a couple of hours to make sure he was all ok.  My bleeding stopped on its own (they think I had a burst vessel from the placenta coming away from my uterus), but I also needed a couple of stitches.

Once baby and I had both been sorted out, they brought him to me and placed him on my chest and he started breastfeeding straight away!  He was very alert from the get go, and is a very relaxed and calm baby.  He feeds like a little champion too!

My labour was such a breeze, and such a wonderful experience.  I used to be so fearful of labour, but hypnobirthing really enabled me to work with my body and have a wonderful pain free experience!  Many people do not believe me when I tell them that it was so wonderful, and I didn’t even need so much as a Panadol.

KerryLee & Jarret4

I cannot recommend hypnobirthing enough!  I will also say that part of it was due to very healthy eating before and during pregnancy, as well as me being very fit before falling pregnant and keeping up with exercise throughout my pregnancy.  I don’t think my labour would have been nearly as quick and easy if I was not fit and healthy.

Thank you to my hypnobirthing practitioner Vicki Hobbs from Hypnobirthing Centre WA for being such a great support and resource!

To see a short video of me during my surges and leading up to Lachlan being born, please click on the video link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giYkYTaTYeM&feature=youtu.be

Kerry-lee & Jarret
Tapping, WA

Hypnobirthing Story of Aryan – born 5th March 2014

HBLogo3

First of all I would like to thank Vicki Hobbs from the Hypnobirthing Centre WA for helping me release my fear of birthing and to also help me think positive all the way about everything – my pregnancy, my labour, the surges I would experience and moving my baby down.  I was one person who was so scared of just thinking about the due day, every time I thought of it I’d get goose bumps and all sorts of questions would arise in my mind such as “will I be able to do it”, if I can’t tolerate my eye brows being threaded how will I tolerate pain of birth?

Vicki helped me release this fear through the classes and gave me one on one attention when I really needed it, which I am so grateful to her for.  After the hypnobirthing classes, which I completed when I was 38 weeks everything was still fresh and I prepared my own birthing plan.  Jag and I compiled songs that we both loved and reminded us of the special memories we shared and holidays that we went to.  I printed my maternity photo shoot which had my birthing colours to help me calm down and focus.  Along with these songs I also had my positive affirmations, Surge of the Sea and Rainbow Mist CD’s, which were very helpful.

Dhruti & Jag

On Tuesday midnight I woke up with slight surges that lasted for a few seconds and then went away – they were about 15 minutes apart and not very regular.  I fell asleep and woke up around 8am as my friends were coming over to catch up before the bub arrives.  I went to the loo and saw my mucous plug had released, I thought to myself “this is it, oh my god its happening, what shall I do.”  I was panicking and told my mum, but then I gathered myself and thought I might still be days away and even if it happens it’s going to be okay and I will use my tools, stay calm and birth my baby.

I text my friends that I wasn’t well and if we could postpone the catch up, but then I thought to myself that if I was to be alone I’d be thinking all sorts of things so I’d rather catch up with them, which will be relaxing and divert my mind.  I text Jag and informed him, he was so excited that he couldn’t work and decided to come home and sleep for the big night as he was so sure that it was going to happen that evening.

I decided not to tell my friends about my surges and just go with the flow.  Mum and I made lunch, my friends came over and the day was going as normal, but I did have surges in between that sometimes lasted a minute or so, I would just stay calm and breathe through the surges.  At one point my friend did ask me “are you ok? Why are you so quiet?”

The day passed by quickly and in the evening my surges increased and Jag started timing them, and I was just breathing through them while listening to the affirmations.  I kept watching the YouTube video of the lotus opening as the music in the video helped to calm me down. It was around 11pm that the surges started getting closer and more intense.  Jag would stroke me with the light touch massage and help me stay calm.

16. Birth Colours - Dhruti Varsani

After a few hours we decided to call the hospital and inform them about the situation.  Jag and I decided that we’d go to the hospital when the surges were 5-7 minutes apart. By 1am the surges were more intense and we decided it was time.

We reached the hospital and informed the midwife we were a hypnobirthing couple and that all the communications to be kept to a minimum and with Jag.  First we were in the assessment room so that midwife could check my progress, monitor bubs heart beat and do a few tests.  I noticed that the surges were now 10-15 minutes apart, which I was aware that would probably happen because of the environment change and the transition between home and hospital.  I calmed down, Jag was so supportive and gave me the light touch massage again, talked to me softly and I also kept listening to the affirmations.

I must say hypnobirthing helped Jag understand me so much more.  He always had the fear of coming to the hospital and having to see me in so much pain, but he was so different and positive and very supportive.  After about an hour my obstetrician came and they decided to check how many centimetres dilated I was.  This was very uncomfortable for some reason.  I just had my eyes covered and kept listening to my music.  I didn’t want to know how many centimetres I was so they informed Jag.  Earlier in the week I went for my check up with my obstetrician and she had informed me that the baby’s head was down but he was in a lateral position.  The midwife checked and informed me that the position was now head down and no longer lateral, which gave me confidence that everything was going well.

Aryan4 - Dhruti & Jag

After a while we were taken to the birth suite and the moment I walked in I felt some comfort.  I knew this was now “my space.”  Jag set up the room with candle lights, dimmed the room lights, set the music up and got me a birthing ball.  This was around 4am on Wednesday morning and the surges were constant and about 7-9 minutes apart.  We listened to our songs that we had compiled, I had my arms across his shoulders and we just enjoying the music and I continued to breathe through the surges.  Time was distorted to me, just like I was taught in hypnobirthing classes, as then the next thing I realised it was around 9pm and I was getting tired as I hadn’t slept.  I had another check up with the obstetrician and she said that I was still quite far off and asked if I wanted to be induced as the baby was head down but quite high and in a lateral position again.  We weren’t sure and decided to wait for a while, but after about two hours I agreed to be induced.

Being vocal was the best thing that helped me as I could release the intensity I was feeling through my voice.  Jag stroked my head with the head massager and light touch massage while the music in the background was on as well.  All these tools were so very helpful.  My obstetrician came for another check-up and asked if I wanted an epidural.  I said no, but I was so exhausted as I hadn’t slept for 2 days.  Jag and I then talked about it and he said it would relax me and I could get some sleep as the baby’s position was still lateral and he was still very high.

Aryan2 - Dhruti & Jag

I decided to take the epidural and slept for a while.  I could still feel the surges but not as intense as before.  After an hour our midwife checked how far I had dilated.  I was so happy and excited as I was 10cms dilated and it was time to bear down.  I started to bear down and was told to push whenever I had a surge.  I could slightly feel them and with the help of my midwife and obstetrician I started to push.

I kept talking to my baby loudly (I didn’t care about anyone listening to me), I kept telling him “come on we can do this, please come to mummy it’s now time for mummy to see you.”  I kept touching my belly and talking out loudly and I felt it helped me connect with my baby.  My obstetrician and Jag then decided to use the vacuum, which I was fine with as the baby was getting uncomfortable inside as well.

We started again, using the vacuum but it still did not work, the baby was now more uncomfortable and my obstetrician suggested we use forceps.  I have no idea why I said no but something in me just didn’t want this type of intervention to be used.  So I was taken to theatre for a caesarean.

Aryan1 - Dhruti & Jag

While transferring me to the theatre room I was very positive and kept singing to myself.  I talked to the nurses and doctors who came to explain all the procedures that were going to happen.  After about 35 hours it was finally time to see our baby.  Our baby boy Aryan was born at 5.15pm – the most beautiful and amazing moment of our lives.

My obstetrician later thanked me and told me that she was glad I said no to using the forceps as it would have been very hard for both bub and me had we used them as he was still so high up because of the position of my pelvis so he would not have been able to move down into the birth canal and the caesarean had been the best decision in this instance.

Though I had a few complications after the birth, after a month when I do recall my birthing story I have a smile on my face and always tell myself it was the most wonderful experience I have ever had.  It is so true that people make labour and birthing of babies these days very complicated, painful and scary but there is also another way to look at it and enjoy it, the hypnobirthing way.

Aryan3 - Dhruti & Jag

I have no regret with what I went through, even though it was a long labour, but it was still full of fun and beautiful memories that I will cherish forever.  I got to experience labour, the sensations of my uterus surging and the feel of my baby during this time while producing the birthing hormones that helped to establish good breastfeeding and bonding, and I had no fear at all.  This whole experience has brought my husband and I so much closer, and he was able to support me in a way that he wouldn’t have felt confident doing before the classes. I am so proud to share my hypnobirthing story with all pregnant women and once again would like to thank Vicki for sharing her knowledge with us.  Without hypnobirthing my birthing story and experience would definitely have been very different.

Dhruti & Jag
Madeley, WA

Hypnobirthing Story of Cooper

The Hypnobirthing class helped me from the first session and weeks before my labour started. I have always had a huge fear of needles but I knew that it was all in my mind. The classes helped me to deal with that and my first blood test after starting the course was a whole new experience. I didn’t clench my husbands hand and I remained totally calm and breathed through the whole thing. It was the least ‘painful’ test I had ever had and while I felt it happening it was more of an annoyance than anything else.

Amanda & Shane relaxing during Hypnobirthing classes

Amanda & Shane relaxing during Hypnobirthing classes

My labour started only hours after my last pregnancy pilates class. I had done these since my second trimester and they helped me in so many ways.  I wasn’t due for a couple of days and heard constantly how I would go over so when I had what I thought were just period pains/Braxton Hicks type feelings that I had been having for weeks I didn’t think anything of it. I went to the toilet as I felt like I had peed my pants, but also didn’t think anything of that. However after this happened several times over half an hour I knew that something was up, especially after seeing signs of the ‘plug’.

I phoned my husband, as it was a Saturday and he was working that day, to ask what time he would be home as the baby may be coming that night. He said it would be a few hours and I said that was fine and I would see him later. I phoned again in an hour to say come home soon as the entire plug had gone and the surges were quite frequent. I wasn’t concerned but as they had come and increased in such a short period of time I just wanted to make sure my baby didn’t arrive while I was home alone.

Amanda & Shane practicing birthing positions

Amanda & Shane practicing birthing positions

I had also shown signs of Strep B in a previous gyno test and was advised that I needed to have antibiotic shots once my waters had broken. My intention was to go and have this shot when needed and go home if I wasn’t in established labour. I had no plans to stay at the hospital any longer than necessary. However by the time my husband got home and we were on our way to the hospital I asked him to time my surges as they seemed very close together and they were about 4 minutes apart.

Upon arrival at the hospital at 3pm, I was 4cm dilated so in established labour. I handed over my menstrual pad for review and they advised that I had meconium, which meant that the baby had pooped inside me and we would need constant monitoring. I knew this wasn’t a good thing but never once did I get stressed out. I had my fitball and my relaxation CDs and my husband so I knew that we would be ok.

It was quite annoying being strapped to heart rate monitors and one on my belly to monitor the babys heart rate and my surges, however I think this gave the student midwife and my husband something to do while watching me breath. I can honestly say that I think the Affirmations CD was played a couple of times, I still do not recall ever having listened to it in its entirety. However at one point I came out of my trance and said “Lets put something else on, I have heard this bit already”. My husband and midwives laughed and said they had heard it a dozen times already.

Gorgeous little hypnobub Cooper - calm & relaxed

Gorgeous little hypnobub Cooper – calm & relaxed

I used various positions while breathing however I was unable to go for a walk or have a shower due to all of the machinery I was attached to. I did use the fitball and kneel on the floor which were both great for short periods however the machinery alarms kept going off as the strapping came off if I moved too much. Apart from the usual heart rate rises during a surge we both remained calm during the entire labour.

At 9pm the Obstetrician was called in as I was told I was at 9cm and able to push if I felt I could. This was a great feeling and while leaning over the end of the bed my husband and midwives watched while waiting to see the head. When the Obs arrived she did another examination, this felt a lot different to the last 2 and more like what I had been expecting, rather intrusive and uncomfortable. She advised that I was only 5 cm and should certainly not be pushing. She said that I was swollen and she could feel his head and gave me a list of options such as C-section, epidural etc. I said that I wanted an hour to keep trying.

After an hour I was still only 5cm however my contractions had slowed (probably due to my less relaxed state). I chose to have an induction drip to get things moving again, however after over an hour of this I was still only 5cm and my baby’s head was trying to come out, resulting in a cone head formin. This was probably due to us both being ready and me trying to push earlier, however my husband got scared and we both agreed that the safest option for the baby was a C-section.

Our Hypnobirthing family

Our Hypnobirthing family

Making this decision, plus being chemically induced seemed to make the surges more noticeable than ever. I asked for some relief and they gave me gas but nothing else as the anaesthetist was on his way for the epidural. The gas was more of a distraction and the breathing worked much better so I continued with that to prepare for what was ahead. I told the doctors that I didn’t want details of what they were doing, just to proceed but they insisted on describing everything in detail. I didn’t really listen to them I just breathed my way through some very close intense surges that the drugs were already bringing on. I was more concerned about staying calm while they were doing everything that needed to be done and to give my boy the most relaxed environment possible.

I could tell that my husband was stressed and while I lay there totally numb from the chest down I made some jokes to him to try and calm the mood. It was 3am by this time so a huge day for him after having started work at 6am the previous morning. However I do believe that if we hadn’t done the Hypnobirth classes together he would have been insisting that I had a C-section many hours earlier and not been able to deal with any of the labour or events that followed as calmly as he did.

Despite not delivering my baby naturally I still to this day have my calm relaxed Hypnobirth baby. He only cried briefly when he was born and lay on my chest looking at me with his eyes open, very calm yet alert while holding onto his daddy’s finger. He had a HUGE cone head, however this was gone within several hours.

Two things I was told and didn’t know otherwise was that I could not do delayed cord clamping with C-section, I assumed it was as they needed to stitch me up straight away. Also that he had to be assessed first and cord cut etc. before laying on my chest.

I was just so relieved that he was here and safe and being looked after by his dad (and still a boy as I was sure that wouldn’t go according to plan either) that I was ok with everything else. It didn’t seem long until he was on my chest and pooped all over me again. We were all taken straight to our room together and no recovery rooms just our new family to feed and bond.

All of the nurses commented over the next few days on what a calm relaxed family we were, many of them thought this was my 2nd/3rd child and didn’t give us much interruption. It was like we already knew each other and me and my boy just learnt everything together very easily.  He slept 5-6 hours every night from day one and fed easily. Six months later he is still a bright, alert, happy and calm little man.

Six months later Cooper is still a bright, alert,  happy and calm little man.

Six months later Cooper is still a bright, alert,
happy and calm little man.

I couldn’t recommend the hypnobirthing course enough and will be practicing again from the minute I fall pregnant, hoping to achieve a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) next time. I would love a home birth but my husband would need a lot of convincing for that. Also due to previous medical issues and having a LETTZ cervical surgery several years ago it is possible that I will have another C-section, so I think the safety of a hospital will be the chosen option.

The student midwife said the experience was amazing. Although she wasn’t there for the C-section as it was such a huge long day she was amazed to watch the monitor during a really strong surge and at one point I opened my eyes and said “Wow that was intense”, however to look at I showed no signs of anything, just breathing.

I don’t recall any “pain,” just a feeling that my baby was coming to me.

I loved every moment of it and can’t thank Vicki at Phoenix Therapies and the Hypnobirthing Centre WA enough.

Amanda & Shane

Hypnobirthing – What is it?

My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a certified Hypnobirthing Childbirth Educator with Hypnobirthing Australia (www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au)

Hypnobirthing-Logo
When I chat to women about hypnobirthing some of them have said that they have bought one of the many books on hypnobirthing, but they just didn’t quite get it so hypnobirthing didn’t work for them.

Yes, books are great and really worthwhile as a reference to gain more information and to have on hand as a resource, however attending the Hypnobirthing Australia classes will provide you and your partner with so many more benefits and then allow you to understand everything you need to know and practice.

Why?

Because you have someone who is professionally trained and passionate about hypnobirthing, who is then able to demonstrate with you and your partner or Birth Companion what hypnobirthing is all about.

When you have someone who believes so much in what they are teaching and are passionate about sharing that belief, you can be guaranteed that this positive energy will be transferred to you – you can’t get that energy from a book.

As you are practicing in class the hypnobirthing practitioner can provide feedback and suggestions to you.  Not only that, the hypnobirthing practitioner is then also your motivator, your extra support person who encourages and inspires you to practice what you have learnt and to answer the questions you will inevitably have.  The more you practice, the more you will understand and believe in what you have learnt and then the more wonderful your hypnobirthing experience will be.

Your practitioner will be able to provide you with extra resources and direct you to study papers, examples, visualisations and support groups while maintaining a motivational support role leading up to your birth through emails and phone calls if you need it.  During classes we are continually using language and prompts and visualisations to embed the hypnosis anchors or positive thoughts in your subconscious mind.

Hypnobirthing-Amanda-Shane Hypnobirthing couple Amanda & Shane

As a couple you participate in hypnotherapy sessions during classes and during these sessions we provide the “anchoring” and “deepening” techniques to help you go into that deeply relaxed zone and to be able to get to that zone at any time you need particularly during labour.  We are also able to demonstrate the 3 different breathing techniques – one technique for relaxation, one technique for during surges and the other during birth and explain what each of these breaths are doing physiologically so that you understand the importance of the different breaths.

You just can’t get that from a book!

The 5 Basic Hypnobirthing Australia techniques that we teach you are:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Visualisation
  3. Self-Hypnosis
  4. Breathing
  5. Affirmations

The Hypnobirthing Australia classes are not just about hypnosis and how to slide into that calm, relaxed space.  It is a really comprehensive childbirth education program, which has been developed for pregnancy, birth and beyond but particularly relevant for the Australian model of care and childbirth practices.

Originally I trained and certified in HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method (which is the American based method) and have been running group classes for several years.  However, now having certified in February 2014 as a Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner I have decided to offer these Australian classes as they are more modern, up to date and relevant for Australian birthing practices and I now feel so much more passionate about sharing this program as it is relevant and always evolving.

I love this program because it is constantly changing with changes to the system and as new studies, research and birthing information comes to hand.  The Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners across Australia all have something to contribute with so many varied qualifications such as midwives, natural therapists, massage therapists, physiotherapists, hypnotherapists and so many with years of experience and skills, and when something in the program needs changing and updating, then you can be certain that Melissa Spilsted who is the Director of Hypnobirthing Australia is onto it promptly and sharing those changes with us all.

Books don’t generally change as new research and studies become available and for me that was one of the frustrating things when I was teaching the other program of hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing-Seal

For you to feel confident that you are getting a hypnobirthing practitioner who is trained and certified to teach the Hypnobirthing Australia method of hypnobirthing just look for the original blue Hypnobirthing Australia Certified Practitioner logo.

During the classes we discuss some of the following:

  • What to expect and the reasons why;
  • Your birthing muscles and how they work with professionally created diagrams and visual aids;
  • Relaxation breathing techniques for in between surges (contractions);
  • Breathing techniques during surges;
  • Mother directed breathing or “bearing down” to ease your baby out;
  • Visualisation techniques;
  • Changing the way you think and speak about birth;
  • Positive affirmations;
  • Your care providers and your choices;
  • Natural induction methods;
  • Natural pain relief;
  • Labour and birthing positions;
  • A draft birth plan template that you can change to suit your own individual requirements;
  • Releasing fears, negative thoughts or emotions regarding childbirth and parenting;
  • Bonding with your baby during pregnancy and after birth;
  • Nutrition and preparing your body for healthy birthing.

Hypnobirthing-Krystle-Mitch Hypnobirthing couple Krystle & Mitch

The above points are just the tip of the iceberg of areas covered in classes.  There are so many positive reasons for taking our Hypnobirthing Australia classes, but one of the most valuable and important reasons is that your partner or birth companion are included in this training.  They are your greatest advocates, your pillar of support and protection, the one that you can turn to when you are not quite sure or you just need a bit of encouragement and a soft touch.

They are the ones who have such an integral role in helping you to bring your baby into a calm and peaceful environment.  Long gone are the days where dad sat in the corner with the telly on watching sports or reruns of Dukes of Hazard and continuously checking the clock or trying to find something useful to do.  The Birth Partner / Companion now has a very important and active role to play in this new adventure and it will prepare and empower them on the day, which will be so positive and reassuring for the birthing mum so she can stay connected within.

Many of the dads or birth partners I have taught have said at the conclusion of the classes that initially they really didn’t want to attend the classes, but having done them they really understand now what their partners are going through during their pregnancy, what changes are happening in their partners bodies, how the hormones work and what they can do to ensure the release of birthing hormones, and how they can identify if something needs to be changed so they can be of the utmost support to their partners during labour, birth and beyond.

It is a real eye opener for them – and it really motivates them to participate even more than may have already been doing.

For so many couples they realise that the classes provide that really important bonding time – they are “on the same page” – but in a physical sense rather than a paper sense.

At Hypnobirthing Australia we understand that the family dynamic today is not always comprised of “mum and dad”, there are now same sex couples having babies too and we encourage you to be a part of this modern, self-hypnosis childbirth education program as well.

My belief is that no matter how you birth, whether it is naturally, in a hospital, your home, birthing centre or by caesarean, the Hypnobirthing Australia program can help you feel calm, relaxed and prepared for the arrival of your most precious gift….your baby.  At Hypnobirthing Australia we don’t teach you that you will have a natural, pain-free birth – what we teach you is that your goal is to have a “calm, positive birth experience and to release and let go.”  We don’t set you up for any unrealistic expectations – we prepare you to meet whatever turn your birthing takes, which includes special circumstances.

You cant get that emphasis from a book.

By practicing hypnobirthing it will provide a beautiful birthing space for your baby to enter the world, one where your bonding can then also be a wondrous experience for you, your birthing companion and your baby.

Hypnobirthing-Chester-SmilingHappy Hypnobirthing bub, Chester

For more information about hypnobirthing, please contact Vicki Hobbs at the Hypnobirthing Centre WA on 9303 9111 or email info@hypnobirthingcentrewa.com.au or check our next class dates by clicking on this link – Hypnobirthing classes.

You can also read many positive Hypnobirthing Australia birth stories from mums and dads all over Australia and check out the video collection as well by visiting the main website www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au

Happy Hypnobirthing everyone.

Vicki Hobbs x