Nicola Wilson is founder of Birth Story Hypnobirthing, a qualified hypnobirthing instructor and hypnobirth mama to four year old daughter Sasha.
When I fell pregnant back in 2016 and initially thought about my birth, the traditional vision of being gowned up in a hospital room, legs akimbo was the picture that I kept replaying. Little did I know, and what hypnobirthing subsequently taught me, was that I had the choice to create a birth environment that would feel as serene as a spa and brimming with good vibes.
Okay sounds like I Mariah’d up the joint right, but before you think I went all white drapes and church candles, I’m going to shed some light on how hypnobirthing can help you create the calmest of birth spaces to welcome your baby.
Feeling safe as a birthing woman is integral to having positive birth experience. One of the key teachings I share in my hypnobirth classes is how to access feelings of safety - from nurturing the subconscious mind and learning how to trust your body to feeling supported by your birth partner and the informed choices you both make - including where to give birth. Trust, belief and safety creates confidence, a key tool when it comes to birthing.
Whether it be home or hospital, creating an environment that feels personal, positive and one that promotes comfort is key. As every woman is unique, so each birth space. What we need to remember is, just as is nature, we want to craft an ambience which is cosy and warm and gives us a reassuring level of privacy and serenity - so mum can solely focus on birthing without interruptions. Checking all these all off your list will not only optimise your feelings of safety but also lessen your levels of stress and allow your oxytocin to flow freely - the hormone that stimulates the production of the body’s natural analgesia.
Whilst honing your birth environment at home may be a little easier, it’s vital to remember that it’s just as possible within a hospital setting. With many mums experiencing heightened anxiety about birthing in hospital in the midst of a pandemic, having control over your birth environment is especially important right now. So here's my top ten tips to how you can easily create your best birthing environment…
1. FEEL FAMILIAR WITH YOUR SURROUNDINGS: If feasible, take a tour of your hospital maternity unit or birthing centre. Knowing what it looks like, how the birthing rooms are laid out and what’s available to promote comfort (i.e pools, birthing balls, and stools) will ensure you feel familiar with the environment and reduce any anxiety-inducing unknowns on the day.
2. TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS: Did you know harsh lights can not only stimulate adrenalin, our fight or flight hormones, but also startle the baby at birth? Cover windows, close the doors and dim the lights. Pack a dozen flameless candles in your hospital bag to dot around the room for soft lighting.
3.TURN UP THE MUSIC: Whether you choose to play one of twelve birth hypnosis soundtracks from your Birth Story hypnobirthing course or a playlist of tranquil tunes, load up your favourite music onto your birth partners phone to provide a soothing soundtrack for birth.
4. HOME COMFORTS: Remember to pack your BellaMoon Pillow and your favourite blankets - having your home comforts to hand not only create a relaxing anchor to smell and touch but are great for promoting secure feelings and a sense of calm.
5. TICK, TOCK: No I’m not talking about documenting your birth on social media, I’m reminding you to avoid watching the clock. When birthing mamas are in the zone and deep in relaxation, they’ll be experiencing time distortion. Blissfully unaware of the time and believing that their labour is much quicker. So partners turn those clocks around or remove them (if allowed) from the walls.
6. SELECT YOUR BIRTH BUDDIES: Fewer people, fewer interruptions. Less interruptions, the easier it is to relax and birth easily. So in your birth plan clearly identify who you want present in your birth room so it’s clear on the day.
7. SOOTHING SCENTS: Many hospitals now offer an atomiser in the birth room but if they don’t and you don’t have one to hand simply grab a cup of boiling hot water, place a few drops into the cup and let that relaxing scent fill the air and create calm for mum.
8. EN SUITE FACILITIES: Just as a hotel room, your stay in hospital is hopefully brief, but whilst you’re there you’ll want to make it as comfortable as staying overnight. Check beforehand if private en suite facilities are available so you can use the bath to promote comfort in labour and freshen up after birth.
9. EMPOWER YOUR PARTNER: Discuss with your birth partner how you want the birth room set up beforehand and make sure they’re familiar with everything in your hospital bag. Let them take control of setting up the room whilst you head to your relaxing place and let your body and baby focus on birthing.
10. GET THAT OXYTOCIN FLOWING: Whether it be soothing strokes from your partner or a positive birth board brimming with affirmations and scan pictures - be sure to keep your happy hormones flowing to keep surges effective, natural pain-relief optimised & help birth baby and placenta.
From the birth space to learning how to stress-less, discover how you can have the calm, confident birth you deserve by heading to birthstoryco.com. Plus with £100 OFF on all one-to-one classes, which include a welcome call, 4 classes, 1 refresher class before birth, 365 teacher text and full course tracks and materials, there’s no better time to start your hypnobirthing journey with Birth Story.
About Nicola Wilson
Swapping digital for the delivery of babies, Nicola spent her formative years managing and creating online content for likes of Jamie Oliver and a handful of the UK’s leading radio stations including Capital, Kiss and Magic FM. Most recently her digital platform Tiny Table not only lent a helping hand to parents seeking family-friendly bites but also united over 400 new mums with her award-nominated Together Table initiative – designed to make motherhood a less lonely place through talk and togetherness. In a step to help even more parents and champion change, Nicola has recently qualified as a hypnobirth instructor and aims to create a whole new chapter for parents seeking a calm, confident & connected experience from pregnancy to parenthood with her new brand – Birth Story Hypnobirthing.