Posts filed under maternity

Midwives and Hypnobirthing

At my Kidderminster practice I see many couples who are unsure how their midwife may view hypnosis for childbirth. I am pleased to be able to tell them that midwives support and many encourage hypnobirthing.

“We LOVE hypnobirthing! More and more of our clients are using it and we always discuss it as a resource with when we book our clients and explain the huge benefits to both parents and babies.”
— Jacqui Tomkins, British Journal of Midwifery Midwife of the Year, 2014


Many couples interested in hypnosis for childbirth are concerned about what their midwives will think about hypnobirthing. The use of hypnotherapy in pregnancy is, however, no longer a rarity on maternity wards.  I myself am delighted to see more and more NHS providers including natal hypnosis in their maternity programmes

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS trust introduced a hypnobirthing midwifery practitioner in 2009. Their initiative was recognised by a national ward for innovation. the midwife explained:

“This method supports keeping birth normal and changing attitudes towards birth for both women and midwives, giving women the confidence to trust their body’s ability to give birth calmly and safely."

Further afield theHampshire hospitals NHS trust offers confident birthing workshops for parents which included elements of hypnotherapy.  Colchester Hospital University NHS trust provide full hypnobirth training delivered by midwives who are specially trained. They strongly back the training stating:

  "Hypnobirth is for all births"

North Tees and Harlepool NHS trust run classes over five weeks. Their website clearly supports the programme:

"Women who use hypnobirthing experience less pain and therefore need less pain relief. It helps the mind’s messages which are sent to the brain to be much more positive, which helps women to relax and remain calm."

It is clear that across the country hypnosis for childbirth is firmly supported by NHS providers and midwives.  Jacqui Tomkins, British Journal of Midwifery Midwife of the Year, 2014 heartily expresses her own and midwives feelings about the technique:

"We LOVE hypnobirthing! More and more of our clients are using it and we always discuss it as a resource with when we book our clients and explain the huge benefits to both parents and babies."

If you are considering training in hypnosis for your childbirth experience then you can be confident that midwives recognise the positive influence it can have. Unfortunately our local hospitals do not yet provide classes but hopefully this will soon change. If you would like to know more about training please do contact Breathe Holistic Therapy for more information.  Training using the easibirth method is provided on an individual (couple) basis in our Kidderminster treatment room. The full course is five hours and can be delivered timed to suit your needs.  For more information please do contact me.

Quoted from the Tao te Ching, a classic chinese text written in around the 6th century BC,  I feel this poem expresses how midwives aim to support women to birth their own babies. This empowerment is very much reflected in hypnobirthing.

You are a midwife

You are helping at someone else’s birth.

Do good without show or fuss.

Facilitate what is happening

rather than what you

think ought to be happening.

If you must lead,

lead so the woman is

helped, yet still free

and in charge.

When the baby is born,

the woman will rightly say,

”We did it ourselves.”
Posted on September 21, 2016 and filed under maternity, hypnobirthing.

NHS maternity budget: Has this disappeared?


Back in February the news papers were reporting a new maternity budget to allow mums to source and choose their own maternity care.  There have been so many political changes since then I'm wondering if this has been lost along the way? Control is an important aspect of confidence in birth and as a maternity therapist I was excited by the proposition.

The birthing budget proposed could  fund therapies such as hypnobirthing and other complementary therapies. Pregnant women will be given a birthing budget of £3000 to spend on the care of their choice in new proposals.

The new plan is aimed at improving quality of care by promoting high quality services and moving care away from unsafe provisions.  The NHS plans are part of a national plan to tackle the reported poor care provided in many maternity units. The NHS report states that 48 per cent of units which have been inspected by regulators have been rated as inadequate or requires improvement for safety.

Under the new plans, pregnant women will be told they should get a personal midwife to attend to them throughout their pregnancy, with a back-up midwife to take over if necessary.The new NHS Personal Maternity Care Budget, worth at least £3,000. This budget will allow them to choose from birthing pools, private birthing suites and alternative pain relief methods such as acupuncture or hypnobirthing.

As a complementary therapist and hypnobirth traininer I am supportive of all moves to empower women to make choices about their pregnancy and child birth. I am also excited to see complementary therapies included in the woman's possible choices. This recognition is very positive for supportive services such as hypnosis for childbirth and reflexology.    

Baroness Julia Cumberlege who led the review stated:
“To be among the best in the world, we need to put women, babies and their families at the centre of their care,” she said. It is so important that they are supported through what can be a wonderful and life-changing experience. Women have told us they want to be given genuine choices and have the same person looking after them throughout their care"

Some charities are, however, concerned that couples may feel pressurised to make the cheapest choices rather than the best for their needs.  Maureen Treadwell, the Birth Trauma Association’s research officer, said: “It’s hugely important that women are able to give birth in a place that feels right for them, and that they are not pressurised into what trusts see as the least costly option.”

I will be watching the media for developments from the pilot schemes as I feel that although the concept is positive there will be a number of issues that may prove challenging. One of these, I believe, will be the process of  therapists becoming accredited NHS providers. I am a member of the CNHC an approved voluntary register which ensures therapists are fully trained, insured and professionally accountable. This register has been developed by the government and accredited by them. The move to NHS accreditation is however not open to hypnotherapists  and complementary therapists in the same way. I hope women who want to spend their budget on Hypnotherapy or other complementary therapies do not find that they can't because no one locally has been able to gain accreditation.

If you would like any more information on hypnotherapy in pregnancy or maternity treatments please so contact us at Breathe Holistic Therapy. 

Posted on July 31, 2016 and filed under maternity, hypnobirthing, reflexology.

Hypnosis for birth in the news

As a hypnobirth trainer working in Kidderminster I am always interested to read about hypnosis for birth in the news.

I'm not always in agreement with the articles I have read but this weekend I was smiling from ear to ear as I read about NHS hospitals providing hypnosis for childbirth.  The news piece asked:

             " Can hypnosis really beat the pain of having babies? The NHS thinks so"

As an easibirthing trainer I already know many hospitals were providing some initial training in hypnosis within their antenatal care package, but I was excited to read how many more were following suit.  The news explained how midwives are being trained to teach hypnosis for birth in Colchester, Wolverhampton, Stevenage and the Scottish Highlands. The next areas to get on board will be Exeter, Gloucester, Walsall and Bury St Edmunds. A midwife and hypnobrthing coach at Colchester hospital said a quartet of the women giving birth at Colchester general hospital were taking courses in the technique.  The hospital dropped the £250.00 fee after the results were so positive they felt it unfair to only provide it to those who could afford the fee. 

In the article Tamara Cianfini founder of Wise Hippo hypnobirthing explaines how the technique benefits women.

Staying calm reduces the “ fight or flight” response, which can result in adrenaline flooding the body and unhelpfully diverting blood away from the womb.
— Tamara Cianfini

The news paper article includes comments from Naomi Mogg who recently used hypnosis with the birth of her second child.  After a traumatic first birth she turned to hypnosis and found she felt much more in control and able to deal with the pain.

As a trainer in this powerful technique I am proud to be part of the empowerment of women and their partners  through hypnosis for childbirth. Birth has become increasingly medicalised over time which has removed control from women but the introduction of hypnobirthing displays a real commitment to handing childbirth back to women.  I am glad midwives are being trained but I am concerned that many midwives are already overstretched and do not want this training to become another burden they are not truly given time to deliver. At a local hospital in Walsall several years ago they trained midwives to deliver maternity reflexology but shortly after, despite great results, the service was closed due to lack of funding. I hope this is not the case with hypnosis. 

I am also excited by the great research opportunities available as the service is extended. The limitation of much hypno birthing research is the small subject numbers, but as the technique is rolled out to more couples the research could be much more robust.

Unfortunately Worcestershire does not currently have plans in place to introduce hypnosis for their antenatal couples. If you are based in Worcestershire and interested in Hypnosis for Birth training then please do contact me.

Reflexology and Hypnotherapy in the news

I'm always interested to see reflexology and hypnotherapy in the news.

I may not know very much about the magazine stars but I am  pleased to see the therapies I am passionate about discussed.  This week I have read about actress  Samia Ghadie benefiting from maternity reflexology and enjoying baby reflexology.  Also,  Kim Kardashian is reportedly using hypnotherapy to encourage her breech baby to turn.

In her blog for OK magazine Samia Ghadie discusses her use of reflexology in her pregnancy and how she is now learning baby reflexology with her baby Yves:

I mentioned a couple of blogs back how reflexology had helped alleviate my pregnancy back pain. Since then I've started a baby reflexology course with Yves.
We've had 2 sessions so far and it's been so cute seeing all the babies on their changing mats ready for their pampering! 
We've focused on learning how to calm baby down when they get a bit grizzly and also how to help their digestion and common complaints like reflux and constipation. I've been practicing on Yves everyday and it is really making a difference.

Baby reflexology is a great skill for all parents, and it is really very easy to learn. Samia is attending a group which can be a lovely way to meet other mums but if you prefer to learn on an individual basis you can at Breathe Holistic Therapy.  Many mums, like Samia, choose to learn baby reflexology after enjoying reflexology in their pregnancy.  Reflexology for babies is also a technique that dads benefit from learning;  it can help them to feel more skilled and confident when handling their new babies.  

In a separate blog Kim Kardashian's  breech baby is discussed. Kim explains how she is trying everything she can to encourage her baby to turn into the head down position for child birth:

I even started acupuncture where I burn moxa (mugwort) on my pinky toe every day! I am even attempting hypnosis!

Hypnotherapy to turn breech babies has been researched and shown to be a  very successful intervention.  Relaxation and visualisation can help to create the right internal environment for a relaxed mum and relaxed uterus enabling the baby to move into the head down position. Letting go of fear and stress relating to child birth through hypnobirthing can  also promote the optimal position for the baby in the womb.

 For more information on either baby reflexology or hypnotherapy for breech presentation please do contact me.

Introducing Easibirthing® hypno birthing to Kidderminster.

As a hypnotherapist I was keen to train in hypno birthing, at Breathe Holistic Therapy supporting women to enjoy pregnancy and childbirth is one of our main aims.

Childbirth has the potential to be one of the most special experiences in a woman's life time. Birth is a natural physiological process. Each birth is unique, and easibirthing® is focused on empowering women to manage their individual experience, not fear it.

I  train  expectant parents to use self-hypnosis, relaxation, visualisation and breathing methods to prepare mind and body for birth. The easibirthing® method teaches  how to use hypnosis for pain management and aims to boost  trust in her body so she enters labour feeling calm, confident and in control. This involves reaching a state of deep relaxation, maintaining perception of control over the process and developing a positive confident attitude. 

·      easibirthing® is a UK  model which was developed with midwives and  complements UK birthing practices. It is a flexible approach that adapts to each unique client; and to empower them to manage whatever course their birth experience takes.

·      easibirthing® receives National Health Service funding in some parts of the country because it is an evidence-base tried and tested model.

·      As a easibirthing® practitioner I hold  the only hypnosis for childbirth qualification in the UK which is independently accredited (ie. by the nchp).  It is also essential to be a fully trained hypnotherapist before training as an easibirthing®  trainer. 

You can view  hypnosis for childbirth videos here: Hypnobirthing videos

Find out more about the benefits of feeling calm, confident and in control in childbirth: Anxiety in childbirth

I am passionate about supporting couples during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. I know from personal experience how this wonderful experience can be blighted by stress and fear and I aim to work hard to promote a postitive pregnancy and birth for all my maternity clients.

for more information please do contact me.

Posted on November 16, 2015 and filed under hypnotherapy, maternity.

Anxiety and Childbirth; You are not alone with your fears.

tired pregnant.jpg

Anxiety in pregnancy and child birth fears

Child birth fears explored by Kidderminster Hypnotherapist. 

Pregnancy and child birth is an amazing time but for some it is blighted by fear and anxiety relating to child birth. It may be hard to express these as it is supposed to be a happy period. If you feel anxious and afraid please do seek help as there are many ways to manage your fears to help you enjoy your pregnancy and child birth. 

To truly understand anxiety disorders associated with childbirth it is important to explore the origins of these fears and anxieties. I feel the foundations for these can be viewed as falling into three themes: 1: loss or lack of control 2: negative expectations and 3: physical and mental distress. Birth is a universal experience existing since the very beginning of evolution, but for some the thought of birthing their baby evokes overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety. At its most debilitation tokophobia, intense fear child birth, can be diagnosed. Anxiety disorders associated with childbirth, their origins and effects will be explored taking into account the many degrees of anxiety and their response to hypnosis.

The term tokophobia was first used to describe an intense anxiety and fear of childbirth in 2000 by Hofberg and Brockington. A degree of fear of childbirth is fairly common, over 20% of pregnant women report fear, 6% describe a fear that is disabling  and 13% of women who have not become pregnant report fear of childbirth sufficient to postpone or avoid pregnancy. Other studies have shown much higher rates of fear in pregnant women . It is now widely accepted that pregnancy may be a time of considerable anxiety with symptoms worsening in the third trimester .  

There were four significant aspects to tokophobia; intense anxiety and worry about childbirth; difficulties controlling this concern; difficulty concentrating  on work and family activities; plus at least  three  of  the  following  symptoms:  fear  of  pain,  fear  of  being unable  to  give  birth,  physical  disorders,  nightmares,  avoidance  of  pregnancy or request for caesarean section.  It is clear from this definition that tokophobia is relevant throughout the pregnancy, birth and postnatally. Tokophobia can be present before any pregnancies (primary), developed after a birth (secondary) or as a result of more underlying psychological disorders.

Tokophobia could be seen as a condition at the top of the continuum of anxiety related to childbirth.  Women and men can experience anxiety at many levels from mild anxiety that fluctuates and recedes right through to tokophobia.  A study in 2002 involving 329 pregnant women in Finland found that 78% expressed fears relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or both. This suggests, therefore, that anxiety and fear are experienced by the majority of women to some degree.  Any level of anxiety or fear in pregnancy has the potential to affect the woman, baby and wider family. Dick-Reid (2013) goes as far as to state that fear of childbirth over many generations has had a growing negative effect on civilisations  all over the world.

The movement of birth into hospitals began in the Seventeenth century in France when male doctors first stepped into the birthing environment.  This marked the start of the removal of power and expertise in the birthing process from the women herself. By removing the birthing woman’s sense of control and introducing many processes and techniques alien to her it is not difficult to see why fear and anxiety would increase.A study in 2008 found that lack of control featured as a cause of secondary tokophobia in all the women interviewed.  

A reason for the profound negative influence of loss of control may be understood by looking at our psychological development as a whole. From our birth onwards we move toward a growing sense of control over our environment, our choices and daily life. It is simply human nature to want a slice of life that we can control and that when this control is threatened anxiety disorders can develop. When a sense of control is lost it can be replaced by a fear o terrible things happening which cannot be stopped . This has clear implications for the process of childbirth. A woman and potentially a man who perceives a lack of control may it seems easily move into experiencing fear and anxiety about the new journey they are embarking on.

An individual’s expectations of a forthcoming event will influence how they feel about it. There are many influences present on modern women’s expectations of childbirth and the proliferation of negative views on birth is widely recognised.

The role of negative expectations in the development of anxiety disorders associated with pregnancy cannot be underestimated. Dick-Reid (2013) highlights the many pronged attack of negative influence on pregnant women; involving the media, literature, friends, mothers and partners.  Most importantly many of these negative frightening influences are from people who we hold as important and respected. This proves to strengthen the effects of their words, however well meaning. Research suggests that mothers who have unresolved trauma relating to birth can unintentionally pass this on to their daughters.

There is a growing recognition of the potential role that medical involvement has in the belief that birth is fearful and potentially dangerous and life threatening. The movement of birth to hospital settings, associated with illness and trauma, could feed women’s and societies belief that birth is dangerous.  The manner in which women are led to believe medical or surgical intervention may be needed e.g. during antenatal checks, even before birth commences increases the perception that child birth is dangerous. An expectation that child birth is dangerous is a powerful foundation for anxiety associated with child birth.

The third theme relates to physical and mental distress. Most obviously this relates to the fear of physical pain during childbirth.  A study in 2006  found that pain during contractions and pain during the passage of the baby from the vagina were both feared although some women feared only one of these. For some the fear of physical distress manifests as a fear of dying during child birth.

Mental distress can relate to many aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. If mental distress is experienced then fear and anxiety can reasonably be expected to develop. 
The origins of anxiety disorders associated with childbirth are clearly complex but an awareness of this allows both the effects of this anxiety, wherever it falls on the continuum, and potential ways to manage and reduce it to be understood.

If you are experiencing fear and anxiety during your pregnancy or even before becoming pregnant please do seek advise as you are not alone. Hypnobirthing is one way of lessening and managing this anxiety. Your midwife will also be able to offer you assistance.  If you feel your fear and anxiety is affecting your life please do speak to your doctor for support. 

Related pages : Hypnobirthing evidence.

For more information please contact me.

Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under stress management, maternity, hypnotherapy.

Childbirth and hypnotherapy


As a hypnotherapist I'm always interested to read about hypnotherapy in the media.

A recent article explored the dramatic rise in hypnosis for childbirth. 


The newspaper explained how a hospital local to Kidderminster, Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS trust, has seen a three fold increase in mothers attending hypno birthing sessions in the last five years.  Although the overall percentages of mums to be attending are low, around five percent, the increase shows a significant trend in a move towards hypnotherapy support for childbirth. 

Teri Gavin-Jones, a midwife from Colchester expressed this important shift in acceptance of this technique " Give it ten years and hypnobirthing will be standard antenatal practice"   The Colchester University Trust has seen a massive rise of 20 fold in the number of expectant mothers taking the courses. Since the initiative was introduced in 2012 those participating has risen from 48 to 960.

Hypnosis for child birth involves teaching women and potentially their partners to relax and breathe more easily, learning to remove the fear associated with the anticipated pain of child birth.  Hypnosis can be a way to empower couples to experience the birthing process with less dread and apprehension., but instead with a sense of calm anticipation.

I am excited to be attending a specialised course in natal hypnotherapy next month.  I will be training with Sharon Mustard who has 19 years experience in hypnosis for childbirth. The easibirthing model has been developed within the united kingdom in consultation with midwives to reflect birthing methods in the UK.  

More information on hypnotherapy or return to home page.

Posted on August 20, 2015 and filed under hypnotherapy, maternity.

Complementary therapy and fertility

Reflexology, together with other complementary therapies can offer many benefits when trying to conceive.

Starting a family is an exciting new chapter in a couple's life, but for many couples this is a difficult time, stress levels can rise putting pressure on each individual and on the partnership. A quarter of couples planning a baby have difficulty conceiving. When there are no fertility problems it can commonly take up to three years to conceive, whilst other couples become pregnant much quicker. The factors affecting fertility differ from couple to couple but there are some potential commonalities that may reduce fertility.

  • Poor nutrition. 
  • Alcohol and drug use.
  • Smoking.
  • Age
  • Weight.
  • Stress.
  • Hormonal conditions.

Potential benefits of reflexology

Reflexology may help to reduce stress and anxiety, helping to promote an optimum environment in the body for conception. Constant high levels of stress alter the bodies hormonal levels which can be detrimental to both male and female fertility. Choosing to enjoy therapies that promote relaxation can allow hormones to re-balance. There is evidence, for example, that body work such as reflexology can reduce cortisol levels which indicates a physiological reduction in stress. A  research study also concluded that regular reflexology assisted women with pre menstrual syndrome who had been trying to conceive for over two years. 

By taking time to relax and listen to their bodies many women can become more in tune with their cycle. This can be key to helping couples boost their chances of conceiving. For successful conception timing is crucial and knowing when ovulation occurs is vital.

The time with their therapist can also provide a safe space to consider lifestyle choices such as diet and alcohol. For some couples choosing to work towards a calmer more relaxed lifestyle can remove the pressure of trying to conceive.

Some couples may be referred for fertility investigations and treatment. Having an ongoing relationship with their complementary therapist can help improve their coping strategies at a challenging time. It may be necessary to stop treatments during some phases of assisted reproduction and the therapist would work with consent from the medical team.  

Choosing a complementary therapist

Practitioners must have adequate training to understand the main issues related to fertility. As there is always a possibility of pregnancy when trying to conceive it is also important that the therapist is trained in maternity treatments. At Breathe Holistic Therapy our therapist, Joanne Marie, has trained in both maternity massage and reflexology. Learning skills from qualified midwives ensures thorough professional training with safety and knowledge at the forefront. 

Therapists must never give false hope, complementary therapy supports conception but can not offer any guarantees. If a treatment appears to make extreme claims related to fertility it is important to retain realistic expectations as holistic treatments can not claim to heal fertility problems. 

 For more information please do not hesitate to call 07531121199 or e-mail with any questions.

Reflexology and complementary therapy is never a replacement for medical care, if you are concerned about your fertility or general health please contact your general practitioner.

Posted on August 21, 2014 and filed under maternity.