By Caroline Moodie
I was first introduced to the concept of hypnotherapy whilst having a back massage in the early stages of pregnancy with my second child. When the masseuse informed me that hypnosis was a highly successful means of pain control during labour I was somewhat surprised – wasn’t hypnosis some type of stage entertainment? However, despite my scepticism, I was curious to find out more. I had experienced a ‘technically straightforward’ birth with my first baby but I had felt frightened and in great pain which resulted in my opting for an epidural. So, second time around I wanted to give birth as naturally and as painlessly as possible.
Having found a properly qualified hypnotherapist I attended three sessions with her and practised self-hypnosis daily for several months through to the end of my pregnancy. I went into labour feeling naturally a little apprehensive but, more importantly, focused and mentally prepared for the experience. As my husband was too ill to attend the birth and the midwives were very busy that night I spent most of my labour alone – quiet, in control and dissociated from the ‘pain’ sensations in my body. Four hours after my first contraction my daughter was born and I had only needed one intake of gas and air five minutes before the delivery. As I held my beautiful daughter in my arms I felt enormously proud of my achievement. The midwife was fascinated – in her many years of experience she had never observed a woman using hypnosis in childbirth and was particularly amazed at my obvious lack of discomfort and movement during the contractions. Whilst I knew I was fortunate that my labour was uncomplicated, I also knew that hypnosis had a large part to play in achieving my rewarding birth experience. I needed no more convincing about the power of the mind – after all I had been able to achieve a virtually painfree childbirth which totally blew away my previous belief that I had a pathetically low pain threshold!
A few years later I met Michael Joseph, President of the BSCH, who persuaded me to train in hypnotherapy. I was slightly reluctant to, as I was immersed in children and domesticity at the time, but, in hindsight, learning hypnotherapy was one of the most profound decisions I have made in my life.
The part-time course enabled me to balance the demands of home with building a new and rewarding career and, 18 months later, I successfully passed my exams. I started a practice in Hampshire which is now a thriving business. I enjoy treating a wide range of symptoms and the challenges and rewards that brings and, motivated by my own rewarding birth experience, I have recently begun to specialise in the exciting and growing area of hypnotherapy in obstetrics.
As you may be aware from recent media coverage, there is growing concern at both Government and public level on the number of caesarean births being carried out in this country.
Research shows the effectiveness of hypnosis in all areas of childbirth and particularly in helping a woman to overcome the fear/tension/pain cycle, which may not only influence her decision on the use of invasive analgesics but, in increasingly more cases, her decision about opting for a caesarean delivery when not medically necessary. We have taken on the erroneous belief that childbirth must be painful and so it is very rewarding to help a woman overcome her fears and teach her how to control the sensations in her body in what is, after all, one of the most natural functions her body is designed to carry out.
The extensive field of obstetrics and postnatal care promotes the well-being of both mother and unborn child. Treatment can begin with morning sickness and premature labour through to the birth experience and on to lactating and postnatal depression.
Caroline Moodie can be contacted at:
The Andover Hypnotherapy Clinic on 01264 364000 or firstname.lastname@example.org and on the BSCH website.