Author Archives: Heidi Woodgate

Blissful Birth Hypnobirthing book now on Kindle

Image: Carfax2, Wikimedia

With the world totally focussed on the news that the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour today, it’s probably the worst ‘media day’ to announce that we’ve made our Blissful Birth hypnobirthing book available worldwide in Kindle format via Amazon (UKUS).

But then, I thought it would be fitting, especially as it is thanks to the Duchess that more and more women worldwide are looking into Blissful Birth hypnobirthing for the birth of their own children.

This is a historic moment, because the recent changes to the laws of Royal succession mean that Kate and William’s child with be 3rd in line to the throne, regardless of gender.

Not only that, but with the world’s media waiting outside the hospital, it will be an extreme test of how well the Duchess can stay calm, relaxed and focussed.

So if you are expecting, why not download our book to your Kindle (UKUS) and have a read whilst we await the arrival of the new prince or princess of Wales.

Julie’s Birth Story: Last Minute Preparations

Normally, I advise my customers to start practising the techniques we teach as early as possible, so that by the time labour starts, everything falls into place automatically. So when Julie sent me this email after having seen me quoted in the Times, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to help:

I am interested in the technique, although wondering if I may be too late… I have been having regular contractions last night, they faded away and started again this morning, I think baby might be coming today or tonight. Do you have material that I could listen to at this stage, with no time left for preparation? I have started relaxation and mindfulness exercises (a bit separate from specific birth preparation but still helpful) and had my second baby all natural (thankfully quickly). This is my third and it just occurred to me a bit late that hypno-birthing might be useful this time. Many thanks
Julie

Never one to shirk a challenge, and (as always) happy to offer our cast iron guarantee so that customers can decide how valuable the material we teach is for themselves, I replied:

Thanks for your email. At this stage, you would probably find the latter part of our workbook (tips/words to avoid etc) and birth rehearsal track of our programme useful.

Even though you’ve given yourself very little time to prepare mentally, the early stages of labour can often make the suggestions in the mp3s “sink in” better so you may still be able to get some benefit.

Staying relaxed and active is the key, and the good news is that if you had a quick and natural second, you’ve already got a positive experience to help you keep stress at bay.

I’ve never had someone start the programme this late, but am happy to just refund you if you go for it and find you were too late to get anything positive from it .

Good luck and best wishes
Heidi

To be honest, I fully expected to get my first refund request of 2013 in this case… so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I received this email 10 days later:

I would like to let you know that my son Camille was born on Tuesday 18th.

This gave me 5 days to prepare by listening to the tapes, reading and relaxing, whilst I was hoping everyday for the birth, each extra day of waiting has been a gift to help me relax and accept my baby’s own timing.

He weighs 10lb 2 (!!). He was born in the water and everything went very well. I will certainly not want a refund as your tapes and advice helped a lot. Despite a very quick birth at my second baby, this one took its time: there was a 13h latent phase during which I listened to the birth visualisation tape a few times as well as the music I had prepared. It helped me so much. I was able to “go to the special place” every time there was pain. My husband was with me all along and quietly helping (in between continuing his work to try to keep his mind busy!). Eventually the 2nd and 3rd phase were very quick (2h together) and I was able to give birth to my son in the pool. It was so nice. It was at the birth centre of St Mary’s hospital in Paddington in London. The midwives were amazing and very discreet whilst present. I am very grateful for this birth and thank you again for the material.

I hope many more women can enjoy this type of experience. Like you say in your booklet, birth is often presented as a horror story but really doesn’t need to be. Among my friend whilst many girlfriends respect my choice I read disbelief on their faces, why choose to go through all this pain? But the pain goes away and all that stays is the memory of a relaxed and intense time bringing this new little life and I would not have liked it any other way.

Sincere thanks to Julie for giving me permission to share her story, and for diving into the Blissful Birth programme. Her story just goes to show that it’s never too late to use Blissful Birth – even though I usually recommend starting as early as possible!

 

Heidi Woodgate Quoted In The Times Newspaper

My blog post about Kate Middleton considering hypnobirthing earlier this month caught the attention of the national papers, and the article was quoted in a number of the broadsheets papers, including the Times, who ran articles both online and in the newspaper.

Here’s an extract from the print edition, my thanks to Times Feature Writer, Carol Midgley:

times_article

The full article is available on the Times Website (subscription required to view the full article).

Bye for now,
Heidi

Ps – I nearly called this post, “Look ma, I’m in the Times”, but I thought I should stay professional 🙂

Is Kate Middleton Planning to use Blissful Birth hypnobirthing?

Image: Carfax2/Wikimedia

Image: Carfax2/Wikimedia

If the flurry of activity in the blogosphere, news and gossip magazines over the last couple of days is to believed, the Duchess of Cambridge is considering using hypnobirthing techniques for the birth of her baby, due next month.

According to sources, the Duchess wants a completely natural labour, and is considering hypnobirthing while submerged in an inflatable pool filled with water.

“Kate has researched various birthing methods. She wants it to be natural, so hypno-birthing is one option that appealed” a source told British magazine Grazia. “Some of her friends have used this method and swear by it. Kate wants to do it her way and to be relaxed.”

The big unanswered question, however, is which (if any) of the dozen or so hypnobirthing programmes out there will the Duchess choose?

A number of hypnobirthing practitioners have ‘spun’ the news into a suggestion that the Duchess is considering their particular approach, and no doubt there will be a flurry of gloating press announcements from whichever hypnobirthing programme ‘wins’ the royal birth.

But in case you haven’t yet appreciated the direction this post is going and the irony in the headline, let me promise you this…

If the royal couple use our Blissful Birth hypnobirthing programme (either exclusively or in conjunction with some other programme) – I won’t be telling anyone.

Why? Because quite frankly, whether my customers are royalty, celebrities or normal everyday women, the focus should be on their birth story, not the particular hypnobirthing programme they used.

Of course, I’m always thrilled when someone sends in their birth story or testimonial and gives me permission to share it, and we wouldn’t still be here after 8 years online if our customers didn’t tell all their friends that they used our programme…

But it’s their choice to share their story, not mine.

So, are the royal couple considering Blissful Birth?

I’m not telling…

Regardless of their ultimate decision on natural birth techniques, I am grateful to the Duchess for her willingness to explore options for a natural birth – especially as it was Queen Victoria who led the way for women to use drugs in labour (she started using chloroform during the birth of her eighth child).

To have serious consideration from a well educated, intelligent and progressive couple like WIlliam and Kate shows how far towards mainstream our profession has come over the last decade.

Lets hope other hypnobirthing practitioners out there don’t spoil it for ’15 minutes of fame’.

Bye for now,
Heidi

Giving birth is a woman’s greatest fear

ContraccionesEarlier this year, the Telegraph, in conjunction with Bounty and MORI, conducted a poll of 900 women to find out their greatest concern before starting a family.

Whilst an understandable 35 per cent of mothers said the health of the child had been their greatest concern, a further 35% said that giving birth was their greatest fear.

Even more interestingly, fears about giving birth rose to 41 per cent among women with more than one child.

But is it any wonder? It seems as soon as you get pregnant there is an endless stream of women queueing up to tell you their horror story (or someone else’s!) – and watching an episode of ‘One Born Every Minute’ is enough to scare the life out of any woman.

And if you’ve had one difficult experience, it makes sense you’d be nervous of it all happening again, right?

Add the fact that fears about giving birth cause stress which actually slows down labour, and the vicious cycle of fear goes around and around.

It doesn’t need to be like this though, even if you had a bad experience last time.

Think about this… in the same way that having a great experience doesn’t guarantee the same next time, neither does a bad experience guarantee another bad experience.

Blissful Birth can teach you how to overcome your fears about giving birth so you can break the cycle and have the best possible experience.

Click on the picture above to get a sneak peak inside the Blissful Birth workbook, which is at the heart of the Blissful Birth programme.

Bye for now
Heidi

Cutting umbilical cord early is a ‘risk to babies’

Cutting umbilical cord early is a 'risk to babies'

Cutting umbilical cord early is a ‘risk to babies’

The currently accepted practice in the UK is to accelerate the arrival of the placenta with an injection and clamp and cut the cord immediately… something known as ‘assisted third stage’.

Back in 2006, when we had our eldest, the midwives were astonished that we didn’t want to ‘hurry things along’ like everyone else, even though there was no compelling medical reason to do it.

Most other mothers, it seems, faced with convention and deferring to ‘medical advice’ just go along with the practice.

But according to the BBC, that Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have warned that clamping and cutting the umbilical cord immediately after birth puts the baby at risk of iron deficiency.

Their research showed that babies who had their umbilical cord clamped immediately after birth had lower iron stores for up to six months, which increased the risk of brain development problems.

The college recommends that the umbilical cord should not be clamped earlier than necessary and should always be based on clinical assessment of the situation.

The suggestion is that the cord should not be cut until it has stopped pulsating naturally – anywhere between two and five minutes after birth – as this allows the blood in the cord to transfer to the baby.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says official guidelines are currently being examined it will publish new guidelines next year.

Bye for now
Heidi

Stress in pregnancy gives babies mental health issues

Stress in pregnancy can affect the development of an unborn child’s brain

Stress in pregnancy can affect the development of an unborn child’s brain, causing disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Stress in pregnancy can affect the development of an unborn child’s brain, causing disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Research from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the US, reported in the Daily Mail, showed that the damaging effects of stress are transmitted across the placenta to the unborn child.

Scientists believe it could explain known links between maternal stress and disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which are more common and serious in male offspring.

As part of the research, female mice were exposed to mild stresses such as strange noises and the smell of foxes during the first week of pregnancy.

They found that an enzyme called OGT was present at lower levels in the placentas of stressed mice than in unstressed mice. Male offspring placentas also had lower natural levels of OGT than those attached to female offspring.

Further research showed that cutting levels of OGT triggered changes in more than 370 genes in the brains of unborn mice.

Many of these genes play a role in functions critical to neurological development, such as energy use, protein regulation and creating nerve cell connections.

Analysis of human placentas discarded after the birth of male babies showed evidence of reduced OGT levels.

The results suggest that OGT may protect the brain during pregnancy. Males have less of the protein to begin with, placing them at greater risk if their mothers are stressed.

This research adds even more reasons to avoid stress in pregnancy as much as possible.

It’s worth remembering, however, that for most mothers-to-be, one of the biggest sources of stress and worry is pregnancy itself.

Whether its fear of giving birth, concerns about being a good parent or the expense of bringing up a child or just worry that something might go wrong, pregnancy puts a huge strain on every expectant mother.

Most of these stresses can be overcome, and Blissful Birth will help you deal with your fears and learn how to stay calm and relaxed so you can give your baby the best possible start.

Bye for now,
Heidi

Birthing fears need to be recognised and dealt with

ContraccionesAt the end of last year, the BBC reported the Royal College of Midwives call for fear of childbirth (tokophobia) to be recognised and dealt with more effectively.

Giving birth has long been portrayed as a traumatic ordeal by the media, and the medicalisation of the birth process has left women feeling powerless and out of control.

This feeling of being out of control just fuels fears of giving birth, and stress and fear about giving birth can make a difficult birth a self-fulfilling prophesy.

It’s no wonder that so many women feel anxious about giving birth and want to take back control by having a Caesarian section – even though this is a serious operation.

For some women, the fears about giving birth can develop into a full blown phobia.

Women who have experienced a traumatic delivery in which they had severe pain or tearing or in which they witnessed their baby in serious distress often cannot face the prospect of a vaginal birth.

Rather than looking forward to the arrival of their baby, they develop a morbid fear of pregnancy and the birth process. Labour wards can feel like ‘torture chambers’ and they feel their only option is to have a Caesarean section.

Studies show that in extreme cases, a small number of women abort their pregnancies rather than face the pain and trauma of childbirth.

With fear playing a huge role in pregnancy and birth, we’re 100% behind the RCM call for fear of childbirth to be recognised and dealt with more effectively. But more needs to be done!

While extreme fear of childbirth may need specialist one-to-one intervention, our Blissful Birth programme is an ideal way for expectant mothers to deal with birthing fears and prepare for giving birth.

Bye for now.
Heidi

Is your baby bump too small?

is your baby bump too small?Have you noticed that as soon as a you get pregnant, people seem to become obsessed with your baby bump and how it’s growing?

The media coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby is case in point. But although her pregnancy has been played out in the national media, her experience is all too familiar.

Too big, too small, too fat, too thin… suddenly, everyone is an ‘expert’ and it seems they can’t wait to offer you their sage advice.

In our experience, most people expect your baby bump to be as big as possible. If you don’t measure up to their expectations, you can be left feeling like you are doing something wrong.

Or worse, it can trigger that underlying fear we all have in pregnancy… What if my baby isn’t growing as it should?

It’s not just family and friends either. Midwives still tend to use a tape measure to check your progress, and on average, the size of a baby bump in cm is roughly equal to the number of weeks of pregnancy.

So if you are 30 weeks, your baby bump is supposed to be about 30cm.

But if you are much smaller than ‘average’, you can find yourself anxiously waiting for a growth scan to make sure everything is ok.

The problem is that pregnancy puts your hormones in a whirl, and comments about your baby bump can just fuel your fears and worry.

Add this to fears about giving birth, and both you and your baby get a heady cocktail of stress hormones.

The truth is that everyone is different, and it’s important to remember that ‘average’ and ‘normal’ mean two completely different things.

For example, our youngest son is in the 95th centile for his height, and has been since he was a baby. Being the same height as his older brother certainly means he’s not ‘average’… but his growth rate is ‘normal’ because it has always followed the same centile.

So if, like Kate Middleton, your baby bump is smaller than ‘average’ but your previous scans are ok, just ignore the naysayers, calm down and remind yourself that everything is ‘normal’… for your particular pregnancy.

Bye for now
Heidi

Ps – Staying relaxed during pregnancy and birth can be one of the best gifts you give your baby, and the Blissful Birth programme will teach you self hypnosis and fear removal techniques to make it as easy as possible to achieve.

So why not get started on your Blissful Birth right now?

Research Snippet on Hypnosis for Childbirth

The UK National Council for Hypnotherapy has issued a “research snippet” on the effectiveness of Hypnosis for Childbirth. In it they say:

Studies [Hoffman & Kipenhaur (1969)] reported that hypnosis eliminated or substantially reduced the pain of childbirth for 50% (median) of women, with individual studies reporting success rates ranging from 35% to 90% of cases. That suggests that the chances of having a painless childbirth with hypnosis varies enormously, depending upon the specific characteristics of the study, i.e., the way hypnotherapy is conducted and the characteristics of the women participating, including their level of motivation, expectations, etc. Roughly half the women typically experienced substantial freedom from pain in these old studies.

Yes, that’s an AVERAGE of 50% pain reduction for women using self-hypnosis, with up to 90% pain reduction in women who were motivated to use it.

Across three studies, involving 142 women in total, they found that the hypnotised group were about half as likely to require pharmaceutical pain relief (analgesia) during childbirth compared to women giving birth without hypnosis. More specifically, 62% of hypnotised women (mean) did not require analgesia compared to only 26% of non-hypnotised women.

So you more than double your chances of giving birth without needing chemical pain relief – just by learning to focus your mind in self-hypnosis…

[In] a study by Mairs (1995) … hypnotised women rated their pain as 5.41 on average compared to 7.58 in the non-hypnotised group, excluding those (n=7) who required caesarean sections.

Read the full snippet here.

The great thing is that these studies show what learning self-hypnosis can achieve all by itself.

Our Blissful Birth programme goes even further – teaching you how to overcome your fears so that you can be more relaxed in labour too – which can speed up the whole process.

But even if you only managed to reduce the amount of chemical pain relief you needed by using self-hypnosis, it would be worth learning, wouldn’t it?

Give me your thoughts below…