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Choosing an antenatal class can be a minefield.  Google can throw up 100’s of different courses, friends and family will recommend courses they have attended and that in itself become a confusing and almost overwhelming experience.  If you are interested in hypnobirthing but are not sure what to look for in a teacher, I wanted to take this opportunity to outline five key things you should consider when contacting a hypnobirthing course facilitator to book your course……

Words without regulation are just words

There are a number of professions which are regulated.  For example, you cannot call yourself an osteopath, or a chiropractor, a doctor or social worker without the proper qualifications and membership to a regulatory body.  It would be illegal if you did.  Hypnobirthing is not formally regulated and therefore anyone who teaches in the field of antenatal education could make reference to hypnobirthing in their course material.  Ethically I do not believe this is a sound thing to do as it is misrepresenting what you can offer if you have not completed the in-depth course specifically focusing on this aspect of teaching.  I call this ‘the Kate Middleton effect’.  Since her name has been linked to hypnobirthing the interest in the technique from expectant couples has increased exponentially which is fantastic for expectant mothers achieving a positive, calm and relaxing birth experience.  However, if you are attending a course which claims to use hypnobirthing without using the context and principles underlying the technique, you may be disappointed and most importantly the technique may not work for you which is ultimately every facilitators goal.

Consider the content….

You don’t have to analyse the full content, but when a course claims to offer hypnobirthing, what does this mean?  Question what the teacher makes reference to, is it purely relaxation techniques which have been referred to as ‘hypnobirthing’ or is there a full explanation of the key principles of why hypnobirthing is so effective along with considering the empowerment of birth choices, as well as the hypnosis scripts which underpin the whole course.  It is important with any hypnobirthing course that you as expectant parents, understand why it is so effective and works so well, it then gives you the opportunity to use the techniques with confidence and really feel the benefit of the positive mindset which it promotes.

Hypnobirthing is more than just hypnosis…..

Hypnobirthing facilitators talk through every aspect of birth, from using the techniques in early labour to keeping calm and focused when faced at times with challenging choices and decision making.  It is not about information overload, and consequently overwhelm, it is about focusing on the aspects of labour and birth which you, as an individual consider to be important to allow you to make the choices for your best possible birth experience.  The hypnosis is absolutely key to this but not to only part of the course which is relevant to achieving this.  Ensure that your course does not just make reference to hypnosis when talking about hypnobirthing, it is much more than that.

You cannot ‘do’ hypnobirthing in one day……

Undertaking a hypnobirthing course, whether it is a ‘short course’ or the full comprehensive 10 hour teaching does not mean that you will be able to go ahead and ‘have’ a hypnobirth.  Hypnobirthing takes practice, time and focus.  All this should be taught throughout your course, with guidance and support given as issues may come up as your pregnancy progresses.  If the principles of hypnobirthing and the logic of why it works has been explained to you, it is more likely that you will understand the importance of this practice.  Ask the course facilitator what is important about having a hypnobirth and they should say practice, practice, practice…..

There are many amazing, supportive and highly experienced antenatal educators out there, many of whom I hold in extremely high regard.  I believe that any service which we buy, in this case, hypnobirthing, should ‘do what it says on the tin’ and support you as a expectant mother, calmly, confidently and without fear.  You should be able to leave your hypnobirthing course focused and calm, with aspects of labour and birth to consider, and having the tools and resources to aid this decision making, along with the on-going support to aid you with your practice.

What to do next?……

If you want to find a hypnobirthing teacher who has completed a full in depth course which is accredited to the Royal College of Midwives then please visit www.thehypnobirthingassociation.com to find a teacher in your area.