Hypnobirthing: where to start?

Feb 16, 2024
Sophie Fletcher Hypnotherapy
Hypnobirthing: where to start?

The popularity of hypnobirthing has absolutely exploded. Twenty years ago, there was one book and a couple of CD's by hypnotherapists. Now there are lots of books, audio tracks and courses available alongside podcasts, videos and social media content. Finding where to start can be a little overwhelming.

I would recommend getting started as soon as possible, after you have had your first scan. A good place to start is a book or audiobook. You can find a range of hypnobirthing books in bookshops and online retailers. Some books, like mine, even have audio tracks with them which make them a very easy way to get started. You can also check out your local library. Ask them to order a hypnobirthing book if they don’t have one in stock. You can also find a selection of audio books on Audible, Google or Apple Books. If you have a Spotify subscription, you can even listen to my audiobook for free as part of their 15-hour monthly audiobook allowance.

When I first came across hypnobirthing. I was a little sceptical. I would never have been to a hypnotherapist. For me, hypnosis was all about swinging watches, top hats and people controlling your mind. It can take time for people to open their mind to hypnosis so take some time to read around the topic.

Put simply, hypnobirthing is a programme of structured hypnosis techniques that can help build your confidence, manage pain, and give you agency when you're making those important decisions about your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. Starting with a book will give you an understanding of hypnobirthing and help you decide if it something you want to do. For some people, it’s like a light bulb moment and they're like, I totally want to do this.

If that's you and you really want to get stuck into the next thing, I would suggest finding some audio tracks that really work for you. There are lots of hypnobirthing tracks out there, some are free or come with books, others you may have to pay for as standalone tracks or as part of a course.

I would also look for hypnobirthing tracks that have been written by a hypnotherapist. There are targeted language patterns that hypnotherapists use for reducing or eliminating unconscious fear and building confidence at a very deep level outside of your conscious awareness. Because of the way they're designed, you may listen to them once or twice and not even notice the change that's happening in you. Then suddenly one day you'll realise how much more confident you're feeling, so it's important to find tracks that are written by people that really know what they're doing.

The other thing, when starting out with hypnobirthing audio tracks is to find a voice that you like. There is nothing worse than listening to a hypnobirthing track with a voice that grates on you or reminds you of a mean schoolteacher. So, look around for audio tracks that make you feel held and take you into that deep state of relaxed hypnosis quickly and easily.

If you have enjoyed finding out more about hypnobirthing and are benefiting from listening to audio tracks, you may want to consider starting a course. I will do a deeper dive into what to look for in a course in a future blog but here are some things you should think about.

What do you want from a course? Do you want to be online or face-to-face? Do you want to be in a small group or a large group? Would you prefer the privacy of a one-to-one class with a teacher who is going to tailor techniques and support you throughout your pregnancy.

Also be aware that not every hypnobirthing programme is the same. Check who wrote the programme. I would want it to be written by a hypnotherapist. Also check out the credentials of the teacher. I'm a hypnobirthing trainer, which means I teach teachers. But I do know that there are people being trained as hypnobirthing teachers by people who aren't even hypnotherapists.  

If you are interested in doing a course, I think the best time to start is anywhere from about 28 weeks. If you go on a course too early, the birth might feel very far away so, you might think, Oh I’ll come back to those techniques later.  When you do come back to them, you might think, I can't remember what those techniques are all about now.

At around 28 to 32 weeks, something shifts in your mind. It’s that, ‘I've only got 8 weeks left’ kind of energy which will help you focus on the techniques. In my years of teaching, I've noticed that they seem to embed in people more effectively around that stage. So, you can learn a lot and listen to lots of tracks early on, but then do a course slightly later to learn the practical tools and techniques for birth.

Another thing to remember is try not to pick and mix from different hypnobirthing methods. There are so many free resources out there and it's very tempting to try out some free things here and there, but I think it's tricky when you start mixing material from different people and different courses. I embed the same messages in all my tracks and materials so that they impact you at a very deep level outside of your conscious awareness. If you're picking and mixing between different tracks and courses, you won't get that element of hypnobirthing.

Courses are important because for some people listening to audio tracks and reading a book may not be enough. I've written a book and, of course, I want people to buy my book and read it.  While books are a fantastic introduction, it is easy to forget that hypnobirthing comes out of hypnotherapy. It's a way of processing your fears and anxieties in the part of your mind that is outside of your conscious awareness that can't always be done by reading a book or listening to a track. This is an incredibly important part of hypnobirthing, so seek out time with a practitioner. It can be with a hypnobirthing teacher in a group course. It can be live online with someone like me as part of an online course. Or you can even book a session with a hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis is becoming more and more recognised as an effective therapy and is becoming more and more mainstream. The people who've come on my courses, almost without exception, have been completely blown away about what hypnosis can do.

The other thing to remember about Hypnobirthing is that it's not just for normal birth. I hear some people say, well, I'm not doing hypnobirthing because I'm higher risk. Personally, I think you need hypnobirthing more if you're higher risk because it gives you agency and the confidence to ask the questions that you need to ask to get better outcomes at your birth.

Finally, if you're doing hypnobirthing, you need to be able to set time aside for practise as this is an essential part of hypnobirthing.

Going back to the question, hypnobirthing: where to start? Firstly, read or listen to an audiobook, then listen to some hypnobirthing audio tracks. Start a course from around 28 weeks and remember to do your practice. Do all that and you're all set for a calm, confident birth.

If you have any questions about hypnobirthing register for my free hypnobirthing session on 27 February, 7pm (UTC) or listen to Hypnobirthing: Twenty questions wherever you get your podcasts.




If you are interested in the audio tracks check them out here

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