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Effective Home Birth Preparation

Effective Home Birth Preparation

Read how the Effective Home Birth Preparation CD/MP3 has helped women.

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My life at this point feels just perfect

Dear Maggie

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your fantastic hypnotherapy. I finally gave birth to Sophie Jade Smith at 3.50am on Saturday. She was 10 days late and a big baby at 9lbs, but I have just had the most amazing experience of my life! Your CD was perfect, just what I had dreamed my ideal birth to be, and I listened to it every day, twice a day for the last 2 weeks. I was facing the possibility of having to be induced but my midwife Dorothy was so supportive of my determination to have a home birth and she visited me daily for a membrane sweep to try and get things going.

I eventually started in early labour on Friday afternoon and Dorothy gave up her day off and stayed with me from 8pm through to after the birth. Stephen went off to bed at 7pm with no trouble, Neil and his Mum were in the lounge and I was in the kitchen with Dorothy, in the birthing pool. She kept commenting that she'd never seen anyone so relaxed! I felt so in control, totally able to breathe through the contractions, I even managed to doze between them when I was feeling tired!

The whole event was just as you described on your CD. The most amazing part was the birth itself, it went exactly as I had dreamed and hoped it would, just breathing the baby through the birth canal, then 1 push for the head, 1 for the body. Poor Neil missed the actual birth as everybody thought I had a few hours of labour left as I was so quiet and relaxed! He came and checked on me just as the baby was brought to the surface! Then to top it all Stephen woke up and came downstairs and was waving at us all through the kitchen door! It was lovely.

I really appreciate all your help, to experience such a wonderful birth after such a terrible one last time, was just fantastic. I've found it so easy to adjust and recover and Sophie is a quiet sleepy baby. My life at this point feels just perfect. Thank you so much for teaching me your amazing skills, I'd recommend you to anyone!

With much love
Cathy xx

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A father's home birth story

Sally listened to the Natal Hypnotherapy home birth preparation CD for 6 weeks prior to giving birth.

Sally wanted to prepare for the birth by visualising what would happen through listening to the Birth preparation CD, but the NHS set-up made this virtually impossible. The chances are that we would not have even met the midwives caring for Sally, use of the birthing pool looked like a remote possibility and the other rooms seemed to be designed for clinical convenience not for the comfort or wishes of the mother-to-be. So it was that with less than four weeks to go to the due date, we decided that a home water birth was what we wanted.

On Thursday 14th the pool arrived - four days early - in kit form, contained in two enormous boxes. A rented TENS machine and her personalised birth preparation CD also arrived that day - ahead of schedule - and Sally commented that we now had everything we needed.

Early the next day Sally had a 'show' and some niggling back pains. A phone call to Rosie, our independent midwife was greeted with mild interest but a view that "it could be up to a week or two yet". Sally proceeded to continue painting the nursery with her Mum (and a tin of yellow paint). When I rang Sally at lunchtime, the back pains were still there and I decided I'd better come home from work and get the pool assembled!

Sally duly finished the painting in the afternoon and I started sorting out the chosen birthing room. We broke for an evening meal and then Sally's waters broke too. Another phone call to Rosie elicited a little more interest and a request to keep her informed.

Sally was now starting to get definite contractions and tried out the TENS. The pool was finished and filling slowly with water. Sally was coping well with the contractions but when they started coming every three minutes or so, I called Rosie again and she set off in the car to join us. Rosie arrived just after midnight, seemed happy that Sally was fine and agreed that getting in the pool was a good thing to do.

The pool was a great success. It stayed warm with minimal topping up and Sally revelled in being able to change positions easily without having to lug the weight of the bump about. Rosie maintained a "hands-off" approach. The only regular measurements she took were of the baby's heart rate which was fine throughout. She judged progress largely by how well Sally was coping with the contractions. Based on this measure she warned us that she thought we were still at the relatively early stages. As time ticked on into the wee small hours, we thought we ought to listen to the self hypnosis CD. It was highly effective as within ten minutes, both Rosie and I were fast asleep! Sally was slightly indignant to be left coping with her contractions on her own!

As six in the morning approached, Sally said that she was feeling the urge to push, but wasn't sure whether she was ready or not. Sally surfaced (!) to enable Rosie to do her one and only internal examination of the proceedings. Rosie could feel the baby's head and told Sally that it was fine to start pushing - warning that for a first birth, this stage could often last one to two hours. As it turned out, Sally and baby Lila had other ideas and in a mere twenty minutes Lila appeared and swam towards the bottom of the pool only to be caught by Rosie and brought to the surface. It was a wonderful moment as Sally sat in the pool and cradled our bewildered and bedraggled daughter.

The birth experience was all that Sally and I had hoped for. Sally had no tearing at all and since getting in the pool, had used no pain relief other than the warm water and the techniques learned on the CD.

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They could not believe how calm I was

I had painless contractions every 20-30 minutes for a week before baby came. On Monday 1st August I awoke with tummy ache and an upset tummy and I knew this was the day. The contractions started out at every 5 minutes for 40 seconds. I was scheduled for a home birth. So at 10am I went to the birth centre to be checked, I was disappointed to find I was only 1 cm. They gave me a stretch and sweep, sent me home and advised me that the baby would probably not arrive for the next couple of days. I disagreed, I knew she would come that day. I put on my tens machine, went for a walk and ate some liquorice. The contractions started getting intense but in between them I was laughing and joking watching TV. My mother in law encouraged me to call the midwives to my house (which I was reluctant to do seeing as I had been dismissed in the morning) as she felt I was quite far along. The midwives visited my house at 5pm ish and confirmed that I was 4cm and in active labour.

As I was a GBS carrier I had a special birth plan arranged so I could have my baby at home. We attended the hospital and I was given intravenous antibiotics via a cannula in my arm. Having contractions whilst sitting still for the cannula was horrible. After the antibiotics were administered we drove home, this car journey was horrible, again having to sit still was worse than the contractions. As soon as we got into the house from the hospital around 7pm the contractions went up a notch in intensity. My husband called the midwives out, but they got lost and were late. When they arrived at 9pm I was fully dilated and the head was coming out. They could not believe how calm I was

Up until this point all I had used was my tens machine. When I looked at the tens machine properly I realised I hadn't been using both pads!! I had a little gas and air during the second stage, but I kept forgetting it was there and didn't really need it. I did not tear and my baby girl Accalia was born at 10.40pm that day. I had a small graze and was healed in under a week. I was up and about 30 minutes after the birth and have remained active since.

One problem I encountered was the midwives not believing how far along I was as I was so calm and with it. All in all I got the homebirth I wanted. I feel the cds helped loads to achieve this goal.

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I hope that my story will encourage others

Many women do not know that they can prepare effectively for birth. I hope that my birth story will help to dispel that myth. I had a beautiful, natural home birth without medication, but I did not do so without having done much research, preparation and practice. I hope that my story will encourage others that we are perfectly made for giving birth and the experience does not have to be the painful traumatic experience that is dramatized on TV. For me, the key was to be confident in my ability to give birth just as millions of women have done before me and to practice relaxation techniques, so when the time came I was able to relax my body at will. My body knew what to do just as it knew how to grow my baby!

It was Friday December 23rd and it was Dave's last day at work before he broke up for Christmas. He had a great deal to do in order to clear up the projects that he was working on. I had thought that the pains I was experiencing were due to having played capoeira the night before and having never had a baby before, I didn't really think that I was in the start of my labour. It was like period pain arriving at regular 5 minute intervals. When Dave woke at 7.30am, I told him about the pains. He asked me if I would like him to stay at home but I said that he should go to work. After all, he was only half an hour away and would keep his phone turned on all day just in case anything happened. So Dave went to work, and I pottered around the house. I made a cake and made some bread and cleaned and tidied the house. I scrubbed the floors on my hands and knees as this position helps the baby get into the optimum foetal position (OFP) ready for birth. Our floors were the cleanest they had ever been as I had been doing this for a few weeks! I had also been walking round the house on all fours like a cat each day to help with my baby's positioning! I was looking forward to Dave arriving home from work. I was excited to tell him that I was still having the stomach cramps and I was probably in the early stages of labour.

Dave had been to the birth preparation workshops with me and we had practiced the breathing, hypnotherapy and massage techniques. He had prepared well to be my birthing partner. At 6pm, my mum came round to my house to drop off a feeding chair for me. The chair that she had fed me on 33 years before. She had had it recovered and painted for me. About 5 minutes later Dave arrived home from work. He said that something terrible had happened. Coming home from work he had started to feel ill. He said he felt that he had contracted the bug that had many of our friends had caught from a small child at a dinner party we had been to two days previously. It was true he came down with the bug, perhaps norovirus, which rendered him out of action for the next 12 hours with diarrhoea and vomiting while I was in labour! He lay on the sofa burning up and sweating for a couple of hours before eventually going to bed.

My mum, who had only come round to drop off the chair ended up staying as she said that she couldn't leave me with Dave being so ill. I' been looking forward to Dave taking me to for a curry. Mum said that she'd take me. I was having mild contractions as I collected my take away and when I got home I devoured the lot. I'd heard that eating well in the early stages of labour was a good thing as later on you will not feel like eating and so it's good to build up some energy reserves! Mum stayed with me throughout the night, massaging my back and counting my contractions. I listened to the hypnotherapy CD and tried to get some rest as my doula on the other end of the phone had suggested that afternoon. I also used the TENS machine which was fantastic The weird sensation caused by the electrical pulses being a welcome distraction from the sensations of the labour. I could control the strength of the pulses myself. At 1.30am, when my contractions were 50 seconds long and 3 minutes apart, I called the midwives. A lovely midwife that I had not met before called Susan arrived at 2.30am. She checked me and said that I was 2-3cm dilated and that I should carry on distracting myself.
I was so excited! I wanted to wake Dave up and tell him but he was so poorly that I thought better of it! Mum and I chatted and played Scrabble. Dave got up at 6am and came to ask how it was going. He was feeling only slightly better. I told him that I was properly in labour. Dave thought he ought to blow up the pool! It was a good job that our neighbour downstairs had lent us an electric pump which Dave used to blow up the sides of the pool but he had to pump the floor and the seat by hand. Dave was able to muster up just enough energy to blow it up but it totally wore him out and he needed to go back to bed. Dave and I willed the virus to go away so he could be present for the birth of his first child. At 7.30am, the contractions had been getting more powerful and we called the midwives again. They said that they would send someone out and asked if 9am would be ok. Having never had a baby before, 9am felt like a long time to wait as the contractions were really quite strong. They said to call back again if there was an emergency! I hung on til 9am without calling back. At 9am, midwife Hayley arrived. As she walked through the door, I burst into tears! Out of all the midwives I had seen, it was Hayley that I felt I had connected to the most.

I had thought about asking for her but had thought better of it. I had asked the universe to send her instead! "I can't believe you're here" I said. "I asked for you to come!" Hayley checked me and said that I was 5 cm dilated. I was happy that things were progressing as they should. Dave got up as Hayley arrived. Willing the virus to go away seemed to work and he had just about fought off his virus enough to resume being my birthing partner and enjoy the big day. Hayley recommended that he sipped Sprite throughout the day which also seemed to help. At about 1pm, Hayley thought that I was ready to get into the pool. Mum, Dave and Hayley had been using buckets of water to get it to the right temperature.

The water was lovely, I would really recommend it. The Natal Hypnotherapy gave me a battery of tools to deal with the pain. I found the visualisations really helpful, particularly visualising a beautiful red sunset looking over some choppy water. When I breathed out a golden light, I imagined my breath spreading out making the water really calm. Before I knew it, I was on the other side of the contraction. I also found the 'dial' really helpful. I'd try to turn the intensity of the contraction down from 10 to 1 and before I knew it I was on the other side. It was really important for me that I had practiced welcoming each sensation, as opposed to dreading it, and I'm sure that this practice was essential for making everything go right on the day. I'd also practiced affirmations and had made little cards and posted them around my flat such as 'All I need to do is relax and breathe' or 'I can completely relax my body at will'. At the times when I needed them, I found that they sprung up in my mind. The 321 relax cue that Dave gave me was also really helpful.

While I was in the water, I had an aromatherapy stick with rose and geranium which smelt beautiful and was a welcome distraction. Matilda Rose finally arrived in the water at 5,33pm. I got my home water birth without medication just the way I wanted it. The midwives in attendance couldn't believe it was my first baby because I was so calm. My mum, who initially had thought my idea to have Matilda at home and use hypnotherapy was 'ridiculous' is now a passionate convert! She also couldn't believe how calm I was and tells everyone who will listen about it!

The Natal Hypnotherapy helped Dave to become part of the process. We are very grateful for the tools of Natal Hypnotherapy which helped bring our beautiful little girl Matilda Rose into the world in such a kind and gentle way.

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At no point during the labour did it occur to me to use any pain relief

This was my first pregnancy, which I am so pleased to say went so well, as did the labour and birth. I stayed active throughout my pregnancy, remaining at my physically and mentally demanding job until the end of week 38. I also kept busy at home until the day my baby arrived, completing all those jobs I never had the time for when I worked. As I kept so busy until the end of my pregnancy, I found using the pregnancy relaxation cd extremely helpful in mentally letting go of the daily stresses and an over-active mind to encourage good sleep, to prepare myself mentally for the birth and then the arrival of my baby. I found by giving myself 30-45mins 2-3 times a week was really beneficial in keeping calm and relaxed throughout my pregnancy.

I also read the Effective Birth book which I found the most reassuring read prior to having my baby. The approach and information given made complete sense to me and confirmed my instinctual attitude to labour and birthing. I also attended an active birth workshop as my birth preparation course which complemented the Effective Birth book further. Together, these approaches to labour and the relaxed and calm feeling I had towards the birth from using the cds, resulted in me feeling no fear up to and during labour.

I had complete trust in my body being able to do this and believe strongly that my mental preparation and attitude towards labour enabled me to have the birthing experience I had always wanted. I felt in complete control of my thoughts and reactions throughout the experience.

I finally went into labour 10 days past the EDD and was able to have the birth at home in water, as planned. To give birth at home, where I had complete control of the environment (i.e. using a birthing pool, controlling the light, temperature, sounds and smells) and having only minimal 'staff' and my family present that all supported my approach to labour, enabled me to remain mentally focussed throughout the labour, trusting the people around me and the familiar and calm environment in which I was in. Due to the speed of the whole labour and birth (about 6 hrs in total, and only 3hrs of active labour and birth), I didn't have time to use the full hypnotherapy approach.

However, I used deep, controlled breathing and mental focussing throughout to ensure effective labouring and to cope with the sensations/pains. I also used visualisation during the actual birth, of the baby's journey down the birth canal, to encourage me to continue effectively in delivering my baby, I managed to give birth to my 8lb 3oz baby with no pain relief. In fact, at no point during the labour did it occur to me that I needed it or indeed could have asked for it. Again, I feel this was at least partially due to the mental attitude I had, in trusting my body to be able to do this, reassured by the preparation I had done in reading the Effective Birth book, attending an active birth workshop and listening to the relaxation and birth preparation cds.

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My Midwife (mid-man) suggested Natal Hypnotherapy for my home birth

After four and half years of trying for a family, my husband and I were lucky enough to fall pregnant - a big and wonderful surprise. I was interested in a water birth and after reading some inspirational stories turned my attention to a home birth. My midwife (actually 'mid-man'!) was wonderful and very encouraging and mentioned natal hypnotherapy. I took his advice and bought the CDs straight away.

Although I didnt listen to the CDs as much as recommended and not at all during the birth (had images previously of hours of labour in which I would relax and listen to them but it all happened very fast!), I remembered a lot from them and my husband helped me remember to 'turn down' the pain during stronger contractions and it all came flooding back which was really helpful. I especially was grateful for the confidence they gave me to trust my body and my baby and to work with it, not against it. By the time the birth came I was calm and ready and confident.

Our home water birth was just as we wished for. I can't deny that labour is an intense experience but I felt completely in control. The birth of my son was the most special day of my life and it was wonderful. I am so proud of us all and I hope other women can have the confidence to believe in themselves and their bodies - as they did for me, the CDs will help solidify that self-belief for many others and make the birth of your baby so special.

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A breech homebirth story

At 38 weeks pregnant I hired independent midwives to help me have a physiological breech birth at home because the NHS were not supportive of my choices and wanted me to opt for a caesarean. Four weeks and 3 days later my beautiful baby daughter was born at home in record fast timing and it was the most natural and rewarding experience of my life.

I have Natal Hypnotherapy and Maya midwives to thank for that. Natal Hypnotherapy gave me the confidence to trust my body and believe in my ability to give birth naturally and Maya midwives supported me, allowing me to trust my instincts and listen to my body before and during the birth. Here is a brief summary of my story:

I had always planned a home birth for my second baby but when I found out she was breech, I was told by the hospital this would be impossible and after an unsuccessful attempt at turning her (ECV) I was given no other option but to have a caesarean. I was distraught, I knew I could deliver this baby normally but was shocked that the hospital were so keen on c-section. They wouldn't let me leave without consenting to this even though I told them I wanted to explore my options. I was 38 weeks pregnant at this stage and if they had their way I would have had a c-section one week later but I knew baby wasn't ready and after careful thought and research I told them I wanted to wait and to cancel the caesarean. The majority of staff were not supportive of my choice so I began a quest to find an independent midwife.

Several phone calls later I came across the wonderful Maya midwives, who happened to be experienced in vaginal breech birth and very keen to support me. I was overjoyed and it meant there was a greater chance I could have the home birth I so desperately wanted for my baby. I withdrew from NHS care and had regular visits from the midwives to check baby's heart rate etc. and then it was just a waiting game. I began listening to my Natal Hypnotherapy prepare for home birth CD again every day, sometimes two or three times a day and I made a poster for my bedroom wall with affirmations and other positive thoughts about the birth.

My due date (20th September) came and went and then a week later there were still no labour signs. The midwives advised that I didn't do anything to augment the labour, such as acupuncture or reflexology because breech babies must come when they are ready if they are going to come at all. So I waited and waited. Natal Hypnotherapy helped me to remain calm, relaxed and focused at this stressful time when friends and family were growing increasingly concerned. When I reached 42 weeks I decided to go to hospital for a scan and CTG monitoring to make sure everything was ok. The doctors said baby was doing really well and couldn't find anything at all wrong but would be happier if I'd have a c-section the next day. My instincts told me to wait a little longer and so I agreed to come back two days later for more CTG monitoring. In the meantime I began to prepare myself for the caesarean (by listening to the Natal Hypnotherapy CD) as it was becoming increasingly likely that I might have to give in at some point. Again the CTG monitoring showed that everything was fine but I agreed to go in the next day for my bloods to be taken in case the caesarean was necessary. Although I was more prepared for it, I couldn't understand how my body could grow this baby, keep her nourished for 9 months and then just abandon her and me when it was time to be born.

That very night I woke at 4am with contractions that felt 'different' to the Braxton hicks I'd been having for weeks so I called the midwife, Andy, and she arrived an hour later. I wasn't in any pain at all but had been preparing for this for months using Natal Hypnotherapy so didn't really expect to be. There was about an hour where the contractions were really intense but at no time painful and our daughter was born two and a half hours later (bum first) at 7:30. Andy said it was the quickest birth she'd ever seen, so quick that Viv, the second midwife missed it! I was glad I called Andy when I did. I used only a TENS machine and Natal Hypnotherapy techniques and our beautiful breech baby daughter, Amália Rose, was born calmly and peacefully in our bedroom. Her birthday is 7th October 2012, 17 days past the due date. I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome, I am so glad that I trusted my instincts and my baby and that I had the support of such wonderful midwives.
I will treasure that moment forever.

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The type of birth I really wanted

"Thank you for enabling me to have the type of birth I really wanted. Third baby at home and the first with no drugs"
Kath, Melbourne, Australia

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Whenever friends ask about my birth experience I am always so positive

"When Sam arrived I felt it was a relatively gentle arrival to this world and this was mainly due to the time and effort spent preparing for the birth so that I could enjoy it for the momentous and amazing event that it is. Whenever friends ask about my birth experience I am always so positive and know that the hypnotherapy played an important part in making it a very special day"
Chloe Wilmot

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I coped really well with the pain

"I was able to have micronaps between contractions - I do feel the CD had a big part to play in that. I coped really well with the pain....I felt no anxiety throughout the labour and indeed trusted my body to do the right thing - which it did. Many thanks"
Angela, London

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I was quite enjoying this

"Just before pushing I remember saying to the Midwife mid-contraction that I was quite enjoying this as once the contraction started I knew it would soon be over again if that made sense! She said she couldn't believe how calm I was! I was only pushing for around 20 mins and delivered my gorgeous boy kneeling over the sofa"
Ellen Mulholland.

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I think the CD made all the difference

"I used the birth CD and had a beautiful home birth with no complications from 9am when my waters broke to 5pm when he was born. He's now two and a half. I was 44 then. I think the CD made all the difference. I also used the Post birth CD and breast feeding. Hes still feeding! I'm now using the prepare to conceive for a second baby! My sister is pregnant now and I told her to get the CDs!!"
Jane Hutchinson

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