We provide individual hypnotherapy sessions for mums-to-be, in addition to a service open to parents and parents-to-be, covering all aspects of pregnancy and parenthood. Some of the issues we have worked with include:
- Treatment for fears surrounding childbirth, including fear of needles
- Tokophobia – fear of childbirth
- EMDR for previous trauma associated with childbirth, abuse and rape
- EMDR & hypnotherapy for fears surrounding gynaecological examinations and other procedures
- Therapy for sexual problems, such as vaginismus, both before and after childbirth
- Hypnotherapy for women undergoing IVF
- Stress Management & Hypnotherapy/Counselling for couples undergoing IVF
- Dealing with termination
- Parenting issues
- Relationship counselling
- Issues surrounding adoption for both adoptive parents and adoptees
- Smoking cessation pre and during pregnancy
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Alcohol & weight issues
- EMDR, CBT and Hypnosis for post natal depression
- Impact of fatherhood
- Sexual problems after childbirth
- Bereavement, including loss of a child
- Issues surrounding gay childbirth/adoption
Hypnosis for childbirth
In 1953, Grantly Dick-Read wrote the book, ‘Childbirth without Fear’. In this book, he theorised that the pain of childbirth was a result of three components: fear, tension and pain. Read believed that fear itself was the biggest part of this triad, and that misinformation about the birth process was the cause. Read also assumed that the pain of labour was a learned response, due to the subconscious conditioning of society over many thousands of years.
As a young doctor in 1913 Dr Dick-Reid was called to a slum area of London to deliver a baby, where he observed a young woman give birth, seemingly without pain. When he asked the new mother why she did not require any pain relief was to have a tremendous consequence. “It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t meant to, was it Doctor?” she replied.
His work inspired the formation of The Natural Childbirth Society, later to become the National Childbirth Trust.
The reasoning behind the use of hypnosis for childbirth is not to eliminate pain, but to put the client in control. Our hypnosis for childbirth programme is individually tailored to each client, but will usually include the following: relaxation techniques, self hypnosis, understanding the physiology & psychology of labour, hypnosis to enable a positive birth experience, rapid induction techniques, pain control, coping with problems and medical interventions, bonding with the baby and breastfeeding, how to trigger the body’s own natural anaesthesia, rehearsal for labour, effective hypnotic strategies for complication, contractions and transition.
The use of hypnosis for childbirth will:
- Eliminate the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle
- Reduce the length of labour
- Reduce the need for pain relief
- Reduce the need for caesarean section
- Reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression
- Help reduce stress
- Help postpartum as a relaxation too
- Allow the mother to feel in control
- Increase confidence, especially in first-time mothers
- Encourage a rapid postnatal recovery
Post Natal Depression
Post-natal depression affects about 1 in 7 women and may be due to stress caused by physical, hormonal and social changes following childbirth, a negative or traumatic experience of childbirth and high social expectations and beliefs about maternity and childrearing. Risk factors associated with post natal depression (PND) include: inadequate emotional & social support, previous incidence of PND, ill or premature baby, pre-existing stress (often to do with the pregnancy and birth, such as change of job and house move), issues from childhood, emotions linked to the birth itself (anxiety, worry, anger, disappointment, guilt) and a perceived inability to adjust to motherhood.
The use of hypnotherapy and CBT are effective strategies to treat depression, whatever the cause (please see our information page on depression). The addition of EMDR – eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing – is sometimes necessary in cases where there is past or recent trauma.
Sadly, postnatal depression many often go unnoticed. Some of the common feelings of the post-natal period, such as tiredness and feelings of inadequacy may be considered almost normal. Mothers with post natal depression, however, will usually exhibit other symptoms, such as:
- Feeling unhappy most of the time
- Panic attacks
- Feeling hopeless
- Sleep disturbance & insomnia
- Anxiety & tension
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Inability to enjoy anything
- You may feel unable to cope with looking after your baby, especially being left alone with her/him
Pre Natal Depression
Even more of a problem, pre-natal depression is a surprisingly common occurrence in around 15% of pregnant woman. Symptoms include sadness, anxiety and panic. This condition is particularly likely to occur in those women who have inadequate support during pregnancy, those who have experienced previous bouts of stress, and women with problems surrounding childhood, the death of their own mother and trauma of any kind.
‘Baby blues’ and post natal psychosis
‘Baby blues’ is the mildest form of mood disturbance following childbirth and is experienced by almost all mothers. It is more common in first-time mothers and those who previously experienced pre-menstrual syndrome. It is probably caused by the changes in female hormone levels following childbirth and only lasts a few days.
Postnatal psychosis, on the other hand, is the rarest form of depression specifically linked to giving birth, only occurring in 1 in every 500 women or so. It is most likely to occur in mothers who have previously had an episode of serious mental illness or in those who had a strong family history of serious mental illness.
Symptoms of the disorder are more extreme than in PND and usually include a disturbance of mood, such as mania or depression. Other symptoms include having muddled thoughts, delusions and hearing voices or seeing things that are not there.
Symptoms appear from a couple of days to a couple of weeks after the birth. This is a potentially serious condition, and requires psychiatric intervention.
As most pregnant and breastfeeding women are anxious to avoid medication, the use of hypnotherapy, CBT and EMDR are particularly recommended during pregnancy and the post partum period.
About Carole Wan
Carole is a hypnotherapist and Director of the Academy of Clinical & Medical hypnosis, a UK-wide training school, which offers externally, validated training in hypnotherapy, stress management and NLP. She has been a fully registered and qualified EMDR practitioner since 1996, and hold qualifications in clinical & medical hypnosis, NLP (neuro linguistic programming) stress management and energy psychology. She also teaches a masterclass in the use of CBT – cognitive behaviour therapy.
Carole was previously a breastfeeding counsellor and antenatal teacher for the Sheffield branch of the National Childbirth Trust, and therefore has a wealth of knowledge in this area. She has used hypnosis for childbirth for many clients, enabling them to enjoy the experience of childbirth, with less pain, fewer medical interventions or complications, reduced analgesia and a faster recovery. She has also worked extensively with many issues surrounding pregnancy, such as tokophobia (fear of childbirth), previous birth trauma and fears of needles and medical procedures. She has also assisted many mothers who encounter problems post partum, whether depression, problems successfully breastfeeding or sexual issues.
Through her work with the National Childbirth Trust and SANDS. (the Stillbirth And Neo-natal Death Society) Carole has worked with many families experiencing the trauma of termination, stillbirth and the death of a baby.
Carole used hypnosis, CBT, EMDR, NLP, EFT and stress management for many other issues surrounding childbirth, including IVF, issues surrounding adoption and sexual and relationship counselling. For further information please contact her on: 01246 416544 or email.
Get in touch - phone us now: 01246 416 544
We will shortly be offering our three-day masterclass in hypnosis for childbirth and related areas, including IVF, as part of our ”BirthSolutions’ therapist training package. Midwives and other health professionals who do not hold qualifications in hypnotherapy will be invited to complete our six- day Certificate in Hypnotherapy or five-day Fast Track Hypnotherapy Diploma before registering for this course. Completion of the certificate will be accepted as a foundation level training, suitable for entrance into the externally awarded Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma.