Giving birth should be a wonderful experience, but it’s certainly not easy. First-time mother Linda Ikwue puts hypnobirthing to the test
Hypnobirthing teaches simple self-hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques for an easier, more relaxed birth. Diana Powley of Dulwich-based Dune Hypnotherapy offers hypnobirthing sessions, so we sent Living South Resident’s Linda Ikwue, who recently became mum to beautiful baby Theo, along to try it.
‘I had a fairly easy pregnancy I enjoyed every minute of it,’ says Linda. ‘I had no fears about childbirth, I just wanted to have a drug-free birth, but a lot of mum’s do use it to overcome their anxiety about the birth. Hypnotherapy has always intrigued me, I’ve always wondered whether it really works and whether you’re put into some kind of zombie-like trance. I thought there was no better time to try it than when I was preparing to give birth to my first child. From the research I did I could see it was safe and it works for many women.
‘When I was 28 weeks pregnant my partner and I went to see Diana and we were welcomed into her cosy therapy room with a smile. Diana started the session by finding out a bit about us and how I felt about the birth. She then went on to explain a bit about how our minds work, explaining the subconscious and conscious parts of our brain. She also explained a bit about pain and the birthing process and how we can overcome that.
Yes, you do get put into a state of trance, but it is something you can snap out of immediately, you are totally in control
‘This was followed by a 30-minute hypnotherapy session that left me feeling incredibly positive, excited and relaxed. It was nothing like I had imagined. Yes, you do get put into a state of trance, but it is something you can snap out of immediately if you want to, you are totally in control. I left with a recording of the session to listen to before bed so that I could start preparing for the birth.
‘When I was 37 weeks pregnant I went in for a routine check up at the hospital and they thought I was developing a condition that could put my pregnancy at risk, so we made the decision to induce the birth. The night before my induction I listened to Diana’s recording and it really helped to calm my nerves. I had a great night’s sleep and felt no anxiety on the day.
‘When you are induced your contractions come on stronger, but I listened to Diana’s CD and started using her techniques. The labour went quickly and it did start to get painful but I managed to get through the whole process with a tiny bit of gas and air right at the end, something I’m not sure I would have managed if it weren’t for going to see Diana.’