Hypnobirthing is beneficial for any type of birth and can turn a scary clinical experience into a positive and empowering one. Knowing how to have a calm, confident and informed c-section experience allows you to feel some of the benefits of a natural birth and have a positive birth experience, even if your birth takes an unexpected turn.
What is a gentle or natural caesarean?
Creating the atmosphere to give birth to your baby in a peaceful and relaxed environment is at the centre of this type of caesarean. A gentle caesarean aims to create many aspects of a natural birth, and this can be included in your birth plan. What you learn during a hypnobirthing course is very relevant for you if you need to have a c-section and you will most definitely be able to use some, if not all, of your hypnobirthing tools in the operating theatre.
If you need or elect to have a caesarean section you can still have as close to a ‘natural’ birth as you want in terms of feeling calm, relaxed, in control and informed using Hypnobirthing techniques, tips and advice on how to personalise your experience.
What about Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is the star of the show so to speak, and the amount you produce in labour dictates the strength, length and frequency of your surges (contractions), which is essential for a natural birth – but how does it support you when you are having a c- section?
- By using your specific birth breathing with your birth visualisations, you can send a surge of calming hormones throughout your body at a time when your baby needs it the most.
- Your birth breathing will negate the impact of cortisol and adrenaline produced when you are in the fear mode, allowing your body to relax and let go of any fear or stress.
- With your muscles relaxing, you will find it easier to accept a potentially uncomfortable medical treatment such as a spinal block / IV line.
Am I allowed to have a natural c-section?
It is your right to explore ‘natural’ options in theatre to support your body and mind to produce the same happy feel good hormones as you would expect to produce during a calm Hypnobirthing birth.
How to have a natural c-section Hypnobirth:
There are a number of ways to emulate a natural KGHypnobirth in theatre and we recommend the following ideas:
- Affirmations / scripts:
Most theatres have CD players / ipod docs and speakers which you can plug your own ipod / ipad into so that you start listening to your scripts and affirmations as soon as you enter the room. Alternatively you can of course bring your own ipod with earplugs. Check to see if the hospital has their own speakers or if you need to bring your own. If you bring your own then you’ll need to ask what their protocol is as some hospital trusts require you to bring it in for safety testing or other variations of this.
- Photos / affirmations cards:
Unlike hospital or home, you cannot bring your own pillow or blanket into the theatre for hygiene reasons but you can ask your birth partner to bring in your affirmations or affirmation cards, read from one of your favourite scripts or have photos of your children or opening rose buds, whichever it is that works for your mind/body connection. These tools will support your mind in focusing on being calm and relaxed instead of worrying about what is going on behind the screen.
- Essential Oils:
Essential oil of lavender can calm you before the operation and aid your recovery.
- Cutting the cord:
Even with a caesarean birth it can be beneficial to the baby to wait before clamping and cutting the cord. You will learn about all of this on your KGH course and can discuss it with your midwife or obstetrician and include it in your birth plan.
- Skin to Skin:
This period immediately after birth is recognised as important for bonding of both mother and baby. In most hospitals, the baby is immediately passed to the mother after a caesarean (cesarean) and skin-to-skin contact is standard. Make sure this happens in your hospital.
Instead of the monitors being placed on the chest or fingers, you can ask for them to be placed on the side of the chest or the toes so that the wires do not interfere with holding your baby.
- Low lights:
It is possible to dim the lights in the mother’s part of the theatre so that the baby does not have the shock of the bright lights when it arrives in the world.
- Initial tests:
Whilst your baby is having the initial tests, you can ask that they stay with you rather than routinely being taken away.
- Lowering the screen:
You may wish to watch your baby being born – if so, include it in your birth plan, and make sure your care givers are aware of this.
Hypnobirthing techniques are useful during recovery as well and if you are calm and relaxed, the hormones produced in labour can aid recovery and help to establish breastfeeding.
If you find yourself in the position where a caesarean is needed, then you can be confident that the hypnobirthing techniques you have learnt are also beneficial in the operating theatre and can give your baby a positive start in life.
Many woman who have attended a hypnobirthing course and then gone on to need a caesarean has invariably said that she was so glad that she did the course as it made such a difference to her experience of giving birth.
Source: KG Hypnobirthing