Birth is one of these amazing events in a woman's life that we plan for, organise and think about for nine whole months. We attend birth preparation classes, complete Hypnobirthing courses, and relentlessly practise our ‘Up Breathing’ to get our mind and body ready for the main event. Whilst this is all incredibly beneficial and helps us to achieve our desired positive birth experience, what happens once we get home with the baby?
I’m Georgina Yeates, Founder of Rosebud Hypnobirthing. I am a Katharine Graves trained teacher and a Norland Nanny, with well over 10-years of childcare expertise under my belt. I am also a fellow mother to a now very busy 22-month-old, so am very aware of how stressful those postnatal times can be. I am here to show you that Hypnobirthing techniques are not only beneficial for birth but also for managing life beyond.
‘Up Breathing’ is a highly effective Hypnobirthing tool that can be used in labour. It involves breathing in for a count of four through our nose, and out through our mouth for a count of eight, helping you feel immediately relaxed and calm. The out breath is always longer, as this is where we produce the oxytocin and tell our body to stop producing adrenaline. A few of these slow deep breaths can help you to feel more relaxed and can positively change the atmosphere around you. This breathing technique is not only specific to birth, but can also help with anxiety and insomnia, and is also used in some mindfulness practices.
Up Breathing for stress reduction
Up Breathing will not only change your birth experience, but also your life. The postnatal experience can be a highly stressful and emotional time; your hormones are taking hold, you are navigating life with a newborn, emotions are heightened, and you are trying to grab sleep wherever you can. When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system takes over and adrenaline consumes our body; the heart pumps faster, we start to sweat, and things can start to feel overwhelming. When we practice Up Breathing, we allow the parasympathetic nervous system to take charge; this is our system of calm. Oxytocin will flow through the body, our heart rate will slow down, and in turn that grey fog will lift, making those tough moments seem a little more bearable. You will start to see the results of this almost instantly and may also notice that your baby starts to respond to your slower heart rate and relaxed calm state.
Stress and breastfeeding
A phrase that I use a lot when I am teaching is ‘where the mind leads, the body will follow’. This is such a powerful statement and one I truly believe should be taught to every pregnant/postnatal woman. If we are going through a particularly tough time our body is going to respond to that stress. We may not notice it at first and it could be a very subtle change, such as struggling to fall asleep, having a reduced appetite, or just feeling overwhelmed. All of these combined are not going to help with your milk supply if you choose to breastfeed. If you have a high level of cortisol in your body this will in turn create a higher level of cortisol in your milk. The more stressed you are, the less your let down will be, creating a vicious circle of less milk, which may cause more stress and anxiety. Following the Up Breathing techniques before, or during, breastfeeding can create a more positive experience for mum and baby.
During labour, the use of Hypnobirthing techniques enable us to create a wonderful, calm, oxytocin-fuelled environment. Why should that change in the postpartum stage (commonly known as the 4th trimester)? We are so quick to want to be recovered and up and about, showing off the baby to people, and having guests round. However, in other cultures (e.g., India, Africa) it’s standard practice to have two weeks of bed rest to ensure we remain in that wonderful oxytocin-filled bubble. Spending 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days around the bed (otherwise known as the 555 rule) can allow time for our mind and body to heal following birth and give us key time to bond with our new baby.
It’s important to stay mindful of all of this, as we want our recovery process after birth to be as powerful and positive as the actual birth experience. We took such great care of our bodies in the nine-months that we were pregnant; we nurtured it, followed all the right guidelines, and reached out for help when we needed it. So why should the postnatal experience be any different? We have to allow ourselves time to heal, so practising your Hypnobirthing techniques and staying mindful of how our bodies are responding is key.
Find out more
If you want to find out more about my Hypnobirthing Birth Education classes and how this can help you achieve the birth that is right for you, go to www.rosebudhypnobirthing.com for further details on what I can offer. I am based mainly in Bath and the South West, and teach predominantly 1:1 classes, but if you aren’t South West-based I am happy to travel or alternatively I teach very happily online.