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Hypnobirthing Tools for Birth

Hypnobirthing Tools for Birth

What sets Hypnobirthing Australia’s Positive Birth Program apart from other independent birth education courses is the jam packed birth toolkit that each birthing mother and partner take home. I recommend taking all your tools with you to your birth because you just never know which ones you’ll need (or be drawn to) on the day.

Here’s some Tools to add to your Birth Toolkit:

Breath

Surge Breathing: during surges
Relaxation Breathing: in between surges
Breathing/ Bearing Down: in the later stages of labour during surges, when you feel a lot of pressure, during the “pushing phase” of labour.

Acupressure

Can be used as a natural induction technique to help dilate the cervix, progress labour, relieve back pain and strong sensations and boost endorphins during labour. An “Acupressure Cheat Sheet” is available to download in the online resources.

Self Hypnosis: Tracks and Scripts

Tracks: Rainbow Mist and Surge of the Sea

Listen to the tracks if labour starts at night and you can’t sleep. If labour starts during the day, balance activity with rest and listening to the tracks. You can listen with headphones on the way to the hospital and during labour when you’re in the bath or laying on your side on the bed (with peanut ball between your legs) to get some rest.

Tracks: Facial Relaxation, Opening Lotus Flower and Bubble of Comfort

Facial Relaxation: if partner notices mum clenching jaw or holding tension in her face during labour.
Opening Lotus Flower: when baby’s head is crowning
Bubble of Comfort: to help mum internalise during labour.

Scripts: Rainbow Mist, Affirmations, Opening Lotus Flower, Facial Relaxation, Breathing Techniques, Bubble of Comfort, Glove of Endorphins & Deepeners and The Journey- Additional Fear Release.

When to use: Use scripts during labour. Specifically:
Facial Relaxation: if partner notices mum clenching jaw or holding tension in her face during labour.
Opening Lotus Flower: when head is crowning
Glove of Endorphins & Deepeners: before mum gets an epidural or cannula
Fear Release: to help let go of anything that is holding you back from surrendering to the process of labour.

Affirmations: Cards, Scripts and Tracks

Place affirmation cards on the walls at home and at hospital. Listen to tracks in the car on the way to hospital or anytime during labour to stay positive.

Prompts
When to use: prompts for each stage of labour are in the “Birth Partner Cheat Sheet”. There is also a Birth Prompts track you can purchase HERE

Anchor Touch & Trigger Words

Birth partner to use any time they feels mum needs to relax a little deeper.

Movement

The best position for labour is where you feel most comfortable. If labour is stalling or you’ve been in the same position for a while or birth partner notices mum looks uncomfortable, suggest she change position (between surges not during). Always ensure her knees are padded on the floor or in the bath and offer to cover her with a sheet in room to give her a sense or privacy but to make sure she is warm enough. Never have Mum lay on her back.

During the Positive Birth Program you’ll learn active birth positions and birth partners will learn how to best support mum including how to use a birth ball, peanut ball and Rebozo.

Visualisations

Downloads: My Amazing Uterus, Opening Lotus Flower, My Baby Is Positioned For Birth, Breathing Bearing Down and Door Sign are all available to download in your online resources.

Put up on walls in birthing space.

Light Touch Massage and Trigger Word

To help mum relax and produce endorphins (20- 40 times more powerful than morphine)- between and during surges is ok. Use with Trigger word to help her relax deeper.

During the Positive Birth Program your birth partner will learn how to do Light Touch Massage and you’ll decide on a trigger word and a surge sign.

Music

When to use: Listen to music and tracks during labour. Ensure your birth partner knows how to access the playlists and when to play them. I recommend a variety of playlists- a relaxing one and a more energetic one plus one with your Hypnobirthing Australia Tracks.

Aromatherapy

Use Clary Sage on acupressure points to assist with dilation and expulsion of the placenta in 3rd stage. Put lavender in diffuser or use in a spritz to spray mum’s face or pillow to help her relax. Use peppermint to boost her energy. Never apply neat on skin. Always use a carrier oil (like almond, olive or coconut) and always use a good quality essential oil like Young Living.

Instant Relaxation Techniques

Tools: Relaxation Breathing, Body Scan, Counting Down and Bubble of comfort
Before a Vaginal Examination. Ask midwife to ask until birth partner or doula has finished reading the scripts. Also use anytime mum needs to relax deeper.

Water

Shower: Anytime in labour. Mum can stand and lean against wall or sit on birth ball or birth stool. Or birth partner can get in shower too and support her weight. Birth partner may aim shower hose on mum’s lower abdomen or lower back as counter pressure during surges.

Bath: Only once labour is established. If mum gets in too early it can slow labour. Mum can lay back or lean over edge of bath. Make sure she has support under her knees and under head. She may also like to use peanut ball to lean over in bath.

Instead of Light Touch Massage in bath, birth partner can use a cup and trickle water over mum’s skin not submerged under water.

Cold Compress: put on mum’s forehead if she’s feeling hot.

Warm Compress: hold on mum’s perineum when baby is crowning to prevent tearing.

As a mother and doula, I’ve seen these tools in action and I’m always in awe of just how powerful they are.

 

Equip yourself and your birth partner with these incredible tools for labour and birth at my next Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth weekend. For more info, dates and bookings, Click Here

Here’s The Food To Pack For Labour

Here’s The Food To Pack For Labour

Did you know that dehydration and hunger can cause exhaustion and slow down labour?

Labour is a marathon for which you’ll need energy and hydration. Don’t rely on the hospital canteen being open or the junk in the vending machine for sustenance. Be prepared and pack an esky with some easily digestible finger food or food you can drink.

FOOD TO PACK FOR LABOUR

  • Cut up fruit such as watermelon, grapes, strawberries, oranges or apples. The high water content will keep you well hydrated.
  • Cut up veggies such as cucumber and celery with some guacamole or hummus dip.
  • Bliss Balls
  • Frozen berries: some women like to suck on ice so frozen berries will hydrate and satisfy your hunger.
  • Smoothie
  • Soup in a thermos

DRINKING IN LABOUR

During early labour, water will keep you well hydrated. As your labour progresses, you probably won’t have a desire to eat and may experience nausea and vomiting. Drinking coconut water, which is high in calories, will give you energy and replace your electrolytes. Pack coconut water poppers (juice boxes) in your esky.

ASSIGN YOUR BIRTH SUPPORT PERSON A JOB

Give your birth support person the job of offering you a sip of your drink after every surge. Using a bendy straw means your partner or doula can hold it to your lips so you can sip without effort.

Every hospital has a different policy on eating and drinking during labour so ask your midwife about their food and drink policies.

In the past you weren’t allowed to eat anything but ice chips during labour in case of an emergency cesarean in which you were given a general anaesthetic. However, now most cesareans are performed using an epidural or a spinal tap so you can be conscious when you meet your baby.

FOOD FOR YOUR PARTNER

Don’t forget to pack a meal and some snacks for your partner. He’s in for the long haul with you so keep his energy up so support you and also so he doesn’t need to leave your room for long periods to search for some food.

FOOD FOR AFTER BIRTH

Arrange for a friend or a family member to bring you a home-cooked meal after birth. 

Choose a meal that is sweet, warm, oily, simple and moist. Food that is easy to digest such as soups and porridge are perfect. Avoid cold, dry foods that can make you constipated. But most importantly, choose a meal that you love. One that brings back childhood memories will help to boost oxytocin and help your body to heal.

Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….what meal are you craving after birth?

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Here are my 5 steps to make your hospital room feel more like home

Here are my 5 steps to make your hospital room feel more like home

“the best environment to have your baby is the same environment where you could make a baby– or at least have a good time trying”

Dr Sarah Buckley

Whether you’re birthing in a hospital or birth centre, it’s important your space makes you feel:

1. Private
2. Safe
3. Unobserved

In “Ten Moons”, Jane Hardwicke Collings gives the example of a cat, “Everyone knows that cats need to give birth undisturbed in a dark, secluded place- perhaps preparing a softly lined box in the darkest corner of the furthest room underneath the bed. And everyone who knows about cats understands that you must never disturb a cat in labour or a newly delivered cat and her litter of kittens, otherwise the cat’s labour will stop or she may reject her kittens. Everyone who knows cats knows this.”

As a mammal, you’re no different to the mama cat. When you feel private, safe and unobserved, your body releases endorphins, the hormone that provides natural pain relief and an efficient labour and birth. If you’ve been labouring at home and you arrive at the hospital where your room is bright, unfamiliar medical staff are speaking loudly and you’re made to put on a hospital gown, your labour may stall or slow down. However, if your room makes you feel “at home”, your labour will continue to progress.

Five Steps to Make Your Hospital Room Feel More Like Home

1. SIGHT

Lighting: You feel more comfortable and uninhabited when the lights are dim when you make love right? It’s the same for labour and birth. Draw the curtains or blinds, turn off the fluorescents or dim the lights. Or switch on a lamp or turn the bathroom light on and leave the door ajar. Or you could take your own fairy lights to add a touch of romance. Or use some LED tea lights and scatter them around the room.

Decorate: Bring photos from home of other children, pets, loved ones or your favourite place and stick them on the wall so you can feel their presence and support.

People: Only have people in your birthing room that you trust and get a good vibe from to help your labour to progress. This could be your partner, family members or a doula. If you’re not comfortable with medical students in your room, say so. You could also add this to your Birth Wishes.

Equipment: throw a sarong or sheet over any unsightly medical equipment or clocks that might throw you off your game.

2. TOUCH

Clothing: Instead or wearing a scratchy hospital gown that gapes at the back, change into your own labouring clothes. Perhaps one of your husband’s over- sized t- shirts that smells like him and your home or anything you feel comfortable in.

Robe: At times during your labour you may feel hot or cold so take a robe from home (after your baby is born you can open your robe and put your baby onto your chest but stay warm).

Sheets: put a sheet or over the plastic floor mats and bean bags so they feel softer against your skin.

3. HEARING

Hospitals can be noisy so block out distracting sounds.

Music: Research shows that the effective use of music during labor lowers anxiety and pain perception as well as increases emotional and physical comfort.” Make playlists of your favourite songs. Choose a variety of songs that makes you feel energetic and motivated or calm and relaxed. Playing music may also make your feel more confident using sound during labour and birth.

Listening to the same music when you’re pregnant can be calming and reassuring to both you and your baby during labour.

Either play on the hospital’s bluetooth speakers if they have them or take your own or wear bluetooth headphones if you want to go deep within.

Ear Plugs: If you want to block out the noise around you, use ear plugs.

Chatter: Write in your birth wishes that you’d like any visitors in your room to speak to each other and to you calmly and quietly.

Phones: Write in your birth wishes (and remind your birthing partner) to turn their phones onto silent so as not to distract you.

4. SMELL

Let’s face it, hospitals smell nasty! Research shows that smell triggers memories and emotions. So mask the hospital smells with essential oils. Using these same essential oils during pregnancy at times you’re calm and relaxed can evoke these same feelings in labour. Essential oils smell nice and they provide emotional support. Lavender is calming and relaxing whilst wild orange and peppermint are uplifting and energising.

Diffuser: Use a diffuser like this which also helps to humidify and purify the air. Just add water and 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil. If you’re unable to use an electric diffuser in your birth room you can make a spritz and pack it in your hospital bag.

Spritz: Add 25 drops of essential oil to a 4oz spray bottle and top with distilled or purified water. Use as a room, linen spray or face spritz.

Apply Topically: Add a teaspoon of fractionated coconut oil into the palm of your hand and a drop or 2 of essential oil and rub onto your pulse points.

Inhale: Holding your hand like a funnel over the opening of the essential oil bottle, take a few deep breaths in breathing in all that essential oil goodness.

Pillow: take your own pillow which smells like home.

Your Partner: Cuddling up to your partner and smelling him can help you to relax.

5. TASTE

Eat homemade snacks like bliss balls, cut up fruit and veggies, dip, a smoothie or soup to give your energy and stamina. Eating good quality snacks from home will make you feel like a strong, confident birthing woman rather than a sickly hospital patient.

From the list above, plan what you’ll need and then delegate the job of creating an environment that is private, safe and unobserved to your birth partner or doula and ask them to manage this throughout your labour and birth.

To ensure your labour continues to progress when you arrive at the hospital or birth centre, stay at home as long as safely possible, ideally with support from your midwife or doula.

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.

Must Ask Questions On Your Hospital Tour

Must Ask Questions On Your Hospital Tour

If you’ve decided to birth in a hospital or a birth centre, take a tour to become familiar with the space and to help you decide what you will or won’t need to pack in your hospital bag. Being familiar with the space and knowing what labour props they have helps to eliminate fear of the unknown when it’s time to go to hospital and helps you to clearly visualise your birth.

Stay at home as long as safely possible, ideally with support from your midwife or doula. Transferring to hospital too early can slow down or stall your labour.

YOUR ARRIVAL

  • When should I come in?
  • What’s the phone number I call to let you know that I am in labour?
  • Where should we park?
  • Where should we check- in and what documents do I need to have with me?
  • After I check- in, what are the next steps?
  • Who do I give a copy of my birth wishes to?

YOUR ROOM

  • Can I see a room that is similar to the one I will labour and birth in?
  • Are the lights dimmable? Are there lamps? Can I bring LED candles?
  • Can I use diffuse essential oils in my electronic diffuser?
  • Is there a bath or a birthing pool that I can use?
  • What labour props do you have? For eg. birth balls, peanut balls, padded floor or yoga mats, bean bags, birth stool or squatting bar.
  • Do you have bluetooth speakers? If not, can I bring my own?
  • Do you have WIFI and can I use it? (If not, check your network is accessible in the labour ward/ birth centre).
  • Can I take photos/ videos?

YOUR POSTPARTUM

  • I’d like to get my placenta encapsulated. Can I take my placenta home? If so, can you store it in your fridge?
  • Do you have a lactation consultant on staff to help me learn to breastfeed? When is she available and how often?
  • Is there a microwave that I can use to heat up home- cooked meals? And a fridge where I can store food?
  • How long will I stay in hospital after birth?
  • Once I’m discharged, what postnatal support is available?

YOUR VISITORS

  • What’s your Visitor Policy?
  • Can my partner stay overnight? If so, will they sleep in a cot, couch, recliner, etc? Is there an extra cost?

This is your birth, your body and your baby. It’s your birthright to ask for what you want during labour, birth and the postnatal period. Becoming an empowered mama starts from the moment you conceive. Practise asking for what you want now during pregnancy so it becomes second nature during labour, birth and beyond.

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.

Pack These In Your Hospital Bag for a Natural Birth

Pack These In Your Hospital Bag for a Natural Birth

It’s impossible to predict what kind of birth you’ll have or how long you’ll stay in hospital, so pack your hospital bag for all possibilities. 

Despite my resistance to a home birth, I spent most of my labour in my bathroom, with my son making a splash within an hour of my arrival at the hospital. 

My hospital stay was short, and I didn’t use everything in my hospital bag, but it gave me great comfort knowing that I was well prepared.

While you’re on maternity leave, put your nesting instinct to good use by packing your hospital bag, freezing some meals, buying doTERRA Essential Oils for your birthing kit, making some DIY products and creating your birth playlist. 

Depending on your birth plan, where you’re having your baby and the facilities provided, choose what’s relevant for you from my suggestions.

Hoping for the best quote

Hospital Bag Checklist for labour:

  1. A Birth Doula offers support before, during and after birth to you and your partner (obviously she won’t fit in your bag). Check out the Australian Doula College (ADC) website for more information and help in finding the perfect doula for you. The ADC also do placenta encapsulation that I credit for my high iron levels, good milk supply and strong immunity.
  2. A laminated copy of your Birth Wish List. Do lots of research by attending birth education classes and ask your Doula, Midwife or OB questions to gain a thorough understanding of the stages of labour and birth to help you write your plan.
    Writing a Plan B too will ensure you go into labour feeling empowered so that whatever happens, you’ll make informed decisions. Either ask your Doula for a template or find one online.
  3. An Electric Hot Pack to reduce pain in your lower back and abdomen. I was counting on using my wheat pack as a natural pain reliever wheat packs (along with hot water bottles) have been banned from maternity wards in Australia.
  4. A Playlist as some hospitals are mobile black spots so if you’re planning on using Spotify, have a back up plan.
    I chose relaxing music from my yoga classes by some of my favourite artists such as Sacred Earth, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur, Sharon Gannon, Donna De Lory and Krishna Das to name a few but choose music that resonates with you.
  5. A Fluffy Robe will keep you warm and is easy to breastfeed in.
  6. Portable Speakers to listen to your playlist in labour and for playing lullabies, nursery rhymes and The Wiggles later on.
  7. Headphones to listen to podcasts, watch movies on your mobile device or to make phone calls if your labour stalls. Comedies that make you laugh will boost oxytocin and help progress your labour.
  8. Snacks to give you energy and stamina. Have a stash of easy to digest finger food. Some of my favourites are:
  • Cut up fruit that has a high water content to keep you well hydrated like watermelon, grapes, strawberries, oranges or apples
  • Cut up veggies like cucumber and celery with some guacamole or hummus dip
  • Bliss Balls
  • A smoothie
  • Warm soup in an insulated flask.

8. Pure Plain Coconut Water to keep you well hydrated. It’s a great electrolyte replacement and contains less sugar (and others nasties) than Gatorade or Powerade.

9. A Stainless Steel Drink Bottle with a sports cap so you can drink water when you’re in various positions. It’ll also be useful when you’re breastfeeding.

10. Therapeutic grade Essential Oils will make your room smell nice and keep you calm and relaxed. For a relaxing atmosphere, add 2- 4 drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser.

11. A Diffuser will disperse the scents and the health benefits of the essential oils into the atmosphere. You can’t use Candles in hospitals so ditch your oil burner and buy a diffuser. You can also use it in your baby’s room to kill airborne germs, ease congestion, promote sleep and much much more!

12. A Face Spritz to use during labour and for when you’re a sleep deprived mama in need of a pick- me- up. Add 40 drops of doTERRA’s Invigorating Blend, Citrus Bliss, to a 100ml spray bottle and fill with distilled water

13. Lip Balm for dry cracked lips. Make your own with this easy DIY recipe or buy a natural one

14. Your Own Pillow for comfort. To help you sleep during labour and afterwards, pop a few drops of lavender essential oil on it

To boost oxytocin (for bonding and breastfeeding), stay nice and warm after birth. Have a hot shower, dry your hair and put on clothes that are easy to have skin to skin contact with your baby and breastfeed in.

Hospital Bag Checklist for After Birth:

  1. Fragrance- Free Soap or Body wash to enhance bonding and promote breastfeeding.
  2. Deodorant Paste. Here’s a quick and easy DIY recipe if you’d like to make your own or buy some.
  3. Woollen Socks to keep your feet warm in bed.
  4. Ugg Boots to keep your feet warm and easy to slip on and off whilst juggling your baby.
  5. A Meal for after birth that is sweet, warm, oily, simple and moist. Choose easy to digest foods like soups and porridge and then introduce heavier meals once your digestion improves. Avoid cold, dry foods that can make you constipated. Arrange for a friend or a family member to bring you a home-cooked meal because hospital food is awful and void of any nutrient value.
  6. Cutlery to eat your homemade meals. I didn’t anticipate that there wouldn’t be any in the kitchenette when my husband showed up with home-cooked shepherd’s pie.
  7. An Insulated Reusable Coffee Cup will keep your tea or coffee nice and hot. 
  8. A Warm Cup of Delicious Tea is like a hug in a mug and boosts oxytocin. Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea from 35 weeks to strengthen and tone your uterus in preparation for labour and birth and drinking it after your baby is born shrinks your uterus and provides you with a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
  9. Ear Plugs and an Eye Mask to block out the noise and light from the nurse’s station, catering cart and noisy neighbours so you can sleep while your baby sleeps.
  10. Peri Spray to soothe and heal your perineum. To make your own, add 10 drops of frankincense and 10 drops of lavender to a 40 ml spray bottle and top with distilled water. Spray onto your perineum each time you pee or directly onto padsicles (frozen pads) for a cooling effect.
  11. A drop of Peppermint Essential Oil in the toilet before your first wee. The vapour is said to stimulate the urethra and bladder and to help your body to relax and let go.

If you’re keen to try the DIY recipes, reuse glass jars from home or purchase containers and the raw ingredients (excluding the therapeutic grade essential oils) from New Directions.

Are you pregnant? Get your free Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra). Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Find out why I choose to use doTERRA Essential Oils and how to buy them HERE

If you found any of these ideas helpful or have any questions, please COMMENT below.