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Hypnobirthing is blooming at Southend

26 November 2018

Health Care

Antenatal education classes for hypnobirthing are becoming increasingly popular at Southend University Hospital, so much so that there are now three classes a week on a Monday, Wednesday and a Saturday.

Previously patients had to book private classes or go to other trusts but hypnobirthing classes are now being offered at Southend University Hospital. They started in March this year and have already seen 180 people attend.

Hypnobirthing classes consist of four two-and-a-half hour sessions during the latter stages of pregnancy providing couples - whether partners, mums or sisters who are birth partners - the opportunity to learn what's going on with their bodies and give them skills to cope with labour pain.

Hannah Lawrence-Smith Ellert, Community Lead Midwife, said:"Classes are small in size, with eight couples per class. This helps the group bond. Classes are held in the hospital's physio gym which gets couples used to the hospital environment where they will eventually give birth.

"By the time couples leave the course you can visibly see that the women are so much more relaxed and their partners have more confidence in being able to offer support. Both have changed attitudes and their outlook is incredibly positive and lovely."

Jenny Barker from Hockley, who gave birth to Harrison, weighing 6lb 15oz, said:

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"At first I thought it was going to be a bit 'hippy' so I was initially a bit apprehensive about doing it. But once I started and realised you weren't being hypnotised - which I think is a mistake a lot of people make - it just enables your mind to go elsewhere. The bit I found best was the breathing techniques which helped me relax and significantly decreased my pain during labour.

"Harrison was my second baby and not having had a good birth experience first time around I just wanted to try a different approach to labour and leave me with a happier memory, rather than a horrendous one, which it did. I'd definitely recommend it to people."

Sophie Enver from Westcliff-on-Sea, who gave birth to Finlay, weighing 10lb, said:

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"It's something I have always wanted to try and I'd heard a few people say how good it was in the past so I thought it would be good to give it a go. I'm just really glad that I picked that over any other antenatal classes

"For me, it was all about the breathing techniques and that definitely helped me when I was having surges, especially when they were much closer together and more intense. The breathing would definitely help me cope with the pain and it kind of just puts you in the zone and you can relax a little bit inbetween surges."

Kim Adams from Leigh-on- Sea, who gave birth to Elsie, weighing 8lb 12oz, said:

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"There was very much a social side to it as well and we all joined a WhatsApp group which was really nice.

"Hypnobirthing prepares you to cope with birth. People are surprised when I say that on the morning I gave birth we went to Costa for breakfast and had a bit of a walk around the high street. It encourages you to be a lot more active.

"The positive thinking has also really helped me postbirth, especially the breathing techniques, which I've been using for everyday life. The power of the mind is amazing, I wouldn't have thought that I could get through it, but this course teaches you that it is all about your mindset."

Find out more about hypnobirthing classes at Southend University Hospital by visiting  http://bit.ly/HypnobirthingSouthend or emailing hypno.birthing@ southend.nhs.uk.