Hypnobirthing – is it for you?

The latest post from my series of guest blogs from 

Pregnant in Brighton

Hypnobirthing by Claire Cornthwaite

I first heard about hypnobirthing in 2006 when I was trawling the internet in vain hope that I would find something that would deter me from having a planned c-section. I was terrified of the prospect of giving birth and with only 4 months left until my estimated due date I was looking for a miracle.


Mum Holding Baby

After hours of searching I found a group of practitioners who taught couples how to use self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques for use during pregnancy and labour – it was called Hypnobirthing. As it probably does to you right now it sounded a bit too “out there” for me. I couldn’t possibly go from opting for a planned c-section to a completely natural birth, could I? I couldn’t see my husband hypnotising me nor me sitting there looking all serene. It sounded too hippy.

So I ordered a hypnotherapy for birth book and kept everything crossed that this was my answer. Thankfully it arrived while my husband was at work, as I hadn’t discussed any of this with him. If I didn’t think I was the type who indulged in this practice he definitely wasn’t! I started to read. It was such an easy read and made complete sense that it took me under 2 days to finish. I was captivated and wanted to know more. Were people really doing this? Did it really work?

I looked for a local practitioner and decided that my husband and I would opt for private sessions as I was still slightly sceptical about what we would be doing in the classes and I didn’t want to feel anymore uncomfortable than I already did about giving birth. I also thought we may be a bit different to the other people who attended the course if we went into a group scenario. I wasn’t fully sold on how this was going to be my saviour or how it would fit in with us so this was the better option.

Over 5 weeks, Jonny and I learnt techniques and tools that were to help us on our birthing day. Ways to keep calm, specific breathing techniques for different stages of labour, massage techniques and lots more. It was nothing like how I had envisaged. There were no incense sticks burning in the corner, our practitioner wasn’t dressed in a floor length floaty skirt and we didn’t hug one tree while we were there! It was about learning new skills and being able to be as confident as possible so we would enjoy our special day welcoming our daughter into the world.

We learnt exactly what happens throughout labour and how our bodies are designed to give birth naturally. Women’s bodies are very well catered for birthing and it was an education to find out how to utilise those already existing hormones and endorphins that get released during childbirth. We learnt so much and I think we both felt fully prepared for the big day after 12+ hours of classes. It was just about putting it all into play when the day finally arrived.

Practice outside of the course is one of the main fundamentals to achieving the results you are setting out for. It would be lovely to rock up to the course and leave with the assurance that you had a natural birth confirmed. Unfortunately that isn’t a given and you need to dedicate time during your pregnancy to practice the exercises and breathing, spend time in relaxation and really prepare yourself mentally for the outcome you are striving for. Us ladies can spend time pampering ourselves for a night out quite easily, take months preparing for a wedding so lets take our time getting ready for another really important life event and enjoy the process as you do it. Taking time out every day to spend time in relaxation hardly sounds like a chore does it?

I enjoyed the practice. I loved dedicating an evening a week with Jonny to spend time together practicing and preparing for the day. I know he enjoyed having something to do throughout my pregnancy and I know it helped him on the day focus on the skills we had learnt and putting them in to practice. I enjoyed having some me time every day – listening to my relaxation CDs and taking some time out to bond with my daughter as she was getting bigger and bigger.

All that paid off. I had the birth that I could have only dreamt of when I was searching for the alternative. I prepared for it and I achieved my goal. And so could you.

Since having my daughter Lilith over 6 years ago I have become a Hypnobirthing Practitioner myself so I can now pass the baton on to other families who want to achieve a birth like mine. I have also qualified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and trained as a birth doula and postnatal doula so I can support others when they need it throughout labour and those early weeks at home.

If you would like to find out how any of these services can help you please do get in touch:

Claire Cornthwaite


01273 727884