The 'Better Birth Companion’ launched today is a personalised, virtual birth support and therapy toolkit for parents-to-be. It provides a comprehensive way to train the mind and body to fully prepare for labour. The portable programme gives pregnant women a significantly better chance of having a more relaxed, less painful and interventionist birth than using only traditional antenatal services. This is because it empowers them and their partners to take greater personal control over their pregnancy and birth experience and to break the cycle of fear that many are conditioned to experience.
Unlike many of the pregnancy books and antenatal courses available, the Companion gives parents-to-be a complete yet affordable physical and emotional programme that provides a practical antidote to the stresses and strains of pregnancy and birth. It demonstrates a wealth of techniques that parents can learn and practice in private to help diminish the fear and pain surrounding childbirth, trust in their instincts and build their confidence in the woman’s ability to have a healthy pregnancy and positive birth, whether at home or in hospital.
Mum-to-be, Shona Kitchener, enthused, “This toolkit is a pocket-sized course and therapy session in one! I felt as if someone was sat with me talking through each chapter. This was a life changing read and should be on every mum’s essential purchases list. “
Use of the 'Better Birth Companion' should also reduce pressure on the health service both before and during birth as encouraging preliminary research on the impact of using relaxation techniques indicates that repeated use could lead to a significant reduction in labour intervention. A study undertaken at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in December 2005 concluded that relaxation techniques significantly reduced anxiety and maternal heart rate with a significant reduction in cortisol whilst research by the Women and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, Australia in 2003 indicated that women taught self-hypnosis used fewer epidurals.
The 'Better Birth Companion’ comprises one of the Natal Hypnotherapy award-winning Birth Preparation CDs, chosen on the basis of a women’s personal circumstances, plus the new ‘Effective Birth Preparation - a practical guide to a better birth’ book. The CDs have already been used by over 50,000 women and are supported by the National Childbirth Trust and over 2,000 midwives in the UK.
Commenting, world renowned obstetrician, Michel Odent, says, “This book is more than a guide book. It is a book about human nature with the Natal Hypnotherapy techniques helping to undo thousands of years of cultural conditioning.”
The Companion is both down-to-earth and inspiring. It is based on an easy-to-follow, five-step programme. Parents are encouraged to follow all the steps including learning and practicing the techniques for deep relaxation, breathing, guided visualisation and self-hypnosis and completing the workbook to identify and address their personal concerns and needs.
Maggie Howell, author and clinical hypnotherapist, developed the 'Better Birth Companion’ based on her pioneering work with pregnant women and midwives and building on the outstanding success of her conception, pregnancy and birth CD range and courses for couples and midwives.
She explains why it is breaking new ground,
“Historically, antenatal preparation in this country has been a one-size fits all, open classroom-based affair sometimes with a significant price tag attached. Existing classes explain the physical stages of pregnancy and labour and how these may affect you emotionally but do not yet focus on how to create and maintain a positive mental attitude that is so important to a positive birth and which is at the core of the Better Birth Companion Programme.
The 'Companion’ provides convenient, flexible access to personalised information about the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy and labour, available at a time that suits the parents whether in the privacy of their own home or on the move. This is especially important during this recession as parents are often time poor and strapped for cash, sometimes juggling both a job and childcare just to continue to bring in their salaries until the newborn arrives.”
By offering a choice of birth CD and book, it is easier for each parent to learn independently and at their own pace, with partners encouraged to understand the birthing process and to take a greater emotional support role. The 'Companion’ is also full of heart-warming stories by mums who have used the tools, tips and techniques plus interesting facts about childbirth through the ages.
Midwife, Caroline Baddiley, comments, “How wonderfully refreshing to have a birth preparation book that focuses on feelings and emotions rather than on the technicalities of birth. A complete how-to-deal-with-fear toolkit for all pregnant women.”
To order the 'Better Birth Companion', visit www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk or tel. 01428 712615. The ‘Effective Birth Preparation - a practical guide to a better birth’ retails at £8.99 and a Birth Preparation CD at £11.99. A gift service is available for friends or grandparents wishing to make a special purchase for a loved one.
The book and CD series are also available from the National Childbirth Trust (www.nctshop.co.uk and other mainstream retailers including Amazon, Babyworld and Foyles.
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Notes to Editors
1.To receive a preview copy of the ‘'Better Birth Companion', to arrange an interview with Maggie Howell or for birth and midwives testimonials, case studies and Natal Hypnotherapy research, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Call 07710 019068 or 01428 712615 and/or visit
2.Over 2,300 midwives and birth professionals across the UK are now recommending Natal Hypnotherapy techniques. Hypnotherapy has been an accepted therapeutic practice recognised by the British Medical Association since 1955.
3.Natal Hypnotherapy was awarded the Practical Parenting ‘Pregnancy Product of the Year’ award for its CDs and the Practical Parenting ‘Editors’ award. The CDs reached the final of these Pregnancy Product awards in 2009/2010.
4. Other CDs in the Natal Hypnotherapy range include:
The IVF Companion
Home birth preparation
Fast post natal recovery*
Prepare to conceive
Prepare for a Caesarean*
Overcoming Morning Sickness
Relaxation and Stress Management
Hospital birth preparation*
*denotes twins version available
5..Natal Hypnotherapy was founded in 2001 by Clinical Hypnotherapist and doula, Maggie Howell (d. Hyp. C. Hyp, LHA,UK HypReg), following the birth of her first child in which she used hypnotherapy techniques which she then went on to develop into the Natal Hypnotherapy product range following further research with mothers and antenatal groups. Maggie has since gone on to have four more children.
6.Local antenatal Natal Hypnotherapy courses are run by qualified and insured practitioners across the UK; one on natural pain relief and the other on practical birth preparation. To find your nearest course, visit www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk.
7.Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Imperial College School of Medicine research (Dec. 1995: Teixeira J et al.) concluded, following a study of 58 women between 28-32 weeks gestation using short directed periods of relaxation, that both active and passive relaxation significantly reduced State Anxiety and maternal heart rate but the effect was significantly greater with active relaxation. In contrast, the passive relaxation significantly reduced noradrenaline levels whereas active did not. Adrenaline levels were not significantly changed with either type of relaxation. Both methods significantly reduced cortisol, with the trend for the passive to have a greater effect
8.Department of Women’s Anaesthesia, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, Australia 2004. Seventy seven women were consecutively taught self-hypnosis in preparation for childbirth and these were compared to 3,249 parity and matched controls. Of the women taught self-hypnosis, nulliparous parturients (women who have never given birth before) used fewer epidurals: 36% (18/50) compared with 53% (765/1436) of controls and required less augumentation.
9.769 women who used hypnosis during their pregnancy took part in an on-line survey carried out by Natal Hypnotherapy. Only 15% ended up with a caesarean compared with the national rate of 24.6% (statistic from NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2008-09).
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