As more and more women are facing the reality of the antenatal education post code lottery, they are seeking self help approaches to preparing for birth
In spite of new Government vision for maternity services, many primary care trusts have reduced the number and length of NHS antenatal classes, ignoring significant international research regarding the benefits of teaching emotional support techniques to parents-to-be. This has created a postcode lottery in antenatal education which looks set to continue.
Live in Swindon or Watford? Then it’s likely that all the antenatal classes in your area have been cut entirely. Live in Guildford or Birmingham? Then you have no need to worry as the antenatal classes in your area haven’t been cut at all. This postcode ‘lottery’ is causing concerns over the quality of care provided for mums-to-be.
Antenatal care in Britain is changing – a reduction in the number and length of classes mean that many women are feeling short-changed. And sadly it appears these changes are taking place as a result of increased pressures on NHS budgets, not in response to parents’ needs or concerns, or research about best practice antenatal education, especially emotional support and dealing with fears of birth.
According to a growing body of research, the consequences of this are serious with possible long term negative implications for mum and baby. Badly informed parents-to-be risk higher rates of labour intervention, extended hospital care and an increase in the rate of post natal depression. The cost of which is likely to far exceed the cost of implementing an effective way of informing and preparing mums-to-be.
As more and more women are facing the reality of the antenatal education post code lottery, they are seeking self help approaches to preparing for birth. In response, private companies are working with parents-to-be and midwives to fill this gap and to create more effective all rounded ante natal education models.
There are, for example, simple tools and techniques which can be self taught to help prepare parents-to-be emotionally as well as physically for the birth ahead. A technique which is growing in popularity, is that of hypnotherapy, reported to help in a number of ways including decreasing pain during labour, overcoming fears, relaxing during pregnancy and generally helping parents-to-be to prepare fully for the forthcoming birth.
Hypnotherapy during pregnancy and childbirth is a technique supported by midwives and birth professionals across the UK. Michael Odent – famous surgeon, obstetrician and founder of the Primal Health Research centre, believes that hypnotherapy can help “to overcome powerful neocortical inhibitions and the effects of thousands of years of cultural conditioning.” World renowned childbirth expert Sheila Kitzinger believes that any woman who practices hypnotherapy is helping “herself towards a positive - even exultant - birth experience.” And editor of Pregnancy and birth magazine believes that hypnotherapy can be “A huge help in combating the fears many women will feel as they approach labour.”
Mollie, a nervous mum-to-be used the UK’s leading approach to hypnotherapy with its award winning CDs for birth “I would recommend it to everyone, it should be compulsory for all pregnant women, their partners and midwives”. Could this be the way forward for mums-to-be to ensure they are fully prepared for birth?
To find out more about these issues, a 4000 word article on the postcode lottery, government policies and possible solutions is available for general publication. Please contact Sophienicklin@natalhypnotherapy.co.uk or call 01428 712615
NOTES TO EDITORS
1.This article is free to publish and can be reproduced or developed with the agreement of Maggie Howell, author of the Natal Hypnotherapy™ CD series and ‘Better Birth Companion’ book.
2.To receive photographs to illustrate the article, to arrange an interview with Maggie Howell, for further birth and midwives testimonials or case studies, to receive preview copies of ‘The Birth Companion’ book and CD or for Natal Hypnotherapy™research, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
call 07710 019068 or 01428 712615 and/or visit
3.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.
4.Natal Hypnotherapy™ was awarded the Practical Parenting ‘Pregnancy Product of the Year’ award for its CDs and the Practical Parenting ‘Editors’ award in 2006. The CDs reached the final of these Pregnancy Product awards in 2009/2010.
5.Other CDs in the Natal Hypnotherapy range include:
The IVF Companion
http://www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk/12.html' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>Home birth preparation*
Fast post natal recovery*
Prepare to conceive
Prepare for a Caesarean*
[Overcoming Morning Sickness|http://www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk/9.html
Relaxation and Stress Management
Hospital birth preparation*
*denotes twins version available
6.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.
7.Local antenatal Natal Hypnotherapy™ workshops 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.
8.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.
9.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.
10.769 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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