Hi, I'm Jessica - birth educator and hypnobirthing specialist; something I often get asked is which 'type' of hypnobirthing is best....
You've perhaps heard of hypnobirthing through friends, or perhaps you've been reading positive birth stories - and you notice a running theme of these Mum's having prepared using hypnobirthing classes.
I remember being in this position during my first pregnancy & thinking 'Right I think I'll do hypnobirthing...' and then feeling a little confused! There's books, there were in person hypnobirthing classes in the North East, there were Online hypnobirthing courses. I just wasn't sure which one to do, or if maybe I was supposed to be doing all of them!
Here are your options when it comes to preparing for birth; there's something out there for everyone - it's just finding the right class for YOU.
There are a variety of ways you can get a feel for hypnobirthing for free; some teachers will offer an occasional 'free taster session' - these might be held on zoom or in person. Having worked with several couples who have been on one of these free tasters, one of the main things I hear is that these sessions often feel more like a 'covert' sales pitch. Having said this, you‘ll be sure to learn a couple of great tips, and if it's with a teacher you feel you might book a hypnobirthing class with anyway - it would be a good use of an hour or so!
Some hospital trusts are now offering free basic hypnobirthing classes; the NHS have seen the incredible difference hypnobirthing makes on birth and so where they can, some are offering a 'lite' version of what you'd learn with an independent course. It may be worth asking your midwife if this is something your Trust offers. Do be aware that the 'standard' antenatal classes which the NHS offers (Online and face to face) are NOT the same thing as Hypnobirthing. These classes are very basic, and won’t include the in depth information you get with hypnobirthing.
Another option many people consider is simply buying a hypnobirthing book; if your budget is really limited at the moment, then this option would absolutely be better than none!
One thing to consider is that we often don't learn as well when we just look at words on a page; to truly digest ALL of that information you really could do with it giving to you in a variety of ways - ie someone speaking to you, watching videos, looking at pictures, reading, listening to sound, smell... your brain likes lots of different stimulation. If this is your only option to experience hypnobirthing, yes, it will absolutely be more useful than not doing it at all!
Some great books include:
Social media... now this can be a useful way of getting free information about birth and hypnobirthing. I know I certainly share a lot of valuable tips, ideas and thoughts over on my instagram and Facebook -
One thing I would remind you of, though, most of these accounts are run by hypnobirthing professionals, who although love sharing information - are not able to give you a class worth of content in 180 characters, no matter how long you follow them!
You are absolutely NOT going to learn all you need to know to have a good birth by following hypnobirthing social media accounts. I actually think this can be something that can lull us into a false sense of security, because we follow along, thinking we've learned SO much that we don't really need to do a proper class & that we know how to have a good birth. When actually we've barely scratched the surface...!
The Positively Pregnant Free Video Class; I have put together a lovely free course for couple's who aren't really sure what to expect from Hypnobirthg or how it works.
The great thing about this course (aside from the fact it's free) is that it gets delivered straight to your inbox, and the main Video Class is the first class from my full Video Course. So there's no sales pitch, no sifting through the 'come book with me' chat to find some useful information...! It also includes a free hypnobirthing track, a birth plan template and a stages of labour class handout. I created this free option to be as helpful as possible for those women who were unable to join my full courses.
2. Online Hypnobirthing
If time, location or budget is a big consideration for you, a good option can be Online Hypnobirthing.
This can also be a great option if you've left your birth preparation to the last minute and need to binge through classes more quickly than in person options.
Usually consisting of pre recorded video classes, which you can play on any device at any time. As with anything, not all Online options are created equal and you do tend to 'get what you pay for'.
Some courses will consist of just videos, which may be a little more difficult to concentrate & learn from in practice, as staring at a screen does tend to get a little... boring! Other courses will include activities to do with your partner, printable materials and even diagrams to illustrate points.
There are a couple of different options when it comes to the lower end of Hypnobirthing video courses - a quick Google search will give you some options. I would look for a teacher who's style you love and an engaging course which both you and your partner will participate in fully. One of the major downsides of these courses is that 1) it's a low investment, which often means we let ourselves forget to bother...! If something costs less than a meal out, it's often the case that we don't fully invest our effort (speaking from personal experience with one of these courses!)
Other Online video courses, like the Positively Pregnant Video Course, are more in depth & cover everything you'd learn in a comprehensive antenatal class as well as expert hypnobirthing. It was important to me that the high quality my clients have come to expect 'in person' is not lost for y Video Course members.
The course consists of 10 pre recorded classes with me, 13 digital written chapters, 'homework' exercises to complete with your partner and the all important 'learning and pamper' package which is posted out to you. The inclusion of a physical course handbook, a Notes of Northumberland wax candle melt with the same scent we burn in class, handmade pregnancy bath salts, and even a Hottea Mama 'cup of Tea' (the vey same pregnancy tea I'd be serving you here at the Farmhouse!) are all really important ways you can make your Hypobirthing beautiful & nurturing, despite being done from the comfort of your home.
3. In person Hypnobirthing Classes
This has got to be the 'crem de la crem' of preparing for your baby's birth. Perfect for couple's who are feeling anxious about giving birth, who are wanting a particular birth (ie wanting to aim for a natural birth) or are looking for a wonderful way of connecting as a couple during pregnancy.
Most areas of the country will have a local hypnobirthing teacher these days; in the more rural areas you may need to travel a little further, but I promise it will be worth it! Many couples travel up to one of my hypobirthing classes from Scotland, or as far South as Durham. My advice would be to head to Google and simply search for your local area, ie 'Hypnobirthing classes near Newcastle' and see who comes up.
My top tips would be to find a teacher who's 'style' you like, and importantly someone who you feel your partner will be able to work with...! I know when we embarked on an in person course during my first pregnancy my partner was VERY sceptical about hypnobirthing! I know if we had more options and I could have found hypnobirthing local to me that didn't give off 'insense and whale music' vibes - hubby would have been much easier to convince!
Another important factor is how many couples will be in your class. The more couples, the less personalised your classes will be. I always ensure I have no more than 4 couples at a time on my group classes up here in the North East, because I specialise in bespoke birth preparation - which means making sure everyone's needs and wishes for birth are taken into consideration when planning my classes.
Embarking on a group hypnobirthing class means you'll be making friends with like minded parents to be; some of the couples I have worked with are still best of friends many years later!
Some in person hypnobirthing courses will be spread out over 6 weeks, some as many as 8. It's important to factor this into your organisation and make sure you get booked in good time. The best hypnobirthing classes will usually be booked up several weeks in advance. Other classes are held over just one day, and the Positively Pregnant Hypnobirthing course is held over 2 full days.
Be sure to check how many HOURS worth of face to face teaching you'll be getting. Anything less than 8 isn't really going to be as in depth as other options (I personally aim for a minimum of 10 hours with the couples I work with, with ongoing after support)
I would always advise aiming to finish your course by the time you're 35 weeks pregnant if possible, this will give you time to practice your techniques, make your birth plans with your knew knowledge & help you relax into your pregnancy knowing that birth can and will be amazing for you.
4. Private Hypnobirthing Classes
A private hypnobirthing class can be a wnderful option for couple's who are looking to make their birth preparation a really nurturing and special experience. There's always something so beautiful and intimate about working with just one couple. It means your class can be completely tailored to your needs, your wishes for birth, previous experiences and personal history.
It's a great option for couple's who have an idea for how they would like to give birth, perhaps a home birth, water birth or planned cesarean - but aren't sure how to make that dream a reality. It's also a fantastic option for parents who have had a difficult first experience of birth, as it means your instructor can work with you to create a truly nurturing experience. Check with your course provider before booking that when you have a private course they will be tailoring the content to you; a good instructor absolutely will - but some won't, which obviously means less value for you if they're just reading out of course booklet...!
I really hope this had been useful for you to start to get a better idea about the different ways you can incorporate Hypnobirthing into your birth preparation! If you get yourself a good course - it'll be the only form of antenatal class you really need!
If you'd like to embark on one of the Positively Pregnant classes, take a look at the different ways I can help you to feel confident and relaxed as you approach birth:
Or if you're still feeling a little unsure where to start with your birth preparation and hypnobirthing, then my Free course is a great place to start: