I'm currently pregnant with my second child, and after a fairly traumatic birth experience with my first, I'm keen to do what I can not to replicate that with this pregnancy. A friend swore by hypnobirthing with her second birth so I've decided to give it a go.
The author of the book is Siobhan Miller, founder of The Positive Birth Company, and has three children of her own, so she obviously knows her stuff. This is evident in the way that the book has been written, it's very informative and accessible - all terminology is explained and none of the content felt daunting or intimidating. She does a great job of writing in a way that appeals to both first-time mums coming to the topic with little-to-no previous knowledge and more experienced mums who might be trying something new or just wanting a refresher.
There is a lot of hype and misunderstanding around hypnobirthing; this book is successful in stripping all of that back and making the tools and techniques feel applicable to any type of birth. This is particularly important for me as I'm considering an elective c-section, and so I really appreciated the chapter dedicated to the topic. It covered how to make the best of the situation by taking some of the more clinical aspects out of the procedure and introducing some of the options more commonly associated with vaginal delivery. I most liked that no type of birth was judged at any point and that the focus was always and only ever placed on each person doing what is right for them and their baby, whatever that may look like.
The author really lived up to the name of her company in the content - everything had a very positive tone and was written with a confidence that was hard not to engage with. It made it much easier to buy into what was being said, because who doesn't want to feel that positive and confident about their own birth experience. The birth stories from real women that were scattered throughout the book really helped with this as well. They covered a wide range of birth scenarios and showed how hypnobirthing had helped them all in some way regardless of whether or not they were able to stick to their original plans.
The only downside to this book for me was that it was somewhat repetitive. The best illustration of this is the fact that there is a whole chapter near the end of the book that acts as a cliff-notes version of what has already been said in the rest of the book. While I appreciate that repetition is good for making sure that something really embeds itself in your brain, and that some readers may appreciate the summary as a quick reference during labour, but for me it just took some of the shine off of my reading experience.
In spite of this minor niggle, I would happily join the hundreds of women reviewing this book on Amazon in recommending it to anyone who is interested in exploring hypnobirthing during their pregnancy. It's given me some important food for thought on my birthing preferences and has made me feel less nervous about doing it all for a second time.
Expert hypnobirthing teacher and founder of The Positive Birth Company Siobhan Miller has made it her mission to change the way women around the world approach and experience birth. Through her teaching she seeks to educate and empower women - and their birth partners - so that they can enjoy amazing and positive birth experiences, however they choose to bring their babies into the world.
In this book, Siobhan debunks common myths about hypnobirthing and explains why she believes it can make every type of birth a better experience - from a water birth at home to an unplanned caesarean in theatre.
So, what is hypnobirthing? Essentially, it's a form of antenatal education, an approach to birth that is both evidence-based and logical. Hypnobirthing certainly doesn't involve being hypnotised; instead, it teaches you how your body works on a muscular and hormonal level when in labour and how you can use various relaxation techniques to ensure you are working with your body (rather than against it), making birth more efficient and comfortable.
Siobhan's advice and guidance will change your mindset and enable you to navigate your birth with practical tools that ensure you feel calm and in control throughout.
By the time you finish this book you'll feel relaxed, capable and genuinely excited about giving birth.
You can buy the book here now. It was published by Piatkus.