Be calm, feel in control and give your baby the best start in life....  
Positive Birth
Mind Tools  for an easier birth
The midwives had no idea when I was having a contraction. I used the downloads a handful of times, but had them playing during my labour - the midwives loved them too. They were so impressed with me, they all commented that they had no idea when I was having a contraction as I was in self hypnosis using your breathing with your downloads playing. Nikki  (Hampshire, UK) Labor lasted only 3 hours and the final stage only 30mins! I am two weeks post delivery and finally getting to sending this email with feedback on the mp3 and video downloads… First of all, let me say that I never once made it through an entire mp3 without falling asleep!  This worried me a bit that I wasn't "practicing" properly!  But I regularly slept the whole night with the mp3 playing in the background, and I do think they sank in.  This was my first child, and we had a water birth at home with a midwife.  The labor moved so quickly that I hardly had time to implement my "labor plans" and all I had learned from your hypnobirth course.  My husband turned the mp3s on in the birthing room just loud enough to be aware of, and I was able to stay focused almost solely on breathing.  Hard labor lasted only 3 hours and the final stage only 30 minutes.  A couple of hours after the birth my midwife told me I was her first client to use visualization mp3s and hypnobirthing techniques but she thought it worked great!  She said that at one point during labor she simply told me to "relax" and watched as my face and shoulders almost instantly lost tension.  My husband and I, and our midwife, have only good things to say about the process and I think the mp3s played a big part in my mental preparation.  Thank you for offering them in this format.  I live rurally and was 2 hours drive from the nearest birth educator, so this was a great option! Sincerely, Christy (Washington, USA) The combination of film, text summaries and audios works really well. No need for any sort of pain relief! I wanted to get back to you to let you know that our baby boy was born on 12th April. Everything went well (albeit not entirely as planned, there is more about that below!) and it was once again a beautiful birth experience. As it was our third baby I had expected things to happen fast - but in fact I had contractions all day, so things were quite slow in a way. The contractions were very mild and very irregular however - I knew things were happening but we had a lovely day, taking it easy, going for walks, resting and sleeping (the girls were at school and later got picked up by friends to spend the nights at theirs, so it was just us two). In the evening we watched a movie, the contractions were still very irregular but around 9pm they started getting longer and more intense. All day, we'd repeatedly done relaxation exercises and listened to your audios, Fear Release and Visualise your Positive Birth (once each). As the contractions got more intense (I always did the slow breathing for every one), we stopped the movie and did a deepening exercise. Anyway, I will cut this short: the strange thing was, my contractions were still only 10-15 minutes apart, so I hadn't called the midwife yet (we wanted a home birth), but suddenly I had to push! I managed to remain calm, thanks also I am sure to the hypnobirthing techniques. I got into the bath, did my breathing and we basically delivered this baby alone - the midwife arrived just in time to fish him out of the water. I am very glad she was there for that and to cut the cord and deliver the placenta etc. It was lovely and calm, but I was in shock also for a day or two, for having had to do it "alone". Is this a common hypnobirthing thing, that the contractions never happen very close together? Maybe you've heard of it before. I was waiting for them to come at least every 5 minutes or so, but that never happened. But I guess that made it all the more gentle on me. Once again, no need for any sort of pain relief! Online course feedback: - I thought the films were well done, I enjoyed watching them! - I thought the combination of film, text summaries and audios works really well - I really enjoyed the audios. My favourite were the fear release, "easy breastfeeding" and "visualise your positive birth" - I think it's great that you've included audios for the post-natal period too. I used these a lot in the first two weeks after the birth. - I really liked the fact that - unlike the Mongan Method material! - you didn't create any pressure: you avoided saying things like "you must", or "it is key" etc, which I think is against the whole concept of positive birthing. I liked that you said things like "it doesn't matter if you breathe in through your nose or mouth, or if you don't manage to count till 20" etc etc. My experience confirms this less pressurised approach anyway: I never managed to breathe in to more than 8 maximum, and still it worked brilliantly. And I sometimes breathed in through the mouth, sometimes through the nose - whatever worked in the moment, and both worked well in terms of relaxation and pain-relief. Corinna (Berlin, Germany) I sat on a yoga ball and delivered standing up going from 3 cm to delivering in one hour! Thanks again for your lovely downloads. I'd recommend them to anybody. Just a quick email to let you know that our baby girl Maya arrived 2 weeks early over the weekend! I had a lovely birth experience. It was all a bit fast in the end and had to be monitored throughout labour due to sudden bleeding. Despite this and having no relaxation tracks playing in the background I was completely able to relax and play key positive phrases in my head and breathe easily throughout. I sat on a yoga ball and delivered standing up going from 3 cm to delivering in one hour!  It was a wondeful experience. Thanks again for your lovely downloads. I'd recommend them to anybody. Best wishes, Lisa (Lancs, UK) I listened non-stop to your downloads and it made a huge difference. On Wednesday 29 September, just before midnight, our baby girl was born, weighing 8lb.  It was almost an unplanned home birth because she was born 45 minutes after we arrived at hospital!  As soon as my waters broke - 6 hours before I gave birth - we started using your mp3s.  I lay on my side in bed doing the breathing and either Jake read out visualisations that we'd practiced or I listened non-stop to your downloads.  It made a huge difference - I believed 100% (unlike before) that my body and my baby were made to work together to release her.  And I was not scared but excited as I knew that each surge was bringing my baby closer to me.  It meant that when she came out I felt an amazing bond with her immediately, like I knew her so well already.  I can safely say it was happiest moment of my life! Sarah (London, UK) I like this course because, unlike other hypnosis courses, it does encourage combining skills, rather than relying just on the hypnobirthing tracks. I hope you feel the review was worth the wait - I very much enjoyed your program.  It was especially refreshing how you made it clear that your techniques could be used with other natural birthing techniques.  So many hypnobirth courses discourage women from looking to other techniques so it was good to see you encourage using other active birth tips along with your audio tracks! Kristen Burgess, Natural Birth and Baby Care.com (Traverse City, USA) Hypnobirthing for an Easier Birth Mini Course Review Using relaxation and birth hypnosis tracks is a very effective way to prepare for your labor and birth. You condition your body and learn valuable relaxation skills. I was thrilled when I was contacted by Kristin Hayward and Helianthe Rusken to review their new Hypnobirthing for an Easier Birth Mini Course. This course was created in the UK - it's offered online and anyone can access it internationally (I'm in the USA), but it provides a lovely option for UK-based mums who want to prepare for birth with a hypnobirthing study. The mini-course contains several sessions for you to work through, with mp3 audio tracks you download and listen to throughout the course and as often as you like. Each session also includes an online video for you to watch and a summary sheet. The videos and audios are well-done and of good quality. Course Overview and Thoughts The course begins with a study on breathing - one of the most basic and most important skills to master as you prepare for your birth. The audio track walks you through how to breathe for relaxation and how you can work with your breath throughout each phase of birth. Your second session covers how fear affects birth. The video explanation is very good - clear and well-spoken. I found it helpful even after several natural births. The audio track to go along with this part of the course is a stress release audio. I think it's a great exercise and one can definitely relax to it - it's a track that will remain useful even after baby arrives. The only thing I wished was that it had been a little more open-ended. It was specific in the imagery - this is very helpful for a beginner who needs a lot of guidance as they're learning to relax progressively. I would have preferred to be able to imagine my own scenario (rather than just using the lake/sailing imagery)… but if you're just learning these techniques the track will be quite helpful. Session 3 covers feeling in control during your contractions. I like the advice in this section to incorporate practicing your breathing into your daily life - it's great advice and Kristin and Helianthe give practical suggestions on how you can do that. I also love the additional ways to bring in relaxation - through color, numbers, affirmations, etc. Quite a few ideas are covered. Each is ready for you to use during labor, since you never know what will help you focus and relax the most once your baby's birthing is upon you. I recommend you use and review the information in this session regularly. Understanding the power of your own mind as you prepare for birth and as you birth your baby is very important, and the next session covers it well. The video for this session gives helpful pointers on avoiding negative influences, and emphasizing positive messages and language. The audio track highlighted in this lesson is a good step-by-step visualization of a smooth, positive birth experience. This will be especially helpful for you if you need inspiration to build your own birth visualization, or if you've never experienced a birth (or had a challenging birth). I like the strong focus on the bond with your baby. Practical Advice and Partners If you're wondering how to know you're in labor the next video covers that. I've wondered about this before every single baby - and I've had four so far! I think it's something all women wonder about. How will this birth begin? The fifth video also covers plenty of practical suggestions for what to do in the early stages of labor. You get a lot of information on how to combine and layer the audio tracks with other labor techniques. The tip sheet gives a great summary of everything the video covers. The course doesn't spend a lot of time going into other birth skills such as positioning, or cover interventions/birth choices, so you'll want to supplement with some reading on birth and perhaps a skills-oriented birth class. I like this course because, unlike other hypnosis courses, it does encourage combining skills, rather than relying just on the hypnobirthing tracks. I think that learning positioning and other birth skills is very important so this course is refreshing and encouraging. Session 6 gives good coverage on how your partner can help you through birth, especially through touch and relaxation. Most of the time partners really want to help but feel a little lost. Going through the audios with your partner and using the suggestions included in this session will help both of you feel ready to work together as the birth begins and progresses. I like the way session 7 expands your "toolbox" of techniques to use - and how it really encourages you to use a variety of relaxation techniques along with your hypnobirthing tracks. Again, there is not a lot of discussion on physical techniques such as positioning, but it covers a wide variety of relaxation techniques that you can pull from. The summary sheet is excellent to have on hand at your birth - go over it several times before your due date, then keep it near your birthing supplies or your hospital bag. In labor you may find what helps you the most is not what you thought, so having the sheet for you or your partner to reference will give you a wide choice. Summary In addition to the sessions in your mini-course and the audios already covered you get several more audio tracks to help you on your parenting journey. You'll use the breathing, visualization, affirmation, pain relief, stress release, and fear release throughout labor. There's also tracks especially for postpartum - one for breastfeeding and one for quick recovery postpartum. I LOVE that they have included both of these tracks as I feel that postpartum is a time when women need a lot of support and may not get it. There's also a track for confident parenting, and another to help you relax and bond with your baby prenatally. You get a lot with your hypnobirthing course - and it's really well laid out so you can truly use all the information. As I said, you'll want to supplement with some materials on the physical birth skills such as positioning, and you may want to read a good childbirth book that covers common interventions. But your Hypnobirthing for an Easier Birth Mini Course covers relaxation, breathing, and childbirth hypnosis very well. It's also supportive and open-ended for how you want to plan your birth - lots of structure and suggestions if you're unsure, but the flexibility to use it how you want to. It's an excellent option if you want to use hypnobirthing techniques to have the gentle natural birth you're looking forward to for yourself and your baby! Kristen Burgess, Natural Birth and Baby Care.com (Traverse City, USA)
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