I’ve been teaching HypnoBirthing for nearly four years now. A lot of my early clients have now started adding to their families and are asking me the question – how should I prepare for my second HypnoBirth?
Finally I’ve gotten around to putting a post together, so here you have it: My guide to preparing for your second (third, fourth etc) HypnoBirth.
When to start
This is completely up to you. As with first time around, it can be beneficial to get started earlier if you are experiencing any fears or anxieties about the birth. If not, starting around 25-30 weeks into your pregnancy is fine if that’s what you prefer.
What to practise
The first step is to read through the book again, marking the pages of all of the techniques you will use and referring to your handouts where appropriate.
As with your first birth, we want all of the techniques to feel like second nature. Make sure you spend time refreshing your memory of each of the breathing techniques.
Hypnosis and Affirmations
Work up to playing Rainbow Relaxation and the Birth Affirmations every day. Remember Rainbow Relaxation can be put on as you drift off to sleep at night and the Affirmations should be played in the background as you go about your normal daily activities.
If any affirmations are particularly powerful for you, or if you find that one of your fears is not covered on the affirmations track, you can write these out and put them somewhere you will see every day such as your fridge or on your mirror.
It is totally normal to have new or different fears to work through before your second birth. Maybe some elements of your first birth didn’t go to plan, or maybe your first birth was so amazing you are afraid the second one won’t be as great (this is more common than you think). Often second time parents worry that they won’t love their second child as much as their first (don’t worry you will).
With your partner (if you have one), make a list of any or all fears/concerns you have. Remember to include anything relating to your pregnancy, the birth, or life with a new baby, relationship issues, financial issues. Put it all down, and then rate each fear 1-5 with 1 being the most important and 5 being the least important.
Make time to go through your lists together, sharing your concerns and coming up with solutions for the more practical items. With the remaining fears you can use the Book of Life imagery as we did in class (find the image, make it large, make the image fade, then remove and destroy the pages). You can also take turns to read each other the Hot Air Balloon Script that you were given in class to offload all those unnecessary fears.
Take time to practise your instant relaxations (the zones and AAA BBB CCC). You may find that your favourite of the two has changed since your first birth – it did for me. Also practise the depthometer (down from 40 with the inverted thermometer) and the silver glove technique as described in the book.
Also take time to re-anchor your keyword. Read through your handout to remind yourself of the breathing and wording for the key word then make sure you spend at least five separate sessions practising bringing yourself into and out of your ultimate relaxed state using the key word. You may choose to use the same key word or change it this time around.
Do the same with the shoulder press, running through the Birth Companion’s Deepening at least five times too.
Revisit your birth plan and work through this with your partner and your midwife/obstetrician. Remember to discuss with them which elements you feel most strongly about so that they can move heaven and earth to make them happen and those that are nice to have but not so important to you.
This time around you will need to think about who will look after your children and also have a back up childcare plan in place (even if you plan to birth at home with your child/children present.
Talk with your partner about what you really liked and/or didn’t like first time around. It’s important to include them in your practice and talk frequently about how you would like to be supported so that it is fresh in their mind. Five or ten minutes of light-touch massage during the start of your Rainbow Relaxation can help anchor those sensations to a deep relaxation and is a great way to include your partner.
Watching beautiful births
I have a great selection of beautiful births on my Pinterest boards (Birth Videos and Birth Stories) as well as lots of other positive birth information on my other boards if you are interested. Surrounding yourself with positive births is one of the most powerful forms of preparation you can do. Remember to really take the opportunity to visualise yourself having a beautiful birth experience.
This brings me to visualisations, here is the link to a time lapse opening rose. Also remember your other visualisations, including your success scene and your favourite place in nature. With your success scene, take the time to enjoy all those amazing sensations, the exhilaration, and extreme happiness that comes with the moment you embrace your newest baby for the first time. For added benefit you can mentally shout ‘I did it!’ like some of the mamas in the videos we watched in class.
Things to note
It’s important to remember that all births are different so it’s worth practising all of the techniques again even if you didn’t use some first time around. You may prefer different techniques this time if your birth is faster or slower, or different in other ways to your first.
Also, remember that oxytocin is your best friend during birth. Having a favourite toy or item of clothing from your first child can help you get a big hit of oxytocin during the birth. The smell in particular can really get that oxytocin flowing and speed up your labour.
Come and see me for a refresher
Remember if you have been to my classes before you are more than welcome to come back to the final class of a group free of charge for a refresher (see my class dates here). I love to see familiar faces. I also do private refreshers if you prefer.
If you took a class with someone else previously but are interested in doing a refresher please do get in touch to talk about your options.