Birth for some expectant mothers can be a daunting experience but midwives at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital are hoping to change that with a new course.
Midwives Louise Langham and Rosie Hucklesby have launched The Wise Hippo course to support to expectant mothers and their birth partners with a variety of techniques and resources to ease any anxieties ahead of the birth.
The course consists of four sessions where couples will learn about hypnobirthing techniques, and how it can help prepare them for their birth.
Breathing, massage and other relaxation techniques are also included within the course along with physiology. One of the main focuses is on a more positive birthing experience.
Evidence has found that Hypnobirthing can help some mothers remain so relaxed that they have needed reduced levels of pain relief.
Louise said: “Some women are naturally relaxed and calm about birth while others have concerns about the pain or have had a bad experience in the past.
“Hypnobirthing can impact on how a woman feels pain but also allows them to feel more in control. If you can help someone to achieve that feeling of control you know they are going to have a more comfortable experience.
“It is really rewarding to see them lose their anxieties and become strong, confident and empowered women, who are looking forward to the birth and know what they want.”
Evidence has shown that environment and partner involvement can impact on whether a family has a good birthing experience.
The Hospital has developed a “home-from-home” environment within the Midwife-Led Waterlily Birth Centre for both the expectant mother and her partner.
The £600,000 unit allows mothers to move as they wish, listen to music along with using the specially designed birthing pools in ambient rooms.
The home birth service was also reintroduced earlier this year as part of the Midwife-Led pathway.
The Wise Hippo course teaches a lot around environment, and how those skills can be transferable, which is important so it includes women planning on delivering on Central Delivery suite, Waterlily or at home.
Louise said: “This is a really excellent course as it promotes partner involvement by helping them to play an active role and that really pulls them together so they are a little family before they have had the baby.”
Rosie added: “I love teaching this course. To give families another tool, further knowledge in areas they are interested in, and the belief that no matter what journey their labour takes it can still be positive is amazing. The skills developed from doing this course encourages that positive ‘birth experience’. That’s really important, and what stays with that couple forever.”
Positive feedback has also been given by Caroline Dougen, who recently attended the course.
She said: “I found this course invaluable in providing me with the tools to manage my labour. If I had not done this course then I would be like millions of other women who expect labour to be this painful experience that you essentially have to go through alone with your birth partner on the side line trying to give words of comfort and encouragement. The course changed that and made me realise that although no one can guarantee a pain free experience there are things that can be done to reduce the pain and make it easier to cope with whilst at the same time making labour a more positive experience.”
The course is open to women who between 28 and 34 weeks into their pregnancy and sessions will be held on Friday evenings in the Hospital’s Lecture Theatre. It costs £100 and includes all course materials.
For more information on The Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Maternity Services contact: 01553 214903.
Pictured are: Lead Midwife for the Midwife Led Pathway Kathryn Witte with Midwives Louise Langham and Rosie Hucklesby (Picture: Victoria Fear)