Hypnobirthing with The Positive Birth Company
Giving birth is powerful but so am I!
The Positive Birth Company is on a mission to make hypnobirthing accessible for all. We are committed to empowering women around the world – and their birth partners – to create positive birth experiences and supporting women in pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Hypnobirthing is a logical approach to childbirth. The tools and techniques you will learn on a course are hugely beneficial for Mums, birth partners and babies! You will find the relaxation techniques you practice in pregnancy can be used not only for birth but life in general.
At The Positive Birth Company we passionately believe that birth experience matters. Many studies have shown that a positive birth experience has a profound impact on maternal psychological and emotional wellbeing and enables women to embark on motherhood feeling confident, strong and capable. This is why hypnobirthing is for all births; a course will equip you with the skills needed to navigate your birth, whether that be at home, hospital or in theatre, feeling empowered and in control.
The Positive Birth Company was founded by Siobhan Miller in 2014 and now runs group hypnobirthing classes each month in Twickenham, South-West London, Newton Abbot, Devon (for those in Torbay and Exeter), Birmingham and Brighton. For anyone unable to get to a group class there is also the option of the digital pack!
My name is Siobhan and I’m a mum to three boys. My Hypnobirthing journey began in 2014 when pregnant with my second child. Having had a relatively difficult birth with my first child (lengthy induction and forceps delivery in theatre), I was determined to do what I could to make this birth experience a more positive one. I enrolled on a Hypnobirthing course and attended group classes with my partner. After the first session we were converted to this logical and natural approach to childbirth. Hypnobirthing, contrary to what it sounds like, is grounded in scientific theory and so we came to understand how birth worked from a physiological perspective. Most importantly we learnt what we could do to ensure the necessary cocktail of hormones and muscles required to birth a baby were able to do their job uninhibited.
The Positive Birth Company Digital Pack is a fully comprehensive online hypnobirthing course, meaning you can access this program of antenatal education whenever and wherever you choose*. The course is designed to ensure you are fully informed, empowered to make the best decisions for you and your baby and armed with practical tools you can use to remain calm and relaxed throughout your birth.
The Positive Birth Company Digital Pack includes 6+ hours of video content, 4 MP3s to download, a course notes booklet in PDF format (created with birth partners in mind), a birth preferences template for you to complete plus access to a private Facebook group where you can get support and advice as well as read and share positive birth stories.
*so long as you have wifi!buy the book here
This book is for EVERY woman growing a baby and for EVERY type of birth — from a home water birth through to an unplanned caesarean.
No matter where you sit on the ‘anxious-to-excited’ spectrum at the moment, by the time you finish this book you’ll feel relaxed, capable and genuinely excited about giving birth, because it’s truly the most awesome thing you’ll ever get to do in your life.
Mind Body Bump- Brit Williams.
I’m thrilled to announce that my first book – a comprehensive guide to an active, mindful and empowered pregnancy – was published on 2 May 2019 across the UK, US, Canada and Australia. After hitting a wall in my research about a truly safe yet fun and challenging pre-natal fitness programme, I took the reigns myself and decided to show the world that pre-natal exercise is not only extremely beneficial, but it can also be truly enjoyable. The result is Mind, Body, Bump; The Complete Plan for an Active Pregnancy.
As well as 20 weight-based and bodyweight workouts spanning the nine months of pregnancy and supporting your post-natal recovery, Mind Body Bump by Brit Williams, offers month-by-month mum and baby development updates, mental health support, nutrition tips and recipes selected for specific pre-natal benefits. Perhaps most importantly, it is written in exclusively pregnancy-positive language, reframing this transformative phase of a woman’s life in the most empowering and supportive means possible.
What to pack in your hospital bag can be a minefield, if you packed every single thing that someone recommends you take, you would probably need a suitcase big enough for a family of 4!
When this conversation comes up in my antenatal classes I always recommend packing 2 bags!
One bag for the essentials for a normal straight forward.birth, where you are in hospital for a number of hours but not necessarily over night (as in a night after you give birth) and another one with extra things in case you do need or decide to stay longer.
here Is a list of things to make packing your hospital bag a little easier for you!
- Maternity notes, including your birth plan.
- A comfy, loose outfit for labour that you can move around in and that won’t make you too hot.
- A nighty or a big t-shirt is perfect. Something you can easily pull down, open or lift up for skin to skin is great.
- Chill-out kit including books, magazines, music or podcasts (more for the early stages…).
- A fan or water spray to cool you down.
- A phone and charger – make sure you have plenty of storage! (and a camera if you prefer it for pictures)
- Healthy snacks.
- A drink, consider an energy drink like the flat lucozade sports drinks (make sure you try it prior to labour…a mistake I made the first time around, luckily the orange one got me through because the blackcurrant one I also bought was yuk!). You might prefer just to take your own drink but I would recommend an easy sip bottle, you don’t want to be faffing with lids and things in the middle of active labour!
- Your own pillow, possibly a giant pregnancy one.
- A TENS machine and batteries if you want to use one and if your hospital doesn’t provide one. Any medication you’re taking.
- Your wash bag with your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, soap, hair ties and other toiletries.
- Aromatherapy oils, especially if you have been using them during pregnancy, e.g. for hypnobirthing.
- Vaseline (or lip balm) as hospitals can be quite drying but also vaseline is great to put on your babies bottom straight after birth to save a huge effort trying to remove their first, sticky tar like, poo!
- Change for the car park.
- A soft outfit for baby, including a hat, mittens and blanket.
- Maternity sanitary pads.
- Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (not essential but I would recommend, I took them as soon as possible after my second and then regularly thereafter for a few days and it made such a difference).
- Big, black, comfy pants! Possibly 2-3 pairs just incase. Perfect for after birth when comfort is key! Don’t spend too much on these incase you get blood on them!
- A comfy outfit for you for after birth and to travel home in.
- Comfy warm socks and/or slippers especially in winter.
- New born nappies and cotton wool for babies first poops!
- A muslin cloth
If you haven’t already you should definitely check out a really fantastic company called BirthBags, they have created a range of pre packed birth essentials leaving you to focus on choosing your bag.
Take a look at our range of gorgeous Ottilie bags in grey, mint and coral, which have a huge capacity and many useful little features making them perfect not only as a hospital bag but for life with your new arrival!
In your second bag you can place extra clothes for yourself and baby, extra toiletries, more snacks and anything else you would like with you if you need or decide to stay over night or longer. This bag can be left at home but easily collected and brought to hospital by your other half or a family member needed.
Lastly one very important thing is your babies car seat, you will not be allowed out of hospital without this!
A TENS machine for labour is a safe, effective, drug free pain relief used widely during childbirth..but don’t just take my word for it, here is what other people have said…
“I couldn’t have got through my labour without my TENS machine, I took it off to go into the birth pool and I instantly required gas and air. The pool slowed down my contractions and I wish I had just continued to use the TENS machine.”
“I got from 4cm to fully and pushing with the TENS machine alone”
“I used one from early on in my first labour, I got to 9cm using just that and one paracetamol! It helped me focus by pressing the button at the start of a contraction and just after.”
“Loved mine first time round, good distraction and I felt like I was in control.”
“I used mine from the start of labour. I found it was a good distraction and something else to concentrate on.”
Whats in the box….
The machine consists of a battery powered hand held controller, connected by leads to four large flat sticky pads. The machine sends small, safe, pulses of electrical current to your skin giving you a tingling or buzzing sensation. You also have a boost button which you press when you sense each contraction.
The TENS machine for labour helps in a few ways:
-Electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
-Pulses stimulate your body to release endorphins (happy hormones).
-It helps you to feel in control and therefore less anxious.
-It offers distraction from your contractions.
New research conducted in Australia found that TENS produces a significant decrease in pain during labour, and postpones the need for pain relief, without affecting your baby.
How to use the machine TENS machine for labour…
It is best to start using your TENS machine early in labour. Get your birth partner to place the pads on your back for you- following the instructions that come with the machine. Moving around during labour helps to make the TENS more effective. Do not give up immediately if you don’t feel anything happening, in some cases it can take up to an hour for you to feel the effects.
When should you not use the TENS for labour?
-In water e.g. shower or birth pool
-If you have epilepsy
-On broken skin
-If you have a pacemaker or heart rhythm condition
-If you are not sure if you are in labour
As a Women’s Health Physio ‘when can I return to running after birth’ is a question I get asked a lot.
It is much easier to guide someone I know with this question but there are some rules that everyone can stick to!
Firstly do not just wake up one day and think ‘today I am going to go for a run’ (having done no exercise since having your baby). Secondly just having your 6/8 week GP does not give you the OK to start running (they rarely check anything other than if you are using contraception!).
My first recommendation is that you read our other blog ‘return to exercise after having your baby’ and follow what I recommend for weeks 1-8 first. You should really build up gradually, strengthening your core and your pelvic floor before embarking on a run.
So once you are at least 8 weeks, it takes a minimum of 6-8 weeks for soft tissues to heal, let alone strengthen, (ideally even 12) will you just pop your trainers on and head out for a blast?! NO!!buy your breastfeeding sports bra here
Postnatal rehabilitation is about progression, scroll through the images below to see our paced progressive training program, it is basically the couch to 5k so downloading the app might be a good idea!
If you have been a keen and regular runner either pre pregnancy or even during your pregnancy you will probably skip through the plan slightly quicker but we really would still recommend following it!
There are a few of things that you need to keep an eye out for:
-pain anywhere in your body (unless its just your leg muscles aching)
-pelvic floor weakness or heaviness
Should you experience any of the above DO NOT continue, either go to see a Women’s Health Physio or at least cut back and find a level which does not cause these problems to happen. It is likely that you are just not quite strong enough to cope with the intensity and you need to build your foundations a bit first! If problems continue please then definitely see a Physio!!
Lastly, when you return to running after birth, make sure you are wearing a good supportive bra, you can see our range of sports bras here!
Good luck and let us know how you get on!!
More super simple, super yummy, super healthy snacks. Raw banana energy balls…gluten free, dairy free, sugar free yumminess.
These are such a good cup of tea snack or even for when you out and about if you parcel one or 2 up in a little container! Certainly if you close your eyes, forget about the dates and the fact they are cold they do taste a like banana bread!
Half a teaspoon of Nutmeg
Half a teaspoon of Cinnamon
A small amount of apple juice to bind if necessary.
- In a food processor blend the walnuts, add the dates and continue to blend.
- Add all of the other ingredients and blend again.
- You can either make the mixture into raw banana energy balls by rolling in your hands or bars. To make bars, line a tray with cling film and then press the mixture out into the tray. Flatten it down as much as possible and leave in the fridge.
- After a couple of hours chilling tip the mixture out onto a chopping board, remove the cling film and cut into bars or bite sized pieces.
For more healthy snack ideas check out the rest of our recipes!
We really recommend having access to plenty of snacks when you are pregnant or a new Mum. Nutrition can be so hard as you may not find the time to prepare everyday, plus having the head space to even think what you might eat can be hard. Therefore it is good to have a complete range of snacks available to you from fresh fruit and veg, simple dried fruit and nuts, to easy packet snacks like Eat Natural Bars as well as some home made treats which you can batch make and often freeze!
Finally can find another slight variation on this recipe at the kitchen sanctuary where they roll them in coconut too- yum!
It is recommended that you wait 6-8 weeks before you return to exercise after having your baby…but what does that actually mean?
Basically it takes 6-8 weeks for your soft tissues to heal. So it doesn’t mean that at 6-8 weeks after having your baby you can head straight back to your regular CrossFit/Zumba/Spining class or even head out for a run. Equally it doesn’t mean you need to lie in bed or sit on the sofa completely still for those 6-8 weeks.
Ideally you want to use those weeks to let things heal but also to start GENTLE exercises such as some light stretching (you will find your back might get stiff and sore from lots of feeding and cuddling), your pelvic floor exercises, building up your walking and some pilates.
By doing this you will be keeping your body free from ache and pains whilst starting to restore your core ready for when you are able to start from “proper” exercise.
Once you do eventually feel ready to return to exercise after having your baby, and this certainly can be a lot later than 8 weeks (many ladies aren’t ready at that stage either physically and/or mentally), please be gradual. If you can find a postnatal exercise class in your area even better!
Have a look at the slides below for a step by step guide for weeks 1-8 postpartum. Over the next few weeks we will be putting together some ideas on gentle stretches and basic pilates that you can start within those first few weeks of having your baby!
One thing I wish midwives and health professionals taught pregnant ladies is how to get in and out of bed safely.
Getting in and out of bed CORRECTLY when you are pregnant is really important. Your abdominal muscles are already stretched beyond where they would like to be, and they really don’t like being put under additional strain.
You may know that you shouldn’t be doing exercises that work your abdominals, such as crunches. But many people do not consider the implications of getting in and out of bed essentially by doing a sit up (which is what most of us do when we don’t have a bump).
Watch how the lovely Suzie does it in this video. I recommend starting this even before you have a bump. This way you are used to it by the time you do!
The best way to get in and out of bed when you are pregnant:
– start by sitting on your bed
-lower the top half of your body towards the bed using your arms
-at the same time swing/lift your legs up onto the bed (ideally the 2 together will act like a pendulum)
-one you are lying sideways on the edge of the bed you can shuffle into a comfy position
-repeat in reverse to get out of bed
Vegan Salted Caramel Brownies
1½ cups tahini
2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water (for flax eggs)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts
½ – ¾ cup vegan salted caramel (recipe makes ~ 1 cup)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×9 brownie pan or line with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Combine ground flax and water in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for 5 minutes until an egg-like gel forms.
3. Add in the tahini, maple syrup, apple sauce and vanilla and whisk until well combined
4. Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, walnuts and/or other mixins of choice and fold in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
5. Transfer batter to prepared brownie pan and top with extra nuts or chocolate chips if desired.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownie comes out clean.
7. While the brownies are baking, prep the caramel sauce if you haven’t already done so and allow to cool slightly.
8. Remove the brownies from the oven and pour the slightly cooled caramel sauce onto the still hot brownies, making sure to spread the caramel evenly with a spatula. Alternatively, you can allow the brownies to cool slightly before slicing then drizzle with caramel sauce.
9. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired and place the pan on a wire rack on the counter or in the fridge (to speed things up).
10. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Research has shown that massaging your perineum from 34 weeks, reduces the chance that you might damage this area during birth (with a tear or bruising). This is particularly beneficial if you are having your first baby.
The perineum is the area of tissue between your vagina and anus. It connects with the muscles of your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles which support your pelvic organs, such as your bladder and bowels.
Stretching or tearing of the perineum during childbirth can affect the support that your pelvic floor gives you. This can mean that you are more likely to have a prolapse (dropping down) of your uterus. A weak pelvic floor can also affect the control you have over your bladder and bowels. Damage to your perineum might also lead to discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse.
Approximately 85% of women will have some degree of perineal tear during vaginal birth.
What is perineal massage?
Perineal massage is a way of preparing your perineum to stretch more easily during childbirth. During birth, the perineal tissue needs to relax and open to allow your baby to pass through your vagina.
Advantages of perineal massage:
- It increases the elasticity (stretchiness) of the perineum. It improves blood flow and ability of the perineum to stretch more easily and less painfully during the birth of your baby.
- Tears are less likely and you are less likely to need an episiotomy. This is a cut that is sometimes performed to speed up the birth of your baby or to try to prevent a more severe tear.
- It helps your focus on the feeling of letting your perineum open up.
- Your perineum is less likely to be painful after the birth of your baby.
- It can be particularly helpful if you have previous scar tissue or a rigid perineum, which can occur is some horse riders or dancers.
When should I start and how do I do it?
You can start at any time from 34 weeks of your pregnancy and it can be done by you or your partner, if you are comfortable with this.
When should I do it?
A good time is during or after a bath or shower because blood vessels in the area are dilated. This makes the perineum softer and more comfortable to touch. You are also already more relaxed!
We suggest using a small amount of unscented, organic oil for example, olive, sunflower or grape seed oil, to lubricate the area and make the massage more comfortable. My expert midwife have created the perfect product with ‘peri-prep your bits‘ so go check them out!
Don’t use synthetic oils such as baby oil or vaseline.
Make sure your hands are clean before you start.
Comfortable positions include:
- Propped up with pillows on a bed or sofa with your knees bent out and supported.
- Resting back in the bath with one leg up on the side. Then change legs.
- Standing under a warm shower with one leg up on a stool. Then change legs.
- Sitting on the toilet.
- Get comfortable and relaxed in a place where you feel safe, secure and will not be interrupted.
- You might find it easier to use a mirror the first few times to help you see what you are doing.
- Place one or both thumbs on and just within the back wall of your vagina, resting one of both forefingers on your buttocks.
- Pressing down a little towards your rectum (back passage), gently massage by moving your thumb(s) and forefinger(s) together in a rhythmic ‘U’ shaped movement. You are aiming to massage the area inside your vagina, rather that the skin on the outside.
- Perineal massage should be comfortable but you will also feel a stretching feeling. This is similar to how your perineum will open up as you give birth to your baby.
- Focus on relaxing your perineum as much as possible during the massage.
- Aim for around 5 minutes at a time, but the massage can last as long as you wish. With time and practise, as your perineum becomes more elastic, you will increase your ability to relax and can increase the pressure towards your rectum.
- Being able to relax through this feeling of increased pressure will help you to relax as you feel the pressure in labour and your baby’s head is about to be born.
- Repeat as often as you wish.
- For most benefit, aim for a massage everyday or every other day.
Do not do perineal massage if you have, vaginal herpes, thrush or any other vaginal infection
If you feel pain at any point, stop and try again another time. If you continue to find this painful speak with your GP, midwife or even better- see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.