Tom’s driving is debatable at the best of times however, whilst driving to hospital I’m convinced he decided to drive over every speed bump at speed to wind me up – I ended up jumping out of the car and walking the last 100m with two teenage girls who found me screaming in the middle of the road – a strong start to labour.

In order for you to have a much calming experience we caught up with Emiliana Hall, Founder & Hypnobirthing teacher, The Mindful Birth Group to hear her her top tips on how to approach labour. She shares breathing & visualisation techniques to help support you.    

So Emiliana is it actually possible to relax during labour or is this just a thing hypnobirthing enthusiasts tell us? 

Yes! The key is understanding what is happening. You know when you are on a plane, and it suddenly drops because of turbulence? Seeing the fear on your face, the cabin crew will explain that it’s completely normal, and the plane is designed to ride these air pockets safely. Once you know that 1. It’s normal and 2. The plane is designed to do this- you instantly relax, right? It’s the same with labour and any other life situation that isn’t your everyday norm. Once you know what is happening, and your body is actually designed to do this, you can focus on letting it do it’s thing, and actually enjoy the ride. A hypnobirthing course will equip you with this knowledge and empower you to confidently navigate anything that may happen on the day.

Can you provide us with your go to breathing technique to help relax during labour?

I teach ‘calm breathing’ to help a mum to remain calm in between surges (contractions), but it’s also just generally a great technique for using in daily life. Whenever you feel tension building or adrenaline creeping in, close your eyes if it’s safe to do so (but don’t worry if you can’t). Inhale through your nose deeply for a count of 4 and exhale through your nose for a count of 8. The number isn’t necessarily important here- it’s the deep in and the longer out that is key. If your nose is congested, you can use your mouth to help the breath in and out too.  As you’re doing this, visualise inhaling calm and exhaling tension. This could be the words, or something that represents the words for you i.e. the colour purple for calm and red for tension.

I also teach 2 other simple breathing techniques for during surges and during the birth phase- feel free to drop me a line, I’d be happy to share these with you.

Can you provide us with your go to visualisation technique to help a mum during labour if she starts to feel out of control?  

My go to visualisation for labour is the moment you are going to meet your baby. It can help to watch birth videos- send me a message and I can send you some calm hypnobirthing videos! I wouldn’t recommend Googling for this. There are also some fantastic birth photography accounts which you can follow on Instagram to help you visualise what that incredible moment might be like for you. It will encourage all of the feel good hormones too, which we know helps your body to birth your baby more efficiently. If having a caesarean section, relaxation is still just as important for you and baby! So using the breathing techniques and visualisation will be effective for all birth scenarios. Focusing on the ‘end goal’ helps athletes to remain focused and feel a sense of control- the same applies to birth too! 

Emiliana will be there @Being.Mum.Fest in person to demonstrate and answer any questions on these