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Happy Father’s Day - The Hypnobirthing Dad

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jun 14 2017 08:00AM

Our new hypnobirthing teacher, Clare Butler, shares the importance of fathers being involved in birth preperation and labour - and wishes you a happy fathers day!

Dads are like Mothers; they have a primal instinct to nurture, provide and defend. But do they all realise how important their role as a birthing partner can be? Some do and some don’t (sorry, we have all watched one born every minute!).

It may sound crazy but the degree of pain that mum (let’s call her Gemma) may feel and the efficiency of her labour is greatly influenced by her birthing partner and, in this case, the father of her child (let’s call him Steve). It is quite logical really and greatly depends on Gemma’s hormone levels, and her body confidently responding to labour and being allowed to work.

Much like many other parts of the body, the uterus has two sets of muscles that are designed to work together as a pair. They can’t work to their full ability though if, for example, Gemma is full of fear and tension - feeling insecure and like she is being watched. Think of a cat that retreats to safety under a bed to give birth…. Ultimately, Gemma needs to feel confident, relaxed and secure so that oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) is generated to make the uterine muscles work. The increased oxytocin levels in turn secrete more endorphins (the hormone of comfort) helping Gemma feel less pain.

My top tips for birth partner and expectant dad Steve are:

1) Prepare

I am not suggesting that Steve goes as far as practicing birth positions in advance or doing his pelvic floor exercises daily (though he would find these very beneficial too). What I mean is that Steve should be given full knowledge of the birthing process, so that he is aware of the “what ifs” and will be confident enough to speak to the healthcare professionals on Gemma’s behalf whilst she focuses on remaining relaxed and calm during labour.

2) Security

We can learn a lot from animals. For example, a herd of elephants surrounds a fellow elephant that is giving birth so that she is secure from lions and hyenas. OK, we are lucky enough that us humans don’t suffer the same threat level but we too need to feel secure during labour. Assure Gemma that you are there, remind her not to be fearful and that she CAN give birth.

3) Love

We have all heard of stories of women shouting, “Get off me!” to people during labour, which is no wonder why some birth partners may want to keep a distance. Get the endorphins flowing though by showing Gemma love during birth. Gentle stroking of the hand and back plus comforting words. Nature is amazing - if a monkey during labour becomes agitated, another monkey gently grooms her.

In summary, help get Gemma in a relaxed endorphin and oxytocin-filled state (also known as a hypnobirthing bubble) and keep her in it.

“Errr hypno what? hypnobirthing? OK….yes if you think it will help Clare I will come along” was the sceptical but supportive response I got from Rob before we started our first hypnobirthing antenatal class. In both our minds though it was sooo worth it. The hypnobirthing class made us both realise how instrumental the birth partner is. It gave Rob a role and it taught us how we could work together to experience a positive birth. Rob KNOWS that he was needed. We were a team!

Steve, I am sure that you and Gemma will make a great team too. Best wishes to you both and Happy Father’s Day!

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