Discover news, updates and advice from Whole Birth and Beyond

Read latest updates covering a range of topics on hypnobirthing, pre-birth and post-natal care. I focus on science-led practical advice, and wellbeing of the mother, as well as drawing on my own experiences.

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Having suffered with horrific morning/all the blooming time sickness whilst pregnant with my son I have absolutely the most sympathy for anyone out there who is suffering. But what is Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and does anything help?

What is Oxytocin? And why is it so important in labour and birth?

Oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) is your absolute best friend when it comes to labour birth. It plays vital roles when it comes to bonding, and can be released through touch, sound, smells and basically anything that makes you feel good. 

Let’s talk about fear! How does fear impact birth?

When we fear something, we end up getting into a vicious circle of fear, tension, and pain. When you are afraid, you become tense, when you are tense your body/muscles seize up and this will then result in feeling pain more intensely. This is especially true when in labour and giving birth. 

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum? And does anything help? Some tips that might help!

 

Having suffered with horrific morning/all the blooming time sickness whilst pregnant with my son I have absolutely the most sympathy for anyone out there who is suffering. When you have hyperemesis gravidarum, NOTHING really works – every time someone suggested eating little and often, or that ginger helps I’d just smile weakly to be polite but inside I really wanted to scream they obviously don’t understand at all.

 

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is fairly rare happening in about 1-3% of pregnancies and is caused by a rapidly rising blood level of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). It usually starts to ease between 14-20 weeks although some people find they have it for longer (or less), this can feel like a lifetime when suffering so I want to share a few things that I found did (kind of) help.

 

Here are a few of my tips:

  1. A pregnancy pillow – this is more about the comfort of cuddling it and I found that holding it tight against my stomach did soothe me.
  2. Travel sickness wrist band – might be a bit of a placebo but I think they did help me and would suggest giving them a go.
  3. Ice cold water – room temperature water was a no go, but ice cold drinks (sometimes with squash in) were more tolerable.
  4. Eat something before getting out of bed. I kept a stash of biscuits and crackers on my bedside table.
  5. Speak to your doctor! There are anti sickness tablets you can take, you might need to try a couple of different ones before you find one that works for you.

 

If you are one of the unlucky 1-3%’s going through this right now, please know you are not alone, my inbox is always open if you need a sympathetic ear or would just like to rant about how awful it is. Hang in there – you’ve got this.

What is Oxytocin? And why is it so important in labour and birth?

Oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) is your absolute best friend when it comes to labour birth. It plays vital roles when it comes to bonding, and can be released through touch, sound, smells and basically anything that makes you feel good. 

 

Its main function is to facilitate childbirth, Oxytocin stimulates the muscles of the uterus causing them to contract, it also works to increase the production of prostaglandins which will also increase the contractions (which is what you want). The more you get oxytocin flowing through you the more your uterus will react with contractions and your labour will keep going forwards in the right direction aiding you to naturally birth your baby. 

 

There are many ways you get increase Oxytocin. Here are some things you can try:

 

  • Be around someone you love
  • Listening to music
  • Eating chocolate
  • Get (or give) a massage
  • Try some yoga
  • Walk in nature
  • Laugh
  • Watch your favourite film
  • Cuddles
  • Sex
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Spend time with your pets.
  • Be with friends

 

Basically, anything that makes you feel nice and fuzzy, should get that love hormone going! We love Oxytocin and it’s so, so important in labour, birth and helps with breastfeeding and bonding with your new born.

Let’s talk about fear! How does fear impact birth?

When we fear something, we end up getting into a vicious circle of fear, tension, and pain. When you are afraid, you become tense, when you are tense your body/muscles cease up and this will then result in feeling pain more intensely. This is especially true when in labour and giving birth. 

 

Labour contractions are basically muscles working, and muscle work best when they are relaxed. If you are trapped in a fear/tension cycle your muscles will become too tense to work harmoniously and therefore likely to experience higher levels of pain.

 

We have been conditioned by everything we have ever seen or heard to fear birth, and this is so unhelpful in the process and really will make things harder and more painful. As well as fear making our bodies and muscles tense it also produces adrenalin (the fight or flight hormone), and although adrenalin does have its place it is not the hormone we want for most of the labour. 

 

So how do we break the cycle of fear when it comes to labour and birth? This is where the mind and the unconscious mind comes in. When talking about the mind, I don’t mean the brain I’m referring to things like beliefs, thoughts, and emotions and how if we can retrain and redirect these thoughts, they can help us to overcome fears. To do this we need to dive deep into our unconscious mind. 

 

Getting into our unconscious minds is how we can really get into realigning where we may already be conditioned and make those changes. We can logically tell our mind that birth will be fine, as woman often do it more than once and we have been doing it for thousands of years. However, this is logic and only can be absorbed by our conscious mind and unfortunately in the moment fear can still be triggered by the unconscious mind. To work on the unconscious mind, we need to go much deeper, and this is where hypnobirthing can be very powerful. 

 

Hypnobirthing will help reshape your expectations and feelings towards birth on both a conscious and unconscious level and there is where the impact on your baby’s birth can be huge.