What can you expect from a hypnobirthing class? Becky Riddle joins Inbal Sigler of Isis Hypnobirthing to find out.
Situated in the busy but beautiful De Pijp area of Amsterdam, the Isis Hypnobirthing studio is a warm oasis of calm. When I arrive for the first class, I am greeted by Inbal who welcomes me serenely and offers me a drink. Instantly I feel myself relaxing and looking forward to learning about childbirth and hypnobirthing from this intriguing lady.
Shortly after I arrive, six pregnant couples join us for the first session of this 4-week course. They are all a little apprehensive, and when questioned, admit to having a variety of emotions including curiosity, worry about complications, and a fear of pain. They all express interest in the idea of a natural, easier birth experience, which they hope the course can help them achieve.
I admit that when I first heard about Hypnobirthing, I thought it was a way to be hypnotised and ‘go away with the fairies’ while my baby was being born! However; as I learned from Inbal, hypnobirthing is just a term used to describe a birth preparation class – one that emphasises a natural positive state of mind and provides practical tools for a birth experience that is aligned with the couples wishes .
...a natural, deep relaxation state paired with selective, focused attention that allows us to settle into the quietness of our being.
After a warm welcome and name round, Inbal introduces us to hypnobirthing and explains that hypnosis in itself is “a natural, deep relaxation state paired with selective, focused attention that allows us to settle into the quietness of our being” – very much like when we read a book or get lost in a movie and our sense of time and place seem to pass by. According to Hypnobirthing theory, this shifted level of awareness allows us to perceive sensations in a more neutral way, placing us in a position to accept and assist the natural orchestration of birth.
Inbal then imparts useful knowledge about the natural physiology and processes of birth and takes us through a guided relaxation. It was a great demonstration of the power of suggestion. She then effortlessly relates this back to the physical birthing process and how our mindset can affect how we experience this primal event.
The evening continues with Inbal gently guiding and informing us about the birthing process and how the deep relaxation state of hypnobirthing can influence this. She helps us practice breathing and relaxation techniques and shows how these physical and mental exercises can improve comfort and wellbeing whilst pregnant, as well as how they can be applied during birth.
Over the next few weeks, Inbal builds on this, combining Hypnobirthing ideals with her other skills in Yoga, Pilates, and Chinese medicine. Her knowledge is enhanced through being the ‘Hypnobirthing Doula’ and she shares her experiences with while providing us with some down-to-earth realistic tools; tools to help create a birthing environment that is calm, serene, and joyful, rather than tense and stressful.
Inbal confidently continues to reassure us that we can, with practice, feel centred in our “own innate ability to give birth, making it so much smoother and easier than you think is possible”. To support us in our hypnobirthing journey, Inbal provides all couples with material to take these practices home, including audio downloads of the guided relaxations and information on medical procedures and how to make informed choices while remaining calm and focused.
As I type this, the couples that attended this course are yet to give birth so I cannot report back on how the Hypnobirthing coaching actually worked for them; however, compared to the first evening they are all visibly more relaxed and comfortable with the idea that birth can be a positive and beautifully grounded experience. One mom-to-be stated she was "beginning to fall in love with the idea of a natural birth", and another found the course gave her lots of tools and confidence and she feels she can do it now. One of the birth partners also thought the course was "very interesting, an eye-opener".
As a mom of 3 girls myself, I wish I had discovered the benefits of Hypnobirthing while I was pregnant as I think it would have added another layer of wonder to my deliveries.
Inbal’s classes will give you something special – a belief and trust in yourself to birth your baby safely, calmly, and positively, wherever and however that birth takes place. Why not make Isis Hypnobirthing a part of your positive birth story?
Note: Isis Hypnobirthing has paid to be featured on Amsterdam Mamas because they believe that their services would be of interest and benefit to our readers, and we think so too. For more information on sponsored posts and advertising on Amsterdam Mamas, please see our Advertising and Disclosure policy.
Becky Riddle is a full-time mom (and self-confessed jack of all trades yet master of none!) who has been living, growing, learning, and loving with her English family of 3 girls and husband in the Netherlands since 2006.
Images used with permission