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Making your Caesarean Birth Special - Using Hypnobirthing Techniques and Birth Planning

A question I am often asked in antenatal classes is "can hypnobirthing techniques be used for a caesarean birth?" The answer is a resounding yes!

First, let's delve into some background information about caesarean births, and then we'll discuss ways to personalise them. And always remember, regardless of the way you meet your baby, birth is a miraculous event!

First and foremost, it's important to understand that caesarean births typically fall into two main categories:

  1. Planned or elective cesarean: In this scenario, the decision to undergo a caesarean birth is made in advance. This allows expecting parents the opportunity to meet with their obstetrician and anesthetist beforehand to discuss the birthing process.

  2. Unplanned or in-labour caesarean (often referred to as an emergency cesarean): This type of caesarean may occur either during labour or before labour begins, typically due to unforeseen medical circumstances.

It's essential to clarify that the term "emergency" doesn't always imply a frantic rush to the operating room with flashing lights. While some caesarean births may indeed require urgent intervention, many unfold in a controlled manner. Some individuals find it helpful to categorise caesareans as planned or unplanned rather than using the term "emergency," as the latter can carry a misleading connotation.

So, can I use hypnobirthing techniques if I am planning a caesarean?

Absolutely! Hypnobirthing techniques can still be beneficial even if you're planning a caesarean birth. Typically, when we think of hypnosis in childbirth, we envision a woman labouring in a birth pool or leaning over a birth ball, her eyes closed, her mind focused on utilising the techniques she's learned to cultivate calmness, control, and reduce anxiety about the birthing process. However, when facing a caesarean birth, it's essential to adapt these techniques to create a similar sense of serenity within the confines of an operating theatre.

Hypnobirthing primarily involves teaching you how to manage your thoughts and reframe your perceptions about childbirth. It's about learning to quiet the mind, halt the rush of negative thoughts, and achieve physical and mental relaxation.

For many mums, undergoing a caesarean birth may mark their first experience of surgery within a hospital setting. The environment of an operating theatre can be intimidating, with unfamiliar sounds and equipment, making it challenging to remain calm amid nervous anticipation.Transitioning from labouring in a softly lit room to the starkness of an operating theatre, surrounded by medical personnel, can be overwhelming. Therefore, adapting hypnobirthing techniques becomes crucial in maintaining a sense of calmness and control during a caesarean birth.

As part of The Complete Birth Prep, I cover how hypnobirthing can help with a caesarean birth and can provide you with specific caesarean birth hypnobirthing scripts. The Birth Stories on my website from mums who attended my courses, show you just how useful hypnobirthing can be in surgery.

What can you do then ...

  • Prepare affirmations in advance if you're anticipating a planned caesarean, focusing on reframing any negative thoughts surrounding a more medicalised birth.

  • Engage with hypnobirthing tracks tailored to caesarean births in the weeks leading up to birth, allowing your subconscious to adopt new beliefs and feelings about the birthing process, emphasising the positivity of safely birthing your baby via caesarean.

  • Utilise breathing techniques to maintain calmness while being prepared for surgery and throughout the procedure.

  • Listen to hypnobirthing tracks or soothing music associated with relaxation during the birthing experience.

  • Incorporate visualisation techniques to promote calmness during the birth or preparation for surgery.

  • Consider receiving hand massages, which can be particularly beneficial, and use massage techniques while awaiting your appointment.

  • Educate yourself about the birthing process to alleviate fears by understanding what to expect during the procedure.

  • If you've been practicing hypnobirthing skills during labour and need to transition to the operating theatre, continue using them. For planned caesarean births, explore the option of hypnosis scripts tailored specifically to prepare you for birth.

Should I birth plan for a caesarean birth?

Absolutely! There are several options you can explore to ensure that your birth experience remains as special and personalised as possible, even within a medicalised environment. If you're scheduled for a planned caesarean, you typically have the opportunity to discuss your preferences with your care team beforehand. However, even if you're planning for a vaginal birth, it's wise to consider outlining some preferences for a caesarean birth just in case it becomes necessary.

Here are some ideas for a caesarean birth plan:

  1. Would you like a running commentary from the theatre staff about the progress of the birth?

  2. Do you wish to have music playing in the background to aid relaxation? You might consider creating a playlist or listening to music associated with your hypnosis track.

  3. Do you prefer to discover the sex of your baby yourself or have your care team inform you?

  4. Would you like to witness the birth of your baby using mirrors or have the screen lowered for a clearer view?

  5. Are you interested in having skin-to-skin contact with your baby in the theatre?

  6. Do you prefer optimal cord clamping if feasible, or would you like your partner to cut the cord (subject to the Drs being happy with that)?

  7. In the event that your baby needs to be taken to the special care unit (not always the case), would you like your birth partner to remain with you in the theatre or accompany your baby?

  8. Since most caesarean births are performed under epidural or spinal anesthesia, in the rare instance of general anesthesia being necessary, would you like to have photographs taken of your baby at birth or with your partner as you recover from the procedure? This can help piece together a timeline of events during your period of unconsciousness.

How I can help you prepare for your caesarean birth?

As an autonomous hypnobirthing practitioner, I am not tied to any specific hypnobirthing program that mandates delivering predetermined scripts, requiring parents to conform to them. Instead, we collaborate, and I tailor scripts exclusively for you and your caesarean birth.

Additionally, within my Complete Birth Preparation Package, I provide antenatal education covering caesarean birth and post-operative recovery.

I hope this overview demonstrates how hypnobirthing techniques can be adapted for a caesarean birth and underscores the importance of discussing your preferences with your midwife and care team. Consider joining me and others for an in-person antenatal course in Livingston, West Lothian or Larbert, Stirlingshire, where caesarean birth is thoroughly covered to ensure you're fully prepared for any eventuality in your birthing journey.

If you have any questions about this information or would like assistance in preparing for your birth, please don't hesitate to reach out.






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