If you’re anything like me, then the start of your pregnancy probably went a bit like this:
- Peed on a stick and saw a second line.
- Cried with joy (or maybe fear, excitement, relief or any number of other emotions)
- Confirmed aforementioned line with your 2894 closest online friends – most likely in a pregnancy / parenting group.
- Then you took one of the tests which comes up with the word ‘pregnant’ just to be really sure!
- Then you booked in with your local midwifery team and can’t wait for your first appointment at around 8-9 weeks. In the meantime, you plan in your mind the low intervention, midwife led birth that you desire. Images of calm breathing, birth pools and fairy lights come to mind…
(For the record, no, you’re not alone in doing all of this!)
Then your appointment rolls around after a hazy few weeks tinged with nausea, exhaustion and secrecy. Your midwife asks the relevant questions and you dutifully answer, and then you notice it.
Right there in the ‘High Risk’ box….
Well what the heck does that mean?! That there’s something wrong with you or your baby? That it’s time to panic? That your pregnancy is going to be out of your hands now, right? You’ll have a consultant telling you what you can and can’t do, extra tests booked in, and no say in how, when or where baby is born? There’s definitely no point booking onto that hypnobirthing course your friend recommended now is there!
You’re actually as in control as ever, and by that I mean that EVERYTHING is still your choice. YOU do the allowing, nobody else.
Firstly it’s important that you get clear with your midwife about WHY you have been labelled as high risk, and establish the true risk involved – is it that your BMI is a point over your hospitals threshold, or is it that you are pregnant with triplets who’s growth is not evenly divided? Do you have PCOS, or do you struggle with managing your diabetes even when not pregnant? What I am saying is that the reasons for being ‘high risk’ can vary hugely – the term encompasses everything outside of a ‘completely normal, healthy pregnancy’, and sometimes the risk may be lower than you’d first think when you see that tick. The terminology puts us straight into feeling like we are rolling a dice with our baby’s health and can make us doubt our ability to know what’s best for ourselves and our babies, but let’s face it – risk is all around us and we manage it brilliantly on the regular. Each time we cook dinner, cross the road, travel or allow our kids to go to nursery, or play in the park for example, we look at the info available to us, assess the risk, and plan from there. Why is pregnancy any different? (I’ll give you a clue: it’s not!)
You are an intelligent adult, who loves your baby more than any midwife or obstetrician you’ll meet during this pregnancy does – you aren’t going to make choices which feel unsafe for them! You are capable of looking at the facts, asking questions and making an informed decision, one that feels best for your family in your unique circumstances! Different people may assess risk differently, that doesn’t make one person right and another wrong, it’s just that there are rarely such clear cut answers!
So, can you have a hypnobirth if you’re high risk? Of course you can, I’d actually go as far as to say it is more important than ever to turn your ‘high risk pregnancy’ into a hypnobirth! You’re likely to need to make more, or bigger, decisions about your care (we have a session of the course dedicated to helping make decisions!), maybe you will feel safer to give birth somewhere which isn’t your preference in other circumstances (you’d learn how to help blur the lines on a course, as well as how to cultivate inner calm in ANY scenario) or perhaps it’ll feel right to make choices outside of standard hospital policy and you want to feel empowered to make those choices with confidence. Whatever your situation looks like, hypnobirthing will help!
It doesn’t mean having a certain type of birth (especially if your expectation is the common one of a hypnobirth being a drug free, home birth, water birth, no intervention etc etc), but it means you are supported, informed, confident in breaking down information, aware of how to build an optimal birthing environment in any location, and capable of making tough decisions if it becomes necessary.
With hypnobirthing on your side, your high risk pregnancy and birth are far more likely to be calm, positive and empowered. To find out more about what we cover on our courses have a look here. Or to grab you space now you’ll find Group Courses and Private Courses available with either myself or Chloe.
If you’d like to read about just how amazing a high risk hypnobirth can feel why not check out this recent blog post – Welcoming Blake.