How often to Practice Hypnobirthing

Steph McGee

I’m a Trauma Informed Clinical Hypnotherapist on a mission to help. Hypnosis feels like a magic wand. But in truth? The real magic is you.

As soon as you start Hypnobirthing… Start practising!

Whether you start hypnobirthing by teaching yourself, signing up to my free hypnobirthing or fully investing in my supportive online Autonomous Hypnobirthing course?

You need to do your Hypnobirthing Practice!

… AND YOU NEED A PLAN

The good news?

Hypnobirthing Practice doesn’t have to be perfect!

Because whilst most of us whip ourselves into a frenzy thinking everything has to be perfect? Our Hypnobirthing doesn’t!

The aim of Hypnobirthing is familiarity!

NOT PERFECTION

So just being well practiced & nicely familiar with your hypnobirthing techniques means that in labour? You can do your hypnobirthing easily, automatically, without having to think about it.

And easily!

When should I start practicing hypnobirthing?

Great question. And the annoying answer is…it depends (on how you are going to learn hypnobirthing).

But as a general rule start:

It is never too late to start Hypnobirthing. I’ve been booked to teach from 17 to 41+ weeks!

Can I start hypnobirthing at 37 weeks?

BABE?

You can do what ever you like!

Any hypnobirthing is better than no hypnobirthing. And the Hypnobirthing you learn, might be all you ever need!

This is how late some of you have booked hypnobirthing with me:

  • Starting a 4 week group course at 37 weeks
  • Private classes at 40 weeks
  • One hour master class at 41 weeks
  • From the induction ward!

If you are 37 – 40 week pregnant? Scroll to the bottom of this page for my Tops Tips on starting Hypnobirthing at 37 weeks (plus).

What is Autonomous Hypnobirthing?

Autonomous Hypnobirthing is designed to make Hypnobirthing easy for you. Because while hypnobirthing IS about everything I’ve listed below. Autonomous Hypnobirthing is also about YOU. Because if your hypnobirthing is more about the external than the internal there’s no autonomy and there’s no control.

So you will start building your Hypnobirthing skills, get more confident and feel well prepared from the very first class. We’ll cover everything is your Practice Routine Below. But we’ll cover the internal. The geeky. And the hacks.

Plus you’ll have the reassurance of my full support. Because it’s included in your course!

But practice is important however confident you feel.

So whether you are learning hypnobirthing with me, or are teaching yourself?

How often to practice Hypnobirthing?

It’s up to you. But if you want to be really confident with your Hypnobirthing?

Practice is Key

And building a routine is the secret to success!

Why?

Indecision and procrastination are the fuel of fear. And it leads to even more of the same!

But having a hypnobirthing plan?

Having a hypnobirthing routine?

And sticking to it?

That’s birth confidence in the bag!

So use this hypnobirthing practice routine as a helpful guide. And kick those icky ‘I don’t know where to start’ thoughts to the curb.

Read my blog 9 Ways Anxiety makes you Better at Hypnobirthing if you need inspiration to start.

Sign up for Free Hypnobirthing Tips

Register for free hypnobirthing tips from me – Steph McGee. International Hypnobirthing Teacher. And get invites to free online classes as well!

Your Hypnobirthing Practice Routine:

Daily Hypnobirthing Practice

Hypnobirthing Affirmations

Grab your favourite hypnobirthing affirmations and put them where you’ll see them. Write them on post it notes & put them up around your home. Paint them. Draw them. Print them out. Whatever you like. But get them written down! Pinterest is amazing for affirmations & ideas.

How do you make your affirmations even more effective?  Write your own to reframe your specific worries!

Put them on your fridge, tea cupboard, around your bathroom mirror, create a wall collage or frame them! Put them where you’ll see them – regularly. I put my favourite near the kettle while I waited for it to boil!.

Read them like revision cards if you like.

Either way – your subconscious will start picking up all this birth positivity!

Hypnobirthing MP3s

You can get Hypnobirthing MP3s from:

  • Your Hypnobirthing Course teacher
  • Spotify
  • Freebies on the big brand Hypnobirthing sites
  • Recording your own on your phone with a hypnobirthing script

Use your Hypnobirthing MP3s whilst relaxing.

  • Evening or bedtime. It’s a time of natural wind down and producing the natural sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Whilst pottering around your home is an option for the super stressed or busy.

N.B. Never use relaxation MP3s whilst doing something that requires you full attention.

Hypnobirthing Scripts

Hypnobirthing scripts are a written copy of a Hypnobirthing relaxation.

How to use hypnobirthing scripts:

  • Read it until you are familiar with it then close your eyes and try to imagine seeing it.
  • Have someone read it to you while you relax!
  • Record it yourself. A voice recorder app on your phone will work!

Easiest way to get your practice done:

Decided on specific days and times. And commit to it. Schedule it in and make it routine. e.g. Monday & Tuesday night 7pm or Sundays – straight after a lazy breakfast!

Hypnosis for Birth

Taught by Hypnotherapists and a beautiful part of Autonomous Hypnobirthing. Hypnosis for Birth is the most effective way to positively reframe your thoughts about yourself and birth.

Regular practice will help you become supremely confident in your self-hypnosis for birth. Unlike scripts & MP3s, practice can be as quick or as long as you have time for.

Evening or bedtime practice is easiest.

We are naturally on wind down at bedtime so you’ll be more relaxed and receptive to the positive birth thoughts. And it’a a really positive way to start a nights sleep!

But just like hypnobirthing MP3s & Scripts? When you practice is up to you. Just make yourself comfortable, get ready to switch off & relax!

Up Breathing

Up breathing is a slow breath in through your nose and longer, slower breath out through your mouth. All while thinking Up thoughts!

  • Counting to 5 and 8 or 3 and 5 can help with the timings when you are first learning.
  • Practice for 4 breaths – the length of a surge – then rest just like you will in labour!
  • Or practice for one minute a day to help reduce anxiety levels

Deside on a daily  ‘trigger’  that will remind you to practise your Up Breathing and visualisations.

So whenever you do that specific task? You can automatically do your Up Breathing!

I did mine first thing in the morning before I got out of bed. And I put a shiny little star sticker on my bedside table to remind me! (Then I did it again while I was washing my hair!). And just choose whether you do 4 breaths or a full minute or two.

Alternatives to Up Breathing are:

  • 7/11 breathing, 5/8 breathing or 3/5 breathing
  • Rectangular breathing
  • Golden ribbon Breathing
  • Yogic breathing

Down Breathing

Down breathing is a slow breath in trhough your nose. Followed by a slow breath out of your nose. Simple as that! And think down & open thoughts at the same time. Get some visualisation ideas here.

Down breathing is helpful during the second stage/ down phase of birth. This is when your birthing muscles are moving downwards, pushing your baby down and out.

Like Up Breathing tie your practice into your daily routine. J-breathing is another option to down breathing.

Easiest option  – practice Down breathing on the the toilet. Yes really! When you go to the toilet (to do a poo) relax, breath down, think down. No force or pushing needed. And guess what? Your body works!

This is a real life application of down breathing. And it makes daily practice really easy.

See my down breathing script and simple guide here.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises are recommend whether pregnant or not. Exercise helps to keep the pelvic muscles strong. This helps to maintian continence, sexual function and has been shown to resuce the length of the seond stage of labour.

Find a reminder to link this to. E.g. When you are

    • Sitting still in traffic
    • Waiting at red traffic lights
    • On the bus
    • Watching tv ads between your favourite show
    • Waiting for your morning cuppa to cool down
    • On the school run

Remember to focus on a controlled ‘relax’ as much as the lift!

Weekly Hypnobirthing Practice (1-3 times a week)

Hypnobirthing Anchors

Anchors are massive in Hypnobirthing.

Very simply put – they are the five senses linked to a good memory, experience or sense of self.

Hypnobirthing anchors are the magic star dust in Hypnobirthing and they are everywhere. So however you practice your hypnobirthing, you will always be using anchors. So you can sit back and relax just knowing they are there. Or for best effect, find your hypnobirthing anchor colour with this anchor script and read my Ultimate Guide to Hypnobirthing Anchors here.

Essential oils / scent anchors

Are you planning to use a scent in labour?

Then it’s a no-brainer to build it up as a hypnobirthing anchor!!!

Smell is the fastest working hypnobirthing anchor and IMO – it’s the easiest! So get that oil diffusing! It’s the easist part of Hypnobirthing practice. Once it’s on, you can forget about it while it does its magic!

Light touch Massage

OK, so another one you might need to ‘find’ time for unless your birth partner can do this while you’re working, watching tv, or eating your dinner!!

But this is a simple technique.

Your partner needs to:

    • Place their hands either side of the base of your spine (coccyx)
    • And without touching your spine…
    • Draw their fingertips gently up either side of your spine (it might feel a bit tickly at first!)
    • Loop around at the point of  your shoulders
    • Draw their fingertips back down to the base of your spine
    • And repeat!

Your birth partners hands will be tracking out a heart shape. And it’s bliss on a stick!

Light touch massage helps produce a natural flow of the hormones oxytocin and endorphins.

Perineal Massage

Perineal massage helps to soften and prepare the perineum and increase the chance of a tear free birth.

Best practised 2-3 times a week (I practiced daily and noticed a significant difference in just two weeks).

Start perineal massage from 34 weeks when your body starts producing the hormone relaxin. I don’t recommend starting too early incase you get bored and stop…your perineum will firm back up!

This NHS guide is helpful.

As & When Practice

Positive Birth Stories

Whenever you’re scrolling or wandering the internet. Look up good birth stories! Positive Birth Movement & Tell Me a Good Birth Story have loads. And read my clients Positive Hypnobirthing Stories here.

Positive Birth Films

Youtube is fabulous. Mainstream tv fills our minds with birth drama so balance things back up with some good birth films. Daisy’s birth is my all time favourite. And you’ll find plenty of fabulous hospital hypnobirths on youtube too!

Positions for Labour

When it comes to birth positions? Trusting your instints is key (rather than the dramas you’ve seen on tv).

Birth is most efficient in upright positions with gravity working on your side. Think Upright Forward and Open – UFO. 

And weird as it may sound? Thinking about and practicing birth positions is smart.

Just a little bit of practice can grow your confidence in your positioning. And by practising your hypnosis/MP3s while practicing your comfortable position will help you to relax into your hypnobirthing for real on the day. You position is another hypnobirthing anchor babe!

Relaxation Scripts – somewhere else

Similar to positioning but:

You might not spend your labour in bed. But if bed is the only place you have done your hypnobirthing practice? That’s where your pattern match will be.

So practise your relaxation scripts somewhere else. Like sitting in a chair, lying on the sofa, doing a bit of housework/admin or walking in the park. Anywhere that’s safe if you go into a daydream. So never do this whilst driving!

If you can’t do this – Relax. It’s NOT a deal breaker for a good birth!

Make a Birth Plan

Think about how many births a midwife attends each day, week, month. Everyone one of those parents is different. And without a birth plan your midwife has no idea who you are or what you want.

So write down your thoughts and preferences for birth:

  • What you do want
  • What you don’t want is key
  • Bullet point it
  • Keep it to one page if you can or write PTO at the bottom!
  • Take your time. And feel free to amend it!

Writing birth preferences that your midwife/OB can read easily – benefits you most.

Positive Affirmation MP3

I love these. An extra layer of positivity & confidence to reframe fears.

Not strictly a relaxation track but I still wouldn’t use whilst driving!

Use an affirmation MP3 just the same way you use your relaxation tracks. At bedtime or whilst pottering about.

Fear release MP3s

Be careful with these. Depending on the fear release script you;ve been given it may use direct suggestion instead of indirect. Direct suggestion can be triggering if you have experienced trauma or have fears that are are more than mild concerns. So speak to your hypnobirthing teacher if you have any questions.

Autonomous Hypnobirthing uses lots of confidence building and only gentle indirect fear release. But if you are not working with me, I recommend reading the MP3 scripts first, to see if you like it.

Use hypnobirthing fear release MP3s when you want to ‘let go’ of uncessary & unwanted thoughts.

How often to practice at 37 weeks (when your only just starting)

If you’re 37 weeks and have only just heard of hypnobirthing. You’re not alone!

You have time to book a course. But don’t delay and don’t dither.

If you want to work with me? We will prioritise whats most important to you. In whatever time we have. Working with me is like passing the buck (in a good way!).

But if you want to teach yourself hypnobirthing at 37-40weeks?

And this especially applies to you at 40 weeks!

Don’t get bogged or over whelmed.

Hypnobirthing is like a shining beacon of hope. So just be pleased you found it!

Focus on practising

  • One Up breathing (or surge breathing) technique
  • One Down breathing (or J-breathing) technique
  • One good quality BIRTHY Hypnobirthing Script or MP3 (Yes just one – don’t be fooled by the fools telling you to use 10 – thats an amazing bit of neuroscience for a different blog!)
  • Three Affirmations – my faves are Birth comes naturally to me, I am Huge and I Control what I can & I let go of what I cant.
  • And gem up your general birth knowledge. Just knowing the ‘how’ of birth is a huge eye opener

When?

Every day!

Hypnobirthing should never feel like work. So if it doesn’t feel like self care or a spa day you’re doing something wrong.

Use the tips above to get your practice started and your plan in place.

And book a 30 min or 60 min one to one with me if you need help.

It’s astonishing how much we can cover in a short space of time!

Now you know how often of practice your Hypnobirthing!

And it feels good right?

The overwhelm and the pressure has lifted.

And you have a plan.

Whether you’ve mapped your hypnobirthing out. Made a hypnobirthing to-do-list. Or cherry picked your faves to prioritise.

Having a plan feels GOOD

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