Why Antenatal Hypnobirthing classes during COVID 19 are so important

Sally Underwoodhypnobirthing, Pregnancy & COVIDLeave a Comment

Being pregnant today is so not like it was 12 months ago! There are suddenly so many challenges – challenges that sometimes seem impossible to overcome. The Covid 19 pandemic looks like it is here to stay for a while. The government has enforced new rules re our freedom and exposure which will hopefully protect us and reduce the incidence of coronavirus spreading across the UK but it is difficult at this stage for any of us to really feel safe and as we probably did last year.  

There is no evidence currently to suggest that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus but pregnant women are included in the list of people considered to be at ‘moderate risk, , as a precaution. Current data indicates that most pregnant women only experience mild or moderate symptoms physically BUT as so many maternity services have been so radically reduced and changed, my fear is that as Pregnant women are currently so exposed and vulnerable, that it is their mental health which will be really suffering, hugely.

Emotions & stress higher in pregnant woman now due to the restrictions in contact with professionals

Feelings and emotions are rife during pregnancy normally – with all the hormonal changes, but with the added stressors caused by self-isolation, isolation from the work place, cancelled antenatal classes, digitalised midwifery appointments, restricted visiting regimes many will not feel able to cope. Pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement – social media will be good at endorsing this BUT if you are the one stuck inside alone feeling nauseous, unsure of all the amazing changes happening to your body as your baby is growing inside you – you will probably be feel rather overwhelmed and alone. 

Current research indicates that most hospital trusts have suspended all face to face antenatal education classes and replaced them with virtual sessions. It seems also that pregnant couples are turning to Audible and podcasts to access pregnancy information. I can’t recommend enough to join a Zoom class taught by a professional midwife or one that is face to face with the proper restrictions in place. You will learn so much more and be able to have all your questions answered so you can feel more at ease during your pregnancy.

I have been a midwife for many years and like to think that l have much experience of the benefits of women interacting during their pregnancies and learning from each other. Nothing beats the whole face to face antenatal training programme – especially if its taught by a midwife! I have recently recommenced running face to face antenatal and hypnobirthing training programmes. I researched this decision and thought that I would start with a small group – within a covid safe environment at the Natural Baby Shower Hub, to check out the vibes. 

We started last Saturday with the first morning workshop and plan to continue this week. It was great fun and I like to think informative. I really enjoy teaching face to face so much more that virtually – although am really trying to embrace zoom on a Monday evening for our weekly sessions. I teach Katharine Graves hypnobirthing which is logical, simple, practical and very effective. It offers a complete antenatal education programme. It makes a difference to your experience of giving birth and most importantly gives you the tools to give your baby the best start in this new way of life.

Get all the facts right before you go into labour – what you need to know in hospital

Our classes will help you cope currently. They will hopefully make you feel more in control of your situation. You will learn about the procedures which are currently routine in hospital and your alternatives, so that you and your partner can make informed decisions with confidence.  Statistics show that the numbers of operative births ie caesarean sections are rising within the UK. There are obviously numerous reasons for this harsh fact.  Caesareans are amazing and life saving for many scenarios but I believe if women were more informed and felt more in control of the whole pregnancy thingy and spent more time getting to work together with their midwife, this number could be well reduced – even during the pandemic – which will unfortunately be here for the next 6 months – at least…..  You will also learn how to relax, to focus and how to breath away stressors. Relaxation is so important. Sometimes we do feel too busy.

Please however, do remember that if believe that you are developing symptoms – ie a high temperature, a new continuous cough or the loss or change to your normal sense of taste or smell that you need to inform your midwife/GP/maternity team and call NHS 111 online service for best advice. This basically following the same course of action as you would do if you have any questions or concerns about you or your baby.

Pregnancy and Infections

Across the world, emerging reports suggest some babies have been born prematurely to women who were very unwell with coronavirus. It is unclear whether coronavirus caused these premature births, or whether it was recommended that their babies were born early for the benefit of the women’s health and to enable them to recover. There are various studies being undertaken by all maternity units and we have a PAN-COVID surveillance programme to monitor pregnancy outcomes You can also ask your maternity team about any local research that is taking place in your area – several units are using apps to report Covid 19 during the pandemic.

Health professionals have known for many years that as pregnancy alters the way women cope with viral infections such as flu, it is really important then to have a flu vaccine – this is possibly more important now!

Visiting during labour and feeling alone – hypnobirthing can help

Visiting is causing much anxiety and debate currently across maternity units nationwide following the governments strict legislation. Most NHS trusts have allowed partners only to visit during established labour. Local trusts have been using discretion for certain women but generally partners  have only been invited to attend the birth of their new babies then asked to leave 4 – 6 hours following.  Things are gradually changing and guidelines adapting though… watch this space. Several London hospitals are reintroducing visiting sessions during the post-natal period this week.

But this is why it is so important to undertake antenatal hypnobirthing classes during this COVID pandemic, because you may be alone more than you would have been, so you need to have learnt how to look after yourself and to be as calm and in control as you can be under these situations. Hypnobirthing helps hugely in managing your focus and staying with your pregnancy.

Mental health once the baby arrives

Families mental health have been affected by missing out on hospital appointments and bonding time when there new born baby arrives. Our new 4th trimester class can help you with this. We understand that becoming a new parent is massive and that you need to plan for the plethora of changes to your ‘routine’ together, having a new baby has. Omg! You will never be the same again – this is a good thing though. Please check out our website for more details. We are currently offering our 4th trimester course as a virtual workshop so that you can interact and learn how to manage with; changes to your sleep, breast feeding, parenting skills and baby blues and covid baby blues……… with me!

Sally Underwood

Midwife & Founder of the UB Academy




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