Preparing for birth

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A NEW programme is available for expectant couples in Southland which aims to dispel the myths and fears around giving birth.

“We want to make people aware that birth does not have to be scary or frightening, but is a moment to be looked forward to, to be excited about and eagerly anticipated,” Invercargill-based hypnobirthing and childbirth educator Katie Oliver said.

“In no way are we claiming this is pain free for everyone, but most [people who have completed the programme] say they experience discomfort and pressure rather than pain.”

Mrs Oliver is one of four hypnobirthing and childbirth educators now working in Southland. The others are midwives Vivienne Hill, of Riverton, and Jane Douglas, of Winton, and mother Monique Dillon, of Gore.

Hypnobirthing was a structured childbirth education programme which had been taught worldwide for about 25 years, but this was the first time it had been available in Southland, she said.

The programme, which follows the Mongan Method, teaches participants a variety of tools and techniques to reduce the fear often associated with labour, including specialised breathing techniques, instant relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis, positive affirmations of birth and massage techniques to assist labour.

Mrs Oliver said when people were fearful or stressed their muscles tightened, hindering the progress of natural and normal birth.

“The aim is to give the expectant couples the tools and techniques to manage their birth with that ideal outcome to minimise intervention so mum and baby are most comfortable.

“It also aims to give confidence to women birthing in rural areas.”

The skills taught through the programme were life-long skills, which people could use to cope better with life’s stressors, she said.

The programme consisted of two and a half hour weekly classes for five weeks, which could be done one-on-one or in groups depending on the demand, Mrs Oliver said.

The classes were best performed after 18 weeks of pregnancy and were suitable for all expectant parents, from first-time or consecutive births to those who had less than ideal experiences previously, she said.

Course dates for Invercargill: 

November 11, 9.30am – 12pm

November 18, 9.30am – 12pm

November 25, 9.30am – 12pm

December 3, 4.30pm – 7pm

December 9, 9.30am – 12pm

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