Feature: ‘A painless labour is possible’

A mother-of-two who gave birth to her son with no pain relief thanks to hypnobirthing has become a practitioner so that she can share the phenomenon with other women.

Thursday, 15th October 2015, 4:28 pm
Chad and Emma Harwood-Jones with their second son Freddie, now two, who was born using the Marie F. Mongan hypnobirthing technique

Emma Harwood-Jones, 37, set up Together Birthing at the beginning of this year and now teaches five-week group courses on the Mongan method – championed by hypnobirthing pioneer Marie F Mongan – in Berkhamsted, Watford, Leighton Buzzard and Chesham.

Emma, who lives in Gravel Path, Berkhamsted, first looked into the alternative birth education programme after she went through a ‘traumatic’ emergency caesarean with her first son Jack, now four.

The experience left her feeling anxious when expecting her second child Freddie, now two, and she also wanted her husband Chad to be more involved in welcoming their child into the world.

Emma Harwood-Jones with her husband Chad and their two sons, four-year-old Jack and Freddie, two

She said: “I remember going to pre-natal yoga classes and when the teacher started talking about the process of giving birth my whole body tensed up.

“I’d heard about the benefits of hypnobirthing so I decided to give it a try, and it helped release me from my fear.

“Under hypnosis you can reach the sub-conscious mind and release any negative thoughts or feelings about birth.”

Emma says hypnobirthing enables the woman in labour to ‘manage the sensations’ – otherwise known as contractions – and relax, which releases oxytocin and endorphins into the bloodstream – the body’s natural tranquilizer and painkiller.

Emma Harwood-Jones with her son Jack, now four, who was born after a traumatic C-section

She said: “When you are in pain you release adrenaline and all your muscles tense up. Your arteries constrict and the blood flow is directed to your arms and legs – away from the womb, where it is needed most.

“Giving birth is a natural process and when you trust your body to fuction as nature intended, you use less energy and bond with your baby.”

Fathers-to-be are fully included in the process by learning how to massage their partner, whereas Emma says that they can traditionally feel left out and distressed seeing the woman in pain.

Another method used is ‘breathing the baby out’, instead of the traditional pushing used to get baby to travel down the birth canal.

This gentle action causes less distress to the baby, and Emma says it’s quite common for the infants to be born without any screaming, crying or medical intervention.

Emma, a former property surveyor, said: “I’ve had two very different birth experiences; the first was excruciating and I felt like I couldn’t handle it.

“But with hypnobirthing, I felt euphoric. It was very empowering and I felt like I was in control the whole time.

“It was such a positive experience and I wanted to share it with other couples, or at least enable them to have the choice.”

As well as group classes, Emma teaches couples in their own homes in Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Bovingdon and Tring, as well as travelling as far out as North London, Rickmansworth, Luton and Aylesbury.

For more information, visit www.togetherbirthing.com, email [email protected] or call Emma on 07738 328105.