17 Weeks Pregnant: bump shots and natal hypnotherapy

Baby and Parenting

17 Weeks Pregnant: bump shots and natal hypnotherapy

Baby and Parenting

17 weeks pregnant

So I’ve reached 17 weeks and I’ll be 18 weeks tomorrow! I think these last few weeks it’s all really starting to sink in now. I am feeling slightly panicky when I think that the baby will be arriving in around 5 months, the time just seems to be flying. I’ve been feeling good this week, I did have some morning sickness come up again last weekend but nothing since thankfully. I do feel like I’ve popped even more this week! Just for fun I put this collage together:

10 13 15 and 17 weeks jpg10 / 13 / 15 / 17 weeks pregnant!

I just love this! Especially the fact that I have inadvertently been wearing stripy clothing in every bump shot! It’s also reassuring to see that I am mainly just gaining weight on my bump and not on my face and arms which had been a concern, however I do have a pretty big bump, so god knows how big I’ll be full term! I had a great time being able to catch up with my younger sister at the weekend, she has two boys so is a pro at all of this. She gave me some grow bags – basically baby sleeping bags and a couple of books. I read Minus Nine to One from Jules Oliver in two days:

Jules oliver minus 9 to 1

What a great book! I just adored this, I love Jamie Oliver and reading this made me fall in love with Jules just as much. She was on the same medication as me and had some difficulties conceiving so it was nice to read another persons experience of that. It was also very funny and extremely heart warming as well as having some practical tips. 

Today I’m off to see the midwife, I should have had an appointment last week but with it being a bank holiday it was set back to today. Excited to hear the heart beat! 

Natal Hypnotherapy

Today I thought I’d do a quick recap of my first Natal Hypnotherapy workshop which we attended two weeks ago. Natal Hypnotherapy is very similar to hypnobirthing, but from what our tutor said, natal hypnotherapy seems to be a slightly more down to earth approach. You can find out more on the UK Natal Hypnotherapy website. It was developed in the UK by Maggie Howell and unlike hypnobirthing, was developed alongside the UK maternity system, so words used etc, dovetail with what is commonly said / done in hospitals and by UK midwifes. It’s basically a technique of self hypnosis that has the aim of reducing anxiety and fear of birth, as well as enabling you to have some relaxation techniques that will help you to handle the pain of labour. You can buy CD’s to listen to and books to read, as well as attending workshops with a trained natal hypnotherapy practitioner, as I did.

We had our workshop with Elaine from Fear Free Birthing. I was a bit worried before the session as we had both been sent pre course questionnaires to complete. James just didn’t get the questions at all, and I was a bit concerned that he was going to find the whole thing ridiculous. He was adamant about supporting me in every way possible, so off we went to the class. I certainly needn’t have worried, he was awesome, in fact way better than awesome bless him! There was just us and another couple in the workshop, the other lady was 25 weeks pregnant. It was great to chat to her, and really helpful for me to put things into perspective. She said she used do be really active and do loads of yoga before the pregnancy but hadn’t done a thing since. It reminded me not to be so harsh on myself when all I can manage is 3 workouts a week!

The workshop took place over a morning and we talked about our thoughts on birth and how the natural way of giving birth has become over medicalised. We drew pictures of what a happy labouring mama would look like and be experiencing which really helped us to think about what we wanted to feel when it’s our time to give birth. We discussed the things we can do to create a better more relaxing birthing environment, there was a great example used of women in a tribe in Africa who stayed in the hollow of a baobab tree while they laboured and after they gave birth and how they took everything they needed with them. It really got me thinking about how I’d like to approach the birth and what things I can have around me to feel more relaxed, comfortable and safe, such as music, snacks (obviously), scented oils etc.

Natal hypnotherapy

We also had the opportunity to voice what our fears might be. For me, it’s being forced into having an overly medicalised experience, i.e. a c-section or an epidural. I know that sometimes these things just have to be done, but my fear is that I won’t be listened to by the hospital staff. I also want by baby delivered straight onto my tummy so we can have skin to skin contact as soon as possible. James and I hadn’t really discussed all this in detail, and as he’ll be my only birth partner it was handy to be able to say what things I felt would be the most important to me at a time that I might not be best able to communicate them myself!

My favourite part of the workshop was some of the guided meditations and relaxation techniques. James and I lay next to each other on yoga mats while Elaine talked us through a deep relaxation technique. Then we were able to practice James talking me into the same relaxed state, which worked really well! The final meditation was interesting – James used the relaxation cue on me and then Elaine came and gave me a chinese burn! Not a bad one, but fairly intense and the same length of time as a contraction would be. It felt strange, I could feel it but it didn’t feel like it was happening to me if that makes sense.

We left the workshop with the CD and book and I can’t wait for part two which looks more in detail at the phases of labour. The biggest thing I took away from the workshop was that our body knows exactly how to give birth. It’s in our DNA! Yes sometimes some of us need help, but overall its the most natural thing in the world. Just thinking on that has helped any remaining anxiety about the birth disappear, because I trust my body to successfully carry and birth this baby. I also felt incredibly close to James after the workshop, he seemed to understand a lot more about the experience we’ll be having and I felt extremely confident in his ability to support me though it.

Definitely recommend this to any pregnant ladies out there! 

What are your thoughts on meditation, relaxation and self hypnosis? If you’ve had a baby, have you tried natal hypnotherapy or hypnobirthing?

Edited to add – Just back from my Midwife appointment, peanut has a strong heartbeat indeed and I’m looking super healthy too :-)

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26 Comments

  1. Hayley

    I loved the idea of hypnobirthing but my main go was to relax. I am glad I have tried to stay relaxed as to be honest it’s not just about you and I am most likely going to need a csection and there is nothing I can do about it! Sometimes things don’t quite work out how you think but you just have to roll with it!

    Reply
    • Laura

      I absolutely agree, that was one of the things I liked about the natal hypnotherapy as they try and give you techniques to deal with whatever happens!

      Reply
  2. Bron

    I was really keen to try hypno birthing! But at 28 weeks they found out that Charlie was breech and she never turned so rather than opting to try and turn her manually in the womb (which is pretty high risk) we were booked in for a scheduled c-section. At first I was quite upset and I was sad that I had lost my opportunity for a natural birth etc but I had time to get used to the idea and I particularly liked the fact that we knew the exact date she would arrive in the end! :-) at the end of the day I had a safe birth with excellent doctors and nurses who looked after me amazingly well, a happy and safe baby and my husband by my side. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. I know that for my next baby I am at higher risk for another c-section but you never know what will happen – next time around I don’t think I’ll be quite as focused on the birth itself now I know it’s just the beginning to the whole adventure if that makes sense!! I hope you get the birth experience you want too – and the hypno birthing will be excellent for helping with any stress and fears! Xx

    Reply
    • Laura

      Lovely to hear what a great birth you had! I know I need to be more flexible in my approach and expectations, bottom line is that the baby is born healthy and safely :-)

      Reply
      • Bron

        Well it’s great to know what you want so that hopefully when everything does go to plan you get what you envisioned! Xx

        Reply
  3. Rebecca Appianing

    You are looking fab! The size of your bump will vary depending on position of the baby so don’t worry. I was measuring big with Isaac as he was breech but once he turned at 34 weeks I was measuring fine.
    I can’t recommend hypnobirthing enough. The idea of going through labour had always scared me and I couldn’t bear watching those birthing programmes for all the screaming. I was adamant I didnt want the first noise my baby would hear to be my screams and I wasn’t keen on using drugs either (a bit of a hypocrit as I’m a pharmacist!!) so we did a hypnobirthing course. It’s was great I felt very in control and empowered. My labour was fast (3.5hours) but I remained calm and used the relaxation techniques throughout. I enjoyed the experience and Isaac was welcomed into the world in a calm, quiet and drug free environment.
    I still use the relaxation techniques now and weirdly Isaac calms down when I play the relaxation music I listened to daily while pregnant.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Rebecca! You know I almost started watching one born every minute the other day but now I’m not so sure! I hope I get a fast labour, that sounds great and what a wonderful birth story! You’ve given me a lot of hope there :-)

      Reply
  4. Sarahf

    Your bump is so cute! You definitely look like a lovely pregnant lady now! I love your dress in the last picture, is it a maternity one (what I’m really asking is can I get one similar?!)? Hypnno-birthing sounds really interesting. It’s great that James is so supportive, and that you’re having chances to talk about what you want, he’ll be in a good position to make sure the doctors are doing what you want them to do.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Sarah :-) That dress is just from the normal range at H&M! I thought it was lovely and has a bit of stretch to it :-)

      Reply
  5. Tamzin

    Yay to the bump, you look fab! I had a client that used hypnotherapy and said it was amazing, she had a wonderful birth apparently!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Tamzin! That’s good to know, gives me hope!

      Reply
  6. Cat

    I love your attitude to pregnancy – I hadn’t thought about the skin-to-skin contact thing before, but it seems like something doctors should automatically encourage, rather than whipping the babe off you! The more I learn about childbirth the more important the natural approach seems to be, if possible anyway. I think I’d def give that class a go too!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Cat :-) Yep I think trying to do what you can naturally but not beating yourself up if you can’t is the way to go.

      Reply
  7. Claire @ Flake and Cake

    So interesting on the hypnobirthing and pain – and it must be reassuring that James is able to help you like that at the birth! So nice for him to feel like he is able to do something as well, I’ve heard from a few blokes who felt a bit hopeless.
    You look absolutely amazing Laura, lovely cute bump :)

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Claire! Yep I think it was helpful for James as at least he feels like there is something practical he can do to help me :-)

      Reply
  8. Anna @AnnaTheApple

    I think this approach is really good. At first I was a bit like “hmm this sounds a bit too er quirky for me” BUT you’ve got me thinking. It sounds like a brilliant way to stay calm and relax during labour. Something I’ll definitely consider when I’m pregnant I think. I’d love to have a drug-free birth and that will fully be my intention, just hopefully it works out that way!
    Awww love that Jamie’s wife wrote that book. I love the Olivers. Such a nice couple!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Well this is it, I think James thought it was going to be a bit hippy but it’s not that bad at all. I know the Olivers are just lovely!

      Reply
  9. Christina

    Aww you look amazing! Can’t wait to see you and bump x

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Christina, looking forward to seeing you too!

      Reply
  10. Elaine

    What a great article! Such a lovely surprise to see your blog and hear your positive feedback on FearFreeBirthing – I couldn’t have put it better myself. I love to hear how my clients found the Natal Hypnotherapy workshop – birth partners can often feel a bit uneasy coming to the classes but it’s so great to see them take on board all we teach and things that you want to achieve. It does leave couples feeling so connected and excited about the birth. Just wait until the next part- loads more practice tips and tools for the birth partners to help you during labour!!

    If anyone has any questions about our hypnobirthing with natal hypnotherapy, please do get in touch. We can help all women – no matter how or where you birth (home births, csections, past trauma, water birth, induced, twins etc- the techniques will allow you to acknowledge any fears and deal with each situation calmly and confidently, giving you the best change to have a positive birth experience).
    Thank you so much Laura- your bump is gorgeous! See you for workshop 2 very soon!!!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Elaine! Really looking forward to workshop 2!

      Reply
  11. Maria @ runningcupcake

    Love all the stripy clothes in your photos! I assumed you had done that on purpose but you obviously just love them!
    Glad the appointment went well :)

    Reply
    • Laura

      Haha, I know it’s turning into a stripy obsession I think!

      Reply
  12. Mary

    What a fantastic collage picture. And love that you are always wearing stripes in your pictures! When I have children I intend on photographing every bit of it! You can really spot the changes between weeks in your pictures. I think I would enjoy attending every available class when the time comes, although wouldn’t be too keen on getting a chinese burn! :P
    Jamie and Jools always come across like they have a very strong family unit and I would imagine her book is very interesting to read. Love the name of it!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Mary! Haha the chinese burn wasn’t too bad but I guess that could be from the meditation side of it. I think Jamie and Jools are great role models for a strong family :-)

      Reply

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