Today I'm chatting to Elizabeth a.k.a. The Mummy Coach, a fitness coach for women. I first met Elizabeth just after I'd had my second baby and desperately wanted to get moving again but in a safe and appropriate way postnatally. Elizabeth is down to earth, super knowledgeable and most importantly she "gets it". If you are pregnant or have ever had a baby and want to work with someone who is respectful and educated about pelvic health and exercise, I urge you to have a chat with her!
So Elizabeth what is it that you do?
I’m a fitness coach for women. I particularly love working with women who’ve had babies and feel like they cannot do certain things. I bridge the gap between pelvic health physio and fitness. I have 3 children aged 7, 5 and 7 months. I’m on Instagram as @themummycoach.co.uk
How did you discover hypnobirthing?
It’s something I had heard about before I had my first baby in 2013, but I can’t remember how. I didn’t actually delve into it until I was pregnant with my third baby. My friend was working through a digital pack and I was curious to try it too.
Did you have any preconceptions before you learnt about it?
Both my first and second births had been straightforward and positive, so I guess not a preconception as much as feeling like maybe it wouldn’t really add anything to my birth experience. I was wrong!
How did hypnobirthing help your birth?
A few ways really. First, it helped me to stay relaxed and calm (ish) when I went past my due date. I kept reminding myself that my baby would come when he was ready, which in the end was at 41+2. That felt like a long pregnancy! Second, it helped me to navigate curveballs calmly. On the day I ended up going into labour I’d had a midwife appointment at home. The midwife thought baby had turned and gone breech. I was sent to hospital for a scan. At that point I knew that if he had turned I wouldn’t be having a home birth but a c-section. I initially felt panicky and cried, but then remembered I had already thought through this scenario and could advocate about how I wanted my c-section to be. As it happened, when they scanned my, baby’s head was super low, and a vaginal examination revealed I was 4cm and having tightenings which I couldn’t feel. Finally, I was In. The. Zone! I’d listened to birth affirmation MP3s for relaxation for weeks in the run up to giving birth so when I knew labour was happening I popped my headphones on, went up to my bedroom and listened to these. The affirmations - combined with a lavender and clary sage handkerchief, kept me so calm all the way to transition. It was really quite a bizarre and out of body experience!
What would you say to people considering hypnobirthing?
Give it a go. You’ve nothing to lose. The name is actually pretty deceiving because it’s about knowledge, and knowledge is often power.
What is your favourite positive affirmation?
Ooooh so hard to pick just one!
I loved “My birth partner is by my side and on my side. It reminded me that we were doing this as a team; I wasn’t on my own. He had my back.
What is your number one song choice for your labour playlist?
You know, I didn’t have songs. I just had the affirmations on loop. Baby 2 was a home birth without hypnobirthing and I had Puccini playing the whole time. But this time round I just wanted my affirmations. That said, as I approached transition and things got intense, I didn’t want anything playing.
What are your maternity bag top three essential items?
Ooh good question. I’m going to bend the parameters of the question a little. 1. Prunes/flaxseed/stool softener. Whether c-section or vaginal delivery, you want to avoid straining on the loo. 2. A small stool to put your feet on when you poo. This makes it physiologically easier to go. No straining! 3. A peri-bottle to squeeze water on your vulva when you go to the loo, and so that you don’t have to wipe with tissue. If you delivered vaginally this will feel so much better. If you had a c-section you may be glad not to have to bend and twist to wipe yourself.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Transition, for me, was intense. I was screaming and shouting and begging to go to hospital. Afterwards I felt maybe I’d done hypnobirthing wrong because of how unable I was at that stage to stay focused on my affirmations and keep calm. Hypnobirthing is not something you can do wrong. It’s not something to beat yourself up with, but to open your eyes to all the different decisions and choices you have in birth. And that’s really amazing.