1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. The term ‘miscarriage’ is the loss of a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy and covers everything from ‘chemical pregnancy’ which occurs before the 6th week of pregnancy (I am really not a fan of this term at all), an ‘early’ miscarriage in the first 12 weeks, and ‘late’ miscarriage up to 24 weeks – after 24 weeks the loss of a baby is considered a stillbirth. The word ‘miscarriage’ in itself doesn’t do justice for the feelings that can be brought about by experiencing loss, and these feelings may be different in different people but they are all totally valid. Navigating pregnancy after miscarriage can be challenging and sometimes parents expecting after miscarriage can find it difficult to attend general antenatal classes, or connect with other expectant parents who have not been through the same experiences.
So, in this blog I’ll be looking at how tailored hypnobirthing classes can be supportive in pregnancy after miscarriage and help you to have the most positive birth experience possible for you and your baby.
My Experience of Pregnancy after Miscarriage
Being pregnant again after miscarriage brings along a host of additional challenges. For me, Sophia had been my first baby, and so I felt robbed of ever being able to experience a ‘normal’ and carefree pregnancy after she died. I was petrified when I found out I was pregnant the second time which also sadly ended in miscarriage, and once the 3rd time came around I was just a bag of anxiety. I heavily relied on early reassurance scans, although that was always only short lived before the anxiety started up again.
Being able to find little coping mechanisms really helped me, and one of these was hypnobirthing. It gave me something else to try and focus on rather than just the anxiety. Not only did it help me to have a more positive birth experience with Emily, but it also enabled me to find pockets of calm whilst I was still pregnant. I found it a relief to have moments where I could feel completely relaxed, and relaxation audios/scripts really helped with this. It also taught me a lot that I did not know about birth.
Understandably when I had Sophia I had been fighting against what was happening to my body when I was giving birth to her, but when it came to having Emily I learnt how important it was to understand what was actually happening to my body – something I had no clue about with Sophia, and that definitely made my experience with her more painful.
I know at the time I was pregnant with Emily, all I could think was I just needed her here safely in my arms and nothing else mattered. Actually, what I didn’t realise is that how I felt about her birth was also extremely important because that too would have an impact on me for the rest of my life.
5 Ways Hypnobirthing Can Support You in Pregnancy After Miscarriage
So what are the ways in which hypnobirthing can actually support your journey through pregnancy after miscarriage? Well, there a mixture of tools, techniques and learning opportunities to help prepare you for the birth of your rainbow baby, including:
- Relaxation scripts – Really useful in helping you learn to take moments of relaxation, and I personally found them invaluable for stealing those moments of peace and calm away from my pregnancy anxiety. My favourite time to listen to them was in the bath, where I would sometimes feel so relaxed that I’d fall asleep. There are lots of different relaxation scripts and partners can read them to you too – often their voices are soothing and familiar.
- Positive affirmations – Positive statements that you can use and repeat to yourself often. The purpose is to challenge some of the beliefs or thoughts you may hold, and develop these into something more positive. There are affirmations that can be used in pregnancy after miscarriage that don’t undermine past experiences, but that can help you to focus on the day and moment in hand to help you keep hope.
- Anatomy & physiology of birth – If you have not attended any previous antenatal classes then this actually can be really vital in helping create a more positive birth experience. Just by knowing and understanding what happens in your body during labour and birth can really help with feeling more in control of what is happening. In many antenatal classes you don’t learn how birth is actually facilitated by the body, and by having this knowledge you can learn what you can do to positively support your body through the birthing process.
- Interventions, your options & rights – It can be very empowering and help with confidence and feelings of being in control, to understand some of the different interventions you may be offered. This includes identifying the benefits and risks, and how to make decisions that are best for you and your baby. You always have a right to decline an intervention, but without being equipped with all of this information it can be very challenging to make an informed choice either way. After previously losing a baby this can be a very difficult area to navigate through and there is no right or wrong answer, but knowledge is power and will help you to more confidently make the decisions that are right for you and your rainbow baby.
- Birth partners – Often birth partners can feel so helpless and are not sure how best to help. The birth of a rainbow baby is very special and so we look at the different ways a birth partner can support the birthing person. No matter how, or where the birth takes place there are lots of things the birth partner can do to provide comfort and helpful support.
What to Consider When Choosing Hypnobirthing Classes for Pregnancy After Miscarriage
I would say it is important to bear in mind that the language in hypnobirthing can sometimes be triggering in pregnancy after miscarriage, so make sure you have had a chat with the course teacher to ensure it will meet your needs. It is important that language is sensitive and suitable for where you are in your journey and therefore the course provider needs to be able to tailor their classes to work for you.
Every hypnobirthing teacher is different, so don’t be afraid to make contact and have a chat to see if they seem like the right fit for you. If they are not, then there will be others who will be!
Quite a few hypnobirthing teachers offer ongoing support by phone, email or message after the course has finished and this could be something that would be beneficial. It can be especially useful if you have a subsequent appointment that causes you anxiety, or are just having a challenging day and feel you need to be able to reach out to someone who you are familiar with and who can understand how you might be feeling.
Pregnancy after miscarriage can be a very challenging experience, but proper antenatal care is so important and this includes the education and support that can be offered through antenatal classes. Tailored hypnobirthing classes really can deliver the vital birth education, relaxation and fear release techniques in a supportive and comforting way to help you prepare for the birth of your baby.
I do also offer a hypnobirthing course just for pregnancy after miscarriage and stillbirth, and I always tailor it to suit the needs of individual parents. If this is something you feel may be beneficial for you, then do take a look and don’t hesitate to contact me for more information, or an informal chat.