I have been sharing HypnoBirthing since the beginning of 2009 and have seen perception and awareness of it grow and change in the nine years since then. There are a few different "brands" of using hypnosis for birth and lots of people claiming they offer 'hypnobirthing' now that it has increased in awareness - there' s no regulations so it's important you research who you choose to work with at this important chapter in your life. I believe it's important to work with the person in front of me and so bring my experience as a doula, clinical hypnotherapist, CBT counsellor, mindfulness coach and aromatherapist to offer a truly holistic antenatal preparation course.
I was thrilled to be commissioned to write 'Why Hypnobirthing Matters' for the highly respected publishers Pinter and Martin. They have a reputation for bringing clear thinking to complex subjects, and with a wide range of thought-provoking titles the Why It Matters series is fast becoming an invaluable guide to the ins-and-outs of modern parenting.
In 'Why Hypnobirthing Matters" I explain the origins and rationale for using hypnosis for childbirth, what you can expect from hypnobirthing and dispel common misunderstandings in a lively, informative way. It gives readers a firm framework from which to make confident, informed decisions of their own and illustrates Why Hypnobirthing Matters. Ideal for new parents, health professionals and all those with an interest in birth and parenting.
You can buy it now from the publisher, from Amazon or on your Kindle. If you join a hypnobirthing course with me you'll receive a copy as soon as you book your course.
If you're a health professional or generally enjoy a podcast you might like to have a listen to The Midwifery Podcast where you'll hear myself and London midwives Kate and Nissa discuss how birth professionals and hypnobirthing parents and teachers can help each other.
What is hypnobirthing?
Sometimes it’s easier to say what hypnobirthing ISN’T!
it isn’t just relaxation.
It isn’t just about natural birth.
It isn’t woo woo, hippy trippy nonsense.
It IS grounded in science - you will gain an understanding of how the birthing muscles and hormones work in perfect harmony - as they were designed to - when your body is sufficiently relaxed and you trust birth.
It IS rational - you will discover how what's happening in your mind affects the physiology of your bodiy; and how to train that human mind of yours to work FOR you.
It IS for EVERY kind of birth experience - understanding your options opens them up. Making decisions based on intuitive intelligence means a calm, confident birth wherever and whenever.
It IS MORE than just for birth - this conversation, these skills we practice; it’s for mums and dads, it’s for all of us to use in life, work, play, the challenges and the opportunities in life
It IS using hypnotic tools - hence the HYPNO of hypnobirthing. This preparation goes much further than other antenatal preparation precisely because of the use of hypnosis. We work with both the conscious and the unconscious parts of the mind.
I’m a geek for the why of things and I appreciate you may be too. IYou can expect me to talk about neuroplasticity and all the latest understandings of how the mind and body work. You can expect me, however, to also talk about lunar cycles and channeling goddesses; I’ll probably mention how my grandmother was a witch and how women are like wolves too!
"I'm really glad I did the HypnoBirthing course. It's not rocket science, in fact it's all pretty much common sense, but as with many similar life-changing processes it really helps to talk through the subject thoroughly with someone who has the time. Having done the course, I genuinely feel no fear or panic in the run up to the birth, and I also feel very well informed, which considering I was completely clueless when the pregnancy test came out positive, is impressive. It was interesting to compare myself with some other mothers-to-be recently. Many of them were booked in for cesareans or thought I was mad for putting myself in a drug-free environment, and I felt rather sorry for them, and definitely sure that my way is the best choice for me."
What do I get?
You will share twelve hours with me and a small group of like minded expectant parents. 12 hours packed with
For an overview of what we'll cover in each session take a look here. Sessions are very much led by the group discussions but this will give you an idea of the least we'll discuss and practice.
Plus you’ll receive
I can provide additional recordings and hypnosis sessions if you have specific requirements, I have a range of aromatherapy products for pregnancy and labour and you'll never be short of reading material and useful information! As a clinical hypnotherapist, aromatherapist and doula I bring the wealth of this experience to our relationship which enable me to address all manner of questions and concerns. I do my utmost to ensure that each and every couple leaves the course feeling empowered, inspired, calm and confident.
Who is HypnoBirthing suitable for?
It’s for everyone! Seriously whether this is your first or sixth baby, it helps women who are scared of birth because they've never done it before, who are anxious because of a bad experience last time, or who just want a calmer, easier, more natural birth experience. We all bring the benefits and wisdom of previous experiences, and the baggage and beliefs that come from previous experiences too. Hypnobirthing is a chance to explore what our minds are saying to us and how our bodies are responding.
It doesn’t require any particular belief system, or prior experience. I have worked with women with IVF pregnancy, placenta praevia, obstetric cholestasis, gestational diabetes, "advanced maternal age" (drives me mad that expression!) and all manner of circumstances. Every woman's pregnancy and birth is unique and this approach helps everyone.
Hypnobirthing is not about a particular kind of birth, it’s about a particular kind of woman approaching birth. A strong, determined woman making good decisions for her and her child; not based on fear but information and instinct.
It's really funny how pregnancy throws curveballs at you. When you had previously read us those lovely stories of how hypnobirthing had worked for some couples either through adversity or just as a tool for birth, I genuinely couldn't imagine us being in a situation where hypnosis would be *so* helpful. We now have a renewed belief and understanding of how hypnobirthing can help a very hospital related experience. The confidence and belief and element of control over the situation is hugely beneficial."
Do dads come too?
Absolutely. Everything we discuss throughout the course is relevant to every single one of us, whether pregnant or not (perineal massage may be an exception to this, although partners can help with this too!). Learning how to calm your nervous system, to ground your emotions and to integrate a helpful way of thinking are life skills for every single one of us. I have many partners tell me they're using the philosophy and techniques which have helped them work more effectively, sleep better and even pass driving tests!
Having a supportive partner who understands what helps and hinders the birth process and is confident in their role to support birth is integral to a positive birth experience which is why I have hypnosis sessions specifically recorded for expectant and new fathers. I find that some men beginning the course with me may not be quite sure why they’re there or indeed what they’re coming to. It’s these very same people who by the end of the course are driving everybody around them crazy as they extol the merits of hypnobirthing.
"Hypnobirthing didn’t just change everything for us as a couple, it changed everything for me when it came to being a birth partner. We genuinely had a lovely day during our birth and that was because we felt in control and ready in a way we never would have done if we’d not embraced hypnobirthing and gone into it thinking “we can do this”.
You do need to work at it – it’s not enough to just read the book, you literally need to give your birth some thought – but for us giving birth was genuinely a day that wasn’t just great because we had our lovely son, it was also a really interesting experience to go through that even contained some proper laughs. And I think that if you spend your day feeling like you can have a giggle when you’re having a baby then you’re probably doing okay…
What if I'm on my own?
You might be surprised how many women come on their own to the course for all sorts of reasons. Some are single parents, some partners can’t make it, we all have our stories don’t we? Some might decide to bring a friend, doula or mum, someone who will be there to support them during the birth; and some come along on their own - you’re the one doing this after all!
If you're doing the course on your own please don’t feel conspicuous, the sessions are small, friendly, informal gatherings and there's a special flying solo rate too - contact me for more info!
Do I need to do NCT classes as well as HypnoBirthing?
No. HypnoBirthing with Katrina Berry is a complete antenatal course, the one post-natal aspect I don't cover is parentcraft (changing nappies, bathing a baby etc) which is covered in the free NHS antenatal course offered by hospitals.
Most people I meet tell me they've booked NCT classes for the "social aspect" and to meet other parents to be. Did you know you don't have to do the antenatal course with the NCT to join their social groups? Membership of the NCT costs £40 and plugs you into the bump and baby/coffee morning/due date groups without having to pay for and do the antenatal course.
Did you also know that Hackney has one of the highest birth rates in Europe? Trust me, there is no shortage of support groups and other new parents around! When you book HypnoBirthing you know that the others on the course will have a similar approach to life as you and you’re likely to get on
""We went for dinner with some friends last night- another couple whose baby is due 11 days after mine. The mother to be talked of how she was avoiding looking into birth options and admitted that anxiety was beginning to seep in to her consciousness and she knew she would have to face it at some point. She is going to NCT classes but I know now, after having been to both, NCT was interesting but it would NOT have helped us prepare anything like in the way you have. I just tell anyone and everyone now - hypnobirthing is the way forward! I also know that we were very lucky in having you as our teacher though - that makes a big difference too."
When's the best time to do hypnobirthing?
I'm a strong believer in doing the course early so you have plenty of time to absorb the information and for it to become second nature rather than to have it fresh in your mind. I always recommend starting sooner rather than later if at all possible. Hypnobirthing is about so much more than the day your baby is born, the approach and techniques we share will help you enjoy your pregnancy all the more and I'm regularly told how much it's helped both mum and dad sleep, work and live better. Once you're also conscious of the fact that this is YOUR birth, YOUR baby and YOUR body and that you have many options and all decisions are yours to make it opens up possibilities you may not yet be aware of.
So starting sooner means a more enjoyable pregnancy and plenty of time of practice and absorb - key with hypnosis training. It also allows you to be aware of your options and start putting in place what will best help you through birth and beyond. All of this takes time.
Having said that, I had one couple who gave birth after attending just the first of four classes and told me how helpful it had been (!), so the real answer is that hypnobirthing always helps, but you do run the risk if you leave it too late that the baby will arrive first, and then you'll wish you had done it sooner. It's worth also mentioning energy levels. It's that much more challenging to attend classes, particularly evening ones) when you're heavily pregnant and feeling more tired and wanting to retreat - worth bearing in mind.
Where and when are the courses?
I now exclusively share hypnobirthing in small groups at THE WELL GARDEN in Hackney. Having made my home here, together we have (quite literally) built the perfect space for us to explore this chapter in life in comfort. Think Roman lounging den with soft lighting, plenty of cushions, lots of herbal teas, home-made snacks (along with chocolate biscuits obvs). Birth balls, cushions, bolsters and yoga mats encourage you to create your own little den as you take time out from everyday life to focus and explore this new chapter in life. "I could literally give birth here!" has been said on more than one occasion during a session!
Pregnancy is a very personal experience, we all have a unique human mind and one of the main reasons why I created this comfy, safe space is so that you can unlock this philosophy and approach for yourself. The smaller groups I host ensure you have individual attention and I can be sure your questions and concerns are addressed whilst you also get to meet other local parents to be.
"Classes are packed with useful practical and myth-busting information. Even coming at the end of busy working days they flew past and left me looking forward to the next one. The group setting is just right - not too big and not too small. The classes left me looking forward to the birth of my baby with much less fear and anxiety than before and with a sense of anticipation, excitement, curiosity and confidence that I and my husband will face the unfolding of this birthing adventure with an open and calm mind."
Small group courses
You can join a small group of parents-to-be for the course. Groups are kept small to ensure conversation and a tailored approach. Courses are popular so please book as soon as possible when you find the dates that suit you best.
This website is kept up to date on a daily basis so unless it says FULLY BOOKED next to dates you want, rest assured there's space and book your place!
If your baby's likely to arrive before the next available class please do contact me to look into the possibility of doing some sessions privately.
The next courses held at THE WELL GARDEN, Hackney Downs Studios, E8 are:
Four weekly sessions of approx three hours each:
Sundays April 29, May 6th, 13th and 20th, 3pm - 6pm - ONE PLACE LEFT book online here
Wednesdays May 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, 7pm - 10pm - ONE PLACE LEFT book online here
Wednesdays June 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th, 7pm - 10pm - book online here
Sundays June 17th, 24th - break - July 8th and 15th, 3pm - 6pm - book online here
Mondays June 25th, July 2nd, 9th and 16th, 7pm - 10pm - book online here
Wednesdays July 11th, 18th, 25th and August 1st, 7pm - 10pm - book online here
Sundays July 22nd, 29th, August 5th and 12th, 3pm - 6pm - book online here
"I loved having the classes in a group. It was good to hear other people's takes on certain things and I found it reassuring being part of a group and watching how confidence grew amongst us all as the weeks passed. Kat is an excellent and engaging teacher with a passion and real enthusiasm for what she teaches. She had a liveliness and approachability that made the classes feel like a social occasion."
One to one course
Alternatively, the course can be done to suit your own schedule and can take place in your own home (this can be particularly beneficial as you will associate the relaxation techniques you learn with the place you will hopefully spend the most part of your labour) or at mine if
you're in the middle of the inevitable renovation/moving dramas that can so often accompany pregnancy!
"It was really nice having you come into our home, as it was so relaxing and was like having a visit from a friend. The best thing the course did for us was to get us focused (for the first time in the pregnancy) on the coming of this baby, our third. We hadn't thought about him at all in the hustle of life with the other kids, and this got us really thinking about him and planning for his arrival. I now know what I want out of this delivery and I'm confident that with the help of my husband and my doula, we'll be able to maintain a peaceful environment in which to meet our new little man: safely at home, in the dark, with mum in control."
If you and a friend/neighbour/work colleague/acquaintance from yoga/pilates/swimming are pregnant; or there's a few of you from your NCT group wanting to do hypnobirthing together then I can offer a further bespoke option.
20% off the private rate to all couples in a private group and the hostess gets a 50% discount if it's more than two couples (I have a v small flat!)
Please don't hesitate to get in touch if this sounds interesting to you.
Working with you in the way that works for you
Whilst I feel strongly that doing the course as I've tailored it is most beneficial - it gives you time to practice the techniques and allow your understanding and proficiency deepen, come back to me with questions and generally feel supported whilst learning about HypnoBirthing - I appreciate that not everyone's lives can accommodate such a commitment. I've had a couple travel over from Germany to London for a week to learn hypnobirthing with me and I've had couples call me for workshops just before their baby's EDD. If you're keen to learn hypnobirthing please do contact me and we'll work out a way of me going through the syllabus with you in a way that suits you.
"First and foremost, thank you for helping us all to approach the most important day in our lives with more confidence and with a deeper, better and more instinctive understanding. Solange and I enjoyed the evenings - we learned, we met lovely people, we grew in courage, we had fun, and, last but not least, we loved your cakes.
From a male perspective, my attitude has changed. I understand my role better and understand it's importance. We would recommend the approach to our friends and quote you in particular. One can discern your passion and dedication, backed up by your knowledge."
The financial investment for the course is for both mother and father (or birth companion), not per person. The small group course costs £345.
If you'd like to experience both the group and a private session you can join a group and have an additional private one-to-one session closer to your "guess date". We can use this as you wish, for an additional fear release session, to answer any questions or concerns that have come up, review any of the material and techniques from the course. The investment for the group course + a private session is £495.
Private classes held in your own home (or mine if you're moving / renovating!) to accommodate your schedule can be arranged - a private course for you and your partner costs £850.
"Hypnobirthing with Kat remains the best money we have spent on our baby. I am beyond grateful that we signed up."
Why choose Kat?
"We got from you so much more than was in the book. Your honest and frank approach, the way you shared your experiences rather than just teaching the hypnobirthing course to the letter. I also think you did an amazing job of creating a space where people could talk openly and honestly within a relatively short space of time."
Let others explain why they chose to do HypnoBirthing with Kat by clicking here
It's rarely needed but terms & conditions of bookings can be found here...