Childbirth concerns rise in the UK

With mothers being older and obesity levels rising, a record level of caesarean births is being recorded in the UK and there are fears that older women and those who are overweight are at higher risk of complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes and pre-eclampsia and of suffering stillbirth.

A report in the Telegraph quoted new figures from NHS Digital which show that 27.8% of births in 2016/17 involved caesarean intervention, the highest recorded, and an 1% rise in five years. Doctors said the figures reflected increasing complex cases, due to rising maternal age, and higher levels of obesity, which increase childbirth risks.

The report shows that overall, just 55.1% of women had a spontaneous labour – a fall from 68.7% a decade earlier. The remainder had caesareans or had their births induced, amid rising levels of complex cases.

The proportion of over 40s mothers has tripled in three decades and older women and those who are overweight are at higher risk of complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes and pre-eclampsia and of suffering stillbirth.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s largest professional organisation for clinical hypnotherapy with more than 1,800 therapists across the country, can help ease childbirth worries and help people manage their weight effectively.

Today, hypnosis is increasingly used to aid fertility and ease birth. In the UK, this is often referred to as ‘hypnobirthing’ and, says the NCH: “It can help overcome fear and anxiety around conception, parenting or birth itself. It can reduce stress and anxiety (not just for you, but also for your baby), boost your confidence to be a parent and give mothers a feeling of control so the birth experience is the best it can be”.

The NCH adds that babies born to mums who have practiced hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques during labour may also be calmer, sleep better and feed better. There are now also several midwives in the UK training as hypnotherapists, having seen the profound difference hypnotherapy in mothers who are birthing their babies calmly and feeling wonderfully in control.

“Hypnosis works at a subconscious level, changing instinctive perceptions of birth so that it is seen as a positive experience, enabling birthing mothers to trust their body. It also makes mothers aware of how they can be in control and manage their environment, keeping it free of threats,” says the NCH.

Hypnosis, says the NCH, is one of the most relaxing, enjoyable and safe therapies to use during pregnancy and birth. Many mothers who have used it during pregnancy and birth say they sleep much better and are much calmer during pregnancy. Sessions will probably last between four and 12 sessions depending on which programme you choose or the hypnotherapist.

Referring to obesity and weight management, the NCH says managing weight loss is one of the most effective results of hypnotherapy.

“Rather than just reducing calories that you are likely to put on again in the longer term, hypnosis gets you in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat,” the NCH says. “It can also help you reduce portion size so you lose weight healthily, steadily and for the long term.”

Edward Morris, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “These figures reflect the increasing number of complex births due to rising maternal age and obesity, together with more women with pre-existing medical conditions having babies.

“Together these factors increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and a more complicated labour, resulting in medical interventions such as the need for planned or emergency caesarean sections, instrumental vaginal deliveries and induced labours.”

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