Complementary health care clinic specializing in pregnancy scans, classes and treatments

Hypnobirthing Course

What is HypnoBirthing?

HypnoBirthing is about experiencing birth in a calm and relaxed atmosphere free of fear and tension this helps the birthing body and birthing muscles to function in the natural way as nature intended. There’s nothing weird or strange about HypnoBirthing it is based in science. Using breathing techniques, relaxation and self hypnosis, couples mutually benefit from the programme. It helps them overcome their fears and learn to Ignore some of the traumatic stories that seem to circulate and scare them about their upcoming labour and birth.

About me

I’m Joan Mills, HypnoBirthing Instructor to about 1000 couples over the past 10 years. I was a nurse and then I trained in reflexology, aromatherapy, massage whilst specialising in women’s health and rearing a young family. I’m also a birth Doula for the past 5 years and have supported families with 36 births. As a Doula I attend births in a nurturing role for a woman and her family. My Client base tends to be mainly antenatal and postnatal ladies but I do also see regular clients and fertility clients. I am a mum of three children and experienced three very different types of birth . My passion for birth education grows daily and the feedback from women who experience positive and empowered births is what keeps me inspired and loving what I do. It is all about having the right birth on the day.

Why Do I Think HypnoBirthing is Important?

Both women and men are often led to believe that childbirth is going to be a painful uncomfortable and scary experience. For most women and men, sex education at school was usually watching a video of a woman birthing on her back screaming in distress and this is what they believed to be normal childbirth. I have heard this so many times from the couples that I teach and the media isn’t much better. This is etched into their memory and their subconscious believes it to be true. As a result when women go into childbirth with fear like this they produce hormones to support the fear, adrenaline which increases the heart rate causing their heart to demand so much more blood. Blood is then being diverted to parts of the body to support fear and flight, causing the uterus / womb to be depleted when its working at its hardest in labour. In normal labour the uterus needs to be relaxed and well oxygenated not pale, stiff and rigid. The woman needs to feel relaxed and safe in order for her body to work well and produce the hormones necessary for her to Birth comfortably and easily. This cocktail of hormones Oxytocin and Endorphins are what she needs This is why 2 women can experience such different types of labour. I know I did. This is serious because 75% of women in labour are expecting epidurals asap when in hospital to help manage their pain. Then 25% of women are giving themselves more choices and education to empower themselves for a positive Birth experience .

Where does the idea behind HypnoBirthing come from?

In the 1980s one woman, Michelle Leclaire O’Neill wrote about natural childbirth in her book saying birth on your back under bright lights in a clinical environment is not a natural way to have a baby. Janet Balaskas, founder of the active birth centre in London has been working hard since the eighties to educate women and help professionals to help women to find positions of comfort in childbirth . Dr Grantly Dick-Read wrote about it in the 1930s and at the time, it was not well received by the medical profession. Marie Mongan wrote the first HypnoBirthing book and course in the late 1980s.

Does HypnoBirthing work for everyone?

Birth education is invaluable for everyone and the classes offered by the NHS revolve around preparation of the birth with the focus on pain relief and taking care of a newborn baby. Whereas what I teach with the Wise Hippo programme focuses on the individual preparing mentally and physically to have the right Birth on the day. The tools and techniques couples learn and practice benefit them along their pregnancy and birth journey. Whether it is a normal vaginal waterbirth or an emergency or planned caesarean birth, couples feedback is always positive. For both the mum and dad it empowered them and gave them confidence to trust the natural process and to hand over comfortably to the medical providers when necessary. It’s about being calm and relaxed for a comfortable birth and enjoying the journey .

What are the main techniques I teach?

For the majority of women who are able to conceive naturally and grow their babies why would Birth be any more difficult or harder? Many of my couples using HypnoBirthing have conceived their babies via IVF and this is also another way of accepting that sometimes the body needs a little bit of help. I use deep relaxation and different breathing techniques along with visualising positive images and hearing positive affirmations. I equip clients to go on their birthing journey positively prepared feeling excited to meet their babies in a calm and relaxed way. By linking emotional attachments with background music, smells and words through a series of repetitive mp3s which then allows couples to associate all of these triggers to feeling calm & relaxed and excited about labour . When we daydream we allow ourselves to be in a state of trance and using the techniques above we help ourselves go into trance. Therefore a woman has to want and make the conscious decision to achieve this mindset and body connection (calm mind and relaxed body), otherwise the mind continues to go back to those earlier fearful thoughts and that would dominate the process. Women can naturally achieve this comfortable state of trance in childbirth but the majority of women will need to learn and practice tools to allow this to happen successfully.

Is it just for women Or can dads and birthing partners benefit from HypnoBirthing?

As an ex Nurse and a birth Doula I feel the birthing environment is quite a daunting place for the birth partner. Sometimes it is their first time in a hospital environment. HypnoBirthing courses tend to have two types of partners walking in at the beginning – the sceptical dad and the supportive dad but by the end of session one, even the most sceptical dads are totally sold into the benefits of HypnoBirthing. It helps birthing partners to feel more prepared knowing how best to support their loved one in labour. For me watching couples grow in confidence gives me such a buzz and it is why I love teaching what I teach.

How long is the program and when is the best time in pregnancy to learn HypnoBirthing techniques?

This Wise Hippo program is taught over 10 hours and couples are often sad when it’s over. I get couples doing Google reviews sometimes after they have finished the course saying how much they have enjoyed it, as well as after the birth. I teach in Harpenden and in St Albans at the Verulam Clinic in small groups, between four to six couples on a monthly basis. They can choose either evenings or Saturday day courses so it’s very flexible and adapts around most peoples busy schedules. I think personally it is better to attend the course from about 24 to 28 weeks, giving couples plenty of time to practice their techniques in the run-up to the birth. I have sometimes taught much earlier to couples who are very anxious and I’ve also taught couples who have left it very late and have still found it massively helpful.

Class versus reading a book

I think that attending a course makes people more focused and gets them practising the techniques allowing plenty of time for questions and answers. It’s also an opportunity to meet more pregnant couples and make new friends.

I encourage couples to start a WhatsApp group. I run a private Facebook group and every month I try and organise one coffee morning to bring people back and the mums and babies to meet and greet each other. New mums can feel isolated and lonely but with their new HypnoBirthing friends this doesn’t have to be the case.

I also invite people regularly to return to groups and share their experience, warts and all. Just this week I attended a beautiful home birth in St Albans for the couples second baby. They used HypnoBirthing for both births. Second time was a planned Home Birth. It was a beautiful experience and the Mum came on FaceTime on Saturday and spoke positively to my group about her experience and reasons for choosing a doula and homebirth this time.

This is what makes my job so special. Joan Mills | Tel: 07841 054708 | Website: | Facebook:

Care Quality Commission

Verulam Clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission. Provider ID: 1-127591200 20th May 2012 Registered number: 05283588 All sonographers & physiotherapists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council.


Verulam Clinic
118-120 Victoria Street
St Albans

01727 833 100