Exploring Your Birthing Options

Callie Copeman-Bryant – HypnoBirthing Practitioner

Callie Copeman-Bryant is a birth doula, clinical hypnotherapist, and registered HypnoBirthing Practitioner. A member of the HypnoBirthing UK Board, she’s taught the programme to over 600 people, including midwives, obstetricians, hospital groups and celebrities. Callie was a student of world-renowned obstetrician Dr Michel Odent. She’s a member of the Maternity Services Liaison Committee at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge and a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. For individual advice you can contact Callie Copeman-Bryant direct at:
Speak to me on 0905 620 1328
£1.02/min from a BT landline; calls from mobiles and other networks may vary.

When you’re pregnant, it can be difficult to decide what the best choice for you is for where and how to give birth, whether it’s your first birth or not. Doula and HypnoBirthing Specialist, Callie Copeman-Bryant answers common questions around birthing options.

I want a home birth for my second child but many of my friends disagree with it. How do I know if it’s the right option?

Unless your friends understand the homebirth system or have a good understanding of your medical background, it’s unlikely that the people you’re speaking to have enough information with which to advise you. Provided you have a low-risk pregnancy, evidence confirms that having a home birth is safe and reduces the risk of interventions, particularly for second births. In fact we know that simply planning a home birth reduces your chances of interventions often carried out in hospitals, even if you end up birthing on those units after a transfer. Although we’ve been encouraged for decades to believe that home birth is risky, evidence doesn’t support this; birth has its own set of risks and benefits and it’s important to consider these along with any health conditions you and your baby may have. While one woman may feel the risks of home birth are too high for her circumstances, another may feel exactly the same way about birth in hospital. Instead of taking the advice of friends, speak to your midwife and do your own research, and with that information make the decision that feels right for you. There’s a reason midwives aren’t as shocked as friends when homebirth is mentioned: they know that birth in any setting within the UK for low-risk women is extremely safe.

I’m pregnant with my first child and have heard about using the HypnoBirthing technique to ease discomforts. What does it entail, and will it make my birth smoother?


The Mongan Method HypnoBirthing course is based on the theory of “oxytocin/adrenaline antagonism”, also known as the fear-tension-pain cycle, whereby stress hormones released in the body can lead to longer, more painful labours. HypnoBirthing addresses this process firstly by changing expectations towards birth and reducing or eliminating fear, and by teaching deep relaxation techniques so that if the mother does become stressed the effects can be minimised. Clinical studies and anecdotal evidence agree that this approach shortens the first stage of labour, significantly reduces and even eliminates pain and results in fewer interventions. With no known adverse effects and as something that is easy to learn and use, it’s growing in popularity and is welcomed by most midwives. Contrary to what most people assume, it’s not about giving birth in a hypnotic trance; instead you’ll learn how to use simple techniques to make whatever birth you have a better one. As anyone can claim to be teaching ‘hypnobirthing’ it’s important to make sure you are learning from a qualified practitioner; the Mongan Method of HypnoBirthing has been developed over the last 20 years and entails 12 and a half hours of tuition delivered over five sessions.
A list of qualified practitioners can be found on www.hypnobirthing.com.

I’m currently looking at birthing options and have been looking at a water birth. What are the benefits of a water birth?


Immersion in water is sometimes described as the second most effective form of pain relief after an epidural when used in the right circumstances, with evidence showing that it reduces the need for all forms of pain relief. However, some experts suggest immersion in water should be considered in the same way as any other intervention, only used if needed. It’s easy to give in to the temptation of making fixed plans about having a water birth, but if you are labouring comfortably on dry land, it may be that making that change could negatively alter the course of your labour. Michel Odent, who introduced the concept of water birth in the 1970s, has identified a two-hour window during which water can provide pain relief and help the progress of labour, but after which contractions may lose their effectiveness. As a doula, I have to say I’ve seen this effect. If you consider a birth pool as a tool you use when needed, getting into the water only if you feel significant pain, you’re likely to make best use of its effect without altering a labour that may be progressing well.

For more expert information visit: www.greatvine.com/callie-copeman-bryant