EMMA Batt was so terrified of giving birth she broke down in tears when she learned she was pregnant.

But now the Southampton mum is teaching other women how to achieve a pain-free delivery after discovering a birthing technique that is literally fit for a queen!

A pain-free birth without any medical intervention may sound far-fetched but Emma says anyone can achieve this with ‘hypnobirthing’.

And what’s more, Kate Middleton is said to have used the techniques when she gave birth to Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Emma Batt, 27, who has since become a hypnobirthing teacher, in Bitterne Park, says she was so terrified about giving birth she cried but she then discovered hypnobirthing which teaches you to block out the negative attitudes of others towards labour and birth.

She explained: “The idea of Hypnobirthing is to help a woman achieve the best possible birth, where she is calm, comfortable and confident. In classes you are taught breathing exercises, deep relaxation, massage and visualisations along with the basics of birth. These things combined help women to feel free of fear going into labour, therefore leading to less discomfort (some hypnobirthing mothers feel no pain during labour at all) and often a far quicker labour due to the elimination of tension in their bodies, so their muscles are free to perform as they naturally should.

“I first discovered hypnobirthing when I was pregnant with my daughter. I’d only heard bad things about birth- that you had to endure it. Midwives would discuss pain relief and you’d see bad things on TV and in films and even my own mum and other people’s horror stories - where it seemed it was a competition to say who had had the worst experience, all contributed to my pre-conceptions about giving birth. I was petrified. I cried to my mum for two hours because I was so scared!

“Some people have a true phobia and after years of watching One Born Every Minute on TV I thought that would be me - screaming and needing every medication under the sun! Well I thought I don’t want to be like that. It’s my body and I want to be calm and I want the baby to be calm. I Googled ways to keep calm and discovered that Kate Middleton did hypnobirthing when she had Prince George and I thought if it’s good enough for the future queen then it’s good enough for me.”

After reading up a bit more on it Emma booked herself on a course - without telling her husband, Francis.

“He knew how scared I was but at first he was a bit of a cynic. He was like why do you want to do that and had the view like most people that it’s a bit hippy, dippy, airy fairy!

Immediately after booking the course I felt better and after the first lesson I felt a lot more positive.”

Indeed from being utterly terrified about giving birth Emma almost started looking forward to it for it teaches you that birth is a natural event, even though we are accustomed to being told it’s a medical procedure.

But what does hypnobirthing actually feel like? Most of us associate hypnotism with comedic TV and stage show like You’re Back in the Room and hypnotists like Paul McKenna. So is it anything like that where you can be persuaded to revert to behaving like a five year old or start strutting around imaging you are a rock star? Are we not better depending on traditional medical know-how?

Emma explains: “It’s a very strange experience. You can’t compare it to anything else. You could potentially make people want to take a step back from you when you say you had a brilliant birth experience when everyone else doesn’t.It’s great we have all that medical know-how but this is a natural and safe process. It involves self-hypnosis and unless you’ve experienced it you might imagine you will start behaving like a chicken or something!

“Think of when you are driving in the car and get to your destination and don’t remember the journey and you think how did I get there - that’s like a hypnotic type of state. You zone out and don’t think about where you are going. “ But we should not confuse it with TV entertainment shows!

Daily Echo:

“That’s what I thought it was but it’s nothing like that. You are completely aware of what’s going on and not in a state where you can’t talk. We use visualisation and deep breathing.

“Anyone can get into the mind set but it’s very important you practice. I practice religiously every day. The more you practise it the deeper into relaxation you can get. Anyone can reach the level of relaxation that is needed for a hypnobirth.

The ideal is to listen to the tapes every day during pregnancy; most women listen to them as they go to sleep.

Even in the latter stages of labour women feel they can go to sleep between contractions, and even when you are in this state you can respond to instructions and even reply to them.

“It recognises the importance of being upright and forward facing in labour. The idea is you go with what your body tells you to do. A lot of women will stand up or rock their hips- rarely women will lie down. There are times you need to take a rest but as long as you are not flat out on your back . You can be propped up on your side which is also a good position to be in. “ So how safe is hypnobirthing and are you in a fit state to make important decisions about how your labour should progress?

“It’s not a replacement for medical knowledge. On the course we explain informed consent. Whatever occurs during your birth you can think clearly and you can keep calm in any situation so you can ask appropriate questions. We don’t tell you what to do. “ Is it as effective as gas and air or even an epidural for pain relief?

“Some feel no pain. When we are fearful of something it causes tension in our bodies and you get this fear, tension, pain cycle. With hypnobirthing when you are completely free of tension the uterus muscles get the correct blood flow.

With other natural processes like going to the toilet or swallowing we don’t feel any pain and likewise the uterus is made for growing a baby and when you are free of pain it is easier.”

So how was her own hypnobirthing experience?

“I didn’t feel any pain until I got to hospital. I was very established when I got there.

I didn’t believe I could be in labour. I thought this is too nice. I even watched all of Love Actually! I was having contractions just three-five minutes apart and all I could feel was what I’d describe as pressure or tightening but no way pain. I had a bit of gas and air but I found it didn’t help as I stopped focusing on my breathing.

I was able to give birth to my daughter Matilda in the pool.

“Birth is not something to be feared. I was so inspired by Matilda’s birth. It was my light bulb moment where I thought ‘this is what I want to do ( teach hypnobirthing to others) - this is fantastic!’”

Emma trained with Katherine Grays in Bristol who has been teaching hypnobirthing for years.

Dads/birthing partners are made to feel more involved too.

“Women can attend the classes on their own but it’s very important to have your birthing partner there ideally. A lot of dads say thy feel like a spare part when women are in labour and don’t feel they can do anything to help. With hypnobirthing they learn massage techniques and read out relaxation scripts. You learn different breathing techniques for the different stages of labour: “In the first stage the cervix opens and this is when you use ‘up-breathing’. In the second stage rather than actual pushing that’s called ‘coached pushing’ which you see on TV you learn to almost breath the baby out and use a down breath: you channel your energy downwards and your natural expulsion muscles work. It’s still very important to stay in a state of relaxation but some women have an over bearing desire to push - it’s absolutely fine to do that and you do stay in that relaxed state. “ “I was a cynic right up until the day I had Matilda but throughout the birth I felt calm and confident.”

l Emma runs classes either at the couple’s home or her home for one to one sessions or in some type of community space for small groups (Church hall, community centre etc.) She runs one to one sessions whenever is suitable for the couple and her upcoming group sessions are Saturday 18 and 25 February- 9am-3pm and Saturday 4 and 11 March- 9am-3pm.

Contact Emma: Tel: 07946534416 or email battyaboutbirth@gmail.com or visit her website www.littleheartshypnobirthing.co.uk