IT is the moment the past nine months have all been gearing up towards. The birth. Although many women face the prospect with excited nervousness as the inevitable pain is dwarfed by the thrill of meeting their child for the first time, for others the event is viewed with fear and dread.

No matter how much mums and dads research, nothing can really prepare for the birth experience and it is the unknown, the fear of pain and often the stereotypical trauma of childbirth that can lead many mums into a state of anxiety.

As a result, more and more parents-to-be are turning towards hypnobirthing to help them deal with childbirth.

Hypnobirthing is a relatively new approach in the UK with one of the latest techniques called easibirthing developed in the south in recent years.

The workshops now run in Southampton by hypnotherapist Paul Hancocks teach mums and birthing partners about self-hypnosis, breathing techniques and visualisation exercises that all help to cope and manage the pain of labour.

While the techniques do not guarantee a pain or complication-free birth, practitioners like Paul believe the method helps eliminate the fear of birth and so improve the likelihood of a positive experience for mum, partner and baby.

“Giving birth is viewed by society as a medical problem to be solved, rather than something wonderful to be celebrated,” said Paul, 45, and a dad of two himself.

“This is often reinforced by negative portrayals of childbirth on television, but it doesn’t have to be like that. These techniques promote working with the body to give birth, which is what it is naturally designed to do.”

The two-hour initial workshop run at The Grove Natural Therapy Centre combines the theory of how the technique works by introducing the three ‘Cs’ – Calm, Confidence and Control – before participants are invited to take part in exercises that help practise the technique of visualising a positive and calming place while focusing on breathing.

• Paul runs a free 90-minute introductory session monthly at the Grove Natural Therapy Centre at Grosvenor Road. Additional paid-for classes are then offered to build on the techniques.

The first session is open to mums and birthing partners and participants are given CDs and handouts to help practise the techniques at home.

For more information email or call 07534 571362