Birth, Fear and Trauma

A common problem but there is a way out

The Positive Birthing team is a new pioneering team of professionals, who understand what it’s like to be paralysed by birth fear and trauma. We will work with you to overcome your anxieties and achieve the joyful childbirth that you deserve.

Birth trauma is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a wholly natural reaction to harrowing experiences. It often leads to an acute fear of giving birth, although this condition, known as tocophobia, is also common among women who haven’t experienced labour.

Sadly, studies show that, despite childbirth becoming ever safer, birth trauma and fear are growing problems, with approximately 30 per cent of women describing their birth as traumatic. We believe that’s because our culture too often portrays birth as something to be feared, which causes women to lose confidence in their natural ability to give birth.

It’s now accepted that unhappy birth experiences can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The signs and symptoms to be aware of include:

• a response of intense fear, helplessness or horror to the experience, or expectation, of birth

• persistent, intrusive and recurrent memories, flashbacks or nightmares
* distress, anxiety or panic when exposed to reminders of the experience

• avoidance of anything that might trigger thoughts about the birth (although some sufferers have phases of talking about it obsessively)

• difficulties sleeping and concentrating, which are often accompanied by anger, irritability and hypervigilance (feeling jumpy

What is the programme?

In a nutshell, the Positive Birthing Programme aims to help you to embrace labour as a life-enhancing experience, rather than something to be feared, whether you give birth at home or in hospital, naturally or by C-section.
Scientific research has repeatedly shown that when we focus intensely on achieving our aims, we’re much more likely to succeed. We put this principle into practice in a programme of fully individualised sessions designed to help you achieve the birth you want. It’s not just about positive thinking: we use evidence-based, practical therapeutic techniques that have proved to be effective in resolving birth trauma and fear.

Three things make our programme different to widely available, hypno-therapy based programmes:

‘A midwife’s Wisdom’

Choose the Positive Birthing Programme and you get more than clinically effective therapy: you also get the support of one of the UK’s leading independent midwives, Val Taylor. Her deep understanding of both the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy provide you with a unique complement to Emily’s skills. Val has excellent links with local hospitals and is familiar with their labour ward practices. So, if you have a hospital delivery, she will ensure you know what to expect and are empowered to get the care you want.

Deeper therapeutic work

If you have experienced birth trauma, or really fear giving birth, you might need more than a standard course of antenatal hypnotherapy. Emily uses a trauma-focused, cognitive therapy, to help you release painful memories and associations, and fully embrace childbirth. Such therapies are now recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as effective treatments for many trauma-based disorders.

Fully individualised sessions and your own hypnotherapy recording

Choose our programme and you’ll be central to its design. There’s no set content or structure, because we build the sessions around your specific needs and experiences. So, everything covered will be directly relevant to you and we avoid repeating what you already know. After the programme you’ll get a recording of your final hypnotherapy session, which you can use daily to help keep you fully prepared for birth.

How will your programme work?

Before you commit to the Positive Birthing Programme you’re welcome to call us for a no-obligation chat about your aims and concerns, and how we can help. Your programme will consist of four 90-minute sessions and you partner can be involved at any stage if you wish. No two programmes are the same, because no two clients are the same – yours will be shaped entirely by your needs and experiences. Depending on what those are, it might run like this:

Session 1. In the first session of every programme we further explore your story and why you’re seeking help. Together, we then devise a plan for the next three sessions.

Session 2. Working with Val, you discuss the birth and your fears about the next one, then develop strategies and techniques to manage them.

Session 3. A cognitive hypnotherapy session with Emily, which focuses on enabling you to release trauma and fear, and encourage your body to relax into labour.

Session 4. With Emily, Val and your partner, you discuss your ideal birth and use tried and tested visualisation and hypnotherapy techniques to help you achieve it. The hypnotherapy session will be recorded, so you can use it after the programme to prepare for labour.

Where, when and how much?

The Positive Birthing Programme is built around your needs, so we can come to you, or, if you’d prefer, you can visit Emily’s practice in Brighton. Don’t worry if you have a busy family schedule, as we’re happy to do early mornings, evenings and Saturdays.

The programme costs £499. You can pay the whole fee in advance, or half in advance and the remainder after the second session. There’ll be a small additional charge if we need to travel outside Brighton and Hove

If you feel that you’d benefit from an extended programme, we can offer further sessions at a discounted rate.

In some circumstances we may be able to offer a shorter programme for a lower fee. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss this option.

If you are experiencing any kind of Birth Fear or Birth Trauma and need to speak to us call us on 07887503601 or 07932663365 or email on

And you can find more information on our website