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Hypnobirthing and Yoga for a Natural Pregnancy

You may already know this but even before I became pregnant I was a huge fan of yoga for many reasons. It helps me relax, it reduces inflammation, helps me
Aug 29, 2015 | Joy McCarthy

You may already know this but even before I became pregnant I was a huge fan of yoga for many reasons. It helps my inflammation , helps me connect with my body and disconnect from distraction. It also had a profound effect on my acceptance of my body when I first began practicing in my early 20's.

Once I became pregnant, I had to take a break from my favourite and more vigorous forms of fitness such as running and barre because my body just didn't feel good doing them. That's not to say that these forms of exercise aren't good if you're pregnant. I know many women who continue with their same exercise regime, I just personally had to scale back and listen to my body.

When I hired my doula from Toronto Yoga Mamas (who has been amazing by the way) I noticed they had a package with unlimited yoga so this was the option I choose and I'm so glad I did! I've been doing prenatal yoga four times per week. I absolutely love it. It's my next favourite thing to do other than hanging with Walker and cooking! I've made it a priority and put it in my calendar every single week.


Along with my regular yoga practice, Walker and I started taking a 5-week hypnobirthing course at Toronto Yoga Mamas. When I tell people about it they often think it must be some sort of weird hypnosis where Walker swings a pendulum in front of me to hypnotize me chanting some odd mantra, HA! While I wouldn't be against this, it is not what hypnobirthing is about.

What it IS about ... Hypnobirthing is about learning to breathe, positive visualization and meditation techniques. I'm not finished the class yet, but so far I'm learning so much and absolutely love it. Last week we talked about positive affirmations. This is something I have always been a fan of but I didn't really think about it for my labour.


During my first trimester I had these power cards that I kept in my pocket all the time that reminded me to "trust my body" and know that "my sweet bean is growing so perfectly and joyously".

I will definitely be creating some positive and powerful affirmations for the labour and birth of our baby girl to help bring me to a positive space and help me connect with my body. I feel as though Western society creates so much fear and negativity around labour and birth, like it's an illness that must be treated and medicated. This just doesn't jive with me. So I've decided to look at it with a more optimistic perspective and follow the direction of my yoga goddesses, doula and hypnobirthing teacher. I'm under no illusions that labour will be a walk in the park but I'm quite certain that if I wasn't taking steps to prepare my mind, body and spirit I'd be having a much different experience filled with anxiety and fear.


Now apparently we will be discussing massage techniques in an upcoming class and I'm certainly looking forward to Walker practicing on me!

For the duration of my pregnancy I've done things as naturally and drug-free as possible so I hope the same for my birthing journey of this sweet bambina. However, I am going into it with any open mind and I have no expectations. This is uncharted territory for me that I welcome with joyous open arms. I do feel more confident and prepared with a doula, midwife, weekly yoga and my hypnobirthing class.

If you have an experience with hypnobirthing, I would love to hear it in the comments below!

Have a joyous day!


Ps. As you may have noticed I'm reading the book in the photo above which I do recommend even if you don't live in Toronto and can't take the class. There are so many great tips and techniques in the book. However, I do strongly recommend you ignore the nutrition tips listed in this book as ice cream and frozen yogurt are NOT good sources of protein! haha!

Aug 29, 2015 BY Joy McCarthy
Jane   •   August 29, 2015

As I get older and plan to have a family of my own, I'm starting to realize just how much my own momma did for my brother and I as children. I was recently home for a visit and my mom shrieked and called for my dad to come kill a spider. I was baffled, as my mom had never been afraid of spiders my whole life. When I asked her about it, she said that she had pretended to not be afraid of spiders when we were younger so that we would grow up not being afraid of them too. In three decades of my life, I have never been afraid of a spider, and I so admire my own mom for the courage it must have taken her to make that happen. And that's just one story. The depths of her love, support, courage, and sacrifice are unfathomable, and I hope I can be as good of a mother as she is! <3


Vanessa   •   August 29, 2015

Great piece! I also made every effort to have a natural pregnancy....and I look back at both my pregnancies with so much joy and thankfulness! It was so great to hear all the steps Joy is taking for her own was so helpful for me (and still is)! If I had to share one thing...maybe two...I would say to remember that when labour does begin, it really is a communication between you and your baby that is unique to you one else. For me, each contraction was just one step closer to meeting my baby and that gave me the strength I needed. I laboured at home for as long as possible and gave birth drug free! I was open to whatever might/could happen as I tried to stay focused on the end goal....which is also the beginning of an amazing adventure. Pregnancy and birth are simply the start of a long "conversation" between you and your child--something really special only the two of you understand. Wishing you all the best Joy!


Gail A.   •   August 30, 2015

I truly enjoyed breastfeeding my baby, once I got the hang of it!!


Elle   •   August 30, 2015

My favourite memory about motherhood has to be when I told my my Mum (and Dad) that I was expecting for the first time this year. It was such an amazing feeling to see their joy for me, for our family and let's face it, for themselves for this new life coming into our very close knit family! We are elated and can't wait to welcome baby in 2016. :)


Anonymous   •   August 31, 2015

I am not a mother yet, but my husband and I just recently have decided we are ready to have a baby. This has been a long time coming and we are thankful to finally feel we have some amount of security to welcome a baby into our lives. I never thought my husband and I could feel even more connected, but since making this decision we feel so happy and are so looking forward to the future :) I know we have no what of knowing how long it may take, but we feel a new clarity and sense of meaning we never knew existed. So excited to eventually experience motherhood!


Kathryn Clark   •   June 4, 2018

Hypnobirthing really worked to me during my first childbirth. I thought it’s not worth a try but I was totally wrong. I did an online course and download their mp3s/videos. I don’t know if it’s successful to others but it really made my birthing experience relaxed and empowered.

Joy McCarthy   •   June 5, 2018

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