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What is the difference between a hypnobirthing course and an antenatal course?

When I was pregnant for the first time I had never heard of hypnobirthing, so I googled antenatal courses and opted for a traditional antenatal class. When pregnant a second time, I opted for hypnobirthing.

So what is the difference between an antenatal course and a hypnobirthing course and what would suit you? One, the other, or both?

An antenatal course would be provided by Baby Matters (Maidenhead-based), NCT or one of a host of smaller providers. These courses cover a lot of subjects, from aspects of birth preparation, relaxation and breathing techniques, to how to change a nappy and an introduction to feeding your baby. They are great ways of becoming a little more informed on many different subjects and of meeting lots of other parents to be – for these courses often have 6-8 couples attending.

A hypnobirthing course focusses on preparing you and your partner for the birth. It is in-depth, filling you with a wealth of information on the science of labour and birth, our medical system and tools for making decisions along the way, and most importantly changing how you think about birth. You learn self-hypnosis techniques to practise in pregnancy to help you feel more confident in your body and get rid of any anxieties. This positive mindset as well as the relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques you will learn will help you to achieve a more positive birth experience.

Want the advantages of both? Around half of the couples taking my Over the Moon Birthing hypnobirthing course take a traditional antenatal course too, often after discovering hypnobirthing later in their pregnancy. There may be a little overlap here and there, but the two courses generally complement one another really well, and a little repetition can be very useful! A shorter private ‘essentials’ hypnobirthing course might suit you if time and money are in short supply – just be prepared for a little homework 😉

Please see for more information on my hypnobirthing courses and share this post with your pregnant friends.

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