I finally faced my fears last weekend and watched a birthing video (although I have to admit it was a pretty tame one), which is progress for me given that so far I have totally buried my head in the sand. The clip featured a waterbirth using hypnobirthing relaxation techniques and soothing music. It was totally different to what I had expected, although my friend warned me that there were more "lively" births on the remainder of the DVD...!
So what is hypnobirthing? To be clear, it's not a Paul McKenna affair with stage swooning and silly tricks. It's basically a series of relaxation and breathing techniques that could assist you in having a drug free birth, although of course there are no guarantees. And of course there is no pressure not to have drugs, they can be the back up plan if you need them.
It's really the kind of thing from which you can take as much or as little as you want. My friend who explained the main theories and techniques behind hypnobirthing is very knowledgeable and non-pushy and overall the first session was a very positive experience. The main thing seems to be to try and counter the sometimes stressful effect of going to hospital to give birth by using techniques that relax you so that birth is not obstructed (which can happen when you're tense). I'm definitely not brave enough to have a home birth though, which is why I am particularly interested in techniques that will help with relaxation in hospital.
I've also been going to the gym and doing small spurts of exercise just to keep me ticking over fitness wise. I've sought advice though and the important thing is to do low impact exercise and to keep temperature and heart rate down.
I also took part in a scanning training session at the weekend at my local hospital and was a guinea pig for 12 junior doctors to practice scanning! It was an interesting experience, plus I got paid £25 and got some 4D scan pictures into the bargain--not bad!!