Hypnobirthing to Ease the Pain of Labor and Childbirth
What is Hypnobirthing?
The word “hypnobirthing” has become massively misunderstood and mistrusted! Many people believe it is something practiced only by “hippy”, alternative mums who are only interested in having a completely natural, unmedicated birth. This really is not the case, many mums are now finding that this incredibly effective set of techniques can really help them achieve a confident, calm and empowering pregnancy, labor, and birth whether they use the techniques on their own or in combination with other forms of pain relief. Unfortunately, many mums today have a lot of fear surrounding childbirth whether it be due to horror stories passed down through generations or amongst friends or because of the portrayal of childbirth in the media, films and television series’.
“Hypnobirthing’ uses hypnosis and hypnotherapy techniques to help a mum improve the experience of childbirth. It can be traced back to 1912 and was documented by a pioneering British Obstetrician, Dr. Grantly Dick-Read who witnessed a very primitive form of “hypnobirthing” and was amazed by the effect it had on the woman’s experience of childbirth. He noted that the fear often experienced by many women in childbirth caused blood to be diverted away from the uterus in order to be used by other muscles to help her escape from “danger” – the fight or flight reflex! The obvious result of this is that the uterus becomes deprived of oxygen which causes it to work far less effectively and with more pain.
The primary goal of “hypnobirthing” techniques is to help mum overcome her fear of childbirth and all the associated side effects in order for her to labor in a calm, positive and confident manner.
How do we teach Hypnobirthing and how can it be applied?
Hypnobirthing classes teach mum (and dad) to reach a relaxed state which in turn promotes efficient breathing which is greatly beneficial to mum (uterus) and very important to the baby. During these relaxed states (trance) mums and dads listen to very carefully worded hypnosis scripts set to soothing music, these are written specifically to promote relaxation, positivity, and confidence. The methods take advantage of mum’s hyper-relaxed state to introduce positive thoughts of labor and birth, hopefully removing any negativity and fear that mum may have been subconsciously harboring throughout her life.
The word “Hypnobirthing” tends to frighten people but hypnosis is a state that we naturally enter every day without even thinking of it as such! Daydreaming, becoming absorbed in a good book or movie, are examples, basically bypassing the conscious, analytical part of our brain and allowing ourselves to become temporarily removed from the here and now – nothing scary about that!
In addition, in a Cochrane review in 2006 evidence was found suggesting that hypnosis:
- Decreases the need for pharmacological pain relief
- Reduces induction and augmentation of labor
- Shortens the length of labor
- Increases the incidence of spontaneous vaginal birth
- Is associated with improved maternal well-being and satisfaction and
- Is beneficial to neonatal outcomes
There are several different “Hypnobirthing” techniques available today, both online courses and physical classes. I teach The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme which is a British “Hypnobirthing” course which also includes some basic antenatal information. During my classes, I try and instill confidence and positivity in my mums and dads and teach them to have faith and trust their body’s ability to birth their baby! “Hypnobirthing” doesn’t promise a pain-free birth but I do have an incredibly high rate of feedback that the techniques definitely did help mum and dad have a good birth experience. The practice of the techniques is absolutely essential so do establish a good routine if you decide to learn about “Hypnobirthing”. I show my clients lots of lovely video examples of “Hypnobirths” when mums labor in an incredibly calm way. Generally, my mums have never seen such incredibly beautiful births and are amazed that it is even possible. By the end of my course my clients are left feeling confident and excited about their impending birth experience having been exposed to only positive information, this really does have an amazing impact, as a hypnobirthing practitioner and doula I can vouch for the sheer power of the techniques and I absolutely love teaching these incredible lessons.
Check it out – you won’t be disappointed and remember that “hypnobirthing” is for everyone!
*Photo credit: visualhunt