16 things you should know about Hypnobirthing

Discover Hypno-birthing for A Fear-Free Birth

Images courtesy of https://hypnosistrainingacademy.com/

1. Hypnosis is one of the best techniques for pain management. There is plenty of science behind it use that go back 150+ years. It is extremely effective during childbirth. Childbirth is natural, yet it can be excruciatingly tough. Hypnobirthing can make it a less painful and scary experience. It helps your aptly named labour feel more relaxed and in control. You might not know that a lot of that pain comes from fear.

2. Fear makes your body tense up, which makes it more difficult to deliver your baby. It make birth longer and more painful than it should be. Thus reasonably pushing you to medication or medical interventions to cope.

3. Benefits of Hypnosis for the birth process. This list is not complete:

  1. It helps alleviate any unwarranted fears you may have before labour
  2. It offers you strategies to help make the birth more natural and comfortable
  3. It helps you stay calm, focused and in control no matter what is happening around you
  4. It’s effective whether it’s your first baby or your fourth
  5. It helps with tools to stay relaxed and as stress-free as possible

4. Hypno-birthing is Good for Your Baby. Research shows that hypnobirthing is not only good for the expectant mother, but is also good for the baby. They tend to be calmer, to feed better and to sleep better. It’s also been proven that they usually have higher Agpar scores too. (The Apgar score is a quick evaluation of how a baby is doing at birth. Agpar stands for Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance, and Respiration, and tells medical staff whether a baby is doing well enough on its own, or might need some additional medical assistance)

5. What Is Hypnobirthing? It is a form of hypnosis used to help women with the challenges of childbirth.

  1.  Firstly helps you prepare for giving birth so you know in knew ways what to expect. Giving birth is theoretically natural thing, so why so stressful and painful? After all giving birth is a normal physiological function your body is designed for. Rather than going with the flow and letting your body do what’s natural, new mum’s especially tense up, fight against the pain, and as a result it becomes a battle.
  2. Hypnobirthing uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to get expectant mothers ready for what’s coming. It helps you through the process calmly and confidently by:
    1. Calming your fears
    2. Giving them facts, instead of misinformation, to destroy any existing myths around labour and childbirth
    3. This is accomplished by teaching you simple self-hypnosis techniques and education you learn to trust your body and work with it instead of against it.

6. How Does Hypnobirthing Work? You may not have heard of hypnobirthing before, but it’s been around for a long time. In essence it’s using hypnosis to make childbirth less traumatic.

  1. Hypno-birthing is a new term popularised by celebrity mums like Jessica Alba and Tiffani Thiessen. But whatever you call it, the technique works. In one form or another it has been part of the spiritual traditions of midwifery for as long as there have been humans. Its use diminished when men (for whom it was an alien painfully impossible experience) and the materialist approach to science invaded the process of childbirth. According to Marie Mongan, founder of The Mongan Method of hypnobirthing, modern women have been convinced that “labour is risky.”
  2. What happens in your body during modern birthing. And whenever we feel that we’re at risk, our bodies go haywire. The fight-or-flight response kicks in. Stress hormones shoot out into the bloodstream. At the same time, blood rushes out to the arms and legs, taking blood away from the uterus. This lack of blood causes uterine pain and makes it difficult to relax properly.
  3. It’s physically impossible to be tense and relaxed at the same time. So what hypno-birthing does is to replace fear with knowledge and tension with relaxation. When your body is relaxed, it’s able to generate a series of hormones that work together to help you feel comfortable and supports the natural pain management systems, can help you open to the pleasure of birthing that the fear and stress block in natural birth.

7. What’s involved in hypnobirthing? It usually involves a mixture of techniques that might include:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Breathing
  3. Visualization
  4. Massage
  5. Hypnotically Induced Trance

8. Hypnobirthing & Relaxation. For relaxation you might be given scripts and/or recordings that might contain affirmations, that is positive sayings that can help keep you and baby calm and relaxed. Things like “I am a confident mother” or “My baby is healthy” or “There’s nothing to fear” and so on. With them you do some breathing exercises designed to release tension across your whole body. You will usually do these with your partners and birth coaches.

  1. These can provide anchors like favourite songs that cause you to immediately feel a particular emotion. So your partners and coaches can help you relax by reminding you with what they say and do to trigger relaxation when you are feeling stressed during labour.
  2. Audios like music and the recorded scripts create a calming atmosphere. One of the central elements of hypnotic trance is for your attention to be absorbed your attention so fully you are distracted from peripheral sensations. By practising various exercises by yourself and with your partners and coach the anchors help you manage stress and any pain.

9. Hypnobirthing & Breathing Techniques Additional breathing techniques include specific exercises to deal with the various stages of labour.

  1. In the first stage when the cervix is dilating, hypnobirthing suggests a form of upward breathing. The idea is to breathe in through your mouth and out through the nose, pulling the air in upwards. At the same time, you should try to visualize things that suggest movement “up” such as trees or sunrise.
  2. Downward breathing is used once your’s cervix is fully dilated. It involves taking a deep breath in through the nose and letting it out slowly through the nose while focusing on bearing downwards. It can be helpful at this stage to visualize things that move downward, such as a waterfall, a flower opening, light snow or gentle spring rain.
  3. When combined with the breathing, visualizations help the body and mind to working together to create as much relaxation as possible. They also make sure that the mother’s mind is occupied on what she needs to do instead of on the thought of any present or possible pain.
  4. In terms of hypnosis, these techniques help to bypass the critical factor. The mother’s body and mind are both engaged, too busy to reject or criticise, or focus on expectations and stereotypes. 
  5. These exercises help stimulate the unconscious. This is being taken care of by the visualisations that the mother engages in while practising the breathing techniques.

10. Hypnobirthing & Massage. Massage obvious can help to release tension and promote relaxation using the power of touch. It is important to know what works for you. Some people find some kinds of touch when stressed trigger them negatively. In the lead up to birthing you and your birth partners and coaches will be taught how to touch and massage so they act as triggers to release of endorphins, the body’s own built-in painkillers, and stimulating absorbing attention, by-passing your critical expectations and your unconscious mind. Massage can also help you to refocus your attention away from any labour pains especially if married with music or a relaxation CD.

11. Hypnobirthing Success Stories If you’ve experienced childbirth before, it’s understandable that you might be somewhat sceptical that “a little hypnosis” can alleviate the pain and stress. So here are a couple of success stories to put your mind at ease:

  1. Amy Fleming, who is a columnist for The Guardian, explained in an article about the dramatic effect hypnobirthing had when she gave birth to her second child. According to Fleming, the first time round was a nightmare, but thanks to hypnobirthing the second was a dream. She talks about ”letting my body get on with it” and felt, calm, relaxed, excited and almost giggly throughout the 100% positive experience.
  2. Josie Penn also employed hypnobirthing techniques when she gave birth to twins. She was able to remain so relaxed that she “almost fell asleep” in the birthing pool during her babies’ delivery. Josie explains the feeling she had when her contractions began. Instead of being frightened or feeling a sense of panic, it was “the most blissful moment, heavenly even.”
  3. 29-year-old Texan Anna Wall was so relaxed during her labor that she remembers “falling asleep between contractions." She also claims that during the last part of her labor there was no screaming or pushing. She says the baby “literally slid out” – all 4 kilograms of it. Wall attributes some of the technique’s success to its approach. She says that she was able to maintain her state of relaxation because she learned to “reject references to difficulty during childbirth” – replacing words like contraction and pain with words such as surge and sensation.

12. The Evidence shows that effective hypnobirthing good for at least making childbirth a lot more tolerable. Some of the benefits consistently reported by mothers include:

  1. Shorter labor
  2. Fewer surgical births
  3. Higher number of natural unaided births
  4. Calmer and more energetic mums following delivery
  5. Techniques can be used for first-time births and for any successive births
  6. Techniques can be used anywhere, whether that’s at home, in hospital, for water births or at birthing centres
  7. The techniques can be used following the birth to improve life skills whenever a you need to relax, calm down, and de-stress

13. Hypnobirthing Research & Statistical Data. The evidence supporting hypnobirthing is not yet conclusive. As mentioned there is a lot of evidence about the successful use of hypnosis to manage labor pain, but not as much supporting direct use of hypnobirthing techniques yet. This is because the statistics that are available often come from companies or institutions who provide hypnobirthing and are therefore not as objective as they might be. That said, there’s no doubt that an increasingly amount of women are looking for more natural alternatives for managing pain and stress during childbirth. And more and more countries are offering hypnobirthing as part of their national health system.

  1. In 2006, five existing studies were reviewed and it was found that women using hypnobirthing techniques were about half as likely to rely on painkillers, and only one-third as likely to need an epidural.
  2. According to the Obstetric Anaesthetists Association, about one in eight women who have an epidural will also need to employ an additional form of pain relief.

14. International Use. There is a lack of standardization around the world when it comes to national antenatal programs. Here in Australia, for example, every state and hospital does its own thing. According to Melissa Spilsted, Director of Hypnobirthing Australia, they’re running individual antenatal programs that are “not standardised and they’re not evidence-based."  The evidence is beginning to pile up.

15. What The Experts Say

  1. According to Yvonne Butler Tobah, MD, a practitioner of Sapp Method of hypnobirthing is “more effective than other interventions at reducing labour pain.”
  2. Nurse-midwife Megan Sapp says that about 40% of patients at her Maryland-based practice use hypnobirthing. According to Sapp, mums using hypnobirthing “have shorter labors” than those using other methods.
  3. Diana Weihs, MD, who delivered Anna Wall’s twins mentioned above, is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She says that hypnobirthing is growing in popularity partly because pain management using other techniques is “not as effective.” She adds that hypnobirthing is open to medical intervention when necessary, while some of the other alternative methods are not.
  4. You’ll find a selection of testimonials from doctors and midwives online at Hypnobirthing UK , the Hypnobirthing Hub, and Hypnobirthing Australia. Some of these include testimonials from mothers who have given birth using hypnobirthing techniques as well.
  5. Maggie Howell, the founder of Natal Hypnotherapy, has helped more than 100,000 women give birth and trained more than 1200 midwives. Her professional training is recommended by the UK’s Royal College of Midwives and she counts world champions and gold medalists among her success stories. Maggie used hypnosis when she gave birth herself, and although it wasn’t completely pain-free, she says it was “fear free and stress free.” And that’s what she helps other expectant mothers achieve. 
  6. Marie Mongan, who is the founder of Mongan Method HypnoBirthing™ – one of the most widely used hypnobirthing techniques in the world – is an award-winning hypnotherapist and a real trailblazer in the field. She gave birth to her four children in the ‘50s and ‘60s without medication, something unheard of at the time. The Mongan Method is the most comprehensive birthing education program available anywhere today, and Marie has received multiple awards and honors for her work in the field of hypnobirthing and for heightening awareness of the power of hypnosis.

16. Getting Hypno-birthing help. Hypno-birthing is offered by many midwives the world over. It’s easy to contact a hypnobirthing practitioner near where you live just by browsing online. There are also online classes that you can take to prepare for the birth of your child. You can check the local and national governing bodies to find out exactly what qualifications are required. It’s not covered by Medicare in here in Australia. You should check with your Medical/Hospital Insurance. Places to contact for good information.

  1. In the UK, for example, people can become qualified as a hypnobirthing practitioner through the Royal College of Midwives.
  2. In Australia, you can contact the Australian College of Midwives.
  3.  In Canada and the US, get in touch with health service bodies for your particular province or state.

Hypno-birthing is a good addition to your birth experience which can help minimise medical interventions without interfering with them.

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