Benefits of Hypnobirthing
The Benefits, Techniques & Success Stories Behind Hypnobirthing for An Anxiety-Free Birth
Hypnobirthing can be part of whatever form of birth you want have at – home, in a hospital, in a birthing centre, water birth, whether with doctors, nurses, and/or with a midwife. It can help your partner to be involved and helpful in deeper more effective ways, adding the shared experience to your intimacy.
It is said that it take a village to raise a child, well it takes a family to give birth if done the right way. Having a partner, who is your birthing coach, and trusted intimates, then there is the midwife and the doctor and nurses for back-up. Ideally you want them all to be with you, your allies supporting you in the process just as a healthy family would. This is what we aim for in hypnobirthing, supporting you in creating a holistic tribe who all understand what is happening – loving, fascinated, understanding and supportive.
So how do we do this?
Hypnosis is one of the best techniques for pain management. There is plenty of science behind it going back 150+ years. It is extremely effective during childbirth. Childbirth is natural, yet it can be excruciating. Hypnobirthing can make it a less painful and scary experience. It helps your appropriately named labour feel more relaxed and in control.It might be hard to accept but a lot of pain is magnified by fear.
Fear makes your body tense up, which makes it more difficult to deliver your baby. It can makelabour longer and more painful than it should be; thus reasonably pushing you to medication or medical interventions to cope.
Benefits of Hypnosis for the birth process.This is an incomplete list:
It helps alleviate unwarranted fears you may have before labour
It offers you strategies to help make the birth more natural and comfortable
It helps you stay calm, focused and in control no matter what is happening around you
It’s effective whether it’s your first baby or your fourth
It helps with tools to stay relaxed and as stress-free as possible
It helps with the coping with your new life with your new baby
It helps to avoiding postnatal depression
And if, as I prefer, you have your partner involved in the hypnobirthing process deepens the intimacy the birth can bring.
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)
What Is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is a form of hypnosisused to help women and their partners with the challenges of childbirth.
Firstly it helps you prepare for giving birth so you know in new ways what to expect. Giving birth is theoretically natural, so why is it so difficult, stressful and painful? After all, giving birth is a normal physiological function. Your body is designed for it. Rather than going with the flow and letting your body do what’s natural, most mum’s, especially new ones, tense up, fight against the pain, and as a result it becomes a battle.
Hypnobirthing uses suggestion, self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to get expectant mothers ready for what’s coming. It helps you through the process calmly and confidently by:
Calming your fears
Giving you facts, instead of misinformation, to destroy any existing myths around labour and childbirth
Suggestions help activate the power placebo, that is the power of the relationship of your mind, body and unconscious, preparing you (and your partner) for the best experience possible of the birthing process.
This is accomplished by teaching you simple self-hypnosis techniques and educating you to trust your body and work with it instead of against it.
How Does Hypnobirthing Work?
Although you may not have heard of hypnobirthing it’s been around for a long time. It uses the profound focus of trance that has been part of medicine and midwifery across many cultures and through the centuries. In essence it’s using hypnotic trance to make childbirth less traumatic.
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.”
What happens in your body during modern birthing.
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 reproductive system and other internal organs. This lack of blood causes uterine pain and makes it difficult to relax properly. It’s physically impossible to be tense and relaxed at the same time.
Traditional Western individualism also leaves you alone with the birthing process, with nurses, doctors and midwives who keep their distance, treat the whole experience as if it is a disease or you as a machine or a piece of meat. Thankfully in the last few decades partners and midwives (with a humane attitude) have been invited into the process. But they don’t educate them on how to emotionally hold you, to empathise and connect with so you feel supported, not alone.
Hypnobirthing replaces fear with knowledge and tension with relaxation, isolation with loving connection, intimacy. 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, the sense of love and connection, that releases oxytocin that both increases uterine contractions and is known as the “love or cuddle drug”. It can help you open to the pleasure of natural birthing blocking out the fear and stress of medical birth.
What’s involved in hypnobirthing?
It usually involves a mixture of techniques that might include:
Hypnotically Induced Trance
Empathic support and connectedness
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.
We can use visualisations that connect you with your baby as she/he grows. And we can use imagination in trance to help manage the process of your own bodily changes during pregnancy, including the emotional responses.
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.
Audio 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 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.
Hypnobirthing & Breathing Techniques Anchors are used for additional breathing techniques include specific exercises to deal with the various stages of labour. These techniques are practiced during and before pregnancy and can enhance sexual experience so they are anchored deeply so you can use them during the birth.
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 visualise things that suggest movement “up” such as trees or sunrise.
Downward breathing is used once your 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 visualise things that move downward, such as a waterfall, a flower opening, light snow or gentle spring rain.
When combined with the breathing, visualisations help the body and mind to work 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.
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.
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.
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.
Massage also provides touch anchors, along with reflexology for activating the mind body placebo effect to deepen and enhance the experience of birthing.
Hypnobirthing & Hypnotically Induced Trance.Hypnotically induced trance can be self-induced or induced by a partner, the hypnotist, or birthing coach. It gives you an intense focus that allows you can drown out distractions and reinterpret sensations and bodily processes in ways that are more productive for you. It opens you to suggestion by activating the power of will beyond the conscious into the unconscious mind. When you focus on your imagination in this state your body/unconscious can’t tell the difference between it and real experiences. It is very powerful for activating freedom of choice with managing your emotions and your body, your physiology.
Hypnobirthing & Empathic Support and Connectedness. Massage is one technique you can practice before and during pregnancy so during the birthit helps you feel the empathic support and emotional connection with your partners (including your birth coach). The education process before and during your pregnancy can teach your partner to be very present with you, to empathise and hold an emotional space even without talking or touching. Human being are design to read each other very sensitively so the state of mind body of everyone present can effect each other moods and states of mind and body. We help you leverage the love connection that bought you together into a powerful way to support you through the birth. This will help profoundly with the recovery.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
The evidence shows that effective hypnobirthing is good for at least making childbirth a lot more tolerable. Some of the benefits consistently reported by mothers include:
Fewer surgical births
Higher number of natural unaided births
Calmer and more energetic mums following delivery
Techniques can be used for first-time births and for any successive births
Techniques can be used anywhere, whether that’s at home, in hospital, for water births or at birthing centres
The techniques can be used following the birth to improve life skills whenever you need to relax, calm down, and de-stress
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 labour 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 increasing number 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.
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.
According to the Obstetric Anaesthetists Association (of the USA), about one in eight women who have an epidural will also need to employ an additional form of pain relief.
What The Experts Say
According to Yvonne Butler Tobah, MD, a practitioner of Sapp Method of hypnobirthing is “more effective than other interventions at reducing labour pain.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the UK, for example, people can become qualified as a hypnobirthing practitioner through the Royal College of Midwives.
In Australia, you can contact the Australian College of Midwives.
In Canada and the US, get in touch with health service bodies for your particular province or state.