It sounds like crazy talk right? Pain-free birth. That can’t be possible. Or can it? Did you know Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton used Hypnobirthing to help them through their labour and so have thousands of women? The premise is simple. Fear causes pain. Take away the fear and you take away the pain. Interested? Then keep reading.
What is Hypnobirthing?
One particular branded kind of hypnosis during the childbirth process is referred to as HypnoBirthing. The term “hypnosis” on its own denotes “a method during which a person experiences recommended alterations in feeling, perception, thinking, or behaviour.”
Hypnobirthing was developed by Marie Mongan, a hypnotherapist from New Hampshire, USA, with more than 30 years of experience. Marie’s work was based on the teachings of Grantley Dick-Read, a British obstetrician who was a pioneer in his work on relaxation and childbirth.
Hypnobirthing teaches women to be calm and relaxed during their labour experience.
Hypnobirthing uses self-hypnosis, guided imagery and special breathing techniques that can help to bring about a shorter, easier, and more joyful birth experience. Women can birth comfortably, awake, alert, and fully in control.
The main goal of HypnoBirthing is to assist women in overcoming any fears or anxieties they may have around childbirth. It uses a variety of relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques to assist the body to relax before, during, and after childbirth.
The idea is that when the body and mind are in a completely relaxed state, birth can happen more quickly and painlessly because the body doesn’t fight the natural process.
Hypnobirthing: How Does It Work?
The uterus is a muscle with 3 layers. When women are fearful, the muscles contract rather than open. Hypnobirthing teaches women to be calm and relaxed so that the cervix can open easily and gently. The pain in labour comes when a woman constricts her muscles when having a contraction.
Di says “this is a philosophy in addition to being a technique. Mothers focus on the positive aspect of what childbirth was meant to be. Fear creates tension, tension releases pain”
Through hypnobirthing women can give birth comfortably whilst being awake, alert, and fully in control.
“During hypnobirthing, the focus is on oxytocin and endorphins. We teach self-hypnosis, light touch massage and specific breathing methods which release endorphins. We aim to flood the body with oxytocin and endorphins so you can have an easier birth” she adds.
The Benefits of Hypnobirthing
Parents who choose hypnobirthing can enjoy many benefits, including:
- A safer birthing for mother and baby
- Shorter, more comfortable birthing
- A special, integral role for the birthing companion
- Fewer incidences of need for medication
- Fewer breech presentations
- Fewer complications and easier resolution in the event of complication
- An awake, refreshed, and energized birthing mother
- A better outcome for mother and baby
- A calm, peaceful birthing environment
- Good-natured babies who are better sleepers and eaters
- Happy parents who experience a serene, joyful birthing rather than a tense, stressful ordeal
Water birthing and hypnobirthing work together hand-in-hand. Water gives the mum-to-be freedom of movement, privacy and warmth.
But if you are considering a waterbirth, do keep in mind what Di says: “it’s (waterbirth) not for everybody, in some cases, it slows birth. You will know water birthing is not for you through fetal heartbeat monitoring. If the fetus is in distress you have to get out of the water.
The water needs to be between 35 -37 degrees. Baby needs to be completely submerged when he comes out, and it is very important to have an attendant who is trained in water birthing with you.”
Hypnobabies vs Hypnobirthing
The Mongan Method is another name for hypnobirth. It entails five classes, each lasting two and a half hours, for a total of 12 hours of training. It is regarded as the “original” approach. Around the world, there are a lot of licenced HypnoBirthing practitioners.
The primary concept behind this approach is that if the body is relaxed, intense pain need not be a part of labour. Different self-hypnosis and relaxation methods, such as guided imagery and breathing, are taught to participants.
Another technique for hypnosis during childbirth is hypnobabies. It is based on Gerald Kein, a renowned hypnotherapist, who created the Painless Childbirth Program.
While this practice is similar to hypnobirthing, there are several significant differences. Instead of depending solely on simple relaxation techniques, it emphasises particular pain management strategies. These strategies consist of somnambulistic hypnosis (sleepwalking) procedures of “medical grade” as well as hypnotic compounding (repetition).
With six classes lasting three hours each and a total of 18 hours of training, this course is also a little longer.
When To Start Hypnobirthing?
For mothers who prefer low-tech labour and delivery without epidurals for pain relief, an induction, or a C-section, hypnobirthing may be the best option.
Mums and partners who opt for hypnobirthing typically want to have greater control over the labour process and comprehend what is happening rather than blindly following their doctor’s instructions. Another useful tool for teaching what the body goes through during labour is hypnobirthing.
You can start going to hypnobirthing sessions soon after your 20-week scan, according to The Hypnobirthing Midwife. Women often begin between the 28th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy. This allows you plenty of time to practise the methods and get in the right frame of mind.
You still decide when to begin hypnobirthing, and even with just a few or three weeks of practice, you can still benefit from the technique.
How To Practice Hypnobirthing?
Maybe you’ve taken a course in hypnobirthing, you know how it all works, and you realise that the most crucial thing to do right now is PRACTICE. Then HOW? For how long? What’s the best course of action?
The simplest first step after finishing your training is to surround yourself with encouraging words!
You can create your own, purchase a pre-made bundle, print some from Pinterest, or do anything else!
Place them in the biscuit tray, on the refrigerator, or all over your computer screen. Anywhere you’re likely to look frequently! Positive thoughts should flow into that subconscious mind!
Playing scripts as you go to sleep every night is the quickest way to routinely practise them. You can practise your selected scripts “live” with your partner reading them, or you can use the MP3s that are included with your course. To practise without them if necessary, you can even ask your companion to record your favourite scripts.
Up and Down Breathing Techniques
Create a trigger so you may practise your up breathing and visualisations every time you put your key in the door or come to a stop at a red light. It only takes about 60 seconds or the length of a surge during the height of labour, and only requires four breaths.
Every time you go to the bathroom, remember to practise your down breathing! To serve as a reminder, you may post a positive affirmation in the restroom.
Keep in mind to concentrate equally on the lift and the “relax” a few times a week.
The Positively Birthing course teaches three fundamental massage techniques; if you can convince your partner to use them once a week while you’re pregnant, they’ll come naturally after the baby is born. You can get endless deep tissue massages, sacral pressure massages, and “soft touch” massages.
Read Positive Birth Stories
Search for positive birth stories and read through them all during your free time.
For this one, sit down with your birth partner and brainstorm some ideas and birth preferences. But it’s not necessary to finish it all at once!
Practice Relaxation Scripts Outside
Most likely, you won’t be in bed during a large portion of your labour. Try practising your relaxation scripts while standing up, taking a park stroll, or bathing. wherever you like!
This can be looped to play after your relaxation scripts, or you can have it prepared to play while driving, running errands, or doing the dishes! (NB: Only use the affirmations while driving; do not use a relaxation script.)
Hypnobirthing Breathing Techniques
Image source: iStock
Two of these breathing techniques are shared by the HypnoBirthing Midwife. You take a big breath in through your nose and exhale through your nose. Breathe in for four counts and out for seven counts.
The second method is comparable. The same deep breathing technique is used, but you stretch the inhalation to a count of seven and maintain an even seven on the exhale. This method of breathing is meant to assist activate your parasympathetic nervous system and make you feel more at ease.
Use J Breathing When You Are Pushing
When you feel the urge to push your baby out, apply the J breathing hypnobirthing technique. During contractions, your body will naturally begin to press down. You should let your body push in the manner that seems most natural to it.
You can concentrate, maintain your composure, and maintain control as you push by using the J breath. When you breathe in this way, you are using the movement of your breath to imagine pushing your child down and then back up, like a J. Think in your arms first, then down.
Simply take a big breath to begin the J-breath. You virtually hold your breath in your chest and gently push it out rather than letting it out right away. You imagine forcing your baby out by pressing the breath down. Then you let go and move once more.
Never should pushing cause you to feel as though you are holding your breath or tensing your face or upper body.
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Other Hypnobirthing Techniques
Reframing the entire delivery process throughout pregnancy is where birthing hypnotherapy starts. Parents are instructed on the mechanics of birth using more uplifting language rather than emphasising unpleasant aspects of delivery like pain and danger.
To assist parents to comprehend the labour process in a non-threatening way, “uterine surges” may be used in place of “labour pangs.”
Another important element of these programmes during pregnancy is body awareness. Programs for hypnotherapy concentrate on transforming the conception mindset from one of suffering to one of joy. Increased bodily awareness is also crucial since it gives parents a sense of empowerment and accomplishment while they are in labour.
According to some studies, training mums to relax and become calm when labour starts may help inhibit the release of some neurotransmitters and increase the uterus’s capacity to contract and deliver the baby.
The Start of Hypnosis
The act of going into hypnosis itself is the next crucial component of hypnotherapy for labour. There are different levels of hypnosis, and each one reduces pain to a different extent (referred to as hypnoanalgesia).
Hypnoanalgesia can be produced by teaching the mind to momentarily sever connections to certain bodily sensations. In most cases, focused reappraisal is employed to transfer the pain response brought on by uterine muscle contractions to different parts of the body.
Retraining the mind to believe that other muscular contractions, such as those in the biceps, are not painful can be used as an illustration of how to do this. The emphasis shifts to enjoying the muscular contractions as a means of bringing a baby into the world.
A focus on positive thoughts and words
Another helpful strategy is to concentrate on positive thoughts and language. For example, instead of using the word “contraction” to describe the contractions that occur during labour, you may say “surge” or “wave” for a more upbeat tone. Another illustration is to use the word “release” in place of “rupture” of the membranes.
Other relaxation methods include guided visualisation, in which you could imagine a flower blossoming to aid in physical relaxation, as well as music and meditation.
The concept behind these methods is that you might be able to give birth while daydreaming-like. You could
- be able to enter and exit hypnosis at will and be completely aware of what is occurring to you.
- unwind more, preventing your body from going into fight-or-flight mode as a result of the birth room’s strange surroundings.
- be better able to control pain and stress hormones thanks to endorphin release
The body can relax and give its full cooperation to the work at hand by managing pain and stress hormones.
The presence of a dependable support person is a final crucial component of hypnotherapy during birthing. This person—typically a relative, close friend, or doula—is skilled in hypnosis as well. They serve as a source of consolation and support as well as a guide throughout the process.
According to research, a support person makes the labouring person feel safe and secure, which enables them to enter a deeper level of hypnosis.
If you are interested in adopting hypnobirthing techniques to help you with labour, do not hesitate to consult your doctor about it.
Updates by Matt Doctor
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