Hypnobirthing is the use of hypnosis during labour. The practice aims to replace feelings of fear with confidence, and to allow women to experience labour in a positive way.
How does hypnobirthing work?
Hypnobirthing techniques can reduce your need for other forms of pain relief during labour. It can also help you to feel calm and positive during labour, rather than feeling scared or in pain. When you feel scared, your body initiates the fight or flight response. During this response, stress hormones, including adrenaline, flood your body. This reduces blood flow to the uterus, which can slow labour. The stress hormones can alter the amount of oxytocin released by your body. Oxytocin and other feel good hormones are released during labour and play a vital role in natural pain relief; without this, you may find labour to be more painful.
Where can I learn more about hypnobirthing?
There are a number of different ways to learn the basics of hypnobirthing:
- One on one – you can have individual sessions with a hypnobirthing practitioner, and they will teach you how to use the techniques and tools to ease yourself into a calm state of mind.
- Group sessions – you can attend classes to learn these techniques whilst also meeting other expectant parents. The classes are usually quite intimate, with only a small number of couples attending each one. Be sure to take your birth partner with you so that they can learn how to help you use hypnobirthing on the big day.
- Learn at home – the most affordable option is to use hypnobirthing CDs. The CDs help you to get into the correct state for labour. You should listen to them during pregnancy to help yourself get used to hypnobirthing, and then use them once your labor begins. You can also try an App.
You should get your birth partner involved in hypnobirthing from an early stage. Your birth partner should learn the breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques to be able to guide you during labour. You should practice your hypnobirthing techniques together at home as often as you can before the birth. You should aim to know the techniques so well that they become second nature to you during labour.
When should I start hypnobirthing?
The ideal time to attend classes or start listening to your CD, is between 25 and 29 weeks. By this time you will feel focused on the impending birth, and yet will have enough time left to learn the techniques. However, you can start at anytime, so do not feel that at 34 weeks it is too late for you start. The relaxation techniques will be useful during labour, no matter when you start to learn them.
Once labour starts, use the hypnobirthing relaxation techniques to stay calm. Listen to your hypnobirthing CD, and ask your birth partner to read through the visualization scripts and help you with the breathing techniques during surges.
Are you planning to use hypnobirthing, or have you used it before? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.