Hypnobirthing is not a magic wand that waves away the excruciating pain associated with childbirth, however, it’s a birth preparation program that focuses on keeping the expecting mother calm during childbirth by techniques of hypnosis, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
When we talk about natural delivery, our mind quickly links the terms; unbearable pain and suffering. This mostly stems from the horrifying stories we’ve heard from various women over the years. However, hypnobirthing aims to change the way women think about pregnancy and childbirth.
Marie Mongan, hypnotherapist and founder of HypnoBirthing Institute, explains how hypnotherapy helps a woman understand what happens with the body during childbirth. It helps women manage labor without the help of medication, and also enables them to be in a positive mindset all throughout the delivery process, so as to deliver in a gentle and loving way.
Hypnobirthing techniques involve self hypnosis, wherein the pregnant woman is taught to calm her body and soul, during the birthing process. Fear is debilitating and causes the muscles to tense up, thereby making the birthing process more painful. By teaching the expecting mother how to surrender herself and not resist the labor process by different breathing techniques, hypnobirthing plays an important role in helping one to cope with the demands of childbirth. All throughout the birthing process, the expecting mother is completely conscious and aware of what’s happening.
Women who have used hypnobirthing techniques to deliver, do not deny that they experienced pain during childbirth, however, the pain was made bearable by the different hypnobirthing techniques. These techniques differ from one hypnobirthing class to another, however, the basic techniques run on the same lines.
Self-hypnosis deals with entering a relaxed state of mind, in which the expecting mother blocks all negative thoughts by listening to affirmations from the audio material provided by the hypnobirthing class. They are also educated about what exactly happens to the body during childbirth, so that their mind and body are prepared for it when it comes.
The entire aim is to relax the body, so that stress hormones are not released. When a person panics, the body develops the ‘fight or flight’ response, due to the adrenaline produced. This causes the muscles to tighten and causes the blood to gush to the extremities. This leaves the uterus with lesser blood and oxygen supply, which in turn causes the birthing process to slow down.
Relaxation of the body and mind is also brought about by visualization techniques, which ask expecting mothers to visualize themselves cuddled with their newborn babies. During crowning, women are advised to visualize their baby coming down with every breath. Such visualizations help take away the focus from the delivery room and delivery process, although completely conscious at the same time.
This birth preparation program focuses on teaching expecting mothers the right breathing techniques, which if practiced properly will help prevent tightening of muscles during the delivery process. During each contraction, the expecting mother is taught to take slow and deep breaths. This helps her to relieve pressure off the muscles. Women are told to concentrate on the sound of their deep breathing, which helps them enter a deeper hypnotic state.
When the contraction ceases, the expecting mother is asked to breathe in a more relaxed fashion, so as to regain the required strength for the next contraction. Breathing techniques help good or happy hormones to be released in the body, which in turn help the delivery process become calm and peaceful.
How Hypnobirthing Techniques Help
Women are of the notion that if they don’t get painkillers, they cannot pass through the natural childbirth process. This is nothing but a mental block. Moreover, the thought of unbearable pain develops fear in their minds. This fear leads to muscle tensions, which in turn causes pain. Let’s see what role hypnobirthing plays during childbirth.
✔ It gets rid of all the negative thoughts and fears that women have about childbirth.
✔ They are relaxing which allows the mother to naturally release her own endorphins (happy hormones). This reduces the discomfort faced during childbirth.
✔ The actual labor pain is much shorter than the average labor.
✔ There is less or no use of drugs at all, thus there are less or no chances of side effects on the baby and the mother.
✔ It keeps the mother awake and energized during the childbirth process. A plus point is that she can spend more time with her baby.
✔ All throughout the birth process, the mother is calm and composed.
✔ The newborn sleeps well after coming into this world as they have less drugs in their system.
✔ Also, the mother is up within a few hours.
Hypnobirthing does not promise pain-free childbirth, however, it does promise a more comfortable and controlled delivery process. However, expecting mothers are taught to be open to medical intervention, if the need be. Research reveals that hypnobirthing techniques have reduced the cases in which pain relief medication has been used, but, it is yet to find enough evidence to title hypnobirthing as an effective birthing preparation technique.
Disclaimer: This article is purely for the purpose of providing information, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.