What is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is simply an approach to pregnancy, the birth of your baby and life after the birth. It is an approach based on positivity, deep relaxation and calm. Most hypnobirthing classes will teach women self hypnosis and certain pain relief techniques. You can attend group classes or individual sessions, NHS or private classes. The classes that I teach are based on the Confident Childbirth approach. These are only delivered by fully qualified Cognitive Hypnotherapists.
There are studies that show Hypnobirthing can result in shorter labour, fewer epidurals and fewer interventions generally. This is largely because the women who have attended Hypnobirth classes are able to relax deeply and feel in control of their baby’s birth.
The Birth Story Reframed
We in the Western world tend to have a very different view of birth to people of other cultures. Dr Gowri Motha, an obstetrician born in Sri Lanka, talks about her ‘notion of childbirth’. In her book ‘Gentle Birth Method’ she talks about childbirth being something ‘natural, quick and even reasonably gentle’. As far as pain is concerned she tells us that ‘it is manageable, and let’s not forget that as a physical function…childbirth is actually what our bodies are best at.’
It’s the ‘manageable’ bit that’s interesting… For example, an Olympic athlete would not expect to complete a training session without feeling a level of discomfort. If you went for a run you might expect your legs to ache the next day. The feelings of discomfort are manageable because they have a positive purpose and they are temporary.
So it is with birth. As you approach the end of your pregnancy you can feel uncomfortable, but there is a reason behind that possible discomfort. You are carrying a life! Your baby. And soon, after manageable and temporary discomfort, the baby will be with you.
How Can Hypnobirthing Help?
Hypnobirthing creates a Virtuous Cycle of calm, positive relaxation. This ability to be able to relax, using self hypnosis, can transform the way you are feeling. The only muscles that need to be contracting during labour are the muscles of your uterus, tensing and relaxing in order to open the cervix. The rest of your body can learn to relax deeply, creating an inner focus where you can feel in control of your body and its needs.
When your body is relaxed and your mind feels safe and in control, your body will release Oxytocin and Endorphins, the Happy Hormones, helping the process of labour along.
Practice Makes Perfect
As with anything new, it takes practice to be able to learn to self-hypnotise. However, it is surprisingly simple and your teacher should be able to help and reassure you. I always write a personalised download for my clients so that they can listen at home and learn the technique in their own time, at their own pace. I also work with my clients to help them with any worries they might have.
The great thing about self-hypnosis is that it is a skill for life. As a child my mum used to help me get to sleep when I was poorly by teaching me self-hypnosis. Of course, at the time, I had no idea that this was what I was doing. It just felt like an easy way to be calm, relaxed and sleepy! For many people, learning the skills of Hypnobirthing can transfer to every day life. Imagine being able to face the world in a way that was positive, relaxed and grounded, whatever the situation.
Will Hypnotherapy Make Birth Pain Free?
Pain is a funny thing… New research on how pain works has put paid to the old belief that pain sensors send feelings of pain to our brains when we are injured in some way. In fact, it’s NOT about the amount of tissue damage a person might suffer. A certain Input (e.g a grazed elbow) does not equal a set Output. Any pain experienced is a result of analysis by the brain.
Danger messages are sent along nerves to the spinal cord are analysed by the brain. It is the brain that decides whether something hurts or not, with no exceptions. For every message of alarm the brain sends 200 messages to the site of possible danger. These can be amplifying or calming depending on the brain’s perception.
Of course, pain has an important role in keeping us safe. If we are aware of our bodies and our ‘normal’ then when something is ‘abnormal’ we can react in a way that will get us help. When the pain we are aware of is a natural process of muscles contracting temporarily, and our brains understand this then there is no longer a reason to experience pain. This understanding, combined with the Pain Relief techniques taught, can greatly reduce the discomfort experienced. In some cases the techniques can give complete relief from any pain.
Hypnosis does not interfere with the normal mechanisms of labour, does not depress the respiratory or cardio vascular systems of the baby, and can promote a higher Apgar score.
Will I Be In Control?
The short answer to this is Yes! Hypnobirthing can actually give you more control, more understanding of what is going on because you are able to create an inner focus and relax deeply. When you are relaxed and have learnt how to use visualisation to help you through your labour your body will, as I have mentioned, release the positive hormones which will help you.
Hypnobirthing and Hypnotherapy are not like stage hypnosis. You will always be fully conscious and fully aware of what is going on around you.
What About My Partner and Hypnobirthing?
When you have your baby you will be surrounded by people who only want the best for you and your baby. Hypnobirthing classes can also be attended by your partner and it can be a very special experience as you learn the skills that you will use together. It may be that your partner has worries or concerns about the birth and a good Hypnobirthing coach will be able to help them too. The thing that sets Confident Childbirth practitioners apart from some other Hypnobirth coaches is that we are trained therapists. We often work with clients who suffer from anxiety and limiting beliefs so there are skills we possess that go beyond the realm of pure Hypnobirthing.
What About the Medical Team?
Whether you go into a Midwife led unit, a Consultant led unit or have your baby at home, you will be involved with medical professionals. I cannot work with any woman who is not registered with her local midwife as it is an absolute pre-requisite that you give yourself and your baby the best medical care possible.
For me it’s very important to develop a good, positive relationship with your medical team. I have friends who are midwives and they all work very hard to make the birth experience of every woman they work with the best possible.
As a Hypnobirthing practitioner I help you to think about and rehearse how you will work with the doctors and midwives involved in your baby’s birth. The key for all involved is respect, calm and positivity.
How Do I Find a Hypnobirthing Practitioner?
Well, of course, you could contact me! But really what you need to do is to contact quite a few Hypnobirthing coaches. Have a good look at their websites and possibly arrange to have a chat. I always arrange a complimentary phone consultation so that we can have a chat. It’s important to hear the voice of the person you are going to work with so that you can decide if you are right for each other.
Do you want a group session? Would you prefer a private individual session? What is your budget? Some areas have midwives who are trained in Hypnobirthing so would this suit you?
The most important thing is that you work with someone you trust and with whom you have rapport.
If you are interested in working with me as your Confident Childbirth Hypnobirthing coach then the first thing you need to do is contact me on 07894564287 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org We can then arrange a time to chat about your needs and you can ask me any questions. I look forward to hearing from you!