Hypnobirthing is a technique with multiple benefits; this form of antenatal education is often introduced around 25 weeks of pregnancy and encourages partner involvement for maximum benefit. Hypnobirthing is meant to prepare women for a positive birth and often serves as an alternative method for pain management in a natural birth but can be used alongside medication. It incorporates self-hypnosis, visualization, and deep relaxation techniques to help achieve a relaxed state of mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Thus, reducing pain, fear, and stress during the birthing process.
Hypnobirthing, as we know it today, is based on the early work of Grantly Dick-Read. His 1942 classic, ‘Childbirth Without Fear,’ presents the idea that a healthy birth is not meant to be painful, and that the “fear-tension-pain” cycle is making it so. From this body of work, Marie Mongan goes on to develop HypnoBirthing.
Society portrays labor in a negative light, often exclusively associating it with pain that goes beyond what a woman’s body can withstand. Fear activates the “fight or flight” response, which in turn causes muscle tension. This increases the pain experienced because the body is tightening up rather than naturally opening and getting ready for delivery. The “fear-tension-pain” cycle is explored by Dick-Read in his work.
Hypnobirthing highlights a woman’s innate ability to birth and normalizes natural birthing. By focusing on relaxation, through the use of multiple methods described above, a woman without any medical complications should be able to have a pain-free birth.
Words are powerful, and the hypnobirthing language reflects that. They focus on positive language and stories. Hypnobirthing even includes the following neutral terms to address common birthing language:
Using positive language like this makes the world of a difference and practice makes perfect(ly confident mommas-to-be)! Affirmations and visualizations are another means of reinforcing positive language leading up to childbirth so that when the time arrives, you will feel empowered to breathe your baby down.
Now that you have more information on hypnobirthing, perhaps you are interested in trying hypnobirthing for yourself. The next step is starting a hypnobirthing class where you will learn how to talk and think about labor more positively. Various techniques will be discussed, and subsequently practiced in class.
The following are considerations for choosing the best class for you
Classes are typically offered to couples from 25 weeks forward, commonly taken in 5 classes, each usually lasting 2.5 hours. Birthing partners are encouraged to participate in the entire process to best prepare to be a support during childbirth. It is beneficial to start learning about Hypnobirthing early to feel more comfortable with the modality.
Still, if time is limited, you can make it work. Condensed courses are often available and there are a plethora of resources online. Keep in mind that every birth is different. Listen to your instincts, consult with your health care provider, have a birth plan (but be flexible), and prepare to let your body do what it was meant to do.