Everything you Need to Know About Hypnobirthing

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While most people are aware of the importance of deep breathing during stressful situations, few people know the effect that deep breathing and mindfulness techniques can have even in situations as difficult as childbirth.

Hypnobirthing can help hugely when it comes to managing the pain of giving birth.

While it unfortunately can’t eliminate the pain altogether, many expectant mothers find hypnobirthing highly effective when it comes to helping them prepare for and cope with the birth of their baby.

And, with many celebrities singing the praises of hypnobirthing, it’s well worth a try!

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What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a birthing technique that teaches relaxation, visualisation and self-hypnosis to help women deal with both the anxiety of giving birth, and the birth itself.

Hypnobirthing can be in the form of meditation or self-hypnosis, teaching mothers to control their breathing and their minds for an easier and more comfortable labour.

It attempts to give expectant mothers a positive view of giving birth, which can help ease anxiety and fear.

Hypnobirthing is a form of meditation
Hypnobirthing is a form of meditation

How does Hypnobirthing work?

Many people believe that part of the pain that comes from childbirth is down to fear. Hypnobirthing seeks to give a positive view of birth, eliminating the fear that should help reduce the pain. 

Hypnobirthing aims to teach women to access a totally relaxed state of mind. When the mind relaxes, relaxation of the body should follow – making the birth quicker and less painful.

Hypnobirthing consists of controlled breathing, a focus on positive thoughts, and guided visualisations. There’s a range of different techniques, and hypnobirthing classes often start early on in the pregnancy.

Experts believe it takes around 25-30 weeks to teach yourself hypnobirthing, depending on how much practice you do. Hypnobirthing can be practised both in classes and independently.

It can take 25-30 weeks to teach yourself hypnobirthing
It can take 25-30 weeks to teach yourself hypnobirthing

What are the Hypnobirthing techniques?

The term ‘hypnobirthing’ covers a few different techniques and methods, and what works for one mother may not work as well for another.

The main techniques used both during pregnancy and in labour are visualisations, positive affirmations and deep breathing. 

Visualisations can help mothers to feel empowered and ready to take on the challenge. It’s thought that visualisations work because neurons in our brains interpret imagery as a real-life action.

By visualising your muscles relaxing and contracting at the right times, you encourage your body to take action and perform the movement. Practicing this repeatedly before the birth will create muscle memory, which can then be used during labour.

Using all five senses to practice visualising your newborn moving out of your body can prepare you for the real deal.

Positive affirmations can work wonders when it comes to diminishing some of the fear that comes with pregnancy. Many women feel crippling anxiety at the thought of the pain and stress of childbirth, but with the right mindset, it can be a very empowering experience.

Positive affirmations can give mothers confidence and comfort. The same phrases won’t work for everyone, but some of the most popular affirmations are;

‘I trust that my body knows what to do’
‘I am surrounded by love and support’
‘I am confident and safe’
‘I trust this process’

Saying something and believing it are, of course, two different things, but there is evidence that links the two together. Affirmations can help you to maintain a positive outlook during the birthing process.

Deep breathing is another effective technique. We are huge advocates of working with your breath to help your body and mind, which is immensely powerful during the birthing process.

Practising controlled belly breathing can help you stay calm and focused during labour, allowing you to breathe through and manage the pain.

Controlling your breathing even when your body is under immense stress is very difficult, but hypnobirthing teaches you to do just that.

What are the Benefits of Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing can be hugely beneficial, both in the latter stages of pregnancy and during labour.

Studies have shown that self-hypnosis can help shorten the first stage of labour, when the contractions become longer and more painful. A specific study has also shown that mothers who have learned hypnobirthing have less cesarean deliveries than those who haven’t.

Hypnobirthing can help mothers to manage their pain, without additional medication naturally. Many mothers who have learned hypnobirthing reported that the pain was entirely manageable, and they felt in control during the process.

Finally, hypnobirthing techniques can help you both during the pregnancy and once the baby has been born.

It’s no secret that life isn’t exactly a breeze once labour is over, but the mindfulness techniques learned during hypnobirthing classes can help new mothers to manage the exhaustion and overwhelming emotion that comes with having a newborn.

Hypnobirthing can also reduce the anxiety and fear surrounding labour itself. For women who have experienced trauma while giving birth before, hypnobirthing can put them in a more positive state of mind.

Hypnobirthing techniques can help you both during and after pregnancy

What are the cons of Hypnobirthing?

As hypnobirthing is non-invasive, there are very few cons to it! Unfortunately, hypnobirthing cannot completely eradicate the pain of labour, and many women find it is too much to bear even with their hypnobirthing techniques. 

One drawback to hypnobirthing is that many mothers go into the birthing process expecting miracles, only to find the pain really is too much to bear.

Asking for additional pain relief when they’ve spent months practising self-hypnosis can lower an expectant mother’s confidence in their ability to handle the birth. Particularly difficult labour can make focusing on all you’ve learned far harder than many people might realise.

Hypnobirthing is also unlikely to prepare mothers for things going wrong during the birthing process. If labour is smooth and quick, hypnobirthing can be an excellent tool, but techniques can quickly unravel if the birth is particularly traumatic or difficult.

Expectant mothers can still feel scared and anxious during the birthing process – but this doesn’t mean that the hypnobirthing hasn’t worked or that they have failed.

Stick with hypnobirthing, and it can be an invaluable tool to help you manage pregnancy and labour.

Key Facts

  1. Spiritual meditation is comparable to prayer and connects oneself to a higher power.

  2. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of observing thoughts and feeling free from judgement.

  3. Focused awareness uses an internal or external stimulus to focus the mind.

  4. Chakra meditation aims at opening all 7 chakras to create harmony within the body.

  5. Mantra meditation is a form of focused awareness meditation that uses a mantra either repeated out loud or internally to create focus.

  6. Loving Kindness meditation uses a set of phrases to generate feeling love, kindness, empathy and happiness toward one’s self and others.

  7. Body scan meditation uses the sensations to create a greater connection to the body.