Awareness of hypnobirthing has grown exponentially over the last few years as its benefits have become increasingly well known.
Hypnobirthing is a method of birthing whereby the mother uses simple but effective self-hypnosis to enable her to have a gentle and natural birth. Relaxation, breathing and massage techniques are taught and practised to enable the woman to enter a relaxed state and allow her body to give birth calmly and gently. Hypnobirthing can be used in any birth environment, whether you choose to birth at home, a birthing unit or in hospital.
The term ‘hypno’ can be rather misleading. Many couples worry that they will be hypnotised and therefore not ‘in control’. Hypnobirthing is in fact the opposite of this. Hypnobirthing is about helping the mother enter a state of deep relaxation – she is not hypnotised, she will still be awake and fully in control and totally aware of everything that is happening around her.
Hypnobirthing mothers tend not to have painful births and usually do not need the assistance of drugs or other interventions. This is because the mother has released her fear and has full confidence in her body that she will be able to give birth. So often modern women have many negative preconceptions of giving birth and these can impact on their own birthing experience – hypnobirthing mothers do not have these negative emotions holding them back. They understand the mechanics of birth and feel empowered and capable. It also enables them to have a positive and relaxed pregnancy.
If a woman is confident about giving birth her body will naturally
produce endorphins (natural ‘feel good’ hormones) which assist her with her
labour. If she is fearful she will produce adrenaline which is
counterproductive. Adrenaline kicks in when we are afraid and diverts blood and
oxygen to the vital defence organs and our limbs – and therefore away from the
uterus. If blood and oxygen are diverted away from the uterus during birth it
cannot work efficiently and this is when women begin to experience pain. Hypnobirthing
mothers have the tools to remain calm and relaxed
so their uterus is able to function effectively
and therefore they should experience minimal pain. Hypnobirthing has proved very beneficial to women who have previously had a difficult birth as it can help them release any fear they may have and help them go on to have a much more positive experience.
Giving birth using hypnobirthing techniques is incredibly beneficial for your baby. The baby will have experienced the mothers’ relaxation in the months leading up to the birth which will have assisted with the bonding process. The confidence the mother feels in the birthing process and her ability to give birth will enable the baby to be born gently so it will enter the world in a relaxed and alert state. Your baby will have been given the best possible start in life.
If a woman does for any reason need medical intervention during her birth, hypnobirthing skills will still be incredibly valuable because they will enable her to remain calm and focused. Hypnobirthing prepares you emotionally for giving birth so enables you to deal with whatever path the birthing may take.
The father or birth partner also has a vital role to play in hypnobirthing. They are there to support their partner. They fully understand the birthing process and are well practised in helping the mother enter a state of relaxation. They are responsible for maintaining her state of relaxation and confidence whether it be helping her with her breathing, ‘anchoring’ her to keep her focused, reading her scripts, creating a beautiful birth environment or being the one responsible for communicating with medical staff so that the labouring woman is not unnecessarily disturbed. This is hugely beneficial for the father or birth partner as they are integral to the birth rather than a helpless bystander. This clear role makes the birth of your child an incredible bonding experience which draws couples closer together and unites them.