The emotional rollercoaster of parenthood comes with good and bad feelings, including fear of the birth itself. It is completely understandable that you have a lot of questions regarding the birth. There are plenty of ways to ease yourself into it and prepare for labour as best you can.
Hypnobirthing is one of the most well-known methods. Perhaps you’ve heard of it through Kate Middleton or celebrities like Jessica Alba. But, it’s probably not quite what you are imagining it to be. If only it was as simple as tick-tock-tick-tock, you will fall asleep and wake up with your newborn in your arms.
So let’s look at this birthing method in more detail and figure out if it could work for you.
What is Hypnobirthing?
Even though it is called hypnobirthing, it differs from regular hypnosis. This particular labour technique is meant to help a woman deal with fears and anxieties she might experience in the days leading up to the birth and the labour itself. Through various relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques the body and mind are supposed to enter a state of calm before, during and after the labour.
Hypnobirthing is partially focused around a specific breathing technique. First, breathe in through the nose for four counts and out through the nose for seven. Then switch and breathe in for seven counts and out for seven counts. This way of breathing will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system which will calm the body and mind.
Another technique incorporated into hypnobirthing is focusing on positive thoughts and/or words. Replacing commonly used words in labour for softer ones (such as using the term ‘surges’ in place of ‘contractions’) can give your birthing experience an overall calmer and more relaxed atmosphere, which will then hopefully support you in regards to pain and stress.
Pro’s and Con’s
Now you are probably wondering what the actual benefits and disadvantages of this labour technique are? Some of the benefits of hypnobirthing include:
- Achieving deep relaxation and calmness during labour.
- Eliminating negative wording from your birthing experience.
- Encouraging your body during labour all by yourself.
- Allowing your partner to be involved during the practice sessions and the labour itself
Some of the disadvantages include:
- The calming sensations of hypnobirthing can be insufficient for women who want to move around or grow tired of self-hypnosis during birth.
- Women who are using hypnobirthing may appear so relaxed and calm that their health care professionals underestimate the true progression of their labour.
- Hypnobirthing and self-hypnosis might be vague and hard to understand for some women.
To help you get an idea for how these techniques can help in the real delivery room, you can read about Louise and Georgina’s real experiences using hypnobirthing for their labour.
Louise “My first labour was really tough and I remember thinking, how on earth am I supposed to relax? For my second birth I tried hypnobirthing and it was amazing, I loved it!” - Read More
Georgina “During my pregnancy I downloaded an app to help guide me through breathing techniques. I used hypnobirthing when having both my children and both labours were incredibly positive experiences for me.” - Read More.
Where to get more information
If you’re interested in trying hypnobirthing, you need to find the right course for your budget and location. KG Hypnobirthing and Calm Births both have online directories for you to search for hypnobirthing instructors in your area, or alternatively you could look into an online course like the one offered by The Positive Birth Company. You could also get in touch with your midwife, who may have recommendations for local classes to suit your needs.
In the end, it is important to know that labour is a very personal experience and you should always keep in mind that no matter what technique you choose, you will always do well and become an amazing parent in the years after it.