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What is hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing has really come to light in the last few years with mothers claiming to have pain free and even pleasurable births. Ask most mothers what child birth is like and you will usually be told of excruciating pain, unbearable contractions which feel like you’re being stabbed in the stomach and back and a burning sensation to that of a blow torch on bare skin as you actually give birth. Many will have found the experience so unbearable they had no other option than to request an epidural, so the thought of women having a pain free labour might seem totally crazy!

Could it work for me?

The theory behind hypnobirthing is actually not a new concept. We’ve all heard the expression ‘mind over matter’ and in a nutshell, that’s what is it. You are training your brain to deal with painful sensations in a new way through self hypnosis and meditation and if done correctly, it can have staggering results. Ancient tribes have been using these techniques for centuries both in tribal rituals such as piercing large skewers through cheeks and jaw and during birth where women give birth quietly and alone out in the fields with no fuss.

Because women have been so pre-conditioned to the pain of childbirth, they are usually terrified before they even go into labour; they have been told horror stories from friends and family of their own birth experiences, seen programs on TV showing women screaming in agony and usually when labour starts they will start to panic about pain and whether they can handle it or not. This fear and anxiety causes the body and muscles to tense up further which in turn causes more pain. This viscous cycle will then continue; if a woman continues without any assistance she will speak of the agony of childbirth and if it becomes too unbearable she may ask for pain relief or an epidural.

Getting Focused

Giving birth has gone through many phases through history and we are now so used to medical intervention, drugs for the pain and this idea that giving birth is hell that we may have forgotten that it is a natural process and for the majority of women, their bodies are perfectly capable of giving birth without medical assistance. If a person can meditate and get into the correct state of mind in order to walk through fire and red hot coals without pain, then why can’t a woman do the same when giving birth?

Hypnobirthing isn’t like hypnosis in the traditional sense where you may be put to sleep by a hypnotherapist, rather you meditate and control your breathing and mind so that you are so relaxed and free from fear to have a much more pleasurable birthing experience. You can start practicing the techniques as soon as you are pregnant or late into pregnancy, there isn’t a right time to start although the more practice you’ve had, the better.  The breathing techniques will assist you in labour rather than the panting that is encouraged. It can shorten labour, reduce the need for episiotomies or medical intervention and help deliver calmer, less stressed babies.


How can I learn?

You can join hypnobirthing classes in your area and learn how to relax and meditate during labour with a group of other women and men – you shouldn’t forget your partner as they can often be good at reminding you the techniques you’ve practiced when you’re in labour and helping you to remain calm and in control. There may be times when everything you learn just flies out the window and having a partner to keep you focused can be key. You can also hire a doula (birth partner) that is trained in hypnobirthing to assist during labour or you can buy books or CDs which enable you to learn the techniques yourself at home. It is safe for anyone to try, whether you’re a first time mum, had many babies or are just scared of the whole birthing experience.

Is it guaranteed pain free?

There are no guarantees that you will have a pain free and a picture perfect labour. There are many factors which can affect how labour progresses and how a woman copes during labour and like with anything, the more practice you put in, the better results you get. However, 65 – 70% of mums practicing hypnobirthing, don’t require any pain relief, they only experienced pressure. A further 20-25% only required mild relief such as paracetamol or gas and air and 5-10% were regarded as special circumstances where they required medical intervention. Mums that required caesareans or were induced did state however, that hypnobirthing really helped in the lead up to delivery.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong way of giving birth, women shouldn’t feel under pressure to give birth in a certain way nor feel guilty if they couldn’t have their baby in the way they’d hoped, but empowering women to be in control of their birth and helping them get over the fear of labour is what hypnobirthing is all about.





About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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