Hypnobirthing is essentially a state of very deep relaxation used during labour and childbirth. Practise is the key, and because of this it’s best to start your hypnobirthing course as early as possible, usually around 28 weeks. There are many different methods of hypnobirthing, each with their own merits. Some hypnobirthing teachers are midwives, some hypnotherapists and others neither.
How Does Hypnobirthing Work?
When we feel fear or anxiety our bodies produce stress hormones and these stress hormones prevent our bodies from giving birth as effectively as we should. We are after all animals, so why can we not labour and give birth as easily as animals? Well, the problem is our extremely well formed forebrain where we process information and problem solve. Unfortunately, as it’s much larger than in other animals we tend to problem solve when we should be doing nothing and that’s especially true in labour. We start to think about what may go wrong, what the next contraction will be like, will I cope with motherhood? Etc., etc.
If you can limit that process of thinking and worrying, then you go some way to enabling your body to labour and give birth far more effectively. If you can manage to increase your body’s production of your natural pain relief hormones known as endorphins and oxytocin, the calming love hormone which effectively makes your womb contract then, in theory, you should have a quicker, more efficient and more comfortable labour.
During hypnobirthing classes, you will be taught a combination of easy to learn methods of breathing, deep relaxation and visualisation, combined with positive thought and language. These methods reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and fear, and releasing fear is fundamental to the success of hypnobirthing.
Hypnobirthing also acknowledges the importance of the partner’s role, giving them a specific role which brings the couple closer together. It also gives them the knowledge that they were an important part of how their baby entered the world, thus deepening their relationship with their child.
You will be given the information you need to understand how your body is working during labour and the choices that are available to you, so you are equipped to challenge your medical advisors to achieve the birth you want. This can often mean a more comfortable, drug free, calm and gentle birth, and if your birth is calm, gentle and drug free, then so is your baby’s.
You can find more information about hypnobirthing courses local to you through your midwife, or just search ‘hypnobirthing courses’.
Guest blog by Lesley Gilchrist. Lesley is a Harrogate mum of two, a registered & practising midwife with experience of private and NHS provision, media midwifery expert and ‘One Born Every Minute’ TV personality. Together with friend and business partner Claire Charlton has created a brand new product range called “My Expert Midwife” .
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