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August 9, 2022

Hypnobirthing: The Complete Guide

Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management that can be used during labour and birth

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In this article:

What is hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a gentle method of childbirth that uses controlled breathing, relaxation techniques, and visualization to help women have a calm and positive birthing experience. The term hypnobirthing was coined in 1989 by hypnotherapist Marie Mongan. 

Hypnobirthing is often used alongside other natural childbirth methods, such as Lamaze or Bradley. It can be done with or without the use of hypnosis. At its core, this birthing technique aims to help a pregnant person deal with any fear or anxiety around birth. It involves relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques to relax the body before and during labor and birth because when the body and mind are completely relaxed, birth can happen more quickly and painlessly.

What are the methods and techniques used in hypnobirthing?

There are a few different methods that can be used in hypnobirthing. One is self-hypnosis, where you learn how to hypnotize yourself and use the power of your mind to control the birthing process. This technique is used to help you relax and focus on your body. You can also use affirmations, or positive statements about yourself and your pregnancy, to help keep you calm and confident. Another method is the use of breathing exercises and visualization. By focusing on your breath and picturing yourself in a calm and peaceful setting, you can help to ease into labor.

What are the benefits of hypnobirthing?

So, what are the benefits of hypnobirthing? For one, it can help to ease the pain of labor. This is because the techniques used in hypnobirthing help you to relax and focus on your body, which can help to reduce the stress of labor.

Hypnobirthing can also help to reduce the need for painkillers and other medical interventions, which can be helpful for women who want a more natural birth experience.

Hypnobirthing can help to create a positive mindset around childbirth, which can be helpful for both moms before they become mothers AND afterward.

Benefits of hypnobirthing:

  • Shorter delivery periods. Hypnosis during birth could help shorten the first stage of labor when contractions become longer, stronger, and closer together.
  • Reduced need for interventions. This review of studies shows that pregnant people who use hypnosis don't require as much intervention with synthetic oxytocin. Another study finds that 17 percent of parents who use hypnobirthing techniques had cesarean deliveries compared to the 32 percent rate in the general U.S. population.
  • Natural pain management. One study shows that 51 percent of participants didn't use pain medication and reported their max pain as 5.8 on a 10 scale when utilizing hypnosis.
  • Lowers fear of childbirth. One study shows that the fear of childbirth was lower on the Wijma Birth Expectancy for those who used hypnobirthing techniques than those who did not.

Of course, using hypnobirthing or related techniques doesn't guarantee easy, pain-free labor. It may be beneficial to also think through what you'll do if birth doesn't go as expected, including researching pain-relief measures beyond body relaxation techniques and various medical interventions that you may face.

Comparing hypnobirthing to Lamaze and Bradley methods

Lamaze, the Bradley Method, and hypnobirthing are all intended to help birthing parents have a positive birth experience. They are similar in focusing on breath and relaxation during labor and birth. Still, there are some notable differences.

  • Lamaze helps parents feel more confident in the birthing process, focusing on pain management techniques, like breathing and massage.
  • The Bradley Method focuses on labor and birth being natural, teaching different techniques for relaxation. It relies heavily on a support person, like a partner, doula, or other labor coach. One study suggests that the Bradley Method may be more comprehensive than hypnobirthing because it covers care before, during, and after pregnancy.

Neither the Bradley Method nor Lamaze state that labor will be painless and instead focus on strategies to empower and give parents options to naturally relieve pain. With hypnobirthing, the focus is centered more around birth being painless if you release fear.

Do I need to be certified to do hypnobirthing?

No, you do not need to be certified to do hypnobirthing. However, suppose you are interested in learning more about the benefits and techniques of hypnobirthing. In that case, getting some training from an experienced instructor firsthand is always a good idea rather than trying this out only by reading only books or articles.

A note from Anja Health

Hypnosis can be an excellent option for pregnant people who want a calm and positive birthing experience. Some research suggests that there may be an association between prenatal maternal stress and immune cytokine profiles in the umbilical cord blood of newborn human babies. Hypnosis may help relieve stress and anxiety, possibly lowering a baby's predisposition to immune-related disorders.

If hypnobirthing looks interesting, consider taking a training class to ensure a safe and positive birthing experience for you and your baby. Check out the Hypnobirthing Institute to find a certified instructor in your area. You can also find several resources online, including The Mongan Method and Hypnobabies websites.

Even if your birth doesn't go as you imagined it would, the tools you acquire in hypnobirthing classes may help you beyond pregnancy. 

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