What is hypnobirthing and how do I use it?

woman_in_doorway_pregnant

In simple terms, hypnobirthing is a method of preparing for childbirth. It involves the combination of body and mind working together to enable labour to progress naturally and easily.  

Over the last few centuries, giving birth has become increasingly medicalised. In other words, the process has involved more doctors, and the focus has shifted from the body being able to do its own thing. In the 1950-70s, new thinkers around birth began to come through. They questioned why medical professionals told women to lie on their backs and push. Instead, they felt those in labour should be encouraged to go with the body’s urges, which often or not told them to stand, sway and squat instead. 

American birth advocate, Marie Mongan, created the term hypnobirthing. In her third birth, she requested to birth more naturally, with her partner by her side and not on a bed. Following this positive experience, she developed the technique we know today as hypnobirthing. 

What does hypnobirthing mean? 

The use of hypno in the phrase relates to the hypnosis techniques used in the practice. Now before I lose you completely, hypnosis is not actually what you imagine. There is no swinging watch or pretending to be a chicken on stage. Instead, hypnotherapy works on using your subconscious to influence your conscious. One helpful everyday example is driving. We all consciously learn how to drive, but over time the process of moving through the gears, pushing the clutch and braking happens almost without thinking. Of course, this is still safe because as soon as we need it, the conscious mind clicks in; but we can talk, think, sing, and drive.   

In hypnobirthing, we use relaxation scripts which touch the unconscious mind. The scripts – think of them as very chilled out stories – contain specially chosen words designed to tell the body to relax and feel more at ease. In your classes, I’ll teach you more about these relaxations, but it’s helpful to know they’ll work even if you fall asleep listening to them! 

What are the hypnobirthing techniques? 

  1. Evidence-based knowledge  

Hypnobirthing at heart is a science-based practice. By that I mean, probably about seventy per cent of my course covers information about the process of birth or the different options you might face in your pregnancy. My teaching gives you all the knowledge you need for a positive birth, however that may happen. There is no right way to give birth, only the right way to experience it: fully in control. 

2. Relaxations 

This is where the hypnotherapy element of the practice comes in. Within your hypnobirthing course, you will have access to several relaxation scripts. These can be used at different points in your pregnancy but are perfect for listening to just before bed. Your birth partner is encouraged to read them to you. But, you can play them out loud too. 

3. Visualisations 

Alongside relaxations, visualisations are a great way to focus the mind and encourage the body to follow your thinking. In your course, you’ll learn about the different visualisations you can use to help the birth process.

4. Breathing 

Your breath is a powerful tool. It can help make you feel more in control and is a great distraction technique when the power of your surges are in full swing. There are a couple of types of breathing you’ll learn in hypnobirthing.

5. Decision-making tools 

Every pregnancy is unique, and every pregnant person will likely experience something that requires their decision-making skills. Be that whether they are happy to have a sweep, where they want to give birth or how they want to be induced. As pregnancy and childbirth are highly emotional subjects, it’s important to find ways to look at the options as calmly and rationally as possible. Hypnobirthing teaches a great technique called BRAINS that can make this happen. 

Why should I learn hypnobirthing? 

Giving birth is one of the most intense experiences and sensations you could have in life. It can be overwhelming. But, if you have the right tools and resources available to you, it is possible to control it and understand it. As a result, rather than feeling like birth happened to you, you’ll come away feeling that I made birth happen. This is why antenatal education is vitally important. 

In many ways, childbirth isn’t complicated. If we know how to let the body do what it is designed for, it is one of the easiest things we’ll ever do. Easy and powerful! But if we let fear or tension take over, then that’s when it can become tricky. Learning hypnobirthing will equip you with all the knowledge needed to let birth happen naturally. 

How should I choose my hypnobirthing teacher? 

The key is to find a teacher who you’ll be comfortable with and will provide you with the information and style right for you. Take a look at the teacher’s website and social media to get a sense of their personality. KGHypnobirthing is a world-renowned hypnobirthing school, and The Royal College of Midwives accredits its teacher training course. It prides itself on being an institution that continually reviews and updates the information it gives its students and teachers based on the latest research and evidence. And that is the reason why I’m a KGHypnobirthing qualified teacher! 

Head here to read more about my approach to hypnobirthing and here for any FAQs you might have.