• Claire Norris

What is hypnobirthing?

Updated: May 24

Heard of hypnobirthing but wondering what it actually is?

You may be wondering if this is for you.

Is it all hippy woo woo?

Is it unrealistic, a bit out there?

Can you still use pain relief drugs or do you have to be in a pool listening to whale music?

Firstly let's look at what this actually is.

Hypnobirthing is a general term for using hypnotherapy techniques to prepare the mind and body for birth.

Hypnosis is a natural state that we all go into daily - similar to daydreaming or when we are totally absorbed in a book.

We are then taking this natural state of mind and using it to give ourselves a mental rehearsal of birth - we are dispelling the fears and replacing them with confidence and calm.

With our conscious, analytical, thinking brains active we are less likely to take on board new suggestions that we can feel calm, confident and deal with whatever birth brings.

However, during hypnosis this part of the brain takes a rest and we can speak directly to the part of the brain where the fears and doubts are - and put them in their place.

It's not a case of saying we should never feel fear - rather we are teaching ourselves what to do with it!

But how do we actually do this?

This could be by listening to an MP3 recording where you'll be guided into a state of relaxation and calm, while listening to positive suggestions about birth - a bit like a mental rehearsal.

In my classes it also involves self hypnosis training - so I'll show you how to take yourself into hypnosis and how to easily calm your mind whenever you need to.

This will involve breathing, relaxation, visualisation and calming techniques.

Added to this, the full hypnobirthing course also involves lots of practical education about labour and birth - what to expect, how to cope with contractions etc.

Why is this useful for labour?

During labour our bodies actually benefit from being relaxed and calm - this helps to produce the beneficial hormones such as oxytocin - the one that causes contractions and helps labour to progress. Also endorphins - the feel good, calming hormone that helps to reduce pain perception.

By utilising relaxation techniques we are helping to keep ourselves in the calm birth cycle - we feel capable, in control and calm - this helps the beneficial hormones do their job. We then cope better as labour progresses - we are not dreading the next contraction, we are meeting it head on and dealing with it.

Reducing adrenaline in labour - the fight - flight -freeze hormone is important as this one can interfere with the beneficial labour hormones and slow things down - after all a mammal giving birth would benefit from a stalled labour to give them chance to escape the predator - this is very useful in a dangerous situation but not so good in a labour ward.

By keeping adrenaline to a minimum we avoid going into the fearful birth cycle: tension - pain - fear - more tension - more adrenaline - more fear - more pain.

This is often easier said than done during labour when it's long, painful or frightening. Or if we are in a strange place feeling observed, tense and tired. That's where hypnobirthing comes in. It helps you deal with all this.

Hypnobirthing is really aiming to give your body the best chance of just doing what it needs to do during labour.

It's about teaching you about the science of how your body works during labour, what it needs, and how to help it.

It gives you skills to calm your mind and feel more in control. This is far more effective than just trying to calm down on the day and hoping for the best. You may know that staying calm and relaxed will be better during labour - hypnobirthing shows you how.

But what do you actually get?

Are you just paying for a 1 day course, some breathing techniques and some advice on birth? Nothing you can't get from YouTube you may think?

You are getting so much more than that!

💗Skills in mind calm, relaxation and stress management that you can take into birth and beyond.

💗The ability to approach labour confident, calm and feeling informed.

💗Self hypnosis skills - so you can use hypnosis any time you need to feel how you'd prefer to feel. Long after birth you'll still be using this for everyday life!

💗Ways to bring yourself back from fear and anxiety quickly and easily - this will stay with you way beyond birth.

💗The ability to challenge worrying thoughts and put them in their place.

💗Tonnes of knowledge about birth, your options and how to make the experience work for you.

💗Ways to deal with pain and get through the hard work of birth.

💗In depth knowledge of physiology of birth - what may happen, why it happens, how to help your body through it all.

This really is worth doing!

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