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What Is Hypnobirthing?

Most pregnant women eagerly wait for the moment when they can meet their baby. But when the time for birth comes closer, they go through a roller coaster ride of different emotions, which include fear of labour pain. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage pain, which include hypnosis and the technique called hypnobirthing. It uses hypnosis during birth and does not mean you are asleep one minute and you will have your bundle of joy in your arms the next minute. Read on to learn what hypnobirthing is and how it works.

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What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnosis is a process in which a person undergoes changes in behaviour, thought, sensation, and perception. Hypnobirthing is a type of hypnosis that is performed during the birthing process. The core purpose of this procedure is to aid women in dealing with the anxiety and fear they have over childbirth. It involves self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to enable the body to relax before and during labour and childbirth. The idea behind this is that the mind and the body are in a state of relaxation, and birth can be done more painlessly and quickly as the body is relaxed and the body does fight the process.

This is a trademark technique that was created by Marie Mongan, who is a renowned hypnotherapist. It combines visualization, deep breathing, partner prompts, and measures for labour comfort. Proponents of this technique believe that women can train their brains to get deep relaxation if they can prepare themselves for it beforehand. The birthing technique is based on the concept of mind-over-matter and thousands have gained from this proven technique.

How does Hypnobirthing Work?

The method of hypnobirthing is based partly on Grantly Dick Read’s book, An Obstetrician who authored Childbirth Without Fear in 1994. As per Dr. Reed, hypnosis usage helps people break the syndrome of fear, tension, and pain, which makes labour more challenging. He also went on to say that this syndrome leads to blood flow away from the uterus. He theorized that, by using hypnosis, relaxation can be achieved, which helps improve blood flow to the uterus. So relaxation is the main technique in hypnobirthing, but how do you achieve it when you have infrequent contractions? Here are some ways to achieve it.

Controlled Breathing: There are two breathing techniques that hypnobirthing midwives recommend. The first technique involves breathing in and out through the nose. Breathe in for four counts and out for seven counts. The second technique involves deep breathing, where the inhale and exhale counts are seven. This triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and gives calmness.

Focus on Positive Words and Thoughts: Focusing on good words and thoughts is another useful way to handle the pain. Instead of using words that create anxiety, use words that have a more positive spin. For instance, instead of using contraction, you can use wave or surge. Another example is to use release instead of rupture of membranes.

Guided Visualization: It is a technique where you are asked to picture something that helps you relax the body. Meditation and music may be used to aid in better relaxation.

Types of Hypnobirthing Methods

Hypnobirthing is also called the Mongan method and is considered the original method where five classes, each 2.5 hours long, are held. The idea behind this method is that pain need not be part of labour and birthing, provided the body is relaxed. Students are guided through self-hypnosis, breathing, and guided imagery.

Hypnobabies is another method used during birth and was developed by Gerald Kain. It is similar to hypnobirthing, but with some differences. The focus is to help with pain by using specific tactics rather than simply relying on relaxation techniques. These include sleepwalking (somnambulistic) and hypnotic compounding (repetition) techniques. This course takes longer to complete and totals 18 hours of instruction with 3-hour classes each.

Benefits of Hypnotherapy

One of the major benefits of hypnotherapy is that it gives great confidence about the birthing process. Along with that, it may help in:

  • Reducing labour. Specifically, when hypnosis is done during birth, it reduces the first stage of labour, which is when contractions are stronger, longer, and closer together.
  • Reduces the need for interventions. Studies show that hypnobirthing encourages a vaginal birth, and women doing this therapy do not need augmentation with oxytocin.
  • Manage pain naturally, especially if you are looking for a medication-free labour.
  • Women get a feeling of control, and as a result, they have less fear about childbirth and labour.
  • Results in healthier babies. The Apgar score, which is a measure of the baby's health a few minutes after their birth, is higher among those babies born using hypnobirthing techniques.
  • Help traumatised women, especially those who have experienced trauma during birth or fear birth and labour.

While there are some fantastic benefits to hypnobirthing, there is still no guarantee that there will be a pain-free and easy labour. Also, there are misconceptions surrounding this technique, and you may be unheard of by the medical staff. But you can still use the techniques to get through in a much calmer state. Also, there are some cases where the births do not go as planned, which does not cover the numerous medical interventions that they may see. So while this method can be used when everything goes as planned, you should also know what to do when it does not go as expected.


1. What is the hypnobirthing method?

It is a technique that teaches you to relax the mind and body during labour so that you can go through it with less pain and anxiety. Breathing, relaxation, and visualization techniques are employed for it.

2. When should I start practising hypnobirthing?

You can start the hypnobirthing classes after the 20-week scan. Many women prefer to start it between 28 weeks and 32 weeks so that there is enough time to practise and get into the right mindset.

3. Is hypnobirthing less painful?

Hypnotherapy does not completely eliminate pain, but it puts you in a better position to manage pain as well as get into a better physical and mental state of mind.

4. Is hypnobirthing effective?

Yes. It is the effective use of hypnosis to naturally manage pain during birth and labour.

This delivery method may work for some, but it puts them in a good frame of mind to handle anxiety and fear.

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