There comes a point, usually around the second trimester, when pregnant women start to think more about the experience of labour and birth. From programmes like ‘One Born Every Minute’ and horror stories that other people have passed on to them, many women begin to feel nervous about childbirth and fearful of what might be in store for them. Due to the side effects of pain-relieving drugs and the concern that they are passed on to the baby, many women are keen to have a natural birth without drugs so that their baby has the best possible start in life. This desire for a natural drug-free birth is why the use of hypnobirthing is becoming more and more popular.
How hypnobirthing began
Hypnobirthing began in the United States in 1989 when Marie Mongan devised the Mongan Method Hypnobirhting Programme, combining birth education with hypnosis. Its aim was to empower mums-to-be to take control of their labour and reduce fear while negating the need to use pain-relieving drugs.
Roll on 25 years and hypnobirthing has well and truly found its feet in the UK with 5 other hypnobirhting programmes now established, translating the methods to the UK birthing context and the NHS setting. Hypnobirthing can be used wherever you give birth, be it in a hospital, at home or in a birth centre.
Release the fear
Hypnobirthing classes can now be found all over the country. Hypnobirthing teaches a form of self-hypnosis, whereby you use deep relaxation, breathing, visualisation and fear release techniques during labour. Hypnobirthing is appealing to those who have previously had a difficult labour experience and for first time mums who want to remain calm and reduce the fear of the unknown.
By relaxing and freeing anxiety, your birthing muscles work at their best and many hypnobirthing mums find that labour time is reduced. Without stress hormones, the body also releases more endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller, negating the need for even gas and air in many cases.
Having a big following from those who want to have a natural birth, trusting in your body and maintaining calm control can prevent the need for strong pain relieving drugs and reduces the risk of intervention such as a caesarean. That being said, hypnobirthing can be adapted for women who know in advance they are going to have a C-section so that they can make the experience as positive as possible.
A further benefit of hypnobirthing is that a calm and drug-free mum tends to give birth to a more contented baby. Studies have shown that babies also feed and sleep better having been gently introduced into the world.
You might think it would be a surreal experience for the birthing partner, seeing the mum so calm in the face of adversity, but in fact hypnobirthing aims to get them in on the act too. By learning together as a couple, the birthing partner can provide support and help to reinforce the techniques during the birth. This means that mums-to-be find it all the more easy to have a home birth, if they wish, as they know they will have the back up from their partners.
Even if there isn’t a class near you or the person you really want to teach you lives at the other end of the country, some hypnobirthing teachers will be happy to show you the ropes via skype. And did you know that lessons can even include how to avoid having an episiotomy by using massage as well as how using hypnosis can turn a breech baby?
*This is a collaborative post*