Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hypnosis for Childbirth

When I became a doula I began hearing a lot about hypnosis for childbirth. Generally, pregnant moms will take workshops or listen to CDs from either Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing.

Hypnosis for childbirth is another childbirth education and preparation method. At first it sounds hokey, but from what I've seen and heard it is really similar to other coping methods and seems to really work for a lot of moms! It is also similar to what birthing mamas seem to already do: get into a zone inside themselves, listen to their breathing for calm, and so forth. I haven't had the pleasure of attending a hypnosis childbirth yet, but I am looking forward to it.

What Is It and How Does It Work?
by Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI 

Mention Labor and Delivery to an expectant mom in her last trimester, and chances are good that her heart will begin to race, her mind floods with concern and in some cases, panic. She knows that the day is coming when a force much bigger than herself will take over and her body will govern itself completely. For some women this is a very fearful event, but for a Hypnobabies mom, it is an eagerly anticipated challenge. 

These wise women use hypnosis to eliminate pain and fear from the birthing experience. In the past, the word "hypnosis" conjured up images of stage hypnotists re-creating Elvis, or mesmerizing others into embarrassing situations. Now it is common for hypnosis to be used therapeutically in many areas of medicine, dental and surgical anesthesia and personal therapy sessions. Even so, there are many misconceptions regarding hypnosis that can dissuade those contemplating this powerful tool. Here are a few FACTS:

* All hypnosis is self-hypnosis; the hypnotherapist is only the guide. A person chooses to enter into a hypnotic state, stay in and come out at will.

* Approximately 90-95% of the population can be hypnotized. Willingness, belief and motivation have great influence over hypnotizability.

* During hypnosis you are neither asleep nor unconscious, and will always "come out" whenever you wish. You are always in complete control.

* Stronger-minded and stronger-willed people are easier to hypnotize; not the other way around as is usually assumed.

* You cannot be made to divulge information or do anything against your will while in hypnosis.

*Hypnosis is not Satanic or religion-oriented at all, just a way to direct your inner mind toward the positive for great personal benefit. 

*We are all in states of hypnosis many times a day already!

What about Childbirth Hypnosis Classes? 

When learning how to use hypnosis for childbirth, you are taught an understanding of how the uterine muscles will work efficiently together, as they were designed to do, when the body is completely relaxed. The depth of relaxation necessary can easily be achieved with hypnosis so you learn these skills in class, and practice them at home every day until your baby arrives. Important: Comfort in childbirth depends on much more than deep relaxation, so you are also taught the most in-depth hypnotic anesthesia techniques that exist. These make a huge difference in creating your truly comfortable birthing experience, and are easily learned and practiced.

Your Birth Partner can have a very integral role in the preparation process: listening to the CDs, reading the handouts and guiding the Hypno-mother into deep relaxation with hypnosis scripts. They are also an invaluable part of the labor and birth process as they help you to focus and concentrate, as well as supporting you physically. Please note: Mothers without partners can easily learn, practice and use Hypnobabies on their own. All aspects of Labor and Birth are covered in Hypnobabies classes, as well as information on Nutrition, Exercise, Avoiding Complications and Back Labor, Fear Clearing Sessions, Birth Plans, Consumer Issues and Postpartum as well as much more.

HypnoBirthing aka the Mongan Method

How does HypnoBirthing differ from other childbirth preparation methods?

Unlike other childbirth methods that teach you how to cope with and manage pain, HypnoBirthing is based on the premise that childbirth does not necessarily need to be painful if the mother is properly prepared and relaxed. When women understand that pain is caused by constrictor hormones, created by fear, they learn, instead, to release fear thus creating endorphins—the feel good hormones. They are then able to change their expectations of long, painful labor and are able to replace them with expectations of a more comfortable birthing.  Rather than exhausting, shallow breathing and the distraction techniques of typical “prepared childbirth” programs, HypnoBirthing parents learn deep abdominal breathing and total relaxation, enabling the laboring mother to work in harmony with her body and her baby. This allows her to achieve a shorter and more comfortable labor for herself and baby.

What HypnoBirthing looks and sounds like:

Christianity and Hypnosis
I have heard that many Christians are adverse to the suggestion of hypnosis because of the fear that it conflicts with their beliefs. I have heard of doulas being hung up on because they mentioned hypnosis visualizations as a possible coping technique. Here is what the hypnobabies website has to say:

It is important to remember that hypnosis is a state of mind that we are all already in many times a day, so it’s a very natural thing in our lives and is not an “altered state”. We are automatically in hypnosis when driving, swimming, doing other sports, sitting in church or a lecture, reading, watching television or movies or on the computer (a screen of any kind) and when waking up or going to sleep. In Hypnobabies we are simply guiding that process in a very positive way to create an easy, fear-free comfortable childbirth experience. Since our program is designed for women of every faith and belief system to use, it contains no “new-age” or other content that would offend anyone. Many of our Hypnobabies moms are Christian and have had wonderful success with Hypnobabies while incorporating their beliefs into our hypnosis scripts and practice as well as adding prayer into the actual hypnosis when giving birth. We have come to realize that that women know what they need and will find it in Hypnobabies, adapting it perfectly and serenely to their own religious or non-religious belief systems. They always do.
To read what a few Christian hypnobabies practitioners have to say, read here.

Can HypnoBirthing be beneficial to someone who has special circumstances or who must have a C-section?  
Yes! The HypnoBirthing website lists a great deal of ways that hypnosis training can help prepare you for a Cesarean section!

A Hospital Hypnobabies Birth 
FYI: in Hypnobabies they use different birth terminology than we normally do. Here are 3 terms that are used in the video:

  • Contraction = Pressure Wave
  • Labor = Birthing Time
  • Transition = Transformation


Both Hypnobabies and HypnoBirthing offer doula companion training, to become a hypnobabies doula, for example. Specially trained to work with hypnosis birthing women. If this is something you'd be interested in, doulas, definitely check out their websites! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow... that last video - that mom was SO in control! I hope for a labor like that... I'm researching Hypnobabies RIGHT NOW! :)


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