Pregnant women, especially first-time moms, are often regaled with tales of their friends and family members enduring long and very painful childbirth. They’re also given plenty of unsolicited advice to “get the epidural.”It seems that in a era where many moms are pre-scheduling their C-sections, fear of the pain of childbirth has taken over. For those who wish to give birth naturally, the overwhelming message can be — it’s really going to hurt.
But does it have to?
Not so, say the over 1400 practitioners of the hypnobirthing movement. According to the report HypnoBirthing Outcomes United States, 2005-2010, (which compares data from Listening to Mothers II Report of the Second National U.S. Survey of Women’s Childbearing Experiences, Births: Final Data for 2007, and National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 58, Number 24 August, 2010) women who used hypnobirthing methods had far fewer interventions during their labor and delivery and described their birthing process as overall less painful than mothers who didn’t.
What is HypnoBirthing?
It’s the process of employing hypnosis or hypnotherapy techniques to the birthing stages, allowing the mother to relax , reframe the birth narrative and decrease anxiety and fear surrounding labor and delivery.
How does Hypnosis work?
Most of us have already experienced a hypnotic state, though you may not realize it. Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness, one that we transition in and out of on a daily basis. Have you ever been totally immersed in a project or book? Ever found yourself pulling into the driveway at home but can’t remember the drive home? These are moments of self-hypnosis — no black magic, no mind control, no clucking like a chicken — just the ability to harness your own natural clarity. In a hypnotic state you are more focused and relaxed yet lucid.
- All hypnosis is self-hypnosis — hypnotherapists are merely a guide.
- Hypnosis is an at-will state you can enter or exit whenever you desire.
- 90-95% of the people can be hypnotized.
- Contrary to popular belief, stronger-willed people are easier to hypnotize because hypnosis is determined by your desire.
- You cannot be made to do anything against your will while in a state of hypnosis.
Fear and Expectation in Childbirth
In other cultures, childbirth is regarded as a natural, normal event in a woman’s life, not a medical event. As such, these young girls and women often grow up with a positive expectation of the birth experience. They are supported and their pregnancy and births are celebrated and honored. By contrast in our culture, the birth narrative is one of pain, fear and intervention. These expectations help to shape our birth experiences.
If you are fearful or anxious, chances are your body will be tense, causing resistance and the birthing process to be more difficult and often painful. But for women with no negative expectation or fear they can enter into labor and delivery in a more relaxed mental and subsequently physical state of being, easing the process and minimizing pain.
Benefits of Hypnosis in Childbirth
- A lucid, energized mother, in a state of calm relaxation throughout the birthing process.
- Few to no drug intervention in labor and delivery, means decreased risk of side effects.
- Reduced labor times because muscle resistance is reduced or eliminated.
- A more serene birthing environment.
- Breech and posterior babies can be turned using hypnosis.
- Fewer interventions and complications.
- More peaceful babies post-delivery, due to mother’s calmer state and the lack of drugs in the babies’ systems, making them better sleepers and nursers.
Want to Explore HypnoBirthing Yourself?
Our Licensed Massage Therapist and Hypnobirthing Educator, Lori Reising holds hypnobirthing classes here at Bloom. The next 5 week session starts on September 22, 2011 from 6:00-8:30pm. Call 503.223.3741 to register.
- HypnoBirthing: Relax while giving birth? (cnn.com)