The philosophy of ‘hypnobirthing’ was created by Marie Mongan.
We all want to experience a birth with minimal pain, no complications, and the outcome of having a healthy baby.
If we allow ourselves the experience, we are able to not only have a birth with less pain, but experience birth as a tranquil, powerful, transformative experience where we realise our own inner strength as a woman.
The exercises in the hypnobirthing book and classes include positive thinking, relaxation, visualisation, breathing and physical preparation for birth.
Hypnobirthing teaches you many things, one being to expect that some complications may occur during birthing, and your ‘plan’ may not go the way you wanted it to. In this circumstance, you can take what you’ve learnt from hypnobirthing to stay calm and remain in a positive mind frame.
In my personal experience of hypnobirthing, which I started to practice at seven months pregnant, I truly wanted to have an all-natural birth with no interventions. Some of my family and friends found this philosophy humorous or silly, some didn’t even want to hear about it.
Many of us have grown up in a society where we hear horror stories of birth with lots of blood and gore. This instills a subconscious fear in us, which then comes out in our own birthing process. This strategy of hypnobirthing is giving people a realisation that birth does not have to be a fearful experience, far from it.
Some common questions which come to mind to people that don’t know about hypnobirthing are…
-Hypnosis isn’t designed to make you do anything against your will. You are in a state where you can come back to your original state whenever you choose to do so. It is about listening to a voice and giving yourself permission to enter the state they are describing to you.
-As you relax in labor, your body will release ‘feel good’ hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. This helps by making the birthing process much less painful and sometimes, completely painless. However, the more tense and nervous we are, the more the body releases stress hormones, which causes the muscles to tighten, and ultimately, lead to complications.
During Hypnobirthing classes, partners are taught how to describe birth in a new vocabulary, using words such as ‘surges’ or ‘waves’ instead of ‘contractions’, and ‘intense’ instead of ‘pain.’ There are also visualization techniques such as visualizing a beautiful rose opening petal by petal, and easing the baby down through the birth canal with each breath.
When my own labor came and my contractions arrived, they were not ‘pain’ they just were what they were. I did not ‘scream’, I breathed and I moaned. When the doctors told me that they’re were complications, I did not panic, I remained calm.
When it came to my birthing experience, I had gone through ten hours of labor with no pain relief, and was only four centimetres dilated. My baby’s heart rate was dropping because of a sudden complication called ‘cord compression’. Panic started to erupt in the delivery room and I had to be rushed into the theatre in preparation for a caesarean (having a caesarean really was a fear of mine, I wanted to birth this baby naturally!) but to my surprise, I remained perfectly calm and practised my breathing, just trusting that everything would be okay.
When I got to theatre, things unfolded as I had hoped and the doctors decided It would be safe for me to try once more to have her naturally after one hour, she was born, perfectly healthy. So, what I got out of Hypnobirthing is that complications are always a possibility, but with the right knowledge and trust, you can handle and react to the situation with ease, which in turn will relax your body and help you birth your baby the best you can.
This is a more personal version of an article I wrote for Healthy hints