The use of hypnosis by an expectant mother to lessen the stress and pain of childbirth is not new. However, with well-known people like Jessica Alba, Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson, Demi Moore and Ricki Lake talking about their experiences with hypnobirthing, many women are becoming more aware of how hypnosis during labor and delivery can help them.
What are the main advantages of choosing hypnobirthing over more conventional techniques, like Lamaze or the Bradley method?
- Hypnobirthing teaches the mother how to actively control her pain levels.
- The method involves the father in the entire birthing process.
- Hypnosis techniques can reduce or stop the need for medication during childbirth.
- The baby is born into a calm, peaceful and stress-free environment.
- The hypnotherapist helps to remove any fear or phobias the expectant mother may have well in advance of the actual birth.
The hypnobirthing process shows both parents how to get into a fully relaxed state. It trains the expectant mother to maintain total relaxation throughout the birth. It also guides the partner on ways to talk to the mom-to-be into a calm state should she need extra assistance and encouragement.
What does hypnosis feel like? It’s the feeling you get when you are deeply asleep and woken up by an alarm clock. You are aware of where you are and can hear noise around you, but at the same time you are in the trancelike state of seeing and sensing your dream. You are relaxed and in control, and can open your eyes at any time.
In my practice, I generally work with the expectant mother on three separate occasions before the actual birth. I also give her a different relaxation CD after each visit. It’s important that the mother listens to it every day. The father may use it as often as he likes, as well.
The first session is usually with both partners together. This is an opportunity for them to learn what hypnosis is and how it works. Many professionals use this session to take the parents into hypnosis and teach them deep-breathing techniques. Patients are talked into an imaginary safe place and are given positive suggestions about their child’s delivery. This helps the parents relax.
The initial session also includes pain-control methods. Either way, by completely involving the dad in the process, it gives him a deep understanding of how hypnobirthing works.
The second session is solely with the mother. The one-on-one time encourages the expectant mom to discuss any worries she has about the pregnancy, the imminent birth or even about her partner. It also gives her the opportunity to share any phobias she has, such as a fear of needles, hospitals or of birth itself. If there are no fears to deal with, the mom begins to learn self-hypnosis and anaesthesia techniques for reducing discomfort during delivery.
The third and final session is usually just with the mother. If the father wants to come along, that is fine, too. Again, the time is spent practicing relaxation and pain control. During this time, mothers-to-be learn how to open their eyes as they remains in hypnosis. Most patients are given a birthing CD to listen to during labor and another with subliminal suggestions embedded in the music. The latter usually contains positive affirmations the mother listens to during birth.
The full hypnobirthing experience aims to give a woman a happy and virtually painless birth. And without any unnecessary pain or stress, parents and baby can revel in the magic of becoming a family.