What Is Hypnobirthing And How Can It Help Me?

Hypnobirthing is a birthing process which can help the mother cope with the pain and intensity of birth without the use of pain relief or medical intervention. It is a calm and gentle approach to birth which taps in to the woman’s mind/body connection.

Hypnobirthing is a birthing process which can help the mother cope with the pain and intensity of birth without the use of pain relief or medical intervention. It is a calm and gentle approach to birth which taps in to the woman’s mind/body connection. It encourages a deep sense of relaxation and hypnosis which can help the body to manage pain and fear really well. 
Hypnobirthing has become really popular in recent years as contemporary society portrays birth as a traumatic experience that involves excruciating pain. Many women have an extreme fear of giving birth and hypnobirthing aims to help reduce that fear and encourage a more calm and gentle birthing experience that will benefit the mother and the baby. 
Many couples maintain that the skills that they learn through Hypnobirthing helped them through many life situations that were not in any way connected to birth. This is because the elements of calm, relaxation and mindfulness are skills that can help us face any situation that may involve physical or emotional stress.
Let’s talk about some of the most common elements of hypnobirthing and why they are helpful during the pregnancy and birthing process. 
  • Deep slow breathing is key. The way you breathe during labour is the most important way of managing any discomfort associated with surges (contractions). Breathing will not only allow a good circulation of oxygen but it will give the woman more energy. Many hypnobirthing instructors will encourage certain types of breathing for certain stages of labour. 
  • Letting go of fear. Acknowledging and making a note of the fears you have surrounding the birthing experience can be really helpful. Writing them down can help you to see clearly that fears are simply thoughts. Many instructors will encourage you to let go of these fears and trust your body, your baby and your birthing partner. 
  • Preparing your body for birth with gentle exercise can be really helpful. Hypnobirthing may encourage gentle movement such as yoga to encourage strength and flexibility. If a woman fears needing an episiotomy or tearing during birth perineal massage and pelvic floor exercises may be encouraged. Staying mobile during labour is very important. Many traditional images of birth depict a woman lying on her back birthing in a hospital bed. Hypnobirthing encourages a woman to move as much as possible during labour to manage the discomfort and help with the baby’s positioning. This can help relieve tension and allows gravity to help birth your baby.
  • Your birthing atmosphere should be as calm and relaxing as possible. For some women, this may involve giving birth in water or with the use of candles, dim lighting and relaxing music. Privacy is key and each woman will have a different preference in this respect. The important thing is that the birthing environment is calm and peaceful for the mother and baby.
  • Hypnobirthing encourages you to rethink pain. Rather than approaching it with fear and labelling it as a negative you may be encouraged to try to see it as a necessary and effective experience. This can be really empowering. Every surge is a reassurance that your baby is making their way towards you. Effectively managing this feeling is very important. Deep breathing is the most important tool but gas and air, water and a TENS machine may also be suggested. Your instructor will teach you the power of visualisation and the skill to transport yourself to somewhere really calm and comforting even in the wake of discomfort during your labour.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.
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