- Category Advice Column, Health, Pregnancy & Baby
The world for the pregnant woman is one filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety and, in many instances, a very real fear or trepidation, particularly for first timers. HypnoBirthing® is designed to alleviate the factors which cause fear, allowing you to birth your baby using your body’s natural, perfectly designed, and ultra-efficient muscles and pain relief to manage the process calmly and with minimal discomfort.
Understanding how pain occurs
At the onset of labour, all the senses mentioned above become heightened, and all too often, the fear responses take hold, and begin to govern the progress of the labour. In physiological terms, the body’s response to fear is to release adrenaline, causing muscles to tighten (the flight, fight or freeze response), and blood to divert to the major survival organs (of which the uterus is not one). Thus, the very muscles designed perfectly to birth your baby begin to work against each other and cause pain. The pain causes the body to release more adrenaline, and a cycle of pain-adrenaline-pain is triggered. Added to this, the lack of oxygen in the uterine muscles creates lactic acid, increasing the level of pain even further.
The way your body is supposed to work
In contrast, when a woman is excited and relaxed about meeting her baby, and she understands and trusts that her body is perfectly designed for the task, she releases endorphins, the body’s natural relaxant, at the onset of labour, which supplement the hormones specifically released to allow her to birth her baby easily. This powerful natural combination of endorphins (which help the muscles relax and are also 200 times more potent than morphine!) and hormones makes the birth an exhilarating and exciting process, rather than one filled with escalating pain and discomfort.
How HypnoBirthing® works for you
By using a range of simple self-hypnosis, breathing and relaxation techniques, from around 28 weeks of pregnancy, HypnoBirthing® mums are, with regular practice, able to reach a deep state of relaxation, allowing them to switch off the part of the mind which is responsible for triggering the adrenaline release. You’re in full control – the techniques produce an effect no different to the mild state of hypnosis experienced when you become engrossed in a good book, watch TV, daydream, or drive (ever got somewhere and not remembered parts of the journey?). The relaxation makes pregnancy easier and more enjoyable, and HypnoBirthed babies are on average significantly calmer and more relaxed infants.
HypnoBirthing® statistics speak for themselves
95% of women are capable of having a ‘comfortable’ birth without medical intervention; 70% of women that have used HypnoBirthing® used no pain relief at all; a further 15% used only something mild such as Entonox (gas and air).
HypnoBirthing® was founded by Marie Mongan in the late 1980s in the US and is now taught in 34 countries worldwide. Only practitioners affiliated with the HypnoBirthing® Institute (still run by Marie Mongan) are qualified to teach the course, of which there are now many generic versions.