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Why is hypnobirthing important as an antenatal and birth prep course?

Yes, I love hypnobirthing. I am not spiritual; I am not hippy-dippy or someone who goes with the flow. Not to say I have anything against these things, but when most people think of hypnobirthing, they think incense, rhythmic humming, and the great unwashed. But hypnobirthing is not what you think it is, and even though it stems from science, science is now starting to recognise the importance of hypnobirthing as antenatal birth preparation. Let’s explore why hypnobirthing has emerged as a valuable tool for expectant parents worldwide and why I love it so much!


Understanding Hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing is an approach to childbirth education that emphasizes relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis, and mindfulness to manage the sensations of labour and birth. Contrary to popular belief, hypnobirthing is not about being hypnotized into a trance-like state; instead, it's about understanding the mind-body connection and the autonomic nervous system to harness the powers of your birthing hormones. It also teaches self-advocacy and building your birth term to support the birth you want!


Empowerment Through Knowledge

One of the fundamental aspects of hypnobirthing is education. Through comprehensive antenatal classes, expectant parents gain a deep understanding of the physiological processes of labour, birth, and hormones. This knowledge empowers them to make informed decisions about their care, thereby fostering a sense of control and confidence.

Understanding the intricate workings of their own body during childbirth can dispel fear and anxiety, which are often fuelled by misinformation and societal narratives surrounding birth. By demystifying the birthing process, hypnobirthing equips parents with the tools to approach labour with optimism and trust in their bodies' innate ability to birth.


Mind-Body Connection

Central to hypnobirthing is the recognition of the mind-body connection. Birth teams learn techniques like visualization, breathing exercises, and affirmations to induce deep relaxation during labour. By cultivating a serene mental space, women can minimize the experience of pain and tension, allowing the body to work harmoniously to birth their baby.


Moreover, the relaxation techniques practiced in hypnobirthing stimulate the production of endorphins and oxytocin, the body's natural pain relievers and love hormones. This hormonal cascade eases discomfort and promotes bonding between mother and baby, laying the foundation for a positive postpartum experience. Using hypnosis to create a state of relaxation to ensure plenty of oxygen to the uterus, and it is nice and relaxed to work its magic!


Hypnosis, as a voluntary state of mind, is subject to the mindfulness and willing participation of the individual (4)

 

Anxiety and Pain during pregnancy and birth.

Qualitative studies on the use of self-hypnosis during childbirth reveal that women experience reduced or altered pain, decreased fear or anxiety related to giving birth, and overall satisfaction with the birthing process (5).

Understanding your autonomic-nervous system helps us understand how to make sure we can get out of a fight or flight and into our rest state to ensure we protect those birth hormones and keep supporting the uterus! Breathing, hypnosis and distraction techniques can all help with this.

Hypnobirthing can effectively reduce anxiety among pregnant mothers during birth delivery.(2) All of the women who applied hypnobirthing stated that the hypnobirthing method reduced pain.(1)


Partner Involvement

Hypnobirthing isn't just for birthers; it actively involves birth partners in the journey. Partners are crucial as advocates, supporters, and guardians of the birthing environment. Through hypnobirthing classes, partners learn how to provide physical and emotional support, advocate for the birther preferences, and create a tranquil birthing atmosphere conducive to relaxation, focus and support the birthing hormones.

By actively participating in the birthing process, partners strengthen their bond with the mother and the baby, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and empowerment. This collaborative approach transforms childbirth from a solitary experience into a profound journey of unity and connection for the entire family.


Transforming Birth Culture

Beyond its immediate benefits for individual families, hypnobirthing has the potential to catalyse a broader cultural shift in how society views childbirth. By promoting a model of birth that prioritizes autonomy, informed choice, and holistic well-being, hypnobirthing challenges the prevailing narrative of birth as a medical event fraught with fear and intervention.


Through education and advocacy, hypnobirthing educators and practitioners are working to reshape birth culture, advocating for policies and practices that prioritize maternal autonomy, respectful care, and evidence-based maternity care. By fostering a more compassionate and empowering approach to childbirth, hypnobirthing paves the way for a future where every birthing person feels supported, respected, and empowered on their journey to parenthood.


Furthermore, compared to the participants in the control group, the women in the experimental group had shorter labour durations in the second and third phases of birth and shorter times for first breastfeeding.(1)


Final Thoughts

In a world where birth is often portrayed as a daunting ordeal to be endured rather than a transformative rite of passage to be embraced, hypnobirthing offers a beacon of hope. By honouring the innate wisdom of the body and harnessing the power of the mind, hypnobirthing empowers expectant parents to approach childbirth with confidence, resilience, and joy.

As we strive to create a more compassionate and equitable world for birthing families, let us embrace the transformative potential of hypnobirthing as not merely an antenatal course but a catalyst for positive change in birth culture and beyond. In the journey of birth, may we find strength, support, and solidarity, knowing that we are capable of birthing our babies with grace, dignity, and empowerment.

Most women reported feeling more confident, relaxed, less fearful, focused, and more in control. (3)


If you want to know more about Hypnobirthing and Birth Prep in Market Harborough, Leicestershire and Kettering, Northamptonshire, join me for a FREE Birth Prep Course.




(1)     Filiz Yarici Atis, Gülay Rathfisch,The effect of hypnobirthing training given in the antenatal period on birth pain and fear,Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice,Volume 33,2018,Pages 77-84,ISSN 1744-3881,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.08.004.(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S174438811730230X)

(2)     Imannura, P. S. U., Budhiastuti, U. R., & Poncorini, E. (2016). The Effectiveness of Hypnobirthing in Reducing Anxiety Level During Delivery. Journal of Maternal and Child Health, 1(3), 200–204. Retrieved from http://thejmch.com/index.php/thejmch/article/view/29

(3)     Julie Phillips-Moore Birthing outcomes from an Australian HypnoBirthing programme Published Online: 16 Aug 2013 https://doi.org/10.12968/bjom.2012.20.8.558

(4)     Kathleen R. Beebe,Hypnotherapy for Labor and Birth,Nursing for Women's Health,Volume 18, Issue 1,2014,Pages 48-59,ISSN 1751-4851,https://doi.org/10.1111/1751-486X.12093.(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S175148511530132X)

(5) Tiril Uldal, Marita Strand Østmoen, Bente Dahl, Idun Røseth,Women’s experiences with hypnobirth – A qualitative study,Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, Volume 37,2023,100890,ISSN 1877-5756,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.srhc.2023.100890. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877575623000800)



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