Heard the word 'Hypnobirthing' from friends/ family/ the internet and wondering what Hypnobirthing is all about? If so - you're not alone!
In recent years Hypnobirthing has become somewhat more 'mainstream', and is something which celebrities, Royals (hey K Mids & Meghan!) and regular Mums to be alike are doing in order to prepare to give birth. Keep reading to find out what it's all about, and more importantly - the question at the back of every mum to be's mind... 'Does Hypnobirthing work'?!
Hypnobirthing first started becoming more popular about 5 years ago, but it has actually been around a lot longer! The idea behind the original forms of Hypnobirthing was to combine self Hypnosis techniques, meditation, calming breathing methods and basic antenatal education.
By combining these elements, couples had tools for during labour to help manage the intensity of contractions, soothing emotions during pregnancy/ birth and helping the birth process to be as smooth and safe as possible.
These days, a comprehensive class (like the Positively Pregnant course) will go a lot further in preparing you for birth. A good Hypnobirthing course should also help you to fully understand the birth process - how your body works during labour, and how you can massively help it do it's thing. You'll learn about your options during pregnancy and birth, and how those choices can influence the outcomes of labour, as well as supporting you to know how to question routine antenatal care, and ways of expressing your needs.
The 'hypno' element of hypnobirthing is all about 'self Hypnosis' - so what does that mean?
Hypnosis is a state of light 'trance' - which may sound a little odd, but really, we ALL go into states of trance every single day (yes REALLY!) - such as whilst we're driving (every been driving a regular journey and all of a sudden you're at your destination? You were in a state of hypnosis!)... or whilst you're scrolling on your phone - you're very much in a state of trance!
All this means, really, is that you become focussed inwards, become less aware of the world around you, and are able to access deeper parts of yourself to aid with things like calmness, pain relief and relaxation. All very helpful during labour!
But for me, as a Hypnobirthing expert, it's not really just about pain relief in labour. That's actually just a pleasant side affect of Hypnobirthing! One of the main reasons Mums seek me out, and one of a the biggest transformations I see, is around easing the fear of childbirth (for both birthing women and their partners!) A lot of us have been conditioned to fear giving birth, through the movies and TV shows we've seen, to other people's horror stories - it can sometimes feel like no-one has anything good to say about birth!
So it's no wonder, by the time we're pregnant and it starts to dawn on us that the baby is going to have to come OUT, that the idea isn't exactly a pleasant one!
Perhaps you're currently thinking birth is just something to 'get through' so that you can have your baby. Well - I'm here to tell you that birth can actually be a beautiful, transformative part of your life! Many of the couples I work with go on to describe their experiences of birth as 'magical' 'serene' 'empowering' and 'beautiful'. Part of the way Hypnobirthing works is by 'resetting' your expectations around birth, powerfully programming your subconscious to not fear the physical aspects of birth and preparing you to have this same amazing experience.
So - to the crunch! Does Hypnobirthing actually work? Well... it depends what you mean by 'work'! Some of the old school Hypnobirthing schools very much focus on all couples having a completely natural, intervention free birth, and whilst I specialise in this type of birth - Positively Pregnant Hypnobirthing courses do not SOLEY focus on this. These courses (including the self study Online Course ) prepare you 1) for the type of birth YOU want and 2) for ANY eventuality - so that no matter what twists and turns labour may take - you feel clued up and in control at each step.
In terms of helping you to avoid unwanted interventions... YES! Hypnobirthing absolutely 'works'!
A number of research studies have shown that Hypnobirthing reduces the length of labour (particularly the first stage) for both 1st time and subsequent births*. The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust carried out a study on Hypnobirthing which found Hypnobirthing reduced the rates of unplanned cesareans from 15% to 4% -amongst a LOT of other huge benefits including significant reductions in instrumental births (use of forceps or vacuum to help the baby out), reduction in use of epidural and more. See the infographic below:
Pretty impressive, huh?!
So there we have it... Hypnobirthing - not just a 'nice' thing to do in pregnancy, but an evidence based, scientifically proven way to maximise your chances of a happy, healthy birth!
If you're wondering what your next steps are to include Hypnobirthing in your birth preparation, why not embark on the FREE Positively Pregnant Hypnobirthing Video Class!