Are you afraid of labor? The majority of women hold some sort of fear about the birthing process. That fear can lead to stress and stress leads to tension. When the body is tense during labor, pain increases andlabor and delivery can be more difficult. Hypnobirthing involves a series of breathing exercises, verbal cues and positioning aimed at calming fear, reducing tension and relieving pain – naturally.
What is hypnobirthing?
The term hypnobirthing is a bit misleading. There is no hypnosis involved in this birthing technique. Rather, women and their partners are trained to use positive thoughts and verbal coercion to relieve stress. The labor and delivery room can be a difficult place to relax. There are stark white walls, stainless steel tools, doctors, nurses and, possibly, other patients in labor in the same general area. Combine the visual stimuli with the pain and anxiety of labor and delivery and stress levels increase dramatically.
When the body is in a state of constant stress, tension builds. Tension can physically tighten muscles, including the muscles of the lower body – the same muscles affected by labor. Hypnobirthing aims to relieve outside stress to reduce tension and thus allow the birthing woman to take control of her pain. In some cases, women have reported relatively painless birthing experiences using hypnobirthing as the only pain relief.
What is involved in hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is a couple’s process, but a birthing partner can act as a substitute if the father is unavailable. Classes teach the partner and expecting woman breathing techniques, verbal statements aimed at relaxing the mind and body and physical positioning to naturally reduce pain. According to hypnobirthing advocates, the female body is prepared to take on natural birth, but various factors can remove focus from the birthing process leading to increased tension, pain and difficulty giving birth. When the body is relaxed and the mind is focused on the process of labor, tension disappears and the body assumes a more natural state of peace. Experts claim hypnobirthing can lead to reduced time spent in labor and delivery, in addition to reduced pain.
Breaking the Skepticism of Hypnotherapy
The word hypno immediately evokes images of a patient lying on a lounge in a psychiatrist’s office. The psychiatrist is talking softly to the patient, leading that patient back in time as a means of regression therapy. Hypnobirthing, however, which is a form of hypnotherapy, has nothing to do with regression or sleep. The idea behind hypnotherapy is calm.
Hypnobirthing requires preparation, typically with hypnobirthing classes, though not all births go according to plan. Even if labor and delivery requires advanced intervention or alteration to the expected birth plan, hypnobirthing techniques can be used to relax, reduce pain and relieve tension.