By Lee-Ann Duarte, CHt
There are so many approaches to pregnancy and childbirth – so many schools of thought, cooping mechanisms, tools and choices to be made. Hypnosis maybe one of the tools you are considering but is it right for you and what are your options?
The goal of this article is to provide you with some basic information regarding hypnosis, how it works, what it can do for you and how to choose the right Hypnotherapist or Prenatal Hypnosis Program should you decide to use hypnosis for childbirth.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is natural state of heightened awareness achieved through deep physical and mental relaxation. In this state, the conscious critical mind steps aside, becoming an observer, allowing for direct communication with the subconscious mind. When we tap into the subconscious mind we are able to effect change in our mind and body in whatever way we choose. The benefits and applications of hypnosis are limitless.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and you are always in control. Anytime you go into hypnosis you are making the choice to do so even when another person or recording is guiding you into this state. Once in hypnosis, you will never do or say anything that you would not do out of hypnosis.
Benefits of Using Hypnosis for Childbirth
- Relaxation. You will be able to enter into a place of calm relaxation where you can de-stress, reduce fatigue, increase energy and even ensure you sleep better. Guided imagery can also be used to help you experience a place of total peace and relaxation.
- Non Focused Awareness. While in labour, hypnosis will allow you to be fully present and aware of everything that is going on around you while staying calm and relaxed.
- Increased Concentration. You will be able to easily focus on things, sounds and emotions that serve you, such as your breath or the voice of your partner or doula, while tuning out distractions.
- Positive Reframing. You can learn to automatically reframe negative statements when you hear them and use more positive language yourself.
- Fetal Positioning. Breech and posterior babies can be turned using hypnosis.
- Release of Fears & Anxieties. Negative emotions, thoughts, beliefs and ideas create tension in our bodies, which slows labour and creates and/or increases pain. With the assistance of a Hypnotherapist you can release these and replace them with positive emotions, thoughts, ideas and beliefs about childbirth.
- Increased Confidence. Through interactive sessions with a Hypnotherapist or using direct suggestions you can increase your confidence.
When using hypnosis for childbirth these benefits allow women to have more satisfying births. A more relaxed and peaceful birth results in a better birthing environment, less drugs being used, less muscle resistance during labour resulting in a shorter labour and ideally fewer interventions and complications.
Choosing the right Hypnotherapist or Prenatal Hypnosis Program
Do your research and find a Hypnotherapist or Prenatal Hypnosis Program that resonates with you and your goals during this important time in your life. There is no one “right” way to give birth.
The choices you make should provide you with all the necessary skills and education needed for you to have positive and empowering childbirth.
Here are some questions to get you started:
1) Would you prefer personalized sessions, or a program? Personalized sessions are offered by many Hypnotherapists ether in person or by Skype. There are also many programs available. Some use a class format while others are available via prerecorded audio. There are also combinations of all of these. Some programs will combine class time with recordings you can take home and many Hypnotherapists have their own programs, which may or may not include support classes and recordings.
2) If you chose a program, what type of program is it? Is the program strictly teaching prenatal hypnosis or does it also include a childbirth education component? For combined programs, find out how much time will be dedicated to each topic and what material will be covered. Consider if everything you would like to learn will be covered and whether there will be adequate time spent on each component for you and/or your partner to fully learn and absorb all the material.
3) What are the costs and fees?
4) What materials are being supplied? Books, CDs, scripts, phone help, DVD’s
5) What are the practitioner or instructor’s qualifications and background? Ideally they are a Certified Hypnotherapist and/or a Certified Childbirth Educator depending on the material they will be teaching. If not, ask them what their background is and what type of training they have in either hypnotherapy and/or childbirth education.
6) What methods, techniques and types of hypnosis will you and/or your partner learn? Will you learn to enter hypnosis on your own or with a recording or with guidance from a partner or a combination? Will you and/or your partner learn deepening techniques to ensure good hypnotic depth is reached? Will your partner learn how to determine your hypnotic depth so that they can deepen you if needed? Will you be given scripts or recordings to use before, during and after childbirth?
7) Will you be taught techniques that you and/or your partner will be able to use and apply in all child-birthing scenarios (hospital, home, water, cesarean, VBAC, drugs, no drugs)? Ideally the techniques you learn should be easy for you to use and apply in all settings, no matter where you are or what you are doing.
8) How does the Hypnotherapist or program approach childbirth and the many emotions or sensations you may experience? This is a very personal question. Take your time to think about this and how you might want your Hypnotherapist or program to answer this question. Please also note that while some women report having pain free births, using hypnosis does not ensure a pain free outcome.
If you decide to use hypnosis to help you achieve a positive and satisfying childbirth, you will not be alone. More women than ever are choosing to use hypnosis during childbirth and the research supports their decision.
Parenting.com had this to say about hypnosis for childbirth:
“Hypnosis may sound like so much hocus-pocus, but research suggests that it can help during labor and delivery. In one study, published by the American Psychological Association, women who used hypnosis required less medication and felt less pain than women who didn’t. Babies may benefit too: The Apgar scores of those born to hypnotized moms were consistently higher than the scores of those born to the nonhypnotized control group.”
Hypnosis during childbirth is an option to consider. The skills and relaxation techniques you learn will benefit you during pregnancy, childbirth and well beyond.