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The truth about Hypnobirthing

Discover the science behind Hypnobirthing and why it matters!

pregnant woman googles what is hypnobirthing

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Hypnobirthing is something for exclusively for 'hippies' and those wanting a homebirth.

I know how the name sounds, but the truth is that Hypnobirthing has nothing to do with how much of a 'hippy' you are or what kind of birth you're planning.

From homebirths, to hospital births and even c-sections, Hypnobirthing can give you all of the tools you need to still have a positive birth experience.

In this blog post, I'll explain exactly what Hypnobirthing is, the science behind it and how it can support you to have the most incredible birth, no matter what happens on the day.

Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room...

What's the 'hypno' part of Hypnobirthing?

The hypno part of Hypnobirthing stands for Hypnosis and this is all about learning how to go into a deep state of relaxation.

Being able to access this relaxed state of mind during labour has huge benefits, helping us to 'zone out' from any distractions around us and helping us to remain calm during contractions.

On a Hypnobirthing course, we use a number of different techniques to help you get achieve this relaxed state of mind - from breathing techniques, to guided relaxations, Hypnobirthing MP3s, visualisation and massage.

Put simply a relaxed mind & body = a calmer and easier birth.

Recent studies have backed this up too, showing that amongst those who used Hypnobirthing, they reported significantly lower pain levels during birth compared to those who didn't use it.

The study also showed a dramatic decrease in the number of c-sections, epidurals and instrumental births in those who used Hypnobirthing.

53% of people (using Hypnobirthing) reported none or only slight pain levels during labour. NHS Study, Royal Wolverhampton Trust, October 2022

Feeling fearful

When it comes to giving birth, most of us have pretty negative expectations. This usually stems from other people's stories, TV dramas, films, the media and our over thinking human brains.

But birth isn't supposed to be feared - think about it, it would be a pretty big design flaw of nature if humans were supposed to be terrified of giving birth!

When people giving birth are fearful, their bodies tense up and they go into fight or flight mode. Fight or flight is your bodies automatic reaction to a situation that it perceives as dangerous, which triggers an acute stress response.

This stress response increases your heart rate, spikes your adrenaline and cortisol levels, diverts blood away from your uterus and increases your breathing rate.

This fear response can stall your labour or make it stop all together because your body doesn't feel safe to give birth.

If you're feeling really tense and fearful during birth, this will also increase your pain levels as your uterus has to work even harder during a contraction.

Then because you are experiencing significant pain, your fear levels ramp up even more, making your body more tense which then makes giving birth feel even more painful.

This is known as the fear-tension-pain cycle and it's this cycle that Hypnobirthing aims to break.

Hypnobirthing helps to alleviate any fears you have about birth and also gives you the practical techniques you need to stay as calm and relaxed as possible, working to free your body from tension so that your amazing uterus can do it's job and birth your baby more easily.

But it's not enough to simply think 'I'll just be relaxed when labour starts' - relaxation is a real skill that we have to practice and this is exactly what we do on a Hypnobirthing course.

Let's take a closer look at your mind...

unconscious mind in hypnobirthing

Imagine your mind a bit like an iceberg.

The smallest part of your mind is the conscious mind - this is the logical, rational part. This is the part that you're aware of and where your rational thoughts are. But the biggest part of your mind is your unconscious mind - this is our in-built survival mechanism and the part of your mind which controls your emotions. The unconscious mind processes things that it sees or hears as either safe or unsafe. So if you hear a scary birth story, your unconscious mind processes birth as being unsafe. This could mean that when your labour starts, your mind kicks into survival mode which triggers a series of emotional and hormonal responses to what it perceives as danger. This survival mechanism is an amazing tool in your body when you are really in danger - but birth is not dangerous. Your body going into survival mode during birth can be really detrimental to your experience of it.

For lots of people, when labour begins, their unconscious mind triggers negative emotional responses.

This then makes them them feel uneasy, they struggle to relax and their hormonal balance is disturbed. Their mind and body goes into survival mode rather than birthing mode.

This makes birth slow down, makes it feel more painful and the person might even then need medical help that they perhaps wouldn't have otherwise.

We can logically tell our mind that birth must be fine, as people have been giving birth since the beginning of time. However, this is logic and logic is only absorbed by your conscious mind.

To work on your unconscious mind, you need to go deeper and this is where hypnobirthing comes in. Hypnobirthing helps to shape your expectations on both a conscious and unconscious level and the impact this has on your experience is huge.

Hypnobirthing is the most powerful antenatal course

Hypnobirthing gives you the tools to totally transform your birth, helping you to have the most positive and empowering experience no matter what happens on the day.

It's no good having a load of information about birth if you don't have the tools and techniques to really conquer your mindset - this is the power of Hypnobirthing!

Want to start feeling more confident and empowered for your upcoming baby's birth?

Check out my upcoming Hypnobirthing courses!

Love Emma

Hypnobirthing and Antenatal specialist


Who am I?

Hey, I'm Emma!

Tea lover, self confessed birth nerd, mama of two and the founder of Blooming Births Hypnobirthing.

I pride myself on offering honest, bespoke and evidence based antenatal courses which put YOU at the very heart.

After giving birth to my own two babies, I continue to work closely with the Newcastle Maternity units and stay up to date with current working practices so that you are well informed about what to expect from your local trust.

 I'm also an affiliate member of The Royal College of Midwives and a breastfeeding peer support volunteer. I'm here to support you to start feeling informed, confident and totally ready for your birth!

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