You'd be forgiven for thinking that Hypnobirthing is something just for 'hippies' - that's exactly what I used to think too.
But the truth is, Hypnobirthing is logical, straight forward and pretty powerful stuff. It's grounded in science, evidence based and once you learn all about it, it just makes sense.
Far from being 'hocus pocus', Hypnobirthing will give you the tools you need to birth with confidence, the knowledge to remain in control no matter what and ultimately the best start to your parenting journey.
In this blog, I'll explain exactly what Hypnobirthing is and how it can support you to have the most positive birth, no matter how birth actually unfolds on the day.
What's the 'hypno' part of Hypnobirthing?
The hypno part of Hypnobirthing stands for Hypnosis. In Hypnobirthing, this is self hypnosis and this is all about learning how to go into a deep state of relaxation.
Put simply a relaxed mind & body = a calmer and easier birth.
Hypnosis is a relaxed state of mind and we all dip into this every single day - yep, even you! It's that feeling you get when you're falling asleep or when you're driving somewhere familiar and you almost 'zone out'.
When we're in this state of hypnosis, our minds are fully relaxed. 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.
In Hypnobirthing, we use a number of different techniques to help you get into this relaxed state of hypnosis- from breathing techniques, to guided relaxations and visualisation, to more hands on skills like massage.
Essentially, when your mind and body are relaxed, birth feels less painful and happens more easily.
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
Far from being 'hippy', the hypno part of Hypnobirthing is actually rooted in science and Hypnotherapy. It's this element which makes Hypnobirthing so unique and powerful.
When it comes to birth, most of us have pretty negative expectations. This usually comes from other people's stories (hands up if you've ever been told a birth horror story), the TV, social media and our over thinking human brains worrying.
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 & 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 increase your pain levels as your uterus has to work even harder during a contraction.
Then because we are experiencing significant pain, our fear levels ramp up even more, making us become even more tense which makes 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.
Let's take a closer look at your mind...
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, 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 women, when labour begins, their unconscious mind triggers negative emotional responses.
The woman then feels uneasy, she struggles to relax and her hormonal balance is disturbed. Her mind and body go into survival mode rather than birthing mode.
This makes birth slows down, makes it feel more painful and the woman might even then need medical help that she perhaps wouldn't have otherwise. We can logically tell our mind that birth must be fine, as women 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 form of birth preparation
There is no other antenatal course like Hypnobirthing.
Hypnobirthing gives you the tools to totally transform your birth, helping you to have the most positive and empowering experience.
If you want to start feeling more confident for your baby's birth, I would absolutely love to support you on one of my 5* rated Hypnobirthing courses.
If we're not already IG buddies, come & say hello @bloomingbirthshypnobirthing
Blooming Births Hypnobirthing