You might have heard of hypnobirthing before, but you might not be clear on what it is, how it works, or if you can use it with other methods of pain management. Here’s what you need to know about hypnobirthing.
Hypnobirthing is a form of self-hypnosis. It’s designed to help women manage their fears and anxieties surrounding labour, and potentially, to help manage their pain before, during and after birth. Using hypnobirthing doesn’t mean that you can’t use other types of pain management as well, and it may just provide an additional layer of help rather than an alternative. Many women use it alongside other pain relief to help manage their mental wellbeing throughout the process.
Hypnobirthing uses three techniques to help you get into a more relaxed frame of mind. The first technique is one that many people will tell you about anyway – controlled breathing. Deep breathing can help you get your body to relax and let go of tension.
The next step is visualisation. You visualise what it is that you want. It can be a specific visualisation, or maybe you can imagine a feeling. Some women visualise holding their baby after the birth or imagine different aspects of their birth plan. Others imagine how they’ll feel when they hold their baby, or how they’ll feel watching their baby meet other family members.
Meditation is the final step. It can help you focus on relaxation rather than pain. Use whatever meditation, music, or item to focus on that works for you.
There isn’t a huge amount of clinical data on hypnobirthing, so the easiest way to answer this question is that it works for some people. Some women have found that it helped ease their stress, anxiety and fear. Others have said it helped them manage their birth experience with less medications. However, this doesn’t mean that it will do the same thing for everyone. Many women see it as another part to a well-rounded birth plan.
The best way to learn hypnobirthing is to find a class. Look for a properly accredited hypnobirthing teacher and ask others for recommendations. Some classes are run in small groups, but other teachers may offer one-to-one sessions. Choose whichever you feel most comfortable with. It’s a good idea for your birth partner to come with you, because they can help you remember the techniques when you’re in labour.
It’s up to you! If it’s something you feel comfortable trying, then yes, you might want to think about using hypnobirthing to help you through your labour. If it’s not something you feel comfortable with, that’s completely fine too. Your birth plan is all about you, what makes you comfortable, and your wishes and feelings.