Your Guide to Hypnobirthing
Hypnobirthing hit the headlines in 2019 when Meghan, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, shared that she would be using the technique during the birth of Prince Archie.
Hypnobirthing is a powerful way to achieve a positive experience for both mother and baby; however, it is sadly often discounted as a bit of a woo-woo hipster trend. Angela Rake, Zing Wellness Co-Founder and Harpenden-based Independent Hypnobirthing Practitioner, answers your key questions in her essential guide.
What Is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is about achieving a pleasant, natural state of mental relaxation. It’s like daydreaming with no negative side effects. Being in a hypnotic state is literally when your brain waves slow down. It quietens the conscious (or rational part of the mind) allowing access to the subconscious (or emotional part of the mind), which is more receptive to change. It is not as woo-woo as you might think, and I certainly don’t get my clients clucking like chickens!
We all go into a state of hypnosis many times a day without even realising it. Think about when you are doing a familiar task or driving a familiar route, you can often find yourself in a trance-like state – that’s hypnosis! It has been said in a study that if we lived in a less pressurised society we would ideally spend up to 20 minutes in every hour and a half in hypnosis although in today’s fast paced world with our pinging phones and endless to do lists I think we are sadly very far from achieving this amount of relaxation even if there are resounding health beenfits.
Intended hypnosis is where we intentionally connect to our subconscious – the part of the mind responsible for change – through recreating a natural hypnotic state and putting ourselves into a trance-like state on purpose. Once connected, we can use post-hypnotic suggestion to influence change and create our desired result. Popular desired results are enhanced sports performance, giving up smoking or losing weight through better food choices.
How Is Hypnosis Different From Meditation?
There is very little difference between self hypnosis and meditation other than an hypnosis script has one vital extra ingredient, an extra level of immersion, where the post hypnotic suggestions are woven in. Simply put, a hypnotic state is the same as a meditative state with an end goal in mind. I often tell my clients that even if they are cynical about hypnobirthing they can’t argue with the benefits of going into a deeply relaxed state.
What Is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing provides expecting parents with a powerful set of hypnosis tools and techniques to guide self-hypnosis, harness the power of relaxation and breathing techniques to support a positive birth. The aim is to help expecting mothers to feel empowered and to build trust and positive relationship with their birthing bodies . Hypnobirthing also gives birth partners a really practical set of tools so that they feel they can actively support their partner in a positive way.
What Are The Benefits Of Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing offers many fantastic benefits for expecting mothers. It can make a positive difference to how a woman perceives labour and birth, and how she experiences the contractions that accompany it. Furthermore, hypnobirthing supports the natural release of positive birth hormones and makes it less likely that adrenalin will be released unnecessarily. When practised, post-hypnotic suggestions become engrained in the subconscious, which should mean that so when in labour, all mothers need to do is breathe. It doesn’t prevent pain but teaches mothers how to work with contractions. It doesn’t prevent a medicalised birth, but it can enable a positive birth experience regardless of how the baby is born.
Research shows that using hypnosis for birth results in:
- A reduction in labour length
- Less reported pain
- A reduction in medical intervention
- A reduced caesarean rate
- A reduced need for pharmacological anaesthesia/analgesia
Babies born to mothers using hypnosis tend to be calmer at birth, more alert and receive higher APGAR scores.
How Can I Learn Hypnobirthing?
A hypnobirthing course is the most popular way to learn the techniques. At Zing Wellness, we offer a one-day group hypnobirthing course and a 1-2-1 hypnobirthing course.
You can supplement your course our unique weekly Move & Bloom class that combines pregnancy Pilates with weekly hypnobirthing practice. Pilates helps you to get to a relaxed state through breathe work, tension releases and exercise and this will help you to get much deeper into your self-hypnosis.
You then need to practice. We recommend that our clients listen to at least the birth preparation track every few days from as early in pregnancy as life allows, building up to every day in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Remember, the more you listen to the audio tracks the more your subconscious will take on board the post hypnotic suggestions. This way all you have to do in labour is to focus on your breath and listen to the labour audio track. For continuity, we have produced our own hypnobirthing audio tracks recorded with my voice. And, of course, if you attend our Move Bloom classes, that’s once a week covered already!
Can I Learn Hypnobirthing On My Own?
Some people to choose to learn all about hypnobirthing at home, which can be a lovely way for you and your partner to plan for a positive birthing experience together. If you plan to learn on your own, do plenty of reading (see below for recommendations). And do consider an
online course, such as our Move & Bloom Online course which includes two hours of pregnancy safe Pilates based exercises, interviews with pregnancy experts, 30 positive affirmation cards and six of our hypnobirthing audio tracks.
Can You Recommend A Good Birth Preparation Book?
Here are five fantastic books that we recommend:
1. The Positive Birth Book, Milli Hill
2. Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth, Ina May Gaskin
3. Give Birth Like a Feminist, Milli Hill
4. Mindful Hypnobirthing, Sophie Fletcher
5. Men, Love & Birth, Mark Harris
Can Hypnobirthing Help Me If I Have An Elective Or Emergency C-Section?
Yes, absolutely. Our hypnobirthing course aims to prepare you for a positive birth, no matter what type of birth you have. The most important thing is that you feel informed, empowered and in control. To which end, one of our audio tracks is written specifically for preparing for a c-section birth.
Can Hypnobirthing Help Me If I Am Induced?
Yes, absolutely. Hypnobirthing can support all types of births, and as the induction process can be quite stressful, hypnobirthing can really come into its own as the contractions are usually more intense.
What Are Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations are often talked about hand in hand with hypnobirthing. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-doubt and negative thoughts. The more you say positive things to yourself the more your subconscious accepts them as reality. Positive thoughts can change your mindset and support the positive suggestions made during hypnosis. Working to create a positive mindset is particularly essential during pregnancy as it builds up positive hormones and reduces stress hormones.
We have developed our own set of positive pregnancy affirmation cards at Zing
Wellness that most resonate with our clients. Why not purchase a set and post these positive statements around your home to reinforce all of the fantastic work you have been doing towards a positive birthing experience.