Hypnotherapy in Pregnancy and Birth
“According to physiological law, all natural, normal functions of the body are achieved without peril or pain. Birth is a natural, normal physiological function for normal healthy women and their healthy babies. It can, therefore inferred that healthy women, carrying healthy babies, can safely birth without peril or pain” - Dr. Jonathan Dye 1891
Hypnotherapy in pregnancy and childbirth is concerned with preparing mother (and birthing partner) for birth, allowing an easier, more comfortable and pain-less birth. Preparation is aimed at physical, mental and spiritual levels and the benefits for most women who are not in a high risk situation are many, such as:-
Understanding that the pregnancy and childbirth process is normal and natural
Eliminating fear and tension
Reducing or even eliminating pain
Experiencing a shorter birthing process
Enhanced bonding between mother, baby and partner
Being focused yet relaxed when hearing the midwife’s advice
Accomplishing birth with the minimum of drugs, artificial aid and intervention
Accomplishing birth - gently and calmly
Increased energy post birth
Happier, better adjusted babies, conducive to better feeding and sleeping routines
How can Hypnotherapy Help?
Hypnotherapeutic techniques are based on breathing, relaxation, visualization, deepening and direct suggestions, as well as information regarding the ‘stages’ of pregnancy and labour.
Self-Hypnosis is also taught and regular practice of this during pregnancy is the key to a successful outcome. As with all presenting issues, an initial assessment is needed , so that all relevant information is gathered to formulate the most appropriate treatment plan.
Overcoming tension during the birth
A key part of the therapy process is to eliminate fear and tension. When fear is experienced, the body releases stress hormones – known as catecholamines. This makes the body go into defense mode and extra blood and oxygen is delivered to parts of the body which the brain considers useful for the defense. The reproductive system is not one of these parts, so blood and oxygen supply is limited, preventing relaxation of birthing muscles.
If fear occurs during the birthing process itself, the birthing muscles perform much less effectively which can lead to slower, painful births. With the aid of Hypnosis, the mother can eliminate fear and tension, remaining relaxed. This state of mind aids in the stimulation of endorphins, which are the body’s natural antidepressants and relaxants. Since catecholamines and endorphins cannot be released simultaneously, birthing muscles can work effectively as designed, promoting trust in the mother in her own natural birthing instincts, together with a calm, more comfortable birth whilst avoiding unnecessary medical intervention.
It is important to note, that in no way is hypnobirthing intended to replace the role of the midwife or medical professionals and any therapeutic intervention should support their expertise without contradiction.
Breathing through the Birthing Period
Self-Hypnosis can be practiced frequently at home prior to the birth journey, and if possible it is helpful to involve the birthing partner in this process. This regular practice is then carried into the birthing period, promoting much needed breathing techniques for each of the three stages of labour;
Stage 1 – ‘Surges’ (contractions)
Stage 2 – The Birth
Stage 3 – Post birth (skin to skin contact, delivery of the placenta and breastfeeding)
Wider use of Hypnotherapy in Pregnancy and Birth
Hypnobirthing & Pregnancy sessions with a suitably qualified practitioner can cover a variety of more focused topics including :-
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Bonding with baby
Anticipated premature labour
Preparation for labour & birth – role of uterus, role of autonomic nervous system, stages of labour
Exercise & Nutrition
Fear, in general
Special circumstances – pause in labour, breech birth
Post Natal progress – baby blues, care & well-being
The Structure of Hypnobirthing Courses
A course of Hypnobirthing is a minimum of four sessions. More may be necessary depending on your requirements and goals to be achieved. I offer this service in a face to face setting at Solihull Well Being Clinic. Where needed, sessions may also be virtual/online or conducted through home visits (depending on location). Group sessions are also possible, for up to 6 clients and their partners.