The hugely anticipated day that you give birth to your baby is coming – and you want it to be amazing. When it comes to your birth, you want it to be easy, straightforward, calm, natural, and if possible, low on the pain scale or even painless.
You also know that for many, birth can feel out of control, scary, intimidating, and be hard to cope with emotionally and physically. The hypnobirthing method promises to help you move from out of control to calm and centered.
This guide will go over the hypnobirthing basics so you can see if it’s something you are interested in. For a more detailed explanation, including if it works, check out these in-depth articles Hypnobirthing Explained and Hypnobirthing Techniques.
Hypnobirthing 101: What Is Hypnobirthing Helping You Accomplish?
A hypnobirthing birth is just like any other birth. You prepare, you feel labor begin, labor grows in intensity, it becomes challenging and hard, eventually, your baby moves down, you begin to push, and then wondrously, your baby is there, in your arms on your chest. This amazing thing has happened – you had a baby. And now they are yours. You did it!
Hypnobirthing aims to make this awesomely intense event as pain-free and accessible as possible. And what I mean by that is at the basic level, hypnobirthing helps you prepare for birth by training your mind and body to be calm, even in the presence of great intensity.
While many moms who prepare for birth using the hypnobirthing method are preparing for a natural birth, this method can be used for any kind of birth. Hypnobirthing techniques can prepare a mom to deal with anxieties around receiving pain medications, being in the hospital if that is a scary place for her to be, dealing with pain, even coping with a c-section.
The Most Essential Hypnobirthing Basic
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To truly understand the basics of hypnobirthing you have to understand one fact about the body. The most important belief in hypnobirthing is that your body is designed to give birth. Birth is not meant to be painful. Your muscles know what to do, and giving birth is simply work, just like any other work you do with your body.
However, when you feel fear, your body releases a series of stress hormones that constrict your body and cause the immense and overwhelming pain that is part of the mainstream view of birth.
When you learn to use breath, relaxation techniques, and to use self-hypnosis to put yourself into a dream-like state during birth, your birth will be less painful and can progress in a euphoric and empowering way.
Hypnobirthing Basics That Help You Take Charge Of Your Birth
One of the things I’ve come to learn in life is that a worthy goal is worth putting time and effort into accomplishing. And, when it comes to birth, there isn’t really anything more worthy of time and effort.
When you take a hypnobirthing class, you learn 5 key things:
1. Nature Designed Your Body Perfectly To Give Birth
One of the most beautiful things about hypnobirthing is how it guides you to look within yourself for solutions. You are a mammal, and just like all mammals, you can give birth. In nature, animals don’t fear giving birth. They do not doubt their ability to give birth. They just do it.
Your body is perfectly designed through evolution to be able to give birth to your baby. It is meant to be a peaceful and empowering process that bonds you with your baby and leads to a deep love that will inspire you to protect and nurture this new child.
Birth is meant to be an empowering and positive event in your life. I love Kait’s description of this in her youtube video about Hypnobirthing. If you are planning for a calm birth, this is definitely a great resource to listen to.
2. Rapid And Instant Relaxation Techniques
When you take a hypnobirthing class, you are going to be doing a lot of internal work. Learning how to stay calm and centered in the midst of a big event takes practice and attention to detail. You will spend a lot of time practicing hypnobirthing breathing techniques.
One of these techniques is a deep inhale,, followed by holding the breath for a moment and a long slow exhale. Though it sounds simple, This breathing method quickly relaxes your body and clears your body of stress hormones. You can learn more about it in my Birth Secrets mini-course or any hypnobirthing course.
You will also learn how to put yourself into a state of deep relaxation using affirmations and audio cues.
When you are in a state of deep relaxation, you can allow your body to do its work, without fighting against it. Your pain will be less, and you may even reduce your risk for certain complications.
3. How To Build Connection Within Your Family Through Birth
One of the things I adore about hypnobirthing classes is the way they prepare the whole family unit to grow and work together through this big change. You learn ways to connect with and bond with your baby, even before they are born.
Even more importantly, partners usually come out of these classes with tools to support a mother with gentle massage and aromatherapy throughout the birth. You also learn great skills for communicating with your partner, so that they know what you need in each moment.
3 Easy ways a partner can support a mother through birth are:
- Encouraging mom to drink water or electrolyte drinks after each contraction.
- Learning and practicing supportive words and cues that will help a mother relax. Common phrases are Peace and Open. You can learn other supportive words with this list of birth affirmations.
- Providing counter pressure to a mom’s lower back if she feels pain there.
Of course, the hypnobirthing book or a class would help a partner fully develop these skills.
4. What To Expect Through Birth
One of the best ways to dispel fear is by gaining knowledge. It’s easy to fear what you don’t understand or are afraid to look at. In a hypnobirthing class, you learn what is actually happening during labor.
For example, you learn what causes a contraction, which is all about what your uterus and cervix are doing during birth. You will also learn what a contraction feels like. Specifically, you will learn how to work with the rise and fall, and wave-like feeling of pressure during labor.
And you also learn how to use language to help you more positively frame what is happening. So instead of calling a contraction a contraction, you might call it a pressure wave. This helps you associate the sensation of labor with something other than pain, which will actually help you feel less pain.
5. Practical Things You Can Do To Make Birth Easier As You Go
Most hypnobirthing classes will teach you the basics about birth. Such as good positions to labor in. Typically they want you upright and moving or on all fours.
You will also learn how to time a contraction when to go to the hospital (when your contractions are 4 minutes apart last a minute long and have been that way for an hour.) And sometimes you will learn exercises or stretches that will help your body during birth.
One important thing to know is that your body is shaped like a J. this means that your baby must come down, then up through your pelvis. If you are laying flat on your back, this makes your pelvis 40% smaller and makes it more difficult and longer to birth yoru baby.
3 positions encouraged in the hypnobirthing method are:
- Standing upright with your arms around your partner as if you are slow dancing
- On all fours leaning forward on a birth ball or, chair or the floor (think child’s pose if you do yoga)
- Sitting on a birth ball and gently moving your hips backwards and forwards.
How Much Time Do You Need To Devote To Hypnobirthing?
One of the most basic things to understand about hypnobirthing is that it is a very time intensive method. Moms should begin classes as soon as they reach the second trimester. This is true for all birthing classes, including Lamaze and Bradley classes.
Hypnobirthing, unlike other classes, is a more lifestyle type of class. Many of the hypnobirthing techniques revolve around avoiding or resolving negativity, learning to think positively, and learning to find inner peace and be less reactionary.
While these things may sound a little out there, there is plenty of evidence that moms learning to deal with stress early on in a child’s life helps the child in every stage of their life.
Most women try to devote an hour to practicing self-hypnosis every day with the hypnobirthing program. This means they are daily listening to scripts, letting themselves move in and out of super relaxed states, and preparing for birth a little at a time.
Hypnobirthing classes are usually 2.5 hours long for 5 sessions. They typically cost $300-$400. Prices can go up if they are individual classes
A Common Hypnobirthing Myth
While hypnobirthing can be a powerful way to prepare for birth, there is a some common myths that may help you decide if it is for you or not.
If I am hypnotized, I will be easy to manipulate or out of control
Many people associate hypnosis with stage hypnotist where a magician or other con artist type person encourages a person to do something like bark like a dog or flirt with a stranger that they would never do in their normal consciousness.s. This is not at all what hypnobirthing is about.
A hypnobirthing basic is that self-hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that people drift in and out of regularly. You would recognizethis as the moment before you fall asleep where your mind is relaxed and not really focused on anything, but if you needed to become alert quickly you could .
With hypnobirthing, you will always be able to be alert and present when you need to make decisions or interact with doctors. You will then return to a naturally relaxed state using your own cues and skills you have developed.
Hypnobirthing Basics Summary
I hope this article helped you understand the hypnoibrthing basics. Hypnobirthing helps you acheive a calm and relaxed birth. Most hypnobirthing moms are working towards natural birth, but it can be used for other types of births as well.
When you practice hypnobirthing, you are really beginning the practice of getting into an incredibly relaxed state so that your body can do the work of birthing your baby.
The goal is that you feel relaxed, calm and centered while you give birth. Feeling these things will also likely decrease the amount of pain you feel during labor. In fact, some moms, though certainly not all moms claim pain-free births from the hypnobirthing method. Other moms are still surprised by how painful and intense birth is, even when they are well prepared.
If you have any other questions about hypnobirthing, a great place to start is the hypnobirthing book.