As a momma who is planning a home birth, or natural birth in a birth center or hospital, it’s smart to get prepared with a variety of pain management techniques and natural child birthing strategies. Approaching your birth with a toolkit of strategies and preparations is one of the best ways to ensure the birth you desire.

Perhaps you’ve heard of HypnoBirthing because of its recent publicity with the likes of Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and other celebrities touting its amazing benefits. Maybe you just know of it as a way to achieve natural birth but not much more than that. Or maybe you’re under the impression you can just be hypnotized and in a deep sleep during labor while your body just does the rest 😉

Let’s get to the bottom of this. What is HypnoBirthing? Could HypnoBirthing be right for me?

HypnoBirthing is a natural childbirth method used around the world that involves deep relaxation, self-hypnosis, and a complete change in mindset surrounding birth. HypnoBirthing aims to empower mommas in their birth by helping them feel in control and erasing fear.

Through deep breathing, positive thinking and affirmations, mommas are able to give birth naturally with greater confidence and ease.

Read on to learn more about this increasingly popular birthing method to help you decide if HypnoBirthing could be a great pain management technique for your home birth or natural birth.

Hey, if it’s good enough for the royals, it just might be right for you too!

What is HypnoBirthing?

Childbirth Without Fear

HypnoBirthing was a term coined in the late 1980s describing the use of hypnotherapy to support a natural childbirth. The HypnoBirthing technique is based in part by the research of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, author of the famed book Childbirth Without Fear. (source)

Grantly Dick-Reid was a revolutionary in his time because natural birth simply wasn’t a thing during the early 1900s. When he published Childbirth Without Fear in the 1940s, it was the first publication of its kind that actually promoted natural birth.

His research found that the majority of western women and western thought surrounding childbirth was wrought with fear and anxiety. He believed that if you could rid a woman of the fear and anxiety our society associates with birth, natural (that is un-medicated) childbirth was possible.

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method

Marie Mongan, probably the name most often associated with HypnoBirthing, used the theories of Dr. Grantley Dick-Read to birth her own children and went on to found the HypnoBirthing Institute in The United States. It’s popularity quickly grew and later spread to Canada, Australia and the UK. (source)

Women, healthcare practitioners, partners, and just about everybody else were blown away by the success of natural childbirth in women who were utilizing HypnoBirthing strategies.

Today you can find HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educators certified in the Mongan Method all over the world. If you’re interested to see if there is a HypnoBirthing educator in your neck of the woods, check out this HBCE search tool.

Even better? Take a HypnoBirthing course right from home with an online course like Hypnobabies.

Deep relaxation and self-hypnosis

The main hallmark of HypnoBirthing is that a woman’s body was made to give birth, and a baby is made to be birthed. The technique builds on this belief to eliminate fear and anxiety and promote deep relaxation during birth.

The birthing momma uses self-hypnosis techniques to achieve this deep relaxation. The mommas are taught how to perform self-hypnosis in a HypnoBirthing class.

Ideally, mommas will begin a HypnoBirthing class in their third trimester so that there is time to learn and practice the techniques. A typical HypnoBirthing model has 5 sessions.

Meditation, guided audio tracks, and breathing practice before birth is an important part of the process to prepare to use self-hypnosis during your birth.

A change in mindset

One of the first things you will learn in a HypnoBirthing class is a whole new vocabulary to associate with childbirth. Words are thought to be very powerful toward natural childbirth success in HypnoBirthing The idea behind this is to erase your entire current mindset that society has taught you about birth.

You will hear words like surges, waves, and sensation instead of contractions. You’ll only talk about birthing your baby vs. delivering one. You have only a “guess date” and will feel only pressure, sensation or tightening, never pain. (source) These are just a few examples of the way this childbirth technique works to undo any associations, fear or anxiety present about birth.

Furthermore, HypnoBirthing classes will prepare your partner with encouraging and supportive words to use during your labor to maintain this positive and productive state of mind during birth.

Visualizations and breathing

In a HypnoBirthing class, you will learn a variety of breathing techniques to use throughout your labor. You will be guided in how to breathe and when to use certain types of breath. Like I mentioned above, leading up to your birth you will practice these breaths so that on your birth day they will feel like second nature, allowing you to get deeply relaxed.

Another hallmark of HypnoBirthing is the use of visualizations to promote self-hypnosis and relaxation during your birth. Visualizations are usually practiced through the use of scripts and meditation. The idea is that you can then draw upon these visualizations during your birth. You may also have your partner or doula read you visualization scripts during labor to help you focus.

Some common HypnoBirthing visualizations involve flowers blooming, candles burning, waves crashing on a beach, and your body filling with a color and changing or releasing the color as the contraction comes to an end.

What are the benefits of HypnoBirthing?

  • A positive mindset surrounding the birth of your baby
  • Erased fear and anxiety associated with birth (whether conscious or subconscious)
  • A sense of empowerment and control over your birth experience
  • Confidence in your body and your ability to birth naturally
  • A variety of concrete strategies to utilize throughout your birth
  • Birth preparation that involves active practice and time to be present with your baby prior to birth
  • A childbirth method and preparation that will incorporate your partner
  • May result in a more positive postpartum experience because of a greater sense of control and satisfaction with the birth experience

What are some of the myths of HypnoBirthing?

Myth: Hypnosis means you’ll be in a deep sleep and too ‘out of it’ to be present in or really experience your birth

Reality: HypnoBirthing is not hypnosis as it’s portrayed in movies and cartoon. It’s an act of deep relaxation, peace and focus during your birth where you are still completely present.

Myth: HypnoBirthing means my birth will be totally pain-free

Reality: Unfortunately, there’s no magic method to make a natural birth pain-free– not even HypnoBirthing. However, HypnoBirthing will change your mindset towards birth pain and your perception of the pain.

Myth: HypnoBirthing is only about learning how to breathe in birth

Reality: If you’ve made it this far in the article, you know that breathing is just one aspect of HypnoBirthing. It’s also about mindset, visualization, meditation, and control.

Myth: I can just do self-hypnosis without learning or practicing ahead of time

Reality: You know, HypnoBirthing isn’t something you can just wing when it comes time for your home birth. Intentional preparation, instruction, and practice are important to fully benefit from HypnoBirthing.


Celebrities and HypnoBirthing

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, HypnoBirthing has been in the media spotlight lately because many celebrities are using and loving this method.

Most recently, you may have read or heard about Kate Middleton’s successful natural births and public support and promotion of HypnoBirthing. I mean, take one look at her appearing just a few hours after birth looking absolutely fabulous and you might be convinced to give HypnoBirthing a try. It’s been speculated that Meghan Markle was preparing for a natural birth using HypnoBirthing as well.

Other well-known celebrities that have publicly acclaimed and utilized HypnoBirthing are Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Gisele Bundchen, Tiffani Thiessen and Ferne McCann (source 1 and 2).

Could HypnoBirthing be right for you?

As you prepare for your natural birth and evaluate possible childbirth classes, HypnoBirthing could be a great option to help you prepare. The HypnoBirthing method educates you on the stages of childbirth, equips you with a variety of pain management tools and prepares you psychologically to approach birth without fear or anxiety.

Whether it’s one tool among many in your pain management strategies or you intend to have a full on HypnoBirthing experience, exploring this natural birth method is well worth the time!

Be sure to Pin this article to your pregnancy or birth boards so you don’t forget about HypnoBirthing when it comes time to prepare for the big day 🙂

Additional Sources

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