Hypnobirthing has gone from being a “bit spiritual” to becoming very popular, well know, excepted method to help women through labour. This month we are looking into the benefits & why so many pregnant ladies are going in this direction. In our eyes we can’t see any harm in reducing the fear & making childbirth seem a little less daunting, so lets see what the experts & people who have experienced hypnobirthing say:
In an episode of “Happy Mum, Happy Baby“, with Giovanna Fletcher the Duchess of Cambridge told the queen of the jungle that, compared to her pregnancies where Kate is known to have suffered from severe morning sickness Hyperemesis, she “really quite liked labor,” in large part thanks to hypnobirthing.
The childbirth technique involves using self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques in order to prepare for and reduce the experience of labor-related fear, anxiety, and pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“I didn’t ask William about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself,” Kate said on the podcast.
“I saw the power of it, when I was really sick I realised that actually this was something that I could take control of during labor.”
— the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that that they teach you in hypnobirthing.
Giovanna used hypnobirthing techniques with her 1st child, Buzz, to help her relax. At the time, she recalled happily that her labour was nothing like the horror stories she’d heard.
Giovanna admits she relied on Michael McIntyre DVDs and singing along to Coldplay albums (not McFly?) to help her through labour. She also gives thanks to a constant stream of jelly babies.
Oh, and hubby Tom was of course on hand to support his wife. “Tom was as encouraging as I knew he would be – rubbing my back and reminding me to breathe anytime a frown appeared on my brow.
“He anchored me and made sure the day was as we’d hoped it would be.”
For the birth of baby no 3, Max, Giovanna found hypnobirthing’s breathing and relaxation techniques were the only pain management she needed.
As Tom wrote on Insta: “I’ve witnessed her go through labour and give birth three times now and all three have been different but equally special experiences.
“It is truly incredible to watch! She is the most focussed, strong, determined woman I’ve ever met and our boys are the luckiest kids on the planet to be able to call her Mum.”
Tom then went on to praise all births – and admit he spent Giovanna’s labour munching on more jelly babies.
Mum-of-2 Fearne said 2nd baby Honey Krissy’s arrival was a ‘positive experience’ which was both ‘intense and euphoric’.
“Love my YES MUM cards from @theyesmummum who brilliantly guided me through hypnobirthing before my big day,” she wrote in a social media post.
“Having a natural pain relief free birth was the most intense and euphoric experience ever.
“My first birth was very different to this and although all we want is our babies to be healthy, I think it’s important to remember how strong us women can be and what our bodies can do.
Superstar mum-of-6 Angelina Jolie allegedly used hypnobirthing techniques when she gave birth via caesarean to her twins Vivienne and Knox.
With now ex-husband Brad Pitt by her side, Angelina is rumoured to have chanted and was put under a trance while her twins arrived into the world.
Busy Phillips decided to let nature take its course, with a little help from Hypnobirthing. “I really believe that this is something our bodies are able to do naturally, and we should get out of our body’s way and let it do it,” Busy said before she gave birth to her daughter, Birdie.
Jessica Alba has spoken about using hypnobirthing techniques when having her daughters Honor and Haven in 2008 and 2011 respectively. Describing it as “guided meditation”, she said:
“I’m just concentrating on breathing and staying relaxed because it’s when you get tense that makes the whole labour worse and more painful”.
Is it for you?
If this is something you are considering the good news is that in some areas the NHS has started to include hypnobirthing into midwifery training as standard. Once considered a privileged, the move by NHS trusts in Colchester, Wolverhampton, Stevenage, the Highlands, Exeter, Gloucester, Walsall and Bury St Edmunds means the technique is becoming more mainstream.
However, Gail Johnson of the Royal College of Midwives advises a note of caution. “While this is a very positive move and [we welcome] anything that supports women to have the best experience of childbirth possible, it isn’t going to necessarily roll out over the entire NHS,” she says. “This is just a few trusts who are testing and trialling and developing this.
“That said, it offers a great opportunity to see if it really does benefit women in labour as I don’t think there has been any clinical evidence of trials on the benefit of hypnobirthing; it is purely word of mouth and subjective opinion. Remember that what you are trying to measure is entirely subjective; women have different birth experiences and different pain and stress thresholds and there are some who use hypnobirthing who end up with medical complications. The key thing is that, at last, women who believe in hypnobirthing are being given a choice and that is always a good thing”.
According to a survey carried out by Netmum’s seven out of ten expectant mums who now opt for customised labour and birth. In the survey of 1,500 women carried out , 56 per cent said they would consider including one of the alternative birth techniques in their birth plan, including hypnobirthing.
The My Birth, My Way survey also revealed that one in ten women now include it on their birth plan to have an unassisted birth, while one in five feels she should be able to request a Caesarean section for personal reasons, rather than only in cases of medical necessity.
Hypnobirthing allows women to feel in control of what is happening to their bodies during childbirth. They do this by mastering self-hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques learnt – along with their birthing partner – at specialist antenatal classes.
Reported benefits not only include lower pain levels, but speedier delivery, with less surgical intervention and less use of painkilling drugs and muscle relaxants.
“Hypnobirthing is not about being put into a trance,” explains expert. “It is all about learning strategies that help you through labour. But remember that if there is a medical complication in labour that puts the mother or baby at risk, hypnobirthing cannot stop that.”
When did it start?
The ideas and techniques around hypnobirthing date back to the 1940s. In 1942 Dr Grantly Dick-Read, the English obstetrician on whose principles the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) was founded, published his ground-breaking book Childbirth Without Fear (originally entitled Revelation of Childbirth).
An advocate of natural childbirth, he believed that the fear felt by a woman during childbirth had a direct impact on the amount of pain she experienced. He theorised that the negative emotions caused blood to be filtered away from the uterus, which, as a result, was left without oxygen and could not perform its function efficiently or without pain.
Leading US hypnotherapist Marie Mongan later took this theory and created an antenatal education programme based on self-hypnosis, the aim of which was maximum relaxation during labour and delivery.
Now adays (non covid restrictions), classes are available up and down the UK. Privately, they usually replace the standard antenatal birthing classes but within the NHS the two will sit side by side.
Again non covid times, Classes are held either for individual couples or small groups, with three sessions over three weeks, or two sessions over two weekends. Participants are also given homework and CDs to help them break the fear, tension and associated pain that hypnotherapists and many midwives believe blight many women’s experience of childbirth.
For more information, visit hypnobirthing.co.uk. For details of the hypnobirthing course accredited by the Royal College of Midwives, visit kghypnobirthing.com.
Next week read on about how our guest blogger felt about using hyponobirth that ended in a c-section.