Does HypnoBirthing Really Lead to a Pain Free Labor?

HypnobirthingWhat is HypnoBorthing?

HypnoBirthing is a growing trend that gives women another opportunity to prepare for childbirth. Practitioners believe they can train themselves to calm their bodies and minds through a state of self-hypnosis during labour and delivery, thus removing much of the anticipatory fear associated with childbirth while reducing the overall pain and discomfort. Through practice and dedication, a pregnant woman will learn to hypnotize herself by using specialized techniques involving controlled breathing, visualization, and scripted affirmations which can bring her into a hypnotic state.

How Will This Help Me in Labor?

Fear is a pretty standard reaction to the notion of childbirth, and according to advocates for HypnoBirthing, this fear releases stress hormones throughout the labour process that cause muscles to tighten which contributes to pain (and birthing complications). The theory states that a calm and tranquil mind will allow for a less painful birth and a smoother laboring process. When trained, advocates say that the subconscious mind can release endorphins to relax Mum and keep the nervous system happy (or happier).

Language of Loooove

Do different words translate to a different kind of labor?

Practitioners of HypnoBirthing are trained to use a new positive vocabulary during labour that removes all negative associations and ushers in the beauty of the process.

Don't call them contractions; in HypnoBirthing they're known as surges. It's not called labour; it's called birthing, and when the real discomfort of childbirth starts, it's not called pain, but rather pressure. Instead of using the term, dilating some HypnoBirthing mums are instructed to say, blossoming.

Think you could do it? Hmmm….we're skeptical.

HypnoBirthing: It's Trendy

Hypnotherapist Marie Mongan,is the founder of the HypnoBirthing Institute and author of the book HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach To a Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing; her methods are taught in a handful of hospitals and over 1,400 centers. Ms. Mongan believes their popularity has increased thanks to word of mouth and the Hollywood celebrities—including Jessica Alba, Tiffani Thiessen, and model Miranda Kerr—who have talked about her techniques that rely on deep relaxation.

What's the Mongan Method of HypnoBirthing?

The Mongan method teaches more than breathing techniques. The mothers are awake during the process but trained to calm down to the point where they often appear to be sleeping. They learn the skills needed to listen to their bodies to reduce the pain that stems from apprehension and anxiety.

Does It Really work?

Proponents of HypnoBirthing who have used the techniques in their own deliveries believe that it helped decrease the length of their labour, reduced the need for pain medications and epidurals, and increased the ease of the labour and actual birth. These women say that they felt more in control, more confident and focused, and were less fearful throughout the birthing process.

Women who have used HypnoBirthing say that they did feel some pain, but it wasn't unbearable and they were more able to focus their bodies on doing what was needed. Mayo Clinic obstetrician Dr. Roger Harms agrees that fear of labour can increase pain. He says "Stress hormones can redirect blood flow to your limbs, heart and brain, wasting precious energy. HypnoBirthing may counteract this process by preventing the release of stress hormones, which could potentially reduce the pain of labour."

HypnoBirthing is based ont he philosophy that the body knows instinctively how to birth a baby, just like it knew how to grow it for the nine months of gestation, and although it does not promise a pain-free childbirth, it is supposed to allow for an understanding of what's happening at each stage of the birth allows the mother to control anxiety and give birth more easily and naturally.