Words such as HYPNOSIS… CHILDBIRTH HYPNOSIS… HYPNOBIRTHING… HYPNOBABIES…
Often conjure images of old movies, silly sitcom plots, grown men dancing like ballerinas, little babies staring at swinging pocket watch, or poor birthing women clucking like chickens. Yet, as leery as people often are about the ‘H’-word, anyone who has ever wondered how the heck they are already at their exit while driving down I-4 has simply entered into a state of everyday hypnosis. Ditto for someone who is caught daydreaming or is completely engrossed in a movie, book, or video game. And who hasn’t drifted off during a really boring conversation? Again, everyday hypnosis. Hypnosis is simply a state of deep relaxation and focused concentration. It is a natural state anyone can access if they want to.
So, what is the one word besides “BREATHE” that can cause a laboring woman to issue threats of rendering her partner sterile if he says it to her one more time?– “RELAX!”. Yet how many of us know how to even begin to relax or what true relaxation actually feels like? Add to this the fact that we live in a country which bombards us with TV commercials for the newest wonder drug promising an instant, effortless fix for tired, overworked, stressed-out people. No need to change your lifestyle or learn relaxation &/or stress reduction techniques—just use the drugs. Hmmm… seems familiar. That is also the prevailing attitude around birth. Unfortunately, many people are shocked and, even worse, often scornful to hear a woman is choosing to give birth without an epidural or some sort of pain medication. So often pregnant women hear someone almost gleefully exclaim, “You just wait, you will be screaming for that epidural the minute you hit the hospital sidewalk!”? Few understand that mainstream birthing practices coupled with a woman’s own attitudes, fears, beliefs, and expectations play such a huge role in birthing. Feeling safe, supported, honored, and confident makes all the difference in being able to give birth ‘naturally’. Pair these factors with deep relaxation skills and slow deep breathing practices that come easily as habit, and a woman has the edge she needs to give birth without medication and often quite comfortably.
The gift of hypnosis is the profound relaxation and fear release techniques it provides. (The same medical hypnosis techniques used to create anesthesia in such cases as pain relief for burn victims, dentistry, and minor surgery aren’t too shabby either.) And truth be known, those Lamaze instructors are right, the way to a more comfortable birth is not to get pregnant in the first place. Oops, just kidding—relaxation and breathing techniques. While most childbirth education programs teach many wonderful relaxation ideas and tools, they lack the proper compounding and practice necessary to build a relaxation HABIT within the body. Nor do they provide access to the most powerful of all tools: your imagination- your subconscious mind. The subconscious is the part of your mind that influences how you think, how you feel, the choices you make, and the habits you hold. Hypnosis allows access to your most important ally. With access granted you can release limiting beliefs, fears, and negative programming, thus creating positive change and expectation. Hypnosis also enhances the mind-body connection. It can do such things as reduce stress, speed healing, increase a nursing woman’s milk supply, or even alter the perception of pain. Another benefit of hypnosis is that when someone is in this relaxed state, breathing automatically deepens and slows. This contrasts markedly with the fast paced, upper-chest breathing taught in traditional Lamaze classes. Over time shallow breathing results in emotional distress and physical exhaustion. A woman loses oxygen, energy, and perspective. Just attempting to remember the contrived patterns is enough to produce panic in most laboring women, and it has also been know to contribute to the broken fingers of well meaning birth coaches.
The beauty of childbirth hypnosis is the greater comfort and control it affords a woman during her birth process. Comfort, focus and control not typically realized by other birthing women. The benefits also extend to her baby. The practices of profound relaxation, deep slow breathing, and positive expectations during pregnancy and birth reduce the amount of stress hormones that can negatively impact the mother and her child. A HypnoBirthing mommy is better able to enjoy her pregnancy and dare I say, joyously anticipate giving birth. But perhaps the greatest benefit is the life enhancing skills she now forever more possesses. And who wouldn’t want to cluck like a chicken while giving birth? ; ) ; )