HypnoBirthing® Questions & Answers
Q: What are some of the common misconceptions about hypnotherapy, and specifically HypnoBirthing®?
A: Many people believe that hypnosis is an unfamiliar state. In fact the relaxed and focused state is much like day dreaming, or being absorbed in a good movie or book, or meditating, or relaxing at the end of a yoga class. The individual in hypnosis is undistracted by outside sounds. She can hear talk around her but may choose not to engage. Her brain waves shift to relaxing alpha waves.
Some people believe that the individual is under the control of the hypnotist. In fact all hypnosis is self-hypnosis; the individual allows herself to relax and follow the suggestions of the hypnotist or follow her own relaxing thoughts. She chooses what suggestions to follow and how she will follow them.
Hypnosis is not sleep. Women who have birthed first without HypnoBirthing report that with HypnoBirthing they are more aware of their bodies and the birth process and more connected to their babies.
Q: How does hypnosis help with pain management during labour?
A: HypnoBirthing techniques - relaxation, visualization, breathing and massage - prepare the expectant mother to work with her labouring body in the best possible way. The hypnosis exercises assist her to let go of her fears. Frequent listening to affirmations promotes a positive attitude toward birth. Regular relaxation to a CD or script read by her partner condition her to relax, mind and body.
In this well prepared state women relax deeply for their births, think positively about their labours, and put fears aside. Their relaxed bodies open more quickly and more comfortably. They easily let go of time, accepting the hours that pass. Their bodies produce their own natural pain reliever ? endorphins. Some women report that their labour was painless. A few only experience pain near the end of their labours. Most find labour manageable and never request pain medication.
Q: What should expectant parents expect from a training program in HypnoBirthing®?
A: The course is 5 classes, 2 ½ hours each, usually taught weekly.
Participants will gain a refreshing, encouraging perspective on labour and birth. They will hear about their bodies? perfect design and their natural abilities to birth without pain medication.
Women and their birth companions will learn and practice relaxation, breathing, visualization and massage techniques that will aid them in their labour. Because many of us spend much of our lives stressed, the program requires that we condition ourselves to relax. This conditioning involves regular practice of the above techniques. Participants will be reminded to practice at home! And they will probably sleep much better because of this practice in bed at night!
The course includes the book, HypnoBirthing ? The Mongan Method - relaxation CDs and scripts for the partner to read for relaxation practice. Because of this regular practice partners are well prepared to offer support during the labour.
HypnoBirthing classes include watching birth DVDs so that couples can see relaxed birth for themselves. There is also emphasis on bonding with the unborn baby and with the newborn. HypnoBirthing recognizes that birth is the baby?s experience as well as the parents?.
Many people say that they learned valuable life skills and found the course life changing. One woman reported to me that thanks to the course she was relaxing for the first time in her life!
Q: Does HypnoBirthing® work for everyone? Under what conditions is it most effective?
A: HypnoBirthing is most effective when women have prepared themselves well ? that means lots of practice and an attitude shift. The HypnoBirthing woman needs to feel safe and that her desires for her birth are respected. In labour she must trust her body and surrender to its work and wisdom while she drifts deeper inside herself. This quieting of the analytical, critical mind is tremendously helpful.
She should be protected by her partner from unhelpful comments and from distracting, unnecessary procedures such as scheduled vaginal exams. Her labour should be allowed to progress according to its own pattern, not according to medical expectations.
Q: Can you give an example of a particular instance where hypnosis did not work?
A: Because most women attending HypnoBirthing classes desire a natural birth, it might be assumed that HypnoBirthing does not work if pain medication or procedures become necessary. Some women are disappointed if their birth was not as they envisioned it. They may have looked forward to the possibility of a painless birth and found that pain was present. They perhaps have focused so much on the goal of a natural birth that they have forgotten the process, which is one of letting go. In fact, the big goal of HypnoBirthing is to create the calmest, most gentle birth possible for mother and baby.
Women who require pain medication (perhaps because their baby is in a less than optimal position, creating back pain) or a procedure (medically advised induction or surgery) generally use the relaxation techniques to accept these procedures. HypnoBirthing affirmations such as ?I am prepared to meet whatever turn my birthing takes? and ?I put all fear aside for the birth of my baby? are very helpful for these challenging times.
Q: Overall, can you tell us about the benefits of HypnoBirthing® and why expectant mothers should explore it as an option for pain management?
A: HypnoBirthing helps women to find the best in themselves. It builds a partner?s confidence in her as he observes her ability to relax quickly and deeply. It provides partners with tools to support and guide women in labour. It assists couples to make the baby?s experience of birth and immediately afterwards a priority. HypnoBirthing recognizes that birth is not only a physical experience but also a spiritual one. It guides couples to birth in love, not fear.