Many new mothers to be approach the time of birth with what can only be described as great apprehension and concern, usually due to some of the horror stories told by mothers who may have experienced a painful childbirth so the suggestion of pain has already been planted and the mother to be she expects her giving birth is going to be painful, all due to a simple suggestion.
Self hypnosis for childbirth is not something new. In fact hypnosis for anaesthesia for childbirth was used as far back as the 1800’s and not only for childbirth but also in general surgical procedures since the time of Esdaile and Elliotson in the early 1840’s.
In his work “Natural Childbirth” Dr Grantly Dick Read an British physician believed that something as natural as childbirth should not be painful and it was civilisation that brought with it the Fear which leads to the Tension which leads to the Pain.
Over the years there has been quite extensive research worldwide into the use of hypnosis in childbirth and the benefits of using hypnosis. The following are just a couple which can be found on the internet:-
Childbirth preparation through hypnosis: the hypnorflexogenous protocol. Schauble PG. Werner WE, Rai SH, Martin A. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 1998.Hypnosis: Practical applications and theoretical considerations in normal labour.
Jenkins, MW and Pritchard, MH. Br J of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1993 Mar; 100 (3): 221-6 Wales.
Hypnosis for childbirth: prenatal education and labour outcome. Shawn Gallagher, unpublished, October 2000, Toronto
Suggestion Therapy: clinical study on shortening the birth process using psychological suggestion therapy. Hao TY, Li YH, Yao SF Zhonghua Hu Li Za Zi . 1997 Oct Jinan P.R. China.
Research studies from around the world show that the use of hypnosis for childbirth results in:
• Shorter labours
• Reduced use of pain medication
• Higher Apgar scores (baby’s wellbeing at birth)
• Reduced surgical delivery
• Pain is minimized or eliminated
• A plentiful milk supply
• Babies who are better sleepers and feed well due to fewer drugs in their system
By understanding the fear-tension-pain cycle we can apply hypnosis on the subconscious level which allows the physical body to relax deeply during the birth which in turn eliminates that cycle. The Royal College of Midwives also admits that hypnotherapy can help some women, and says that:
Any method that can help calm a woman’s labour fears are beneficial
Unlike some therapies hypnosis can be started safely at any stage in the pregnancy although we recommend starting in the last eight weeks of pregnancy (32 weeks) as a certain amount of home practice is required. By practicing hypnosis daily before the birth and using the subconscious mind we are basically practicing and rehearsing the birth over and over again in the mind until the day arrives and the birth begins, you will find that your body responds in the way that you rehearsed, and your body has been conditioned to relax and be calm despite whatever is going on around you. This calm state increases the natural pain killers (endorphins) and your blood flow which make the contractions more effective and often reduces the need for any intervention resulting in a calm peaceful birthing experience.