Hypnosis for Labor and Childbirth

Remember the days of seeing a guy on a stage with a watch swinging slowly from side to side in front of a person's face, and the man with the watch is saying, "Look into my eyes. You're getting sleepy. You can't hold your eyes open"? Right. That's how we understood hypnosis, back in the day. Today, hypnosis is a commonly used form of therapy that helps people deal with issues ranging from smoking cessation through labor and birth.

Hypnosis During Labor Reduces Pain

It's true - the mind is a powerful thing and being able to use the mind productively in order to eliminate pain is an amazing thing. Grantly Dick-Read, MD, an English obstetrician, wrote "Childbirth Without Fear" in 1944. In this work, Dr. Dick-Read wrote that the use of hypnosis during labor helps laboring women break what he called the fear-tension-pain syndrome, which makes labor more difficult. He believed the syndrome caused blood to flow away from nonessential organs such as the uterus to large muscle groups in the legs. His theory was that relaxation achieved through hypnosis would prevent that from happening. And, it appears he was quite right.

Deep Breathing - Just a Step Away from Hypnosis for Labor & Childbirth

We have several methods of relaxation that have become standards in the world of pregnancy, labor and birth. Lamaze is one and the Bradley Method is another. The foundation for both of these methods of childbirth is using the breath as a means of controlling pain. The fact that they are so successful and are used in prenatal courses worldwide is testimony to their effectiveness. Although they do use a facet of hypnosis, that of focus and breathing, they don't go all the way.


Types of Hypnosis Therapies for Labor and Childbirth

There are self-hypnosis therapies that have been developed especially for pregnancy, labor and birth that have gained wide acceptance and use. One is called HypnoBirthing, which is the trademark for an American course that is also known as the Mongan method. It's an educational course that provides general prenatal information as well as hypnosis techniques that a woman and her birthing partner learn in order to make full use of during the real thing. Another program developed by a UK hypnotherapist named Maggie Howell is called Natal Hypnotherapy and it focuses entirely on relaxation and hypnosis as opposed to having prenatal education as well. A birthing partner is not necessary to learn this particular method. Either way, the experience seems to exceed that of the standard methodologies available for labor and birth.

In both courses participants learn the basics of hypnosis for childbirth that include:

· deep relaxation

· self-hypnosis

· visualizations

· breathing techniques for the various stages of labor

Fears and anxieties are usually dealt with by the therapist long before actual labor begins, so a woman goes into the experience without fearing what lies ahead. HypnoBirthing courses include a birth partner who learns how to facilitate the relaxation and focused state of the mother. Exercises are prepared to practice at home and there are CDs to listen to before and during labor as well.

Active birthing positions are encouraged rather than lying flat. Squatting, all-fours and kneeling as well as standing tend to be more effective ways to labor as the uterus is said to be twice as effective with the body in motion as when it is prone, in bed. It's the simple concept of using gravity to work for rather than against the process. Having a sense of control over the process makes it easier to relax and allow the natural process to unfold.

Hypnosis for Labor & Childbirth Means a Calm Baby at Birth

Calm mothers usually birth calm babies and the labor time using hypnosis tends to be shorter. By mentally turning the sensation of pain into pressure, it is possible to allow the body to work with the contractions rather than opposing them. It is the fear of pain that releases adrenaline causing everything to tighten up. If the fear is dealt with, then the pain level reduces significantly and the need for intervention is often eliminated. The woman produces endorphins that are the body's natural pain relievers and, when she is able to go deeper into a relaxed state, her body will flow with the birth process, open up and release tension.

A woman's body is designed to conceive, grow, carry and deliver life. It need not be a horribly painful process and using hypnosis is one way to fulfill the natural function of the body without fear or excessive pain. The use of hypnosis in childbirth is growing as women opt for more natural methods of giving birth. It is important to seek a qualified hypnotherapist train a couple in the methods used.

Learn more about labor and delivery and the various methods and aids available to give birth.

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