A relaxed labour where you feel in control… Sound too good to be true? A lesson in hypnobirthing may be just what you need.
Forget any preconceptions you have about anything with the word ‘hypno’ in it. Hypnobirthing doesn’t involve a stage, a Victorian watch on a chain or anyone saying ‘look into the eyes…’ We promise.
Natal hypnotherapy is a mind-training method used before and during labour in order to get you into a state of deep relaxation about your birth. Self-hypnosis techniques include deep breathing and listening to sets of phrases to get you in the right state of mind. You rehearse giving birth with the aim of preparing you for external influences on the big day, such as unfamiliar places and faces. ‘With practice over a few weeks, the techniques become second nature,' says Maggie Howell, founder of Natal Hypnotherapy.
When to turn to hypnobirthing
If you are particularly fearful about labour pain or think you have a low pain threshold, hypnobirthing or natal hypnotherapy may be for you. It could also help if you are concerned about not being in control of what happens when you go into labour, as the technique aims to prepare you for changing circumstances. You can use natal hypnotherapy whether you are planning to deliver in a hospital, birthing centre or at home.
The aim of natal hypnotherapy is to have you feeling prepared and confident about giving birth, and using the same techniques on the day to relax you. The techniques calm you before and during birth, enabling you to take each eventuality in your stride. In turn, you remain in control of your birth and keep fear at bay. Natal hypnotherapy can help control your perception of pain in labour, meaning you feel less of it.
You might find the natal hypnotherapy de-stress techniques you learn come in handy after pregnancy and labour, too.
The aim of natal hypnotherapy is to have you feeling prepared and confident about giving birth
If you’re not comfortable with sharing your worries about labour, you may struggle with natal hypnotherapy classes, where you are encouraged to air your fears. However, your hypnobirth teacher will be used to nervous mums-to-be and group sessions can be a great source of emotional support. Alternatively you can hire an independent practitioner who can teach you individually, and tailor the hypnobirth training for you.