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What is Hypnobirthing & What are its Benefits? | Is Hypnobirthing Safe?

Hypnosis has been in use for a long for relaxation and to get rid of fear and anxiety. This is also used in mom-to-be for better and effective pregnancy and childbirth. Let us read on and know more about what is it and what are its benefits.

Hypnosis can be effectively used during pregnancy and childbirth in the form of Hypnobirthing, which is a technique that can help prepare you for the big day of childbirth. If you are a mom-to-be and want to have a natural childbirth, the process of Hypnobirthing can make it easier for you.

It can be said that Hypnobirthing prepares the would-be-mothers and their partners for childbirth by using the power of hypnosis. With the practice of regular hypnosis, visualization, and deep relaxation techniques, pregnant women can reduce their fear that is connected with childbirth. Hypnobirthing is generally associated with having a natural childbirth.

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnosis” is the term that means, “a procedure in which individual experiences suggested changes in sensation, thought, perception, or behavior.” Hypnobirthing is a particular branded version of hypnosis done during the birthing process.

What is Hypnobirthing

This basic idea of Hypnobirthing has been around for centuries, however, the specific term of Hypnobirthing was coined in the year 1989 in the book “Hypnobirthing: A Celebration of Life”, which was written by Marie Mongan, who was a hypnotherapist.

Hypnobirthing aims to help women to deal with any sort of fear or anxiety that they might be having around childbirth. This involves several relaxations and self-hypnosis techniques that help in relaxing the woman’s body before and during labor and childbirth.

Here, the idea of Hypnobirthing is that when there is complete relaxation in both, the body and mind, birth can happen more quickly and also with less pain, because the body does not have to fight the natural process.

How Does Hypnobirthing Work?

The method of Hypnobirthing is based on the work of Grantly Dick- Read, M.D, who was an English obstetrician and wrote Childbirth Without Fear in the year 1944. As per Dr. Dick-Read, using hypnosis aids laboring women break what was termed as “fear-Tension Pain syndrome” by him, and which makes labor more difficult. He believed that “Fear-Tension Pain Syndrome” caused blood to flow away from non-essential organs like the uterus to large muscle groups present in the legs. He theorized that this could be prevented with relaxation achieved through hypnosis.

It has been said by Marie Mongan, that with the help of hypnosis, a laboring woman can bring her body into a deep relaxation state when the muscles can work the way they are meant to work during childbirth. She said that it feels similar to daydreaming, or like a feeling that you get when you are lost in a book. It has been reported that those who have used this technique of Hypnobirthing, feel relaxed, aware, calm, and in control.

What Are The Hypnobirthing Techniques?

The Hypnobirthing process is based on the power of suggestion. A laboring woman undergoing this technique uses positive affirmations, visualization, and suggestions for relaxing her body, guide her thoughts, and control her breathing. This can be done either by herself or self-hypnosis or receive assistance from a professional hypnotherapist.

Sometimes women work with a hypnotherapist for learning self-hypnosis. They usually play a tape of positive verbal affirmations that would help them become calm and enter a calm state of self-hypnosis. Alternatively, visualization might also be used, such as the sun slowly rising, a flower opening its petals, and so on, to visualize or picture what is happening to them and to attain relaxation.

Depending on the needs of the laboring woman, a hypnotherapist might or might not be present during childbirth. For some women, self-hypnosis is easy to achieve, while others might respond better to the hypnotherapist.

What are the Benefits of Hypnobirthing?

Some women, especially first-time moms are distressed by their experience during childbirth. Some women even suffer from post-partum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some women might get enough benefits like shorten or pain-free labor, calmer and healthier babies, and some, by undergoing the technique of Hypnobirthing.

Below are some of the known advantages of Hypnobirthing.

It Shortens Labor:

Hypnobirthing might help in shortening the first stage of labor.(1) This first stage of labor involves early and active labor, during which contractions become stronger, longer, and closer together as the cervix gets opened.

In Helps In Better Breathing:

Some women might experience serious panic attacks during their course of pregnancy. Panic attacks and shortness of breath can occur due to overthinking or being afraid of giving birth and labor pains.

The Hypnobirthing technique has several tools and breathing techniques that can help in preventing or managing these panic attacks, and thus help in a more relaxed, calm, and comfortable pregnancy and childbirth.

These relaxation and breathing techniques can even have a great effect on your health after pregnancy. Breathing properly results in a healthier immune system and better digestion. This method of hypnobirthing would be a great choice for you

It Helps In Naturally Managing Pain:

The Hypnobirthing technique also helps in managing pain during labor naturally. Hypnosis might help you if you are looking for med-free labor.

As per a study of 2013, it was found that 46 out of 81 participants or 51% of the participants did not use any pain medication and their maximum pain level was reported as just 5.8 on a scale of 10.(2)

So, Hypnobirthing can help in naturally managing the pain.

It Reduces The Need for Interventions:

It is known that Hypnobirthing reduces the need for interventions. A review of studies published in 2011 shows that this technique of Hypnobirthing might help in encouraging a vaginal birth and also that women using hypnosis during childbirth did not require as much augmentation with oxytocin.(3)

A study of 2015 has found that only 17% of Hypnobirthing mothers had cesarean deliveries when compared to the general 32% rate in the U.S.(4)

Calm Babies Are Born:

Out of so many benefits of Hypnobirthing, one of the best is that calm babies are born with this. Calmer, relaxed, and not so overstrained mothers give birth to babies who are not stressed. It has been revealed from an online survey that 92% of babies who are born through mothers who underwent Hypnobirthing are calmer when compared to just 78% of babies who are born through mothers who had an epidural. Mothers who go through Hypnobirthing are more alert, and aware and thus it is easier for them to feed their baby properly and thus are more content and happier.

It Helps In Better Bonding With Baby:

You develop a great bond with your child when they are in your arms, or when you kiss them or sing lullabies for them. However, did you know that you can also form a special bond with your unborn baby as well? Yes, you read it right. You can! Hypnobirthing can help you develop a better bonding with your baby before they are born.

Healthier Babies Are Born:

One more benefit of hypnobirthing is that healthier babies are born. It is found that the Apgar scores might be higher among babies who are born using Hypnobirthing techniques. Apgar score is the system to evaluate babies in just minutes after their birth.

It Improves Bonding With Partner:

It is not just that hypnobirthing technique helps in improving your bond with your baby, but also helps in improving the bonding with your partner. Partners who choose the technique of hypnobirthing during pregnancy or childbirth, grow closer as fathers understand better what mothers are going through, emotionally and physically. The mothers are also less stressed and relaxed and thus can focus on taking better care of themselves and find happiness in preparing for their big day.

Hypnobirthing Gives A Feeling Of Control:

Hypnobirthing gives a feeling of control and relaxation. Women in the study of 2013 reported feeling more controlled and relaxed with Hypnobirthing. This in, turn, resulted in less fear and anxiety about their labor and childbirth.(5)

It Helps Women Who Have Experienced Trauma:

The Hypnobirthing technique might especially be more helpful for birthing women who have experienced trauma during birth or who have general anxiety or fear of labor and childbirth.

About 40% of the Hypnobirthing course focuses specifically on such issues.(6)

Is Hypnobirthing Safe?

The Hypnobirthing technique is generally safe. With this, you will remain calm and aware of everything that would be happening in and around you and you will feel controlled and relaxed. However, keep it noted that this technique of Hypnobirthing does not prevent any complications during childbirth. It is always important for you to consult with your doctor and hypnotherapist before using this method of hypnosis during your pregnancy and childbirth.


Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 28, 2021

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