What is Hypnobirthing?

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Every woman, and the whole family for that matter, look forward to a new born baby. The sweet cries, soft skin, angelic looks and lots of joy are some of the things that excite us all. However, to get there, labour pain, anxiety and stress have to be managed.

Benefits of Hypnobirthing. Can it ensure an easy and smooth delivery process?

The birthing process is made even harder and more stressful given the stories and programmes women watch where negative birth experiences are shown and become deeply buried in the subconscious. With these social influences, women associate birth with painful experiences, stressful moments and lots of difficulties. Luckily, there are several ways to manage stress, pain and anxiety, leading to a natural birth and a moment that any woman can look forward to.

A pregnant mother should not expect the worst; birth should be a happy story devoid of fear and stress components which feed pain. One should aim to ignore the negative stories and voices, and approach the journey with optimism and an open mind. This is something hypnobirthing can help with.

Hypnobirthing, a relatively new method of structured relaxation methods, can assist in managing pain, stress and anxiety during delivery. The practice helps the pregnant mother to relax and also manage pain during the birthing process. It involves mental and physical relaxation techniques, without resorting to the use of medication. Long and deep breaths help in easing pain while visualisation and hypnobirthing meditation help to relax. There is evidence that use of this method shortens the labour period as well as results in better obstetric outcomes and relatively higher neonatal Apgar scores.

Hypnobirthing techniques

As an approach to labour, hypnobirthing prepares a mother to be physically and mentally alert. It uses meditation, visualisation, breathing and relaxation exercises to make the labour and birth process smooth and easy. Women normally learn to relax themselves using deep breaths, positive affirmations, visualisation or scripts. A woman may concentrate on the sound of deep breathing, getting into an almost hypnotic state and visualising her baby with each breath she takes.

Hypnobirthing may take some women to a state of altered mental capacity, however, experts say that this is nothing to be worried about, as this is something we go through every day; we daydream, get engrossed in a book or a film or get ourselves to places but have no memories of how we got there.

How Hypnobirthing Works

There are several theories which have been advanced in an attempt to explain how hypnobirthing works. One such explanation states that when a woman gets into a state of fear during delivery, the body is prompted to release a stress hormone which puts the body in a flight or fight mode. The muscles tighten, interfering with the delivery process. When the subconscious is trained to expect a painless, safe and gentle process, it is possible to avoid the fight and flight mode that is triggered by the fear of pain, anxiety and stress. This eventually allows the birthing process to go smoothly.

Controlling her subconscious, a labouring mother will relax, her mind will be filled with positive thoughts and associations. The process involves combining the natural body with the positive powers of the mind. Women respond to these relaxation methods well, helping them release the hormones such as Oxcytocin and Endorphins, components that produce a feel-good state, help them relax the muscles as well as the nervous system so that pain is eased. Although the idea that the process helps to ease labour pain has not been completely verified by credible studies, expert understanding and experiences state that it works, and it makes great sense to be used to help women have safe, pain free and stress-free births.

Is Hypnobirthing effective?

Although it may be hard to evaluate scientifically, there is evidence that mothers who used hypnobirthing during the labour period experienced less pain. Although one is not promised a painless experience, the level of discomfort is reduced, and the process is made easier.

Some of the birth complications that pregnant mothers experience are mostly due to fear of pain and stress. Learning how to manage anxiety, pain and stress during the process can be of great help, in making the birthing process short and successful. Hypnobirthing, when used effectively can aid in relieving pain and stress. It is important that pregnant mothers and their partners learn the hypnobirthing techniques, in advance and practice before the big day. The best thing about it is that it is natural, does not involve any medication and can be performed almost anywhere, promising better results and outcomes.

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