24 April 2023
Hypnobirthing is a holistic technique intended to prepare an expectant mum physically and mentally for a calm and peaceful journey through pregnancy and birth. It encompasses the experiences of the mum-to-be, her birthing partner, and the newborn to maintain a sense of positive well-being.
Hypnobirthing is a process of preparation for childbirth through learning techniques around:
● Nutrition and body tone
● Breathing and relaxation
● Meditation and visualisation
● Positive affirmations
Benefits to the mum include less anxiety during the pregnancy and a more positive outlook on labour and the birthing process.
But what are the benefits to the newborn baby, who has been living, breathing, and experiencing life alongside mum for 40 weeks (the expected full term) before they arrived in the world?
Many hypnobirthing mums have reported how calm and settled their babies are.
Research over the years has shown that a pregnant mum’s emotional state can affect her unborn baby and its long-term development. For example, an anxious mum will likely have an anxious baby.
Babies in the womb connect with the outside world through their mums’ experiences, and what they hear and feel in-utero can influence how they will respond after birth.
Therefore, it seems reasonable that a relaxed and positive mum will have a more settled baby, not only in itself but because a less stressed mum will be able to cope better with life!
Many expectant mums experience anxiety about the birthing experience, worrying about the pain, what might go wrong, etc. However, Hypnobirthing is a technique used to alleviate these concerns and reframe the idea of childbirth as a natural process that the body deals with effectively.
Hypnobirthing gives mums the skills to assert a sense of control over their bodies during childbirth. It doesn’t necessarily take away the pain, but mums have reported that it helps make the process more tolerable.
If mum isn’t overly anxious, she isn’t going to tense up as much. If she doesn’t tense, blood flow and hormone release are unlikely to be restricted or redirected elsewhere, benefitting the baby and resulting in a naturally healthier newborn.
During childbirth, a stressed labouring mum-to-be will produce adrenaline, which will, in turn, inhibit the production of the birth hormone, oxytocin. The body responds to stress by preparing for the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ response to fear with tensed muscles and redirecting blood away from the uterus. With less oxygen in the uterus muscles, they will have to work harder, potentially resulting in a more prolonged and painful labour - and additional stress on the baby.
A more controlled delivery influenced by Hypnobirthing techniques has proven to result in shorter labour, improved pain management, and the benefit of less distress to the baby.
A traumatic or difficult birth can result in bonding tensions between a newborn and a mum. The delivery may result in physical difficulties preventing initial contact or mental barriers to these critical first hours after birth caused by guilt, fear, shame, or stress.
Hypnobirthing aims to produce a more controlled, stress-free birthing environment, naturally leading to more immediate bonding, without barriers to the all-important ‘skin-to-skin’ contact.
The APGAR score is a quick and easy way for medical professionals to assess the health of a newborn within minutes of birth. The score falls between 0-10, and a low score of 6 or less may mean that a newborn requires additional or specialist care.
APGAR scores have been higher in babies born using Hypnobirthing techniques. These higher scores suggest that the relaxation techniques used for Hypnobirthing produce happier, healthier newborn babies.
Pregnancy, and ultimately the birth of a new baby, means a lot of significant changes for everyone involved as they transition to a (larger) family and all that it brings with it.
Hypnobirthing, with its emphasis on meditation, relaxation, and a positive outlook, aims to provide the best possible start for a newborn and the new family by providing an optimal start to their life.