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Hypnobirthing - What it can and can't do

27 April 2023

Hypnobirthing has become popular in recent years, with celebrities and British royalty endorsing it. But what is it, and what can it do for you? Hypnobirthing involves learning a series of techniques using self-hypnosis, visualisation and relaxation to help make giving birth more comfortable and less stressful. There is some evidence it can help reduce labour pain, shorten the duration of labour, and lead to fewer complications. However, hypnobirthing cannot guarantee a specific outcome or prevent all potential problems during childbirth. Here are a few things to remember if you're considering using hypnobirthing for your upcoming birth.

Hypnobirthing cannot guarantee a pain-free birth

Some proponents of natural birthing argue that much of the pain of childbirth is driven by fear and the expectation of pain. The theory behind hypnobirthing is that if a mother is able to get themselves to a place of deep relaxation, she will focus less on the pain and be calmer. Although hypnobirthing cannot guarantee a pain-free birth, it can help lessen the contractions’ intensity and reduce the overall discomfort experienced during childbirth. 

Hypnobirthing is not a replacement for medical care

While hypnobirthing has many benefits, it is important to note that it is not a replacement for medical care. It does not directly provide pain relief so many mothers still require traditional medical interventions like epidurals. They are safe and effective pain relief methods that can help ensure a healthy and successful birth. Hypnotherapy cannot prevent complications but the techniques can help you stay calm if things don’t go as planned. 

It takes time to learn

Hypnobirthing requires a great deal of preparation and commitment. There are classes you can attend, however these don’t tend to be available on the NHS, so you will have to pay privately. The techniques require practice in order to master them. For some women, the time and effort required may not be worth the potential benefits.

It can be used in any birth setting

Whether you are planning to give birth in a hospital, birth centre, or at home, you can use hypnotherapy. It is based on the principle that by using relaxation techniques and positive affirmations, a woman can help to reduce her anxiety and pain during labour. It’s an excellent option for any woman who wants a more natural and relaxed childbirth experience in any setting.

Hypnobirthing is not just for first-time mums

You don’t have to be giving birth for the first time to benefit from hypnobirthing techniques. While first-time mothers may naturally be more anxious and therefore benefit more from hypnobirthing techniques, any woman who wants a more natural and relaxed childbirth experience can learn it. While hypnobirthing is not right for every woman, it is an effective tool that can benefit those who choose to use it.

If you're considering using hypnobirthing for your upcoming birth, talk to your healthcare provider to see if it's right for you. And remember, even if hypnobirthing cannot guarantee a specific outcome, it can still help you have a more comfortable and positive birth experience.

Photo by shu lei

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