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Hypnosis for Birth

Hypnosis for Birth

A birth without fear is possible.

Our baby was born without that over riding sense of fear which characterises talk of babies. I used relaxation, visualisation and a positive approach. In this way I managed to have a lack of fear of birth – I had an uncomfortable work out – after all, passing a human being through our pelvis IS uncomfortable – we don’t do it every day! I didn’t have ‘pain’ until they stuck in a catheter afterwards – YOUCH! It was very hard work, however, I was quite sweaty!! Would I do it this way again? Absolutely, I will prepare the same way next time.

What’s ‘Hypnosis for Birth’ About, then?

This section is about using resources of relaxation, visualisation, positive thinking and avoiding negative information, thinking and stories to achieve as close as possible to a pleasant birth.

Self hypnosis is an amazingly powerful and achievable tool. I used Birth Hypnosis for the pain free birth of both my babies. It was still a big workout and took effort (as passing a baby through your pelvis takes effort!) but it wasn’t painful. My second baby was 9 pounds 10 ounces, and I went home the same day.

– Charndra

P.S HypBirth is The Birth Hypnosis Program I used

A mind-led approach?

Using hypnosis is a mind-led approach to having a baby, rather than the usual fear-led approach programmed into us by culture, media and years of ‘horror’ stories!

I used a program called “hypbirth” People are obviously curious about it, so I have written this section.

l also hope to provide an insight into the journey of information I explored as I researched about this concept – milestones of info that I found useful or helpful as I prepared using this idea, plus info I found later that would have helped me even further had I known of it. They are a starting point for finding out more information if you find it an intriguing idea, on your own unique journey.

Birth as ‘an emergence’, not ‘an emergency’

“There is literally a birth “response” that propels our babies from womb to world with very little conscious effort on our part. The problem is, there is something even more powerful than the birth response, something that can override it entirely. That something is known as the fight/flight response.” (oops need to find link for this info)

Dr Grantely Dick-Read (an english doctor who wrote “Birth without fear” in the 1930’s after observing it in action), explained it in this way:

“When a woman is in a state of fear, messages are sent to the body telling it there is a danger out there that must be fought or run away from. Blood and oxygen are instantly sent into the arms and legs enabling the frightened woman to fight the danger or run away. In order for this to happen, however, blood and oxygen must be drained from other organs that the body considers non-essential for fight or flight. This is why we turn white when we’re afraid. The body assumes that our leg muscles need blood and oxygen more than our face does.

Unfortunately, when it comes to fight or flight, the uterus is considered a non-essential organ. According to Dick-Read, the uterus of a frightened woman in labour is literally white. Because it is deprived of “fuel” – blood and oxygen – it cannot function correctly, nor can waste products be properly carried away. Hence, the labouring woman experiences not only pain, but also a multitude of problems.

The solution is twofold: not only do women need to stop being afraid, but also doctors need to stop interfering in the process. Labouring women do not need to be poked, prodded, and drugged. Instead, they need to be calmly encouraged or simply left alone so their bodies may work unhindered. Birth is an emergence, not an emergency.”

The fear-tension-pain cycle

Childbirth Without Fear

Benefits for baby and mother from using self hypnosis strategies:

  • A Less Stressed Baby
    Babies have shown to cry less, sleep and feed better and generally are calmer, possibly due to diminished trauma at birth.
  • Less Breech Births
    A breech presentation can be converted to the vertex position through external cephalic version, ( by an Obstetrician ). However, some breech cases are successfully converted into the vertex position by using hypnosis.
  • Breastfeeding
    Lactation can be stimulated, increasing the flow, by suggestion, which can be influenced by conscious and subconscious disturbances. This allows the mother to feel more calm and relaxed and to feel good about this natural normal process.
  • A Less Exhausted Mother After Birth
    Most women feel less mentally and physically exhausted, and even look fit and well afterwards. They remain quite calm and relaxed.
  • A Calm Peaceful Birthing Experience
    With more control over your mind and body, you can participate in the natural birth process, and are able to both enjoy and experience the birth of your child. It is more likely that the mum will be calmer and happier after giving birth, there may be a reduced possibility of post-natal depression.
  • History of Premature Births
    Depending on the vast possible problems, suggestions to the mother of well-being and relaxation, can possibly allow the foetus to remain in situ for a longer period of time.

As suggested by the Bristol hypnotherapy clinic

Earlier – Honey, you can have the kids!

Hearing non-stop as you do from people how having babies is a horrendous experience, seeing it on TV and the movies as always a dramatic, screeching and dangerous event with more often than not terrifying emergencies, I was quite happy to say to hubby “You can have the babies, thanks!”

This option didn’t seem to have much potential, however, so I looked further.

Then there was the option of an elective caesarean, but I knew that there are inherent risks with operations if you can avoid them, do so! I started, weirdly, reading some birth stories (the dreadful ones) thinking I could immure myself or something, nup bad idea! Then, while researching on a natural parenting site, I happened on the concept of using hypnosis for a relaxing birth, – I had found my answer! I read everything I could, and learnt a lot, and ended up having my baby in a birth centre with midwives only attending. (Photo is me in labour at the Birth Centre – over 6cm dilated and happily listening to my CD while sitting on our massage chair, drinking energy drinks!)

Relaxation cues and triggers

I learnt and endlessly practised relaxation strategies, programming them into my brain as automatic, conditioned responses. I looked at all sorts of approaches to using the mind and body to support physiological, normal hormone production, based on avoiding the fear-tension-pain response. Stress hormones cannot exist alongside pleasure hormones; one is always in control; the aim is to keep the positive hormones in the majority as much as possible!

Some simple ones; (heaps are in the programs)

– hand on forehead
– looking up
– finger drops
– kisses and smiles for endorphin release!
– breathing activities – enhancing oxygen levels to keep muscles happily working. (NOT that panting stuff!)
– cue words – such as ‘relax’, “1,2,3”
– feather touch – tickles release endorphins.

Positive thinking strategies I used;

  • I used a lovely mandala as a focal point for breathing / relaxing. It had a flower image in the centre. (can be seen in the background here with newborn Maven at the Birth Centre)
  • Using colours – imagining ‘yellow’ was my healing, calming colour, flowing all over, around like a mist, drawing out fear and tension.
  • I practised daily from as soon as I got the program, at least 10 minutes per day.
  • I made up my own self hypnosis CD’s in my own voice that I used each night to go to sleep, as well as the hypbirth CD’s.
  • I used a mental image from an inspiring scene from Harry Potter to inspire courage – it was a scene that always gives me goose bumps, ie a flood of endorphins! (OK, I’ll fess up – the scene at the end of ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ where Harry repels the dementors with the patronus charm!)
  • I did not listen to horror stories at all (I saw a badge that said “Shh, no horror stories – my baby is listening”, would have liked one, instead I skilfully avoided such stories!)
  • I didn’t watch scary movies, avoided fear inducing situations as much as possible!
  • I watched lots of comedies and funny movies that made me laugh – especially when in labour!
  • I read ‘painless’ and ‘quick labour’ stories over and over, skipped the rest- they weren’t the ‘reality’ l wanted to impress on my subconscious mind.
  • l had a couple of pages of such inspiring stories (which l even edited to reflect my ideal) which I kept in the bathroom to read in my numerous daily visits!
  • I read about how natural labour starts and how it progresses, to understand what will happen and why.
  • We learnt about how to deal ‘unassisted’ with a birth – it could happen to anyone! (Hubby was more than happy to just do it ourselves! I was a little bit nervous, but happy if that was how itworked out.)
  • l learnt natural ways of inducing labour just in case (but skip the oil one- too many friends said it only meant the trots! EW!)
  • l wrote (and visualised) my own scripts to aid in relaxing, easy sleep, positive outcomes.
  • l added my own ‘birth story’ to the ‘easy birth’ stories. Actually, writing several descriptions of your ‘ideal’ birth process to use in your daydreams, visualisations is a useful strategy – So what if it turns out different; the preparation is still important, and will help whatever occurs.
  • I practiced ANY sort of relaxation daily, used a massage chair, a variety of visualisation CD’s, and practised ‘anaesthesia’ techniques.
  • l wrote a ‘birth preferences’ plan that includes language to be used and approaches preferred.
  • l collected, wrote and read affirmations daily. I put the list up in the toilet on the wall and would read, visualise and practise them every day. (My list of affirmations)
  • I habitually trained myself to think positively and visualise ease.
  • I visited, became familiar with birth environment (The Birth Centre in my case), I took photos to build it into relaxing visualisations. (Hospitals FREAK me out)
  • I went to an antenatal “Breastfeeding Education” Class run by the ABA, which was awesome preparation, HIGHLY recommended. Information about Breastfeeding Education Classes run in many communities. You gain a year long ABA membership – a year of ongoing support – with the class!
  • I found it empowering and useful to keep learning all about birth options, evidence-based research into interventions; Joyous Birth would be another place to begin chatting with Mums very up-to-date with this information, though I felt pressured to go the home birth route there, just cherry pick what you need.

  • I had my baby in a ‘Baby Friendly’ hospital:

The Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) is an international project that aims to give every baby the best start in life by creating a health care environment where breastfeeding is the norm and practices known to promote the health and well-being of all babies and their mothers are followed.

The BFHI Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are the global standard by which health services are assessed and accredited. A ‘Baby Friendly’ health service is one where mothers’ informed choice of feeding is supported, respected and encouraged.

Find out more: Baby Friendly Health Inititative

  • I learnt all about ‘baby-led’ attachment for breastfeeding, and how to support this.

Some useful ‘baby-led’ attachment resources are:

Baby Led Attachment”  (with pickies!)

“Protecting and supporting breastfeeding in the first 24 hours and beyond” Baby Led Latching (Another term for attachment)

“Baby led attachment – an intuitive approach to learning how to breastfeed” Baby Led Attachment

Personally, next time I have a baby I will also:

  • take along a list of local breastfeeding counsellors to call should ANY questions or concerns emerge, or if I need support after a “baby brain fade.”
  • take along  a list of local Lactation Consultants to call – at least know where they are available should a need arise.
  • have a list of friends I can contact for donor breastmik in case it is somehow needed if I am no longer breastfeeding at the time. (can’t be too prepared)
  • have expressed and frozen colostrum collected in a hygienic syringe. With Maven, he was ‘mucousy’ so didn’t feed after his initial breastfeed for several hours as the thought was he felt full, personally, if this was amniotic fluid anyway, I am sure it was fine, but the hospital likes to get excited over such things and begins hints of ‘sups’ and blood tests etc (not allowing that next time!!!) Squeezing out a few drops of colostrum into his mouth was enough for him to get sucking, however the process, with a stranger and a syringe was too scary and too possibly dangerous for the nipps. Doing it at my own leisure at home will be less stressful.

Basically, empower yourself with knowledge.

“There is no knowledge that is not power.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Talk to people with up-to-date knowledge and positive experiences to report, or positive information to share. Keep learning. I know so much more now than I did then, and my brain was bursting at that time with all the knowledge I could cram in!

“We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing.” Maria Mitchell

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Hypnosis for Birth Resources to Explore:

More Helpful Hypnosis Resources

These are sites supporting natural birth and drug-free strategies that I found supportive and helpful:

Hypbirth: Amazing tools for birth (HypBirth is the Birth Hypnosis Program I used)

Hypnobabies: No drugs for baby, no pain for mummy

Calmbirth in Australia

Hypnobirthing The Mongan Method

Hypno Info – No. 1 resource on self hypnosis

Gentle birth, gentle mothering www.sarahjbuckley.com (she has a book by the same name that is AWESOME)

Joyous Birth The world’s only forum devoted specifically to discovering what you need to know about home birth.

Gentle Birth – Pregnancy and birth information – this is an amazing article to read! Fish Can’t See Water: The Need to Humanise Birth

Recommended Resource:

Pinky Mckay

[I LOVE Pinky McKay – She regularly runs teleseminars about Gentle Parenting Options…]
Do take a look…

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