Does Hypnosis Help in Childbirth?

Does Hypnosis Help in Childbirth?

by Carolyn Johnson, RN, CHt

hypnosis for childbirth minnesota

“You must be kidding me,” Amy said to herself as she read through several online articles describing how to manage pain during labor and delivery. She stroked the mound of her belly as her baby kicked inside. “Self hypnosis? Seriously? How the heck can concentrating on some silly picture possibly help me not feel pain?”

Many moms like Amy may not know the benefits of self hypnosis during labor and delivery or even doubt this method can help them manage their pain. Or perhaps they have the wrong idea of exactly what self hypnosis is during delivery. Hopefully, the following can help give you a much better idea of how hypnosis does help during childbirth.

What Does Hypnosis Do?

Imagine you are lying on a towel spread on the warm white sand of a deserted beach under a brilliant shining sun in a cloudless deep blue sky. There is only you and the sounds of the sea birds calling to each other over the sounds of the waves gently caressing the shore. You smell the scents of sea water, pineapple, and coconut. Behind your closed eyes there is only the sight of stress free total relaxation. You are completely at peace.

This is how hypnosis works during childbirth. You use a series of methods unique and geared toward you to help you focus beyond the stress and pain of labor and delivery to the calm and peace you need to accomplish your job. As with any situation in life, we all recognize remaining calm, cool, and collected is the best plan to get through a stressful time. Self hypnosis can help you find this calm and peace you need.

Hypnosis also helps you work with your own mind, body, emotions, feelings, and thoughts to work together to best help you give birth. Your body is designed to have your baby. You simply need to work with it to accomplish the task. Learning how to strive as a team with your mind and body is just like learning to work with as a team for a sport or a business task. Each member has his or her own special abilities and skills. Meshing these together creates a successful group to finish the task.

Hypnosis helps you become a ‘team player’ with your mind and body. Each of you has a task to accomplish. Working together instead of working against each other will best help you finish the task of giving birth and also make the experience much more bearable.

While nothing can assure you will have a pain free delivery, hypnosis helps you manage your pain in a way you have control over and can feel ‘in charge’. No one likes to feel ‘helpless’. Nor should you ever feel you are helpless in your labor and delivery. This is one of the most significant moments of your life. By focusing your attention with hypnosis, you best give yourself the chance to feel in control, calm, cool, collected, and like you worked with your body instead of fighting against it.

Methods of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is not watching a swinging ball and closing your eyes while someone counts backwards from ten and then tells you to cluck like a chicken. Hypnosis is guided by you, a learned method to help you relax in the way only you can. It is unique to you, just as you are unique from every other person on the planet.

The most common method of hypnosis uses focused attention to achieve relaxation. Does this sound impossible? It may seem that way. At first. When you were first learning to ride a bike, didn’t it seem impossible you would ever get your balance and feet in the pedals to coordinate? Or perhaps you can recall when you first learned to form letters. Didn’t cursive writing seem like a faraway dream from those first shaky squiggles you made on paper? Yet you learned to accomplish both with practice, time, and lots of effort.

In hypnosis, you practice focusing your attention on a thought, image, sight, or sound. There are as many ways to achieve this as there are people in the world. Because, after all, you are a unique person. Consider things in your every day which help you relax. Do you come home from a long hard day and sink to the sofa while pounding rock rings through the air? Or do you head straight for a warm bath? Do you light vanilla candles and dim the lights? Or do you escape into your favorite author’s newest book? Maybe you even stare at a certain picture or imagine yourself lying on that sun drenched warm beach we mentioned before.

Any and all of these things are just an approximate suggestion for ways to help you relax. You know your mind and body best so you are the best judge of what you need to relax. Utilize whatever works best for you, and experiment with them. Maybe the scent of lavender candles and soft piano music best puts your mind at ease and erases the stress of the day. Maybe that hot bath and reading are what help you most. Find your own special method and incorporate it into your hypnosis.

hypnobirthing minneapolisHow Do You Use Hypnosis?

Once you have the method you use best, then it’s time to start practicing hypnosis. You will begin by focusing your attention on helping your body relax from your mental standpoint. There are several ways to do this.

One way is to mentally tell your body from each part or section to relax. Start at your shoulders and work your way down. My shoulders will be limp and relaxed. My arms will be limp and relaxed and so on down your body. Don’t just think the thought; physically focus on actually relaxing each body section. And keeping that section relaxed as you move to the next.

This takes time, practice, and concentration. It’s not easy to relax, especially when you have a lot on your mind or you feel pain. Learning to control your mind is also part of the relaxation process. Some women have reported visually imagining closing doors in their brain on thoughts to help their minds focus on relaxing. Others use seeing themselves on a beach, in a meadow, at a mall, anything which best helps them relax.

Once your mind and body are relaxed, they can work together. As the labor pains and process continue, your brain and body will become the team you need to help you have a successful delivery. Your brain may be the one to tell your body what to do, but your body has to follow what your brain says. Your brain can be a powerful leader if you remember to work with your body and not against it.

Practice different levels of relaxation and also ways to manage distractions. Rarely are birthing rooms, whether in a hospital, clinic, or at home, completely silent. This is where your practiced ability to focus will help you tune out the noises around you. Concentrate are staying ‘at one’ with your body and mind using the hypnosis method you choose. Focus simply on you.

As your labor and delivery progress, you may need to adjust your method. There’s no ‘failure’ in this. You are simply doing what your mind and body tell you are needed to accomplish the job of delivering your baby. So keep in mind to be flexible.

Always remember changes can happen during your birthing process which may change your method altogether. This is okay. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to give birth after all. The most important factor in labor and delivery is you and your baby’s safety and health. If and when changes must happen, roll with them. Know that you are doing the best you can do and that is all you can do.

Using hypnosis during labor and delivery of childbirth is a wonderful way to self empower yourself in the birthing process. This is also a powerful way to help you utilize your mind-body connection. We wish you the best in your labor and delivery.

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