Hypnobirthing -What you need to know

When you are pregnant, one of the first things you will need to think about is when and how you will be giving birth.

From your first antenatal visit you will be given valuable information on how your pregnancy will progress, the first signs of labour, what to do when you are in labour and the many birthing options you can choose, in order to keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy.

You may also be given a list of pain management options, one of which is hypnobirthing.

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing, in short, is an educational program that uses breathing techniques and relaxation to teach self hypnosis to enhance your birthing experience and provide effective, mindful pain relief without  the need for medication.

Many women who have used the hypnobirthing techniques advocate for them as they have been able to breathe effectively through contractions and have been able to avoid interventions. Hypnobirthing also allows a woman to fight the fear of childbirth, releasing emotions of joy and happiness rather than those of pain and anxiety. Taking this into consideration, it is easy to see why hypnobirthing is growing in popularity.

Putting mom in control

When it comes to labour and birth, many new moms often feel like they are not in control and may feel almost detached from the experience.

For nine months she has carried a baby, adjusted as this new life has changed her body without warning and then in her antenatal classes she has focused primarily on delivery for the new baby and how to manage the pain, without much thought to how the new mother can embrace giving birth. in contrast, hypnobirthing, teaches the new mom how to take control and be in charge of events during birth.

Hypnobirthing is also highly recommended for women who have experienced a negative or traumatic birthing experience. This allows them to feel more in control, allowing them to release any negativity or anxiety that pain medication cannot illiminate.

How does hypnobirthing work?

When you sign up for a hypnobirthing course , the content covered will often include aspects of labour and delivery that may not be covered in a more traditional antenatal course.

Topics such as:

  • Breathing techniques
  • How to reduce the need for pain relief and medication
  • How to reduce the need for intervention such as an episiotomy
  • Learning how to feel empowered throughout your delivery and in control
  • Learning how to have confidence and how to speak with knowledge to the medical team in a hospital setting
  • Dispelling the fear around childbirth
  • Learning to stay positive

Hypnobirthing uses self hypnosis and relaxation techniques to reduce the pain of contractions and aid in a positive and safe delivery at birth. Hypnobirthing aids in teaching a woman to have confidence in her bodies natural ability to give birth and relaxes her body and mind to a place of welcoming contractions and embracing the process of giving birth.

The benefits of hypnobirthing

There are numerous benefits to a mother using hypnobirthing during labour and delivery.

  • A shorter labour
  • Less risk for surgical or other intervention
  • More success in turning a breech baby
  • A more positive birthing experience
  • Emotions of elation after birth
  • Retaining the learned techniques for later births
  • Feeling empowered to choose a birthing option, type of birth and setting
  • Being in control of their body
  • Being more present during the delivery and enjoying the birth
  • Using the relaxation techniques at any stage, not just during labour and delivery

Although during childbirth nothing is ever assumed or guaranteed and a complication may arise leaving a mother needing an intervention or added pain relief, hypnobirthing does however equip you with the skills you need to have the calmest, most positive birthing experience.

The benefits of hypnobirthing for baby

We all know that a calm birth allows a baby to enter the world calmly and hypnobirthing assists to keep mom calm resulting in a calm, positive environment for a happy calm baby to be welcomed into.

The absence of pain relief also means that the baby is more alert and able to feed faster and more efficiently. Studies have shown that APGAR  scores for a baby  delivered without medication are higher as well.

My experience

Whilst I personally, have never attended a hypnobirthing class, I have had 7 vaginal births, 6 of which were without the need for pain medication because I used breathing techniques learned. One of the biggest factors in me deciding to go “drug free: was because of how not in control I felt in my first pregnancy.

With the birth of my second child I felt more in control before, during and after labour. Emotionally I was able to attach and bond to my child faster and able to get out of bed sooner to attend to him better.

With my third child, I was able to breathe through not pushing as the midwife removed the cord from around his neck during birth and with my fourth I delivered him alone, unafraid and in control thanks to my breathing techniques.

When I went into labour with my fifth child, I was taken to the hospital by a work collegue of my husband and emotionally I was increadibly anxious. By breathing and focusing on the birth, I was able to calm my own anxiety, manage the contraction pain and deliver a happy baby a few minutes after arriving at the hospital.

With my sixth child, I was able to remain calm as I found myself 10cm dialed and she had not yet descended. With controlled breathing I was able to stay focus and work with my mid wife to deliver her safely and with my youngest child I was able to correctly assess my own body to know when I was in labour after a very long and prolonged induced labour.

So, whilst doing research for this article, I was able to resonate with the moms who had chosen hypnobirthing as an option.


Giving birth should be a positive experience and which ever option you choose it should suit you. Empower yourself with the knowledge needed to make the right decision for you and your baby.

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