10 Tips For A Positive Hypnobirth

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Heidi Woodgate

Hypnobirthing has become pretty popular in recent times, having celebrity endorsement from the likes of Kate Middleton and Jessica Alba.

Hypnobirthing is a unique and fresh way to look at the birthing process, and for many it’s a successful way to reduce stress during labor.

10tips for a positive hypnobirth

Fundamentally, it treats the birthing process as something the body naturally endures.

It seeks to tap into this nature through meditation and other practices, but can certainly sound a little left of field when it comes to birthing techniques.

In this article we are going to discuss what hypnobirthing is, its benefits, and provide our top 10 tips for a positive hypnobirth.

So, to learn more about hypnobirthing and its processes, just keep reading.

What Is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing sounds pretty wild, but is actually quite simple and natural.

Put simply, hypnobirthing techniques attempt to increase relaxation and decrease stress during labor through mental preparation and exercises.

Hypnosis can be a tricky term, it can conjure images of someone swinging a watch in front of you while you try to give birth, but it’s actually not this at all.

Hypnosis can be defined in the OED as ‘a procedure during which a person experiences changes in sensation, perception, thought or behavior.’

In this sense, something as simple as positive affirmations can be a form of self-hypnosis, and is something you might do during a hypnobirth.

Hypnobirthing techniques can include, but are not limited to, breathing exercises, meditation, chanting, affirmations, and visualization.

Consider a boxer who has a fight coming up on a specific date. In order to perform their best in spite of anticipatory anxiety, a boxer may use similar techniques so that when the fight occurs they are present, at one with their body, and free from anxiety or stress – it’s the same way with hypnobirthing.

10 Tips For A Positive Hypnobirth

Below are some tips to help ensure your hypnobirthing techniques are successful.

1. Get a Birth Partner (or Consider A Doula)

A doula is like a birth partner who is there to make a woman’s life easier during childbirth. They help you have a positive birth experience.

They aren’t there to provide medical insight like a nurse, although many will be medically trained, but to provide emotional and potential spiritual support to women during the birthing process.

A doula can work with you before your birthing process in order to prepare you for the birth itself. After all, most hypnobirthing techniques should be practiced before labor.

And when you do give birth, there’s a friendly face there that you trust who can help coach you through labor with the hypnobirthing techniques you practiced.

After all, every boxer needs a coach in the ring (for more, see: What Do Doulas Do?)

All that said, if you have a supportive birth partner, and you are willing to put time aside to practice hypnobirthing techniques on your own, then a doula is more of a luxury than a necessity.

So if you want to keep the birth experience intimate between you and your partner, or don’t want the expense of a doula, you can manage perfectly well using a learn at home hypnobirthing approach like Blissful Birth.

2. Practise Makes Perfect

If you are going to do a driving test, you are going to fail if you have never set foot in a car before.

One huge way to relieve anticipatory anxiety and stress is by practicing. Obviously, you cannot practice giving birth, which is why hypnobirthing is really great.

Practices like breathing and visualization, mean that when it gets to the big day you are already mentally prepared for each thing as it comes.

A hypnotherapist or doula can guide you through each event of labor as it happens, before it happens, through meditation, so that when the big day comes everything will feel kind of familiar.

You can also use a hypnobirthing recording, like our Birth Rehearsal MP3.

3. Become Familiar With Mediation

One reason someone might choose to employ hypnobirthing techniques is because they might already be pretty good or comfortable with meditation.

Meditation, in a general way, teaches us to both be mindful of our bodies but also to escape them.

If you have never meditated before, then it can be worth giving it a try, guided by hypnotherapist, doula or our hypnobirthing mp3s, before birth to see if you enjoy the sensation.

Meditating during labor may sound impossible, but if you can become familiar with the sensation of being detached from your body while still doing all the necessary birthing procedures such as pushing, you can deal with pain a lot better while in a meditative, detached, state.

Put simply, meditation can help reduce pain and reduce stress hormones and potentially allow for a pain free birth.

4. Learn Breathing Exercises

tips for a positive hypnobirth

Breathing exercises are scientifically proven to help deal with pain and many other ailments.

A number of studies show that controlled breathing techniques influence your physiology, by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, and divert attention from your thoughts back to your bodily state.

This might be something like ‘counting sheep’, visualizing something to help you focus on breath, or something simple like counting – these techniques help ensure success.

You will find the exercises in our hypnobirthing book very helpful here.

5. Consider Using Different Terms

If you are particularly squeamish or just really don’t like medical terms, it can be helpful to use other terms in both preparation and during labor.

This can really help manifest a positive birth and promote relaxation.

A simple one is saying ‘giving birth’ rather than ‘labor’, ‘surge’ rather than ‘contraction’ – they help us imagine different things in our head.

6. Have Some Mantras

Mantras can sound a bit esoteric but they are really useful for this kind of thing.

No one expects you to start chanting in the delivery suite, but having some simple affirmations or phrases to remind yourself of things can really help in the chaos of labor.

Something as simple as ‘my body can do this’, ‘I am capable’, ‘positive not perfect’ or ‘pain brings me closer to my baby’ – these mantras help ground you in the moment.

In short, mantras are great for giving hypnobirthing moms extra confidence!

7. Aim For ‘Positive’ Not ‘Perfect’

Unfortunately there is no perfect birth, so lowering our expectations is also a good way to reduce stress.

This means that if something goes wrong or differently to our birth plan, which is something we also need to prepare for, then we can also deal with that without losing all our marbles.

If meditation or breathing exercises, for example, can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed, this is a win. But if you expect breathing exercises to suddenly make you invincible then you will be disappointed and also stressed if that doesn’t occur.

8. Trust The Process

If you are choosing to try out hypnobirthing techniques then doubt is often your enemy.

In order for this kind of self-hypnosis to really work, you have to trust that it works.

Part of this is lowering your expectations of the techniques, but it’s also understanding what a technique does for you.

For example, most people visualize labor as something traumatic and dramatic.

But if you have done birth rehearsal visualizations, then it can often feel much calmer because you trust your preparations.

If you walk into an exam and suddenly regret how you studied you will probably stress out and fail.

When we trust the preparation we have put into something, the likelihood is that our hopes will manifest themselves.

9. Know What Works For You

There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to hypnobirthing, so don’t be afraid to pick and choose the elements that really resonate with you.

For example, if you find the visualization process is really helpful to prepare you for labor, but some of the specific guided meditations don’t fit with you, then focus on the stuff that you know does.

Some visualizations, for example, might have you imagine being on a relaxing beach. This is fine if you’re the kind of person who finds beaches relaxing… but if you hate the sensation of sand getting in your costume then it may not be so relaxing for you!

(That’s why, in our own hypnobirthing MP3s, we tend to avoid being overly specific so you can use you imagination to find your own relaxing place.)

You might also find you respond better to a male or female voice. So it’s important to experiment with a few hypnobirthing techniques to find the ones that work for you, and focus on those.

In other words, don’t feel the need to undertake an exercise that doesn’t work for you, it’s all about making you comfortable and relaxed!

10. Always Have A Backup Plan

No matter how much preparation you undertake, unfortunately, going through labor isn’t really like an exam or a sporting event.

In fact, labor can be really unpredictable: your baby could come earlier or later than expected, your doula might get stuck in traffic, you might get stuck in traffic yourself.

Put simply, there are things that can go awry but when we prepare for that too we can still keep our cool. A flexible birth plan can lead to positive birth stories.

This could be as simple as getting your birthing partner to practice some things that your doula would do, so should your doula not be available for whatever reason, you won’t have to go it alone.

Equally, no matter how much you might not want to use gas and air or how much you want to have an water birth, you also need to prepare and visualize when these things don’t occur.

If you are prepared for the worst and flexible in your expectations, then if thing don’t go your way, you can still take anything on.

Final Thoughts

As you can see hypnobirthing isn’t as loopy as it sounds but is actually all about preparation and instilling deep relaxation.

Preparing for the task of labor using mental exercises can help us be confident that we can perform on the day of birth.

And a hypnobirthing course like Blissful Birth can help you prepare and practice.

Want more tips? See 9 Best Birthing Positions For A Hypnobirth.

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