I hear many diverse opinions from Midwives, Nurses and Mothers about Hypnobirthing and it's effectiveness. Some state that Hypnobirthing was not helpful in any way and others swear by its effectiveness. Why such diversity?
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist experienced in teaching and supporting women with Hypnosis in childbirth, I have seen many reasons why Hypnobirthing can fail and/or succeed
Preparation and Practice: Hypnosis like any form of meditation or deep relaxation takes practice to achieve ease of use, and ability to reach a deeper more focused level. Some people by their very nature may be able to reach a deep state while others need a lot of practice to reach that level. Optimal success with Hypnosis is best achieved through use and practice of the techniques you learn repeatedly throughout your pregnancy. This usually means beginning your practice as early in your pregnancy as possible.
Expectations: One big issue I have against most Hypnobirth methods of teaching are that many women are promised a "Painless Birth" This expectation will make most women feel like they have either failed in using hypnosis or that hypnosis has failed them. The sense of failure while in labor is not an emotion we want present for mothers. I am not saying no one can achieve this state of "painless birth" but the greater majority of women will still experience varied degrees of intensity. Being prepared for this and knowing you have hypnosis as a tool to use to relax deeper can be a useful relief that is not a cure-all.
Exclusiveness: Hypnosis is a tool, it is one of the many tools a birthing woman can and will use during her labor. She may use it throughout her entire labor to varying degrees or may focus in using it until late in labor when she feels she needs it most. By having this idea of flexibility, mom's don't rely only on Hypnobirthing, instead they have a whole box of useful tools to use for coping and comfort
Unlike many teaching methods out there which want to retrain your mind and vocabulary, I believe in the words contraction, and labor. Your Uterus is a beautiful muscle that is contracting around your baby to help push your baby out. Labor is work. Mothers work hard to birth their babies. This is the most profound and fruitful work a mother will do in her life.
I do agree that continually focusing on the pain only intensifies what you are focussing on. Teaching women to focus less on "pain" and more on the intensity and pressure they feel in their body helps woman see childbirth as less of an illness or accident and more as a natural process their body is fully equipped to experience.
I would love to see more women succeed in the use of hypnosis for birthing their babies. I teach Hypnobirthing to parents in the Portland, Oregon and surrounding area. I also teach Doula's how to best support their Hypnobirthing families.
Contact Tia Rich LDM, CPM