Frequently Asked Questions- HypnoBirthing
What does the Birth Companion do?
The Birth Companion of the mother’s choice is an integral part of the HypnoBirthing® experience. He or she practices with the mother in helping to prepare for deep relaxation. During labour the Birth Companion guides the labouring mother through hypnosis prompts, relaxation techniques, deepening methods, and visualizations, provides comfort measures, and joins in welcoming the new baby. The Birth Companion can be the father or a sister, mother, a doula or a good friend and although they play an important role it is also possible to do HypnoBirthing® without a Birth Companion.
How does HypnoBirthing® differ from other childbirth preparation methods?
Unlike other childbirth methods that teach you how to cope with and manage pain, HypnoBirthing® is based on the premise that childbirth does not necessarily need to be unbearably painful if the mother is properly prepared and relaxed. When women understand that constrictor hormones, created by fear, cause pain they learn, instead, to release fear thus creating endorphins—the feel good hormones. They are then able to change their expectations of long, painful labour and are able to replace them with expectations of a more comfortable birthing. Rather than exhausting, shallow breathing and the distraction techniques of typical “prepared childbirth” programs, HypnoBirthing® parents learn deep abdominal breathing and total relaxation, enabling the labouring mother to work in harmony with her body and her baby. This allows her to achieve a shorter and more comfortable labour for herself and baby.
Is it true that I will experience a pain-free birth with HypnoBirthing®?
HypnoBirthing® does not promise painless birthing, though many HypnoBirthing® mothers do report having a relatively pain-free birth, or one that they were able to manage easily. Fear and anxiety constrict the birthing muscles, which causes pain—when fear is eliminated, birthing can be accomplished in a shorter period and much more comfortably. Additionally, a relaxed mother’s body will produce more endorphins, nature’s own relaxants and painkillers, which will make birthing more manageable and comfortable. HypnoBirthing® mothers may still experience sensations of tightening or pressure; but most describe their birth experience as working with their body through the sensations, and thus avoiding the excruciating pain that is frequently spoken of.
Will I be unconscious or will I remember my birth experience?
Despite misconceptions and misinformation, you are definitely not unconscious during self-hypnosis. The HypnoBirthing® mother is deeply relaxed, but she is also an active participant in the labor process. Though she is deeply relaxed, she is totally aware and may return to a conversant state or choose to become mobile whenever she desires. HypnoBirthing® mothers often find that they experience time distortion and are not distracted by other people or their birthing environment, while they focus on their birthing and their baby.
What kind of techniques will I learn through attending HypnoBirthing® classes?
We focus on breathing, relaxation, affirmations, visualization and self hypnosis. Parents come away from the classes with a tool box of techniques that they can call upon during labour and birth. All of them are designed to enable the mother to enter a state of deep relaxation, to maximize the release of endorphins and oxytocin and to assist all the normal and natural functions of the body during birth. HypnoBirthing® is more than just a collection of techniques though, it's as much a philosophy of birth as it is a method of birthing. During the classes we focus not just on the techniques but a couples beliefs and fears about birthing and parenting with the aim of replacing old limiting thoughts and beliefs with positive and empowering ones.
How much at-home practice in addition to the classes is recommended for optimal results?
It depends on when the classes are started. An ideal time to start them would be 26 – 30 weeks. If this was the case, at least 1 hour of daily practice for mum and a couple of hours a week as a couple would be a good start. If you do the classes later then you would need to put more time in each day as you are doing it over a shorter amount of time. Basically, the more practice you do the more natural it will feel and the more effective the techniques will be for you on the day.
Will HypnoBirthing® be useful to me if I don't opt for a natural childbirth or if I need intervention or a surgical birth?
Absolutely. The things you will learn in your HypnoBirthing® classes will help you to learn relaxation skills that will be useful to both you and your baby, regardless of your birth experience. In fact the benefits of HypnoBirthing® start way before the birth. Your baby feels everything that you do and so by being relaxed and calm throughout your pregnancy you are giving your baby a wonderful environment to grow in both physically and emotionally. If medical intervention of any sort is needed, you will find yourself better able to remain calm and in control. Mothers who have needed scheduled caesareans for medical reasons report that they were totally relaxed before, during and after the procedure. Many report that they needed little or no medication following the birth, and they were able to return to normal functioning in a very short period of time.
What are the advantages of going down this path as opposed to other prenatal class options?
Statistically, women who use HypnoBirthing® tend to have shorter and more comfortable labours and births. They have less need for inductions and interventions, including episiotomy, medication or surgical birth. They use fewer drugs or no drugs at all which means less risk of side effects on mother and baby. They are usually more awake and energized and they have a more satisfying experience with faster recovery rates. It also has great benefits for babies including a confident and relaxed mother, a calm and relaxed pre natal period, a calmer birth with less trauma, higher levels of alertness at birth and the ability to sleep and nurse well due to fewer drugs in their systems.
And dads get lots out of it too. They feel confident about their role and ability to help mum stay relaxed. They are involved in the preparation and play an integral part in the experience, which help enhance bonding with their baby.
What if my doctor/midwife is not familiar with HypnoBirthing®?Can I still use this method?
If your caregiver is not knowledgeable about HypnoBirthing®, you might take the opportunity early in your pregnancy to discuss the techniques you will be using and the type of calm birthing environment that you desire. During class, you will learn how to create your Birth Preferences, which will help you to communicate your birthing goals and preferences to your doctor or midwife.