Hypnobirthing – what I’ve learnt so far

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How I choosed Hypnobirthing

After lots (and I mean LOTS) of research on what childbirth preparation method to use my husband and I decided to go for the Hypnobirthing technique. Since my tokophobia (fear of childbirth) that I wrote about a couple of months ago, I’ve studied the topic of childbirth quite a lot so I didn’t need more technical information. If you are new to this I would recommend the Bradley method where the philosophy is to educate the birthing couple as much as possible about the birthing process. Another popular method is the Lamaze method (actually, with its roots in the Soviet Union) focused on breathing techniques, which you see in most movies when women are in labor (uuh-uh aah-aah, you know). Then there’s the Alexander method with a physical focus on the body and its flexibility. Hypnobirthing is recommended for women like me – with mental fears and anxiety around childbirth so it became an obvious choice for us.

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is all about getting out of your rational mind in order to stay calm and relaxed, which helps the body to do what it needs to do in order to give birth. During the preparation the pregnant couple are given special audio recordings to listen to, which helps calming the mind and getting “in the zone”. The partner’s role in this process is to help the laboring woman staying in that “zone” throughout the whole labor. Hence the “Hypno” part of it. It’s not really that you are hypnotized to feel less pain or dilate faster, but being in a state between awaken and asleep, also known as the alpha state .

In the Alpha state

The preparation method involves quite limited technical education in order to avoid too much logic and rationality, which can interfere with the desired alpha state . For instance, it doesn’t encourage the laboring woman to know how many centimeters her cervix has dilated as that immediately puts your brain in the rational beta state. If you have been in painful labor for 20 hours and get informed that you’ve only dilated 2 cm, it’s quite hard to stay calm and relaxed.

Suspiciously calm

Just like the other methods, Hypnobirthing encourages as little tension as possible – no screaming, no heavy breathing, a dark room and gentle touch and massage by the birthing partner. It is said that hypnobirthing women can get so calm and spaced out that hospital staff think they are much earlier in the laboring process than they actually are. It’s quite the opposite to what we are used to see in movies, and probably looks more like a calm yoga class than a punishment session in hell.

My learnings so far with Hypnobirthing

The method is said to not be a “natural birth” promoter, but I would say that it actually is, as it promotes minimal intervention during the laboring process. I haven’t yet decided if I will go for any pain relief options, but my plan is to be open to all possibilities and necessities by staying calm and “spaced out” no mater what happens. Also, I prefer seeing the staff in the hospital as help rather than enemies.

Before starting the Hypnobirthing classes I had this one idea about my laboring process – that I would listen to “Killing in The Name ” by Rage Against The Machine when I had a real big contraction. That’s one of my favorite songs that gives me encouragement during tough times, but now I will probably chose something more calming as the whole point with birthing is to let go and surrender to what the body is doing. Since I have no idea how I will react and what I will prefer during labor, I will buckle up with lots of playlist options to choose from. Some hypnobirthing women suddenly realize that they prefer silence, so you never know what your alpha-sate-self will prefer.

I will probably still listen to Killing In The Name at some time during labor, just to have done it 🙂

What else would you want me to tell you about Hypnobirthing?

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