When we dream of starting a family we do not usually consider the birth, well most of us don't. Then once pregnant people start to tell us of their experiences, and it would seem that they really do enjoy telling us their often dreadful, grisly stories. I am sure that they are true, but what is important here is the power of the mind - once we believe that giving birth will be painful and traumatic then it is so much more likely to be that way. Or perhaps you have had a difficult birth before and so are convicned that the next will be the same?
This amazing ability women have to create new life was not properly understood until remarkably recently and as developments in western medecine started advancing we began to see all sorts of barbaric treatments in unclean environments. In fact in Victorian times you were far more likely to die in chidbirth in a hospital due to poor sanitation than if you stayed at home and so our huge fears surrounding childbrith increased. It would seem that in Voctorian times, the poorer you were the better you were likely to fare, unable to pay for a doctor, or a hospital you would be more than likely to give birth wherever was convenient, possibly alone and probably quite calmly, just like all the other animals on the planet.
It used to be that women, when they felt their baby was coming, would go off somewhere only with other women, and give birth naturally and calmly. Why is it that animals give birth well, yet somehow us humans need such an arsenal of help? Are our bodies really so ill equiped to carry out this natural and fundamental process?
When women are birthing in unfamiliar surroundings with bright lights, probably flat on their backs, surrounded by people telling them what to do and prodding and poking them as if they are public property then the body does not relax. When we are scared, intimidated or feaful our muscles tighten and any pain becomes worse. When we relax we can notice the feelings, we can accept them and the 'pain' is very much reduced. When giving birth, if we relax we can allow our bodies to take over and do the work, with hypnosis we can become so deeply relaxed that there is no pain and we do not have to consciously control the process. We can allow our bodies to get on and do what they are designed to do so beautifully. An interesting point is that pregnant women in a coma give birth: no drugs; no intervention; no pushing. If this is possible why is it not possible for the vast majority? Well the answer is that it is possible.
A woman’s body is naturally designed to give birth, but sometimes fear and anxiety about labour and giving birth can get in the way of this. Regardless of whether the anxiety or fear is real or imagined, these strong emotions can trigger the stress response, which for a birthing woman can cause constriction of the arteries supplying the uterus, resulting in tension and pain and prolonged labour. Heightened levels of the stress hormone adrenaline can suppress the hormones needed for birth, slowing down the body and even bringing labour to a stand-still.
Hypnobirthing allows your body to work at its own pace, utilising deep breathing, and relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis and visualisation. These practices prepare you for a more relaxed and natural birthing experience, enabling your body and mind to work together, helping you to release any fears or anxieties that you may have. These techniques, practised in pregnancy, enable you to enter into a state of deep relaxation when in labour and so reduce or eliminate pain. This happens because when you are in a calm and relaxed state, endorphins are released, which are the body’s own powerful natural pain killers.
- Reduces labour and birthing time
- Mums feel more relaxed and energised after giving birth
- Can reduce post natal recovery time
- Babies are reported to be calmer, more content, feed better and sleep better.
- Dads are more actively involved with the birth
- Lower incidences of surgical interventions
- Less risk of birth related pelvic floor injuries
- Techniques learned can be useful for future situations