Hypnobirthing Techniques You NeedAug 01, 2022
Hypnobirthing is a powerful tool for having an easier, more comfortable childbirth. Birthing mothers use hypnobirthing techniques to help them relax and feel safe. This sense of safety allows them to trust their instincts during childbirth.
When birthing mothers feel safe and confident, their bodies feel less tension and less pain. Their bodies also can tap into deep and natural instincts that make child birthing easier and healthier.
In this article we’ll cover some common hypnobirthing techniques. We’ll also talk a little about when and how to do hypnobirthing at home.
What are the principles of hypnobirthing?
The main purpose of hypnobirthing is to break the fear-tension-pain cycle. When the fear-tension-pain cycle is broken, birthing sensations are more comfortable. Hypnobirthing also helps women feel empowered. When women feel more confident, they’re able to draw on their natural and innate ability to give birth.
Some principles that inform hypnobirthing techniques are:
- Childbirth is natural and beautiful.
- Our bodies are inherently capable.
- Our body responds to gentle suggestions.
- Alert hypnosis gives us mental clarity and physical strength.
- All parents deserve to be fully informed of their options.
- Mothers and babies deserve a safe and beautiful childbirth.
Hypnobirthing techniques rely on these principles as fundamental and innate.
Are hypnobirthing techniques effective?
A great deal of evidence supports the effectiveness of hypnobirthing techniques.
For instance, according to a study in Australia, hypnobirthing correlated with shorter labor, fewer C-sections, and fewer epidurals.
In 2020, a systemic review looked at several studies on hypnobirthing. Nine of these studies met full methodological criteria. The review found that hypnobirthing consistently showed positive results with:
- Lower levels of pain
- Increased feelings of satisfaction for mothers
- Less anxiety
- Fewer interventions
- Better well-being after birth
On the other hand, some studies don’t find a difference between mothers who use hypnosis and don’t. In some cases, this could be due to insufficient education.
In one study that didn’t find a difference, mothers were given only one hour of self-hypnosis instruction. There, the mothers who received one hour of education had no better outcomes than the mothers who did not receive any self-hypnosis education.
There could also be other factors for why some studies do not show a difference.
Overall though, many studies show positive results from hypnobirthing. Likewise, many women report that hypnobirthing had a powerful and beautiful impact on their birth.
Can you teach yourself hypnobirthing?
If you are unsure about taking a hypnobirthing class, you might be curious about how to do hypnobirthing from home.
There are some hypnobirthing techniques that you can start teaching yourself. These include techniques such as calm breathing, positive thinking, and visualizations, which we describe more below. You can learn about these through YouTube videos, articles, and books on hypnobirthing.
Other hypnobirthing methods are best learned in a classroom setting. These include:
- Partner training
- Hypnobirthing soundtracks
- “Wave” or “surge” breathing
- J breathing
While there are videos and articles about some of these techniques, they may not be as easy to learn without more help. As such, it can help to have an in-person instructor. It can also help to have multiple learning models, such as videos, recordings, visuals, and step-by-step exercises.
Some classes also have extra content that isn’t available online.
At HypnoActive, we include Active Birth principles that are best learned in class, such as physical exercises, massage techniques, and birth positions.
If you are unsure about taking a course, you may want to start learning hypnobirthing techniques from home. After you try out hypnobirthing, you can always sign up to learn more.
What are common hypnobirthing techniques?
Every hypnobirthing class will be a little different, depending on the experience and philosophy of your instructor. However, all hypnobirthing classes draw from a common set of techniques.
Some foundational hypnobirthing techniques include:
Birth affirmations are positive statements about you, your baby, and your birth. They are gentle suggestions that grow more powerful with time and repetition.
Some positive birth affirmations are:
- I look forward to giving birth
- I am proud of myself, whatever happens
- We are making informed choices
- My body was made for this
- Soften, relax, and open
- Contractions bring my baby closer
- My baby is ready to meet me
As you repeat these affirmations, you are teaching your subconscious to expect good things and to trust yourself.
Visualizations are like birth affirmations, except that they rely on images instead of words. These mental images focus on scenes that are comforting, beautiful, or empowering.
Some common visualizations are:
- Imagining your body is opening like a flower
- Imagining each breath inflating a colorful balloon
- Imagining holding your baby
Other visualizations combine imagery with meditation. Marie Mongan, the hypnotherapist who invented hypnobirthing, has a visual meditation called “Rainbow Relaxation” you can download here.
At HypnoActive, we teach guided visualizations like:
- Your peaceful place
- Glove anesthesia
- The shoulder anchor
- Colors of peace
- Your healing place
These visualizations can help you feel calm and confident before and during labor.
Breathing techniques are some of the most foundational hypnobirthing techniques. Three of the most common breathing techniques are calm breathing, “wave” or “surge” breathing, and J-breathing.
Calm Breathing. For calm breathing, you breathe in through your nose for four counts, and out through your mouth for seven counts. It can help to make a slow whooshing sound as you breathe out. You can also hold your breath for a few seconds in between breaths if it feels comfortable.
Calm breathing helps keep you relaxed between contractions. You can also use it during pregnancy to reduce anxiety. In fact, calm breathing is often used to ease anxiety and depression.
One thing that helps make calm breathing effective is the long exhale. When you breathe out, your heart rate is slower than when you breathe in. Lowering your heart rate engages your body’s “rest and digest” mode. This helps your body relax and feel safe.
Wave or Surge Breathing. In hypnobirthing, we sometimes call contractions “waves” or “surges.” We use the term “wave breathing” to describe lengthened, deep inhales and exhales during contractions.
During Wave breathing, it helps to breathe into your abdomen as much as possible. One way to do this is to hold the bottom of your abdomen as a guide. Then, let your fingers spread apart as your abdomen expands, and let them come back together as you exhale.
As you do this, breathe in through your nose and take long, ten-count breaths as you inhale and exhale. Continue wave breathing through your contraction.
J Breathing, or “breathing baby down,” is used while pushing.
As you practice J-breathing, imagine the shape of a J going in through your nose to the back of your neck, down your spine, and finally helping guide your baby out.
J-breathing helps your body bear down naturally. The idea here is to breathe in sync with your body’s natural pushing instincts.
We can’t say enough about how much partners can help their birthing companions.
In hypnobirthing, partners are taught to:
- Prepare soundtracks and lighting
- Advocate for mom and baby
- Communicate with medical professionals and family
- Help their companion practice hypnobirthing techniques
- Provide hypnobirthing support during labor
- Provide comfort with back stroking or massage
- Take care of food and water needs
- Give baby skin-to-skin
At HypnoActive, we provide additional Daddy-doula training based off of our professional doula-training courses.
When should I start practicing hypnobirthing?
You can start learning hypnobirthing methods at home as early as you want. This can help you see if hypnobirthing works for you.
If you decide you want to learn more about hypnobirthing, you can take a hypnobirthing class to get a more complete education.
We recommend starting HypnoActive classes between 22 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. This gives you plenty of time to practice hypnobirthing techniques before it’s time to meet your baby. It’s also close enough to birth that everything you learn stays fresh in your mind.
If you are past 32 weeks, we have a home study you can go through more quickly.
You can learn more about our HypnoActive classes and how to sign up here.
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