“To those who say it is just not possible to birth naturally without pain, I say, “But what if we’re right? Wouldn’t it be wonderful?” – Lorne R. Campbell, M.D.

Hypnobirthing is a wonderful and unique method of childbirth. The birth of a child through hypnobirthing is a relaxed process which uses the techniques of self-hypnosis and guided imagery. Hypnobirthing allows women to use their inner wisdom and ability to have a healthy, safe and most importantly, a comfortable birth.

Movies, Books, Anecdotes and almost everything which talks about birth experience tends to skew to the negative. Women grow up listening to other women talking about the horror of birth and hence associate birth with intolerable pain. Birth is one of the most natural physiological functions of our body. The link of excruciating pain and labor leads to fear in the minds of women even before conception. Fear causes our bodies to react in fight or flight mode. Extreme fear causes body to become tense, in turn prohibiting any normal physiological function, leading to long, painful labor. This is a fear-tension-pain cycle and it is vicious.

Due to lack of awareness, the whole concept of hypnobirthing can seem unrealistic to a lot of women. Most often, women who have been looking for a way to give birth with confidence in a safe and gentle manner chose to learn and practice hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing is suitable for first time mums and mums who’ve had kids before. It helps women who are scared of birth because they’ve never done it before, who are anxious because of a bad experience last time, or who just want a calmer, more natural birth experience.

Benefits of Hypnobirthing:

A hypnobirthing program is a structured process which includes relaxation, breathing, visualization, meditation, nutrition and body toning. Hypnobirthing helps women tune their mind to the positive, see birth as a normal and natural process, dismiss myths & fears and most importantly, trust their body.

A mother practicing hypnobirthing can free herself of all negative thoughts and emotions which can affect her baby & birth. What makes a hypnobirthing birth an ecstatic experience is that a mother is fully awake, aware and in control of her body during the birth of the baby.

The first step to fight fear is acceptance. In a hypnobirthing class, women are informed on why labor hurts and why it doesn’t have to. Once a woman knows and accepts that, she is taught what she can do so that she can have the labor she wants. The techniques practiced in class help them form a link between fear and possibility of pain. Mastery of this technique is a life skill which can be used all through life.

Research has shown that using of hypnosis can shorten the first stage of labor, reduce the need for painkillers, spin breech babies into a normal position, greatly reduce need for surgical intervention & decrease risk of postnatal depression. Emotionally, it increases your confidence, releases your fears and worries and eliminates any presence of the fear-tension-pain cycle. It involves your partner to be an active part of birth making him feel important and central to the whole process.

Myths about Hypnobirthing:

The biggest misconception about hypnobirthing is that the mother is under the effect of something magical, mythical or dangerous. Hypnosis has been perceived as some form of trance where the mother has no control over herself or her thoughts. On the contrary, she will be in utmost control of her body and the birth of her baby. Hypnosis is a very natural state of relaxation- physical, emotional & mental with a very high state of awareness. During a session, you are not going to be asked to experience something you never have before. It is going to be a very familiar feeling but the kind of relaxation you will experience will be very different.

Hypnobirthing in India:

Major cities like Delhi, Mumbai & Chennai have professionals & hospitals who offer hypnobirthing facility. Delhi has seen a positive surge in hypnosis guided births over the last 2 years. Hypnobirthing is a relatively new concept in India and will take some time to be accepted amongst professionals and women.

To end, Hypnobirthing does not promise an entirely pain-free birth but definitely promises a much more calm, relaxed and comfortable birth from which you would emerge ecstatic and blissful.

“Imagine what might happen if women emerged from their labor beds with a renewed sense of the strength and power of their bodies, and of their capacity for ecstasy through giving birth” — Dr. Christiane Northrup

By: Anjali Raj, LCCE, CLE

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