Hypnobirthing | Natal-hypnotherapy, The Mongan Method, GentleBirth...
What hypnobirthing involves
A combination of self-hypnosis techniques, deep relaxation and guided visualisation make up hypnobirthing.
Hypnobirthing such as Natal Hypnotherapy™ can involve one-to-one sessions or listening to CDs which teach breathing, relaxation and self-hypnosis.
There are sets available for everything from successful conception to home hypnobirthing, hospital birth and C-section. UK Clinical Hypnotherapist Maggie Howell developed Natal Hypnotherapy™ in 2003 and it has now helped tens of thousands of women in the UK.
What hypnobirthing helps with
Hypnobirthing practices help women to overcome any fears and create confidence in their body's ability to cope with childbirth on its own. The aim is to have a calmer, more relaxed pregnancy and birth.
More than 2,300 midwives and birth professionals across the UK now recommend Natal Hypnotherapy™ techniques, including midwife and complementary therapy expert, Denise Tiran, who says hypnobirthing is very successful and changes the perceptions of pain.
Maggie Howell, doula, author and founder of Natal Hypnotherapy™ says "A survey by Pregnancy and Birth found that 87% of women are terrified of giving birth. Natal Hypnotherapy helps mums fight fear... 97% would recommend Natal Hypnotherapy to others."
The Pregnancy and Birth study studied a selection of Natal Hypnotherapy™ users and found that:
-80% of users felt they overcame fear and anxiety leading up to the birth;
-88% went into the birth with a strong belief in their ability to give birth;
-84% felt they were extremely or very relaxed going into the birth;
-77% felt relaxed or very relaxed during the birth;
-80% felt able to manage or deal with the pain during birth
Different forms of hypnobirthing
There are many different approaches to hypnotherapy when used in birth and getting pregnant. Grantly Dick-Read, author of Natural Childbirth wrote about hypnosis in childbirth in the 1930s and since then techniques have been refined and expanded on.
These are a selection of hypnobirthing methods available:
- Natal Hypnotherapy™ award-winning program with Maggie Howell (UK)
- The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan (USA, UK)
- Hypnobirthing with Katharine Graves (UK)
- Confident Childbirth with Jane Hodgkin (UK)
- GentleBirth by Sheila Barratt-Smith (UK)
Most hypnotherapy methods offer home study so you can also look into popular methods from other countries:
- Lamaze (France, USA)
- The Peaceful Pregnancy Program (Canada)
- FreshStart (USA)
- Hypnobabies (USA)
- The Leclaire Method (USA)
Natal Hypnotherapy™ - Maggie Howell’s TOP TIPS
• Keep fear out of the birthing room. If you feel frightened, or you do not feel safe, tell your birthing partner and seek to change it if possible.
• Relax relax relax — this truly is the key to a comfortable birth. By keeping your fear and anxiety to an absolute minimum, you reduce the release of adrenaline, which is responsible for slowing down contractions and tensing your muscles.
• Breathe — It may sound strange, but breathing the right way is your second key to a comfortable birth. Your breathing should be steady, rhythmical and calm, breathing down to your abdomen.
Many women manage the entire birthing just by concentrating on this type of breathing during contractions.
The benefits are many — more oxygen to your baby, more birthing hormones, your blood pressure stays healthy, your heart rate stays healthy, your muscles will be more relaxed, your uterus is receiving a fresh supply of oxygenated blood and can dispose of the waste products from previous contractions.
• Trust in your body - it was designed specifically to give birth — if your body can grow an incredible perfect human being, then your body has all it needs to birth your baby unassisted.
• If you are planning a hospital birth, stay at home as long as possible - you will have a better chance of a having comfortable and natural birth.
• Use your mind during contractions - visualising a flower opening, a wave peaking and crashing or just think about your past holidays, counting each breath, imagine climbing up a hill and down the other side, recite poems or songs.
• Keep moving around, the more you move the better the chance for your baby to get into the best position for birth.
• Only eat and drink small amounts — your body uses huge amounts of energy on digestion — ideally you want this energy for your uterus.
• Be comfortable handing control over to your body. You (your mind) cannot control the birth — if you were in a coma, your body would still birth your baby.
• No matter where your birth takes you, trust in your instincts and be happy with any decisions you make.
Words by Naomi Majid