We were thrilled to hear that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have welcomed their son to the world and were even more thrilled to discover that Meghan may have used hypnobirthing techniques during labour.
A popular approach from the Royals (it was rumoured that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, used the technique too), hypnobirthing aims to reduce tension and stress during labour, both of which can make delivery difficult.
Using self-hypnosis, breathing techniques and a shift in mindset, hypnobirthing combines a number of techniques to make birth a more positive experience for parents. We speak to clinical hypnotherapist Abigail Rogers to find out more.
Hi Abigail, can you briefly explain what the aim of hypnobirthing is?
Hypnobirthing focuses on reducing the anxiety around birth as much as possible and learning to enter a state of deep relaxation. During birth, this allows our subconscious mind to relax and take over the process as it’s naturally designed to do, rather than our fear ‘fight or flight’ response kicking in.
What are the benefits of hypnobirthing?
When we’re able to remain calm and relaxed in labour, we produce beneficial birth hormones like oxytocin and endorphins (natural painkillers) which, in turn, help the body relax and do what it needs to do as quickly and comfortably as possible.
Hypnobirthing women tend to report that their labours are calmer, faster, less traumatic and they seem to require fewer medical interventions – it often seems to lead to calmer babies and better outcomes for postnatal mental health, as well!
Can you tell us about your personal experience with hypnobirthing?
I gave birth to my first son three weeks after completing my training in hypnotherapy – so I was able to use my own hypnobirthing relaxation track, along with my knowledge of the psychology and physiology of birth to create my own hypnobirthing ‘programme’ for his birth.
Sure enough, it was very quick and straightforward and we get lots of comments on what a calm and happy little boy he is! I’m looking forward to the arrival of our second baby, any time now, and will definitely be hypnobirthing again – in fact, it’s really helped me stay calm and well throughout pregnancy so has already paid off!
Hypnobirthing is a versatile technique that works with most birth plans and encourages partners to take an active role too. This can be a lovely way of involving both parties in the birth. The relaxation techniques can also be practised before birth, helping to reduce anxiety and tension in the time leading up to the birth.
While hypnobirthing won’t necessarily make the experience of delivering a baby pain-free, it gives your body and mind a great chance to feel calm, in control and entirely capable.
Every parent is different and what’s important is for you to find an approach to childbirth that suits you. Explore your options and see what resonates with you and what feels good as a family.