Hypnosis for Childbirth
Hypnosis for childbirth is becoming increasingly popular as more people learn about the benefits of being deeply relaxed when birthing. When fear or anxiety is removed, tension in the body is released and the muscles relax. Whilst this may sound simplistic, the ‘fear-tension-pain’ cycle is widely accepted. Women sometimes ‘play down’ their fears about birthing, especially in company, but most admit to some level of apprehension and some downright fear. For this reason many decide early on that they will have an epidural (or even a caesarean section) to avoid the level of pain that they anticipate and see as inevitable. A belief that childbirth will be protracted and unbearably painful, either because of stories from friends or relatives or because of previous difficult births will result in understandable fear and tension and this is likely to result in a longer or more difficult birth.
Learning and practicing self-hypnosis offers an alternative approach. In hypnosis for childbirth sessions women are taught either in groups or in individual sessions how to take themselves into a state of deep relaxation and remain in control of their relaxation. This is very empowering for women and their birth partner. In hypnosis women are given suggestions for a calm and positive birth experience and to view birthing as a natural process for which they are completely capable. Classes may also include instruction in hypnotic pain control techniques or NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) anchoring techniques.
Women usually attend classes with their birth partner who will learn how best to support the woman during birthing. Birth preparation recordings are usually included in the cost of a course (or may be available to purchase separately) and these recordings need to be used on a regular basis. Whether attending group classes or one-to-one sessions, home practise is essential to become confident in self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques.
Women who have used self-hypnosis usually describe feeling more confident in their body’s ability to birth naturally and often have shorter births than they might otherwise expect. Little or no pain relief or medical interventions and a faster recovery is reported by many women who have learned hypnosis and this type of birth experience is believed by many to reduce the risk of post-natal depression.
When considering whether to book a group class or individual sessions, women and their partners will want to choose the most suitable option for them and their budget. Group classes tend to be cheaper but inevitably have a standardised approach, whilst one-to-one classes offer the opportunity to tailor sessions to a couple’s needs, history or specific concerns. Another consideration is whether learning these techniques from a qualified and practising hypnotherapist is important, and if it is, to check out the teacher’s qualifications and experience – not all providers are clinical hypnotherapists, though you can expect them to have completed a birth hypnosis training course.
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