Trance-forming childbirth for you

This article is for parents to be who know how they want to welcome their new baby into our world but don’t yet have all of the skills to achieve their ideal birth. They may even have fears or limiting beliefs that result in them feeling stuck when it comes to writing a birthing plan.

What is a birthing plan, and do you need it?

The good news is that a birthing plan can be whatever you want it to be.
As every child’s birth is unique and has many variables, your birthing plan is your perfect opportunity to realise what aspects are most important for your “trio team” (Mum, birthing partner and baby) throughout the process.
Although there are different proformas available, you can present your wishes or goals in the best format for you. It can be a list of bullet points, a longer document with sub-heading to support the medical team or even a mind-map that you (or your birthing partner) prepare to talk through with your midwife.

Whilst it’s not compulsory and can’t be carved in stone, a birthing plan will enable you to be flexible and continue to lead the process even if there is a necessary change to your plan A.
The following list gives you a starter of things that you may want to consider:

  • The right environment and atmosphere for your “trio team”.
  • Your wishes or goals for stage one and two and after the birth, i.e. cutting the cord, placenta, feeding and bathing.
  • Your preferences regarding procedures during the birth, i.e. pain management, shaving, enemas, induction, episiotomy.
  • Your preferences in the case of any unexpected events.

Hypnotherapy for childbirth

What are hypnotherapy and NLP?

How can hypnotherapy and NLP support a relaxing and painless childbirth?

In a nutshell, hypnosis enables you to enter into a relaxed or altered state that supports the birthing process because it keeps the body out of the fight/flight mode which is known to slow down labour. It uses strategies that including breathing, progressive relaxation and visualisation, to support mum to work instinctively with her body and the baby.

Hypnotic anaesthesia uses a range of hypnotic phenomenon that supports mum in managing her pain relief without needing to rely solely (or even at all) on pain relief drugs that also slow down the birthing process and make baby sleepy before and after the birth. The number of skills that you will learn at hypnosis for childbirth classes will depend on the qualifications, experience and skills of your trainer.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) complements the use of hypnosis because it works with your “map of the world” (values, beliefs and behaviours) to change any limiting beliefs or fears and to train your brain to support you physiologically during the labour/birthing process.

First and foremost, parents to learn the skills to manage their emotional state throughout the process and language patterns to support Mum to lead her physical comfort; as well as skills to manage the medical team to support your ideal birthing environment and atmosphere.

NLP trainers who have learnt “design human engineering,” a wonderful technology developed by Dr Richard Bandler, co-founder of NLP, will coach you to design and install your own control panel that works for you (Mum) and because you “own it”, you can instinctively apply it. They will also teach you “anchoring” Dad to rapidly deepen the level of trance for hypno-anaesthesia, and support Dad or another birthing partner to have an active role in the birthing process.
In her book, 'Painless Childbirth' Tina Taylor (internationally acclaimed author, clinical hypnotherapist and master trainer of NLP) provides a detailed manual to support parents to be who want to learn and combine hypnosis and NLP for birthing. Tina teaches her methodology to midwives across the world, and students via the International College of Clinical Hypnotherapy.

Tina recommends that couples who want to use her technology attend classes with clinical hypnotherapists and NLPers that she has personally trained. Tina writes that “In obstetrics, the ideal anaesthesia should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be capable of reducing and/or eliminating pain.
  • Allow the normal mechanism of labour to continue.
  • Whilst not affecting the baby.

Hypnosis fulfils all of these conditions and has been called the "ideal anaesthesia for childbirth."

A quick history of childbirth and medical interventions

Grantly Dick-Read, English obstetrician and author of the international bestseller and now classic book 'Childbirth Without Fear' describes childbirth around the world before and after the use of anaesthesia. His text gives parents to be and medical practitioners an excellent overview of what happens physically and mindfully during the birthing process and notes important factors that may influence your ideal plan.

The following examples are provided to give you food for thought when choosing the approach, birthing classes and skills, that you want to learn:

  • Science of today can relieve women of their suffering but only in recent years have the causes of pain in childbirth been explained.
  • The higher the civilisation of a country, the more generally pain is accepted as a symptom of childbirth.
  • Until the middle of the 19th century, there was no anaesthesia; it hadn’t been invented!
  • British politicians (men) used “anaesthesia for all” to win votes in the 19th Century even though 75% of women preferred to do without it and so did the midwives.
  • “I have often wondered if a woman in Whitechapel… realised the far-reaching influence of a casual remark she made to me… (On arrival) I soon became conscious of a quiet kindliness in the atmosphere… (she refused) when I tried to persuade my patient to let me put a mask over her head and give her Chloroform… (Afterbirth) she turned to me and said: It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t meant to, was it, doctor?”
  • The fear-tension-pain syndrome: pain in an otherwise uncomplicated labour arises from the activation of the sympathetic nervous system by the emotion of fear.

To sum up, fear produces tension which causes pain. Hence, “…by removing fear, tension is reduced, and pain is minimised.” (GDR 1959, Childbirth Without Fear,p.47) Grantly Dick-Read, “…noticed that women who had easier births appeared to be in a trance-like state and he said this was due to deep relaxation.” (Tina Taylor 2011, Painless Childbirth, p.60).
Most importantly for parents to be in the 21st Century, is that you have the autonomy to choose what is right for you. Furthermore, hypnotherapy and NLP can complement all medical interventions, including a C-Section and is now supported by academic research.
What research findings support the use of hypnotherapy and NLP in obstetrics?
The use of hypnosis in childbirth and surgery is not new and dates back over 150 years. Although it’s not widely documented, research shows:

  • Language (suggestions) used by nurses makes a difference and must, “…be controlled for the purpose of advancing the birth process.” (Hao et al, 1997).
  • Shortens the duration of stages one by approximately three hours for first-time mums. (Abraham & Heron 1950, Jenkins and Pritchard 1997, Mellegren 1966).
  • Need for pain medication was less in the hypnosis group, than in the control groups with up to 60 and 70% in the hypnosis group having no medication (various studies around the world).

Mums who train with hypnotherapy and NLP trainers using the Tina Taylor methodology note the advantages of hypnotherapy and NLP anecdotally. Mums who have trained with me note things like “pressure” rather than pain (NLP reframe) and often note, what I like to call, a “bonus prize”. That is to say, a calm baby!
In summary, when you decide to train with a clinical hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner using painless childbirth (the Tina Taylor way) you will learn:

  • About the history of hypnosis in childbirth, why and how it works.
  • The impact of stress and how to release it.
  • NLP strategies to support your emotional state, manage fears and change limiting beliefs.
  • Trance skills and hypnotic phenomena to support the birthing process including pain management.

We all know the metaphor that a dog isn’t just for Christmas, and all the hard work implied. My personal experience of NLP and hypnosis is the antecedent of this, i.e. a genuine gift for life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the skills at your fingertips to ensure a calm default mode for pregnancy, the birth and beyond? Imagine, how useful it will be to manage your emotional state for the new “job” in hand, including but not limited to:

  • A relaxed state to support breastfeeding.
  • A hypno-voice to support bedtime stories.
  • Mindful mealtimes.
  • Self-hypnosis for re-energising yourself during the day (20 mins trance = 3-4 hours sleep).
  • Self-hypnosis for waking easily to feed during the night and resettling soon after.

Medical disclaimer: The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical/obstetric advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified healthcare advisors with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have seen on a website.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W1K & Bournemouth BH12
Written by J Tanya Bunting, Dip&Post Grad Hyp, NLP Trainer & Licensed Coach, PGCE, NPQH
London W1K & Bournemouth BH12

Tanya is a clinical hypnotherapist, NLP trainer and student liaison lead for the International College of Clinical Hypnotherapy. She works flexibly as a therapist, coach, teacher/trainer with clients of all ages. As ‘The Birthing Coach’, Tanya offers group or private courses designed especially for you to include a bespoke download.

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