Why should you do hypnobirthing?

Feb 19, 2024
Sophie Fletcher Hypnotherapy
Why should you do hypnobirthing?

I had a pretty difficult first birth, it was quite traumatic. When I was pregnant with my second child, I was desperate for it to be different. I would have tried anything and hypnobirthing came onto my radar, and I thought, I've got nothing to lose. And that's the thing. There isn’t really a downside. Hypnobirthing is non-invasive. You can use it if you're on medication. It's a gentle therapy and it creates this space within you to prepare for your birth and to take control of your choices. It also feels amazing.

What surprised me most about my hypnosis tracks when I started listening to them. Was just how rested I was, and not just in my mind, but also in my body. It helped me sleep well throughout my pregnancy. I was out like a light when I put my tracks on at night. If the only thing you get from hypnobirthing is a great night's sleep, then it is worth it for that alone.

Hypnobirthing is becoming increasingly popular across the world. It's grown through word of mouth as women who have benefited from hypnobirthing are the biggest advocates for it.

The scientific evidence around the effectiveness of hypnobirthing has been a little slow to catch up with its popularity.  If you'd asked me what the evidence was 10 years ago, I would have struggled to say. But the evidence base is growing, a randomised control trial published in 2022 for example, showed that rates of birth intervention were significantly lower and labours were shorter, for women who used hypnobirthing compared with a control group.

After using hypnobirthing to prepare for the birth of my second child, I felt so energised after the birth.  I remember walking down the corridor at the hospital with my little toddler running towards me. This was only a few hours after I’d given birth, and I was able to lift them up off the ground and hug them. It felt amazing having the energy to do that and also the energy to advocate for my baby. And that's why I feel so strongly about providing women with the mindset tools to support them to birth calmly and confidently. I felt powerful and I felt able, and I felt capable. And who doesn't want that?

With hypnobirthing, people often talk about pain free birth, but it was that agency, the sense of being in control of my experience, which was most important to me. But hypnobirthing is also really effective for reducing pain.

There are so many women who say that hypnobirthing helped them create a birthing zone where they were able to turn down any feelings of pain. Other women say they were able to convert those feelings into this powerful energy that was just incredible. Hypnobirthing tools can help us change how we relate to, and how we experience pain during birth. It can be so profound that some people will say I wouldn't consider that painful. They say that it feels energetic and that is where the experience of pain free birth comes in.

There is also the model of fear, tension and pain that you will learn about in any hypnobirthing programme. Essentially if you're frightened and anxious, your body tenses up, which can slow labour down and make it more painful. But if you're relaxed and confident, it helps your contractions. It releases your body's natural pain killers and makes things a lot easier.

The other thing about hypnobirthing courses is that you learn about what your amazing body can do during birth. So many people are surprised about this. It's like, ‘My body does what?’, ‘Why didn’t anybody tell me about this?’ Once you learn about what your body is doing and how it's functioning during labour, fear and anxiety can just melt away, and you're just like, ‘Yeah, I can do this’.

That knowledge about our own bodies is something that we carry forward after birth. It unlocks another level in your brain. You start to understand how you relate to the world around you and how unconscious triggers in your environment are triggering certain behaviours and feelings like anxiety and lack of confidence.

I've seen the techniques learned in hypnobirthing used in the workplace, in parenting, in all sorts of different ways. I've had people come on my hypnobirthing courses who then came in to train with me and then went on to train as hypnotherapists. And I think that speaks volumes for what it does for people.

The other great thing about hypnobirthing is that it gives your partner a role. And when people say to me, why should I do hypnobirthing, I think about the partner as well. They may not be birthing your baby, but they have an important role to play. They probably don't really know what to do and are probably a little fearful, particularly if it is their first time. The great thing about hypnobirthing is that it gives them a practical role to play, and it also teaches them about keeping the birthing environment safe and secure. It also gives them the techniques to manage their fears and anxieties about birth too. Helping them process those feelings will make them a better birth partner for you. And again, who doesn't want a great birth partner that they know is supporting and them in the way they want?

When I started doing hypnobirthing, courses were between £300-400 and you only had the option to go on and do a group course. Now there are a lot of options, and if you're not quite sure and you want to do it, and you don't want to spend a lot of money, you can do an online course. The Mindful Hypnobirthing online course is, for example, only £40.

Midwives and doctors are also more familiar with hypnobirthing and are much more supportive as the evidence for better outcomes for hypnobirths has grown. I now go into the NHS, and I train midwives, so they are prepared for those of you who've done hypnobirthing and they know what to expect. Gone are the days when midwives were openly expressing their scepticism.  When I had my baby. A midwife gave the monitor a bit of a kick at one point to check that it was working because I wasn't reacting to the contractions in the way they were seeing on the screen.

Returning to the question, ‘why should you do a hypnobirthing course?’ Firstly, it gives you agency, so you feel in control. It also gives your partner confidence that they can support you effectively. Hypnobirthing gives you some fantastic techniques to help reduce pain. There is also good evidence that it reduces the risk of interventions and the length of labour.

And depending on the course that you're doing, you will also get support from someone who knows how the system works.

If you have any questions about hypnobirthing register for my free hypnobirthing session on 27 February, 7pm (UTC) or listen to Hypnobirthing: Twenty questions wherever you get your podcasts.

If you are interested in the audio tracks check them out here

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