In recent years, hypnobirthing has gained popularity as an approach to childbirth that emphasises relaxation, self-hypnosis, and natural birthing techniques. But is hypnobirthing worth it? In this podcast, I talked with midwife Hannah Willsmore as we’ll delve into the world of hypnobirthing, explore its benefits, discuss any potential drawbacks, and determine whether it actually works.
What is Hypnobirthing?
Before delving into the worthiness of hypnobirthing, let’s understand what it is. Hypnobirthing is an approach to childbirth education that incorporates hypnosis techniques to promote a calm and positive birth experience. While the term “Hypnobirthing” might sound mysterious, it’s essentially about harnessing the power of your mind and body to reduce pain, anxiety, and stress during labour and delivery.
Hannah, a registered midwife, lactation consultant, and childbirth educator, sheds light on this method. She emphasises that Hypnobirthing courses can vary, but they often encompass not only hypnosis but also other childbirth education elements such as active birthing techniques, breathing, movement, advocacy, and understanding birth options.
What are the Disadvantages of Hypnobirthing?
When considering whether hypnobirthing is worth it, it’s essential to address any potential disadvantages. However, as Hannah points out, there aren’t significant drawbacks to hypnobirthing itself. The approach is generally suitable for most women. However, the suitability of a specific hypnobirthing course may depend on an individual’s birth plan and preferences.
Hannah suggests that some hypnobirthing courses may be more geared toward those aiming for low-intervention births. For women planning elective caesareans or different birth scenarios, one-on-one hypnobirthing classes with a focus on adapting techniques to their specific situation might be more beneficial.
Does Hypnobirthing Actually Work?
The effectiveness of hypnobirthing is a critical question. Hannah mentions that researching hypnobirthing can be challenging due to the diversity of programmes. However, she references a Cochrane review that suggests potential benefits, including a decrease in the need for pain relief and higher satisfaction with labour intensity among participants.
Additionally, recent studies have compared independent childbirth education courses, including hypnobirthing techniques, to standard hospital courses. These studies have shown positive outcomes, such as reduced epidurals and emergency caesareans, for those who incorporated hypnobirthing techniques into their birth preparation.
Practical Strategies for Those without Hypnobirthing Training
If you’re approaching labour without the opportunity to take a hypnobirthing course, you can still benefit from some practical strategies. Here are three tips that can help you prepare for birth:
- Open Communication: Have a discussion with your partner or birth support person about your birth preferences and options. Ensure you’re on the same page regarding your wishes and how you’d like to navigate different scenarios during labour.
- Address Fears: Identify any fears or concerns you may have about childbirth. Write them down and seek knowledge to understand them better. Discuss your fears with your care provider or a childbirth educator to gain insights and reduce anxiety.
- Trust Your Body: Remember that thousands of women give birth successfully every day. Trust in your body’s ability to handle childbirth. Understand that labour is a natural, physiological event, and your body knows what to do.
Hypnobirthing is a childbirth education approach that has shown promise in improving birth experiences. While it may not be the right fit for everyone, its potential benefits, such as reduced pain and interventions, make it worth exploring. Whether or not you choose hypnobirthing, being proactive in preparing for birth and addressing any fears can lead to a more confident and empowered birth experience.
** This podcast has general information only. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or medical condition.
Preparing for birth Pelvic health checklist
Hannah Willsmore’s website: https://www.hannahwillsmore.com/
Hannah Wilsmore’s Instagram: @hannahwillsmoremidwife