Hypnotherapy helping childbirth

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How hypnosis helps childbirth

So how is all this achieved? A hypnotherapist will help you first with your fears. Remember the critical factor? If you have a negative view of childbirth then we need to work on that critical factor, challenge fears and negative beliefs and install positive ones. A woman’s body is designed for childbirth, it naturally opens up to allow a baby through, the brain naturally releases pain-relieving endorphins. But if you are too tense and trying to run away from the sensations then you can interfere with this process and end up feeling pain.

Many women fear feeling out of control during labour. But what do they really mean by this? Yes, the body is doing something strange that we are not in total control of but it is giving birth to a baby – a happy event. Firstly the cervix is opening and then the uterus is contracting hugely, it is a big muscle working hard. With a first baby, the woman has never felt these sensations before. But they are only sensations, just as tensing up an arm or a hand produces a sensation, a sensation of muscle contraction. If you can overcome the fear of something never before experienced then you are halfway there. The sensation of the uterus contracting to push out a baby is a powerful feeling, and you cannot stop it. You need to embrace the feeling, acknowledge it and accept it and then you will be able to achieve relaxation and allow your body to get on with what it needs to do. If you try to fight or run away, that’s when tension is produced and the fear-tension-pain cycle is started. So use therapy firstly to address the fear.

Fears don’t always come only from negative conditioning. They may come from real or imagined situations. A woman who has had a long, difficult or painful first labour or even a stillborn baby can be overcome with fear for a second labour. In this case, revisiting and processing that first experience will be immeasurably helpful and this re-processing can be done in a number of ways, with a hypnotherapist, by talking to a midwife about the previous experience, or even by talking with other women. Other women may be experiencing fear due to not wanting a baby or because of fears about how life will be after the baby is born. One teenage mother I knew was in so much fear that she was even disbelieving that she was really going to have a baby as she was taken to the delivery suite in active labour. She did not want a baby and her fearful mind tried to fight the body’s compulsion to birth her baby; it was not a positive experience for her. If this fear is addressed first via hypnotherapy and hypnosis then the experience can be entirely different.

What is hypnosis?

It is worth at this point to re-visit the state of hypnosis or trance. A trance can also be described as a state of focussed awareness. Remember the times when we have been “miles away,” engrossed to the point of not hearing when someone says our name? This is a trance and a labouring woman is so focussed on her labour and the sensations she is feeling, that she too is in a trance. And this is how hypnosis can help. If we accept that a woman in labour is in a trance then we can use this hypnotic trance to our benefit. The woman herself can use it for pain relief and achieving a relaxed physical state. And the midwife, birth partner and other care-givers can also use it to give positive suggestions.

While in a hypnotic trance state, the critical factor can be bypassed so a labouring woman will accept things that are said to her. One woman was labouring fabulously on arrival at hospital with a baby who was taking his time to turn the correct way to be born. The first midwife she saw simply said, “that baby’s not coming out, he’ll be coming out of the sunroof.” From that minute the woman became a passive patient and forgot she was supposed to be upright and open. She lay on her back on the bed and her caregivers also completely forgot what they should be doing and did not assist her into helpful positions. That one careless remark may have contributed to a labour that resulted in a Ceasarean section. The labouring woman accepted the remark that bypassed her critical factor (a factor that until that point expected her to birth her baby), as did her birth partners. A powerful suggestion indeed.

Caregivers, birth partners, midwives, doctors should be extremely careful what they say to a woman in labour. It should always be positive, always suggesting that all is well. The woman will believe what you say! Every remark should be carefully calculated to relax and induce calm and never anything to suggest fear or pain. Contractions are contractions or surges, not pain. Never ask or assume that a woman is in pain, don’t mention the word. She is probably just very highly focussed in her own world, miles away, in a trance. Don’t disturb that trance, she is using it for her own benefit.

Another hypnotic trance phenomenon that can be used is time distortion. A labouring woman does lose track of time and it usually goes by far quicker than normal time. This is also a feature of hypnotic trance and it can be manipulated and used for the woman’s benefit. Imagine that the time between contractions is long, very long and a contraction is over within seconds. How very useful! As I have said earlier, a labouring woman is in a hypnotic trance and she can learn to use it.

Harness the power of hypnosis for a fast and comfortable labour

Women who have used hypnotic techniques as part of their childbirth preparation will have learnt how to induce their own trance, how to turn off pain, they will have addressed their fears and will have learnt how to use time distortion. Their lack of fear and acceptance of powerful feelings in the body usually contribute to a very comfortable and positive birth experience, which in turn contributes to a positive post-natal phase and less instances of depression. Hypnotic trance is a completely natural state and one which labouring women go into naturally. Harnessing the power of that natural state via hypnotherapy for child birth can show how real benefits can be achieved: comfort, a faster labour, with fewer interventions and a relaxed and healthy mother and baby at the end.

About The Author

Helen McPherson is a clinical hypnotherapist, EFT and NLP practitioner working in Northampton and Daventry. She is also a member of the NHS Directory of Complementary & Alternative Practitioners.

Find out more about Helen’s work by visiting her GoToSee therapy page here.

Alternatively you can visit her website at www.northamptonhypnosis.co.uk

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