A frequently asked question: Isn’t hypnobirthing only useful if I’m wanting a ‘natural’ birth?
My answer to that is no, it’s so useful for all birth but sadly it’s often just associated with natural or, as I prefer to call them, vaginal births – I don’t tend to use the word natural for many reasons and babies have only ever been born one of 2 ways; vaginally or abdominally.
Purest Hypnobirthing probably does lean more towards ideas of natural birth but as a teacher and here at Real Birth Project, the belief is that the essential elements in Hypnobirthing should be a part of every birthing persons toolkit, we just want them without a sense of judgement or polarisation. Hypnobirthing techniques are calming breath, visualisation to allow the mind to feel safe (and therefore the body), affirmations so we build our inner voice of confidence, resilience and cheerleading and relaxations / language suggestions to help us reduce stress.
An important aspect alongside the hypnosis tools is the information, so you feel informed (information is a great reducer of fear, as we tend to fear the unknown more than something we understand) and gain a foundation about your birth choices and rights. To feel empowered and at the centre of your experience, you need to know and understand your rights, options and choices and feel confident to be able to communicate them or your birth partner advocate them for you.
All of these elements are essential for wellbeing and you can use them outside of birth too but in birth can form a vital part of a smoother physical and emotional experience for several reasons.
If you are having a physiological birth
If you having a birth where you are feeling surges (hypnobirthing uses this word rather than contractions because of the way the word contraction can make us feel and because it feels more descriptive to the experience) then those movements of the uterus require oxytocin to flow. Oxytocin is needed to make these movements affective, which open the cervix and dilation to happen.
If we are becoming stressed, in fight or flight mode, then we produce stress hormones which block the flow of oxytocin. Having our stress response triggered also affects us physically, tensing muscles and changing our breathing and heart-rate, all these impact the physical experience.
If you are having an induction
During an induction you need the body to feel as ready to birth as possible, getting into your rest and digest nervous system response helps the oxytocin to flow but also relaxes the mind. These practices help you get into the rest and digest state but also give you the important information you need to understand the birth environment and how to best support yourself for the best outcome possible. Remember induction is looking to start a process that we don’t have conscious control over, so the more we know and have tools to get into the best place possible to allow the process to unfold and help it where we can, the greater sense of wellbeing we can have for ourselves as we experience it and for the baby being born.
Surely there’s no point in using Hypnobirthing in a caesarean though?
Yes there really is. Birth is a transition point from pregnancy to the next stage, whatever the process of birth we need to be able to be part of that and help that transition happen as physically and emotionally smoothly as possible.
If you are having an abdominal / caesarean birth you are still ABSOLUTELY birthing your baby and transitioning. You still want oxytocin flowing and your mind to feel calm, so you can process and stay connected, bonding with your baby as oxytocin is a bonding hormone and using Hypnobirthing techniques you can get into your parasympathetic nervous system response (rest and digest) supporting it’s flow. Having tools like breathing, visualisation and relaxations can support your experience before, during and after the birth as well as your wellbeing is key in creating a positive experience for yourself, as well as your baby and birth partner.
So you can see that having a toolkit is vital for all births, in helping support you staying grounded, making decisions that are informed and helping you after birth too.
If you’d like to join a course check out our groups or online courses here at The Real Birth Project, where we look to support all births in feeling calmer, safer and more nourishing for all involved.
What are you thoughts on Hypnobirthing? Did you think it was just about one style? Did you use techniques in your birth and how did they help you? Would love to hear on the comments below…
Want to see more? Check out our Youtube video below…