What is Hypnobirthing? Is it the same as Meditation, Mindfulness or Yoga?

If you are looking at Hypnobirthing and coming across terms like ‘breathing’ and ‘relaxation’ you might be wondering well how is Hypnobirthing different to mindfulness or pregnancy yoga that you may already be practicing?

To be honest when I came to my first birth in 2010 I thought the same when Hypnobirthing was mentioned to me. I was taking regular yoga classes, practicing mindfulness and when my amazing friend and fellow actress Kate (now founder of Positively Hypnobirthing in Australia) spoke to me about her birth preparation being Hypnobirthing, it sounded very much like what I was doing already to positively prepare for me birth; relaxation, yoga and birth choices with NCT. It was during and after my birth I realised there was a difference and looked into what that difference was.

Hypnosis feels similar to meditation & mindfulness but is active in it’s approach

The truth is when we go into Hypnosis we are entering the alpha state in the mind, a state linked to higher creativity and ‘right brain’ activity. In this state we tend to feel calmer and more in tune with our sense of imagination and intutition. The Alpha state is something we all experience even without meditation or hypnosis, though these tools actively allow us to access that state. When we are actively awake we tend to be a ‘beta state’ but will dip in and out of the alpha state throughout the day, like when we are daydreaming or focussing our attention on something.

The difference with Hypnosis to meditation is that we are not looking to just quiet the mind or with mindfulness, notice what is there but actively see what is within it, what we want to release and what resources we would like to build. During hypnobirthing sessions, most of the relaxation techniques will use types of mindfulness technqiues to support you getting into the alpha state. Once in that state tools like language and visualisation are used to guide you through your thoughts and explore your feelings around birth, offering you the opportunity to release any you no longer wish to hold.

In this sense Hypnotherapy techniques used in Hypnobirthing are much more ‘active’ in exploring your feelings around birth but any techniques that take you into the alpa state can help you to reduce your anxiety and stress levels in the short term.

These tools and techniques can be used together

The great thing is that Hypnobirthing can be used alongside all these practices, there isn’t one practice that is better than the other. They are all tools and you can mix and match to suit your needs. Yoga is a wonderful tool to gently connect with your changing body through pregnancy and give you techniques to feel subtle movements and feel physically ready for birth. Mindfulness is a technique you can use throughout the day, weaving it into the fabric of your everyday life to just notice how you’re feeling and feel more present and connected. Meditation is a wonderful way of finding your inner stillness and tuning into a space of self exploration.

Whatever tools you use, using them with self-compassion and care is the key. There is no ‘answer’ to giving birth, whatever you use you will still need to adapt these tools and techniques to your situation and individual needs so they can support you through the physical and emotional journey.

Tranquil Birth courses are designed to give you these as a toolkit, so you can decide how Hypnobirthing tools may best support you and your partner in a realistic way. If you’d like to explore how working together may be useful to you please get in touch.

Tranquil Birth courses are taught by Sakina Ballard, a KGH trained Hypnobirthing teacher, Positive Birth Movement Facilitator and local mum of two boys. Sessions run in Crystal Palace, South London and Addiscombe, Croydon.

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