Many women dismiss HypnoBirthing if they plan on getting an epidural or because they aren’t interested in alternative therapies, but that often comes down to a misunderstanding of what this method exactly is. At its core HypnoBirthing is a practice meant to help pregnant women deal with the fears and anxieties around birth using various relaxation techniques – it isn’t like the typical hypnosis you see in the movies where you’re passively closing your eyes and counting down till 10. Most women who devote some time to learning the techniques say that, at the very least, it helped them feel more comfortable going into birth (even if the tools flew out the window once the action began); at best women say HypnoBirthing helped them mitigate the pain of labor.
“HypnoBirthing is a philosophy and approach to birth that offers practical tools which allow women to work with their bodies rather than against them,” says Anthonissa Moger, founder of the Hypnobirthing Midwife. “It includes deep relaxation, breath-work, teamwork and techniques to create a positive mindset.”
Moger suggests that women start between 28-32 weeks of pregnancy to give plenty of time to engage with the philosophy and practice the techniques. “If you start too early you can lose momentum and more practice definitely helps women to slow down and relax deeply through their third trimester,” says Moger. “I suggest that women do one small action every day, but this can be as little as five minutes of breathing, using their affirmations through the day, listening to a ten-minute HypnoBirthing track before bed, reading a short chapter from a HypnoBirthing book or receiving a short massage from their partner. It’s a small-time commitment that adds up over time and I think pregnant women and their babies deserve this time and attention.”
If you’re reading this as you try to nest, about to pop, feeling nothing but anxiety, don’t fret. It’s never too late to start a HypnoBirthing practice. “I’ve taught women as late as 38 weeks of pregnancy and they have experienced great benefits from just two weeks of intense practice,” says Moger. “Learning to deeply relax and breath for birth is incredibly powerful and it’s never too late to start.”
If you don’t have access to a HypnoBirthing class or professional checkout Moger’s Youtube channel, which is packed with useful techniques and information. You can learn breathing and massage techniques from her videos and she has a free HypnoBirthing track here. Ideally you’ll also want to get your partner involved, so they can provide as much support as possible when it’s go time.