There are many different views on what hypnobirthing is about so I hope that this may help to shed some light on the real reason hypnobirthing has helped thousands of couples across the world achieve a positive birth experience.
Let’s start with what it is not. It is not meditation, it is not just for ‘hippies’, it is not just for couples wanting a natural birth or a home birth. It is not alternative and it is not spiritual.
What is it? It is common sense. It is emotional control. It is choice. It is about choosing to go into labour feeling relaxed, happy and comfortable about what you are feeling and doing. It is about keeping stress and panic at bay, focusing only on that one moment in time, that contraction and knowing that you are doing everything that you can to stay emotionally calm.
Here’s the science bit: Inside your body you have the most amazing internal pharmacy. A supply of hormones that each interact and perform depending on how you are feeling. When you are relaxed and breathing deeply you tap into a hormone called Endorphins and Oxytocin. Endorphins are a fabulous hormone that not only makes us feel good and gives us energy but in the right proportion is 200 times stronger than morphine! Yes really! So with endorphins in your body you can feel much more able to cope with the discomfort of labour. Add to that our next amazing hormone Oxytocin! Oxytocin is the birth hormone, we need this in abundance to have a smooth, efficient labour. We release Oxytocin when we feel happy, loved, in control and free from panic or anxiety. The combination of relaxation and deep breathing releases these two hormones in abundance putting you very much in control of not only what you are feeling but what you are thinking…..relaxed, happy and comfortable. The great news is that if you are releasing these good hormones you cannot release the bad ‘stress’ hormones that cause labour to slow down, increase pain and cause our thought’s to spiral out of control.
On the other hand if you go into labour terrified and panicked, the stress hormones soar and your body cannot release vital good hormones that your body needs to birth.
So by practicing relaxation and breathing you are putting yourself in the best possible place to feel in control during labour and birth. This doesn’t mean that you will not encounter bumps on the road or surprise curveballs, there is always a risk of that. However what this means is that if a decision needs to be made or intervention is necessary you will be more able to calmly communicate with your medical support and be involved in any action. There is a big difference between a positive birth and a perfect one, I know which one I would rather have.