Fear…fear of pain, fear of failure, fear of change. Fear can be so powerful. When you’re pregnant, you know you have to give birth to your baby. It’s still months & months away & oftentimes, you try not to think about how you’ll manage the pain of labor. Or maybe you are thinking about it & it scares you out so much that you dread the idea of having to give birth to your baby so you decide to get the drugs so you can get it over with. But, what if birth could be an empowering, joyful, comfortable experience where you were in control of your body & the situation?
When we’re fearful or stressed, our bodies react in an unhealthy way. Whether it’s an actual fear-producing incident
(you’re getting robbed) or a perceived fear-producing incident (you’re thinking about the big presentation you have to
do at work in a few weeks), your body reacts the same way—by sending out fight or flight hormones to protect you &
keep you safe. Blood & oxygen flow to your heart & your lungs (your defense system) to keep you alive, blood & oxygen
flow to your arms & legs so you can run away from the threat, & your body sends out a big rush of adrenaline to give you the energy to run or fight off the threat.
Just thinking about something stressful or scary can cause the same reactions to happen. Take the example of the big presentation—just thinking about the event often causes your heart rate to quicken, your stomach might get butterflies
& your mouth might get dry. When the fight or flight hormones are released in our bodies, the rest of our bodily functions are impaired because they aren’t getting the adequate amount of blood & oxygen they need to perform effectively.
In the case of birth & being scared of the pain of labor, during labor, if you’re fearful & tense, your body will send blood & oxygen away from the uterine muscles causing them to constrict, tighten & become painful. When the uterine muscles constrict, the cervix will tighten up to keep the baby safe. Meanwhile, the baby is still ready to be born, so the baby
will push its little head down on a tightly closed cervix & constricted muscles creating pain & causing labor to be prolonged. Oxygen to the baby is limited since blood & oxygen is getting sent to the defense system (heart, lungs, arms & legs), so the baby becomes distressed because it is oxygen-deprived. That’s when medical interventions are required to save the baby. Fear causes tension of the body which then causes pain and a prolonged labor. On the other hand, when you’re not scared & are able to relax, endorphins (relaxing “feel good” hormones) are released & your uterine muscles
work effectively & efficiently to help birth your baby in a more comfortable manner.
So, why would you want to be hypnotized during your labor? Hypnosis is a form of deep relaxation where your mind is utilizing 100% of its consciousness. It is powerful! All hypnosis is self-hypnosis so if you don’t want to be hypnotized, you cannot be made to do so. When you are in a hypnotic state, you are always in control of yourself & aware of what is going on. You can accept the suggestions being given to you or reject them. If you accept them, those suggestions become firmly imprinted in your subconscious mind & start becoming reality in your body the more you think about them, so hypnosis is much more effective than just willpower alone or positive affirmations which can take weeks & weeks of practice. Hypnosis helps to release the fear by teaching you to do self-hypnosis so you can get your body more in balance & more relaxed. Then it releases endorphins (those feel-good, relaxing hormones) rather than fight or flight hormones. Hypnosis can help you regain trust in your body & its ability to do what it needs to do & what it is capable of doing by getting rid of the fears you have. Hypnosis doesn’t erase the fears or your thoughts. It helps give you a new way
of thinking & living based on reality & positive, rational thoughts versus fearbased, negative, doubting thoughts. When your body & your mind are in alignment with the goals you want to achieve—birthing your baby comfortably & naturally without medication—AND your body is relaxed, the outcome you want will be achieved more easily & quickly.
HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method, is one of the oldest childbirth education classes that incorporates hypnosis. It is over 20 years old. HypnoBirthing is a 5 class course consisting of 2 ½ hours each class. The classes give couples
knowledge so that they have true informed consent & know what their options are wherever they are birthing their baby. They learn the physiological causes of pain in birth, the biological process of birth and how the body & the baby work together, how to write a birth preferences plan, but mostly how to get into a deep state of relaxation so that they body can do what it is naturally capable of doing. Each class allows the couples to see videos of couples birthing their babies in a calm, comfortable manner and ends with a hypnosis session to practice the benefits of being in deep relaxation. The couples also benefit from fear release hypnosis sessions which help to get rid of any fears about their birth & the adjustments that they’ll have to make in their lifestyle after the baby arrives. This allows them to go into their birth confident & calm.
To learn more about HypnoBirthing classes in your area, please visit www.HypnoBirthing.com to find a Practitioner
near you. There are HypnoBirthing practitioners worldwide. Article by: Carol Yeh-Garner, LCSW, HBCE, CHF