Are you anxiously awaiting your little bundle of joy? Nursery planned, name picking, and finding all the little baby needs like the perfect stroller are part of the process, but so is planning for childbirth. As your belly starts to grow, it can feel a little intimidating to think about the actual labor and delivery of your precious little one. But that’s where hypnobirthing techniques can come into play.
We are here to calm your nerves. Giving birth is an unbelievable moment in time that cannot be compared to anything else. And, while it is normal to feel a little uneasy about it, there are ways to move past those fears and have a calm, relaxed birthing experience.
Keep reading to find out what hypnobirthing is, how it can help you no matter your birth experience, and hypnobirthing techniques to bring into the delivery room.
Hypnobirth is a combination of two words—hypnosis and birth. Don’t worry, there won’t be a man standing next to you with a swinging watch.
Hypnosis is a calm and relaxed state that is highly responsive to suggestion. Whether you are planning on a vaginal delivery with or without medication, or plan to have a c-section, you can benefit from hypnobirthing.
Hypnobirthing teaches you how to release fear and trust your body to get into a relaxed, calm space to bring your sweet bundle of joy into the world in a tranquil environment.
The birth partner also plays a role in hypnobirthing, by helping the mother stay focused on the hypnobirthing techniques they have learned.
In hypnobirthing, you will be practicing many different techniques that help you learn to relax, focus on the positive, educate yourself on the birthing experience, and the releasing of fear.
Did you know that women who had less fear of the birthing process had less discomfort? The more you use hypnobirthing techniques to lower your anxiety and fear around birth, the less discomfort you may feel.
Hypnobirthing is not something you just jump into on the day of labor, however. It takes practice and consistency to educate and train your mind on how to use the techniques. An added bonus? You will likely get feel some pregnancy perks from learning these techniques by reducing any stress and tension in the moment.
So, how do you put hypnobirthing techniques into practice? There are six methods you can practice to ease into a more relaxed and calm birth. Remember, having a birthing partner there to help you stay focused on the techniques you have learned will help recenter you, when needed.
Introduce your partner to hypnobirthing techniques early on, so they are as comfortable as you are. Having a partner in the room with you who is more nervous than you are does not help anyone.
What do you know about birth? Have you been in a room with someone? Perhaps you have listened to your friend’s birth story or watched a show that documents births. Maybe you’ve even given birth yourself and you’re looking to be more prepared this time around.
The truth is, the birthing experience can be different for everyone. That may seem overwhelming, especially if you like everything planned out to the fine details.
How do you get past the fear of the unknown? Because fear can be the absence of information, research is your friend. The more information you have on how your body prepares for labor and the process of labor, the less you can create fearful stories in your head.
Talking to your birth team—midwife, doctor, or doula—reading books and listening to podcasts are a great place to start. Focus on what your body is capable of—not the unknown.
Now that you know what your body is capable of, you can now visualize your own body going through the processes of birth. When practicing hypnobirthing, imagine yourself in your birthing room—uterus contracting, cervix open, breathing, and holding your baby.
Maybe there is music playing or you have a birthing dress you have picked out, include these in your visualization. When you practice visualization, focus on the emotions of the event too. You can feel the love, joy, and pride you have of bringing a child into the world.
You can also use imagery to visualize. Imagine a flower opening, waves coming and going for every contraction. Whatever helps you relax and put your mind at ease.
Just like with world class athletes—birth is like running a marathon, after all—visualization takes practice. Spend time leading up to the birth practicing your visualization techniques, so you can easily go there in your mind when you need it the most.
“I am fearless and brave.”
“I will accept all sensations as they come.”
Hypnobirthing uses affirmations like these as a technique to maintain a positive view of the birthing experience. Affirmations also help to meet any negative thoughts or self talk with positive self talk—”I trust my body.”
You can make little cards to carry with you that have your affirmations, tape them to your bathroom mirror, hang them on the fridge, put them in your office. Having your affirmations readily available helps you replay them in your mind to prepare for birth.
Words have power. “I am ONLY five centimeters dilated” or “I am AREADY five centimeters dilated.” Can you hear the difference? One can feel negative—only five centimeters—can feel defeated. But, If you change your wording—already five centimeters—you can feel a sense of accomplishment.
Being aware of the words you use is a very important technique within hypnobirthing. Words help to remind you that the birth experience is a positive one. These may seem like simple little changes, but they can make a big change on the overall experience. They also help you stay in a calm and relaxed mindset.
Whether you decide to birth your baby at home, in a birthing center, or in a hospital, make sure everyone in the room understands.
If you create a birthing plan, make sure you are clear that you only want positive language used in the room. You get to set the tone of your birthing experience. Your birthing partner—or doula if you have one—can also help you set this positive environment.
A big component of hypnobirthing is meditation and mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness can seem like easy activities, but they actually take practice. We are usually always on the move, so to sit in stillness and be consciously aware of your thoughts isn’t always as easy as it sounds. The good news is, the more you practice, the easier it will be to get in that calming place through meditation and mindfulness. These practices can reduce fear during labor.
Meditation is a practice that brings more focus and awareness. There are many types of meditation—guided meditation, deep breathing, body scan, music meditation— and they all have amazing benefits.
Try different medications to see what feels the best for you. Practicing your meditation technique before birth will help you be comfortable in the practice when you use it on the big day or night.
Being mindful is paying attention to your surroundings, feelings, and experiences in the moment, but not giving any meaning to them. You can practice mindfulness by guided meditation, visualization, and breathing exercise.
If you plan to take a walk, notice the sounds of the leaves rustling, the way your feet hit the pavement, or the heat from the sun.
It may seem like the most obvious, simple technique, but in fact, breathing is one of the most important practices during labor. Breathing provides oxygen to you and your baby, gives you something to focus on, reduces stress, calms your heart rate, and protects against perineum tearing.
There are a few breathing hypnobirthing breathing techniques that you can practice in the weeks and months leading up to birth. It may seem silly to practice breathing, but it helps form muscle memory so it is second nature when you need it most. It can also help you relax and calm your nerves during pregnancy.
Visualize the breath going to the back of your neck, through your spine, and out through the birthing path.
If you are pregnant and looking for ways to manage your stress and tension during labor, hypnobirthing may be for you.
Hypnobirthing provides you with techniques that help you calm your nerves during pregnancy and birth. It also is an amazing method to practice if you are hoping to have an unmedicated birth, as fear can add to stress levels.
Hypnobirthing techniques—education, visualization, affirmations, positive language, mediation and mindfulness, and breathing—all work together help you create a calm and relaxed birthing experience.
Expectful provides holistic maternal resources to support you in your journey toward motherhood.
We understand that growing your family while having a healthy and happy pregnancy and baby is probably a top priority for you right now.
We created Expectful to help you harness the power of your mind to have a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby.
All of our meditation content is based on interviews with many soon-to-be and new parents just like you, and is created with the help of licensed psychologists, hypnotherapists, and meditation experts. You can practice in just 5 minutes a day.