By Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI
Please note: This article was written by the founder of Hypnobabies, a well recognized expert in hypnosis for childbirth. The information is based on Kerry’s research and experience working with clients in her program, and is intended to provide guidance for those interested in trying a hypnosis program. The content may not apply to your own unique birth experience.
Mention “Labor and Delivery” to an expectant mom in her last trimester, and chances are good that her heart will begin to race, her mind will flood with concern and in some cases, she will even panic. She knows that the day is coming when a force much bigger than herself will take over, and her body will govern itself completely.
For many women childbirth is a very fearful event, but the women who use Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis can often eliminate fear and discomfort from the birthing experience, and enjoy their baby’s birth in comfort, joy and love.
In the past, the word “hypnosis” conjured up images of stage hypnotists re-creating Elvis, or people clucking like chickens. Now it is common for hypnosis to be used therapeutically in the practice of medicine, in creating anesthesia for surgeries and dental work, and for personal therapy sessions. Even so, there are many myths and misconceptions regarding hypnosis that can dissuade those contemplating using this powerful tool for change.
A few FACTS about Hypnosis:
- All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, a hypnotherapist is only a guide. A person chooses to enter into a hypnotic state, elects to stay in hypnosis, and decides to come out of the hypnotic state at will.
- Approximately 90-95% of the population can be hypnotized. Willingness, belief and motivation, and the removal of misconceptions have great influence over a person’s ability to enter the state of hypnosis.
- During hypnosis you are not asleep or unconscious, and you will always “emerge” when you wish.
- Strong minded people more easily enter into hypnosis, the opposite of what is assumed.
- You cannot be made to divulge information or do anything against your will while in hypnosis.
- Hypnosis is a pleasant way to relax and direct your inner mind to positive aspects of circumstances.
What about Childbirth Hypnosis Classes?
When learning how to use hypnosis for childbirth, you are taught how the vertical and horizontal uterine muscles work efficiently together when the body is deeply relaxed. The depth of relaxation needed to facilitate an easier, more comfortable birthing can easily be achieved with hypnosis. Women learn these skills in classes, and practice them at home every day until the baby arrives.
Birth Partners also have a integral role in the preparation process: listening to their own script on CD, reading the handouts and guiding the mother into deep relaxation with hypnosis scripts. Birth Partners are an invaluable part of the birth process since they help the mother to focus and concentrate on their birth hypnosis tools, as well offering emotional and physical support.
For a birth hypnosis program to be completely effective, other aspects of preparation for childbirth need to be covered in classes as well, topics such as: Nutrition, Exercise, Staying Low Risk, Fear Clearing Sessions, Routine Medical Procedures and the Risks and Benefits of Each, Birth Plans and a Hands-On, Birth Rehearsal Practice Session.
Fear, Expectation and Language Impact Childbirth Outcomes
In other cultures, childbirth is regarded as a natural, normal event in a woman’s life. The birthing woman is supported by other women, and young girls are often present to witness the event. In this way, birth is celebrated and honored. These young girls then grow up with the belief system that birth is a positive event and their expectations of childbirth reflect their attitude.
In Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis classes, the expectant woman is taught to surround herself with only encouraging people and messages, to create a positive new view of childbirth and the expectation that her birthing will be a beautiful, peaceful experience. Fear clearing sessions are integral to this process, as they allow the mother to address fears, work through possible solutions and then release them.
Fear during birth can create tension, which creates pain, then more fear, and the cycle continues. Freedom from fear can make a significant difference in the birthing experience.
By learning and practicing Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis, hypno-mothers are able to enter into self-hypnosis instantly, and create their own natural anesthesia and direct it to wherever they need it. She has total control over her body, and is an active participant in her birth process. She is aware of everything around her, and as birth progresses, she naturally goes deeper inside herself, trusting in her body’s innate ability to give birth with ease and comfort. The hypno-mom programs her own mind to give herself exactly what she needs.
How Effective is Hypnosis for Childbirth?
Statistics vary for each method of childbirth hypnosis training, depending on the length and number of classes/sessions and the skill and experience of the hypno-teacher, as well as the dedication of each birthing couple to the program. Ideally, childbirth hypnosis instructors will have backgrounds in both hypnotherapy and preparation for childbirth education, and will be able to address each woman’s personal needs.
The following are statistics for the “Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis” method only. Hypnobabies is a 6 week course/3 hours each week, for 18 hours of instruction).
Statistics for Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Mothers:
1) Completely comfortable, entire birthings ~ 70-75%. Women who report that they felt nothing but pressure.
2) Completely comfortable until late first stage/transition ~ 10-15%. Women reported they felt pressure only, until the 10-60 minute transitional period, with mild to intense degrees of discomfort thereafter. (Most of these women described any discomfort as “very manageable”.)
3) Completely comfortable until “active” labor ~ 10%, with mild to intense degrees of sensation thereafter. This mentioned a number of things that impacted their birth experiences; labor complications, emotional issues, or lack of support. Hypnosis for childbirth won’t help a couple that has not done the practicing involved in preparing for their baby’s birth.
Just a note: All of the women cited related to us that using the Hypnobabies method of childbirth hypnosis, especially “Deepening Relaxation” and “Fear Clearing” were invaluable to them during their births.
Some Possible Benefits of Using Hypnosis for Childbirth During Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum:
- Nausea can be eliminated
- Moms sleep better even in late pregnancy
- Breech and posterior babies can be encouraged to turn
- ‘Late’ babies can be encouraged to be born
- No drugs at all, or very little medication means less risk of side effects on mother and baby
- Shorter labors (a more relaxed mom means her body can do what it already knows how to do)
- An awake, energized mother, due to total relaxation throughout the entire birthing process
- A calm, peaceful birthing environment
- Fewer interventions and complications during labor
- More alert babies who breastfeed and bond better initially due to no drugs in their systems
- Mother’s milk production can be enhanced
- A comfortable postpartum recovery period because hypnosis tools help with any discomforts
- The skills you both learn for relaxation and hypnosis are useful for the rest of your life.
She teaches Hypnobabies Instructor Training Courses, Hypno-Doula Workshops, Pregnancy Nutrition and Breastfeeding workshops, Birth Hypnosis Specialty Courses and gives seminars in her community on natural pregnancy and childbirth options.
Kerry also created the Hypnobabies Home Study Course for women who need self-study options for hypnotic childbirth, and is the author of The Introduction to Childbirth Hypnosis Workbook for Professionals, and The Hypno-Doula Training Workbook.
The foremost expert in Hypnosis for Childbirth, she is also an international conference speaker and lecturer.
Kerry can be reached at: (877) 97-HYPNO or (714) 894-BABY (2229).
Image at Top: Rabble