Childbirth hypnosis, also known as hypnobirthing, is a process of pain control used during the birth process which has a low risk profile because it doesn’t use drugs or external methods but rather the power of the mind to control pain in the body.
Centuries ago Asian doctors learned and took advantage of the potential of the mind to control pain and heal the body. Today hypnosis continues to play a role in holistic and alternative medicine practice for the control of pain during procedures or for long term control after accidents. Patients often learn to do self-hypnosis prior to painful medical procedures such as dressing changes and more natural procedures such as childbirth.
The process of childbirth hypnosis begins during prenatal classes when women are offered a variety of ways to control the pain of birth. Women can use more western medications, nerve blocks or epidurals, can choose from other more natural methods such as controlled breathing (Lamaze and Bradley), hydrobirths and position changes from the typical lithotomy position a woman finds herself in at the hospital.
If a woman chooses childbirth hypnosis as a way to control her pain this doesn’t necessarily negate the use of other methods such as position changes and medication if the pain becomes unbearable.
The use of self-hypnosis to control the pain will help the woman to gain more control over the birth experience and chose to receive medication if she chooses and not because she is out of control.
There are several ways of learning hypnobirthing techniques from the classroom to tapes to using classes over the Internet for moms who may be confined to the house because of medical reasons. The techniques don’t involve the old parlor tricks that were played when a hypnotist made someone act like Elvis or a Little Teapot.
Rather these techniques help women to take control of her mind and her thoughts that then help her also to control the pain in her body and her perception of that pain. The basis of controlled breathing is much the same – to take the panic out of the pain and breathe through it, helping to control the perception of the pain.
But with childbirth hypnosis the control goes deeper and further. The woman always remains in control and can break her ‘trance’ herself at any time but it allows her to retreat into her mind to a place that is more peaceful and without pain. This enables her mind to become occupied with a place of peace while her body is busy with the task of delivering this new baby.
Women who are interested in developing this particular process for pain control can look to local childbirth classes for information, local midwives who may be familiar with practitioners in the area or if there are no resources available locally the Internet may offer classes online that answer the needs of women in remote locations.