Hypnosis is a state of deep mental and physical relaxation. It enables the hypnotized person to focus deeply on a thought or feeling, blocking outside distractions. Supporters say, the mind is more open to suggestions and this changes our beliefs and behaviour in this state. The aim of hypnosis during childbirth is to replace fear and expectations of pain with confident expectations of a safe.
Getting hypnotized doesn’t means a scary man swinging his pocket watch in front of your eyes and telling you that you are getting sleepy. In the most popular hypnosis for childbirth programs, women learn to hypnotize themselves, using techniques such as deep breathing, affirmations or hypnosis scripts and visualization. For example, a woman using this technique may concentrate on the sound of her deep breathing. This deep breathing will further take her into a hypnotic state.
Hypnotherapists also stress that you cannot be made to do something that is against your will or ethics.
Does Hypnosis work for natural birth?
Hypnosis supporters give several explanations of how the process works. One theory says that when a woman feels fear during childbirth, her body releases stress hormones that trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response. This results in tightening of the muscles and interferes with the birthing process. By training the subconscious mind to expect a safe, gentle birth, they say, women can avoid going into the fight-or-flight state, allowing for a smoother birth.
Supporters also say women can respond to hypnotic suggestions so well that they release “feel-good” hormones, such as endorphins and serotonin, while giving birth. This, they say, relaxes the mother’s muscles and nervous system to the point that she feels less pain – or even no pain at all.
Hypnosis might ease labour by helping women avoid the fight-or-flight state, has not been verified. However, it does make sense as when the body relaxes it can further lower maternal levels of circulating catecholamines (stress hormones), and lower levels of catecholamines can ease uterine contractions.
Does hypnosis make natural birth less painful?
Unlike a pill or procedure, therapies such as hypnosis are difficult to evaluate scientifically. But several studies have also found out that women who used hypnosis needed less pain relief medication and rated their pain as less severe. Though hypnosis supporters do not promise a pain-free birth, but many of the women only feel discomfort or a sensation of pressure well into labour, or all the way through delivery.
There are thousands of birth stories from women who had completely pain-free births. But it also depends on whether they have learned, practiced, and used the techniques as directed.
Advantages of using hypnosis for labour
Although better research is required, some studies have shown that mothers using hypnosis in childbirth use less pain medication and rate their pain as less severe. It is seen in some cases that some mothers who have used hypnosis report felt little or even no pain. Although there is no substantial research done on hypnosis, unlike medication, hypnosis has no side effects or risks. Hypnosis can be a good option for moms who are looking out for pain relief options other than medication.
Disadvantages of using hypnosis for labour
Learning self-hypnosis takes time and money. Because many women who study self-hypnosis for childbirth hope to avoid pain medications or medical interventions, but it is possible that you will feel disappointed if you wind up asking for an epidural or needing interventions.
Who can’t use hypnosis during labour?
If you can afford the time and money to learn it, virtually anyone can use self-hypnosis, say supporters. The only real requirement is the readiness to hear the suggestions and believe them.
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