Labour and Childbirth
Why use hypnotherapy for labour and childbirth?
The use of hypnosis for pain management was pioneered well over 150 years ago by James Esdaile, who carried out thousands of surgical procedures such as tumour removals and limb amputations using only a hypnotic trance state in place of chemical anaesthetic. Not only did his patients feel no pain during and after the operations, but they also tended to recover faster and with markedly less anxiety.
Building on this and the move away from over-medicalised childbirth, the work of Dick-Read and Lamaze in the early 1940s and, more recently, Mongan, has led to growing interest and some very positive research findings regarding hypnotherapy for childbirth.
Hypnosis can greatly enhance the childbirth and labour experience in a number of ways. In addition to promoting the release of feel-good endorphins, relaxing the muscles and reducing the fear-tension-pain cycle common to many women in labour, the use of hypnotic trance
increases receptivity to positive suggestions of comfort, control and a deeper bond with both the baby and the birth partner.
Women who have experienced a hypnotherapy-assisted birth report that the elimination of fear and tension, together with visualisations and ego-strengthening, result in:
Shorter labour duration
Significant reduction, and even elimination, of pain
Increased sense of calm and empowerment
Greater satisfaction with the birth experience and their partner’s involvement
Studies have also suggested that hypnotherapy for childbirth can also reduce the likelihood of both surgical intervention in the birth and post-partum depression.
What is the Hypnotherapy for Labour and Childbirth programme?
A programme of 6 sessions, usually on a weekly basis, that teaches the skills of self-hypnosis, pain management, anxiety reduction and visualisation for a beautiful birth experience.
Sessions are naturally individually-tailored to each client, but follow the overall structure below:
Session 1 – Introduction to hypno-anaesthesia
Session 2 – Hypno-epidural and self-hypnosis tuition
Session 3 – Visualisation and imagery for a comfortable birth
Session 4 – Hypnosis tuition for the birth partner to strengthen the bond and increase their involvement in comfortable childbirth *
Session 5 – Building on the birth partner’s hypnosis skills and enhancing post-natal healing *
*(Sessions 4 and 5 are conducted with the birth partner and pregnant mum together)
Session 6 – This session can be taken at any time before or after the birth and can be used to help with:
Managing morning sickness
Healthy eating during pregnancy
Anxiety before or after the birth
Bonding with your unborn baby
Most women begin the programme towards the end of the second trimester, although it can also be started much earlier in the pregnancy, for example the hypno-anaesthesia techniques can help with anxiety/discomfort issues around blood tests. The following are the last advisable dates to begin:
First pregnancy: Week 26
Twins and triplets: Week 24
2nd and subsequent pregnancies: around Week 27
This model gives plenty of time for the practice and assimilation of the techniques. The hypnosis portion of the sessions is recorded for use at home to help with this as regular practice is vital.
Please note that, to ensure holistic care and support, it is strongly advised that you inform your doctor that you are using hypnotherapy to enhance your birthing experience.