What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a natural state, which we all experience many times a day. It is a time when your conscious, (analytical, rational mind) takes a step back and your subconscious (feelings, memories, emotions) comes more to the forefront. For example when you are day dreaming, reading a book and realising you have read the same thing over and over again, driving on a long journey and not remembering anything about the journey etc.
With intended Hypnosis, you purposefully take yourself into a daydream like state using music, soothing images and guided visualisation. Once the critical and analytical part of your mind also relaxes, you become more receptive to positive suggestions and affirmations. As the mind does not know the difference between imagination and reality, the more times you give yourself positive suggestions, the more real they become.
What is Natal Hypnotherapy?
Natal Hypnotherapy uses the natural state of hypnosis, deep relaxation and the power of suggestion to enhance your pregnancy and birth experience. Using hypnosis, you tap into the subconscious. (This is the part of your mind that is responsible for all your bodily functions including your heart rate, hormone production and elimination system, as well as the part which stores your emotions, fears and anxieties.) To deal with fear, overcome anxiety associated with pregnancy and labour, to increase self confidence and trust in your bodys natural ability to give birth. Using and applying hypnosis techniques can therefore greatly reduce, if not eliminate the fear and tension which leads to severe pain during the birthing process.
The subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and imagination (ever had déjà vu or a dream that felt as if it was real?). Therefore through Hypnosis (similar to guided visualisation) you have the opportunity to "experience" a calm natural birth over and over again in your mind. In this way, once the actual birth begins, your body is familiar and comfortable with the rehearsed responses and so reacts accordingly. During the birth you remain relaxed, involved and in control, being conversant and alert of the experience. You will be aware of your body's contractions and will flow through the sensations using deep relaxation, breathing and your natural ability to tap into your bodys own pain killers (endorphins). Being able to enjoy the experience in a calm and relaxed way leaves no room for tension and fear which are the main causes of pain.
How do the Natal Hypnotherapy MP3/CDs work?
The Birth preparation track guides mothers into a deeply relaxed state using breathing techniques, guided imagery and visualisation. Once she is in a deeply relaxing day dream like state, the track continues with a detailed visualisation of giving birth from a physiological perspective. It is like she is going through a dress rehearsal of giving birth in a calm, natural way. This way she is practising how she would like to feel and respond to the sensations and changes during labour.
The track also includes "triggers" such as "each new face you meet reminds you of the confidence you have in your body", and "each contraction encourages you to relax" and "the sights and sounds of the hospital float over you and allow you to remain wonderfully relaxed". This way you are using the things which may otherwise have caused you some anxiety and turning them into something positive and useful.
Which Natal Hypnotherapy MP3/CD should I use?
Watch this video to help you decide which Natal Hypnotherapy CD/Mp3 to use.
What women say after using Natal Hypnotherapy
So how does being relaxed and calm make a difference?
By being relaxed during your labour, your body responds in a very different way to the fear scenario described above. When you are relaxed, your breathing is even and rhythmical; ensuring a high level of oxygen is entering your body. This oxygen goes through to your baby, ensuring that your baby remains calm and stable. Increased oxygen stimulates the production of oxytocin (hormone responsible for contraction) and endorphins. Your blood pressure remains at a healthy level, and as your body is limp and relaxed you conserve your energy, with all excess energy being channelled through to the muscle that is really working hard, namely your uterus. As the uterus has no resistance or tension from surrounding muscles, the contractions are more effective and more comfortable. As the labour progresses un hindered by artificial hormones, other natural hormones kick in including relaxin which allows the cells of the birth canal to relax, soften and stretch, so making the babys descent easier and more comfortable.
How can listening to a CD/MP3 reduce pain in childbirth?
Imagine yourself labouring in a jungle. Suppose you saw or even thought you saw a tiger lurking in the nearby shadows. What do you think would happen? Would you have a conscious choice on what happens next? You may think you could control the situation, but your body would already have made the decision.
Simply believing there is a tiger in your birth space would instantly stimulate a healthy fight or flight mechanism. Labour contractions would slow down or stop and would not resume until you felt safe.
This fear activates the nervous system to produce adrenaline (danger hormone), which gives you the umph or power to prepare to fight or run away. Your cervix tightens (to prevent giving birth where it is not safe) and the increased level of adrenaline neutralises the oxytocin (the hormone responsible for contracting your uterus) and endorphins (pain killing hormone), so that the body naturally slows down or even stops the birthing. Experiencing fear during labour leads to your heart rate increasing, your breathing becoming shallow and faster (so reducing the amount of oxygen in your body and your baby), your heart pumping blood faster around your body so raising your blood pressure and blood being directed away from your uterus (and your baby) to your limbs, essentially to prepare you for action.
All this fight or flight preparation uses a great deal of energy. As our bodies were only designed to be in this heightened sense of preparation to fight or flight for a few minutes at a time, you can imagine that staying in this state for prolonged periods of time will be extremely draining, if not dangerous.
You may be asking, what does a women giving birth in a jungle have to do with me?. This is essentially about fear fear of pain, fear of dying, fear of tearing, fear of losing control. Your nervous system does not know the difference between real or imagined danger or fear and so will respond in the same way to both - ever felt the rush of adrenaline and fear when watching a horror movie? Is the threat real or imagined?
If you go into the birth feeling and being frightened, your system will respond accordingly. This fear will lead to increased adrenaline in your body, which leads to increased tension in your muscles and your cervix with less contraction hormones being produced, so that your uterus is having to work much harder to flex and tighten. This subsequently makes contractions far more painful, in the same way that if you tense up when you are in pain, the pain becomes far greater.
All the while that there is fear in childbirth, your birthing body will not be allowed to flow easily through the natural progression of labour. In addition, the minute you introduce artificial hormones from induction, the body stops producing the right amount of natural hormones, including the wonderfully powerful endorphins or natural pain killers.
Check out our new online Hypnobirthing class now
Our Online Hypnobirthing Course is a great new way to learn practical, effective tools and techniques to help you be emotionally as well as physiclly prepared for a positive, calm birth.
Complete in your own time, at your own pace, available 24/7 on any device.
"Your Online Hypnobirthing Course is brilliant!. The content is excellent: comprehensive, detailed, interesting and in bite sized modules. It strikes a great balance between the science and the art of birth.
Compared to other hypnobirthing classes, yours is a lot more comprehensive, detailed and user friendly." Asal, Germany