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All About HypnoBirthing

HypnoBirthing is the use of hypnosis to achieve maximum relaxation, comfort, and relief during childbirth.

The HypnoBirthing method is based on the work of Grantly Dick-Read, MD, the English obstetrician who wrote Childbirth Without Fear in 1944. According to Dr. Dick-Read, use of hypnosis during labor helps laboring women break what he termed the "Fear-Tension-Pain syndrome" which makes labor more difficult. He believed the syndrome actually caused blood to flow away from nonessential organs such as the uterus to large muscle groups in the legs. He theorized that relaxation achieved through hypnosis would prevent that from happening.

Marie F. Mongan, Director of the HypnoBirthing Institute, says that with the aid of hypnosis, a woman can bring her body into a state of deep relaxation in which the body's muscles can work the way they're meant to during childbirth. She says it feels similar to daydreaming, or the feeling you get when you are lost in a book or movie. People who've used this technique report feeling relaxed, calm, aware, and in control.

The process of HypnoBirthing is based on the power of suggestion. The laboring woman uses positive affirmations, suggestions, and visualizations to relax her body, guide her thoughts, and control her breathing. She can either do this herself (self-hypnosis) or receive assistance from a hypnotherapist. Sometimes women work with a certified hypnotherapist to learn self-hypnosis. They often play a tape of verbal affirmations that help them enter a calm state of self-hypnosis. Alternately, they might use a visualization -- such as a flower opening its petals -- to picture what's happening to them, and achieve relaxation.

A hypnotherapist may or may not be present during the birth, depending on the needs of the laboring woman. For some people self-hypnosis is easy to achieve, while others respond better to the assistance of a therapist.

The Benefits of HypnoBirthing

  • It's a natural form of pain management. There are no medications with potential side effects for you or baby.
  • It can provide comfort, relaxation, and relief during labor.
  • It can decrease stress and fear during childbirth.
  • It allows you to remain alert and awake.

Common Myths Associated with Hypnosis

  • Hypnosis is a form of mind control or brainwashing.
  • Hypnosis puts you in a deep sleep.
  • A person who's been hypnotized has no free will.
  • You can't perform usual tasks and functions if you're hypnotized.
  • You're unaware of what's going on around you when you're hypnotized.

  • Ask your family doctor or obstetrician for a referral to a trained practitioner.
  • Contact your hospital or birthing center to ask if they've had HypnoBirths and if they can provide you with a list of hypnotherapists specializing in childbirth.
  • Once you've found a few practitioners, ask for patient referrals and follow up.
  • Share your birth plan with your hypnotherapist so she understands what you envision for your birthing experience.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.