Carrying the baby to term is no mean job. And at the end of those tedious nine months, delivery is actually no child’s play. Giving birth to the little one is associated with those dreaded labor pains which, at times, appear to last till eternity.
In some cases, doctors recommend a caesarean section which relieves or lessens the duration of the labor pains. However, the expectant mother invariably lands into an anxiety-fear-pain cycle at the time of delivery. The pain just refuses to go.
There is a reason to rejoice though. Women who want to give a natural birth can opt for hypnobirthing which helps in alleviating the pain to quite an extent.
The use of hypnobirthing techniques during pregnancy and actual delivery is often referred to as hypnotherapy. While this technique is pretty ancient, it is gaining prominence in recent times. Celebrity moms like Jessica Alba and Tiffani Thiessen have widely publicized this technique of birthing. With the latest news that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, contemplating hypnobirthing doing rounds, the technique is surely going to get a lot of media coverage and mileage.
The Philosophy of Hypnobirthing
The basic assumption of hypnobirthing is that most of the labor pains occur because the expectant mother is under enormous tension. If this tension can be eliminated or controlled, the labor pain will also be eradicated or will remain under tolerable limits.
The technique works on the age-old philosophy that the process of natural delivery is intended to enable women give birth relatively easily. However, the enormity of fearfulness incites physical pain during delivery. Leaving all the technical aspects aside, it is as simple as this; get rid of the tension, get rid of the pain. And therefore, the practitioners of hypnobirthing use a somewhat different terminology; contractions are called surge, pain is referred to as pressure and finally labor is called birthing.
What Exactly Is It
Simply put, Hypnotherapy entails educating the woman about the way the uterus functions during a natural childbirth. The mom-to-be, the father-to-be as well as the support attendants are informed and taught strategies like relaxation and meditation that enable a pain free, easier birthing experience. Instrumental music, rhythms, affirmations, visualization of a desired place all form part of hypnotherapy. In other words, hypnotherapy is nothing but self-hypnosis.
Hypnobirthing tends to have an impact on the length of labor and therefore decreases the incidence of surgical interventions during delivery. Many women have credited their clam, pain-free, unmedicated childbirth to hypnobirthing.
What Happens Inside the Body
The feeling of fear tends to release stress causing hormones called catecholamines. These hormones have a tendency to slow down digestion, increase heart speed of blood to arms and legs, and at the same time reduce the blood supply to the uterus.
This depleted flow causes uterine pain and hinders the labor process. The relaxation techniques that come into play due to hypnotherapy have an opposing effect. Relaxation tends to incite a different set of chemicals; oxytocin, prostaglandins, and endorphins. All these chemicals, put together, have a soothing impact and tend to create a sense of comfort in the body that eases the process of birthing.
The technique has emerged as a full-fledged science with Mongan’s HypnoBirthing course offering five classes of more than two hours each. The course cost may vary but is generally between $275 and $350.
The technique does not guarantee a pain free delivery, however it has proved efficacious in delivering a child with less anxiety. There is always a possibility that things do not go as planned. There have been many instances where mothers who undergo hypnobirthing classes, have had to opt for pain medication, epidurals or cesarean sections during the actual delivery.