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What is hypnobirthing and what are the benefits?

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Hypnobirthing is a therapy that has become fashionable due to the fact that several celebrities have used it. In addition to its popularity, it seems to be a good option to reduce discomfort and complications during childbirth.

Hypnobirthing is a therapy that tries to help the woman face childbirth with more confidence and consequently experience less pain and discomfort during the process. Med uses various techniques of conscious hypnosis to achieve this goal. Read on to learn about the benefits of hypnobirthing.

The aim is for the mother to be able to enjoy childbirth. With this method, one tries to increase the power of the mind over the body, and make it possible to experience birth with positive emotions.

This form of therapy originated in the 1940s but became popular in the United States in the 1980s. It is intended as an alternative to painful or traumatic childbirth. Hypnobirthing is based on basic breathing and meditation techniques.

Fear of childbirth

Most women have a certain degree of fear of childbirth. This is usually because, throughout history, emphasis has been placed on the physical pain and discomfort that many women experience during childbirth. Religions, movies, and literature have all displayed this perspective.

Traditionally, childbirth is associated with pain and suffering. The contractions that occur during labor are commonly called labor pains. This in itself conditions the experience.

Fear activates the sympathetic system and triggers a warning mechanism that prepares the body for flight. This leads to a decrease in blood and oxygen supply to the uterus. When this occurs, the contractions are less effective and the woman experiences a greater sensation of pain.

Fear also reduces the production of the hormone oxytocin, which affects contractions. Overall, this leads to increased tension in the body and this in turn increases the pain.

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a birth preparation therapy that aims to replace fears with security and self-confidence. The method aims to bring the mother to a state of relaxation where she can construct a positive vision of the act of giving birth.

The therapy is based on the idea that the discomfort that the woman experiences during childbirth is the result of the fear, anxiety, and tension that she assumes for this experience. In 1942, British obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read published a book called Painless Childbirth, considered a pioneer in the subject.

Dick-Read proposed the theory of the fear-tension-pain syndrome associated with childbirth. Later, in 1989, hypnotherapist Marie Mongan further developed the subject and introduced new data and techniques. That’s how this perspective gained importance again.

Many celebrities have seen the benefits of hypnobirthing and have used this therapy. For example, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, used hypnobirthing when she was about to give birth to her first child. Other celebrities have also used this method, which is why it has become so popular.

Benefits of Hypnobirthing: Features and Techniques

Hypnobirthing is based on the idea that an atmosphere of calm is needed to give birth. This allows the muscles to relax.

When the woman achieves this state, the production of stress hormones that increase the pain during contractions decreases. Instead, there are more endorphins in the body, and these facilitate the process.

When the woman secretes more oxytocin, dilation occurs smoothly and naturally. If, on the contrary, there is adrenaline, the muscles contract, and the process is more difficult.

Both the expectant mother and her partner must prepare for the entire preparation process. It usually occurs during the third trimester.

Hypnobirthing involves a very detailed information stage about the birth process. The goal is for the mother to understand what is happening to her body, learn to recognize possible complications, and know what to do if they arise.

There is also training in relaxation and meditation techniques. Negative ideas about childbirth are also important to address. For this, terms such as “contractions” are replaced with “uterine waves”.

Techniques that provide benefits to hypnobirthing

To achieve this, the following techniques are used:

  • Deep relaxation through relaxation techniques and self-hypnosis. It helps the mother reconnect to the natural experience of giving birth.
  • Breathing techniques: These are basic and aim to oxygenate the body sufficiently so that this contributes to muscle relaxation and pain relief.
  • Guided visualization: This consists of eliminating the negative connotations associated with childbirth and replacing them with a more natural and positive perspective.
  • Concentration and awareness: From the information given, the mother is expected to become aware of everything that is happening to her and take control of what is happening to her body.

Is it really effective?

The World Health Organization has not approved hypnobirthing as such but has said that relaxation, breathing, and meditation techniques help reduce pain during the process. It has also been noted that non-pharmacological procedures to relieve pain offer many benefits.

A study on hypnobirthing published in 2022 found that women who had received this type of therapy had a more satisfying birth experience, had faster births, and experienced less pain. There are other similar, but isolated studies.

But at the same time, an article published in the British Journal of Anesthesia believes that there is still not enough evidence to confirm that hypnobirthing is an effective method. It does not deny its effectiveness, but it recommends further research.

Should you try hypnobirthing?

There is no evidence that hypnobirthing can guarantee a painless birth. However, the advantages of hypnobirthing are that it makes the process much easier and reduces discomfort to a significant degree. Therapies involving relaxation and breathing techniques are often helpful in a variety of circumstances. However, Hypnobirthing is not the only therapy for preparing for childbirth. There are also other methods, such as Lamaze and Bradley, which are also very well-established and rewarding.

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