We have seen some media discussion about hypnobirthing in the past, but we feel it doesn’t get as much credit and attention that it deserves! We practiced hypnobirthing with our daughter, Riley, and ended up with an amazing birth (read our hypnobirthing birth story). This blog discusses the benefits that we found by using hypnobirthing, some of them were not so obvious!
The benefits to us
During the hypnobirthing course, our instructor would teach me to let go of my fears about giving birth, would tell us situations that could happen and would tell us how to overcome them. She also explained the biology behind hypnobirthing and the benefit of relaxation (avoiding the fight or flight response ). Having an instructor who was so well informed also helped us when making decisions or understanding things that were going on and why.
Understanding hypnobirthing and using the hypnobirthing techniques helped me to become relaxed and excited during labour, but also during the entire pregnancy. As we all know, stress can be dangerous during pregnancy, so any way to avoid that was a bonus! Having such a knowledgeable instructor at the end of the phone massively helped me, and she knew the right way to talk to us to inform us but not scare us. We had a few ‘scares’ during pregnancy, with our daughter measuring ‘too small’ on the scan and then her leg measuring ‘too big’, and having someone to talk to really helped us to relax.
The hypnobirthing course taught us how to prepare for the birth, so my wife (Nat) was able to be my advocate and knew my preferences in any situations the labour led to- she knew which process of induction I would be willing to try, when I wanted to progress onto the next level, she knew at which stage we would accept intervention with labour, and knew which intervention we wanted, and why. Our preparation during pregnancy meant that I was able to focus on relaxing and breathing during labour, while she discussed all the relevant things with midwives as my spokeswoman!
It actually happened that I didn’t need induction or intervention (as is common with a lot of hypnobirthing deliveries), so Nat didn’t need to have these discussions, but she was fully prepared and informed if the situation did arise, and I knew I was in safe hands with Nat being my advocate, which helped me to relax and helped the labour to progress as it should.
People who practice hypnobirthing are often known to have shorter labour times and experience less pain).
Without any other labour to compare to, we aren’t able to say how much hypnobirthing impacted the delivery time, but we were in the hospital less than 4 hours before Riley was born, which surprised the midwives, especially since it was my first labour (although I had been in slow labour for a while without even knowing!).
Less need for pain medication
Recent research studies that compared self--hypnosis with more conventional comfort techniques in labour have found less need for pain medications among women who used self--hypnosis. When a woman feels fear during childbirth, her body releases stress hormones that trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response. This causes muscles to tighten and interferes with the birthing process. By training the subconscious mind to expect a safe, gentle birth, they say, women can avoid going into the fight-or-flight state, allowing for a smoother birth.
The labour was intense (which is expected, especially given how quick it was once it got going!), but I didn’t ask for any drugs or pain relief other than the birthing pool, which was amazing
The benefits to our baby
Hypnobirthing is said to possibly be linked to healthier babies, based on their APGAR scores. This was one of the reasons we chose to use hypnobirthing with our birth.
With me not needing pain medications, there was also no chance of any drugs passing through to Riley, so she was born extremely alert and active (and hasn’t stopped moving since!). Apart from struggling with reflux, Riley had no issues as a baby, and scored really well on her APGAR scores. We were discharged from the hospital very soon after her birth.
Babies born using Hypnobirthing tend to be calmer, feed better, sleep better and experience less trauma, because they are delivered into the world at their own pace.
We found all of these to be true, apart from maybe the ‘calm’ element- but our daughter has definitely been confident from day one! Once Riley was born, we would play the hypnobirthing tracks at bedtime, and it would seem to help her settle. We’re not sure if it was the familiar sound as she would have heard them a lot in utero, or the calming voice, but it seemed to help her. When she moved into her own room, we carried on with the baby sleep music which seems to help her even now!
The benefits to us as a family
As the non-bio mom in a lesbian relationship, my wife, Nat, had some worries about her ‘role’ in our daughter's life- she didn’t want to be seen as a “spare part”. We took a few steps to prevent this from happening (and wrote a blog about it!), but we felt that hypnobirthing really helped us both to bond with our daughter, and it meant that Nat had a role to play in the birth preparation and the labour- she wasn’t just a witness to the birth- she was the one in control of it. By doing hypnobirthing, Nat was responsible for my relaxation during pregnancy and labour, which resulted in an amazing labour!
Riley has bonded with Nat completely, often preferring instead of me! I truly feel that the bond started when I was pregnant with Riley, and the connection between the two of them was noticeable from the second she was born. I ended up needing to have some medical treatment after giving birth so Nat was left with Riley when she was just an hour old- as Nat had been so involved in the labour, this wasn’t as big of a step as if she hadn’t been as involved.
Hypnobirthing is believed to reduce the incidence of postnatal depression, by teaching parents to remain calm, and to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Although we did struggle with adjusting fully to the sleepless life of being parents (as is expected!), we felt so happy with our new little family and used the techniques taught when doing hypnobirthing all the time (and we still do) to help to have a more positive mindset in tough times. We have downloaded a mindfulness app which we use every night which plays mindfulness tracks to help us relax and switch off for the day.
We found hypnobirthing was an amazing experience and benefitted us all so much! It is something we would (and do) recommend to anyone and everyone who is expecting a baby! We love it so much, we have even brought out our own hypnobirthing affirmation card sets to help others on their hypnobirthing journey. We loved the hypnobirthing preparation during pregnancy and found it had so many benefits for all of us, before, during, and after labour!