Let’s talk hypnobirthing. It’s a word we might hear when it comes to childbirth, but what exactly is it?

Does it involve giving birth in a sacred forest? Does it mean forgoing any medical input whatsoever? Have you failed at it if you choose an epidural? No, no and definitely no.

What is hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is quite simply a way of helping women prepare for a positive birth—and a positive birth will always mean something different to everyone.

This means that any birth can be a hypnobirth, as long as the mom feels that it was. The term hypnobabies refers to a specific company that offers a variety of hypnobirthing classes.

So, an emergency C-section can be a hypnobirth? Yup.

A waterbirth at home can be a hypnobirth? Yes.

An induced birth with an epidural can also be a hypnobirth? Aha.

That’s the beauty of it—hypnobirthing can be for everyone.

How does hypnobirthing work?

To learn more about hypnobirthing, women can attend a group class, a private class or they an online course. During these classes, there will definitely not be a watch swinging in your face, nor will anyone be hypnotized into clucking like a chicken.

The main part of hypnobirthing is essentially learning how to relax, and let’s be honest—who doesn’t need that in their life, right?

The classes will teach you how to relax using a few different methods, because not each method will work for each woman. The methods include:

  • breathing techniques
  • massage techniques
  • listening to a meditative recording or reading
  • visualizing
  • various other tools too.

The other part focuses on the birth itself. The basis of hypnobirthing is that fear during birth can cause all sorts of problems, so the classes try to address these fears with knowledge. Those adages “knowledge is power” and “fear of the unknown” come into play here.

We know that we often fear the unknown, and childbirth is one of those topics that remains quite mysterious. This is partly because women often feel unable to talk about their birth experiences, so what goes on during birth is kept under wraps. Add to that the knowledge we do have (i.e., from films and TV) is often scenes of women screaming in pain and fear, surrounded by people in gowns and masks. No wonder fear of childbirth is rife.

That’s where hypnobirthing classes come in. They will teach you exactly how the body works to birth a baby, removing the fear of the unknown. Then they will completely turn what you think you know about birth on its head. They will show you that birth doesn’t have to be the scary ordeal we are lead to believe it is, and that it can be rather an amazing, transformative experience.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed giving birth and it is an experience that still, two years later, brings a smile to my face—I owe a lot of that positivity to hypnobirthing.

What does science say about hypnobirthing?

One study from Australia showed us that hypnobirthing might shorten labor, reduce the risk of C-section and lessen the need for pharmacological pain relief. Two women in the study even said they felt zero pain—that’s pretty impressive!

Another study from England found that hypnobirthing may reduce levels of fear and anxiety after the birth of the baby—and that can be a wonderful thing at a time when emotions are in full flow.

I can’t wait for more studies to show us just how beneficial hypnobirthing can be—I see it with my own eyes each time I support a woman to birth her baby using the techniques that she has learned. It is incredible.

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