When you say the word hypnosis, many people instantly think of people on a stage being magically convinced to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. But the truth is hypnosis is much more than that--and it carries many benefits throughout all stages of pregnancy. It can help women cope with everything from morning sickness to pain and even the actual delivery.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kate Middleton, underwent hypnotherapy to treat food aversions and morning sickness related to her pregnancy. Since then, expecting moms everywhere have been wondering if hypnosis is right for them. The simple answer is yes because, after all, hypnosis is an all-natural therapy. However, if there are any medical complications related to your pregnancy, always check with your doctor and take his or her advice.
What it does:
Medical professionals have used hypnosis and self-hypnosis techniques since the 1930s to help expecting moms achieve physical comfort and relaxation. Other benefits to hypnosis for pregnancy can include shorter labor and quicker recovery; it can help a woman sleep better and deeper; it can lower blood pressure; it can create a more positive state of mind for mom and also help her avoid postpartum depression. In addition to alleviating morning sickness, it may also reduce heartburn and nausea.
When starting out, hypnosis is best for the afternoon or evening when the physical symptoms of pregnancy are lessened, enabling the patient to stay more focused and relaxed. You can do hypnosis with a certified clinical hypnotherapist or try self-hypnosis techniques alone. If you decide to work with a professional hypnotherapist, it is highly recommended that they are certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners or similar organization.
How it works:
The process usually begins by having the patient lie down and begin taking slow and even deep breathes for about five minutes. Once the patient is fully relaxed, the hypnotherapist will proceed to offer "suggestions" out loud. These same suggestions can be made by your spouse or a trusted partner.
A few examples of suggestions:
- Your stomach is calm and relaxed.
- You are calm, relaxed and feeling strong.
- Your baby is calm, relaxed and healthy.
- The more relaxed you feel, the calmer and more comfortable your stomach feels.
- The more comfortable your stomach feels, the easier it is to focus your mind and remain calm and clear-headed.
- As you feel your head clear, you feel that you can eat what is nourishing to you and your baby, and as you do, your stomach feels calm and comfortable.
You can replace these more common suggestions with some that are personalized to your situation. If you’re worried that you won’t be a good mom, for example, come up with suggestions that reinforce the reasons why you will.
Additionally, your hypnotherapist or spouse can reinforce these suggestions physically, by putting their hand on you stomach. As they do so (or instruct the pregnant woman to use her own hand), they can make a verbal suggestion by saying, "Any time you don't feel well, you feel better when you put a hand on your stomach. When you put a hand on your stomach, it feels calm and comfortable, and your mind becomes clear and focused on your health and well-being."
This physical touching combined with the suggestion forms an association, so even when the pregnant woman is not hypnotized, she can trigger the subconscious suggestions with the simple physical touch of her hand.
Why it works:
The reason hypnosis works so well is because the conscious mind acts as a gatekeeper to the subconscious mind. Under hypnosis, we can make the conscious mind inactive, allowing us access to the subconscious mind. This allows us to get deep into the part of the brain that deals with the reactions to stress, pain, emotions and more. In a sense, hypnotherapy can reprogram your beliefs that birth will be comfortable, easy and exciting.
Many women are apprehensive at first when trying hypnosis, and for that reason it’s important they know they are always in control and will never do anything against their will. A person under hypnosis can come out of it whenever they choose. In most cases, after the first session, most women are eager to get back to a hypnotic state because it makes them feel better, more confident and relaxed about their pregnancy.
Colin Christopher is a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. In his clinical hypnotherapy practice, Colin works with expecting mothers to make pregnancy relaxing, less painful and more enjoyable. He is author of the book Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You. Visit www.easybabybirth.com, http://www.colinchristopher.com/, and www.stmbook.com