When the Duchess of Cambridge checked into the Lindo wing at St. Mary's hospital to give birth to her third child she had all the advantages modern medicine and technology could possibly provide, but she also had a weapon any woman anywhere can harness to empower her during birth.
It's called hypnobirth, and while the former Kate Middleton hasn't confirmed whether she practiced it, it is now routinely used at the hospital where she delivered all three of her children.
As The Times reported, midwives at St. Mary's were given two days of intense training sessions on hypnobirthing in the months prior to the newest royal baby's birth.
So what is hypnobirthing? Well, it's not the party trick hypnosis commonly portrayed in pop culture. It's more of a meditative thing, a form of self-hypnosis proven to help mothers relax during childbirth.
Classes on hypnobirthing are available in most major cities (many experts recommend taking them when you're around 25 to 30 weeks), and several companies offer online courses as well.
It involves visualization, breathing techniques, guided meditation and sometimes massage. It can be used during vaginal births and C-sections. Research indicates hypnobirth may make labor faster and reduce the risk of C-section, and that it can reduce a mom's fear and anxiety.
Colleen Temple, Motherly's Stories Editor, has personally found this to be true. "Pre-hypnobirthing, I would literally cry on the spot when I thought about going into labor. Post-hypnobirthing? I felt empowered, strong, prepared and very ready to birth my baby. It transformed my mindset completely," she previously wrote for Motherly.
"With the help of the meditations and affirmations used in hypnobirthing, the fear of the unknown that I had before the course started shifted into the ability to truly trust that my body and my baby were going to do exactly what they needed to do to bring my little one safely into this world," shares Temple.
The mind can be a powerful thing, and Temple and the Duchess have plenty of company on team hypnobirth. Mogul mama Jessica Alba is also a fan. She told Ellen it's not weird, and is something women can involve their partners in. "My husband takes me through sort of a meditation. He'll say, 'you're relaxed, and you're floating on clouds while you're going through labor and your contractions. I'm just concentrating on breathing and staying relaxed," she explained.
No word on whether the Duke of Cambridge is as into it as Alba's husband, but he was by Kate's side when the prince was born, so he could have been guiding his wife through meditations. And since the birth only took five hours, it seems like hypnobirth is working for the royal family.
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