Hypnobirthing Courses – Real Empowerment or Possibly Setting Unrealistic Expectations?
Let's get real about hypnobirthing. When I got pregnant I knew already I wanted to work with a
doula – I learnt about them during my pregnancy yoga teacher training – and given our
circumstances back then, with my partner John working away, there was a chance that he would not have made it on time for our birth and I really needed someone who could advocate for me and support me. The support of a doula was absolutely invaluable, but that is a story for another time.
Hypnobirthing was included in the package I purchased, and while at first I wasn't sure if I was doing it right or if it made any real difference after my birth I was 100% sure I want to share this with my future clients so I can support them even deeper.
As a yoga teacher with advanced qualification in meditation and breathwork the tools and
techniques of hypnobirthing felt very familiar! However, something felt a bit off when I was
reading/listening to the often quite generalised scripted guided meditation, visualisation and breathwork written scripts/recordings.
Hypnobirthing techniques and Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation or often referred to as yogic sleep) share common grounds in their emphasis on deep relaxation and stronger self-awareness. Much like Yoga Nidra hypnobirthing encourages a state of relaxation going deeper into the subconscious. Both practices involve guided visualisations, focused breathing with emphasis on deeper self-awareness.
The aim is to get into a calmer and more open/receptive state of mind, fostering a connection between the body and the subconscious mind. Both practices help alleviate tension and anxiety, promoting a sense of tranquillity & peace. They are quite complementary tools for cultivating mindfulness and peaceful states, especially during significant life events like childbirth.
I had a chat with a few women about their hypnobirthing experiences, and the feedback was pretty
mixed. Some swore by it, had a great, positive birth experience. Others found it more stressful and
fear-inducing so they were quite put off by it. And then there were those who thought it was all a bit
too obsessed with having a 'natural birth.'
Research however has shown promising results regarding its positive effects on the birthing
experience. Several studies suggest that women who undergo hypnobirthing training experience
reduced anxiety and stress levels during labour. This can contribute to shorter labour durations and
a decreased need for medical interventions, including pain medication. Additionally, positive birthing experiences reported by women who practised hypnobirthing often include a greater sense of empowerment and satisfaction. Some studies also indicate that partners involved in hypnobirthing training feel more confident and engaged during the birthing process.
There is two essential parts that I feel is crucial for hypnobirthing to be more effective and empowering and I do cover them on my workshops and courses in full details: Personalisation: I feel this is a must to go deeper into exploring Your fears and worries and address those specifically with tailored and relatable visualisation and guided meditation scripts. I believe that for it to truly work it has to be something that You can connect with on a much deeper level than just reading or listening to a generalised text that you may fall
asleep to every night.
Balanced research/evidence-based knowledge : A complete course would include the above
techniques as well as cover an antenatal education which personally I feel is needed to navigate the current maternity system confidently and learn about all your choices and options, preferences to be able to make an empowered decision whatever type of birth You choose: it is Your Body, Your Baby, Your choice!
I used to wonder though at times whether 'ignorance is bliss'. Now, before you raise an eyebrow, hear me out. In the wild journey of pregnancy and childbirth, not knowing the ins and outs and relying on the medical team to make all decisions for you might seem like a stress-free option. Some argue that not delving into the nitty-gritty of what's to come can keep anxiety at bay. After all, if you don't know all the details, there's less to worry about, right? However, some may feel quite
overwhelmed, hopeless, and often super vulnerable, losing all trust in our bodies as women instead
of embracing the instinctive and undisturbed birthing process.
I do believe in the saying 'knowledge is power' a lot more and I also believe that hypnobirthing
techniques can truly help to have a more positive birth experience whatever type of birth you want
to choose. Learning how your body and mind works is fascinating and will definitely give you more
awareness and with that more reassurance, power and trust in what they are doing during labour
and birth. And with all the tools and techniques you can really lean into this trust! Knowing all the
benefits and risks of all the pain management options and interventions, all the medical jargons and at times negative emotive language by consultants during appointments etc. is also vital in my view.
If you want to delve deeper into hypnobirthing and would like to find out more about my approach
then join me on my FREE online hypnobirthing workshop on 6th December, click here for
further information and booking