A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

What is hypnobirthing?

A newborn baby being held and looking up at their mother.

Hypnobirthing is a new technique for childbirth that includes deep relaxation and self-hypnosis.

Painless childbirth. Is it even possible? Many Hypnobirthing® advocates claim that it is.

“Many women find Hypnobirthing the key to relaxing into labor and making their dreams of an intervention-free childbirth possible,” said Cindy Stippich, certified nurse midwife with Marshfield Clinic Health System and Hypnobirthing expert. “Hypnobirthing classes enable women to practice and learn techniques that help them cope with labor.”

Hypnobirthing technique

Hypnobirthing is a relatively new, natural childbirth technique involving deep relaxation and self-hypnosis to help women move through the stages of labor. Also known as the Mongan Method, Hypnobirthing assumes that the pain women feel during childbirth is due to their fear and apprehension surrounding the event. By releasing those fears and embracing the process, the theory is that women can work themselves through a painless childbirth without any pain medication.

“Many women have fear around childbirth because they heard negative stories from their mothers, aunts, friends and family,” Stippich said. “Everyone experiences birth differently. You can clear your mind of those limiting beliefs and have your own positive birth experience.”

How do you do it?

If your research Hypnobirthing or find classes on the topic, you will learn to practice self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques that help you bond with your baby before they are born, and prepare for breathing out your baby.

The Hypnobirthing process involves redefining key terms in labor. Contractions are called “surges” or “waves,” and instead of referring to cervical dilation, Hypnobirthers speak of “opening.” You are encouraged to focus on the process of childbirth instead of fears or pain.

“One of the keys to Hypnobirthing is keeping women supported, safe and undisturbed during labor,” Stippich said. “These techniques, almost universally acknowledged, are the very best for a laboring woman and her baby.”

Does it work?

Stippich says that few women who follow the Hypnobirthing technique report a completely pain-free birth experience but overall, relaxation techniques make it possible to have a vaginal delivery with minimal interventions.

Beyond mastering relaxation techniques, Stippich recommends finding a women’s health provider you trust to help release fears and feel confident in the childbirth process. Certified nurse midwives can help you understand the midwifery model of care, and some women’s health providers could offer Hypnobirthing as an option for your birth plan.

Talk to your women’s health provider about your options for childbirth prior to baby’s arrival.

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