We have often heard the saying, ‘No pain, no gain’. And, it is no longer just to motivate you to exercise. Undoubtedly, millions of women have accepted the inevitable of pain during the birthing process and have gotten used to it. Fortunately, with the right technique and method, you could do-away with the pain and have a joyous experience of bringing your bundle of joy into the world. M&B tells you everything you need to know about this technique—HypnoBirthing
Who doesn’t want to be one of those cool mums with bragging rights to, “I’ve had a water birth” or the coveted “I wasn’t in labour too long”. And while it’s every woman’s pererogoative to make sure they have a safe and healthy, albeit quick delivery, hopping on the next fad, particularly when it’s got to do with bring precious life into this world, we think it’s best to know exactly what you’re getting into. While HypnoBirthing is surely safe, we’re here to break it down for you.
So what is HypnoBirthing?
HypnoBirthing, or the Mongan Method, was created by Marie Mongan in the 80s. The method teaches you that in the absence of fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labour. Jayapali Shetty, a hypnofertility consultant at The HypnoBirthing Institute, USA, says, “It is a holistic childbirth education programme that includes special breathing techniques, deep relaxation, visualisation, meditative practice, nutrition and body toning. These techniques empower women to be confi dent, calm and makes them feel safe during the birthing process.” She further adds, “This technique brings out the innate strength and lets you harness your energy during the process, beautifully culminating into a healthy newborn in mind, body and spirit. HypnoBirthing teaches women to do what their bodies already know how to do, by trusting their birthing instincts.”
Shivani Sharma, a HypnoBirthing practitioner, says, “When the mind is free of fear and the mother feels safe and supported, it functions at its optimal level which is right for both mother and baby. Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby. As a birthing method, it’s as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times.”
What Do You Stand to Gain?
HypnoBirthing helps women overcome their fear of pain and helps them develop trust in their own ability to remain relaxed. Jaya says, “The method greatly reduces, and often eliminates, the need for painkillers or drugs. It shortens the labour by several hours and reduces the risk of pelvic floor damage. The birthing technique allows women to gently breathe her baby into the world without the violence of hard, physical pushing, eliminating postnatal discomfort and baby blues.”
Further building on Jaya’s point, Shivani says, “Through a simple programme of self-hypnosis and education, healthy and low-risk women, as well as women who need medical assistance, learn to dismiss fear-based stories and birthing myths, and they are helped to see birth as normal. The overall effect of practicing hypnobirthing techniques is that the birthing parents are able to appreciate the benefi ts of the calm, gentle process, making the experience a joyful one for the parents and the baby. The benefi ts can last a lifetime.”
When giving birth with this technique, the mother is not in a trance or asleep, but instead, is in a state of deep relaxation— awake, aware and fully in control. Jaya says, “The process entails signing up with a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner and the course duration comprises five to six sessions. Each weekly session is of two and a half hours.”
Shivani says, “In a series of five confi dence-building classes, they learn what makes labour hurt, but more importantly, they learn the logic behind why labour doesn’t have to hurt and what they can do about it. Moms and their birth companions study the physical and chemical changes that occur over a period of time when fear and anxiety are allowed to accumulate. This awareness of the fight, flight or freeze response helps them to remain calm. The techniques are designed to help them see the relationship between fear and the possibility of pain. These exercises become life skills that also enhance their parenting skills. Armed with this knowledge, the pattern of calming techniques and steps that they learn, helps them to create endorphins and avoid the effect of the negative hormones that cause their bodies to constrict, rather than open.” The five-week series includes a HypnoBirthing Techniques textbook, relaxation CD and everything you need to know to reconnect with your birthing instincts and create an amazing birthing experience. Jaya further adds, “The whole expense varies depending on the course provider. Approximately around `30,000 to `60,000 or more. It includes literature, handouts and a relaxation music CD.”
Women need emotional support when they are giving birth and the presence of the father can create a huge positive impact. Jaya says, “A father’s presence is an integral part of labour as he protects the birthing environment and is not just an onlooker. He supports the mother emotionally, physically and morally.” Shivani further adds, “Although it is not mandatory and it requires a mother’s consent, a father can be the mother’s advocate and be an active participant when it comes to making choices regarding pregnancy and birth.”
Limitations and Safety
Jaya opines, “There are no limitations per se, but what is required is the will power and discipline to daily practice the techniques. In fact, HypnoBirthing is all about releasing the conditioned limiting thoughts about birthing.” Talking about whether the mothers should opt for this process or not, Shivani says, “There is no harm in educating and empowering oneself and have a birth which is supportive of a mother’s choices.” It is highly recommended for women who want to experience the joy of easy birthing.
With regard to undergoing HypnoBirthing classes but ultimately undergoing a C-section, Jaya says, “HypnoBirthingtrained mums are able to recover and breastfeed their babies at least three to five hours after the surgery. HypnoBirthing method is especially favourable for VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean) because the breathing techniques are gentle all through the opening phase, and you will not strain yourself with the forced pushing during the baby’s descent, a plus for the VBAC mother. At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, if more people embrace HypnoBirthing, it will certainly have a profound impact towards global peace.”MB