Can HypnoBirthing Take the Pain Out of Labor?

Labor, by all accounts, is fairly short compared to the nine months of pregnancy. And yet, it will occupy your attention during your entire term. Relatives and friends offer unsolicited, and often downright scary, details of their labor that create unnecessary anxiety. What no one tells you is that labor doesn’t have to involve copious amounts of pain.

Fear is what can cause our bodies to become tense and prohibit the body from performing what should be a normal physiological function that doesn’t have to be painful. Fear shouldn’t be a part of any birth experience. So if you’re already feeling anxious about the labor, consider hypnobirthing to do away with the pain!

HypnoBirthing is More Than a Trend

Jessica Alba and Tiffani Thiessen are two celebrity moms who sing the praises of hypnobirthing. Like Jessica and Tiffani, moms today are searching for a broader education on, and feeling an increased desire for, a kinder and gentler birthing method. Hypnobirthing embodies just that.

The method was pioneered by Marie F. Mongan, a certified hypnotherapist, hypnoanesthesiologist, and instructor of hypnotherapy. The concept is simple. Muscles that are under tension create the experience of pain. Muscles that are in a relaxed state do not. Hypnobirthing seeks to give the expectant mom and partner the confidence required for a low-intervention birth.

No, You’re Not Going To Be in a Trance

Sure, the term hypnobirthing sounds a little out there. But let’s get the facts straight: your partner won’t be hypnotizing you or making you do crazy things you don’t remember later. This is not a program of hypnosis but simply one of a state of deep relaxation. You are fully awake, aware, and in control.

You’re meant to focus on achieving a calm and relaxed state. Some moms use visualization, like a quiet beach. You’re taught to see every detail of what is peaceful and tranquil about the image you choose. For example, the sounds of waves, the salty air, and the gentle wind invite you to a deep, relaxed state. Others may use positive affirmations and rhythms. The goal is to let your conscious mind relax so your subconscious mind can take over and give birth – without anxiety and fear.

Hee Hee Hoo Hoo

Remember this Lamaze tune? While any patterned, slow, deep breathing will facilitate relaxation, hypnobirthing encompasses much more than breathing. It revolves around an educational process that includes special breathing relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition, and positive body toning.

In class, you will learn what makes labor hurt and more importantly, why it doesn’t have to hurt! You’ll learn that when fear and anxiety are allowed to take over, chemical changes happen in the body. Being aware of this fight, flight, or freeze response will help you to choose calm. The calming techniques that you will practice and learn will help release endorphins – and avoid the effect of the negative hormones that cause bodies to constrict, rather than open.

Will It Work for Me?

This program is for healthy, low-risk women but it can certainly benefit any women who may need medical assistance because of special circumstances. This method considers the psychological and physical well-being of the mother, her birth partner, and the newborn, in any setting.

Everyone can learn how to bring their baby into this world in a calm, gentle, and less painful way. The program is 5 weeks and runs for about 2 ½ hours per session. You’ll practice hypnobirthing techniques in class to help you see the relationship between fear and pain. Then you’ll learn the calming techniques that will open your body – helping you to deliver with a lot less stress.

Words like labor are replaced with birthing. Substitute surges for contractions. A new vocabulary further creates a positive mindset. If you decide to go with hypnobirthing, speak with your doctor about it and make sure she fully supports your decision. To find a class near you, visit

Are you considering (or have you chosen) hypnobirthing for your delivery?

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