Doing It At Home – Hypnobirthing: Using The Power of The Mind To Influence Your Body
The Doing It At Home podcast is hosted by married couple and health and fitness enthusiasts Matthew and Sarah.
Using a mix of birth stories, guest experts and episodes with Sarah and Matthew holding the floor, it’s a dynamic podcast and not one you’ll get tired of.
It’s also honest, real and it can be pretty raw too.
Even if you are not planning a home birth there is so much insight to be gained and then applied to any kind of pregnancy and birth journey.
Matthew and Sarah do not push home birth but rather encourage families to think about the way they want their birth experience to feel and how they can best achieve that.
Hypnobirthing. It’s pretty popular but there are still so many misconceptions surrounding it.
When I found this episode I thought it would be a great one to feature and hopefully provide a solid overview of all the ins and outs of hypnobirthing.
Now, it’s a really interesting episode but if you want to delve straight into the hypnobirthing part, you can skip through the first 22 minutes.
Sarah and Matthew are joined by Kristy Rodriguez from the Pure Nurture podcast. Kristy is a HypnoBirthing childbirth educator, mum, holistic health coach and prenatal yoga instructor.
So, what is hypnobirthing?
In Kristy’s words, hypnobirthing is –
”Using the power of your mind to influence and support your body”
This is achieved through the use of affirmations, self-hypnosis, visualisations, relaxation exercises and breathing techniques.
I love that Kristy explains that one of the most important aspects of hypnobirthing is that it helps the birthing person to leave the thinking part of their brain and just allow their body do what it knows how to do.
This is so important for a smooth labour and birth.
Staying in our brain and thinking too much can actually slow down labour.
As Ina May Gaskin says –
”Let your monkey do it”
One of the things associated with hypnobirthing is the idea of a pain-free birth.
I’m so glad that Kristy underlines that, although this can happen, it is not the norm and not really the aim of using hypnobirthing techniques.
From my own experience of using hypnobirthing, I can say that although the physical sensations were much the same as my other births, I viewed them differently, positively and without fear and this made a big difference to my experience.
Calm instead of fear
Kristy shares that during her first birth she felt scared, panicked and unsure of what to do.
During her second birth, for which she utilised hypnobirthing techniques, she felt, in her own words, like –
”I’ve got this”
She says she felt both calm and happy through her labour and birth. Wouldn’t that be pretty amazing?
Can you use hypnobirthing in a hospital?
And it doesn’t have to be used in combination with water birth, which seems to be another common myth.
Kristy shares that she has clients who use hypnobirthing during their planned cesarean births and clients who plan to get an epidural as soon as humanly possible.
Feeling calm and empowered is important for any and every type of birth.
Information is power
What many people don’t know about hypnobirthing is that the teacher will cover the physiological process of birth and prepare you for the various protocols and procedures you can expect to encounter in a hospital setting.
That way, you can go into your birth with an understanding of why certain procedures might be suggested, the risks and benefits of those and possible alternatives.
In short, you will feel more confident in asking questions and then making informed decisions about what you do and do not want.
And that, my friends, is HUGE.
You cannot fail at birth
I love, love, love that Kirsty underlines that if you prepare for an intervention-free birth, whether that means utilising hypnobirthing or another method, and at some point choose an epidural or Pitocin, or a cesarean –
THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE FAILED
I especially love that this comes from a hypnobirthing teacher because I believe there is a tendency to think that only pain-free, zen-like births are true hypnobirths.
I believe very strongly that hypnobirthing can be great but that it is also simply one of many tools that you can draw upon for labour and birth.
I do not believe in all or nothing in any area of life and especially not when it comes to something so intense and unpredictable as birth.
You might use hypnobirthing for only parts of your birth experience or you may use a few elements of it and leave others by the wayside.
YOU decide what works best for YOU and YOUR birth.
Will I be spaced out?
Maybe a bit…….but not due to hypnobirthing.
If you can get completely out of your thinking brain and just let your body do its thing you could find yourself entering a bit of a blurry world of your own, often known as labour land, but that’s actually a good thing.
It’s a place of deep relaxation, somewhere you can connect with your baby and trust your body to do what it knows how to do.
However, you are still very much present.
Using hypnosis techniques will not mean that you are out of control or lost in space somewhere.
Nobody will be able to make you do anything that you don’t want to do. It’s not like on tv.
To wrap up
If you listen to the full episode, you will hear Kristy talk about her own experience and share how that led her to hypnobirthing.
I think this episode goes a long way towards dispelling some of the myths and lifting some of the mist surrounding what hypnobirthing is, who it’s for and how it can help.
I would love to hear from you if you have used, or are considering using, some form of hypnobirthing for your birth.
Until next time!
Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.