Hypnobirthing: Busting the myths!
Hypnobirthing: Busting the myths!
Jess Lowe, Path to Birth
Birth should be such a magical moment, but often it is something women fear rather than look forward to in excited anticipation! As a Hypnobirthing Practitioner, I have many conversations with friends and strangers about birth. A huge advocate for positive birth, I believe that with the right knowledge, tools and support, birth can be an amazing, empowered experience.
Today I wanted to de-bunk some common myths that people share with me about birth and Hypnobirthing, along with some of the reasons I am so passionate about this amazing form of childbirth education!
MYTH ONE: HYPNOBIRTHING IS JUST HIPPY!
There is often a misconception that Hypnobirthing is a fluffy, hand-holding and singing approach to birth. This could not be further from the truth. Yes, there are candles, dim lighting and nice music (if you want them)… but these things are based in science, not the flower child movement!
Hypnobirthing provides a very thorough education for couples about how our brain and body work to support us during birth. This foundation is key as it shows us how much we can then use our mindset to impact our experience of birth.
Many factors can prevent the uterus from working as efficiently and effectively as it might otherwise do during birth – fear, noise, distractions, poor breathing and poor support to name a few. Having a detailed understanding of how the birthing body works and combining this with learning practical techniques and tools to enable you to breathe, relax and stay in that instinctual birthing mode is paramount.
MYTH TWO: HYPNOBIRTHING IS JUST FOR NATURAL OR HOME BIRTHS
One of my favourite things about Hypnobirthing is that it is not judgemental or prescriptive. It advocates positive birthing experiences – no matter how they may happen. It can be applied to public and private hospitals, birthing centres, home birth, births with pain medication (although the techniques often make this less likely to be required), caesareans, land births and water births.
It advocates empowerment to know about all your birthing options and choose what is best for your birthing experience.
It equips you to feel calm, positive and prepared no matter what turn your birthing takes – because, like all things in life, birth doesn’t always go ‘to plan’.
MYTH THREE: HYPNOSIS MEANS I WILL LOSE CONTROL OR MY HUSBAND CAN MAKE ME QUACK LIKE A CHICKEN
People sometimes worry about the hypnosis element of Hypnobirthing. Will I be in control? Will people be able to make me do things I don’t want to do?
The simple answer is no. You are always in control. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do.
My favourite definition of hypnosis is being focused on one stimulus to the exclusion of all others. We often go into states of self-hypnosis every day in lots of different ways – when we sleep, drive, watch TV, read a book, meditate, listen to music. The techniques learned in Hypnobirthing enable you to go into a deep state of relaxation and anchor in positive, calm energy allowing you to focus on that – excluding all other distractions. Any time you need to, you can come out of that state and be fully alert to everything around you.
MYTH FOUR: BIRTH IS SCARY, PAINFUL AND LONG
A bad birth story seems to have become like a badge of honour these days. It’s such a shame that we spend our time preparing for this amazing event in our lives filled with fear and doubt. The irony is that fear and doubt are often what creates that negative birth experience.
I truly believe that all women can have a positive birthing experience – your birth has the ability to be a magical, joyful moment to be remembered with awe, respect and happiness.
Knowledge and preparation, as well as having a tool kit of things you can use to relax and work mind and body together, give you the chance to create this type of birthing experience.
Hypnobirthing mums frequently experience shorter labours with less need for interventions during birth. Hypnobirthing bubs are often much calmer when born – benefiting from mum’s calming natural hormones during birth.
MYTH FIVE: THE BIRTH PARTNER IS JUST THERE TO BE SHOUTED AT!
Movies and TV have a lot to answer for when it comes to negative images of birth and none tend to portray the role of the birth partner very favourably.
Hypnobirthing views the role of the birth partner as a very active and supportive one. A birth partner who is experienced and knowledgeable about the process of birth, as well as the tools and techniques being used for relaxation, fear and pain management, is important in helping the birthing mum stay focused and calm during birth.
It’s also awesome for some bonding pre and post birth with the new addition to the family.
Jess Lowe is a hypnotherapist specialising in fertility and pregnancy. Jess experienced her own fertility challenges, which opened her up to a whole new passion for fertility, pregnancy and nutrition. She started Path to Birth as she fascinated and empowered by how we can use our mind and body to positively support us during such challenges, but felt that there was not enough support around to address the emotional side effects faced by couples (especially women).
Jess and her business Path to Birth are a part of the Nourish Melbourne Community. Jess offers Nourish Melbourne Members 20% off all full priced fertility, wellness, pregnancy coaching packages and hypnobirthing workshops. Click here to find out more about our partnership, or click here to find out more about becoming a Nourish Melbourne Member.