Trends in managing the pain of childbirth have changed over the years. Though the term HypoBirthing may sound new, a version of this pain management method has been around since the 1940s. Why pregnant women should know about it — “HypnoBirthing offers parents a more natural way to prepare for more gentle and comfortable births,” Nicolle Kasch, a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner (HBCE) of the Mongan Method tells Parentology.
Birth Pain Management Since the 1900s
In the early 1900s, Twilight Sleep was all the rage. What was often referred to as being “knocked out” for labor and birth was a combination of drugs that primarily caused a period of amnesia and made women forget the pain. They also forgot the actual birth. They woke up when the drugs wore off and were handed a baby and had to go on blind faith that bundle of pink or blue belonged to them.
In the 1940s, Grantley Dick-Read, MD wrote a book about managing the pain of labor without medication. The British obstetrician believed pain in childbirth was the result of fear, which causes tension. According to Dick-Read, being educated about the process of birth combined with relaxation exercises would result in less pain. He coined the phrase “natural childbirth.” That term has become synonymous with going through labor without pain medication. Some sources have referred to the methods taught by Dick-Read as hypnosis.
Fast forward to the late 1980s, and HypnoBirthing was hit the scene. The HypnoBirthing website states it’s “not new, but rather a “rebirth” of the philosophy of birthing as it existed thousands of years ago and as it was recaptured in the work of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read.”
HypnoBirthing Techniques Help Mom and Baby
HypnoBirthing uses controlled breathing techniques, relaxation, visualization and meditation during the labor and birth process.
Kasch, who owns Orange County, California’s Mind, Body, Baby, says the Morgan Method she uses with clients “teaches deep levels of relaxation to eliminate the fear that causes tension, and, thus, pain-reducing or even eliminating the need for pain medication in labor.”
“Our over-medicalization of birth has left parents feeling terrified of the process, which results in increasingly traumatic experiences,” Kasch says. “People are starting to push back on this model, knowing deep down birth truly is a normal, natural process of a healthy body. They’re seeking out tools and support systems to help them have more positive and empowering birth experiences.”
How HypnoBirthing has proven beneficial –“Relaxed birthing parents equal a relaxed baby, which has been shown to result in higher Apgar scores [a test checks if a newborn’s heart rate, muscle tone, and other signs call for emergency care],” Kasch says. “and parents report generally positive births regardless of whether things went as planned.”
Researchers in Australia reported that when women used HypnoBirthing techniques, their labors were shorter, they had a lower rate of cesarean sections and fewer epidurals.
Kate K of Boulder, Colorado, tells Parentology she was advised by her midwife to consider the method due debilitating phobias of needles and medical processes. HypnoBirthing was successful for her. “HypnoBirthing framed birth in a non-medical way and taught skills to cope with the phobia, and ultimately get past it without the need for anti-anxiety meds.”
Several different programs use hypnosis for childbirth for expectant parents to check out:
- Mindful Hypnobirthing
- Natal Hypnotherapy
- The Wise Hippo
As Kasch says, parents interested in HypnoBirthing may find their labor process leads to “healthier babies and more positive, empowering birth experiences.”
Hypnobirthing — Sources
Family Education: Childbirth Classes
British Journal of Midwifery: Birthing Outcomes From An Australian HypnoBirthing Programme
Birth Hypnosis: Which Hypnobirthing Course Is Right For You?
Nicolle Kasch, Mind, Body, Baby – Orange Country, California