5 things you didn’t know about hypnobirthing

1. Did you know that hypnobirthing is less swivel than it sounds (or maybe isn’t)?

5 things you didn't know about hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing invites you to release tensions and build trust. Once you learn to let go, the birth process works as intended. Your body and brain create substances that support this process. With hypnobirthing you will learn methods and techniques to create this deep relaxation in your body. By relaxing properly, your baby will come out easier. So there’s nothing shaky about that. It’s about very tangible processes in your body. During a hypnobirthing course you will learn how this connection between body and mind works precisely so that you are well prepared and you can practice with it at home. The same goes for the information during a hyponobirthing course about birth care, the role of your partner and the wishes you have around childbirth. These are also concrete and substantive issues. So hypnobirthing? Maybe not at all.

2. Did you know that hypnobirthing isn’t just for natural home births?

Hypnobirthing is often associated with natural home births, preferably in the bath. The method sometimes even occurs in rows about natural pain relief during childbirth, but that is too short by the bend. Hypnobirthing is available for all types of childbirth, whether at home, in a birthing centre or hospital, in a bath, in the shower, at a birth ball or a perch stool. It doesn’t matter, all that matters is that as a pregnant woman you are well prepared for childbirth, so that you draw up the wishes that suit you and you confidently go into childbirth, allowing you to let go of everything during childbirth. Even if this is somewhere else or goes in a different way than you initially hoped. Hypnobirthing allows you to deal with the unexpected and have tools to be calm no matter what. Even with unexpected, necessary medical intervention, you can benefit from hypnobirthing because you have learned to relax as well as possible. And that is important, because only 13% of births in the Netherlands take place at home

3. Did you know that hypnobirthing has a positive starting point?

With hypnobirthing you do not focus on the bears on the road, but on the road itself. That’s the positive approach. It’s about the premise that every woman is made to give birth. This does not necessarily mean that giving birth is always easier with hypnobirthing. It also doesn’t mean you get the perfect calm birth on prescription. It does mean that you do everything you can to support the natural birth process and are well prepared for anything to come.

Positive also means that you make choices based on knowledge rather than fear. You focus on a birth that you can look back on with satisfaction, as a milestone and beautiful memory, even though it may not have been quite as you initially thought. That’s why inspiring birth videos are viewed during a hypnobirthing course and we invite you to read or hear positive birth stories of other women. This way you learn to prepare yourself for childbirth physically and mentally with hypnobirthing.

4. Did you know that there are different currents of hypnobirthing?

Probably the first birther to use the term hypnobirthing is Michelle Leclaire O’Neill, in the 1987 book “Hypnobirthing the Original Method”. Among other things, she relied on the work of the English gynaecologist Grantly Dick-Reid, who researched the relationship between stress and pain. Marie Mongan, who is quite well known in the Netherlands, later applied similar relaxation techniques during the natural birth of her first baby in hospital and developed her own method. In America, hospital births are (still) the standard and people were not used to births based on the power of one’s own body instead of medication, which made her sound a breath of fresh air and also gained a foothold in other Western countries. Meanwhile, various hypnobirthing methods are available in the Netherlands, such as Marie Mongan HypnoBirthing, MuchaMama Hypnobirthing and KG Hypnobirthing. There are also local hypnobirthing teachers who have their own method.

I myself teach the KG hypnobirthing method of the British hypnotherapist Katharine Graves. In recent years she has developed her own extensive method, which is now taught worldwide. In Great Britain, KG Hypnobirthing is the only method recognised by the British Professional Association of Midwives. Why did I choose this method as a Hypnobirthing Teacher? Because it is very complete, has a friendly European tone and gives me space to bring in my own expertise with body work and meditation. What I also like about the method is that the importance of practice is underlined. Because practice makes perfect! 

5. Did you know that hypnobirthing not only has benefits for childbirth, but also after?

Even after childbirth, hypnobirthing can support you as a new mother. Because hypnobirthing births are often smoother and shorter and have fewer medical interventions, your recovery after childbirth is often faster. This will leave you with more energy for the new motherhood. Moreover, you can continue to use the learned techniques for overall relaxation and rest and at those times when you need it. For example, when breastfeeding gets going and getting used to the sensations of the baby sucking on your chest. A positive birth experience also contributes to better bonding between parents and child. And because you and your partner have prepared for the arrival of your baby, your bond is closer and you as a team can be better for that new miracle.

This is an abridged version of the blog that appeared on Ouders Online on July 15, 2020. Written by Marise Bout as a guestblog.