Hypnobirthing: How Hypnosis Helped Me Through Labor

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

There are many things a mother-to-be may try to ease the pain while laboring and birthing her child. Positioning, movement, using a shower or bath, heat, counter pressure, and pain medication are all types of pain-relievers during labor.

While pregnant with my son, however, I heard of a new pain reliever — hypnosis.

Initially, I was slightly– well, very, to be honest — skeptical of hypnobirthing. In my head, I envisioned someone standing in front of me snapping their fingers while my head slumps down. In this scenario, like you see on some television shows, it usually follows that the person under hypnosis is clucking like a chicken or barking like a dog.

Not quite the picture of labor or delivery I had in mind.

After reading and researching a little more, though, I found that hypnosis while birthing is completely the opposite of what I had initially envisioned.

And– surprisingly– it can be quite helpful!

The main concept behind hypnosis while birthing your child is getting your mind into the right frame of reference. While labor and birth can be extremely painful, the way you approach the pain can really affect your ability to withstand or work through it. If you go into labor thinking, “This is going to be the most horrible pain I’ve ever had in my life — I don’t think I can do it!”, that will likely be a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if you approach it from the other side of the coin, thinking, “My body is strong enough to do this, other women have done this for years, and my body was made to do this!”, you probably have a better shot at a less painful birthing experience.

Personally, I found hypnosis during birthing to be a little voice (or a recorded track playing in the background) telling me I was strong enough, I was capable enough, and I could get myself through the discomfort. There were some points in my last labor and birthing that I really needed those words, and having a calm voice deliver them softly to me was helpful in managing my labor.

If you’re planning or attempting an intervention-free labor and birth, it may be beneficial to learn about hypnosis. There are several commercially available programs for purchase, but there are even a few things you can do at home on your own. Writing a list of ten positive statements about how you intend to birth your child can be extremely helpful. Then go through your list and repeat it to yourself once per day. Provide your labor support person, significant other, or spouse with this list and have them read it to you while laboring.

The power of the right words at the right time can help you to your best birthing experience.

Would you try hypnosis to help you through labor?