“What is Hypnobirthing all about – and how can it help me?”

Hypnobirthing comes down to four things: Knowledge, Tools, Support and Preparation. Knowledge about options for care such as hospital (public or private), birth centre or home, midwife led or obstetrician; and knowledge about the physiology of birth – how our bodies are designed to work during birth – so that we understand what’s happening during labour and birth, and don’t fear that process. Tools such as massage, hypnosis, acupressure and more that assist in achieving a deep relaxation during labour and birth. Support from your birth partner, care givers and environment. Preparation so that you and your birth partner know what to do and what to expect when the time comes.

Having the knowledge and information about your options and about how your body works during labour and delivery will help you to state your preferences and make informed decisions about your care that are right for you and your baby. This creates the foundation for a beautiful, positive birth.

Becoming familiar with the tools of deep relaxation (hypnosis), massage, acupressure and others will give you a variety of techniques to use to help you achieve deep relaxation, trust in your body’s abilities to birth and manage the strong sensations that can come with labour and birthing a baby.

Your birth partner will be able to support you during labour and birth with not only the different tools but also with advocating for you and your preferences for labour and birth with the doctors, midwives and nurses. This includes making the environment in which you are labouring and birthing a supportive and peaceful one that helps assist with your relaxation and facilitates the process of birth.  You could use music, dim lighting, positive words, a birth ball, water etc. There is also information to give to caregivers about hypnobirthing to assist them in supporting you in your choices.

Preparation is about practicing the tools and techniques over and over during your pregnancy so that when your labour begins they’re second nature. It’s also about being prepared by doing all the things already mentioned – gaining knowledge (knowledge is power!), having tools to assist you, having the support of your birth partner and your caregivers, and practicing.

Hypnobirthing uses all of these things to empower you to have the beautiful, positive birth you deserve and are capable of.

Why choose Hypnobirthing Australia™?

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How is Hypnobirthing different from other childbirth methods?

Other childbirth methods tend to teach you how to ‘cope with and manage pain.’ Hypnobirthing is based on the premise that someone who is healthy, with an uncomplicated healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, should be able to birth in a more comfortable manner and without unnecessary interventions. We focus on the joy of birth and positively anticipate our birthing day. When we understand that pain is caused by constrictor hormones (created by fear), we can learn to release fear and create endorphins instead. Endorphins are the ‘feel good hormones’ that we naturally produce when we are calm and happy. We also change our perceptions. Instead of thinking of a ‘long, painful labour’ – we replace this thought with expectations of a more comfortable birthing. Rather than exhausting, shallow breathing and the distraction techniques of typical “prepared childbirth” programs; Hypnobirthing parents learn deep abdominal breathing and total relaxation, enabling us to work in harmony with our body and baby. This allows us to achieve an often shorter and more comfortable labour.

Do I need to do hospital antenatal classes?

The choice is yours. The Hypnobirthing Australia Course is a very comprehensive course in natural childbirth education. Hospital antenatal courses often cover a lot of information about interventions and medical procedures during birth. In hypnobirthing we learn all about the birth process, what to expect during pregnancy/the onset of labour/birthing, how to release any fears associated with birthing and we learn techniques (relaxation, breathing, visualisations and deepening exercises) to use during labour. Having said that, we are of the belief that ‘knowledge is power’ and the knowledge that you will gain through antenatal classes, along with your hypnobirthing classes, can help you to make informed decisions.

Is this only for natural births? What if I don’t opt for a natural childbirth or if circumstances necessitate medical intervention or a caesarean birth?

Absolutely not!

The things you will learn in your hypnobirthing classes will help you to learn relaxation skills that will be useful to both you and your baby, regardless of your birth experience. In the event that medical intervention of any sort is needed, you will find yourself better able to remain calm and in control. Parents who have needed scheduled caesareans for medical reasons report that they were totally relaxed before, during and after the procedure. Many report that they needed little or no medication following the birth, and they were able to return to normal functioning in a very short period of time.

Can hypnobirthing be beneficial to someone who has special circumstances, VBAC or who must have a C-section?

Hypnobirthing is very beneficial to parents who have special circumstances. Many obstetricians, midwives and doctors are now requesting that parents take a hypnobirthing course or similar before VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean).

In fact, we even have special tracks and an alternative program designed for caesarean birth. We want you to experience a positive and empowering birth; regardless of how your precious baby comes into the world.

Is my partner included in the course?

The birth partner of the birthing parent’s choice (could be your partner, doula, sibling, friend, parent – whoever you feel will best support you throughout your pregnancy and birth) can be an integral part of the hypnobirthing experience. They practice with the birthing parent in helping to prepare for deep relaxation. During labour the partner guides the labouring parent through hypnosis prompts, relaxation techniques, deepening methods, and visualisations, provides comfort measures, and joins in welcoming the new baby.

When is the best time to do the course?

You can begin hypnobirthing any time, but we recommend that the optimal time to start your course is between 20 and 30 weeks. This will give you time to practise the self-hypnosis, relaxation and other effective techniques for gentle, easy birthing but also ensures that the course is still fresh in your mind. If you are outside of that range please don’t worry, you can definitely still attend the classes and achieve a beautiful, calm birth. Melissa actually learnt hypnobirthing only 3 weeks before the birth of her first child and went on to use it successfully for all three children! Please contact us directly about options if you are further along in your pregnancy.

What will I learn?

Hypnobirthing is a childbirth method that focuses on preparing parents for gentle birth. In hypnobirthing classes, you will learn proven techniques in a well-thought-out program of deep relaxation, visualisation, and self-hypnosis. All of these are designed to help you achieve a more comfortable birth.

Course Outline

Unit 1:

Creating & maintaining a positive mindset

  • Introduction to the positive mindset of hypnobirthing
  • How our brain is wired to birth
  • The role of our caregivers
  • Mind/body connection
  • What is self-hypnosis and how will we use it for birthing?
  • Our hormones are our friends
  • My amazing uterus – understanding the physiology behind birthing
  • Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome
  • Causes of Fear (including history) and how it affects our labour
  • Re-programming the Subconscious
  • The language for empowered birthing
  • The power of affirmations
  • Birthing environment

Unit 2:

Our toolkit for birth

  • Self-hypnosis tracks
  • Birth music
  • Conditioning with scent
  • Hypnotic anchors and triggers
  • Releasing endorphins through massage and touch
  • Acupressure techniques for pregnancy, birth & breastfeeding
  • Visualisations for pregnancy, labour & birthing
  • The importance of facial relaxation
  • Relaxation Breathing – a skill for life
  • Surge Breathing – the best tool ever!
  • Techniques to help make your surges more comfortable
  • The ‘urge’ to push/bear down – Breathing/Bearing down

Unit 3:

Preparation & choices for empowered birthing

  • Bonding with baby
  • Choices in maternity care
  • Birth Preferences – having open communication with your caregivers
  • Knowledge is power – researching common interventions and procedures
  • Questions to ask, to assist in making informed decisions
  • Birth partner as advocate
  • ‘Guess date’ – a normal range of pregnancy
  • Inductions – things you’re not always told
  • Achieving a natural start to labour
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Preparing the body – staying active
  • Optimising baby’s position
  • Breech or Posterior – options & positions
  • Instant relaxation techniques
  • Self-hypnosis, meditation and deep relaxation techniques & scripts

Unit 4:

Birth – bringing it all together

  • What to expect in the weeks and days leading up to birth
  • Signs that labour is starting
  • What to expect through labour (membranes releasing etc)
  • When to call the midwife/go to the hospital
  • Accidental home/car birth – what to do!
  • Birth partner’s role
  • Common procedures
  • Using water during labour and birth
  • Upright positioning, movement and birth positions
  • Special circumstances (including caesarean birth)
  • Fear release
  • Vocalisation
  • Cord clamping & placenta delivery
  • Undisturbed bonding & breastfeeding time – skin to skin
  • What to expect afterwards
  • Self-hypnosis – Rehearsal for Birth
  • A practice routine – preparation for birth!

Will I be unconscious or will I remember my birth experience?

Despite misconceptions and misinformation, you are definitely not unconscious during self-hypnosis. The Hypnobirthing parent is deeply relaxed, but they are also an active participant in the labour process. Though they are deeply relaxed, they are totally aware and may return to a conversant state or choose to become mobile whenever they desire. Hypnobirthing parents often find that they experience time distortion and are not distracted by other people or their birthing environment, while they focus on their birthing and their baby.

Is it true that I will experience a pain-free birth with hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing does not promise painless birthing, though many hypnobirthing parents do report having a relatively pain-free birth or one that they were able to manage easily. When the cause of pain – fear, that constricts the birthing muscles – is eliminated, birthing can be accomplished in a shorter period and much more comfortably. A relaxed body will produce more endorphins, nature’s own relaxants. Hypnobirthing parents may still experience sensations of tightening or pressure; but most describe their birth experience as working with their body through the sensations, and thus avoiding the excruciating pain that is frequently spoken of by parents who have prepared for their birth differently.

Melissa can speak from personal experience (having used hypnobirthing techniques for her own 3 births) and says, “I can honestly tell you that when I worked with my body (in a relaxed state), I felt strong sensations, tightening, pressure, but not directly what could be described as ‘pain’. It was no ‘walk in the park’, it was at times very hard work, but there was no screaming or distress. I was calm, focused and working with my body to birth my children. My hypnobirths were beautiful, positive, calm and very joyful births and I believe that every woman deserves the opportunity to experience birth that way!”

What if my doctor/midwife is not familiar with Hypnobirthing? Can I still use this method and how can my healthcare providers help me to achieve my Hypnobirthing goals?

More and more care providers are becoming aware of the benefits of Hypnobirthing. If your care giver is not knowledgeable about Hypnobirthing, take the opportunity early in your pregnancy to discuss the techniques you will be using and the type of calm birthing environment that you desire. In class, you will learn how to create a plan of Birth Preferences, which will help you to communicate your birthing goals and preferences to your doctor or midwife.