What is HypnoBirthing?

HypnoBirthing® has been taking the birthing world by calm(!), and courses are held on a regular basis at Origin. Our midwives often say that they can tell when a baby’s parents have been on the course, because the baby is also very calm! So what is HypnoBirthing®, actually? Kim Young, who runs the courses at Origin, explains all.

The world for the pregnant woman is one filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety and, in many instances, a very real fear or trepidation, particularly for first-timers. HypnoBirthing® is designed to alleviate the factors which cause fear, allowing you to birth your baby using your body’s natural, perfectly designed, and ultra-efficient muscles and pain relief to manage the process calmly and with minimal discomfort.

Understanding how pain occurs

At the onset of labour all the senses mentioned above become heightened, and all too often the fear responses take hold, and begin to govern the progress of the labour. The body’s response to fear is to release adrenaline, causing muscles to tighten (the flight, fight or freeze response) and blood to divert to the major survival organs (of which the uterus is not one). So the very muscles designed perfectly to birth your baby begin to work against each other and cause pain. The pain causes the body to release more adrenaline, and a cycle of pain-adrenaline-pain is triggered. Added to this, the lack of oxygen in the uterine muscles creates lactic acid, increasing the level of pain even further.

The way your body is supposed to work

In contrast, when a woman is excited and relaxed about meeting her baby, and she understands and trusts that her body is perfectly designed for the task, she releases endorphins (the body’s natural relaxant) at the onset of labour, which supplement the hormones specifically released to allow her to birth her baby easily. This powerful natural combination of endorphins – which help the muscles relax and are 200 times more potent than morphine – and hormones makes the birth an exhilarating and exciting process, rather than one filled with escalating pain and discomfort.

How HypnoBirthing® works for you

By using a range of simple self-hypnosis, breathing and relaxation techniques from around 28 weeks of pregnancy, HypnoBirthing® mums are, with regular practice, able to reach a deep state of relaxation, allowing them to switch off the part of the mind which is responsible for triggering the adrenaline release. You are in full control – the techniques produce an effect no different to the mild state of hypnosis experienced when you become engrossed in a good book, watch TV, daydream, or drive (ever got somewhere and not remembered parts of the journey?). This relaxation makes pregnancy easier and more enjoyable, and HypnoBirthed babies are on average significantly calmer and more relaxed infants.

HypnoBirthing® statistics speak for themselves

Ninety-five per cent of women are capable of having a ‘comfortable’ birth without medical intervention; 70% of women that have used HypnoBirthing® used no pain relief at all; while a further 15% used only something mild such as Entonox (gas and air).

HypnoBirthing® was founded by Marie Mongan in the late 1980s in the USA and is now taught in 34 countries worldwide. Only practitioners affiliated with the HypnoBirthing® Institute (still run by Marie Mongan) are qualified to teach the course.

How HypnoBirthing® worked for me

Our daughter Kiera was born in 2005 in hospital, after a fairly “typical” first labour – 14 hours, lots of shouting, stalling and screaming, all of which was exhausting and painful. I discovered HypnoBirthing® shortly after falling pregnant for the second time in 2007, and this time I was determined to have a more positive experience, and take control of the process. After learning the HypnoBirthing® methods, our son James was born, at home, in under 2 hours following a pain-free, drug-free labour. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and inspired me to train as a practitioner so that I could pass on what I had learned and experienced. I trained and qualified as a practitioner in the UK in 2008, and have been lucky enough to teach many mums, who have all had wonderful birthing experiences.

I returned to Cape Town permanently at the beginning of December 2009 and founded ‘Beautifully Born’. I hope to help women in South Africa to have comfortable, natural and fulfilling birth experiences, and offer a viable alternative to the ‘standard’ labours that for so long were regarded as the only way to bring children into the world.

For more details on HypnoBirthing® in Cape Town or to contact Kim visit www.beautifullyborn.co.za

Look at the Calendar to see when the next course is on at Origin.


Recent participants in the HypnoBirthing course held by Kim Young at Origin

Recent participants in the HypnoBirthing course held by Kim Young at Origin