Using hypnosis for assisting before, during and after giving birth has been gaining prominence in recent years, especially after it appears to have been championed by royalty. It would be nice, I guess, to have ‘by royal appointment’ on my website. Joking aside, royals have often influenced birthing practices. For example, Louis XIV’s wish to see a mistress give birth led to the predominance of the dorsal position. Prior to this women had tended to follow their instincts and give birth squatting, on all fours, etc. Queen Victoria’s wish for chloroform meant that birth (for the better off, at least) was shifted from the home to hospital, as doctors were needed to administer it. So watch this space.
Birthing can be a wonderful experience for all concerned – parents, family, friends, professionals and the babies themselves.
However, in our present culture, birth is all too often viewed with apprehension, if not dread. This view is reinforced by constant negative and/or distorted portrayal of birthing in film, drama and in the news media.
It does not need to be like this. Some of you may have already heard of hypnosis in connection with childbirth thanks to Hypnobirthing, which originated in America. However, for a local success story, you can now access the easibirthing method, which has been developed in conjunction with UK midwives. easibirthing is used as part of Salisbury District Hospital NHS Trust’s parent education programme. These workshops introduce women to relaxation and breathing techniques designed for use in labour and also as life skills for parenthood.
In my career so far, I have helped a number of women to view their lives – and pregnancies – in a positive light. I have further developed my skills by now becoming an easibirthing practitioner. easibirthing aims to help women – and men – approach birth with the three ‘C’s – calm, confidence and control. It goes beyond simple relaxation techniques by addressing the subconscious issues that can negatively affect childbirth and parenting for many.
It does not guarantee that birth will be pain-free, without complication or medical intervention. However, research has shown that those using hypnosis are more likely to have lower levels of pain or discomfort as well as a lower level of intervention.
There are also further potential benefits, from faster post-natal recovery rates to improved breastfeeding.
It consists of five hours of workshops for pregnant women and their birthing partners. These workshops are split into three segments, each lasting between 90 minutes and two hours. Those attending the first segment will gain a valuable insight into how hypnosis can help them in pregnancy and beyond. They can then, if they wish, attend the follow-on sessions.
Hypnosis CDs and written summaries of the topics covered are provided for participants’ use after each session. The workshops are aimed at both men and women. They are also suitable for first-time parents, those who already have children, those who are attending birth for the first time. Health professionals are also welcome to attend as observers or participants.
The sessions are held in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Sessions can be held in groups or tailored for individual couples. Mats are available for the hypnosis parts though participants may wish to bring beanbags or something else suitable to sit or lie on. Feedback forms are used to help ensure that these workshops offer what women and men want.
If you’re interested in taking part in my easibirthing classes, please send me an e-mail (PaulHancocks@aol.com)
These two videos from easibirthing (2 min version and 8 min version) are of women and birth partners talking about their birth experience.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9HNGqaq-kk (long version)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tBt7FrRLhg (short version)
Click on this link for what the Southern Daily Echo has previously said about the hypnosis for childbirth workshops. Please note that Hypnobirthing and Easibirthing are different models for providing hypnosis for childbirth and have no connection. Please note, too, that the Grove Natural Therapy Centre has closed since this article was printed.
This clip on Five Live features Nadia Sawalha talking about the birth of her 2nd child using hypnobirthing. This other segment offers an American perspective. I would add that birthing partners (which are usually the fathers-to-be) are part of the sessions and reducing their anxiety is a key component of making birth a positive experience for all.