How effective is hypnobirthing? Statistics vary by the program and method, depending on the length and number of hypnosis sessions, the materials used in each, and the skill of the hypnotherapist or teacher, as well as the dedication and compliance to the program of each birthing couple. Ideally, hypnosis-for-childbirth instructors should have backgrounds in both hypnotherapy and childbirth education, and be able to address each woman's personal needs.
Benefits of Using Hypnosis for Childbirth
- Fewer drugs or no drugs at all mean less risk of side effects to mother and baby.
- Resistance of the birthing muscles as a response to pain is minimized or eliminated, allowing for shorter labors.
- Relaxation throughout the birthing process results in an awake, energized mother.
- The birthing environment is more calm and peaceful.
- Breech and posterior babies can be turned using hypnosis.
- There can be fewer interventions and complications during labor.
- Babies may be better sleepers and nursers due to fewer drugs in their systems.
How to Study: Where Do You Start?
Research all options to find a hypnobirthing program that allows you to achieve your goal. Here's how to begin:
Interview hypnotherapists before working with one and ask what type of program they have for childbirth using hypnosis, as not all of them already have an effective program in their practice. A good program will include at least four sessions in the office (six to seven are optimal), with the last session one week before the estimated due date. It should also include at least one tape or CD to listen to at home by yourself, and one or more cues for the birth companion to practice that help you relax and go deeper into hypnosis.
Many hypnotherapists have developed their own effective childbirth hypnosis programs, and some will use and modify programs such as Gerald Kein's Painless Childbirth Program. The attraction to this kind of program is that it allows hypnotherapists to adapt the program to fit the needs of their own practice, creating their own scripts and tapes from the original program sessions, and fully modify them to the needs of each woman's needs. This helps tremendously with women who have personal issues that need to be resolved, such as VBAC moms, those who have had a past negative birth experience, or those who have specific fears about childbirth.
To find one, do a search on the Internet for: "hypnosis, childbirth, home study." An adequate home study program will have detailed information on hypnosis and how to use it in childbirth, and hypno-tools for you to achieve your goals: books, CDs, tapes, or DVDs, handouts, hypnosis scripts. As you will be studying on your own, it is your responsibility to gain as much knowledge as possible, so choose well.
A popular self-study program is called New Way Childbirth, which uses audio and video materials for all three trimesters of pregnancy, bonding, and labor and delivery.