Also called the Mongan method, hypnobirthing was developed by Marie Mongan, an award-winning hypnotherapist and author of the book HypnoBirthing: A Celebration of Life (1989). The whole idea of hypnobirthing is based on the belief that Mongan described as follows: “Every woman has within her the power to call upon her natural maternal instinct to birth her babies in joy and comfort in a manner that most mirrors nature.”
The main goal of hypnobirthing is to help expecting mothers to stay calm and reduce the fear associated with labor and delivery, preparing them emotionally, spiritually, and physically for the baby’s arrival and facilitating a comfortable, natural delivery.
What techniques are used in hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing may be used alone or in combination with other birthing methods such as Lamaze to help mothers deliver their babies with minimal pain and intervention. Hypnobirthing includes techniques such as:
- Deep breathing
- Guided visualizations
- Pregnancy and birth affirmations
- Relaxation exercises
- Mindfulness exercises
Hypnobirthing classes may teach mothers to practice a positive mindset toward childbirth, encouraging the use of words such as “birth breathing” instead of “pushing,” “surges” instead of “contractions,” and “practice labor” in place of “false labor.”
Does hypnobirthing really work?
Research so far has shown mixed results about the effectiveness of hypnobirthing. There have been several reports, however, that suggest hypnobirthing may help reduce the pain or discomfort associated with labor. There have also been reports of shortened labor and reduced hospital stay, as well as a greater likelihood of having natural labor along with a decreased use of pain medications or anesthesia.
Most of these benefits, however, depended upon how early the hypnobirthing classes were started, which may determine how well the expecting mother could be trained in hypnobirthing.
Therefore, if you are interested in hypnobirthing, discuss it with your doctor. They may recommend a qualified hypnobirthing professional who can help you determine whether this method is right for you.
It’s important to remember that any pregnancy comes with potential risks and complications. So being prepared for anything can help you from being overwhelmed or frustrated if things don’t go exactly the way you expected.
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Mongan M. F. (2005). HypnoBirthing: The Mongan method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd ed.). Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications.
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