Hypnobirthing Myths: 10 Things You Think You Know About Hypnobirthing
As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time trying to explain what Hypnobirthing is to friends, family and potential clients. What I’ve found is that alongside misconceptions about childbirth, there are so many misconceptions about Hypnobirthing. I’ve complied a list of 10 things that you might assume about Hypnobirthing below so I can dispel the myths and shed a little light on the truth of Hypnobirthing!
1. Hypnobirthing is only for ‘hippies’
First of all what is a 'hippy'? I can't help but think there is a negative connotation to that word and I don't see why. A loving shout out to all the self-professed ‘hippies’ out there but Hypnobirthing is for all parents. Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely not a ‘hippy’ (or whatever the stereotype of one is). However, I am a Hypnobirthing enthusiast. Hypnobirthing is for everyone!
2. Hypnobirthing gives you a pain-free birth
Another common misconception! While Hypnobirthing cannot guarantee a painless childbirth, it certainly does give you the techniques to cope with any painful sensations you may experience. I go in-depth on this topic in my courses at my Hypnobirthing Studio but briefly; it is the fear of childbirth (even a fear you may not know that you have as it lives in your subconscious) that causes your body to tense and feel pain. If you work and put effort into the birthing and relaxation techniques then pain can become significantly more manageable. Some women do say that Hypnobirthing gave them a pain-free birth though!
3. Hypnobirthing is really expensive
I suppose the answer to this one depends on what you define as ‘expensive’. Can you really put a price on having the knowledge and confidence to be an active decision-maker in your birth?
I charge £300 for my private Hypnobirthing classes and £225 for couples classes at the Hypnobirthing Studio. For that you receive approximately 10 hours of antenatal and birth preparation, which equates to £30 an hour for private classes or £22.50 an hour for a group class experience. You also receive a copy of the Hypnobirthing Book by Katherine Graves, course notes, positive birth stories, Hypnobirthing meditation music, links to birth videos, Hypnobirthing relaxation scripts, Colour and Calmness CD, printed Hypnobirthing Studio birth affirmation cards and a limited edition goodie bag. All that for less than you would spend per hour on a pregnancy massage. The definition of value for money!
4. Hypnobirthing doesn’t work for everyone
This is another myth that is contentious. We like to say that, “Hypnobirthing works for everyone but it works in a different way for everyone.” Your birth experience will be as unique as the baby you are carrying. It is true that if you read a Hypnobirthing book, download a Hypnobirthing app and listen to a few relaxation scripts sporadically that Hypnobirthing will not magically ‘work’. It does take time and dedication. It requires short daily practise.
The best results happen when women feel supported and are able to explore any fears they have and include their birth partner explicitly in the conversation about the birth they hope to have. Does that mean they will get their dream birth guaranteed? Not necessarily. But it does mean that they have given themselves the absolute best chance of achieving it.
5. You’ll be in a trance during labour if you’ve done Hypnobirthing.
Absolutely not! Women who do Hypnobirthing are calm and relaxed. They can chat as normal during the first stages of labour, many won’t even be aware that they are in labour! As it progresses, Hypnobirthing Mums may act differently than mothers who have not learned Hypnobirthing techniques. They will often be quieter, more into themselves as they use their breathing and relaxation techniques that they have been practising. They will not be ‘out of it’. Some women report feeling ‘in the zone’ but are fully aware of what is going on around them. Often they are able to, and simply choose to, ignore everyone!
6. Hypnobirthing is only for women who want a ‘natural birth’.
I first found out about Hypnobirthing from my boss and a teacher I worked with. Both of them raved about how it had helped them in their births. Both of them had caesarean sections!
It goes to show that no matter how your baby enters the world, Hypnobirthing is there to help you to deal with it. The information you gain will aid you in making informed choices for your birth. The course helps you to approach the journey of your birth with a critical mind, not a negative mind, but one that is full of confidence so that even if your birth does not turn out as you had expected, you have the tools to cope with it.
Hypnobirthing can absolutely help women who choose to have a planned caesarean or planned induction, for whatever reason, be that a medical requirement or personal preference. That’s the beauty of Hypnobirthing; I can tailor the course to suit you and your baby’s needs. Feel free to contact me to discuss any queries you have on how I can make Hypnobirthing better your birth.
7. Hypnobirthing is only for water births.
Following on from the previous myth, Hypnobirthing is for any birth situation. We do find that after our mothers-to-be hear about the benefits of water birth that many do choose to birth this way, but it is not a prerequisite! I Hypnobirthed both of my children, one in the water and one on dry land and I used my techniques exactly the same way for both births.
8. You can’t have pain relief if you do Hypnobirthing.
Not true! I find that women who practise Hypnobirthing are able to cope better with birth. That is not to say that they won’t choose to take pain medications, some of our mothers will, but the important thing to highlight is the word choice.
A woman who learns about Hypnobirthing will be in tune with her body, she will understand what is happening and will be equipped to make an informed decision if she feels she would like pain relief. She will not feel guilty for this. She will know that she has used all of her Hypnobirthing techniques and if she chooses medication then she already knows the pros and cons of each course of action and how that could impact on the progress of her birth journey.
There is no judgement in Hypnobirthing.
9. Hypnobirthing is just breathing techniques like 'Lamaze'
While there are, of course, breathing techniques within the Hypnobirthing toolkit, that is a fraction of what you will learn. It can be tricky to explain what Hypnobirthing entails. There are positive affirmations, birth physiology, understanding the mind/body connection, acknowledging fears, guidance for birth partners, insight into birth history, the role of midwives…I could go on.
Put simply, Hypnobirthing is an understanding; it is a state of mind about birth.
10. Hypnobirthing is not based on medical research or facts
Wrong. I could write so much on this topic and much of the first session of our Hypnobirthing Studio course addresses the logic behind why Hypnobirthing works. For starters, the KG Hypnobirthing course I trained on is accredited by the Royal College of Midwives. It is based on the very latest in medical research and you will often hear me referring to medical research Journals, the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines, WHO (World Health Organisation) recommendations and NHS policies.
The British Medical Association approves hypnosis. After consulting several experts and researching they concluded, “It is an effective method of relieving pain in childbirth without altering the normal course of labour.”
There you have it. My Hypnobirthing myth-busting mission is over! Did I miss any of your assumptions? If I did then pop a comment below and I’ll try to dispel more misconceptions!
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