I say again and again to all of the lovely women I teach - Your body knows how to birth a baby & your baby knows how to be born.
However, our minds are funny things. Deep in our unconscious we hold blueprints about childbirth based upon experience or experience learned. We see interpretations of birth on television that are very rarely accurate. We hear other women talk about trauma they may have suffered. Or in fact joyous births but with perineal tears or problems which taken out of context create fear. We may have already had a tricky birth.
These blueprints once created become our mental pathways and there they remain until we call upon them.
We are all different. I have seen beautiful births, one where the mother just fanned herself with her hand commenting upon how hot she felt while smiling and joking with the midwives...while her baby crowned. I have spoken to other mothers who couldn't believe how unprepared they were even following their NCT or hospital ante-natal classes. They just didn't know how to 'cope' and their fear and panic spiralled out of control. No amount of 'telling' someone they should be calm will actually help them to find that state if their subconscious tells them otherwise.
So why hypnosis? Or hypnobirthing?
Hypnosis is used to create positive change by utilising normal mental functions such as imagination, visualisation and focus. Which basically means that anyone can use it, for pretty much anything.
Sports people have been using it for decades to give them the edge mentally and to calm fears and tension. Your mind and body are connected, so if the mind is in the right place then the body will work more efficiently. Your body knows how to birth your baby but what happens sometimes is the conscious mind, with its internal analysis, dialogue and self-doubt, prevents you from doing what you're able to do unconsciously.
And like the sportsperson, who is meant to perform to their best in front of a crowd of thousands their focus can stray. They may feel voices of doubt bubbling to the surface. 'Am I tense? Yes I am! Does this mean I'll be slower??' Then the more they worry, the tenser they become, their mind is now working against them. They have created a negative feedback loop by focusing on one thing and then feeding it...giving it oxygen to grow. And we do the same in birth. We can over worry and over focus.
Firstly we are rarely left alone to just birth without interruption (unless you have chosen a home birth), so you can feel that performance anxiety too. Then our attention is taken to the negative. 'We just need to give you a Vaginal Examination', 'I'd just like to monitor baby', 'How is your pain?'. When the focus turns to pain or fear there it will remain. A negative feedback loop has been created.
So how would you utilise hypnosis?
Thoughts are just thoughts, they are not facts. If you give something unnecessary weight you give it power. So you can choose that which you wish to give power to. We can use positive visualisation - 'I am going to feel soft and relaxed', 'These surges may be powerful but I will ride every one', 'This is good pain. Strong movements to birth my baby', 'This isn't happening to me, I am doing this, and I am doing it brilliantly', 'My body is working perfectly'.
The act of listening to your hypnosis MP3's changes the blueprints about birth which you hold. Slowly and surely you will begin to believe in your power, your strength, your calm and your ability to birth your baby. Each time you listen your positive beliefs about birth grow, your visualisations become easier. The ability to focus on the soft and relaxed areas of your body increases. You can become calm.
Of course not all birth will be straightforward. Some women and some babies will need more help than others but if we start from a place of calm and confidence, if our feedback loops are working to our benefit then any birth will of course become easier mentally, emotionally and physically.