Guest post by Hayley Ferut, RN, BSN, IBCLC
When using Hypnobabies for childbirth preparation you probably expect the tracks and suggestions to help you during pregnancy and birth. You’ll be excited to know that training your brain with the Hypnobabies course and listening to the tracks will change your brain to weather the storms of life beyond birth. The hypnotic suggestions of peace and being free of fear will follow you long after your preparation for childbirth has ended.
Hypnosis is a widely misunderstood concept. It is defined as the induction of a state of consciousness in which the person is more responsive to suggestion and direction. Most people think of hypnosis as a show on stage with people doing commands while not consciously aware of their surroundings or what is being asked of them. The self-hypnosis used in Hypnobabies is anything but that! It is a wonderful way to relax, retrain your brain, and prepare yourself for a truly spectacular birth. Even if things don’t go to plan.
Did you know that you are in a state of hypnosis at some point every single day? When you are not in full consciousness and starting to relax, you move to a light state of hypnosis. This is the state you are in while watching TV. You can hear and remember most things around you but you are in a more easily suggestible state. That’s probably why businesses pay so much for ads on TV! There are deeper levels of hypnosis where the mind is even more open to suggestions and directions. Hypnosis has been medically and scientifically studied as a way to reduce pain, anxiety, fear, and change certain behaviors.
What is Hypnosis for Childbirth?
Hypnobabies is different from other hypnosis-based childbirth preparations in that it uses evidence-based, “eyes-open childbirth hypnosis”. This allows you to move around, walk, and change positions in labor without coming out of the deeply relaxed state. Midwives and doctors both agree that it is helpful to be as mobile as possible during labor. Being able to be present and able to move around is a game changer that Hypnobabies helps facilitate.
It does require a commitment to practice. The brain is learning new ways of thinking and this demands repetition. Hypnosis can reprogram your brain with the thoughts and beliefs that you want to think instead of the unwanted ones you may have accumulated throughout your life. Fear of childbirth is a major reason some of our moms choose Hypnobabies. Through hypnotic suggestions and visualizations, your brain can believe without a doubt that your birth will be safe and wonderful.
The Helpful Effects of Hypnosis
Simply put, hypnotherapy is a technique used to try to get your conscious and subconscious mind to say the same thing. Using hypnosis for childbirth reprograms your brain into thinking and acting how you really want. This applies to our training for pregnancy and childbirth and reaches into breastfeeding, parenting, and beyond.
Hypnosis is good for the brain. Whether you stay mostly awake during a session or relax into a sleepy state, the mind switches from a state of alertness to a state of rest. A lot of the day our modern lives are triggering our sympathetic nervous system, or fight or flight mode, to come online. In this stage, the brain is on high alert and unable to rest. The brain tells the body to cope by sending out more stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Your heart races, you’re on edge, and your mind is overwhelmed. This doesn’t give your body any chance to heal, repair or relax. Training your mind with hypnosis allows your brain to go into a state of “rest and digest”. It gets down to the subconscious level and gives the conscious brain a rest. This is the parasympathetic nervous system taking over and allowing the body the space it needs to take a break. Healing occurs in this state. This is good news for your mental and overall health!
If you are always in an activated sympathetic nervous state your body simply does not have any space to heal. The sympathetic nervous system is thinking of only one thing; survival. When you get triggered into a fight or flight state, you can remember your hypnosis training and get your body back into rest mode. The parasympathetic mode should be our default state. With time and practice, peace will become a natural response.
Stress and breastfeeding do not go together. The hormones adrenaline and cortisol that are released when stressed actively block the breastfeeding hormone, oxytocin, from being effective. Oxytocin is the feel-good, love hormone that helps the milk “let down” or start flowing. This is released when the baby is close to you, your skin is touching their skin, or they start to suckle. All of these things feel so good, your body can’t help but start the flow of milk. Getting your mind into a parasympathetic, relaxed state is essential for a healthy breastfeeding relationship. Hypnobabies has tracks to help with relaxation and breastfeeding.
Hypnosis has also been used to heal a host of diseases. Not only can hypnotic suggestions help with behavior changes like losing weight or quitting smoking, but the healing properties of the body being in parasympathetic mode can also be life-changing. Medical hypnosis is used as an adjunct therapy for cancer, immune diseases, heart disease, and chronic pain. If the brain is not just focused on survival, the body can have a chance at healing.
Hypnosis is a great, evidence-based way to prepare your mind and body for pregnancy and childbirth. It also has wonderful effects on your mind when practiced often. Going into each session with an open heart and mind will help you get the most out of this precious time. Hypnosis can benefit your body and brain in numerous different ways. Not only can you have a wonderful, fulfilling birth but you can carry these techniques over into a calm, empowered breastfeeding and parenting experience with Hypnobabies.
“Hypnosis.” Mayo Clinic, 17 Nov. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hypnosis/about/pac-20394405.
Cleveland Clinic medical. “Hypnosis: What It Is, Why It’s Done, Benefits & Risks.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22676-hypnosis.
Campbell, Suzanne Hetzel, et al. “Delayed Lactogenesis II as a Cause of Insufficient Milk Production.” Core Curriculum for Interdisciplinary Lactation Care, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington, MA, 2023, p. 349.
My name is Hayley Ferut, and I have 10 years of combined experience as a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. My professional passions include birth, breastfeeding, mental health, and patient education. I strive to deliver high-quality healthcare content while being a mom to my precious little boys. I write to educate patients and clients so they can make informed decisions about their health.
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