Just “RELAX” and you won’t have pain in childbirth??

new parent in tub with baby covered in vernix


Although the philosophy of some birth programs teach students that they will not have pain during labor “if they just relax enough”, most students find that idea to be inaccurate and misleading. If this was a valid theory, millions of people would have had pain-free births just from practicing and using the wonderful deep relaxation techniques that are taught in most childbirth prep classes, and that is simply not the case. Although there are those who do have pain-free births without much preparation or through deep breathing and relaxation, for most birthing people much more is needed, physically, mentally, and emotionally to have a more comfortable childbirth experience. That’s where medical-grade, somnambulistic hypnosis comes in!

Childbirth experiences are different for everyone. There is no predicting how any one person will feel as they give birth. Telling someone that they will feel no pain if they just relax enough can confuse the person and create self-doubt before, during and after birth.

No, Fear, No Pain?

Other programs and books teach that since childbirth is a normal physiological process, there is “no physiological reason for childbirth pain” and that pain is caused mostly by fear. Therefore, eradicating fear in childbirth will eliminate their pain. In reality, people are moving a large object through and out of their bodies when they give birth, and there are many sensitive nerves, muscles, ligaments, organs and other body parts being pressed on, pushed, and stretched to amazing lengths during this process. The big bag of muscles we call a uterus has stretched to the size of a large melon and the contractions that tighten these muscles up are extremely powerful. This creates some intense physical sensations and emotional responses, and lessening fear is helpful in lessening pain, but does not ensure pain elimination. 

We do know of course, that pain can be made much worse by tension in the birthing body and by fear being present in the mind. The Fear/Tension/Pain Syndrome is very real, however it needs to be recognized for what it is: a response to be lessened or eliminated so that childbirth can progress much more easily and comfortably. Simply eliminating fear during childbirth rarely results in completely eliminating pain, and we can do a disservice to people when we tell them that it will, and provide no other “tools” to help.

The perceived intensity of birthing sensations depends partly upon:

• Emotions, before and during childbirth, since emotional and environmental stressors can cause constriction, Fear/Tension/Pain

• The size of the pelvis

• The size and positioning of the baby

• The strength of the uterine waves

• The birthing preparation (tools) each person has chosen, how well they practiced them and how they use them when giving birth

• The choices people make during childbirth which can assist in a more comfortable birth

• And many more … There are actually many other factors which impact pain levels and the perception of pain during childbirth. Relaxation and fear clearing are only two of the keys to a more comfortable birth experience.

Doing it “RIGHT”?

As we teach our Hypnobabies students, since each birthing journey is unique, there are many variables in childbirth.  We cannot ever know why each baby’s birth unfolds as it does, and they are always doing it right – there is never a possibility of “doing it wrong”. Childbirth cannot ever be wrong; it is always right and each birthing student does exactly what they need to do for themselves and their baby. It is painful and unfair for any new parent to have to feel as though they somehow “failed” at childbirth because they had a difficult birth experience in any way. However, that is how some feel if they are led to believe that if they had “relaxed enough” or “stopped fearing childbirth”, it would not have been painful. In Hypnobabies, every birth is a Hypnobabies birth, no matter how it transpired, and we hope that each new parent will see the glory and joy in their birthing experience as they deserve to. This is one of the reasons we have hypnosis affirmations and script suggestions that help our students to “accept any path my birthing journey takes, knowing it is the right one for me and my baby.”


So what makes Hypnobabies so successful at producing easier and more comfortable births? In Hypnobabies Hypnobirthing, during birth preparation and childbirth, we focus greatly on several elements that assist with making childbirth easier and more comfortable. They are:

1) Hypnosis: The most important element for an easier, more comfortable birthing, and takes students far beyond deep relaxation and breathing techniques. The deep, somnambulistic hypnosis used in Hypnobabies actually re-trains and conditions the inner mind to convert birthing sensations from painful ones to more comfortable ones. Hypnobabies students still experience normal birthing sensations such as pressure, stretching, pushing and tightening, as well as baby’s movements, and they can be experienced with much less discomfort in many cases. The following are side-effects of deep, somnambulistic hypnosis:

2) Deep Relaxation: The muscles of a birthing person’s body, especially the ones around the baby must be completely and totally relaxed so that they can work efficiently and without any added discomfort from the Fear/Tension/Pain response. Practice is therefore mandatory, and Hypno-students learn to instantly become  completely limp and loose like a dishrag when prompted to relax their body. This is one of the reasons we do progressive relaxation inductions, and in every Hypnobabies hypnosis script, audio track, cue and technique, deep relaxation is practiced so that it becomes a completely automatic response. It is our Hypnobabies hypnosis training which “implants” suggestions into our Hypno-students’ subconscious minds for instant and very deep total body relaxation.

3) Fear Clearing Sessions: Through hypnotic suggestion, our students are gently guided to acknowledge (without judgement) and release a lifetime of not-so-encouraging expectations about childbirth. Every birth story an expectant student reads, sees on TV, movies, online videos, or listens to in person during people’s stories about their own birth experiences helps create their belief system about the process of birth.

Hypnobabies Fear Clearing sessions help our students to let go of prior cultural conditioning, and to re-frame fears or concerns they may have about childbirth and parenting into a sense of confidence and happy anticipation for their baby’s birth. Releasing fears about birth and the resulting stress reduction, helps the body to relax and function well, to enjoy a restful sleep, and to actually enjoy pregnancy.  

Hypnobabies mom, Angie H., practicing her Hypnobabies hypnosis on a birth ballPregnant student listening to hypnosis on birth ball

How Can Hypnosis Help so Much?

The main way that hypnosis is used successfully in Hypnobabies is through Post-Hypnotic Suggestions. These are the mental directives/messages written with specific language for easier, more comfortable birthing that must be repeated (compounded) many times for the best effect. In order to create the deepest relaxation, real physical comfort and a calm, confident attitude, our pregnant Hypnobabies students need to reach a hypnotic state called somnambulism and listen to these post-hypnotic suggestions repeatedly for the best benefit. Their mental software becomes updated daily, and the embedded cues are activated during childbirth.

Somnambulism is a very deep state of hypnosis where the person looks as if they are sleeping, and they may even breathe heavily as if they were asleep, but they are not asleep. They are as relaxed physiologically as they are when sleeping, but still very aware of what is happening around them (IF they want to be!). It is in this deep state of hypnosis that the subconscious mind can be re-trained to lessen or eliminate pain sensations, a process that hypnotherapist/pain management specialists call “hypno-anesthesia”.

Hypno-students must practice their hypnotic cues and techniques on a daily basis until the baby comes to create an easier more comfortable experience for everyone involved. They simply have to do their “hypno-homework” every day, and it is actually the easiest thing our students do during their pregnancies! Getting into a relaxed, fully supported position and allowing themselves to float away into a wonderfully deeper mental and physical state … all while listening to suggestions for an easier, gentler and more comfortable birth. Hypnobabies practice is a gift they give themselves while pregnant that pays many dividends during birthing.

Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis really does help you enjoy a much easier and more comfortable birthing! Use code hypno1528 for 10% off our Hypnobabies Home Study Courses.