Receiving those two lines on your pregnancy test can be one of the most exciting and life-changing moments ever. Babies are a blessing, and it’s always an exciting thing to welcome your new bundle of joy soon. While a happy moment, there’s no denying that one dreaded moment of expectant moms: the birthing process.
Many women still fear going through labor and birth because of all the horror stories with all the pain and other challenges. Truth be told, however, there are many ways you can prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for that moment, one of which is hypnobirthing. This refers to using hypnosis and specialized breathing techniques to have a drug-free and natural birth as much as possible.
If you’re a first-timer to hypnobirthing and calm birth but you’d really like to give the idea a try, here are some techniques and guidelines you can apply:
1. Controlled Breathing
One of the most common techniques practiced in hypnobirthing is controlled breathing. Midwives who are advocates of hypnobirthing will show you that there are generally two ways to do controlled breathing.
First, breathe deeply in and out of your nose. Breathe in at the count of four, and then breathe out at the count of seven. Second, you still follow the same breathing pattern. But the difference now is that you inhale at seven, and exhale again after another seven counts.
Whichever breathing technique you apply is up to you. The whole premise of this, however, is to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, to give calming vibes.
2. Putting Negativity Aside
The success of hypnobirthing isn’t dependent only on the techniques you apply during your labor and birth process. It also includes everything else in your life, during your pregnancy.
When you get pregnant, it’s normal to come across horror stories from colleagues, neighbors, and even family members about their birth experiences. If you listen to all those, you’re going to have negative thoughts of yourself going through the same.
For hypnobirthing to work, you need to mentally push the delete button to all of those thoughts and conversations. Focus instead on listening to or reading all the positive stories of all those who had a pleasant birthing and pregnancy experience. Remember, just because your sister had quite an awful birth experience doesn’t mean you should, too.
3. Staying Relaxed During Birth
Whatever it is that’ll help you stay relaxed and calm, focus on doing those during your labor and birth process. It may seem easier said than done, but it’s really important to do if you want to have a successful hypnobirthing experience. Relaxing is needed, for good results.
Is it yoga or gentle exercise that’ll keep you relaxed? Bring your mat with you and do a few pregnancy-safe stretches in your hospital room. Is it listening to classical music? Watching a feel-good movie? Download all those on your tablet to bring to the hospital.
4. Guided Visualization
Guided visualization is another technique practiced by midwives during hypnobirthing. This isn’t something you can do on your own, so be sure you have help with you. For example, with guided visualization, you might be asked to picture a flower that’s opening. The gentle movement of the petals from a closed bud to a flower may just be what you need to help you relax.
The idea of guided visualization is to put you in a daydreaming-like state. You may:
- Be better able to manage pain through the release of more endorphins
- Be more fully aware of what’s happening around you
- Become more relaxed
The mind has so much power over your body. When you think and believe you can do and achieve something, chances are you really will be able to do it. This is where the power of positive affirmations kicks in.
Once you’re in labor, keep repeating affirmations to yourself. You can do this. It’s going to be pain-free. Birth is beautiful. You and your baby are well. You’re a strong woman. These are only a few of the many things you can tell yourself to affirm your strength and ability in birth.
It helps also to have the support of your spouse or partner in giving those positive affirmations. Even a gentle act of holding each other’s hands is a big enough affirmation that you’re loved, respected, and valued for your effort and sacrifice as an expectant mother.
Bearing life inside of you is definitely nothing short of a miracle. You’ll have a baby to care for and nurture, for the next phase of your life. Before that life-changing moment of holding your baby for the very first time, there’s still that top challenge of being able to hurdle childbirth. This is how techniques like hypnobirthing came into being. Natural birth is possible, especially if that’s what you’re aiming for. Master the techniques above, so a gentle birth will be a reality for you.