Childbirth is sometimes viewed with some trepidation in today’s modern society. Mothers to be can undergo considerable anxiety both about the process of pregnancy – perhaps how they will feel or what might go wrong – and the pain and discomfort of the inevitable delivery at the end of the nine months of carrying the child.
Hypnotherapy can go a long way towards helping this special time in the life of the mother and child to be really positive and enjoyable. All the hypnotherapy work can be done before the day of the birth leaving the special moment of the delivery to be enjoyed by mum and partner with the aid of the professionals on the spot.
- Suggestion Therapy can help to build up the mother’s confidence, and allow her to visualise continually a positive outcome.
- Analytical hypnotherapy can help to overcome any specific anxieties or problems the mother may have.
- Relaxation techniques can help the mother to overcome any physical discomfort in the later stages of pregnancy, and to cope with the labour pains of the actual birth.
Mandy, who gave birth to healthy baby boy, Peter, in July this year (2003) has kindly allowed me to illustrate the benefits of hypnotherapy through her experience.
Mandy first came for hypnotherapy about six months prior to her due date. She had considerable anxieties about her pregnancy. At some stage it had been installed into her mind that her hips were too narrow for normal childbirth. This was a big worry, and she wanted to overcome this and be sure that she would be in control during the birth. She also just wanted to make sure that she remained positive, and could really enjoy her pregnancy.
Mandy was initially given suggestions for relaxation and positive thoughts about her pregnancy. Then analytical hypnotherapy was used to trace the origin of her fears over the “narrow” hips. She knew the fear to have no rational foundation. One session of analytical therapy reframed her feelings to a much more realistic and positive view of her ability to have her baby healthily and safely. Once dealt with in this one session, the question of her hip size never bothered Mandy again.
Mandy was then given further sessions of suggestion therapy involving positive affirmations and visualisations of the pregnancy and birth. These positive suggestions were recorded on audio tape. This enabled Mandy to reinforce the suggestions in the comfort of her own home as often as she liked. These suggestions included encouraging her to “talk” to the baby inside her helping to strengthen the mother-child bond at the earliest opportunity.
At the same time Mandy was taught self Hypnosis so she could take more responsibility for her own relaxation and, as the pregnancy developed, the birth process itself. She was also taught a technique for deep relaxation. While the deep relaxation was primarily designed to help with the birth, it was also useful in allowing Mandy to rest late in the pregnancy. Deep relaxation taught in this way is a skill, and Mandy made it her business to practice it conscientiously over the following months.
The deep relaxation technique was specifically designed to allow Mandy to bring herself out of the state if necessary at any time during the birth to speak to the midwife or a doctor as and when necessary, and then take herself back into relaxation again as appropriate. By the end of the therapy Mandy had perfected this skill.
After the initial few sessions of hypnotherapy quite early in her pregnancy, Mandy did not feel the need to return for further work until a month before the due date when she came back for a final ‘positive thinking’ booster. Here we checked the deep relaxation and allowed Mandy to visualise a ‘perfect’ birth. We had also intended to deal with any limiting beliefs about the process, but Mandy was so positive this was not necessary.
Mandy rang me a day or two before the ‘official’ due date. Peter (7lbs 7ozs) had been born at 10.50am after Mandy had gone into labour at 3.30a.m. The contractions caused little discomfort, and Mandy enjoyed having her baby just one hour after arriving at the hospital. Mandy needed no other form of pain relief during the birth other than the skills she had learnt in hypnotherapy, which she was able to use right through to the final minutes. Her only other aid was a much appreciated glass of iced water. She was home with Peter by 7pm the same evening.
Now three months after the birth Mandy says “I had complete confidence in the process. The birth was relaxing and enjoyable. I might have panicked without it. I have heard that some mums have been put off after having their first child, and that some have traumatic flash backs. All I have is a lovely memory.”
Mandy says she will return for a refresher hypnotherapy session before the birth of her next child, which she confidently expects to have at home.