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Guest Blog Post - What is Hypnobirthing?

Suze from My Balanced Birth as kindly provided the answer to one of the most Googled terms for hypnobirthing... "What is Hypnobirthing?"

And this is problematic for hypnobirthing teachers such as myself as people don’t seem to know what it is we do, what we teach, why it’s important and what the benefit is for them.

By the time you’ve got to the end of this, I hope that you will not need to Google, what is hypnobirthing....

Hypnobirthing - is not the best name for a complete antenatal course, which offers you tools and techniques to use during pregnancy and birth and that also offers you support well beyond giving birth.  People get hung up on the 'hypno' bit thinking it’s some strange mind control.  The reality is, the techniques we teach you to use and practice yourself is focus, control and deep relaxation. In fact, when we can do this, we do actually change our operating brain wave from a beta brainwave to an alpha brainwave. We all automatically slip into a different brainwave when we relax - so going to sleep, having a massage, getting absorbed in a film or book and even driving!  It’s important that we know how we can help ourselves to get into this state - or birth partners helping you get into a more relaxed state- as we birth much more physiologically and therefore more comfortably.  Once we can get over the fact that hypnobirthing isn’t being hypnotised by someone or mind control, we can start to understand how this state benefits us, particularly when it comes to birth. And hypnosis has been used therapeutically for years to treat anxieties, phobias, trauma to name but a few conditions.

Hypnobirthing is also a practice. It isn’t a course that you can just show up, listen and then think yep, I’m all hypnobirthed up now!  Because throughout the course, you will learn that you need to unlearn a lot of things and practice the techniques.  Just like yoga, all the breathwork and positions take time, energy and practice to perfect - though you gain benefits from the first session. Likewise with hypnobirthing you have to practice the relaxation techniques, you have to practice the patterned breathing and visualizations, you have to repeat the affirmations you have chosen as well as going back to biology basics and actually learning and understanding what the body does during birth. So, hypnobirthing can provide positive focus in preparing for birth.

I like to describe the temple of hypnobirthing in what it includes:

The 4 pillars that form the temple are the practical and science-based evidence and knowledge you learn.  How birth works, its physiology, the muscles involved, the hormones etc.  Then you have the mind body connection and understanding basic neuroscience.  We have to of course think about active birthing and creating optimal space and positioning to aid our comfort when giving birth and of course, how to manage those sensations or pain management strategies. The glorious roof of our temple is all the home practice and actual work you need to put in - creating the right mindset for positive birth.  And without a strong foundation, our temple will fall, so hypnobirthing should include understanding your birthrights and working with care providers.


Well, the benefits of hypnobirthing were what sold it for me: potentially a shorter labour. Yep, I’m in! Reportedly more comfortable. Again, where do I sign? (I mean who wants to be in pain?) Then the more I learned and read, the more I realized hypnobirthing had far reaching benefits, some of which I will list here: less likely chance of interventions (assisted births, episiotomy, cesarean), less chance of developing Post-natal depression, opportunity for birth partner to become more empowered and involved, more reports of feeling positive after birth no matter how it happened and therefore a reduction in chance of experiencing birth trauma.

Not once did I think that practicing hypnobirthing was going to give me a pain free birth and actually both times, I have given birth, I decided to not have any forms of pharmacological pain relief, even gas and air.  What I hoped to gain from hypnobirthing was an opportunity to learn about my body and how it works, how I can make birth easier and more enjoyable, how my husband could support me and feel part of the experience rather than a bystander and how no matter what happened, that we had choices to make and that we felt at the heart of the experience.

As the most life changing experience we can go through and an experience we are likely to remember for the rest of our lives, I believe birth is something we need to invest in learning about because unfortunately what we see on TV, film and are told about, is not a true representation of birth and most importantly is not your birth!  I want all my clients to feel excited and prepared for birth and then afterwards to know that they prepared in the best possible way and remember the experience positively.

I run online and in person taster workshops every month and teach group courses both online and in Ipswich and you can sign up via my website


Suze Mildinhall, DipHb

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