Is a pain-free birth possible?

When I fell pregnant for the second time (after a hospital-based, 14-hour, sweaty and breathless labour with my first child) I felt that I wanted more control over the experience of natural birth this time around.

I had seen a documentary on 'HypnoBirthing' a few years before, and was astonished to find that this technique had been going for over 20 years and is taught in 34 countries. I mentioned it to a pregnant friend and discovered that a friend of hers had just trained as a practitioner.

I took the 5 week antenatal HypnoBirthing course where I learned how the body works during labour; and that the fear we as mothers are led to believe is ‘normal’ actually creates the tension which causes the pain we feel during birth.

The most important thing I learned is that birth is in every sense a normal, natural process and our bodies are perfectly designed to do it. By learning simple techniques that taught me to relax deeply and become in tune with my body and baby, and by listening to positive messages about birthing, I really started to look forward to my labour!

When the time came, my first sign of labour starting was my waters releasing. We were living in the UK and had planned a homebirth with our midwife. My husband took our daughter to stay with a friend and when he returned my surges (contractions) were 2 minutes apart. I was feeling no discomfort, was totally relaxed and in control. The lights were low and I spent some time relaxing in the bath and on the sofa with soft background music and an affirmations CD.

After 1 hour 48 minutes our son James was born – I experienced no pain. What I was actually feeling was more like pressure and tightening, and no more intense than period pains, very manageable.  I was smiling through my contractions at one point because my endorphin levels were so high,  I had goosebumps all over my body! I used no pain relief, and was totally elated after his birth.

Our midwife said afterwards that she had no idea what stage of labour I was in, and was amazed at how relaxed I was throughout. I cut the umbilical cord, fed James for an hour and put him to sleep in his bassinet.

After a wonderful shower, I sat with my husband to eat the curry I had been making when my waters released a few hours earlier. It was this experience that inspired me to train as a practitioner and to pass on what I had learned.

Common misconceptions

Hypnosis is against my religion
Hypnosis is a natural state we all experience, for example daydreaming, watching TV, reading a book, even driving.

Moms are 'out of it' through their labour
Because you remain fully conscious and in a relaxed state women are actually far more aware during labour about their body and baby – far less 'out of it' than with medication, and with no side effects for either.

HypnoBirthing is all about natural birth
70% of HypnoBirthing moms use no pain relief at all. For many moms it is the first time they really learn to relax and trust their body. But just because you have the techniques to call on doesn't mean you still can't havemedication if you choose. 

Read more about Hypnobirthing

Would you consider hypnosis during labour? Or have you done so already? Share with us below.

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