In this blog post we are going to explore the various hypnobirthing techniques that are taught and practised by the parents to be prior to the birth. Hypnobirthing is essentially about teaching the mum to be to get into a state of deep relaxation and to allow her body to birth the baby naturally, without fear. The birth partner also has an important role to play in ensuring that the hypnobirthing techniques are used in whatever way they can be most effective, during the birth.
There are several hypnobirthing techniques that a couple will learn during their birth preparation classes. One of the most important techniques is a series of scripts, which promote relaxation and instill confidence that birth is a natural process. Usually these scripts are provided on a CD for the couple to listen to in the weeks preceding the birth. The mother practises slowing her breathing and letting go of any tension in her mouth, jaw, neck, shoulders and working down until she is totally calm. There is often some serene background music which accompanies the scripts, this becomes familiar to the mother and is known as an ‘anchor’. This simply means that, with continued practise, the mother will automatically relax when she hears the music.
Another extremely important set of hypnobirthing techniques are the two different types of breathing. During the first stage of labour when the cervix is dilating the focus is on upward breathing. This technique teaches the mother to slowly breathe in through her nose and to release the breath slowly through her mouth, allowing any tension, fear or discomfort to leave the body with each outward breath. At the same time she will visualise ‘up’ images such as sunrise or tall trees. The success of this technique lies in the fact that the mother is aligning her mind and body to work together seamlessly.
The second type of breathing, which is taught as part of the hypnobirthing techniques, is ‘down’ breathing. This entails a big breath in through the nose and then releasing the breath slowly and gently through the nose whilst concentrating on bearing downwards. The mother will move to using this type of breathing once her cervix is fully dilated and the baby is ready to move downwards, known as the second stage of labour. Some visualisations that are helpful during this stage are a waterfall, a rose opening into full bloom and outward ripples on a pond.
Another set of key hypnobirthing techniques that can be invaluable during labour are the application of specific massages. Here the birth partner is taught how to promote relaxation and relieve stress through the power of touch. Massage helps during labour as it triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Often light touch massage is promoted as it can be provided quickly to the arms, hands, shoulders or back. It can also help to re-focus the mother and can be very successful when used in combination with a relaxation script or music.
We have understood that there are several hypnobirthing techniques that the couple will learn to use during the birth.
The three most significant hypnobirthing techniques are:
1. Relaxation scripts including anchor music
2. Upward and downward breathing
3. Massage, especially light touch massage.
Hypnobirthing Techniques Video:
There are many hypnobirthing books to choose from. However, we would personally highly recommend Katherine Graves book called The Hypnobirthing Book as it is easy to read and gives more detailed information about hypnobirthing techniques.
We would also recommend that you find and listen to some great hypnobirthing CDs. A widely recognised favorite is Riverdawn which you can purchase directly from Amazon below.
Click here to find out how hypnobirthing techniques made a massive difference to the pregnancy, labour and birth of our second son.
If you would like some more detailed information on various relevant hypnobirthing topics, then please click on the relevant links below:
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