Understanding the “Hypno” in Hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing is a term you may have heard through the media as it has many famous fans. Jessica Alba, Pamela Anderson, Miranda Kerr, and Princess Kate are said to have used Hypnobirthing. 

So what is Hypnobirthing and why do all these celebs swear by it?

Hypnobirthing is really a general term for the use of hypnosis during birth. The “Hypno” part of “Hypnobirthing” translates to “sleep” in Greek and refers to self-hypnosis, which is used as a deep relaxation technique to let go of any birthing fears the mother might have. Why is this important? you may ask. Well, when your body experiences fear your muscles naturally contract and your breathing becomes more shallow. And that’s exactly the opposite of what your body needs to be doing when giving birth. You need to remember that your mind and your body are part of the one organism, and negative thoughts and fears will affect your body physiologically, by releasing stress hormones (which will block your endorphins – more on this further down). That’s why it’s vital that birthing mamas need to stay calm and in the birthing zone!

Have a snooze and the bub is out…

But before we dive any more into it let me just clarify that Hypnobirthing is not as simple as putting yourself to sleep and then next thing your bub is out. Instead, Hypnobirthing is a program where birthing mamas and their birthing partners learn techniques for a Positive Birth experience (in my opinion that is every woman’s right!). These techniques include self-hypnosis, relaxation techniques, positive affirmations, visualization, breathing techniques, breathing, massage, touch, movement, and acupressure.

Equipped with this toolbox of techniques birthing women can:
  • Be in a full relaxed/self-hypnotic state while still be aware of what’s happening around them – Kind of when you daydream while driving home and once you arrive home you wonder how you got there, asking yourself if you went through any red lights. You were in the driver’s seat and performed all the actions you had to but your mind was daydreaming.
  • Stay calm and relaxed, keeping your body out of the fight-or-flight mode that can come about by the unfamiliar environment of a birth room
  • Better manage pain and stress hormones by being able to release endorphins – Your body’s natural relaxant and pain relief.
  • Being aware of your breath and knowing how to use it – Breathing techniques can make all the difference when you want to maintain a calm state of mind and when the baby is going through the canal.
  • Having a birthing partner that is on the same page as you and is also equipped with techniques to help you stay relaxed and calm.

The power of endorphins

When learned and practiced prior to birthing, these techniques teach the birthing mothers how to stay calm, and access their bodies’ hormones, such as Endorphins. Endorphins (which are naturally produced by our bodies) are close to 20-40 times more powerful than morphine! They are a natural relaxant and pain relief that you can condition yourself to release to a thought. Kind of like Pavlov’s Dog experiment where dogs learned to associate the ring of a bell with food, and hence they salivated when they heard the bell even when the food was not present. 

You can never be too prepared

And although I’m not suggesting that giving birth is a walk in the park, it can be positive, calm and fear-free when we prepare our minds and bodies. You wouldn’t just show up on the day at a marathon and take part, you would train for months and months, right? Similarly, you need to prepare your body and mind for birthing and have a toolkit full of techniques that you can choose from on the day.


I hope this sheds a bit of light and helped you better appreciate the benefits of Hypnobirthing!

With love and support xx


PS: If you would like to be notified when our next Hypnobirthing Australia course starts make sure to register your interest by clicking here.

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