Hypnosis for pregnancy, birth & beyond
This article was written by Sophie Fletcher. Sophie is a clinical hypnotherapist and HypnoBirthing® Practitioner. She works at health clinics in Grantham, Nottingham and Lincoln where she runs sessions for fertility, pregnancy and monthly HypnoBirthing® classes. To contact Sophie visit hypnurtureYou may have heard of HypnoBirthing®, Natal Hypnotherapy, the Bradley Method and the Lamaze Method, all of which use hypnosis and meditation for birth in a wider antenatal programme. However, I bet you didn't know that hypnosis can be used safely and successfully throughout pregnancy for a wide range of health issues?
Women with needle phobias, high blood pressure, discomfort, fear of childbirth, heartburn and water retention can all benefit. When it comes to smoking, research published in the British Medical Journal this year showed that nicotine in patches could still cross the placenta - however hypnosis is completely safe. You can try it to turn breech babies or for natural induction, preparing for a caesarean and rapid healing after birth.
Researchers have found that after 17 weeks cortisol, the stress hormone, can be found in the amniotic fluid at the same levels as in the mothers blood. A hypnotherapist can teach you simple self-hypnosis techniques for relaxation, which will help both you and your baby very early on in your pregnancy.
Under hypnosis you are deeply relaxed and can learn techniques that that help you visualise your baby in your womb. A little like a 3D scan but by using your own mind!
As a treatment it is growing in popularity since it has no negative side effects and can be used safely in pregnancy when women's other options are limited.
When women come to see me, usually through word of mouth, the most common reaction is "I wish I'd known about you earlier in my pregnancy."
How does it work?
Our minds are very powerful, and often when we say "it's mind over matter" we don't realise how close to the truth we are. Our conscious mind can only focus on a few things at any given moment in time, but our subconscious is much bigger and is constantly processing information and storing it away. Hypnosis works with your subconscious mind to help overcome unwanted habits or physical responses. For some things such as baby bonding and relaxation you may only need one session, while for others you may need longer.
What does it feel like?
If you've found your eyes glazing over in a meeting and then drifted off you'll have experienced an altered state similar to hypnosis. We all experience at least 3 hypnotic states a day, and may be surprised at how familiar it is. Your practitioner will have a chat with you first and then will ask you to sit in a chair where you can just relax and let yourself drift off.
It's likely that you will be fully aware of everything that is going on around you; traffic, doors banging, music playing, but will be completely at ease.
Contrary to popular myth, a hypnotherapist can't make someone do anything they don't want to do and you can stop the session at any time that you want.
It's important that you like your practitioner, make sure that you feel comfortable with them and, if you're not sure, visit a few as most will offer a free chat or consultation.
Does it really work?
Research to support the use of hypnosis in pregnancy and birth is growing all the time. There have been studies in the US and Australia that show hypnosis can help with relaxation, postnatal depression and managing discomfort. Some hospitals in Australia have begun to work with hypnotherapists in antenatal support.
How do I find out more?
You can find out more about hypnosis and the benefits of using it for fertility, pregnancy and birth by emailing Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting hypnuture. To find a hypnotherapist near you visit hypnotherapists the website for the National Council of Hypnotherapy.