Sadly, these days women are often ridiculed or shamed if she shares that she would like to give birth naturally without pain medication. Friends, family, co-workers, strangers, and even medical caregivers are quick to dismiss her exclaiming, "Well, you can try to give birth without an epidural, but I don't believe you will be able to do it." When remarks like these come from an authority figure, it is known as what we refer to in hypnosis as a prestige suggestion. Negative prestige suggestions like these can completely undermine a woman's belief in herself.
When a woman’s subconscious is programmed with negative beliefs about pregnancy and childbirth, it causes her to doubt herself, her body, and her ability to give birth to and mother her child. If it is her first pregnancy, her subconscious mind does not have any previous personal experience to refer to. Therefore, it references everything that she has been told by others, watched on television or in movies, and viewed on the internet. If her subconscious is programmed with is scary and disempowering thoughts, beliefs, and images, she will go into fight, flight, or freeze mode in order to protect herself and her baby. This can make for a more stressful pregnancy and a painful, frightening birth experience for them both. The beauty of hypnosis assisted childbirth is its ability to ‘de-hypnotize’ these negative messages and beliefs that are constantly coming at pregnant mothers in all different directions from the media, caregivers, friends, family, and even strangers.
Fearful thoughts and/or negative emotions can inhibit the hormonal balance necessary for laboring efficiently. The hormone oxytocin, which is released by the anterior pituitary gland, regulates uterine contractions. Oxytocin is less likely to be released if a mother is upset. At the same time, the stress hormones released when she is very tense can impair labor. This fear and tension cause the muscles around the cervix to tighten. Longer and harder contractions become necessary to open the tight cervix. Tension also decreases the available oxygen to the uterus when a woman enters into fight, flight, or freeze mode, leading to more painful contractions. A confident, relaxed state eliminates the Fear- Tension- Pain Cycle, thus maintaining the necessary birthing hormones and enhancing the release of endorphins. Endorphins are our own natural pain relievers which are 200 times stronger than morphine! With hypnobirthing, you will learn how to tap into nature's own epidural and call upon your body's own natural relaxant, thus lessening, or even eliminating discomfort and the need for medication.
My hypnosis assisted childbirth classes provide women with deep, powerful relaxation techniques that are taught in an incremental approach. Each session of the four-class series builds on the next, facilitating the release of fears. My classes help you to connect with your own inner wisdom and define your own beliefs about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. The effectiveness of these classes comes from the synergistic blending of a comprehensive childbirth education with creative visualization, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, fear release techniques, positive affirmations, and the development of a relaxation habit within the mind and body. Women naturally go inward during labor, and hypnosis assisted childbirth skills help you to more effectively maintain nature's own labor-land. Even though you are in a deeply relaxed state, you are still able to easily interact with others, utilize different labor positions, etc.
This relaxation habit is a tool you can use on your own, whenever you may need it. I feel this is vitally important, especially during labor. If I make a woman dependent on me, a partner, or a doula to help maintain this relaxation, I am not serving her well. Of course, a birth companion reinforcing the skills is extremely valuable. However, that is not something that every birthing woman has or every birth partner is able to provide.
Using birth hypnosis techniques during pregnancy and birth positively impact your baby and you. Purposely taking time each day to relax lessens tension and fears reduces the amount of stress hormones present within your body and your baby's body. Research has shown that the hormones produced by a mother experiencing chronic stress will profoundly alter the distribution of blood flow in her baby and change the character of her developing child's physiology. Birth hypnosis elicits the relaxation response, which counteracts the body's physical and emotional response to stress, allowing it to return to a calm relaxed state. When a person elicits the relaxation response, there is a measurable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle tension, and stress hormone levels. The relaxation response also causes normal waking brain-wave patterns to shift to predominantly slower patterns and pave the way for the hormonal and immune systems to return to normal, benefiting you both. A recent study concludes that "Babies who experienced the calm of HypnoBirthing® in the womb and during their birth were more likely described as calm, content and happy as both babies and older children. The Hypnobirthed babies were also more likely to be to be good sleepers, as well as easy and alert babies."
Mothers fondly remark on the deep connection and bonding present with their babies that took place during their pregnancies. These benefits extend beyond your birthing, for you will have valuable life enhancing skills that you can use for the rest of your life.
HYPNOBIRTH ON THE BIRTH EASE PODCAST
In this first episode of Michelle's series on hypnobirth, she shares her guest appearance on the Birth Story Podcast with Heidi Synderburn. Michelle explains ins-and-outs of Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies, and guided relaxation. Michelle addresses the misconceptions surrounding these practices, as well as provides guidance on preparing for the birth plan of your dreams, no matter what it looks like. Heidi shares her insights on birth hypnosis as a Certified HypnoBabies™ Doula. Heidi and Michelle end the episode with Michelle giving a brief hypnobirth relaxation session.
In this second episode in Michelle’s series on birth hypnosis, midwife Laura Nathan shares her passion for homebirth and the difference that hypnobirth makes within pregnancy, labor and birth, postpartum, and beyond in this replay of episode 44.
"Because it doesn't have to be that way. That's what we see in the movies and the sitcom sketches. It doesn't have to be that way of the screaming, painful birth that is just awful and gotta get through it and suffer through to get to the end, to the good thing at the end, which is the baby. The process can also be really uplifting. It can be a really beautiful process that… the mom can feel really empowered by it."— Laura Nathan
In this third episode in the birth hypnosis series, Rene Brent, Clinical and Transpersonal Hypnotherapist, and Michelle dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding hypnosis and hypnotherapy. They discuss the power of the subconscious mind works and how it works. Rene explains the imprinting that can happen within the subconscious mind, especially when we are children. Together Michelle and Rene share the transform that hypnotherapy can create.
"Thoughts create chemistry, and chemistry, we feel that in our physical body. If it's fear then we have another thought because we feel it in our stomach or our gut. And that's called the felt sense… When you are in worry and fear because worry is all about fear. Nobody worries about things being amazing." —Rene Brent
In this next episode Michelle's series on Hypnobirth, she shares some of the realities of birth and being a hypnodoula. She expresses her gratitude for hypnosis and hypnobirth, for what she teaches, as well as her gratitude for the families she has worked with over these 20 years. She ends the episode with the fun birth story of her April Fool's Day hypnobaby prankster.
"[Hypnosis], it's an incredible tool for healing, and for returning to our center and connecting with our own inner wisdom."— Michelle Smith
In this next episode Michelle's series on Hypnobirth, she shares what led her to become a birth hypnosis specialist and a bit of history regarding hypnobirth. Michelle has previously certified in and taught both HypnoBirthing and Hypnobabies childbirth programs. She thoughtfully shares her observations regarding the two methods to help expecting families to decide which method might be best for them.
"I believe that the relaxation techniques that I teach provide a birthing woman a focus and control not realized by the average birthing person. Women report a feeling of empowerment, that they have learned skills they can use the rest of their lives." —Michelle Smith
In this episode of Michelle’s series on Hypnobirth, Michelle invites Stephanie Smith back to the podcast. Stephanie has over 20 years of experience as an E-RYT, PRYT Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and as a student of meditation. Together they have a casual conversation regarding the benefits, similarities, and differences of hypnobirthing/hypnosis and the Calm Birth Meditation practices.