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Painless Birth with HypnoBirthing
By Elizabeth Bonet

“Hypno what?” HypnoBirthing, a legitimate, alternative way to give birth! Birth usually takes at least a little time, so how do you relax and actually enjoy giving birth? One method that’s becoming increasingly popular is HypnoBirthing.

Before we get into the good stuff, let’s review what HypnoBirthing is not. It’s not traditional hypnosis. You are not unaware of your surroundings; you don’t lose track of who and what are around you. You are not in a trance or asleep. And most importantly, you are not going to miss your baby’s birth – not even a minute of it! You will be completely present when your little one looks around for the very first time.

So what is HypnoBirthing? First of all, it’s a completely safe method of childbirth. It’s a way for you to really relax and let your body do the work it needs to do in order to birth your baby. It’s a deep state of relaxation that you don’t normally reach in everyday life.

What comes as a surprise to most people is that instead of “unfocusing,” you actually reach a very high state of focus during HypnoBirthing. Advocates of the method actually compare it to when you are really into a great movie. You tend to lose a track of time and are concentrating just on that movie. Everything else is secondary and you forget about the world going on outside the movie theatre.

When you’re giving birth, you do the same thing. You concentrate just on birthing and relaxing your entire body through the entire process. It takes a lot of focus, and you tend to forget about everything else. Dr. Vivian Keeler, HypnoBirthing instructor, chiropractor and doula, says, “HypnoBirthing is not something that is done to you. …It is something that you learn and get better at with practice. It is valuable even if a woman does not utilize all aspects of the HypnoBirthing.”

How do you HypnoBirth?
So how do you do this? During HypnoBirthing classes or when you listen to the tapes or CD, your body and mind learn to relax though guided imagery, visualization and slow breathing. You try to release any tension and fear that you have about birth which leads to faster, easier labors.

Especially when you’re pregnant, most of us hear story upon story about birthing – how much it hurts; take the epidural; how horrible it is. HypnoBirthing theory thinks these stories create fears around birth, which actually make the birth more painful than it has to be. Dr. Keeler explains, “HypnoBirthing can remove fear from the birthing process. This is so important in preventing the fear-tension-pain syndrome, which is often the cause of long, uncomfortable births. When a woman trusts in her body and birthing instincts she can easily ‘let go’ and let birth happen just as nature intended, joyfully and peacefully.”

Painless childbirth
Some women even describe HypnoBirthing as painless childbirth. “Painless childbirth — umm, back up, please!” HypnoBirthing retrains your mind and muscles to just let go of any fears you have and to let your body do its work.

So instead of tightening up, like all human beings do when they are scared, you relax instead. You’re calm, peaceful and confident. Then your body releases powerful pain-fighting chemicals called endorphins, which make you actually feel less pain. Endorphins are what runners feel when they have their “runner’s high.” Your body and mind can then work easier, faster and in more harmony to push your baby down and out into the world. One HypnoBirthing mom recently interviewed about her birth said, “I wouldn’t describe it as pain. I just had to sit and relax and couldn’t talk as much.”

Many mothers who use this method say similar things. HypnoBirthing gives them births that are not just painless, but also “euphoric,” “ecstatic” and “phenomenal.” One woman gave birth to a breech baby vaginally and without anesthetic. Her only pain relief was HypnoBirthing.

Who wouldn’t want less pain and more relaxation during birth? Similar to Olympic athletes training to win a gold medal, HypnoBirthing teaches you to rehearse the birth before it happens. You prepare for it in your mind, teaching your muscles how to do the best job they can do, relaxing when they need to and working when they need to work . Just imagine your Olympic performance resulting in something much more valuable than a gold medal: a shiny, new pink bundle of joy.

© Elizabeth Bonet

Elizabeth Bonet, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and prenatal yoga instructor who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with her daughter and husband. Learn more about her at

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