Hypnobirthing: Is it right for you?
There are many ways to control pain associated with labor and birth, and Hypnobirthing is one of them. We spoke to Carol Yeh-Garner, a nationally Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist in San Diego, to get the information that parents need to determine if hypnotherapy for labor and birth could be the right option for them.
What is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is taught through natural childbirth education classes. The classes educate parents about childbirth and the unique methods of relaxation, which are enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques.
Carol Yeh-Garner, a nationally certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, has taught Hypnobirthing for over four years to more than 600 couples in the San Diego area.
"Hypnobirthing utilizes hypnosis (the power of the mind) to help moms stay in a more relaxed state of mind and body so that her body and her baby can do what they are naturally capable of doing -- having a natural birth in a comfortable and healthy manner."
How does Hypnobirthing work?
The Hypnobirthing process provides education and relaxation techniques for both parents. The classes typically run for five weeks and each class is two and a half hours long. Throughout the five weeks, Hypnobirthing classes provide nutritional information, preparation for various birth outcomes, instructions on how to put together a Birth Preferences Plan and breaks down the myths about hypnosis to help parents better understand the power of the mind and how they can use it to keep their bodies relaxed and comfortable.
"When there is fear about birth or parenting, the body tenses up and sends out the fight or flight response… which leads to constricted muscles, which leads to pain," says Yeh-Garner. "If a mom learns how to trust her body and trust the birthing process, the fear is lessened or eliminated and that leads to a release of endorphins -- feel good, relaxing hormones."
In addition to educating parents about what causes pain, Hypnobirthing provides information about why birth doesn't have to be so painful and teaches self-hypnosis, deep relaxation and visualization techniques to use during labor.
Is Hypnobirthing right for you?
If you are a parent who wants an education about natural birth, wants to be in control of your birth experience, wants to be comfortable and wants to be informed about your options and what to expect during birth, then Hypnobirthing could be a good fit for you, according to Yeh-Garner. But what about the dad?
"Hypnobirthing is for partners who want to learn how to truly be involved in their baby's birth rather than sitting on the side lines not knowing what to do. It's for any parent that wants to have true informed consent so they can make the best choices possible for mother and baby without feeling pressured by a medical care provider."
According to Yeh-Garner, a lot of parents have come to her class with skeptical feelings but by the end of the first class, all the myths about hypnosis and childbirth are broken down. "Parents become much more comfortable and confident about natural birth and hypnosis as something they can see themselves doing… Hypnosis is simply a state of heightened awareness allowing the subconscious mind to come to the forefront," says Yeh-Garner.