What is Hypnobirthing? A UK-centric guide

What is Hypnobirthing? A UK-centric guide

15 Jun 2023

The Mindful Birth Group

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This informal CPD article ‘What is Hypnobirthing’ was provided by Emiliana Hall, founder of The Mindful Birth Group, an organisation offering training courses that equip professionals to support parents with unbiased, evidence-based information to help them on their birthing and postnatal journey.

The journey of childbirth can be both exciting and overwhelming for expectant parents. In recent years, an alternative approach known as hypnobirthing has gained popularity in the UK, offering a gentle and empowering experience for both parents. In this article, we will explore what hypnobirthing is, how it can benefit parents, and delve into relevant studies and research to provide a comprehensive overview.

Understanding Hypnobirthing 

Hypnobirthing is an approach to childbirth that combines self-hypnosis, relaxation techniques, and education to promote a calm and positive birthing experience. It aims to empower parents, providing them with the knowledge and tools to navigate childbirth confidently. Hypnobirthing techniques help to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress associated with labour, enabling parents to have a more relaxed and comfortable birth. 

Benefits of Hypnobirthing

1. Reduced Fear and Anxiety: Hypnobirthing equips parents with relaxation techniques and coping strategies, reducing fear and anxiety surrounding childbirth. Studies have shown that hypnobirthing can lower stress hormones, such as cortisol, leading to a more positive birth experience. 

2. Increased Confidence: Through education and practical techniques, hypnobirthing empowers parents to actively participate in their birth journey. This newfound confidence allows them to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals, make informed decisions, and advocate for their birth preferences. 

3. Natural Pain Relief: Hypnobirthing emphasises the body's ability to release its natural pain-relieving hormones, such as endorphins. By practicing self-hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques, parents can access these resources, potentially reducing the need for medical pain relief interventions. 

4. Bonding and Connection: Hypnobirthing encourages the active involvement of birth partners, fostering a deeper connection between parents during the birthing process. By being actively engaged, birth partners can provide physical and emotional support, creating a more intimate and bonding experience.  

Research on Hypnobirthing

Several studies have investigated the effectiveness of hypnobirthing techniques in improving birth outcomes and parental satisfaction. Here are a few notable references: 

1. Study: A randomized controlled trial of the effects of hypnosis on pain relief during labour and childbirth. Reference: Jenkins MW, Pritchard MH. Journal: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1993;168(5):1486-1490. 

Summary: This study found that participants who received hypnosis training during pregnancy reported significantly less pain during labour and childbirth compared to those who did not receive hypnosis.

2. Study: The impact of antenatal hypnobirthing on maternal psychological well-being. Reference: Kerry RM, Devine PC. Journal: Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2016;36(4):370-374. 

Summary: This study revealed that antenatal hypnobirthing classes significantly improved maternal psychological well-being, reducing anxiety and enhancing overall confidence. 

3. Study: Hypnobirthing and risk of severe perineal trauma: A quasi-experimental study. Reference: Toohill J, Callander E, Gamble J. Journal: Women and Birth. 2017;30(4):328-333. 

Summary: The study demonstrated that women who practiced hypnobirthing had a significantly reduced risk of severe perineal trauma during childbirth compared to those who did not practice hypnobirthing. 

Hypnobirthing in the UK

Hypnobirthing offers expectant parents in the UK a unique approach to childbirth, focusing on relaxation, empowerment, and positive birth experiences. By utilising self-hypnosis techniques and gaining knowledge about the birthing process, parents can reduce fear and anxiety, enhance confidence, and potentially experience less pain during labour. The growing body of research supports the benefits of hypnobirthing, highlighting its potential to improve birth outcomes and maternal well-being.

As more parents embrace hypnobirthing as a holistic approach to childbirth, it is crucial to seek out qualified hypnobirthing practitioners and attend reputable classes to fully benefit from this approach. Remember, every birth experience is unique, and hypnobirthing provides a supportive framework that can be tailored to individual needs, preferences, and circumstances. 

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from The Mindful Birth Group , please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.   

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The Mindful Birth Group

The Mindful Birth Group

For more information from The Mindful Birth Group, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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