A word from Marie Mongan, Founder of HypnoBirthing

December 13, 2010

There is much misinformation and presupposition about using hypnosis to prepare for childbirth and how it affects the course of birthing.

Many feel that teaching a mom to use self-hypnosis is teaching her to dissociate or “escape” from her birthing by mentally bringing herself to a tropical island or some other “safe place” (What does that say about labor?) while her body endures the rigors of childbirth.

Since the emergence of HypnoBirthing® in 1989, there have been many hypnotherapists, who are not childbirth educators, who have adopted exactly that approach–to “mask pain” by distracting the mother from it. That is not the case with HypnoBirthing.

The basic premise in HypnoBirthing is that when a mother is totally and completely relaxed, she is able to bring her body into a calm, limp state that allows her body and baby to do what they know how to do without “meddlesome interference.” (Hippocrates)

Since it is a physiological law that healthy muscles can perform normal, physiological functions without “pain or peril,” it can be inferred that healthy women, carrying healthy babies, can accomplish normal birthing without pain or peril. It happens everyday for many women who trust their bodies–with or without HypnoBirthing. HypnoBirthing is merely taking the message to a broader audience.

There is no physiological reason for suffering in childbirth.

We teach the pregnant family to understand that when mom is relaxed, and free of the fight-flight-or-freeze response, her own Autonomic Nervous System steps in to release endorphins; enabling her to bring herself into a state of well being that negates the secretion of catecholamines–those constrictor hormones that are believed to be heavily present in birthing.

HypnoBirthing does teach dissociation from the birth experience, but encourages dissociation from the obstetrical myths and birth “horror stories” that healthy women must endure throughout their growing up years, and during their pregnancies.

For that reason, detailed explanations of cumbersome birthing, complete with discussions of all that can go wrong is not present in HypnoBirthing classes. Calm, confident HypnoBirthing mothers are better able to go into their birthing bodies to birth with their babies. They talk to their babies with birth affirmations throughout their pregnancies and during labor, and they use breathing that works with the birthing muscles during the thinning and opening phase of labor and while they breathe their babies down to birth.

Animal mothers are not taught birthing anatomy, or stages of labor; and, yet, they accomplish birthing easily, and in a calm and serene state. HypnoBirthing mothers take a page from their book. The result is calm, confident, and alert mothers birthing at home, in hospitals and birthing centers. Mothers who comfortably birth in water, or standing, kneeling, sitting on birthing stools, or in any way they prefer, free of the distractions, lack of privacy, and fear that cause discomfort.

Anything that one might consider “missing” in the HypnoBirthing curriculum is not an oversight. It is a deliberate omission. Healthy women, carrying healthy babies do not need to be exposed to anything but joyful birthing, and certainly do not need to view birth as a medical calamity waiting to happen. Birth is broken, and we don’t want to perpetuate much of what has broken it and caused women to feel that they need interventions in order to be “rescued and fixed”. The result is that many women experience short, comfortable labors, like those of the Hebrew women in the time of Moses, that last no longer than three hours. Even those that are longer are joyful births and they leave their birthing beds vowing to have their next birth at home or in a birthing center. The paradigm is shifting.

Marie Mongan, Founder of HypnoBirthing®

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