What is Hypnosis Anyway?

Using hypnosis for childbirth

As a HypnoBirthing instructor I get a lot of “wait, you teach what?” reactions when I tell people what I do. Understandably, to the general population using hypnosis for childbirth is a completely foreign concept. You should hear the old timers at the post office when they ask what Gentle Waves Birthing is! Then I just shake my head and listen to them in awe while they share stories of their babies being born “back in the good old days.” But I love those stories, as different as they are from my own experience. I find them inspiring and I get excited that so much has changed in childbirth (for the better) in such a relatively short amount of time.

So while it’s not uncommon for people to ask me how exactly hypnosis can be used to childbirth, it’s also not uncommon for people to react with complete skepticism! However, understanding the basics behind hypnosis can really help most people to see how beneficial it can be for birth. First, let me tell you what hypnosis is NOT- It’s NOT what you’ve seen on stage at comedy shows.

Hypnosis is NOT losing control over your body, and it is NOT being completely unaware of your surroundings. So what is it then?

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is simply allowing yourself to go into a very deep state of relaxation. It’s very similar to the path which we travel down to fall asleep. A person experiencing hypnosis is completely conscious and aware of their surroundings. Most people have experienced hypnosis without even knowing it- daydreaming is a great example! If you’ve ever driven somewhere and wondered how you got there- that’s hypnosis.

Using hypnosis in birth

HypnoBirthing is unique from other childbirth preparation classes because it allows you to really become aware of the fears and thoughts which could interfere with the smooth, easy, and calm birth that you desire. When you release the fear that keeps your body tense and closed, you will experience gentle birth. Positive thinking, visualization and calm breathing techniques relax the mind allowing the body to work as it is meant to. HypnoBirthing moms generally have a more positive outlook regarding birth, more confidence, and a calmer demeanor when faced with the unexpected, too. I always tell my students- “these are life skills you are learning!” I still put my HypnoBirthing skills to work for those moments when life gets overwhelming.

I hope this post gives you a better sense of what exactly hypnosis is and how beneficial it can be in a birth setting. The birth of your baby is an experience you will never forget and I hope to be the one to help you carry a happy birth story with you for the rest of your life.

Some day you can smile and nod while listening to someone else’s story, secretly knowing that maybe, just maybe, if they had the tools you did their story may have turned out differently.

For me, that moment- that sharing of the birth story no matter how old you are- is what inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing!

– Carolynn Dreshler

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