• Marie Otsuka

What is hypnobirthing? How does it work?


Childbirth is traditionally associated with pain, nerves, and anxiety - and we all know that giving birth is no easy feat. If you’re hoping to experience as little stress as possible while you’re bringing your little one into the world, one possible solution is hypnobirthing, a technique that can help prepare you for the process of giving birth.

What is hypnobirthing?

First things first: there are many ways to define hypnobirthing. Some call it a “childbirth education course”, some say it’s a “philosophy” of birth, and others bill it as a technique that helps women give birth in a relaxed, stress-free environment.

The practice of hypnobirthing revolves around the idea that women’s bodies are designed to carry and deliver babies, and that most women are equipped with everything they need to do this easily. All we have to do, then, is to break the Fear-Tension-Pain syndrome which makes labour unnecessarily difficult.

What are the origins of hypnobirthing?

If you’re wondering how hypnobirthing came to be, this is basically the brainchild of Marie Mongan, a highly-revered hypnotherapist and Harvard University Ford Foundation fellow.

Mongan describes hypnobirthing as a “rebirth” of the philosophy of birthing that existed thousands of years ago, and shares that she drew heavily from the work of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read who was a strong advocate of natural birthing in the 1920s.

How does hypnobirthing work?

Hypnobirthing involves several elements, including practiced deep breathing, visualization, prompts from partners, and labor comfort measures. Using these, mothers train their brains to elicit a “deep relaxation response” on demand.

To be more specific, when mothers are in this state of “deep relaxation response”, their bodies produce more endorphins, and less stress hormones. Instead of feeling pain during their contractions, many women who undergo hynobirthing report that they simply feel pressure.

How do you learn hypnobirthing in Singapore?

If you’re keen to explore the idea of hypnobirthing, you may sign up to attend a hypnobirthing class with your partner. In this class, you’ll learn hypnosis, visualization and deep relaxation techniques, and your partner will learn how to guide you and attend to you while you’re in labour.

When’s the best time to start a hypnobirthing course? Generally, experts recommend starting the course when you’re 25 to 30 weeks pregnant. It’s important to not go for the course too early, because you want the hypnobirthing techniques you’ve learnt to be fresh in your mind when you give birth.

Once you’ve got your timeline worked out, the next step is to look for a hypnobirthing course or class that suits your schedule. In Singapore, hypnobirthing is taught at several hospitals, facilities, and private centres, led by instructors who are trained in the Marie Mongan Method from the HypnoBirthing Institute of America. Click here to view a list of registered Hypnobirthing instructors.


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