Hypnobirthing: Not Your Grandmother's Childbirth Experience
If you mentioned hypnobirthing even just a few years ago may have seen a few raised eyebrows (or eye rolls), but now, along with other less mainstream childbirth methods, it is being embraced by more pregnant women and their partners.
Women looking for a less invasive, less medicated approach to relieve the pain of labor are investigating the use of hypnosis. And with some success: along with avoiding heavy medications during labor, proponents of hypnobirthing have reported shorter labors and a reduction in surgical interventions as a result of the pain relieving technique.
Hypnobirthing is not new. Its history can be traced back to a book on natural childbirth published in the 1930's by Dr. Grantly Dick-Reid. In his book, Dr. Dick-Reid explained that the majority of pain during childbirth is caused by a woman's fear and tension, and reducing that fear could relieve some or all of her pain without the use of medications.
In the 1950's natural childbirth proponents began to experiment with hypnosis to help women meditate and visualize through the pain of childbirth, and a small movement began.
Now, after several decades during which many women were urged to abandon hopes of a natural childbirth because their doctors and peers were skeptical (or worse, because it was inconvenient), that small movement is growing, along with other less mainstream birthing approaches.
Why? Because today's pregnant women are asking more questions, doing more research, and following their instincts when it comes to making decisions about their labor. Whether or not to accept pain medication, to be induced, to use a traditional hospital... these are just a few things to consider when planning for childbirth. Every birth is a phenomenal event, no matter how it occurs, and every woman should be empowered to make her own decision and be supported by her partner and doctors.
On the long road of parenting, these are just the first of many, many difficult decisions women will need to make for their children. Every mother will need to consult her heart, her head, and her gut over and over again before her children leave the nest. A mother's instinct is a powerful thing, critical to her child's well being, and any woman who is ready to engage those instincts even before her child has made his entrance into the world should be supported and applauded.
Richmond's WRIC Channel 8 will be doing a story on hypnobirthing on Wednesday, May 8, be sure to tune in to see what people are saying about the controversial topic.
Do you have any experience with hypnobirthing or other non-traditional childbirth technique? Do think our society is changing when it comes to allowing women to decide how they want to labor?
-By Katie Mardigian
Katie is a freelance writer living in Richmond with her husband and three young children. She finds the joys and insanity of chasing around 3 little ones provide constant hilarious inspiration for her articles on motherhood. View more of Katie's writing here on Richmondmom.com.
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