What is hypnotherapy for childbirth?

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Hypnotherapy For Labour

Hypnosis, by definition, is simply relaxation plus suggestion. Self-hypnosis is moving into the relaxed state on your own accord. Part of the vehicle or techniques we have created for She Births® self-hypnosis is the use of anchors.

An anchor is a technique that is used in NLP and other hypno-modalities. It allows you to create an association with an experience, which for She Births® is relaxation.

In doing every visualisation you are creating numerous visual anchors. For example, via the memory of your favourite place in nature, or the lotus pond. You are also creating an auditory anchor via the sound of my voice. This is similar to the way that your baby will be calmed by the sound of your voice, or particular songs that you play.

It is powerful to create personal anchors that come through the other senses too, such as physical gestures, called a mudra, or a mental affirmation, which is called sankalpa, or a resolve in yoga.

Creating your physical anchor

At the end of each visualisation when you feel relaxed and calm, when it says, ‘Know that you can come back to this place at any time you choose …’ gently touch your index finger and thumb together (on whichever hand you prefer) and feel that tender connection between the finger and thumb as well as the relaxation through your whole body.

Creating your mental anchor

Similarly, when you are feeling completely relaxed in the bath or lying in bed, just as you wake up or just as you go to sleep (a similar state to yoga nidra), during a yoga class and during the Affirmation Visualisation, simply speak the words that feel right for you. Deepak Chopra describes a sankalpa as ‘the subtlest level of intention at the cusp of choiceless awareness and thought’.

Allow your intuition to bring the words to you. They usually begin with I am …. Once you have a word, or perhaps two words, then do not speak them to other people, just hold them for yourself and your baby and avoid changing them.

Using your personal anchors

At any time during pregnancy or labour, if you notice that you’ve lost focus or could relax even more deeply, you can gently repeat your physical, visual or mental anchors.

Using birth support anchors

Dads or support people can practise the gentle hand pressure on the shoulder anchor for mums or count mums into relaxation by counting backwards from five to one. They can also describe Mum’s favourite place in nature to her quietly.

Many couples also keep the sound of the visualisations playing throughout their whole labour as this also relaxes everyone in the room.

The woman in labour who moves how her body tells her to move and makes the sounds that come from deep within her is coming from her deeply intuitive self. Uninhibited … This woman connects with her innate body wisdom, surrenders, and the birth force flows through her. She lets go of her fear of death, gives birth and is herself reborn, a woman in her power, beholden to no one. Ecstatic birth.

– Jane Hardwicke Collings, Ten Moons: The Spiritual Journey of Pregnancy