Self hypnosis and visualization for childbirth
Dr. Gowri Motha’s “Gentle Birth Method” aims to prepare moms and dads for a gentle birth experience, both mentally and physically.
Here, she takes readers through a gentle birth visualization that moms- and dads-to-be can practice at home.
“The Jeyarani Way” Gentle Birth Method believes that the key areas for the mental preparation of the mother and father are: removal of fear, knowledge and confidence building. Fear can overwhelm mothers and, in a way, disturb the normal flow of hormones during labor and childbirth.
During birth, if the mother is not able to manage her feelings and the sensations of labor then doctors and midwives may need to intervene. Gentle Birth Method classes and CDs help the mother to overcome conscious and subconscious fears by introducing education and a positive attitude with techniques that work to make the birth manageable. One of the techniques that we practice in the Gentle Birth Method classes, for use in labor, is self hypnosis and visualization.
What do self hypnosis and visualization do?
It is about releasing endorphins in hypnosis! Visualization can be used as an analgesic and hypnotic agent to assist a mother during her birth process to access an altered state of awareness that make the experience of birthing seem distant and bearable and pleasant.
If an EEG is performed on a person who is in an altered state of awareness – for example a person who is receiving a deeply relaxing massage, having a swim, listening to beautiful music, or watching a relaxing film – the brain tracing would show them generating an alpha wave pattern of brain activity. Even if you are watching a nice film, your brain goes into Alpha waves and you kind of “zone out” of your immediate environment as you get totally absorbed into the dream of the film…
When alpha waves are being generated by your brain and recorded on an electro-encephalograph, then we know that there is a chemical benefit as these waves work on the neurons of your brain to release small little droplets of endorphins. The benefit of endorphins is that it relaxes all the muscles of your body as well as having an anesthetic effect on your brain and peripheral nerve endings.
It is easy to release endorphins by using visualization techniques. We can use the practical gift of you using self-hypnosis to release the endorphins!
Practicing at home
Below is a transcript from one of my classes. You can practice this with your partner or birthing support person at home and see how it enables you to feel relaxed and get those endorphins flowing. You need only be seated or lying in a quiet spot without distraction, your partner can read slowly from the transcript below using a “calm” voice. The “/” symbols show places where your reader should pause or take a breath.
I invite you to close your eyes / and take your mind forward to the day of your birthing process and imagine that you have woken up in the morning /and as you look into the mirror / you say to yourself, this is the day I will see my baby face to face / as you take three deep breaths into the lowest part of your tummy /
/ This visualization is deeply set into place within your mind and on the day of your birthing process / when you become aware that you are now entering your birthing process /this hypnotic preconditioning automatically releases endorphins for you./
Let the three deep breaths / be another subliminal suggestion that you now instill within your mind to release endorphins / that are released automatically for you and are there for you / when your birthing process commences.
The two actions: the three deep breaths and the words that you say to yourself ‘this is the day I see my baby face to face’ automatically releases endorphins.
You whisper to yourself as often as you can / all day long / that with every breath you take/ your brain releases twice as many molecules of endorphins as you did with the previous breath/ so that throughout your birthing process you are training your brain and nerve ending/ to automatically release and build up / layer upon layer of gorgeously sedating endorphins / By the time your mind and body register the surges of your womb/ that your baby’s birthing process has commenced / you are already topped up with plenty of endorphins./ and this makes you feel comfortable/ calm and happy/
From the very first surge of your uterus your brain releases surges of endorphin that match the surges of your womb/ and your endorphins saturate all the muscles and tissues of your lower back and pelvis / and permeates through into the bones of your pelvis/ and sacrum/ your tailbone / hip joint and thigh bones./ Making all these areas feel comfortable and loose./
Take a deep breath in and out/ and as you link your mind with your body/You relax in the knowledge/ that the effect of your visualization bring about these positive effects to make your birthing process comfortable and enjoyable for you and your baby/
Clear your mind and come back to full awareness to the room.