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Hypnosis in Childbirth - Alternative to the Epidural?

If you are like me, you are probably skeptical of things that sound too good to be true. Hypnosis promises an easier and possibly a pain-free childbirth. Is it a laboring woman's advantage to use self-hypnosis? Can a woman really be free from pain in labor without an epidural? It seems hard to believe that hypnosis can be that effective.

While I was studying to teach Lamaze classes, I was introduced to hypnosis for childbirth. Since I am a doula, I advocate anything that will help my clients have an easier, safe delivery. However, I was extremely leary of the whole idea. I grew up believing that hypnosis was of the devil, but still was intrigued with the concept of a painless, non-medicated birth. As I further studied hypnosis, I found that it is self-taught, allowing the person to be in complete control. Hypnosis is simply deep relaxation. Relaxation is what we teach our students in Lamaze. Self-hypnoses is just an extension of this skill.

What I have found in my experience is that hypnosis works. Really! Women who practice self-hypnosis in pregnancy have an easier, shorter and more controlled childbirth. With hypnosis, some women appear to be sleeping during active and transition phases of labor. One of the benefits of practiced hypnosis during pregnancy is when a woman becomes afraid or uncertain in labor, her experience with relaxation takes over and she will be able to calm quickly. Who wouldnt want that?


Hypnosis is deep relaxation, self taught. For some, it takes very little time to become relaxed. For others it is a taught skill. The more you practice, the easier and faster you can achieve relaxation. The feeling of deep relaxation is a heavy feeling or a light/ floating feeling. You may even feel a tingling sensation.


When a woman experiences fear in labor, she will have tension. With the tension, comes pain. The relaxation takes away the fear and tension, thereby, reducing or eliminating the pain of childbirth. The more a mother-to-be practices before labor, the less chance fear will creep in during childbirth. The mother who practices relaxation or hypnosis will have an advantage over others who have not practiced. The incentive of practiced hypnosis is that it results in a shorter childbirth and a relaxed mother. An extra bonus is there is less need for medical interventions.


First get a relaxation CD that is soothing to you. Find a comfortable spot without interruptions. Lay or sit comfortably. Breathe in and out deeply and slowly. For beginners it is best to have a relaxation CD where someone is talking you through it. The more you practice the better. Practicing a minimum of 15 minutes daily for at least 4 or more weeks before delivery can be helpful in reducing the fear and, thereby, reducing the pain. A pre-natal yoga class is very beneficial as well.


Yes, it does work for a mother who truly practices and remembers what she has practiced during labor. Hypnosis is a powerful aid because it empowers the mother.

Where to Go for More Information:

There are many childbirth hypnosis methods out there. Any hypnosis childbirth class can help achieve an easier childbirth experience if the mother practices. For others who prefer to study in the privacy of their home there is "Hypbirth." This is a home childbirth hypnosis study program. Please visit www.birth-angel.com for more information on this product and other pregnancy and childbirth resources.

Julie L. Johnson is a wife and mother of three who has experienced every pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and breastfeeding situation there is and has lived to tell about. She is a Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator, Certified Doula and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant practicing in Southern California. Her website http://www.birth-angel.com provides services and products to help ease the transition into motherhood.

Related Links:

Hypnosis: Benefits You Cant Live Without

Hypnosis: A Brief History

What is Hypnosis?

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