In this blog we’re going to cover the Hypnobirthing techniques that you can use to create and maintain a positive mindset during your pregnancy and during birthing.
But first, I want you to think about a time in your life when you’ve been incredibly nervous and anxious, perhaps before an important exam, before a driving test or a job interview. How did your thoughts about this situation create a corresponding physiological response in your body? Perhaps you started to feel butterflies in your tummy, perhaps you lost your appetite and felt nauseous or had an upset stomach, or maybe you couldn’t get to sleep the night before? Your thoughts about the event created a physiological response in your body.
Let’s look at another example. Have a think about how your body responds if it is just before lunch time and you walk past a bakery and you can smell freshly baked bread and pastries. What physiological response might your body have in response to your thoughts about this delicious smelling food? Your stomach might start grumbling, your might start salivating and you might get the urge to eat something.
Your thoughts create a physiological responses in your body.
Your mind or your thoughts and emotions create physiological responses in your body. Now importantly, your mind can’t tell the different between what is real and what is imagined. For example, visualization or creating positive images in the mind to direct corresponding behavior, has been used for a long time in sport by athletes. Muhammad Ali’s famous quote “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it” showed that he believed in the power of visualization to improve his performance. But he’s not the only one who used visualization in his successful sports career to succeed. Arnold Schwarzenegger was also a big believer in visualizing how he wanted to look like when he was bodybuilding and he kept on imagining it to make it happen. Later, he used the same technique in politics and acting.
Conditioning your body for birthing
Let’s look at a famous classical conditioning experiment called Pavlov’s dog. In this experiment dogs were conditioned to salivate in anticipation of food when a bell was rung. This is an example of the mind-body connection. The bell rings, the dog knows this means food is coming and as a physiological response, the dog starts salivating.
Now, when it comes to you birthing your baby, the techniques you are going to learn in Hypnobirthing are going to help you condition your mind and your body using repetition and linked to certain stimuli such as words, smell, and touch to induce a state of deep relaxation that is free from any fear, anxiety, and worry. In this state of deep relaxation that you will have conditioned yourself to easily and effortless slip into, your body will respond by releasing endorphins. You want lots of endorphins to be released during your birthing as their principal function is to inhibit pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. Research shows that endorphins are far more potent than the painkiller morphine. But the key is that you need you to be relaxed for endorphins to be released during birthing. If you are stressed then you will release hormones that have negative effect and inhibit a calm, comfortable birth.
So, remember that every thought that you have creates a physical and chemical response in your body. You have control over your thoughts, you choose them, and they will in turn create a physical or chemical reaction in your body.
You can influence your birth outcome.
So, as you can see you do have a lot of influence over birthing and by using Hypnobirthing techniques you are going to reprogram your subconscious for a positive birth. Let’s look at some stimuli that can affect your mindset leading up to and during birthing.
The words you use are enormously powerful. Think about how products and services are marketed to convince you to purchase them. Emotive words are used to evoke strong feelings and an emotional connection to the product so that you want to buy it.
Now, you can use this same technique to ensure that your subconscious mind is receiving positive messages when you speak about your baby’s upcoming birth. The words that you use to describe everything related to your pregnancy and birth can have either positive or negative connotations because the words you use create feelings and emotions which can then affect your belief system and your behavior.
When it comes to the language used in a hospital setting phases such as ‘incompetent cervix’ or ‘failure to progress’ or even words like ‘contractions’, ‘pain’ and ‘complication’ can make you feel that your body has failed, or that it has a design fault and these words can also make you feel scared, worried, and anxious. Now as you know, this mindset will create a corresponding physiological response in your body.
The language that you and your medical team use is powerful and it will influence how you see your role in the birth process, how your caregivers or birthing partner view birth, and even how the media portrays birth.
Think about the word ‘contraction’. What images, thoughts, words, feelings, or emotions come to mind when you say or think this word? You might have imagined yourself hurting or in pain, fearful, screaming and not feeling comfortable or enjoying your birthing.
But what if you replace the word ‘contraction’ with the words ‘uterine surge’ or ‘wave’. Did you imagine a beach with some gentle rolling, white waves, perhaps you imagined your uterine muscles gently moving to encourage your baby down through the birth path slowly and gently? Did these words change your view of birthing compared to the word ‘contraction’?
The words you use during your pregnancy and birthing will create feelings and emotions and this affects your belief system. So, it is important to choose your words wisely. If there are words you have been using that have negative connotations, then replace them with different more positive words. Hypnobirthing is going to help you create a new way of thinking on a subconscious level and you need to support this new thinking with a new language.
View the Language of Hypnobirthing here, so that you can replace medicalized language with Hypnobirthing language. You also want to encourage your caregivers, birthing partners, and medical team to use Hypnobirthing words as well. Make sure you ask them and if they forget and continue to use medicalized language, just substitute those words in your own head.
Affirmations are also a powerful way to use words to prepare for birthing. These are phrases you repeat to yourself while in a relaxed state to reprogram your thought patterns. There is a list of affirmation here. By repeating them the messages are going straight into your subconscious. Choose the ones that resonate with you.
Affirmations are always stated in the positive and you’re not talking about what you don’t want, you’re talking about what you do want, and so affirmations are always stated in the present tense not the future tense.
I birth my baby easily and comfortably (as if you are doing that now)
I am going to birth my baby easily and comfortably (in the future)
Hypnobirthing comes with many MP3 tracks that you can download and listen to as part of your birthing preparation. Aim to listen to affirmation tracks daily. They are not a form of self-hypnosis they are just positive affirmations, so you can listen to them when you’re driving or going about your day.
Put all these tools together.
So, start to change your language and the words you use to Hypnobirthing language. Listen to affirmations daily or have a list where you can repeat them to yourself as you go about your day. This is going to help you to reprogram your deep subconscious so that you can develop a whole new positive way of thinking, new thought patterns and new beliefs about birthing.
So, to summarise, remember that every thought that you have creates a physiological response in your body. Words create feelings and feelings affect your belief system and your behavior. Use the Hypnobirthing affirmations and self-hypnosis tracks as way to reprogram your mind and create a positive mindset. Your thoughts create physical and chemical reactions in your body and this will affect your birth and can affect your baby. So, start to choose your thoughts and words carefully and use the Hypnobirthing techniques to program your mind and body for a more comfortable and calmer birth.