Is the latest birthing trend interfering with midwives doing their job?

Whatever gets you through birth, right?

Whatever makes a very personal and sometimes challenging experience a little easier, right?

But what if the latest trend is getting in the way of trained professionals doing their job?

Read more: Is there any benefit to the Lotus Birth?

Hypnobirthing is the latest craze to hit the maternity ward in hospitals across Australia.

I spoke to a midwife who said, in her small team, she sees on average 10 women who have opted to give birth via hypnobirthing in the last 12 months. A couple of years ago, this would have been maybe two.

While there are no official statistics yet (the trend seems to be too new), it seems more and more mums are turning away from calmbirth courses (the previous zenful way to give birth) to hypnobirthing courses.

Hypnobirthing... would you try it? Image via iStock.

In a promotional video for hypnobirthing, Melissa Spilsted, Director of Hypnobirthing Australia, says, "It is the fastest growing childbirth education course. The reason for the popularity is that it is common sense and it works. It's about having a positive birth. To help you to stay calm through pregnancy and birth. Just as an athlete prepares for a major event, so do we. The goal is to be able to brag about your birth experience."

So what exactly is hypnobirthing?


On the Hypnobirthing Australia website it says:

The ‘hypno’ part of ‘hypnobirthing’ refers to the hypnotherapy that we use during the program to release fears and condition ourselves to release endorphins at times during our birth. With the help of hypnotherapy, the birth of your baby can be a more calm and relaxed experience; one where you are in the drivers seat, rather than feeling like a passenger. This is likely to reduce the need for interventions during your birthing.

Techniques that you learn through the course will help you achieve a deep state of relaxation, enabling your body to open up without resistance. In this calm state, your body’s natural relaxant, endorphins, will replace the stress hormones (which can cause your uterus to constrict and create tension and pain). You will also have tools to bring yourself back into a calm state, if your birthing takes a different turn to expected or if you have difficulties with the intensity experienced.

Watch the video below to see a mum practicing hypnobirthing. Post continues after the video.

Video via Amna's Journey

Put simply, it is a way to deal with the pain that comes with giving birth.

However, women are often in a trance state. Sometimes with headphones in listening to the instructions provided during their course. This can sometimes interfere with the medical staff trying to support the woman.

"It can be an obstruction," says a midwife who I spoke to. "I often find that I have to communicate through the partner instead of directly to the women. She has headphones in or she's in a trance state. It can be challenging to communicate with them to know what they want, especially when things don't go to plan."

"The goal is to be able to brag about your birth experience." Image via iStock.

Read more: What’s so bad about having pain relief during birth?

The midwife did say that if the woman knew her midwife before the onset of labour and had communicated her birth plan desires, this made it far easier. Otherwise it can be extremely challenging to build rapport.

Amy Fleming wrote for The Guardian on her birth experience.

She explains how her first birth experience was "harrowing". After 10 hours of being in labour and making her way into the hospital, she was told to go home after discovering her cervix had barely dilated. By the end after multiple medical interventions, with her baby in distress, she required forceps to get the baby out.

For her second birth, she opted to try hypnobirthing.

It's about having a positive experience. Image via iStock.

"It was a 100% positive experience and I have recommended hypnobirthing to every expectant parent ever since."

Fleming wrote about how it was more about overcoming the fear associated with giving birth and the pain involved and taking control.

"Some bizarre internal engine had taken over and I remained calm, excited and a bit giggly," she writes.

Would you try hypnobirthing?

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