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Have you ever heard of the term “hypnobirthing“? And no, it doesn’t involve hypnosis in the traditional use of the word. It’s a trend that has recently been catching on with mothers-to-be in Japan. Read on to learn more about this technique which aids women in having a more comfortable childbirth, as well as some comments from Japanese women who have tried hypnobirthing for themselves.

While a controversial concept to some, women who have practiced hypnobirthing techniques claim that they could greatly reduce their fear and pain while giving birth. The practice has other supposed beneficial effects as well. Here are some tidbits of information and reflections of Japanese netizens regarding their thoughts about hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing in a nutshell

Some people may form a wrong conclusion when they first hear the term “hypnobirthing.” If you’ve ever watched a hypnosis show live or on TV, you may immediately think of people losing their self-control and performing various ridiculous actions when prompted by the hypnotist. But the “hypno” in hypnobirthing actually refers to a combination of relaxation, breathing, and visualization techniques which may be employed during childbirth. Although the scientific basis is still debatable, it is said that there are many merits in utilizing hypnobirthing, such as a more natural, calmer birth without having to use anesthesia to control pain, less hyperventilation, a reduced chance of postpartum depression or maternity blues, being able to forge deeper bonds with your new infant and partner, and a reduction in the frequency of your infant’s nighttime-crying (if nothing else convinces you, that last one alone sounds like a good enough reason to look into hypnobirthing!).

The underlying ideas behind hypnobirthing

The basic idea behind hypnobirthing is that during childbirth, fear leads to tension, which in turn leads to pain. In other words, fear gives rise to tension, which culminates in physical pain for the mother during the childbirth process. In order to have a less painful delivery, we should remove the root sources of fear and anxiety. Hypnobirthing teaches such techniques to minimize tension and encourage relaxation so that women are more in control of their bodies while giving birth.

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Procedure and cost

If you want to learn about hypnobirthing, you should attend a birth preparation program before your expected due date. In Japan, the cost for a five-week program that women (and their partners) attend sometime between their fourth and eighth months of pregnancy starts at around 35,000 yen (US$336). Programs in other countries may range in cost. Some programs, such as HypnoBirthing Japan, even offer free informational sessions. You can also sign up for private lessons, lessons with one other couple, or group lessons which are usually the least expensive option.

Hypnobirthing in practice

What kinds of techniques will you learn at a hypnobirthing class? Here are two examples:

  • To train yourself how to relax unconsciously, you will learn to reflect on your mind and body. For instance, replace your anxieties with visualizations of the future joy that is about to come into your world. Similarly, try visualizing a location or spot that always calms you, and imagine you are there.
  • A typical labor contraction lasts 50 seconds. Try replaying melodies or phrases last 50 seconds each inside of your head to practice. During actual labor, when the pain sets in, start breathing and you should automatically be able to relax yourself by thinking of the songs and mental images you practiced with. The pain will also decrease if you concentrate on pacing your breathing with the song.

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Even Hollywood celebrities are fans of hypnobirthing

Because who doesn’t want to copy the stars? Hollywood celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Miranda Kerr chose to use hypnobirthing techniques when they delivered their children. Their pain was supposedly reduced enough to the point that they could have a solid conversation only ten minutes before delivering. Sounds promising, right?

Lastly, let’s hear from some women in Japan who have used hypnobirthing techniques

“It really was fairly painless and without much trouble.”

“This is a technique used in order to relax oneself. I used it to calm myself down by continually thinking, ‘these labor pains won’t last long.’ At the time, it was a wonderful thing to know.”

“I’m a self-practitioner of sophrology [a series of dynamic relaxation exercises, physical and mental, to produce optimal health and well-being]. I realized that it’s my baby who’s scared, not me! He’s alone in the dark, and has to arrive into this world while experiencing enormous pressure on his body. I want to cheer him on as much as I can.”

“The doctor and the midwife were surprised that was my first child because the delivery went so easily. If I have a second child, next time I want to master the relaxation techniques completely LOL.”

Interested?

There’s a wealth of information online and in bookstores, so if you’re planning to have a child soon, hypnobirthing may be a good thing to look into. Happy hypnobirthing!

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Sources: Naver Matome, Wikipedia
Images: Akachan no Atopii, PurigazouBamboo MediaBlue Lotus