Hypnobirthing frequently asked questions

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a childbirth process that focuses on preparing parents for a gentle physiological birth. In hypnobirthing classes, you will learn techniques such as deep relaxation, visualisation, affirmation, breathing and self-hypnosis. These are designed to enhance your birth experience. Hypnobirthing encourages a calm, peaceful, and natural pregnancy, birth, and bonding experience for families.

How does hypnobirthing differ from other childbirth preparation methods?

Basically Hypnobirthing, like many other programs, aim to help you achieve a positive birth experience. While hypnobirthing does not guarantee you a pain free birth, other childbirth methods tend to teach you how to cope with and manage pain. The hypnobirthing premise however is that a healthy woman, with an uncomplicated pregnancy, should be able to birth in a comfortable manner. At Big Hearted Birth, we teach you to focus on the excitement of birth and how to positively anticipate your birthing day. During hypnobirthing classes you will use self-hypnosis techniques to release anxieties and fear leading into your birthing day. Instead of exhausting, shallow breathing and using distraction techniques of typical “prepared childbirth” programs; you will learn in our hypnobirthing class deep abdominal breathing and total relaxation. This enables you to work in harmony with your body and baby. It may also allow you to achieve a shorter and more comfortable labour for both you and your baby.

Click here for content information on the Big Hearted Birth hypnobirthing programme.

When should I start classes?

You can begin hypnobirthing any time throughout your pregnancy. The optimal time to start your course is between 20 and 30 weeks. This gives you time to practise the practical techniques for a gentle, easy hypnobirth. If you are further along in your pregnancy, you can still attend the classes and achieve a beautiful, gentle birth. In fact, Cindy has taught many women who have started the course late in their pregnancies and have had wonderful birth experiences. One woman even missed the final class and again had a positive physiological birth.

Should I still attend antenatal classes at my hospital?

The choice is yours. The Hypnobirthing Australia Course is a comprehensive course in natural childbirth education. Hospital antenatal courses often cover a lot of information about interventions and medical procedures during birth. In hypnobirthing classes you’ll learn about; the birth process, what to expect during pregnancy, the onset of labour, birthing and how to release fears associated with birthing. You’ll also learn techniques to use during labour, including relaxation, breathing, visualisations and deepening exercises. Having said that, we are of the belief that ‘knowledge is power’ and the knowledge you’ll gain from antenatal classes, along with your hypnobirthing classes, can help you to make informed decisions.

Who do I bring to classes?

Bring yourself and your birth partner/companion. Your birth partner can be your partner, doula, sister, friend or mother. Whoever you feel will support you the best throughout your pregnancy and birth. You are also welcome to come solo if you prefer.

How is the birth partner involved?

The birth partner of your choice can be an integral part of your hypnobirthing experience. Your birth partner will practice with you to help prepare your body for deep relaxation. During labour, your partner can guide you through; hypnosis prompts, relaxation techniques, deepening methods, and visualisations, provide comfort measures, and join you in welcoming your new baby. They can also protect the birth space and advocate for your birth wishes.

Will I be unconscious or will I remember my birth experience?

Despite misconceptions and misinformation, you’re not unconscious during self-hypnosis. When you’re hypnobirthing, you’ll be deeply relaxed, but will also be active and participating in your labour. Though you may be relaxed, you’ll be aware and may return to a conversant state or choose to become mobile whenever you desire. We find that hypnobirthing mothers often experience time distortion. They’re not distracted by people or their environment and stay focused on their birth.

Will hypnobirthing still be useful to me if I don’t have a natural childbirth and my circumstances require medical intervention or a caesarean birth?

Absolutely!!! The things you’ll learn in hypnobirthing classes will help you to use relaxation skills that are useful to both you and baby, regardless of your birth experience. In the event you require a medical intervention of any sort, you’ll find yourself prepared and able to remain calm and in control. Mothers who need a scheduled caesarean for medical reasons can use hypnobirthing techniques to relax them before, during and after the procedure – after all it is the first time you are meeting your baby and should be a highlight of your life.

Can hypnobirthing be useful to someone who has special circumstances, VBAC or who must have a C-section?

Hypnobirthing is beneficial to all Mums, who have particular circumstances. According to Melissa Spilsted from Hypnobirthing Australia, many obstetricians, midwives and doctors are now requesting that mothers take a hypnobirthing course or similar before their planned VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). In fact, there are special tracks and an alternative programme designed for caesarean birth. We want you to experience a positive and empowered birth; regardless of how your precious baby comes into the world. That’s what Big Hearted Birth is all about… positive birthing and parenting. If your circumstances change throughout pregnancy, continue to communicate with Cindy on the most suitable birth preparation programme for you.

I was wondering if online learning would be better for me?

Learning occurs optimally in the context of a good relationship. At Big Hearted Birth, hypnobirthing classes are face-to-face with a trained childbirth educator. In fact, some of my Big Hearted Birth Mums have commented on the level of support they received during the course and the difference it made to their birth, particularly about their confidence and having any misconceptions or concerns clarified before they finished their hypnobirth classes. However with today’s busy lifestyles and diverse work arrangements, online learning ticks a lot of boxes for many couples. Online learning will suit you if: You can’t make it to a face-to-face class, or if you have tried but failed miserably to stay up past 9 pm, let alone learn in an evening class. If you think online learning is more suited to your needs, please contact Cindy Fenn directly. Cindy will be able to explain and lead you in the right direction to Hypnobirthing Australia’s Hypnobubs online learning platform. Click here now to email Cindy Fenn about online learning.

Is it true that I will experience a pain free birth with hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing does not promise a painless birth. Many hypnobirthing Mums report having a relatively pain-free birth or one they could manage easily. The pain during labour is subjective and can be perceived by different women in entirely different ways. Hypnobirthing teaches that eliminating the cause of pain ‘fear’ helps you to accomplish a more comfortable birth in a shorter period. A relaxed mother’s body will produce more of nature’s relaxants called endorphins, helping the mother to birth confidently and calmly. Women who hypnobirth can still experience tightening or pressure during childbirth. Most describe their birth experience as working with their body through the sensations. This helps avoid the excruciating pain spoken by women who had different preparations before birth. Cindy can talk from personal experience. Having used hypnobirthing techniques for her two births and says: “I can honestly tell you that the skills I learnt in my hypnobirthing classes helped me for both my births. However, the intensity of my first birth took me by surprise. I let fear and doubt in my mind and upon reflection this affected my emotional wellbeing and the level of discomfort in my first birth. The hypnobirth tools and techniques and my birth partner's reassurance however assisted me to get my labour back on track." Click here to read about real life Big Hearted Birth hypnobirthing stories.

What if my doctor/midwife is not familiar with hypnobirthing?

Most care providers are aware of the benefits of hypnobirthing classes. If your caregiver is not knowledgeable about hypnobirthing, take the opportunity early in your pregnancy to discuss the techniques you’ll be using and the type of calm birth environment that you desire. You’ll learn how to create a birth plan in our hypnobirth classes. This plan will help you communicate your preferences to your doctor or midwife during your labour.