Dr. Ruth Dyson, Clinical Hypnotherapist, takes a moment to discuss some of the benefits of using Hypnotherapy during pregnancy and childbirth.
Hypnotherapy for childbirth, or "Hypno-birthing" as it is sometimes termed, is very much in the news at the moment, not least because Kate Middleton is rumoured to have used it in her pregnancy and labour with Prince George. Despite the media interest there is still some confusion about what Hypnotherapy is and how it can be helpful for couples.
As a practicing GP I see women and couples from pre-conception to pregnancy, delivery and beyond and am aware that the experience is different for every pregnancy. I am qualified in the "Easibirthing" ™ method of hypnosis for childbirth and have also had training in using hypnotherapy to help with fertilty problems and IVF. I have had experience in using hypnotherapy at all stages of the journey from helping women to acheive a fertile mind-body state, to training couples in the use of hypnotherapy in labour, to helping to increase milk flow and decrease the discomfort associated with breastfeeding in the postnatal period. More recently I have been using the techniques that I have learned for myself to relax during pregnancy and prepare for labour in a very positive way.
Hypnotherapy is not what many people may imagine it to be, particularly when used in this situation. Hypnosis is simply achieving a relaxed but focused state of mind in which the unconscious part of the mind is open and receptive. Hypno-therapy is using this state to give positive suggestions which help the client to achieve their goals.
Hypnotherapy for pregnancy and childirth uses a mixture of relaxation, breathing techniques, visualisations and positive suggestions. You will be taught to use these techniques in self-hypnosis during both pregnancy and labour. It helps you to feel calm, confident and in control. It can be used whatever type of delivery is planned, including elective caesarean section. There is evidence to show that it reduces length of labour, use of pain relief and medications during labour and that women who use hypnotherapy during pregnancy have calmer infants and a lower incidence of post-natal depression. For more information on this (including evidence and references) please see the website www.easibirthing.co.uk.
There is also evidence to support the use of hypnotherapy in couples suffering from infertility and going through IVF. This can be a very difficult time with many stresses, which in itself can hinder the process of conception. As a GP I have a good grounding in the medical aspects of infertility and having also trained in using hypnotherapy for infertility am ideally placed to work with couples who are having difficulties with fertility.
Hypnotherapy is a very natural treatment with no side effects so it can be used during pregnancy to help you cope with any symptoms or medical conditions that arise (for example nausea/vomiting, restless legs, insomnia). I am happy to treat any of these problems and many more but do request that you consult your GP first. Hypnotherapy is very much a complementary therapy and can be used in conjunction with any conventional medical treatments that are recommended.
I am looking forward to using the techniques that I have learned to enable me to have a positive birth experience in a few weeks time and will continue to use the techniques post-natally (when I find the time!) I look forward to returning to the practice in March 2014 and hopefully will be able to help other women/couples to enjoy the benefits that I have had with using this natural technique.