Hypnosis and Pregnancy

Could hypnosis help make you more comfortable and relaxed during you pregnancy?


It’s been reported that the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kate Middleton, underwent hypnotherapy to treat food aversion and morning sickness related to her pregnancy. Suddenly, expecting moms everywhere are wondering if hypnosis is right for them. The simple answer is yes, hypnosis can have a dramatic effect throughout all stages of pregnancy, helping women to cope with everything from morning sickness to pain and delivery.  

Medical professionals have used hypnosis and self-hypnosis techniques since the 1930s to help expecting moms achieve physical comfort and relaxation. Hypnosis can also bring about a shorter labor and quicker recovery, can help a woman sleep better and deeper, can lower blood pressure and can help keep her in a more positive state of mind and also avoid postpartum depression.

When we use hypnosis in pregnancy, there are two main goals we are usually trying to accomplish. Most patients who use hypnosis find the best benefits are in how relaxed it makes them feel, and how it eases unpleasant symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea and heartburn. 

When starting out, it is best to use hypnosis in the afternoon or evening when the physical symptoms are less. This helps the patient stay more focused and relaxed. Hypnosis can be done with a certified clinical hypnotherapist, and similar self-hypnosis techniques can be used alone by the patient. If you decide to work with a professional hypnotherapist, it is highly recommended you make sure they are certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. 

How it works

The process usually begins by having the patient lie down and begin taking slow and even deep breathes for about five minutes. With the patient fully relaxed, the hypnotherapist will then proceed to offer suggestions out loud. These same suggestions can be made by your spouse or a trusted partner.

A few examples:

  • Your stomach is calm and relaxed.
  • Your baby is calm and relaxed.
  • The more relaxed you feel the calmer and more comfortable your stomach feels.
  • The more comfortable your stomach feels the easier it is to focus your mind and remain calm and clearheaded.
  • As you feel your head clear you feel that you can eat what is nourishing to you and your baby and as you do, your stomach feels calm and comfortable.

These are just the most common suggestions that are made during hypnosis, but you can replace these suggestions with some that are more personalized to your situation. If you’re worried that you won’t be a good mom, for example, come up with suggestions that enforce the reasons why you will be a good mom.   

Additionally, the hypnotherapist or spouse can reinforce the suggestions physically, by putting their hand on the woman’s stomach. As they put their hand on the stomach (or instruct the pregnant woman to use her own hand), they make a verbal suggestion by saying, "Any time you don't feel well, you feel better when you put a hand on your stomach. When you put a hand on your stomach it feels calm and comfortable and your mind becomes clear and focused on your health and well-being."

This physical touching combined with the suggestion forms an association, so even when the pregnant woman is not hypnotized and she begins to feel nauseated, she can trigger the subconscious suggestions with the simple physical touch of her hand.

The reason hypnosis works so well is because the conscious mind acts as a gatekeeper to the subconscious mind, and under hypnosis we can make the conscious mind inactive, allowing us access to the subconscious mind.  This allows us to get deep into the part of the brain that deals with the reactions to stress, pain, emotions and more. In a sense, hypnotherapy can reprogram your beliefs that birth will be comfortable, easy and exciting. 

Many women are apprehensive at first when trying hypnosis, and for that reason it’s important they know they are always “with it” and will never do anything against their will. A person under hypnosis is always in full control and can “come out” whenever they choose. In most cases, after the first session, most women are eager to get back to a hypnotic state because it makes them feel better, more confident and relaxed about their pregnancy. 

Colin Christopher is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and a stage hypnotist having appeared in front of hundreds of thousands of people in North America. He is author of the book Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You.  Visit www.easybabybirth.com, www.colinchristopher.com, and www.stmbook.com

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