Hypnobirthing: What Do I Need to Know

Woman in a hospital bed holding her newborn baby. Caption 'mind'

If you’re pregnant, no doubt the birth won’t be far from your mind. It’s a big thing for a person to go through and a birth plan is important to help you prepare. One method many people are tyring is hypnobirthing to relieve pain and anxiety. But what is it and how does it work? Read our short guide to find out more.

Hypnobirthing: Understanding the basics

So, let’s get to grips with the basics of hypnobirthing. We’ve looked at some of FAQs around hypnobirthing to help you get to grips with it.

What is hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is an approach to giving birth that allows you to stay positive throughout labour and reduce the need for pain relief.

How does it work?

You can change your perception of giving birth in order to stay positive and remain calm during labour through the use of techniques such as:

  • Visualisation
  • Relaxation / meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Mindfulness
  • Positive affirmations

While it might not be for everyone, research has shown that hypnobirthing can help to improve the overall childbirth experience by helping people to take control of the experience in order to reduce pain and fear.

Does it relieve pain during labour?

Hypnobirthing can help you to perceive the experience of labour and contractions as less intense. While it can never be guaranteed that you won’t feel any pain during labour – as everyone’s experience is different – it can certainly help to reduce anxiety and apprehension about giving birth in order for people to feel in control during labour.

Does hypnobirthing involve hypnosis?

Hypnobirthing involves methods that are very common to self-hypnosis. You are not ‘put under’ by a hypnotist, instead you teach yourself to feel differently about the thought of labour through methods like the ones mentioned above. This reframes your understanding and perception of giving birth to become a more confident and positive one.

Who teaches hypnobirthing?

There are a range of organisations and courses you can take in hypnobirthing, as well as lots of free resources, such as podcasts and videos, online.

Where can I find out more?

The best thing to do is search for courses or lessons close to you, however these organisations can be a good place to start:

Can I add hypnobirthing to my existing birth plan?

Of course! Depending on how close you are to your labour, there should be time to introduce hypnobirthing techniques into your routine and birth plan, no matter where you plan on having baby.

A nurse is gown and mask, handing a newborn baby over to the mother.

Benefits of hypnobirthing

So, now we understand a little more about hypnobirthing, let’s go into detail about the benefits it can bring.

What are the benefits of hypnobirthing?

There are a range of benefits to hypnobirthing, and these are:

  • Shortened labour
  • Reduce the need for medical intervention
  • Manage pain naturally
  • Feeling in control
  • Help to overcome pain or trauma

Shortened labour

By the very nature of the changes you experience during labour, your body can go into fight or flight mode which means it is sometimes working against what your womb needs to release baby. By using hypnobirthing to keep you relaxed and calm during labour, your body can release more oxytocin, as opposed to adrenalin, and other endorphins which will help you feel better and minimise pain.

Reduce the need for medical intervention

Whether or not you need some form of intervention during labour will depend on your own personal experience when it finally happens. However, hypnobirthing can help you to create a calmer and more controlled environment for yourself, so you may find intervention unnecessary.

Manage pain naturally

When it comes to pain relief, everyone has a different opinion. What you decide in advance can change once labour comes around, depending on how you feel and how the labour is unfolding. If you feel that you’d rather not use non-natural pain relief, then hypnobirthing can help give you the tools to deal with the pain. That isn’t to say that you won’t feel discomfort or that you won’t end up needing pain relief if the situation changes, but it can certainly help you to reduce the need for relief if that’s part of your birth plan.

Feeling in control

Hypnobirthing is all about control. As anyone who has given birth will testify, labour can often feel like you’re not in control. There is so much happening inside of your, often over long periods of time, that you end up feeling like your body is the one steering you. With hypnobirthing, you can help to regain a sense of control by dictating how you feel about labour and approach it. This control allows you to manage your pain rather than react to it.

Help overcome trauma

If you’ve experienced a difficult or traumatic birth in the past, hypnobirthing can be a great technique to use to help you overcome any anxieties you have towards labour. If you feel as though your anxiety is overwhelming, it might be useful to speak to your GP or midwife about seeking further help with hypnobirthing experts.


So, that’s hypnobirthing! If you didn’t know much about it before, we hope we’ve been able to shine a light on it. As you can see, it offers lots of great benefits for not only giving birth but that time leading up to your labour. If you’re feeling nervous, anxious or just need a little more reassuring, then hypnobirthing might be just what you need.