Natal Hypnotherapy: Strategies for a Drug-Free Birth

natal hypnotherapyGiving birth is one of the most profound events in a woman’s life. It’s normal to have apprehensions and to want to minimize the pain. Not everyone will be able to a have a natural childbirth and not everyone wants one, but if you want your best shot at giving birth without drugs or surgery, hypnotherapy now has a proven track record of success in treating some conditions. Take control of your body and your birth with this course on Mastering Labor Contractions.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the induction of a trance-like state which primes a subject to be more open to suggestion and imagination. When applied to giving birth, hypnotherapy teaches you how to meditate and relax and to control your fear response to the pain. The hypnotherapist may use words or metaphors to work around your subconscious mental barriers and to help you achieve a genuinely open mindset.

Giving birth is a marathon of pain management; natal hypnotherapy can change your perspective so you perceive the pain to be shorter in duration or less intense. You can even attempt to transfer the pain or your contractions to a different ‘numbed’ body part. On the whole, hypnotherapy can make you feel more prepared, more in control and less fearful of giving birth. Since it’s not likely that your hypnotherapist will be in the birthing suite, make sure your partner knows the trigger words to help you stay calm and relaxed.


If you’re prone to anxiety and are starting to get nervous about the whole ordeal, it’s time to take charge of your emotional state before it takes charge of you in the birthing suite. There are many things you can do in the months leading up to the birth to help you prepare for labor. Natal hypnotherapy is just one.


Prepare your body for birth with strength and flexibility exercises. Prenatal Yoga helps you achieve the focus, strength and relaxation you need to manage your reaction to labor pain.


Homeopathy in Childbirth is another way to feel in control of your birthing experience. If homeopathy has worked for you in the past, give it another crack. It may help during labor.


Diet can also influence your success during childbirth. Contractions are a form of uterine cramping much like cramping that can occur during PMS. Studies have shown that a regimen of b-vitamins, iron, fish oil and magnesium can remedy premenstrual cramping, so it stands to reason that the same supplements may help your body work more efficiently during birth. (Obviously, talk to your doc before you embark on new supplements—especially when you’re pregnant.)

If you haven’t done so already, this is also the time to overhaul your diet in favor of healthy food. Junk food increases inflammation which will make your labor more painful. Fruits and vegetables not only reduce inflammation in the body, they can help stabilize your blood sugar for the duration of the birth. If the last eight months of milkshake cravings have given you some bad habits, look into a course to get you back on track. Proper nutrition is essential for the whole family from here on out. If you want to get a leg up on healthy food for your baby, look no further.

Pain Management Methods

Pain management methods, like the Bradley Method, may help you feel more prepared for birth. You’ve heard how even a fake smile can make you feel happier right? That’s because your face has a physiological tie to your emotions. The more tense your face, the more tense your body feels. Relaxing the face muscles can indeed help your whole body feel more relaxed, and if nothing else, try to employ that trick when you’re giving birth.

When to Eat

Most hospitals and doctors don’t usually let you eat once you’ve started labor, so it’s probably a good idea to eat a small healthy meal before you check in. Having low blood sugar makes it that much more difficult to manage the stress of birth. It’s a very physical job—akin to a race or marathon. Elite athletes know that nutrition and blood sugar play a big role in physical performance. Take a page from their book with this course in pre-game meals for athletes.

Duration of the Birth

Obviously, it’s easier to manage ten hours of labor than twenty-four. It’s impossible to predict how long your labor is going to last, but there are a few factors you can try to control. Generally speaking, bigger babies are more difficult to deliver naturally, but that’s not the whole story. If you’ve been told you’re having a big baby, check out this course to get some real answers. The size of the baby is just one factor that can make your delivery last longer. If you’ve passed your due date, talk to you doctor or midwife about appropriate ways to stimulate the birth. From massage to spicy herbal teas, there are a million theories out there. One of them may work for you.

Water Birth

Even if you don’t like the idea of a water birth right now, chances are during labor, you may reconsider. Most of the pain of early labor comes from the incredible pressure of the baby’s head pushing against your nerve center in the spinal cord and tailbone. Your partner pushing on your back hardly makes a dent in getting the pressure back in balance. However, the tens of liters of water in a birthing bath does. It also helps you regulate your body temperature and most folks would probably agree that a warm bath is more relaxing than a sterile hospital gurney. Remember, childbirth is a marathon of pain management. Anything you can do to lessen the feeling of pain in the lead-up hours saves your energy and gives you a greater chance for a drug free birth at the end.


At some point in your labor, you will think this: “I can’t go on;” “I’ve had enough.” That’s a natural response to the incredible amount of effort it takes to endure hours upon hours of contractions. However, there are more beneficial mindsets. Natal hypnotherapy doesn’t have to mean you’re hypnotized by a professional. Self-hypnosis can also work. This self-hypnosis course can help you focus on a more positive mindset. For me, this strategy is personal. By the time I’d had enough, it was too late to get the anesthetist in. That forced me to change my outlook to “the only way to end this is to get it done.” That shift in focus from “poor me” to “I gotta do this” was very empowering. If you can go into labor with that mindset, you stand of good chance of delivering on your own terms. Imagine: once you master self-hypnosis for the sake of your birth, you can use those skills to master your destiny. Pretty rad, huh?

At the end of the day, childbirth is an incredibly personal journey. Even ten years on, women will sit around discussing their birthing stories. Yours will be unique. You live at the best time in history to give birth. Modern practices are safer than they have ever been. We have mountains of scientific research about labor. Some research shows that many women opt for Caesarean out of fear. Fear is exactly the kind of thing that natal hypnosis can help. You can even become a practitioner yourself with these hypnosis courses: Hypnosis Crash Course  or Eriksonian Hypnosis.

Anyway you slice it, your birthing journey is going to be your own. No amount of reading will prepare you for the incredible change a baby brings to your life, but there’s no doubt that a bit of research and preparation can make the adjustment to childrearing more positive. After birth, can help you through the new baby adjustment with courses like these:

No matter which courses you choose, never forget that you are your own expert on your body and your baby. The rest of us are just here to help.