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HypnoBirthing: Effective Techniques to Release Stress, Fear and Pain in Pregnancy & Labor 

by Carol Yeh-Garner


HypnoBirthing is gaining popularity with women wanting to birth their babies in a calmer, more gentle way. The classes are intense (usually taught in five 2 ½ hour classes) & cover everything from the physiological reasons for pain in labor, the historical basis for pain in labor, myths about hypnosis (you’re not under someone else’s control), and most importantly, techniques to help you get deeply relaxed so your body can do what it’s naturally capable of doing. HypnoBirthing is more than a chilcbirth education class. It allows you to learn life-skills. It’s also about DE-hypnotizing you about the idea that birth has to be painful & excruciating.

HypnoBirthing is a class that is taught in person. It’s not a home-study course because there is so much more information & experiential opportunities that cannot be taught through merely reading a book or listening to CDs. HypnoBirthing also doesn’t guarantee a pain-free labor, but it really does work! If you condition your brain & body to react differently than we’ve all been programmed to react (envision screaming, writhing in pain & yelling at your partner vs calm, focused & comfortable), then you really can have a comfortable, even enjoyable birth experience!

Here are a few techniques to help you release stress & fear during labor so you can have a more comfortable birth: 

1)    Make sure your care provider is supportive of natural birth! If your care provider doesn’t support your desire to have a natural, unmedicated birth, the likelihood you’ll end up with one is slim.

2)    Learn as much as you can about natural birth. Read books like Marie Mongan’s HypnoBirthing, Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, & Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein’s Your Best Birth. The more you familiarize yourself to the fact that your body is meant to birth your body comfortably IF you learn how to relax instead of fight your body, the more confident you’ll feel & the more likely you’ll have the birth experience you want.

3)    Have a birth preferences plan so you can communicate all of your desires for your birth experience with your care provider & the place you’re planning on having your baby. When you have a birth preferences plan, it shows the staff that you are informed & educated & that you’re not just “trying” to have a natural birth on a whim.

4)    Remember to breathe! Especially when you’re having a contraction (or what HypnoBirthers call a surge). If you tense up when you’re having a surge/contraction, you’ll create the fear-tension-pain response which sends out the fight or flight response in your body. When the fight or flight response is sent out into your body, blood & oxygen gets sent to your heart, your lungs, your arms & your legs, so your uterine muscles then don’t get the blood & oxygen they need to work properly. When the uterine muscles are oxygen-deprived, they cramp up causing pain.

5)    When you’re pushing, breathe your baby down. Instead of pushing while holding your breath & pulling your legs up while lifting your head & chest up, get in an upright position or squatting position so you can use gravity to help you instead of working against gravity. If you use your breath to push down instead of holding it while pushing, you’ll be working with your body & baby instead of tensing everything up & then trying to push against a tight body.

6)    Most importantly, relax, relax, relax. Learning to relax is takes practice. We aren’t a society that knows how to relax & just “be” in our body. So condition your brain & your body how to relax into that state of relaxation where you’re aware of outside things but you are so relaxed, you lose track of time. If you are able to be relaxed during your labor, your body will be filled with endorphins, those feel-good hormones, not the fight or flight/stress hormones. When your body is filled with endorphins, it will do what it naturally, normally is capable of…birthing your baby! You just need to learn how to get out of your body’s way! 

These tips just scratch the surface of all that you need to know so you can have a more comfortable, easy birth. If you’d like to find a HypnoBirthing practitioner near you so you can take classes, please visit There are HypnoBirthing practitioners all over the world!


Carol Yeh-Garner is a Certified HypnoBirthing practitioner in San Diego, CA. She has been teaching HypnoBirthing for 4 years & has taught over 450 couples. She successfully used HypnoBirthing for the births of her 2 children. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker & has her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. She is also a HypnoFertility practitioner & works with people struggling with infertility. You can learn more about Carol & her practice at www.AWellLivedLife.Net.

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