Late last year we reported on the world’s largest study of the fear of childbirth. The mother’s emotional state and mental health at the time of the birth has been found to influence the smoothness of the delivery. While the research project is still underway, those involved admitted that they expected to find a connection between the mother’s mental preparation, anxiety, and expectations about the birth and the presence or lack of birth injuries. Suffice to say, having a healthy outlook on the process may be of growing important for expectant mothers.
This is of particularly interest to our Chicago birth injury attorneys, because the vast majority of our cases are rooted in a similar set of circumstances: a traumatic birth arises and doctors do not act appropriately (or quickly) in response. Whether or not a birth is traumatic may very well be influenced by the mental state of the mother at the time. Therefore, actions which may calm the expectant mother-particularly those that harbor deep-seated fear of the process-may go a long way to limiting birth injuries and other preventable complications.
Keeping that background in mind might help explain why a unique concept known as “hypnobirthing is growing in popularity. WSET News published a story on the process late last week. As the name implies, hypnobirthing refers to the use of hypnosis to help calm a mother before and during labor. At a basic level the goal is to help the mother deal with the intense physical and mental pain associated with childbirth. One mother interviewed for the story noted something rarely heard about the birthing process, explaining: “I was calm and relaxed. I was actually comfortable for an entire seven-hour delivery.”
The hypnosis is most often used as a replacement for traditional pain medication options during the delivery. Many who have used the mental service report that instead of taking medicine they go to a “relaxed place.” Unlike what most readers likely think about when they hear hypnosis, hypnobirthing involves “self hypnosis.” This is much different from the stage hypnosis that is found at comedy clubs and entertainment shows. Self hypnosis is different than being put in a trance by a third party. Instead, it is about an individual arriving at a place of relaxation by controlling their own mind. In this way, it is perhaps best thought of as meditation.
Our birth injury lawyers know that many local early start parenting classes now offer hypnobirthing classes. Many of those who try it have reported happy results, and, as we already noted, it may help lead to a decrease in the risk of a birth injury. One local hypnobirthing coach argues that the hypnosis allows the mother’s body to react less intensely to the pain of birth, compared with a mother who is nervous or stressed. Another positive side effect is the increased prevalence of natural births for those who try hypnosis. C-section births are skyrocketing nationwide, often among parents who have a fear of natural birth. While C-section births are sometimes essential, they still come with increased risks of complications. All efforts that produce safe, natural births should continue to be explored.
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