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Is hypnobirthing heaven or hell? Two mothers tell their own VERY different stories

Many mothers will admit that they do not look back too much on the labor process.

But the Duchess of Cambridge revealed that she used a self-hypnosis technique for all three of her births, which meant that she “actually really liked work.”

Hypnobirthing uses controlled breathing, visualization and meditation to keep women relaxed during birth and minimize pain. It has become increasingly popular among expectant mothers who are looking for a drug-free birth.

The duchess made her revelation about the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast, organized by author Giovanna Fletcher, the wife of McFly musician Tom. The interview was done as part of the Duchess’s five major questions about the Under Fives survey, which “wants to give every child the best start in life.”

The duchess said there was nothing ‘hippy dippy’ about hypnobirthing. “I’m not going to say that William was standing there and singing sweet words to me,” she said. “He certainly wasn’t! I didn’t even ask him about it. It was just something I wanted to do for myself. “

So does it work? Here two mothers share their opinion …

After the Duchess of Cambridge (pictured with George) said she used hypnobirthing to overcome her morning sickness, the Daily Mail asks if it could help you

After the Duchess of Cambridge (pictured with George) said she used hypnobirthing to overcome her morning sickness, the Daily Mail asks if it could help you

HYPNO HEAVEN: I took myself to a sun-drenched beach in the Seychelles

Eimear, 38, said the method gave her a “grounded and calm” feeling during labor

Eimear, 38, is a writer and mother of Ruadhán, four, and Donnacha, two. She says:

Standing on a deserted, sun-drenched beach in the Seychelles, I breathed in and then breathed out deeply, attentively focused on the rhythmic crackling of waves on the sandy shore in front of me.

In reality, I was more than 5,000 miles away, in a birthplace in my local hospital in rural Scottish Borders.

The power of hypnobirthing – and in particular the visualization skills I had learned in private lessons in the run-up to my due date – enabled me to concentrate in a place where I felt relaxed, safe and able to cope with the pain of my labor.

For me, it was the small island in the Indian Ocean where my husband Malcolm and I had been on our “babymoon” – our last vacation as a couple before our baby arrived – a few months earlier.

It is fair to say that for the most part I am the least “woo” person that you are likely to meet. I take a painkiller above a crystal every day and worship on the altar of modern medicine. The moment I found out that I was expecting, I knew that I wanted a hospital birth, with medication and an operating room within reach. So it was with more than a drop of skepticism that I enrolled in a weekly group of hypnobirthing lessons around five months.

They promised to provide techniques, including controlled breathing and achieving a deep state of relaxation through meditation, with the aim of “active” – ​​that is, not lying on your back – labor and, ideally, a “normal” delivery.

Friends had recommended them, but I was not convinced that the mind could really triumph over the pain of childbirth. The idea of ​​being “relaxed” made me mock.

Fast forward to May 2015, and when the first woe struck like a sledgehammer, I quietly whispered thanks for the skills I had in my mental arsenal.

Deep, rhythmic breathing helped me keep the pain under control for three hours at home before we went to the hospital, where I was glad I had already been released 9 cm.

It might be quick and furious, but I felt control.

Eimear is pictured above with her two sons Ruadhan and Donnacha. She used hypnobirthing in both deliveries

Eimear is pictured above with her two sons Ruadhan and Donnacha. She used hypnobirthing in both deliveries

Eimear is pictured above with her two sons Ruadhan and Donnacha. She used hypnobirthing in both deliveries

By tracking feelings of anxiety and anxiety, I stopped stress hormones that affect the production of oxytocin, a chemical that is progressing, and I quickly and with a few puffs of gas and air went to the final stage.

When a midwife decided I needed a pair of pliers – thanks to a combination of a large baby and a narrow pelvis – I still didn’t lose faith in hypnobirthing.

I know that for some women, having a “medicalized” birth unexpectedly can lead to feelings of failure. But hypnobirthing gave me a way to contribute.

I was breathing through the spinal cord being administered, visualizing myself with my baby in my arms as theater staff prepared me ‘downstairs’ – and I truly believe that the use of my mind helped me feel involved in the birth of my son.

Despite things that were not going to happen, hypnobirthing meant that I felt nothing but joy when Ruadhán, all 9 pounds of him, was placed on my chest. And of course, when I was pregnant again in 2017, I took a hypnobirthing refresher course and was confident that the skills could help me achieve the normal delivery I wanted.

They did not abandon me. After seven hours of work – most of which I spent on that beautiful beach – my second son Donnacha (photo left) was born.

It was the most peaceful moment. I was in such a deep meditative state that I barely felt any pain and despite the fact that he weighed a healthy 9 pounds of 5 oz, I only needed a small stitch. A few hours later I returned to the postnatal department to eat fish and chips for lunch.

The use of hypnobirthing can never guarantee a perfect birth, if such a thing exists.

However, having used it in two very different deliveries, it kept me grounded and calm in both and gave me a sense of ownership of my work. I hope Kate looks back and feels the same.

HYPNO HELL: Positive thoughts cannot do much if you are in so much pain

Lynn, 41, said she would not try again

Lynn, 41, said she would not try again

Lynn, 41, said she would not try again

Lynn, 41, is a mother who stays at home with Eric, four. She says:

Listening to the Duchess of Cambridge describes her three birth experiences, I could not help but felt sad.

Her report of an easy and stress-free birth, all thanks to the skills she had learned in hypnobirthing lessons, was exactly what I had imagined before I gave birth. Unfortunately it was far from the labor I received.

It was my first pregnancy and since I was no longer with Eric’s father, I knew I would be alone. It was a daunting prospect and reinforced my desire to have control over my work in any way.

I’ve always been a bit of a hippie and knew that I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital. The idea of ​​using the power of my mind to control the birth process really appealed to me – and I was pretty sure it would work because I had used hypnosis to help me through an earlier medical procedure that normally gas and air.

And because my house was only 12 minutes from the hospital, I knew that if something went wrong, I could get there quickly.

Six months before my due date, I registered with a private company where you build a really strong one-to-one relationship with the midwife who will be with you during delivery.

They were big proponents of hypnobirthing. So, according to their advice, I attended weeks and weeks of group sessions, guided meditations and one-on-one chats and read a lot of books about it.

I did guided meditations daily using CDs, so by the time I started giving birth, I knew what my mind and body needed to relax. I felt really well prepared.

My baby was two days late when I gave birth around midnight on December 20, 2015. I felt terrible all day and had not realized that the birth had begun until I was about to go to bed – and I felt a huge contraction.

I called the company just to find out that the midwife with whom I had built up a report for months was on vacation. Not only that, her backup was sick. Instead, my call was transferred to another midwife with whom I had never spoken before, who knew nothing about my birth plan. I was panicked.

Lynn captured her son Eric after he was born. The child is now four years old

Lynn captured her son Eric after he was born. The child is now four years old

Lynn captured her son Eric after he was born. The child is now four years old

She told me I wasn’t ready to have the baby and just take a bath and download an app to time my contractions. I tried to fiddle with it, but at this point I was terrified.

I tried to get ‘in the zone’ several times, but it was impossible. If you have so much pain and sorrow, there is not much that positive thoughts can do thinking and trying to relax. I had lost control and none of my careful preparations could get it back.

Two more hours passed and at this point I begged the midwife to come to me. When she saw my panic face at the door and realized that I was alone, her own face fell.

After I realized that I had been released 6 cm and that the baby was in need, she called an ambulance who took me to the hospital.

Fortunately, when I arrived, my delivery was extremely fast and Eric was fine, weighing 11 pounds. But while he was OK, I remained upset and traumatized.

Although I would like to think that if I ever got pregnant again, I would be broad-minded enough to give hypnobirthing another chance, the hard truth is that my first attempt was absolutely unsuccessful and the idea of ​​feeling helpless if it bored again with fear. I had no support.

I’m glad Kate had such a positive experience, but I prove that it doesn’t always work wonders. Giving birth is unpredictable, and sometimes the power of positive thinking is not enough to help you through it.

What is hypnobirthing? How does it work? And what are the methods?


Hypnobirthing is a pain management method that can be used during labor to help women feel calmer and better under control. It involves a mix of visualization, relaxation and deep breathing techniques, usually learned in the months prior to birth. It was originally developed to help women who were afraid of childbirth, in response to observations from doctors that anxiety and stress could lead to a more difficult birth.


Tamara Cianfini, the founder of hypnobirthing company The Wise Hippo, explains: “A woman who is scared during birth will be tense and get a” fight, freeze or faint “answer. Blood flows to her arms to fight or her legs to run away. This means that there is less blood and therefore less oxygen and nutrients in the womb muscle, so this is not as efficient and the work is weakened or even blocked. “Hypnobirthing is also about changing a woman’s mentality to believe that birth can be a positive, calm and relaxing process.”


There are different hypnobirthing techniques, and the one that works best for you varies from woman to woman.

One technique is controlled breathing, where you breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth to help you stay calm. Neurising while you exhale can also help.

Another technique is visualization. This can vary from imagining the birth you want, and even that your baby is already in your arms, to imagine yourself in a different environment where you feel more relaxed, whether it’s a beach or a field. Meditation can also help you to ignore what is happening around you and to focus on your body.

Tamara says she often tells women to imagine a “cloak of protection” that they can wrap around them to dispel all negativity from their environment. She also recommends avoiding “hard” medical terms such as contraction, giving preference to “fluctuations” or “waving”.


Practitioners claim that hypnobirthing helps with both the physical and mental aspects.

“If a woman thinks she has the ‘right’ birth – whatever that may be – this is definitely the best start to motherhood,” says Tamara. “There is less chance of suffering from postnatal depression and psychological problems if she has not experienced any physical or emotional trauma. “


It varies from woman to woman. “A good hypnobirthing teacher will never promise that there will be” no pain “or that a birth will ever go a certain way. In every birth plan of hypnobirthing, all women know that the pain relief is there when they need it, “says Tamara.


Yes. The learned techniques are transferable depending on your attitude, and some women even practice hypnobirthing during a C-section to keep themselves calm. The Duchess of Cambridge said that hypnobirthing also helped her when she suffered severe morning sickness. Most hypnobirths, however, take place in a delivery bath to promote relaxation and because the heat from the water increases blood flow to the perineum, which can reduce the risk of tearing.


Anyone can try it, but the results will be different for each individual and women should feel that they can change their birth plan at any time during labor.

Jill Foster