Your guide to hypnotherapy and how it can help pregnancy
Hypnotherapy can help you relax during pregnancy, here’s how
What is it?
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis - an altered state of consciousness – to help mums-to-be relax. By working with your subconscious mind, it helps you break habits or stop unwanted physical responses. It also feels relaxing and the good news is – you’re in control the whole time.
How can it help?
Hypnotherapy is used mainly in pregnancy for relaxation, preparation for labour and childbirth. Hypnobirthing is a birthing method that uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help a woman feel physically, mentally and spiritually prepared and reduces feelings of fear, anxiety and pain during childbirth. Research is also ongoing into the effects of hypnotherapy on postnatal depression.
Hypnobirthing classes are usually taught in small groups, with some teachers offering one-to-one lessons too. Hypnobirthing can be learnt and practiced in many ways, not just in classes. There is lots of information available online, in apps and podcasts and also books and CDs.
Teachers usually start the session off with a chat - finding out what you want to achieve. Then they’ll ask you to sit in a chair and let yourself drift off. It might feel surprisingly familiar. If you've ever zoned out during a boring meeting - staring out the window daydreaming - you were actually enjoying an altered state similar to hypnosis.
In the session, you’ll be aware of what’s going on, hearing people chatting or seeing them wander past the room, but you’ll feel wonderfully relaxed.
It’s nothing like a hypnotic show! You’re fully in control and don't have to take on the therapist's suggestions if you don't want to. You can even choose to lift yourself out of the hypnotic state if you want to.
Is it safe?
Hypnotherapy is often used widely by doctors, dentists, psychologists and counsellors, but because it’s not regulated, it’s also offered by non-professionals with little training. So make sure you choose an accredited qualified hypnotherapist with a solid healthcare background, ideally someone who belongs to the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) or are regulated by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
How much does it cost?
You probably won’t get hypnotherapy on the NHS so you’ll need to go private – a session can cost anywhere between £50 and £90. This would vary greatly depending on how the service was provided. In the case of hypnobirthing this would depend on whether this was individual or group classes and how many sessions were undertaken. Some providers do one-off sessions, a course over several weeks, or intensive sessions over full days or weekends.