NewsNational NewsTwo Americas

What is HypnoBirthing? How the common practice of self-hypnosis helps achieve a fear-free birth

Posted at 5:45 PM, Nov 16, 2022

(WXYZ) — Self-hypnosis to achieve a fear-free birth. It might sound odd, but that hasn’t stopped couples across metro Detroit from running to try it out.

We’re talking about HypnoBirthing, a decades-old practice, popularizing amongst local couples. The practice is said to help create a more enjoyable, empowering labor - whether the birth is natural or surgical.

“I’m going to be screaming, out of control,” said mom Ashley Oshinsky.

“Every single television show, movie that you watch, really focuses on the horrible pain that you go through,” said Bruna Camargo Pacheco.

If there’s one thing unifying first-time pregnant women everywhere, it is fear.

WXYZ’s Ameera David asked, “For you, where does most of the fear stem from?”

“It’s kind of the broader, but it’s the unknown,” said Camaro Pacheco.

That unknown was daunting enough that Bruna Camargo Pacheco wasn’t exactly running to get pregnant in her 20s.

But now at 33, she and her husband are expecting their first baby.

“You can see his little nose, little foot, belly,” said Camaro Pacheco pointing to the ultrasound photo.

In fact, planning for a natural birth— something she never thought she’d take on until she was introduced to the technique a growing number of women are using as their secret weapon: HypnoBirthing.

“Mom is using relaxation, whether it’s thought, breath, touch of a partner, to relax herself, thereby relaxing her autonomic nervous system and when that is calm, triggers are less,” said Janice Weaver-Rex, HypnoBirthing educator.

The practice teaches women to reframe how labor pain is perceived. Instead of contractions, couples are to think of it as a surge. Instead of pushing the baby out, you breathe the baby out.

“It’s literally deep relaxation,” Weaver-Rex.

Janice Weaver-Rex has taught HypnoBirthing for the last 17 years.

WXYZ’s Ameera David asked, “To what extent are you seeing more women take interest in this?”

“A lot,” said Weaver-Rex.

It wasn’t until the 1950s when Hypnotherapists started promoting self-hypnosis to ease the pains of labor. By 1989, Hypnotherapist Marie Mongan developed a program that’s in heavy use today.

Even with some high-profile celebrity endorsements, women who use it do sometimes face pushback.

“They’re not familiar with it, so they deem it sort of “crunchy,” said Camargo Pacheco.

“Is it fair to say there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what this is?” asked David.

“Absolutely, I’ll say first misconception is hypnosis is like a control, it’s controlling you,” said Weaver-Rex.

Data reveals quite the opposite, a 2015 study showing women who used the practice felt less anxious and more empowered.

“It was learning what all of the options are at birth and what I can do to take a stand for myself,” said Oshinsky.

Oschinsky says it helped in her second birth, in the wake of a less-than-desirable experience with her first.

“HypnoBirthing helped me take my power back,” said Oshinsky.

“Do you feel more confident about the birth than before you started learning about HypnoBirthing?” asked David.

“Yes, 100 % more confident,” said Camargo Pacheco.

“It’s a way to calm yourself and be relaxed wherever you are- wherever your birth is,” said Weaver-Rex.

Bruna’s birth will be in the hospital which you might be surprised to learn is where over 90% of HypnoBirthing women have their babies.

“In fact, it’s where I chose to have mine, employing the very practice just a year ago,” said David.

“There is this sense of calm that comes with this process that I’m hoping will be the same thing that happens the day my first child comes into the world,” said Camargo Pacheco.

HypnoBirthing Institute:

Hypnobirthing classes, how it works, Methods and More: