Think of hypnotism and you imagine silly shows where people are made to do embarrassing actions for entertainment. But Dubai-based HypnoBirthing practitioner Jasmine Collin, 41, says HypnoBirthing is nothing to do with stage hypnotism and actually a method that allows women to have a natural birth without the need for interventions – and they’re fully conscious throughout. So it’s no wonder the Duchess of Cambridge is said to be preparing for the birth of her first baby by listening to special HypnoBirth CDs.
“HypnoBirthing is a childbirth preparation method to help mums get in tune with their natural instincts and to trust in their bodies and be able to give birth in a calm and natural way,” explained Jasmine. “We use self-hypnosis every day in our lives, like when you’re daydreaming you come back to yourself and you’re like, ‘where have I been?’ – that’s a state of self-hypnosis. It’s not stage hypnosis where you’re clucking like a chicken. There’s nothing out of control about it. It’s just a very deep stage of relaxation.”
Jasmin, herself a mum of Amber, six, and Indiana, three, used the technique when she gave birth to Amber, and runs classes at Zen Yoga in Dubai Media City to help expectant mums and dads to learn techniques needed ahead of labour. Lasting for up to three hours a week for six weeks, the classes teach women breathing and relaxation techniques, feature videos of births, explain how to dispel fear of birth and explains how the body works during labour.
Jasmin also aims to rubbish the myths about traumatic childbirths as seen in Hollywood films such as What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Knocked Up.
“We want to eliminate horror stories women have heard from friends or in the media and eliminate the negative beliefs and expectations,” she said. “HypnoBirthing can help if you’re particularly fearful or have a lot of anxiety about birth.
Jasmin, who lives in Jumeirah, has worked with around 100 women so far and says the method has clear results, especially when women have used it when giving birth for the second time. “It can shorten the birth, make it easier, more manageable, there’s less need for intervention and drugs and the recovery is a lot quicker,” she said.
“I have lots of second-time mums who have had bad experiences. 100 per cent have a more positive second birth. There are huge benefits for the dad too, or another birthing companion. They get to really take a role in the birth where they feel confident about being able to help.”
Celebrity fans have spoken out about using the method. Actress Jessica Alba said of HypnoBirthing: “The labour was more like meditation. I did yoga breathing. I was focused.” Demi Moore and Pamela Anderson have also revealed they went to classes, and Gisele says she used yoga techniques while giving birth. Jasmin says she would recommend it to the Duchess of Cambridge, due to produce a royal heir any day now. Jasmin said: “She can have a safe, calm and satisfying birth for herself and her baby.”
And while some medics say the method should be approached with caution, mums who have used the method offer glowing reports.
Maisa Damon, 30, from Jumeirah Village, had her first daughter, Maya, a year ago. It was her husband who was keen for the couple to attend classes, and she also wanted a drug-free delivery. The sales manager for Reel Cinemas even describes Maya’s birth as “wonderful” and says it wasn’t even painful.
“The classes relax you, teach you how to breathe and be comfortable,” she said.
“When I went to the hospital, Maya was already halfway there. It’s because of the breathing, the exercises and postures she gives you. I had no injections, no IV, nothing, I just kept drinking water and I even ate a nice meal during my contractions.” However, she says her friends were not so sure.
“My friends say ‘oh you just got lucky’. They don’t believe that because of the classes this could have happened. The classes made the birth possible.”
Another mum, Jo Potter, 34, used the method for her second baby, Delilah, now six weeks-old, and says it was a much calmer and more positive experience than she had with Isobel, 18 months, especially when she discovered the class was full of normal women rather than “hippies”, as she’d feared.
“I feel like my labour was very similar to my first daughter’s but had a very different outcome,” said Jo, who lives near Safa Park. She said she even had to tell her husband she was having contractions as she was so pain-free. She even had a bath then went back to bed while in labour.
“I definitely feel having the HypnoBirthing tools helped me feel prepared and knowledgeable about what was happening and not fear the process. I was looking forward to meeting my baby. Recovery afterwards was quicker and I felt I bonded with Delilah much easier and quicker than with Isobel.”
HypnoBirthing is a copyrighted name for cases run by the HypnoBirthing Institute. It was founded by American hypnotherapist Marie Mongan who wrote HypnoBirthing – A Celebration of Life in 1989.
However, the idea dates back to the 1920s and Dr Grantly Dick-Read who wrote Natural Childbirth in 1933. He said fear and tension were the cause of 95 per cent of labour pain. Ancient philosophers also talk about the importance of the mental state of a mum during birth. HypnoBirthing practitioners can now be found in 45 countries.
INFO: Dhs1,500 for the course, www.jasminecollin.com