Earlier this week, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, gave birth to a baby boy.
This is the third child for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who welcomed their little one into the world in the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London.
According to reports, Middleton endured a five-hour labor without pain relief as a part of a delivery method called hypnobirthing. This isn’t the first time she’s tried it. Middleton has used the practice for all three of her babies.
Curious about the technique? Read on to learn more.
What is hypnobirthing?
It’s a type of therapy that helps parents seek a natural birthing experience with more patient control and less pain, according to Hypnobirthing.com. It involves special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice and attention to nutrition and body. The method can be practiced at home, in a hospital or birth center.
How exactly does it work?
Hypnobirthing aims to dismiss the anxiety associated with the birthing experience. Experts believe fear activates stress hormones that cause slow digestion and an increased heart rate. Blood is also forced to the arms and legs, which depletes blood to the uterus. This is what contributes to uterine pain.
Parents can take hypnobirthing classes to learn specific breathing and visualization techniques, according to WebMD. For example, many courses teach mothers to self-hypnotize with their open eyes. Instructors may also encourage expectant moms to envision an easy birth and recite affirmations, such as “I relax and my baby relaxes.” Phrases that reference the difficulty of childbirth are rejected. Instead of using the words “pain” or “contraction,” patients are encouraged to say “sensation” or “surge” instead.
Do you still feel pain?
A 2006 review of five previous studies found that women who chose hypnobirthing were almost half as likely to use painkillers and about one-third less likely to use an epidural during labor.
Who else has used this practice?
Celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba have all reportedly tried hypnobirthing. During an appearance on Ellen, Alba said “it’s not a weird thing.”
“It's not like the clock in front of your face and you go out and you wake up and you got a baby,” she joked. “My husband takes me through sort of a meditation. He'll say, 'you're relaxed, and you're floating on clouds while you're going through labor and your contractions. I'm just concentrating on breathing and staying relaxed...when you get tense that makes the whole labor worse and more painful.”