Does Hypnobirthing really work?
This is a commonly asked question, often asked alongside ""What is Hypnobirthing?" and "Are Hypnobirthing courses worth it?" (I answer those questions in separate blog posts) Here, I'll focus on "Does Hypnobirthing really work?", sharing some study based information alongside the thoughts of Positive Birth Leeds parents on this topic.
What do you mean by "work"?...
Firstly, what do you mean by "work"? If you mean "can it guarantee me a certain birth experience?" then my answer is "no", I'm afraid no one can guarantee you that. However, based on the "aggregation of marginal gains", making small changes to lots of things that add up to a bigger overall benefit, hypnobirthing can stack the odds in your favour. Hypnobirthing isn't a 'type of birth' and you can't 'do it wrong'. The understanding and relaxation and informed decision making tools you and your birth partner gain during a hypnobirthing course are transferable to all births including, home, hospital, induction and caesarean. I've written more about what hypnobirthing is in this blog.
Hypnobirthing benefits are proven by studies:
I'm a lover of study evidence and multiple studies have reported positive conclusions regarding hypnobirthing. A 2022 systemic review (reviewing 10 separate studies) looked specifically at the effectiveness of skilled breathing and relaxations techniques during antenatal education on maternal and neonatal (baby) outcomes. The results were:
A 2023 study interviewing women who attended hypnobirthing classes to help prepare for birth concluded positively that:
The results of another 2023 study looking at 21 research articles found that hypnobirthing gives:
These benefits are also transferable far beyond pregnancy and birth, into parenthood and life as a whole.
Hypnobirthing benefits are proven by parents:
"That was the calmest voicemail you've ever left, hypnobirthing obviously works!" Martin, dad & birth partner
Personally, the relaxation and decision making skills I gained from my hypnobirthing course allowed me to focus on what right for me and my baby, which was particularly important when the birth of my breech baby was labeled "high risk". I had the confidence to have open conversations with my care providers that centered my choices, instead of being a bystander in mine and my baby's care (I share my vaginal breech birth story in this blog). Hypnobirthing also allowed me to have important conversations with my birth partner (my husband) so he knew how best to support and advocate for me during labour. When I spontaneously went into labour, I called my husband to tell him and left a voicemail, when he called me back he said "That was the calmest voicemail you've ever left, hypnobirthing obviously works!"
"The best day of my life bar none, so magical, beautiful and emotional - I’m in awe...and really proud of the role I played" Glen, dad & birth partner
The benefits parents experience from a hypnobirthing course can be really personal and not limited to the woman or person giving birth - dads and birth partners benefit too. Dad Glen shared that the birth of his son was "The best day of my life bar none, so magical, beautiful and emotional - I’m in awe...and really proud of the role I played". Mum Liz shared her wonderful birth experience with me...
"I want to express my heartfelt thanks for the hypnobirthing course we did with you. I am so pleased to tell you that I had a really positive birth and I genuinely believe it wouldn't have happened that way without your help. To go from being terrified about the birth at the outset of my pregnancy, I now feel I could shout from the rooftops about how good it was! What a turnaround." Liz, mum.
And like I said, hypnobirthing doesn't just benefit vaginal births, mum Meghan did a course to prepare for her third caesarean birth and she told me after her baby was born...
"I can't believe how different this birth experience was compared to my last two. I felt really calm, in control...I actually enjoyed the whole experience. I didn't think that kind of birth was possible for me...It was completely magical" Meghan, mum
You can read birth stories from Positive Birth Leeds parents on the website and what parents say about the five star rated Positive Birth Leeds Hypnobirthing course on Google or the PBL website.
So, "Does Hypnobirthing Really Work?"
If by "work" you mean does the knowledge you and your birth partner gain, and skills toolkit you build, help you feel calmer, more confident and empowered and supported before and during your birth, helping you have a better birth experience, then "Yes", hypnobirthing really works. I'd just look back what these parents have said if you're still not convinced.
Want to know more or have any questions? get in touch to arrange a free chat (with zero obligation to book).
I can help you get informed and feel confident, relaxed and empowered for your baby's birth.
Or get in touch to ask about private one-to-one course availability.