HYPNOBIRTHING sounds like it would involve a mother being placed in a trance before delivering her baby.
But this relatively new trend is really about changing a woman's mindset and approach to childbirth, as well as learning new birthing techniques that benefit both mum and bub.
It has become another option for mothers seeking a pain- and drug-free birth.
One of the converted is 40-year-old Alana Mahadik, of Bellmere, who gave birth to a son, Rudra, on Anzac Day - April 25 - with the help of hypnobirthing.
She said the experience had made delivery of her second child a breeze when compared with her first child, son Avighna, now 20 months.
"My first birth was a bit of a nightmare," Alana said, adding that it involved a 28-hour labour that then led to an emergency forceps delivery and use of an epidural.
"It was a really difficult birth and it took me so long to recover."
With the help of Leanne Jackson, a Beachmere hypnobirthing practitioner, the birth of her second child had been much better.
"There' s no comparison," she said. "It was 100% better. I was in labour for four hours."
Alana said that when she arrived at Caboolture Hospital on Anzac Day, her baby remarkably arrived only eight minutes later in a quick and far more comfortable birth.
And she attributes at least some of Rudra's good behaviour in the days since his delivery to hypno-birthing.
"My baby is so calm," she said.
"He is really chilled out and relaxed and he sleeps a lot."
Alana said that hypnobirthing was all about breathing and learning various relaxation techniques that changed the way women thought about birth.
"In particular in Western culture, we get told that birth is painful and that it's going to be a stressful experience," she said.
"Instead of contractions, you would say surges (in hypnobirthing). It's all about creating a different mindset.
"The most important thing to know how to breathe and to stay calm and relaxed."
Alana said she and husband Ketan had considered a hypnobirth after positive feedback about the process from friends in the United Kingdom.
"I was a bit dubious at first," she said.
"But after my experience, people need to know about this. It's just brilliant."
Marilyn Colvin Boon runs The Alternative Centre, Warana (www.thealternativecentre.com.au), and is a faculty member and trainer for the Hypnobirthing Institute.
She said she recommended hypnobirthing to young mothers as its natural approach benefited new-born babies.
"Hypnobirthing focuses on visualisation, hypnosis and relaxation and it teaches parents to relax," she said.
"It prepares women for a calm birth and when a woman feels calm, her birthing muscles relax so her baby comes into the world in a nice and relaxed state."
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