A pregnant mum has written on a hypnobirthing forum to ask if other mums using daily relaxation routines have noticed that for their baby, Hypnobirthing time is “party time”, with ecstatic kicks and wriggles. She writes:
I’ve noticed the better I get at falling into the relaxation the more insane the baby gets! It doesn’t bring me out, but I was just wondering if this happens to others as well…
I have observed this phenomenon ever since I started teaching Hypnobirthing, and in fact I normally incorporate a reference to it when taking mums into trance, so that they know what to expect. I might say for example, “as you become more relaxed you may notice your baby moving about as he or she enjoys the relaxation with you”.
I have never heard a definitive explanation of this charming phenomenon. Some teachers (eg Gowri Motha, author of The Gentle Birth Method) think it is because a relaxed uterus gives the baby more room to move.
I have been inclined to think that the cause is more likely to be the mum’s breathing. She is probably breathing more deeply and consciously than normal at the beginning of the relaxation and taking in more oxygen, resulting in a richer oxygen supply being passed to the baby.
But sitting here on a very slow train from London to Cambridge, I have had a brainwave.
We know that our Hypnobirthing relaxation sessions create a flow of endorphins, lovely pain-relieving and bliss-making hormones which cross the placenta and allow the baby to share that special feelgood factor which mums so enjoy in hypnosis.
We know also, and anyone who has seen a baby massage session knows, that babies very early on learn to make associations between one thing and another, getting excited and waving their little arms and legs in glee when they see their mums preparing to give them the lovely massage they enjoy so much.
So is it inconceivable that in utero, after about 28 weeks when memory begins to form, a baby can learn to link the sound of the Hypnobirthing CD or music with the expectation of a delicious rush of endorphins soon to be heading across the placenta, and become excited and stimulated in anticipation?
I can’t recall mums ever reporting the “party time” effect at their first Hypnobirthing session – it is more often reported later on when Mum has established a practice routine. In other words, when her baby has learned to make a connection.
I would love to know more as I am not an infant behaviour expert. Anyone who can shed light on this please comment here or through my website http://www.BirthHypnosis.net!