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FAQ Series Part 4: Can Hypnobabies Help me with Anxiety?

FAQ Series Part 4: Can Hypnobabies Help me with Anxiety?

I am often asked about how to deal with anxiety during pregnancy. Sometimes, the person has already been dealing with anxiety when she becomes pregnant, and is wondering how to manage it. Other times, the person has never really had anxiety, but it presents itself for the first time as perinatal anxiety (anxiety occurring during pregnancy or the first year postpartum). Even planned pregnancy is considered a stressful life event and can trigger negative emotions, especially when paired with other stressful life events like changing jobs, moving, remodeling, and changing lifestyle habits. (Or a flood.)

Some first-time moms are anxious about the unknowns of birth. They may wonder, "Will I get gestational diabetes? Will I tear while pushing? How can I avoid an episiotomy? Will I poop while I'm pushing? Will I have to be induced? How can I avoid a Cesarean?"

Mothers who have already experienced birth may have anxiety based on their past birth experiences, especially if they were particularly challenging or didn't go as planned. They might think, "That was too hard; I can't go through labor again." Or, "I'm scared that my birth will not turn out like I planned...again." Or even, "My first birth went so well, there's no way I'll be lucky enough to have another birth exactly the way I want." Sometimes mothers experience new anxieties and fears about birth that they didn't know they needed to process through until they become pregnant again.

One of the best-kept secrets about my Hypnobabies classes in Baton Rouge is that they teach lifelong skills that are applicable even after pregnancy. In Hypnobabies, you will learn SO many helpful tools for dealing with anxiety and fear about pregnancy and birth, including:

Joyful pregnancy affirmations

This is a unique and wonderful asset to your pregnancy. You can listen to this track throughout the day, as often as you like. It keeps you in a positive frame of mind and helps you to enjoy your pregnancy. You don't even have to "consciously" listen to it; you can play it in the background while you go about your day, and just watch how your anxieties melt away!


This practice is lauded by positive psychologists, neuroscientists, spiritual leaders, and yoga instructors as one of the most effective ways to change your thinking. In Hypnobabies, we learn how to apply the benefits of mindfulness to pregnancy and birthing. Mindfulness has been life-changing for many of my students!

Hypnosis practice for deep relaxation

The core of Hypnobabies is the hypnosis techniques. Practicing the hypnosis techniques is relaxing and extremely enjoyable. It helps students to fall into a restful sleep, and can help them get back to sleep after middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. It also includes many, many post-hypnotic suggestions for an easy and comfortable pregnancy and birth experience.

I'm not a mental health professional or therapist, but I have first-hand experience with anxiety, and I have taught a good number of Hypnobabies students who have anxiety, with amazing results! Of course, please speak with your doctor, midwife, or mental health care provider and seek further treatment if necessary.

FAQ Series Part 1: When Should I Take Hypnobabies?

FAQ Series Part 2: Does My Partner Need to Come to Class?

FAQ Series Part 3: Is Hypnosis Compatible with my Faith?





Guest Post: Five Things I Know about Perinatal Mood Disorders

Guest Post: Five Things I Know about Perinatal Mood Disorders

Most of us know someone who has had some experience with a Perinatal Mood Disorder (PMD).  It’s an all-too-common condition that approximately 14-25% of women who are pregnant or who give birth will experience.  That doesn’t mean that it is limited to the most commonly known PPD (postpartum depression).  There are a few different conditions that can affect the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women.  

Two recent studies have shown that postpartum anxiety and postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are much more common than previously thought.

As it turns out, not only is postpartum OCD much more common than previously thought, it appears as though postpartum anxiety may actually be more common than Postpartum Depression (PPD).  It is not nearly as frequently screened for as PPD, but we have learned recently that it can affect as many as 17% of women as early as two weeks post baby, and that it can remain more common than PPD even 6 months later.

You can develop postpartum mood disorders up to 12 months after you have your baby.

You can also develop them anytime during your pregnancy.  If you are experiencing symptoms, even at your baby’s first birthday, don’t write them off, seek help.

It can be difficult to differentiate between the exhaustion and disorientation that comes with pregnancy and new parenthood and a mood or anxiety disorder. 

New parenthood (and pregnancy) usually includes times of sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and can even be accented with loneliness, increased or lack of appetite, and sadness.  All of these things can be symptoms of PMD or anxiety.  Having a postpartum doula to offer unconditional support, a safe space to ask questions and let out fears and concerns, and to have help with finding the right rhythm for your particular family’s unique needs can help when you feel overwhelmed.  Support and rest is critical for new families, and while a doula can’t guarantee that you or your partner won’t experience PMADs, he or she can help with the other stuff so you are better able to discern when medical help is needed.

And speaking of partners…

Your partner may be just as likely to experience postpartum depression as you are.

While most of the information focuses on fathers, all partners can experience postpartum depression.  They may experience similar symptoms as their partners, but they also experience other unique symptoms such as irritability, detachment, and emotional withdrawal.

Your birth experiences will affect your postpartum year, and can affect whether you develop a PMAD.

Stay with me on this one.  It isn’t the actual end result of your birth that matters on this point.  In fact, it is “a [mother’s] perceptions of those experiences.”  We all know (or we should all know) that neither a doctor, nor a fully prepared couple, nor a labor/birth doula can guarantee the outcome of any birth.  The good news is that even when your birth throws you a curveball and things don’t go according to plan, if you and your partner feel prepared, supported, and not judged, you can still come away from your birth feeling positive and empowered, even when it doesn’t go the way you had hoped.  

This where a doula can truly help.  As a doula, our job is to provide a space for the expectant parents to voice concerns, ask questions, feel listened to, and to facilitate their ability to communicate with their chosen and trusted care provider(s).  Even when their birth plans go awry, if they are adequately prepared and supported, they can have the beautiful birth they desire.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, or PTSD, please seek help from your trusted medical providers.  The wonderful news is that it is 100% treatable and you can recover!  



Erin Stephens is a labor and postpartum doula, ALC, and the Education Director of Mom2Mom-Ft. Bragg located in Fayetteville, NC.  View her website at