Hypnobirthing refers to a series of mind- and body-relaxing techniques designed around the "birth without fear" philosophy of Dr. Grantley Dick-Read, first advanced in the 1920s.
Hypnobirthing uses hypnosis to create a state of mind in which we can more effectively control pain. This type of hypnosis is not the trance-like hypnosis seen on television and in the movies, where the subject doesn’t remember anything afterwords. This type of hypnosis merely enables you to focus on relaxing your situation during labor. The relaxation created by hypnosis frees you from the resistance that fear creates, and enables you to use your natural childbirth instincts to create a calm comfortable birth.
Scientifically speaking, hypnosis is known to release endorphins in your body. Endorphins act as a natural anesthesia during labor, and they replace the stress hormones that create pain. For this reason, Hypnobirthing is sometimes referred to as "hypnotic analgesia."
Hypnobirthing is fairly simple. There are guided relaxations that you go through, and tapes to listen to help you relax. While hypnosis does not take away pain entirely, it does help you to see the birth of your child as a joyous event to be experienced and celebrated, rather than something to be drugged through.