Can Catholic Mothers have “hypnobirths”?

Does anyone know if “hypnobirthing” is something Catholic women can utilize for giving birth? All I know about it is that it seems like it’s just trying to remain as calm as possible, while breathing steadily and “meditating” during labor. I guess the “hypno” part of it made me think of “hypnosis”. Any insight? I’m not entirely sure what it entails, and most importantly, if it is morally permissible with our faith!

I am due end of November and I want to be as prepared as possible! I plan to focus on breathing, trusting my body, and constantly saying small prayers to distract my mind. Any mothers have suggestions for how best to endure labor in a Catholic way?? :sweat_smile::joy:


My first child 47 years ago was through hypnosis. My Dr. said it had a bad rap as all it was relaxation.
I remember being terrified because I felt I had fooled the Dr. into believing I was hypnotized. Once we go into the delivery room, he told me that I could do it. That was all I needed. Later I practiced natural birth with breathing exercises. It was the same as hypnotism . It has been a long time and memories fail. This is what I recall. The pain was intense but breathing helped. Once the actual birthing started there was no more pain. Not that there wasn’t pain but pushing stopped the noticing of it. Well that is my story for what it is worth.


I didn’t exactly call it that but that’s what I did. I came to find that pain feels worse when you tense up. So, if possible, I try to relax every part of me and slowly breathe through it. Like…embracing the pain rather than fleeing from it. It wasn’t until afterwards that I was told I was doing a form of self-hypnoses.

Was it utterly painless…well no. I’d be lying if I said it was. But I can’t imagine it hurting more than fighting it.


I was disappointed when preparing for birth last year that there really isn’t a “Catholic” way to do this. It would seem that despite the almost-requirement for married women to bear children, nobody has bothered to put the science together with Catholic spirituality and come up with an approach that a Catholic woman could be comfortable with. All I could find was, “Bring a meaningful religious object with you,” and “say the Rosary” (not a devotion I enjoy). In fact, even the Catholic hospital where I thought I was going to give birth promoted a book with an earth-mother-goddess approach. I left it alone.

I wish I could help you more. In the end it was moot for me; I ended up with an emergency c-section in a different hospital.

I hope you’re able to find an approach you’re comfortable with. :pray:

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I have no idea what that is…

Why would there be a specific Catholic way to give birth? It’s not a “nobody has bothered to do so” kind of issue, it’s simply a neutral matter. C section or natural, at home/hospital etc…doesn’t matter.

To the OP, any time of birth plan that the mom wants that’s safe for her and the baby is always the ideal plan. If you’re not sure what it entails, it does help to do some research when you’re not too anxious. There seems to be nothing wrong with it but if it bothers you, you could meditate on God/a short prayer.

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I have two toddlers, so I think I can safely say I’ve given birth recently-ish. Mine were both unmedicated. As far as giving birth in a ‘Catholic’ way, I have heard if people offering up their labor pains for various intentions. I wish I had thought of doing that, perhaps for my third.

I thought it was helpful to time my own contractions, I used an app that showed a timeline of contractions so I could track when one was most likely going to start, I went through transition in the car and delivered my second about five minutes after arriving at the birth center and I really think it helped me feel more in control. Which then helped me relax. You could probably combine that with more meditative praying.

Congratulations on the upcoming little one!


I don’t think there is a “Catholic way”. Mary has Jesus in the normal cultural way and since modern medicine and hospitals are Catholic in origin then I suppose that is Catholic too. I know people who pray the rosary, offer up contractions for specific intentions or people etc. I know “crunchy Catholics” who go all natural or “hypno” birth, water birth etc. heck I know some people that eat the placenta. I don’t find your hypno birth plan anti Catholic. I’m pretty traditional. I don’t think yoga is compatible with my faith ( please people it’s just my opinion I don’t want a yoga thread) but I don’t find a problem with hypno birthing. My wife and I aren’t like that though. 7 kids, 7 peaceful epidural labors where we watched Netflix until the baby flew out! Lol

Edited to add after talking with my wife.
Turns out she actually listened to and prepared for at least two of our kids with hypno birthing cds. Now it didn’t last through labor but she found it helpful not just in birth but for relaxing at work. I’ll note that it’s important not to “empty your mind” but also fill it with holy and Catholic thoughts.

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My last baby is turning 15, so my experience is not super recent. I did manage to have three babies “all natural” in a traditional American hospital. I’m a radical though - there’s your warning!
I think if you research, read, relax, and communicate with your doctor, you can minimize difficulties during your labor and delivery experience.
God made women’s bodies so this would work out okay! And it isn’t pain-free, but I think if you are mentally prepared, the pain is very bearable.
The question is, is your doctor on board with natural labor? That’s your most important thing, because once you are in the hospital, he (she) is calling the shots.

My personal advice (I am not a medical doctor!):

  1. Stay up and walk around during labor as much as possible. Just walk around your hospital room. Try to avoid the constant monitoring, and just use intermittent fetal monitoring (not constant).
  2. You know how you’re not supposed to sleep flat on your back when you’re pregnant? Then what do they want you to do once you get in the hospital? “Here, let’s get your IV, and your fetal monitoring going!” And you’re laying there flat on your back.
  3. Be nice to the nurses! They are there with you over the hours, more than the doctor, and will help you and advocate for you, possibly.
  4. See if your facility allows / encourages alternate birth / labor positions: birthing bar, etc. That “flat on your back” pushing position isn’t necessarily the easiest. If they allow you to vary that position, that gives you an insight into how much they will “work with” you on your choices.
  5. In general, I feel like the fewer interventions, the better. The more interventions, then they cascade into more and more.
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If you don’t want to use a faith-based approach, then by all means don’t. For those of us who would like to bring our faith into this major life event, there are not any established methods. There are established methods if you’re into any one of several different new-age approaches to life, which makes the lack of a methodology that incorporates the Catholic faith all the more glaring.

The only even vaguely Christian method for birth I was able to find was a woman in a fringe Protestant sect who took the “claiming Scripture” thing so far that she said labor only hurts if you don’t have enough faith. Claim Scripture the right way and you won’t feel a thing; if you experience pain you’re not really a Christian. Pretty sure I tossed that book, so I couldn’t give you the author, which is probably just as well!

For my natural labors, I used ujjayi breathing from yoga. I’m also Catholic. Sorry-not-sorry?

It doesn’t involve worshipping any Hindu gods or contorting my body into any position that “invites demons.” I’ve had quite a go at it with the yoga threads on CAF and must agree to disagree with many people here. The bottom line is that it’s a prudential matter. Perhaps bring it up with your priest at your next confession.

Hypnobirthing just didn’t work for me. I watched video after misleading video of women just sighing and “breathing out” their babies. Um, yea. I call bull on that one. :rofl:

I think it is a good idea to have a birth plan but also to remember that things can change quickly and you shouldn’t be committed to your plan over your health or the health of your baby.

I had a completely normal pregnancy and completely normal ultrasounds throughtout but when I went into labor and arrived at the hospital they hooked me up to the monitor and after showing my doctor I was immediately taken back for an emergency c-section. My son was in distress and my doctor’s quick decision likely saved him from more severe problems. If I would have refused monitoring, or refused the c-section as my plan was to have a vaginal birth my son might not be who he is today.

I think just going through the pains of pregnancy and labor is a “catholic thing”, we believe in the value of suffering and being pregnant and going through labor can be very difficult. I will say a prayer for you tonight for an easy delivery and a healthy and happy baby.

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There is nothing contrary to the faith about guided relaxation techniques, including hypnosis (hypnosis, of course, could be abused for immoral purposes).

You should only consider using “hypnobirth” based on the advice of your doctors. Only they can give an informed opinion based on you and your child’s health.

Don’t really understand the slight passive aggressive tone here, if there’s one. (it’s 2am here)

The closest thing I can think of is nuns giving my mother communion before delivery and playing soft gospel music at the background.

I only take issue with the “nobody has bothered” comment. My point is simply that there isn’t any real need for a Church sanctioned way of giving birth. The Church understands that this is a mainly a medical issue, and that many women would prefer or need different things. It’s not a sacrament, for instance, so you won’t find the Church telling us the ideal way to give birth. There’s no real reason for the Church to have a whole methodology for a neutral issue, especially when there are tons of factors to take in place (e.g. A c section vs natural birth will require different methodologies).

The new aged ones are just random people creating stuff that suits their own interests and preferences, it’s not a moral issue so the Church gives freedom here.


There is not. I was also puzzled by the apparent hostility in your first reply, but assumed I was reading wrong.

You’re right that there’s no reason for the Church to sanction a method for giving birth. What I’m pointing out is the lack of a methodology for giving birth that incorporates the Catholic faith. (I looked up methodology before I used it the first time, to make sure I was using it correctly in what I was trying to say: “a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity.”)

Birthing may not be a moral issue, but it is a major life issue/event, so yes, I think there should be at least one comprehensive manner or method to incorporate our faith into it. I am not in the least saying that there should be a “correct” method for a Catholic to give birth, and a methodology is not necessarily prescriptive. I’m saying there should be resources for putting the two together, and I see it as a problem that those resources don’t exist.

There’s no hostility! I’m thankfully not giving birth anytime soon, so there’s no real reason for me to be upset about this at all anyway.

Create one! Many laypeople have made their own resources and mom guides to various things. If you’re referring to an approved one by the Church, I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t think the men are interested in creating a ‘Church approved’ methodology for birth, it sounds something that moms would come up on their own based on their own experiences and it would eventually get some sort of following. I’ve never heard of any church tradition regarding the birth process, so I don’t think we’ll see that. This is one of the things where God is perfectly okay with you choosing how you’re going to incorporate your faith into it. Maybe one day a Saint will have her own way, and that will catch on. This sort of thing flows naturally.

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Can you find a Catholic doula in your area?

Doulas can attend home, birthing center, and hospital births. All of my births were doula-assisted.

Also, even if there isn’t a Catholic method of managing contractions, who’s to stop you from praying the Rosary while you go about it?

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