Hypnobirthing and hypnobabies...moral or not?


I’ve searched the web for answers to this but I don’t know which sites are faithful to the Catholic Church.

I’m pregnant with #3 and looking for a natural way of painless birth without drugs…since I’m planning a home birth.

What does the Church say on this subject?


I don’t know of an official church document addressing this.

My take on it - I used Hypnobabies and did not find it morally or religiously objectionable. It didn’t involve worshiping anything, nor placing one’s faith in any supernatural forces or powers. Really, it was deep relaxation and positive thinking.


gee… I had 4 kids… 3 labors and no pain at all (except for the stupid IV that they put in wrong and soaked my pillow with blood)… My secret… prayer and asking our BVM to intercede. No kidding… really no pain! Concentrate on being so calm you can hear your heavenly mother reply. All of my labor and deliveries were high risk… I had nurses and doctors ask me how I could be so calm and serene in their crisis… I told them faith.

With my oldest, they were going to send me home because they figured I wasn’t dilating because I was calm and in no pain… they told me they were going to check me and then release me… they checked… I was 8 cm… they were running around calling the doctor and saying, “OMG we almost sent her home!!!” The doctor told me I was disgusting because I wasn’t screaming… so I asked if he rather I was and he apologized for his wording and told me I should write a book teaching women how to have babies.

When I had my twins my doctor made me sign for a c-section, a D&C, and a hysterectomy(one of the twins had died). I signed under protest… telling her none of those procedures would be necessary. Afterwards she told me she should have listened because I was always right… and she asked how…again, the answer was faith.

With my youngest the delivery nurse came to my room the next day and told me she had never seen anything like it…and she apologized because she was so stunned that she called a bunch of her nurse friends and told them about it…she said I had a smile on my face the whole time and I politely told them I had to push and they didn’t believe me because I was too calm… so when they checked me dd was out to the bridge of her nose and they screamed for my midwife.

The only pain I experienced was secondary stuff like the IV that was put in wrong… and it was more of a burning sensation than a pain. Trust that you can have that kind of birth and ask the BVM for the serenity to get through pain free…

edit… forgot to mention… no pain meds for any of the births either… totally all natural!!!


I will second asking our BVM for her assistance & to be there with you.

I used Hypbirth (no experience with the two you mention) with my 2nd child and found nothing weird or new-agey about it. It is relaxation, pure and simple.It doesn’t ask you to go outside your body, or talk to “the spirits” or anything like that. It just teaches you different ways to relax your body and to focus on things other than pain. If for some reason a line on the CD didn’t sit right with you, you could just not imagine that, or substitute in a different thought, or change it to a way that is more inclusive of God…it’s not rigid and you’re always concious and yourself. Not sure how to explain it, but it’s not at all like when you see a comedian hypnotist show and people are doing crazy things. You don’t need anyone else to “snap you out of it” because you’re never out of it. You’re not giving your will over to someone else. With the Hypbirth CD’s, you’re always in control of the CD player. You have full conciousness and memory. So even though they are calling it hypnosis, it’s not like someone is swinging a medallion in front of your face and telling you to pretend to be a dog.

I have tried doing some research but can only get secondhand information that the church has approved hypnosis when used as a medical technique.


Wait wait, I found a link to an old “Ask an Apologist” that says it’s licit under certain conditions.



Thanks for this post. I am really thinking on it. The only true non-pain moment I had with my last childbirth was when I cried out in prayer (even with an epidural.) My DH, a fairly new Catholic, would not feel comfortable praying aloud with me. I think I need to pray out loud, because I am such a talker. My mom and I, while close, still miss the boat sometimes on how we each relate to God. There is one person though I would trust implicitly to help me. She is our son’s godmother, and one of my mom’s closest friends. My DH trusts her very much too and would feel very comfortable having her around.

I wonder if it would be too much of a burden to ask for her help? She has a pregnant daughter of her own though she is due at a completely different time. She is a Christian massage therapist who truly has the gift of healing. I wonder how many “Hail Mary’s” there are in a contraction? I’ll bet she knows and so do you!

Another dear friend is a hypnotherapist but not Catholic. She has volunteered to be there, but I kept thinking on this very thing that I want the BVM’s intercession. While she would not balk at the idea, she would not know the prayers or truly understand them. She can fill the bill in relation to the article on EWTN linked by the apologist, but the Blessed Virgin trumps her hypnosis every time.

hmmmmm. Something to really pray on.


Thanks for the feed back and article.

For my first I had to get an epidural due to a long labor (36 hours). For my second I had my baby at home and it was really intense. My labor was slow so I forced myself to be in a painful position to get labor going…it worked, but was intense!

BlestOne, what did you do for your births? Concentrate on heavenly thoughts…prayed the rosary…? Did your husband help?

Annb, did hypbirth help you?

I want to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy and birth. Thanks for your replies!


I’d be curious if the Church has said anything newer about the use of hypnosis related to more contemporary understandings of what happens to the brain during a hypnosis session. Some of the assertions made (I’m talking about psychological/neurological issues, not the theological implications about those issues) about the state of mind one has during hypnosis seem a bit dated (looking at the areas where it states that hypnosis deprives a subject of the use of reason and free will, that it can force someone to reveal secret knowledge, etc. These assertions don’t seem to be reflective of more current understandings of the state of the brain during hypnosis based on newer research and scientific capabilities.

With that said, we are preparing to use Hypnobirthing to welcome our son into the world any day now (due date on All Hallows Eve) and have chosen to use the technique in ways that are complementary to our Catholic faith.

Between the affirmations of the ability of the female to birth naturally and easily, as well as the ability to relax my mind nd voluntary muscles enough that my body can function as designed, I experience this method of preparation for birth as a way of affirming God’s marvelous plan! When my human frailty/fear doesn’t get in the way of allowing my body to function as He designed, the birth is able to proceed easier and more joyfully. Also, in choosing to birth joyfully and find ways to decrease fear, I think we are doing wonders to promote a pro-life culture. For me, part of being pro life includes witnessing that birth isn’t a horrendous, always deeply painful experience, but can be relaxed, peaceful, and enjoyable, thanks to the grace of God.

I don’t know about the particular program you’re using - one of the visualizations in Hypnobirthing includes a visualization of an opening rose blossom as the cervix is dilating – I find it helpful to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as St. Therese as I meditate on the way God has blessed me as a woman and enabled me to share in the work of creation in this marvelous way. Also, one of the techniques involves a progressive relaxation that starts at one’s head and moves down the body – for this one, I find myself reflecting on the moment of the signing of the senses from the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens from the RCIA process. Knowing that all true peace is of God, I find it deeply relaxing to relax my muscles progressively so that even in my very body I can witness to His peace and love, even in the midst of childbirth!

Prayers for you during this time,


I would not allow myself or anyone I love to be hypnotized. The idea of willingly turning control over me to someone else (and I have read about hypnosis, so I understand a litltle about what is claimed) just does not seem like a good idea. The beast of Revelations 13 is alive and active, no need to give it any openings.



I’ve been researching and praying about using the program hypnobabies. I’ve been feeling very peaceful about it and even joined the yahoo group to see what other moms think. I’ve noticed how beautiful birth can be, through their birth stories and I now see birth in a completely different light. I am in awe of how God has created our bodies so perfectly. As Christopher West puts it: Woman; God’s Masterpiece!

I’ve also asked God for a few confirmations that using hynobabies was ok. One of them was that my husband became ok with us using it (he was really skeptical as I was at first) and then I went to a prayer meeting where the speaker used to be a practicing occult member and now she goes around speaking of God and his love. I asked her directly about using it for childbirth and said that as long as it was instead of pain meds it’s ok. Since it’s self hypnosis, you are in control, and I am planning as you have to use the communion of saints to intercede and use peace quotes from the bible to focus on.

I am now really looking forward to my birth experience, and as you said, sending the pro-life message that birth is beautiful!



Try learning the Bradley Method. No hyponosis involved and works great for home births! :wink:


A few additional points from what the Church teaches about hypnosis along with analgesia during childbirth

From Pope Pius XII’s 1957 Allocution to Doctors on the Moral Problems of Analgesia:

Thus youasked initially, if there is a general moral obligation to support physical pain. To answer with more exactitude to your question, We will distinguish several aspects there. Firstly, it is obvious that in certain cases, the acceptance of the physical pains is a serious obligation. Thus, every time that one is put before the inescapable alternative to bear suffering or to transgress a moral duty by action or omission, he is bound in conscience to accept suffering. The “martyrs” could not avoid tortures or death, without disavowing their faith or escaping the serious obligation to confess it in a given time. But it is not necessary to come to the “martyrs”; We find presently splendid examples of Christians who support pains and physical violence, during weeks, months and years, in order to remain faithful to God and to their conscience.
*Your question however does not refer to this situation; it rather refers to the free acceptance and the search for pain because of its meaning and own finality. To immediately quote a concrete example, let us remember the allocution, which We pronounced on January 8, 1956 in connection with the new methods of painless childbirth. It was asked then if, under the terms of the text of the Scriptures: “You shall give birth in pain” (Gen. III, 16), the mother was obliged to accept all the sufferings and to refuse analgesia by artificial or natural means. We have answered that there was no obligation of this kind. Man keeps, even after the fall, his right to dominate the forces of nature, to use them in his service, and thus to make profitable all the resources that it offers him to avoid or remove the physical pain. But We have added that, for a Christian, this does not constitute a purely negative fact, that it is associated on the contrary with religious values and high morals, and can thus be wanted and sought, even if there exists for that no moral obligation in such or such particular case. And We continued: "The life and the sufferings of the Lord, the pains that so many great men supported and even sought, thanks to which they matured and grew up to the heights of Christian heroism, the daily examples of resigned acceptance of the cross, which We have under Our eyes, all that reveals the significance of suffering, the patient acceptance of pain in the actual economy of salvation, during the time of this terrestrial life. *

****3. HYPNOSIS **** *But consciousness can also be affected by artificial means. That one may obtain this result by the application of narcotics or by hypnosis (which one can call a psychic analgesic) that does not make any essential difference in the moral point of view. Hypnosis however, even considered only in itself, is subject to certain rules. may We be allowed on this matter to recall Our short allusion to the medical use of hypnosis which We made at the beginning of the allocution of January 8, 1956 on painless natural childbirth. *

Now I’m still looking for a direct quote from the allocution from January 8 that the late pope refers to… I can find many paraphrases but haven’t yet found an exact copy of his remarks.

Peace in Christ,



God’s peace to you during this blessed time!

Funny that you should mention Christopher West – as I reflect on the information and relaxation practice I’ve been doing getting ready for this birth, I keep thinking of the little bits of the Theology of the Body that I know about, thanks to Christopher’s writings (they’re easier to pick up in small doses between other mothering duties… :D). I am reminded that the act of giving birth itself, with the potential for risk and discomfort can be a very powerful proclamation to the world of the beauty of life and the reality of the Paschal mystery - that God’s life and love triumph over darkness, fear, and death. In our very bodies, once again, we can proclaim the Gospel of Life to a world that so badly needs to hear it.

We will keep you in prayer!!!




Thanks for your responses, I hope all goes well for your coming birth…let me know how it went.

In prayer,


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