I am mentioning the word pain which may seem odd on a hypnobirthing website.

But those who have done a Hypnobirthing Australia™ course will know that we do things differently  😉

There is a misconception that the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Program is all about a “pain-free birth”.

It’s not! It’s about working with pain in labour.

Which is why I love getting birth stories like the one below.

Jo describes her labour as “full-on” and long, and she is very glad it is over. But she is also very glad that she had a “completely intervention and pain relief free” birth.

I do have clients who say they wouldn’t describe their birth as “painful” but many others say they felt the “pain” but knew they could handle it because they had the right approach and the right tools.

This is what the Positive Birth Program by Hypnobirthing Austalia™ is all about.


There is a great paper by Nicky Leap called “Working with Pain in Labour: an overview of the evidence”.

In it, Nicky Leap describes two approaches to pain in labour.

One is the “Pain Relief” approach and the other is the “Working with Pain” approach.

The “working with pain” approach is exactly what we teach in a Hypnobirthing Australia™ course.


“The ‘working with pain’ paradigm includes the belief that there are longterm benefits to promoting normal birth in terms of women’s experiences and lives, and that pain plays an important role in the physiology of this process.

In contrast, the ‘pain relief’ paradigm is characterised by the belief that no women need suffer the pain of labour and it is a kindness to alleviate it by a variety of pharmacological methods of pain relief. Women are offered a ‘pain relief menu’ including the pros and cons of each method to enable them to make an ‘informed choice’. Women may also receive the implied message that it is not possible to get through labour without resorting to pain relief. Many health professionals also promote the use of pain relief because they feel disturbed by the noise and behaviour of women labouring naturally.” (N. Leap, 2010)



There is a lot of evidence that the endorphins produced in labour are of enormous benefit to mum and baby after birth (Dr. Sarah Buckley 2014) and you need the stress and pain to release endorphins.

If we take away the pain completely, as with an epidural,  Mum and baby won’t get the beta-endorphins they are meant to get.


“Beta-endorphins are endogenous opioids that give analgesic and adaptive responses to stress and pain.

Beta-endorphins also activate brain reward and pleasure centers, motivating and rewarding reproductive and social behaviors, and support immune function, physical activity, and psychological well-being.

From labor through the postpartum period, beta-endorphins promote:

  • endogenous analgesia though prelabor increase in central receptors (animal studies) and increases in beta-endorphins as labor progresses
  • an altered state of consciousness that may help with labor stress and pain
  • fetal neuroprotection from hypoxia (animal studies)
  • postpartum peaks of beta-endorphins (along with oxytocin) that may facilitate maternal euphoria and prime reward centers, imprinting pleasure with infant contact and care
  • reward and reinforcement of breastfeeding in both mother and baby
  • newborn support with the stress of postpartum transition, including via beta-endorphins in colostrum “

(S. Buckley, 2014)


But the pain is meant to be manageable (that’s why we have endorphins) and there is so much women and their partners can do to make birth manageable and to help her feel proud that she “Did it!”


Oh to be in Canada!

In 2018 The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada produced its Physiologic Basis of Pain in Labour and Delivery Guidelines which used an evidence-based approach to non-pharmaceutical methods of working with pain that promotes physiological birth rather than hinders it.

Their research found that “nonpharmacologic approaches based on Gate Control (water immersion, massage, ambulation, positions) and Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control (acupressure, acupuncture, TENS, water injections)” lowered epidural use and improved maternal satisfaction.  And that “nonpharmacologic approaches based on Central Nervous System Control (education, attention deviation, support)” lowered epidural use, caesarean sections, instrumental delivery, synthetic oxytocin use, made labour shorter and increases satisfaction with childbirth (N. Chaillet et al, 2014).

They also found that tailoring these approaches  was the most effective for reducing obstetric interventions

But you don’t have to go to Canada because we discuss all these techniques and how to tailor them to your unique situation in the Positive Birth Program by Hypnobirthing Australia™ course.

If you want to have a birth like Jo’s then book into a Hypnobirthing Australia™ class near you today




working with pain in labour to benefit your baby



“Hi Pip, I just wanted to let you know our little girl Evelyn arrived at 41 weeks.

It was a long and full-on labour but completely intervention and pain relief free.

I did start with TENS but found she was kicking up a storm every time so decided she might not like it ?.

I did the rainbow track a few times before the hospital and managed to zone out even through contractions which was good!

Once we got to hospital I did struggle to relax and breath through then because it was intense! But kept the different breathing techniques in mind throughout and did the best I could.

Kept the room dark and played relaxing music.

Midwife pretty much left us to it and she just did heart rate every half hour.

We spent most of it in the shower with Mattia putting water over my back while I knelt over the fit ball. It was a life savior!

She was born in the bathroom after an hour and half of “breathing down”.

Did skin to skin and delayed cord cutting afterwards.

Must admit I’m very glad it’s over but glad I stuck to my birth plan and with how alert and quickly bonded she was after birth I am so thankful for all that the hypnobirthing course taught us!

Thanks, Jo and Mattia”