The power of intention

The power of intention

The past seven months I’ve had the chance to learn more about pregnancy – first hand with a baby inside my belly and through scientific studies, books and conversations. And the more I learn, the more I’ve come to respect nature.

It is almost unbelievable how women all over the world are making human beings from almost nothing! Their bodies change drastically through the nine months of pregnancy in order to make space and provide essential building blocks for growing another living being. The process provides an eye opener of trusting yourself, your instinct and your intention.

Breech and vertex

As I was reading “Hypnobirthing” the other day, I came across a new study about turning babies inside the womb through hypnosis and intention making. Most babies are lying in a vertex position (head down) from week 37 until birth (around week 40). This is the best birth presentation with the least complications. Some babies, however, are in a breech position in the weeks before your due date. Many seek help for conversion from breech to vertex position, since most breech presentations resort to cesarean births.

The science

In the study, 200 women with a baby in breech position at week 37-40 were divided into a hypnosis group and a traditional control group. The hypnosis group received hypnosis with suggestions for general relaxation. Moreover, they were asked to visualize their babies easily turn and see the turn accomplished. The control group had no hypnotherapy, but were offered ECV (external cephalic version) – a procedure in which qualified health personell tries to manually turn the baby from the outside of the abdomen.

How did it go? In the hypnosis-group 81 out of 100 babies turned spontaneously from breech to vertex position. In comparison, 46 babies had turned in the control group. Out of those, only 20 were spontaneous.

Those findings suggest that there is really something to setting an intention. Belief changes physical parameters!

Placebo and trust

We see this all the time in medical school. The teachers call it placebo. Studies have shown actual measurable effects from sugar pills similar to the physiological changes among groups taking effective medications. Blood pressure, heart rate and blood tests, for example, have been shown to improve due to placebo (Harvard Health).

But of course, placebo does not work on everyone.

“Understanding why certain people improve with placebo treatment and others do not is the “holy grail” of placebo research”. (Harvard Health)

Could it be the ability to trust nature?

The nocebo effect

Believing in the unknown makes you vulnerable. You put yourself at stake of being wrong, feeling disappointed, cheated and hurt. But ironically, the act of expecting a negative outcome is shown to actually bring about the very results that you initially feared. This is called nocebo.

For instance, if you tell a person that a certain medication has head ache as one of its side effects, he or she will be more likely to experience head ache, even if you give that person a sugar pill. This is, again, the power of intention. Only this time it has a negative outcome.

Setting an intention

The above illustrates that intention is a powerful tool, which can result in both positive and negative measurable effects. Trust may be key in taking the best out of belief, such as the hypnosis-study suggests. Remembering the greatness of nature can help building this trust in yourself, your instinct and your intention.