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Monday, October 08, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: Would you try hypnobirth?


I've heard fascinating rumors about hypnobirth (are you in a trance? I wondered), so I asked three readers to share their experiences, and it blew my mind...

Jessica from Colorado

About hypnobirth: I ordered Hypnobabies online and did the five-week course at home. It's not the type of hypnosis where a magician waves a watch in front of your eyes. Instead, it's like when you’re driving for a long time, and you suddenly realize, oh my gosh, I’m home! Your eyes are open, you can walk around, but you create your own anesthesia. It totally works, it’s crazy.

During pregnancy: Every morning, I'd listen to the 30-minute affirmations CD while showering and getting dressed. You listen to thirty minutes of positive messages about your pregnancy, your baby and your body. Since you were a little girl, you’ve heard people say how terrible and painful birth is; and this CD helped me not worry and stress. The CD says things like, "My pregnancy is safe, my body knows how to birth a baby, I can do this..." I just wish I had one for everyday life!

You also learn to create a "bubble of peace." So when my mom would say, “You're going to have back labor since you’re having a boy," I could visualize a bubble of peace around me, and any negative comments would bounce off my bubble. It’s like a little kid saying, I'm rubber, you’re glue. People tell you all their horror stories, so it was wonderful to have this technique. (I'd even tell my mom, "I’m bubble-of-peace-ing you right now!")

During labor: I worried that I might be embarrassed to do hypnobabies in the hospital because people would think I was a weird hippie. But the hypnobabies course gives you sheets to tape on the hospital-room door explaining what hypnobirth is. The nurses were actually very supportive and interested. The words you use are also softer; for example, instead of saying contraction, you say "pressure wave." Instead of labor, you say "birthing."

During a pressure wave, you envision that you have a light switch, and you turn yourself off. You mentally say, ok, I’m turning off all the sensations to my body and letting myself relax. I did that the entire time. The nurses were surprised that I was so quiet and managing it, especially since I was having contractions and back labor.

During transition, I started getting scared and tired. My baby was actually sunny side up, so the back of his head was digging into my back every time I’d have a pressure wave. It was like, holy cow, this is getting intense. I’d tell my husband, you need to talk to me, and he’d just say, you need to turn your lightswitch off, and I was like, I don’t want to! So I listened to a fear-clearing CD that said, bring your fear up, we can discuss it and put it to rest. And once you do that, your fear goes away.

There’s also a pushing-the-baby-out CD that you play so everyone in the room can hear. It’s calm, versus cheerleader chanting; you can take deep breaths, just ease your baby out, push when you feel ready...

With a newborn: Once you bring your baby home, they also have CDs about naptime, breastfeeding, being a new mom. The affirmations say, ”I’m a good mother, I can get my sleep when I need to, my baby is safe, my baby is fine, I can handle this...” You repeat these affirmations and think OK, I can do this!

On using the techniques in everyday life: You learn a "Peace Cue," where if you’re having any pain, you say, "Peace," and you imagine that it directs your anesthesia to where your pain is. When I was pregnant, my back was often sore, so I’d lie down and say, "Peace," and direct it to my back, and my pain would go away. I still use that technique. Recently I stubbed my toe, and I was like, ahh! Peace!

My husband's take: At first, he was like you are so weird, this is totally hippie. And I was like, hey, if you don't believe in me, it won’t work. And he was like, you know what, ok. He opened his mind. Now I hear him talking about it, and he’s like, I can’t believe so-and-so didn't do hypnobabies! He really believes in it.

He also had own workbook to learn how to help calm me down and be a good birth partner. If there’s an emergency during the birth, your partner has a script to read to you, saying it will be ok, put all of your fears in this box, you can open this box later, but right now you need to focus on the now.

On recommending the program: Hypnobabies changed that way I thought about pregnancy and birth. It's amazing how quickly you can learn how to create an anesethia in your body. It teaches you from head to toe, so you can direct it anywhere. It’s crazy, it really is. It’s so empowering to be able to say, I experienced my baby’s birth, I am woman, hear me roar, and this awesome!

Courtney from Virginia

I’m an anxious person by nature, so hypnobirth was really good for me. I read the book HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan, the founder of hypnobirth. You're encouraged to choose a few personal mantras, put them on notecards and paste them up in your bathroom or bedroom, so you see them all the time and really own them. It’s very affirming. My biggest one was, “I trust my body to know what to do.”

I’d recommend hypnobirth, even if you know you want an epidural. After all, you might labor for a long time before you get to the hospital, or your epidural might not work, or you might find yourself in an unpredictable situation. It's endlessly fascinating how many different and beautiful ways there are to approach motherhood and birth.

Melanie from Nevada

Pregnancy is different for every woman. I hated it. I threw up 57 times a day! Hypnobirth gives you wonderful dedicated time during your pregnancy to think positive thoughts, relax and love your baby. I love that little fetus, but when you’re throwing up all the time, you’re like, oooh, fetus.

Birth is such a miraculous experience. During labor, they encourage you to envision something, so I envisioned holding my baby in my arms. After envisioning that for hours during labor, the moment I actually could hold her was truly amazing. I’d gladly give birth every year. It's really hard but I have a positive association with it. When the baby is born, you feel tremendous joy. It's like a runner's high times a hundred.

What do you think? Would you try hypnobirth? Have you tried it in the past? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'm so intrigued...

P.S. Toby's birth story.

(Photo of me as a baby)

132 comments:

Whitney Lane said...

I'm interested to read other comments as I'm in the middle of a Hypnobabies class and am due in 3 weeks! So far it's been a wonderful experience, and I hope I can say that 3 weeks from now. :)

HayleyR said...

I tried a calmbirth class before giving birth to my one month old daughter. I think calmbirth and hypnobabies courses are pretty much the same based on your description. I'm not sure how much it helped me in labour but I did have a calm water birth at home and I definatley think that it's important to be in a positive frame of mind. Xx

Martha said...

I did Birthing from Within, which teaches a number of pain management techniques, some that are similar to the Hypnobirthing philosophy. In our birth classes we did things like draw birth art and bring in objects of special significance and discuss their meaning. It was super hippie and some of my pregnant girlfriends said that there is no way they could get their husbands to do it but it was a very valuable experience for me. We did visualization exercises that helped me to confront my fears and think about how to deal with circumstances beyond my control. I realized that no matter what, I would still end the process as a mother of a baby, and that was the most important thing of all.

Allisunny S. said...

I did hypnobrithing: it was really helpful in a lot of important ways: I had a quiet, loving birth riding out even the hardest of contractions with low moans, which was my goal: he came from peace, I wanted to birth him in peace.
BUT:
when it was all done I turned to my husband who had spent months listening to the cds with me, doing the exercises and I said, "It was all a beautiful lie, wasn't it?" The 'pain free' aspects did not apply to my experience. It was a wonderful thing to aspire to, but I was shocked by the fierceness of my contractions after all the sweet repeated words one hears listening to the hypnobirthing prompts. The meditative aspect kept me from panicking, so all in all, I would recommend the time spent learning the program.

That was our take: every woman's body and mind are so vastly different...

xoxox,
A

Allie said...

I did Hypnobirthing - the Mongan book and various recordings in addition to a 5 week course with my husband - and LOVED it. It helped me stay so relaxed during my pregnancy (I'm normally pretty anxious) and I felt like I was in such a great place mentally for my daughter's birth. I ended up laboring for 62 hours (yes, 2 and a half days!) and Hypnobirthing helped make my contractions really manageable. When I finally went to the hospital, the triage nurse didn't believe I was dilated because I was so calm and relaxed... turns out I was at 6-7 cms! The pushing definitely still hurt, though I didn't do the Hypnobirthing method of breathing the baby down. At that point I just needed her on the outside. :) Hoping to try breathing down with baby #2 and will absolutely be doing Hypnobirthing again. After all, it got me through a 63 hour labor and delivery with no drugs, so I'm definitely a believer!

ginger said...

I took the HypnoBirthing classes and read the books/listened to the CDs. You are supposed to start the class early and listen to the CDs often. It takes practice to work and isn't something that you should take on 4 weeks before your due date. The best thing I got out of it was the knowledge that birth does not have to be a miserable, scary, terrifying experience and that I do not have to believe the image of birth promoted on tv and in movies. The classes were just as much a childbirth education class as about self-hypnosis.

I had my baby on July 6 with no medication. My labor came on and progressed so quickly that I was caught off guard and 'forgot' to implement the breathing and visualization. But the principles of the class still were there with me and I know helped me immensely.

No I did not have a pain-free birth (the program does not guarantee no pain), but the class taught me that I did not have to *expect* the birth to be overwhelmingly painful or difficult.

I'm very glad I did HypnoBirthing and I would do it again.

Erin M. said...

I think it was pretty healthy for me to repetitively remind myself through pregnancy and labor that millions of women had done this and that my body was made to do it. I had great labors (4 of them!) with no drugs needed.

Angela Brinkley said...

My mother-n-law gave me Birthing from Within when we got pregnant with our first child...and all it took was a brief flipping through to realize that it was not the book for me. My husband thought I was being unduly negative because the book came from his mother. So, I told him "Okay...why don't we try some of the techniques out. Let's start on pg. 135" (not sure if that is the exact page). He said "okay" and flipped to the page and began reading an in-depth chapter about how the husband should start massaging your perineum a couple months in advance of the birth...he went white and never picked the book up again. It was too funny : ) I was very proud that I had been ready for him...still gives us a laugh every time we think back on it.

Ultimately, my birth plan consisted of what I did not want to happen. Once I knew that my doctor and I were on the same page, I worried no longer. And the birth was amazing : )

bendancin said...

Jessica's story has me interested. Maybe if I decide to have another I will check out the CD's she used.

Nicky Sahady said...

Even just reading the Hypnobirthing book (Mongon) was amazing for me. Like everyone says, I was skeptical at first but after hearing so many great reviews, including one from a nurse at our hospital, I rushed through the book a few weeks before our girl was born. I'm so glad I did and if there is a next time for us I think I would do the whole program.

ink said...

I've inadvertently taken the hypnobirth attitude towards my pregnancy without even knowing about it. My husband and I are both in the medical field and know entirely too much about childbirth and its potential complications. We've decided to ignore all the horror stories we see and hear. We call it the ostrich-in-sand approach instead of hypno-birth. Of course, we try to apply it intelligently and still get standard testing and OB visits done. My friends were shocked when we told them we decided not to take a childbirth class. My coworkers are always worried about my working while pregnant (I'm a surgeon) and I tell them that my baby's fine. I got my compression stockings on! It'll all be okay! My body will know what to do. After all, it created an entire human being from scratch with minimal conscious contribution from me. I'm still amazed that my body did that. How did it know what to do? It's never done this before. AMAZING! I figure during the birth process, my body will also know what to do and I'll just have to hang in there and try to not to get in the way. Whenever I get worried, I remind myself that women all over the world are pregnant and give birth in much much worse situations - during war, in famine and drought, etc. Simply by being in a first world country gives our babies a leg up already. You can't control everything, so your only option is to trust that everything will be okay.

Fiyel Levent said...

Oh my gosh, I did hypnobirthing! And.... nothing went according to plan! :) haha!

I suppose it's different for every woman. I did the visual techniques every day, for weeks before my due date. And I loved going to the classes; it was like having a date night with my husband every Friday for five weeks. We'd go to Korea Town and have barbecue afterwards every time. And I admit that the idea of a calm, natural birth was all I thought about, I was absolute that that was what was going to happen to me. It made the duration of my pregnancy very joyful, in addition to the fact that I was fortunate enough to have a very easy, physically blissful one.

In the end, there was nothing natural about my boy's birth. I was induced because they found that my fluids were dangerously low, the baby came late, I dilated super quickly, and started pushing. I was in active labor for 25 hours, the pain was so intense that no visuals helped, got an epidural, tried pushing for seven hours, got an infection and fever from pushing for so long, followed by an emergency c section (while they played Al Green in the background!), and was given more epidurals and morphine and other such lovely painkillers. I didn't even see my baby until the following day! My husband and I tried all the methods we learned from hypnobirthing, but alas. In the end, I was so happy to have had excellent doctors; everyone was healthy in the end, and I was so thankful for the care my baby and I received.

I don't regret taking those classes; I think it really made the experience of my first pregnancy a super lovely one. And in the face of all these unexpected events, it helped in keeping calm. In the end, the whole experience was just the best kind of adventure where nothing goes according to plan. It was just as, if not more, exciting than traveling the silk road!

Nicolette said...

Wow, I have never heard of hypnobirth. What's more internesting though, I feel as though my pregnancy and labor compares quite well with the testimonies above.

Like Jessica, I too created a "bubble of peace." I decided that, whether or not it was true, women exagerate labor and birth. I wouldn't let people tell me their stories and if they insisted, I just told myself that every labor and birth is different. I didn't allow myself to stress or worry about what the labor would be like because it would only cause more anxiety.

My prenatal yoga instructor often used the mantra "calm and strong." Hearing those positive thoughts once a week helped me block out all of the negative thoughts people so desperately wanted to share with me.

During labor, I used deep breathing exercises, relaxed my jaw and tuned out the pain. It worked for me. So interesting that this is a new fad. I had no idea!

Cara Dal Nogare said...

I'm a midwifery student in a hospital that is like 95% epidurals but when I do have hypnobirthing patients I really appreciate their point of few and how calm they are. I'm always supportive of mom's desires during birth and my favorite thing about these moms is how in control they are. I agree that we aren't "delivering" the mother is "birthing!"

Unknown said...

Hahaha I used to "bubble-of-peace" people all the time! We did hypnobabies but my husband just wasn't into it. Too hippie for him. You're husband has to be fully committed or else a huge part of the system doesn't work. After having one natural birth I am planning my next one to also be natural, but with a little more hypnobabies involved. I think that the first time I didn't think I needed it, that the tapes wouldn't help, but I was wrong in a huge way! I will be practicing turning on and off my light switch and getting in my bubble for sure next time.

Joanna Goddard said...

@Unknown, totally! I went to a therapist a few years ago, and she told me about the bubble of peace, just for everyday life. I really love the concept. It sounds hippie, but it's so helpful.

Joanna Goddard said...

I love these stories!!! So fascinating. Thank you for sharing!!

The Hintonians said...

I loved Hypnobirthing and not just for the birthing process. At about 38 weeks pregnant my husband and I got in a major car wreck. Taking a left hand turn we were T-boned by a large SUV on my side of the car. In that split second before the impact that I realized we were going to be hit, I really didn't think I'd make it, and my heart sunk thinking about my unborn baby. Right at impact I just had the strongest feeling: "Relax". Once we realized we were both still alive I could feel my belly start quivering and contracting and a million things went through my mind. But, I sat in that crushed-like-a-tin-can car in the middle of the road and shut my eyes, and just breathed. I played that CD through my head and tried to imagine I was anywhere but there. People were coming to help and trying to get me out of the car but I shoved them away and just shut myself off, trying to get in that beautiful place of peace that Hypnobirthing helps you find. I truly believe that is what saved my baby and lead to a healthy birth 4 weeks later. I know that 38 weeks wouldn't have been a bad time for the baby to have to be delivered if I did go into premature labor, but I knew she wasn't ready, especially if she was under that much stress from the accident. I will be FOREVER grateful I took that class.

Elisa Shere said...

I did the Bradley natural childbirth method, combined with Hypnobirthing techniques. It was so helpful for me. I had back labor and it was extremely painful. It wasn't like some people say, that contractions are like extra strong cramps. It just felt like the most excruciating pain imaginable. However, even though I kept thinking "I can't do this, it's too hard", I still managed to remain very calm on the outside. I used my breath, and tried to remain as calm as possible. I really, really believe that if you prepare yourself with proper relaxation and focusing techniques, you can have a really enjoyable labor. My labor progressed very quickly, because I labored at home and I had no interventions. The pain became so intense (apparently, I was in transition!) that I demanded that it was time to go to the hospital to deliver. We went to my midwife's office to check where I was at, and sure enough, after just a few hours, I was already full dialated. Then we went to the hospital and I pushed for 3 hours, after that I did take an epidural, which really helped me to relax and relieve the extreme pain I had been due to my baby being "sunny side up". After that he just came right out. I had him in my arms immediately and we had a super relaxing stay at the hospital. I LOVED my birth experience, I would encourage all women to prepare themselves to birth your baby. Our bodies were meant to do this, and if you can be in a peaceful place, you can actually enjoy your labor.

Lauren {Stylized Existence} said...

Joanna - my sister did it! And, it ended up REALLY coming in handy, as she had my niece (Tessa) in the bathroom at HOME unexpectedly! They had prepared to do the birth at a birthing center but the baby was coming to quickly and they did not have time to drive the hour to the birthing center. So she gave birth to my niece in the bath tub in their home with my brother-in-law catching the baby. Thank goodness she had done Hypnobabies or she may have really struggled with the situation.

macronodge said...

My first baby I had an epidural, but it was still so painful. My second baby was born without pain meds, but it was very painful for the pushing part (I sort of used the Bradley method of breathing and that helped for all of the labor except the end.) My next baby, which is due in a few months, I'm trying to do hypnobirthing, but I forget to practice my daily breathing. We'll see how it goes.

lalcantar said...

I listened to a few of the hypnobirthing CDs, but will admit I didn't get through all of them. Everytime I listened, I fell blissfully asleep! On the day of my daughtrr's birth, I again listened to the tapes, but found when I was in active labor I couldn't stand the talking. What hypnobirthing did for me was to allow me to relax my muscles during contractions. Not pain free, but completely manageable. My midwife and doula said repeatedly that I was so calm during contractions they could not tell I was contracting. My doula became a huge advocate for the program after our birth. I did not feel prepared for pushing (didn't listen to the one!). I will totally do this program again when # 2 arrives. I can't recommend it enough. Just don't expect this to be a prescription for pain free birth - it isn't.

Mrs. P Vega said...

We just finished our Bradley Method classes but I'm very intrigued by the hypnobirthing stuff I've been hearing lately. We're due in 7 weeks so I may just order Hypnobabies this week.

Jaclyn said...

I really like what AllieSunnyS said... It was a beautiful lie. I studied the Mongan Method throughout my pregnancy. Hypnobirthing Classes were not offered in my area, so I studied on my own. It was a wonderful and positive way to prepare for childbirth. I was not afraid and felt very confidant and at peace throughout my pregnancy and most of my labor. I was able to relax and let go of fear, which is SO important. However, I did not experience a pain free childbirth, as suggested in Hypnobirthing. Once I got to the transition stage, I was no longer able to relax or let go within myself. My baby was also sunnyside up and I eventually needed medical intervention. Not a part of my 'plan' but the end result is all the same. A beautiful, healthy baby. Even though I now know that studying hypnobirthing will not give me a pain free birth and I will not be able to relax through the most intense throws of labor, I will revisit the book and the cd's during my next pregnancy, because it was such a positive way to approach the entire situation. I do believe though that some women are able to use Hypnobirthing more effectively than I was. Perhaps if I had actually attended classes, I would have been better at placing myself into the trance like state. All in all, I would highly recommend it!

ohseems said...

I'm currently studying maternal and child health and this is so new to me! It's very interesting, thanks for sharing this!

The izzle said...

Thank you for sharing Joanna! I think I might give this a try for my next pregnancy.

Monica said...

I LOVED Hypnobabies! I would recommend it to everyone regardless of birthing preference (medicated or unmedicated) because it changed the way I felt about pregnancy and birth and the abilities of my body. My pregnancy and birth were so much more peaceful with Hypnobabies. I labored at home as long as possible and when we arrived at the hospital I was at a 9. I reached a 10 without any pain medication at all then I opted for an epidural for the pushing stage. Looking back now I know I could have done the whole thing without medication but I really loved the way everything turned out and I credit my positive experience to Hypnobabies.

Monica said...

May I also point out that Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies are two different birthing programs. I haven't had any experience with Hypnobirthing, only Hypnobabies. I know they are both great programs. Just do your homework and choose the one that is right for you.

Olivia Rea said...

Wow. This sounds incredible. I'm actually 21 years old, and I know that's young, but whenever I thought about having kids in the future all I could think of was disaster and the scary birthing videos I had to watch in health class. This sounds so beautiful, I can't believe it. Maybe one day I actually will want to have kids if I use this method!

Ceri said...

I did hypnobirthing when I had my daughter eight years ago. I'd previously lost 3 babies (I'd had to give birth to two of them). This time, knowing I was having a healthy baby I wanted it to be sooo different from the horrendous experiences of birth I'd previously known. The months of practice and preparation totally relaxed me when I should have understandably had a very anxious pregnancy. When the time came, unfortunately it was a difficult birth, very long and drawn out, with 48 hours of labour at home and 12 at the hospital (4,5 hours of pushing) which ended with a ventouse and episiotomy. The baby's cord was wrapped around her neck. My midwife was very young and totally on board. She stayed with me through two shifts because she wanted to see my baby born! She helped maintain a quiet room and kept doctor interference to a minimum, shooing them out of the room if she felt they weren't needed. All of the hospital staff were amazed at how calm and in control I was throughout. I never felt the panic and loss of control I'd experienced before. I felt completely at peace. I managed the pain with the breathing techniques and some gas and air. The breathing techniques are great, but after 3 days it took its toll! I was exhausted at the end. I felt like I had a collapsed lung the day after giving birth, but all totally worth it and I would recommend hypnobirthing to anyone. I'll never forget after my daughter was born, the first words my incredulous husband said to me were 'You never screamed or shouted once!' I never felt the need to. Hypnobirthing gave me the confidence to trust in my body and my own ability to birth my baby under my own terms. It was a wonderful help, not a miracle.

michelle erba said...

Joanna,
I am a midwifery student at The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. I am in my first year, and I have 3 more years to go, but I can already tell you I have the deepest passion and overwhelming respect for all mamas who decide to learn how to (through hypnobirthing, hiring a midwife, etc) trust their bodies to give birth, as well as trusting their babies to be born... babies know how to be born! I am THRILLED you are posting about alternative birth practices and making women's options for birth known. If you are a healthy mom with a healthy baby there is more options than hospital protocol! Anyway, I thank you! you made my day.
-Michelle @ michelleerba.blog.com

Emily said...

I tried listening to the hypnobirth tapes for my second birth... every time I listened to the tapes I fell asleep so I'm not sure if they worked or not. My second birth was a lot quicker than the first (2 hours instead of 17 and I felt much more in control so maybe it made a difference?

lessthanperfectmama.com said...

I've heard of hypnobirthing but didn't try with either of my 2 kids. It sounds refreshing. Maybe for my third some day.

Debbie said...

Fascinating, thank you for sharing! Before the birth of my first daughter I took a Bradley method class and loved it. The breathing techniques really helped while in labor. Unfortunately, my daughter was Breech and I had to have a c-section. My daughter is now 9 months old and I still feel sad that I did not get to have the "natural" birth. It was about 12 hours from the time my water broke to when I got an epidural for my c-section, so I did get to experience labor. But, I still feel like less of a birthing mother in some ways. I really like this article in the huffington post that describes how I felt.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-loccke/mothers-of-the-lesser-birth_b_1764792.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl24|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D205566

I think it is great that you choose to post such sensitive topics honestly, openly, and without judgement.

Mindy said...

Do they have this for everyday life? Hypnolife?

Lindsey McLean said...

I know two things since giving birth. 1). If my baby hadn't gotten stuck, I would have been able to do it without the epidural. 2). It hurt way WAY more than I thought it would!! ;) For the next baby, I plan to do hypnobirthing.

Janae @ Bring-Joy said...

I never took any classes but I read the Bradley method book & practiced yoga. I've had four unmedicated births (one while I was induced) & have loved the choice every time. I was fortunate to have my supportive husband by my side & an awesome dula each time. I don't know much about hypno birthing, but I know natural birthing is possible & is very rewarding!

kosenrufu mama said...

i used hypnobirth during my last pregnancy, and it helped me a lot during the labor and the birth, the pain was far away from me until 2 hours before the pushing stage, then i couldn't be relaxed any longer, but at the last 3 pushes i could "visualize" again and "see" my baby, "breathing my baby out". I wrote my experience on my blog for sharing, especially for those mothers, like i was, are looking for informations.

http://esterdaphne.blogspot.it/2011/12/il-parto-e-la-nascita.html

thank you joanna for sharing

Gabrielle said...

I used hypnobirthing, through the Marie Mongan book. Some of the imagery was not for me, but I just took from it what I wanted. The most useful to me was not that it would be pain free but that the pain had a purpose. That is what your body needed to do to give birth. So work with that pain rather than fight against it. It helped me believe that my body was made to do this, so I could trust it to do it, rather than be frightened by the pain. In labor it helped me go to a 'bubble' as others have mentioned. I used a birthing pool for the labor as my only pain relief, and made up my own hypnobirthing imagery of bubbles on water, and with every contraction I would just blow bubbles in the water. I found it quite meditative and relaxing, even though I was in a severe pain as my baby was posterior. Because I did not fight against the pain of the contractions but let them do what they needed, I felt it did not tire me out as much as it could have.

Second stage labor was a whole different story, as I was pushing for 3.5 to 4 h when my baby was still posterior and got stuck. I forgot all about the hypnobirthing and just tried to push, rather than breathe with the contractions, and I got really exhausted. The one thing that the book did not really talk about, which I plan to implement for a second if we have one, was having a rest phase between being fully dilated and starting pushing. From both the book and the antenatal classes we had, I just thought that you went from fully dilated to pushing, so that is what I did. However, my baby was not ready for that, she was still posterior and she got stuck. I have since read about having a rest stage for up to an hour after you are fully dilated. This helps everything to relax and your baby to get in the correct position for pushing. I feel this would have helped me, as at the last minute (before I had to have a epidural and a forceps assisted birth) I lay on my side and rested for a short time. At that stage, my baby turned (a most amazing feeling that made me cry then and at times later when I remembered it) and came out with me just breathing rather than pushing like in the book.

Callie Glorioso-Mays said...

I just had my first baby nine weeks ago and wanted to try hypnobirthing (or at least apply the general principles). I absolutely love the philosophy behind it!

I got the book late (midway through my third trimester) and instead of following it "religiously" I took the principles and adapted them to my life (I was already familiar with some of them such as deep breathing techniques for pain control and visualization). I had complications during pregnancy so I had to be induced and it all went downhill from there (I'm not going to say a lot more because I don't believe in scaring women and my experience was out of the ordinary so there's no point in people getting upset about it happening to them - the likelihood is small). :( Next time I'd like to try it again, but honestly it will take a lot for me to get over the horrible memories of this birth! :(

callie @ this glorious maze

Gabrielle said...

I used hypnobirthing, through the Marie Mongan book. Some of the imagery was not for me, but I just took from it what I wanted. The most useful to me was not that it would be pain free but that the pain had a purpose. That is what your body needed to do to give birth. So work with that pain rather than fight against it. It helped me believe that my body was made to do this, so I could trust it to do it, rather than be frightened by the pain. In labor it helped me go to a 'bubble' as others have mentioned. I used a birthing pool for the labor as my only pain relief, and made up my own hypnobirthing imagery of bubbles on water, and with every contraction I would just blow bubbles in the water. I found it quite meditative and relaxing, even though I was in a severe pain as my baby was posterior. Because I did not fight against the pain of the contractions but let them do what they needed, I felt it did not tire me out as much as it could have.

Second stage labor was a whole different story, as I was pushing for 3.5 to 4 h when my baby was still posterior and got stuck. I forgot all about the hypnobirthing and just tried to push, rather than breathe with the contractions, and I got really exhausted. The one thing that the book did not really talk about, which I plan to implement for a second if we have one, was having a rest phase between being fully dilated and starting pushing. From both the book and the antenatal classes we had, I just thought that you went from fully dilated to pushing, so that is what I did. However, my baby was not ready for that, she was still posterior and she got stuck. I have since read about having a rest stage for up to an hour after you are fully dilated. This helps everything to relax and your baby to get in the correct position for pushing. I feel this would have helped me, as at the last minute (before I had to have a epidural and a forceps assisted birth) I lay on my side and rested for a short time. At that stage, my baby turned (a most amazing feeling that made me cry then and at times later when I remembered it) and came out with me just breathing rather than pushing like in the book.

Sarahla said...

I'm three weeks in listening to hypnobabies and 37 weeks along. From what I can tell Hypnobabies and Hypnobirthing are two different programs. I went with hypnobabies because I've always been super-affected by guided meditations- I take yoga just to lie in shivasana and hear the teacher's meditation!
So far it's been a nice way to focus for 30 minutes a day on the baby and make me feel like I am doing something productive in anticipation of labor. How the actual birth goes down is, of course, entirely up this little chubbub, but I hope to get the chance to see if hypnobabies helps me work through some of the pain.

Cheryl said...

I also read Hypnobirthing (the Mongan method) as was mentioned above for my first.
On top of that though, we took a couple of prenatal classes that were geared towards "natural birth" as well as prenatal yoga classes.
I found that each one of these gave me a couple of tools to put in my "birthing tool box". When the day came I only used about 5% of these tools but was very thankful for them as I did have a comfortable birth. Intense, yes, but comfortable.
Hypnobirthing has somewhat of an unfortunate name, it sounds a little out there. It really just taught me to relax, focus, and above all breath.
I think the bottom line is that you have to believe in whichever method you choose. You need to trust that you can do it and having knowledge gives you that confidence.
Thanks for sharing this information.
Cheryl
http://www.youautoknowblog.com/

Tragic Sandwich said...

I'd be open to it: (a) I know hypnotherapists and have used their techniques with success in other situations, and (b) it couldn't be any LESS successful for me during labor than anesthesia was. [http://www.tragicsandwich.com/on-pain-meds-during-labor/]

Elizabeth said...

I took a Hypnobirthin class from me prenatal yoga instructor - we read the Mongan book and had five sessions of class. It was a great, calming, centering thing to do with my husband a couple times a week. He would read the meditation script and I would practice relaxing my body. Practicing together was really great once I was in labor. We had a routine that we could turn to to help me stay relaxed through contractions.

It wasn't a pain-free experience, and I got an epidural after 18 hours of not dilating past 2 cm, but I am still so thankful we did hypnobirthing. It was very centering and a great experience for my husband and I!

Mrs. H said...

I'm in my 5month and I have been using the Hypnobabies at home 6 week course. So far I love it!

Heather said...

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED hypnobirthing. I had 4 babies using the techniques I learned in my hypnobirthing class. Birth is intense, but not painful for me. It is beautiful.

Mrs. said...

So glad you highlighted this, I found the Hypnobirthing book to be such a great resource as I prepared for my second baby. Both were normal-natural deliveries in a hospital with the help of my husband and a doula. The imagery this book gives I found to be very helpful during the labor.

Caroline said...

4 months ago I had my second baby using Hypnobirthing. My first ended with a traumatic emergency-C section and I was trying for a VBAC so I wanted to be as relaxed as possible. We hired a wonderful woman, Joan Sabba in Brooklyn Heights, who came to our apartment once a week for a few months to coach us. I think that the private coaching is really wonderful--I would not have gotten nearly as much out of the experience on my own. Each week Joan led my husband and I into a trance-like state that was so relaxing (my husband fell asleep every time :). In the end, I labored at home off and on for 4 days--I would not have been able to endure that w/o the hypnobirthing techniques. I just lay in our hammock on the roof and breathed into the "surges." However, when things got more intense on the 4th night, the relaxed breathing gave way to a more animalistic roar. By the time we got to the hospital, I was moaning in pain and so thankful that I was 8 cm dilated. Even though I couldn't maintain the calm in the final part, it was pretty quick. 2.5 hrs. after arriving at the hospital, my little boy came out---no drugs were administered. There is no doubt that it was the hardest, most painful experience of my life thus far, but I am so glad I did it (and was able to do it). There was nothing like feeling his warm body on my belly right after he came out. In the end, I think that birthing is really our one opportunity to really BE our animal selves; it's the most uncivilized, wild, painful, messy, miraculous experience we can have.

kateh said...

Read the book, took the class, practiced every day starting at 30 weeks. Loved the idea of it.

In the end 83 hours of labor won. Got an epidural at the end of day 3 since I hadn't slept since labor started. Though hypnobirthing didn't give me a pain free labor by any means, my doula is convinced it did keep me from needing an c-section.

It is a beautiful thought, especially if labor goes according to plan, but after a few days, it was more important for me to sleep and have energy to push this kid out than it was to have a drug free experience.

Maureen said...

Timely post! TODAY is actually my due date!! I didn't take the full hypnobirthing course but I did read the book and hope to incorporate some of the ideas into my birthing experience (whenever it happens!) my favorite thing about the book was the part about women being afraid because people tell us that it scary an painful. And then havin the fear actually makes it scary and also more painful. I just think its an interesting way to think about the whole experience. Thanks for sharing these stories!

Molly S said...

I'm pregnant with my second baby (Due April), and I'm thinking about using Hypnobabies. I had a drug-free birth with my son when I was a mere 21 years old!

I used Birth Outside the Box, which is an online course, mostly because we were on the downside of some financial issues, and it was the least costly I could find. It seems like it has a lot of the same messages. The main one being that your body knows what to do. Also, to express and recognize fear beforehand, and get it out of your system.

I was supposed to have a waterbirth in a natural-friendly hospital. My son came 4 weeks early, and being a first-time mome that was relatively young, my midwife didn't take me too seriously. Even feeling like I didn't know what my body was telling me (I was in labor, and actually in transition), I kept calm and remained persistent. They even tried to send me home 15 minutes before he came out because they didn't think I was in active labor for being so calm!! Needless to say, I didn't get my waterbirth.

I think the main components to having a natural birth is to be 1 - spiritually sound 2 - emotionally/mentally sound and 3 - physically fit. My birth was very centered in my faith. It's not for everyone, but my personal mantra was that if Mary can birth Jesus in a cold basement barn, then I can do the same for my precious son.

Found said...

I'd really like to hear from someone who's done both normal delivery and hypnobabies for a comparison!

Ms George {Life at the Coop} said...

is it weird that I am (hopefully!) a few years away from having babies and have had the Mongon book on my Book Depository wish list for some time??!! What I have heard of it really appeals to me so even though I wasn't a girl scout I am still well prepared!

Molly said...

I LOVED Hypnobabies!! I knew I wanted to try an unmedicated, intervention free birth but knew I needed techniques to practice to get ready for it. Hypnobabies was the perfect fit because it was a complete childbirth education class (FYI hypnobabies and hypnobirthing are different).

Almost one year ago (I can't believe my little man is almost one),I was able to have an unmedicated, "perfect" birth! For those of you rolling your eyes, I consider any birth perfect :) Hypnobabies allowed me to be relaxed and prepared for anything that may happen. I am definitely planning to do it again for the next!

Veralynn said...

I did the Hypnobabies course, and loved it! Every day I would listen to my mp3 tracks and besides my weekly prenatal yoga class, those were the times I felt so peaceful and relaxed. When it was time for labor, it kept me sane. It didn't take away pain (in my experience), but it was a centering force. I did get an epidural about 18 hours in and I had the most wonderful, peaceful birth. It was amazing and I could cry happy tears every time I think about it.

(Side note: Ladies, don't EVER let someone tell you how to birth. Research your options, make the best decision for you. If it's an epidural, get the epidural and enjoy your birth! If it's a home birth, get a fantastic midwife and doula and enjoy your birth! Birth is amazing no matter how you go about it. Much love!)

Veralynn
joiedeveralynn.blogspot.com

ree said...

I thought to take hypnobirth when I get pregnant, but still not sure. I think it's like the power of the mind that makes us feel better.

chelsea said...

Yes! Yes! We took the hypnobirthing classes and studied the books. I ended up being a more vocal momma (Soren was ALL back labor), but the cues, education and information about birth just kept reeling in my mind. We had a wonderful natural birth and I was able to move around as I needed and felt everything - which believe it or not is just more reassuring that you and baby are doing just fine. I can't say enough about it...I tear up just thinking about his birth again! I think it is a great method - even if, in the moment, meditation doesn't necessarily work - the principles are the same.

Kudos for checking it out!

Chelsea

momandsons said...

For my first pregancy I tried Hypnobirthing and felt like I was in the the zone during labor. I was super calm and was able to manage the pain. Unfortuntly I had been on bedrest for month due to Pre-Eclampsia which developed into full blown Eclampsia in labor. This led to an emgency C-Section, but for the 12 hours of labor Hypnobirthing really seemed to help.

Mia Stizzo said...

i think hypno-birthing is worth a shot, keeping in mind that committing to that method might not be realistic. i don't know why people are ever so gung-ho about having epidurals or having a natural childbirth when you don't really know what you are in for until it's actually happening to you. hypno-birthing might sound like a fab idea until you've been in labor for 20 hours or experience a complication. but yeah - i'd imagine you'd only gain from learning methods to manage/tune out pain. couldn't hurt!

Nikki said...

I had my first baby in June, and my husband and I took a HypnoBirth class. I'm a pretty anxious, control-freak-type person, so in spite of the hippie feel of hypnobirthing (and I'll admit, the cheese factor was a little high even for me at times), my hubby was very supportive of anything that would help me relax.

At 30 weeks we found out Baby Girl had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and our plans for a midwife-assisted birth at a freestanding birth center went out the window. Instead, she needed to be born at a high-risk hospital and whisked immediately to a children's hospital for surgery to repair the hernia ASAP. When I went into labor--16 days early--I only had FIVE HOURS of active labor! Things progressed so rapidly, it was crazy. Even though I don't remember feeling anxious during labor or delivery, *of course* there was a huge amount of underlying anxiety: CDH is a really serious anomaly and many babies don't survive. I think those factors (high-risk baby and super fast labor) are huge reasons why it was difficult for me to fully implement many HypnoBirthing tools. My hubs and doula read scripts to me, and mostly I tried to breath properly, visualize my lady parts opening, and keep my vocalizations low. But holy cow I "vocalized" a lot, and HOLY COW those surges (aka contractions) were intense!! In the end, our doula, nurse, and all the many doctors and residents said I was a rockstar and they couldn't believe I achieved an intervention-free delivery with no tearing and minimal bleeding. They all said I was super calm, in control, breathing like a champ, etc. etc. etc. That's not necessarily how I felt during labor, but they've all seen many laboring moms, so they would know better than me! And the consensus was that my hypnobirth practice and techniques were obvious (in the good way).

Jodi said...

I teach pre-natal yoga and I'm a mum-of-two. In Australia there is a course very similar to Hypnobirthing called Calmbirth. I did it when I was pregnant with my first and I have met many women who also used Calmbirth in preparation for their births. The general consensus is that whilst it is a beautiful intention to prepare women in such a positive way it isn't overly realistic and hence rarely works. I remember being in the midst of labour and feeling like I had been lied to. From a teaching perspective I find that the skills they teach birth support partners (relaxation, visualisation) are so far removed from the reality of labour that they are literally forgotten. Sadly, I've also met some women who truly believed they weren't going to feel pain and once labour begun they got so scared and anxious and their births were very different to how they envisioned. I now teach couples birth workshops as well as pre-natal yoga classes and I do talk about pain, intensity and challenge. I'm honest about birth and provide my students and their partners with really practical techniques to support the birth journey. I believe sound is one of the most powerful things a woman can use in her labour - moaning and roaring soothes the nervous system, encourages deep breaths and sends baby down (there's a neuro-muscular connection between the throat/birth canal, jaw/pelvic floor and mouth/cervix). I could go on and on and on....but in summary - truth is a wonderful thing x

L I S A said...

First baby ~ 53 hour labor
Second baby ~ 90 minute labor Hypnobirth

Yes! to Hypnobirth, it sure worked for me.

Score said...

I'm starting a hypnobirthing class next month. It is actually required and subsidized by my midwife/birth center. They said their instances of complications have dropped dramatically since their clients started doing hypnobirthing. I'm excited to get started learning.

mlp said...

Thank you SO much for preparing/writing this post! We've been looking at birth classes and wondered if this was the right one. Now I know it is.

Sylvia said...

Lol HYPNOBABIES DID NOT WORK FOR ME! I never saw a Dr my whole pregnancy (ma belle Nadine was born 7 months ago), just midwives through a local birthing center. I understand some people feel safer having their babies in hospitals, but I'd read my Ina May Gaskin and seen The Business of Being Born, and I knew I'd have my baby in water, no drugs even available. I TOTALLY expected I'd have a serene (possibly orgasmic!), calm birth with my Hypnobabies mantras playing on my iPod.

Well! Don't ever let anyone tell you a first labor has to be 20 hours! Mine was 6!! And it all happened so quickly I didn't ever get into my Bubble of Peace lol! I just moaned and whimpered and did my impression of Lamaze breathing from what you see in movies! LABOR AND PUSHING HURT WAY WORSE THAN I WAS EXPECTING. :) After her head came out I remember asking the midwife if she could please pull baby the rest of the way out....

All of that said, I think it was best (and thanks in part to Hypnobabies) that I went into labor without fear. I would definitely do a natural birth again, hands down! I was home in my own bedroom with my healthy baby a few hours after she was born, feeling a little worn out (and sore "down there"), but otherwise totally fine. My friends who had epidurals and c-sections have had MUCH longer recoveries and sort of see birth as a medical procedure. My water birth hurt like hell, but I feel so empowered and am so glad I had a natural experience. (don't get me wrong-- I am an Advil junkie and am pro-medicine, pro-vaccines etc, just wanted to try for the most pivotal experience of my life to be a natural one!)

Diana said...

I didn't use hypno birthing but I did two beautiful natural births using a few of the points of hypno birthing. I had affirmations, yes, I had mantras, yes, I had the knowledge that up until the twenty first century women for all of time were giving birth naturally with the result of the human population rising since the beginning of time so success rate has to be pretty high, yeah?

Anyway, my two birth experiences were completely opposite but I knew with all my heart that I COULD do it and do it successfully.

Derek & Rebecca said...

I had my first at a hospital with a midwife. After 18hrs of intense back labor with a posterior facing baby I got an epidural. A few hours later I was able to relax, dilate, and push him out. For my next pregnancy I knew I wanted a different experience. We hired a home birth midwife. She suggested Hypnobirthing, the book. I was able to stay relaxed for the entirety of labor. I highly recommend the book! I had a beautiful homebirth with #2 and know Hypnobirthing helped!!!

junebug said...

Hintonians: your story made me cry. Thank you for sharing your miracle with us. xox

BeachBabeLivin said...

I read Toby's birth story and ADORED it! Esp your roar..;)

AimeeDesiree said...

I don't know. I have friends who did hypnobirthing and they said it was intense and hurt like hell. I had an epidural at 5 cm, watched the whole thing in the mirror, and felt like I had a runner's high afterwards. I even high-fived the nurse! I think hypnobirthing definitely teaches you techniques to manage, but some of my friends were told that it created this entire pain-free experience and that was hardly the case. I do like the idea of the peace bubble. I hated naysayers!

Melany Forno said...

This sounds really inspirational! I had never heard of this hypnobirthing technique and wish that I had known about it for when I gave birth. Ive never tried being hypnotized but I do understand the feeling of driving and then all of sudden realizing that I'm home. So, if thats the feeling i get during childbirth then i'm all about it!

Beautiful birth story.

http://refreshinglysacred.blogspot.com

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

It's very interesting reading all the stories here. I would love to try hypnobirthing and natural childbirth, on the one hand, and on the other I am completely terrified of the whole thing. My first birth experience was terrifying and so painful and I had to get an emergency c-section anyways after 15 hours of labour. So I'm kind of torn between two polar opposites: wanting a natural birth and wanting a planned c-section (I recovered quick the first time!). So I think when the time for baby #2 comes, I'll have a good chat with my doc about it and then make up my mind.

Vanessa said...

I did the hypnobabies program at home and loved it. My husband wasn't onboard- he kind of just laughed at me, and I still did it, so if your husband doesn't really buy it, you can still do it. When I was in labor I listened to the birthing track on my ipod and it helped tune out the annoying nurse who kept saying "are you sure you don't want pain medicine?" I ended up getting Pitocin and still didn't need any pain medication, even though it supposedly makes labor unbearable. I think the biggest factor is that hypnobirthing helps you to feel more in control of your body and what is happening and lessens your fear, which increases your pain. Also, I listened to the tracks when I went to bed and they helped me fall asleep, so even though I didn't even consciously listen to some of the tracks, it still worked for me during labor because my subconscious had been listening, even while I was sleeping. I'd be happy to talk to someone about my experience in more detail and/or answer any questions. I'm a 100% full believer in hypnobirthing!

Carla @ All of Me Now said...

I did HypnoBabies with my 2nd for a VBAC and it was incredible! Did I not feel any pain? Of course not. But I was so in tune with my body and the process and how it's all necessary for my body and baby to go through the experience that everything felt like intense sensations. I was able to stay calm and present throughout. I love the program so much I plan on saving the CDs and workbook for my daughters#

Jennifer said...

I used hypnobabies and loved it! I didn't think it would work on me as I'm crazy head strong but I was really able to let myself go and find a happy place so I was able to birth naturally. The best part for me was the pregnancy affirmations. I listened at night and it calmed me and gave me so much confidence. They are a little silly but once you get past it its quite enjoyable. I think for me it gave me something to focus on during labor and I felt in control and safe. My husband was super supportive and we practiced all the scripts and promos (I promise that sounds weirder than it really was) and that was super important and helpful. I've had friends that tried it but only listened to a few tracks and read a few things and it didn't work for them. I took classes and really practiced and I think that made all the difference at least for me. I recommend it to anyone who wants to birth naturally!

I'm A. said...

We took a Hypnobabies class during my first pregnancy and then continued to study throughout the course of the pregnancy. Hypnobabies is AMAZING. If anything, it teaches women that our bodies are perfectly made to grow and deliver healthy babies... no medical intervention necessary (usually). That is a message that women don't hear very often, which is sad. Women should feel empowered, strong, capable, excited for their births! Not scared, uninformed and completely at the mercy of their medical provider. Our bodies are amazing!

There is a really awesome documentary on Netflix called The Business of Being Born. EVERY women should watch this. It's wonderful.

sian said...

we did a hypnobirthing class (mongan method) during my pregnancy with our first son. my dad thought it was a ridiculous hippy thing to do but i was prepared to try anything to make the experience a good one (it's my perineum after all!). it definitely worked for my partner, he fell asleep in most of the sessions, but i was so busy proof reading the powerpoint slides that i found it difficult to relax. i listened to the CD every night and attempted some of the relaxation techniques (usually ending up in fits of giggles). my first son was born at home, in water after a five hour labour. i wasn't silent by any means but my midwife sister, who was there for the birth, said she felt the hypnobirthing techniques had really made a difference. i just listened to the CD second time around. number two son was born after a 50 minute labour, into my trousers in the hospital corridor (he was 5 weeks early so we couldn't have the planned home birth, boo). it helped me to feel in control and prepared. i'd recommend it.

chandra ~ oh lovely day said...

Not gonna lie - when I first heard of hypnobirthing (I think by Jessica Alba talking about it during some interview) I was judgy and thought it was weird. Then I had an extremely tough, painful, and not great experience during my 26 hour labor (and I had an epidural), so I am seriously considering it next time around. it's funny how you have these ideas of how labor and delivery will go, and then it totally doesn't. I think hypnobirthing seems like a great way to mentally prepare to get through what could be a really hard day (or two) so that you can try to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing this!

Lisa said...

Honestly...I don't have time for that kind of thing. Other people reading this comment will say, "That's because you don't make it a priority!", which is probably true -- throughout my pregnancy (due date was yesterday), my priority has been preparing our home for baby, and preparing my work the maternity leave that I'm on now, and that has filled 100% of my time. I don't really want to have a "birth plan" because it seems like the chance that anything will actually go according to plan is very small. Call me crazy, but it personally calms *me* to trust the experience and knowledge of the midwives and doctors at my hospital.

Nikki said...

I used Hypnobirthing for my birth as well. It was a beautiful experience for my husband and me. It's all about trusting your body and your baby and using the contractions to visualize the downward progression that will bring your child to your arms. It's so positive and empowering but also very honest. It didn't take the discomfort away, but it helped me manage it. With each contraction (or surge) I would close my eyes and try to work with it rather than fight against it. I was so focused that sometimes I would forget anyone else was in the room. I highly recommend this method. Read the book (The Mongan Method) and see what you think! Here's my birth story..if you are interested.
http://nicoleem.blogspot.com/2011/09/welcome-to-earth-little-guy.html

katherine said...

So cute baby! I am seriously considering it next time around.

bridal

Rose said...

I'm willing to try anything that works! but never having had a baby that's easy to say

Hirsita Dixit said...

Nice Baby.. Awesome points give in this post....
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Emma said...

Hi Joanna, thanks for raising this topic! I'm in the UK, and had planned a home water birth. I started using a hypnobirthing CD from a UK teacher quite early on, and also read the Marie Mongan book, which I found really interesting (like other posters, I didn't 'buy' everything she said but took on board a lot of it). I listened to my CD every day when I got home from work, and more often than not I would fall asleep listening! On 'labour day' I managed to get to 8cm dilated with just a TENS machine and my relaxation techniques, before getting into the pool... Sadly for me, a high blood pressure meant I had to transfer to the local hospital, but even then, I was able to keep calm. I had no pain relief apart from gas and air, though did have to have an episiotomy (with local anaesthetic) and ventouse delivery in the end, but I credit the hypno techniques with keeping me calm and focused. It doesn't take away the pain/pressure/whatever you want to label it, but it helps to understand why these things are taking place, and to work with, rather than against your body.
I would recommend hypnobirthing, definitely, and have loaned my CDs out to many friends. Who knows, if there is ever a #2, I may get to use them again!

Emily said...

great discussion Joanna! We took a Marie Mongan hypnobirthing class. I'm a little high strung about medical procedures and wanted to RELAX. It's a anti-interventionist philosophy, but I had a fairly complicated pregnancy and we easily adapted the breathing techniques, visualization scenarios, calming aromatherapy suggestions for our purposes. My sweet little one was a bitty lady in utero, so I was very closely monitored from 30 weeks on. I practiced the calm breathing through every growth scan and BPP.

Hypnobirthing helped tremendously when I was induced at 37 weeks. I still had the calm, peaceful birth I wanted, even though my husband and I were in a fairly stressful situation. (I had to take picotin, got the epidural, the resident kept threatening a c-section) Even with the epidural, I could feel every surge and needed to focus and use my surge breathing through it. I highly highly recommend the Mongan Method of hypnobirthing. Although, I say make it your own, instead of listening to the affirmation CD in labor, we listened to Jim Dale reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince...

rackmount said...

I picked up one of the books and realized that hypnobirthing was essentially a meditation practice somewhat focused on the parts of your body that work during birth. So if you've done meditation, it's not necessary to do the classes or whatever. You do need to work up to it though, if you're out of practice.

If you're dismissive about the hippie aspect of it, consider this: these techniques are not measurably different than those used by those Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire. Childbirth can be painful, but it's not a literal ring of fire. These are not techniques created by hippies, these are very old practices employed by certain cultures for hundreds of years.

As others have said, there's no guarantee of a pain-free delivery. Mine was not. But it was MUCH better than my first birth. I def. recommend learning and practicing the techniques here, and also reading about the use of drugs in childbirth and how they make labor more painful. I also spent most of my labor in the bathtub, and that helped immensely.

rackmount said...

If you decide to have a second, do some reading. The childbirth experience in this country is crazy, and it mostly doesn't need to be. I would recommend PUSHED, which gave me great information about what was possible. I am in NO way a hippie dippy type (I'm very pro-technology), but the book is very balanced and interesting, giving the long historical view on why things are the way they are.

Your doctor may not be the best person to talk to. They are at the mercy of the insurance companies, and have been for so long that even their training is defined by it. My doctors DID NOT KNOW HOW to do anything but a laying-on-your-back delivery, the most painful kind. Really. Knowledge is power.

rackmount said...

The reason for being gung ho about natural birth is that most doctors in the US are gung ho interventionists. If you're not totally committed, then you WILL have an interventionist delivery.

Barbara Williams said...

I used hypnobirthing for the birth of my first baby one year ago. It was a wonderful birthing experience. I labored at home for about four hours, then went to the hospital well into active labor, and delivered in a birthing pool a few hours after. Obviously very painful still, but hypnobirthing helps you maintain a relaxed mind and body, making the pain more manageable and helping you focus on the positive: you're about to meet your baby!

Barbara Williams said...

Must add: Marie Mongan's calming voice and wonderful affirmations were a must for me. Listened to them on my way to work, really helped me connect with my baby.

Mrs. DOANESM said...

For me hypnobirthing was amazing and wildly successful. I did the Mongan method. I had the chance to meet her as well. What an amazing woman! She is trying to (and succeeding) bring the beauty back to birth because it truly is a miracle! Through the process you learn to breath. Anyone who has done yoga knows how important the breath is! Breath and relax. Your body knows how to have a baby! That's what we were built for as woman! It's crude, but we are mammals! Cows, horses and elephants all have babies with no drugs - woman can to!!

Without the drugs, you feel what your body was meant to do. It's powerful. I wouldn't say it was painful. I wasn't thinking about pain. I was thinking about my breath and bringing my baby to me. Both my kids were close to 9 pounds. No drugs. No tearing. My body was meant to do this and my babies were the right size for me!!

My first birth was 5 hours. My second was about 20 minutes. I arrived at the hospital and was 5 centimeters. I sat back and put on my CD of affirmations. My water broke instantly and within 15 minutes, my baby arrived without the help of anyone but my husband. The nurses were scrambling as my midwife was running to my room. My body was totally triggered by the mantras I had been listening to for months. My body knew how to have a baby. I didn't need drugs to cover it. Or help in getting it started!! It was amazing!!

Everyone should do this. Birth is not scary. The media and movies have made it that way. Birthing is beautiful and something you were meant to do!!

Bri (like the cheese) said...

I LOVE Hypnobirth!! I read Marie Mongan's book while I was pregnant with my second baby. During my first pregnancy, I'd seen it on the shelf at the book store and thought, "oh, too voo-doo for me," but after having been through the birth process once and re-discovering it, I read some excerpts and really liked what I was reading!
My doula was so impressed with how that second delivery went, she chose to use Hypnobirthing for her second baby too!
Anything that reminds women that their bodies were made to deliver new life and to trust what is happening is a good thing. It really gives you the tools to manage any discomfort that arises during delivery. It also helped me get much-needed sleep in the uncomfortable last several weeks of pregnancy. I'd gotten so good at relaxing that my husband scoffed at me, not believeing I was in labor, when I told him I'd called our midwife. I was 8cm dilated before I experienced anything that I would call 'pain' during that labor, and my son was born less than 2 hours later - all 9lbs 9oz of him!
I am definitely using the Hypnobirthing method the next time around (which will be in about 3 months)!

Josie said...

I'm an anxious person so I was really keen to use hypnobirthing to help keep me calm when I gave birth. My home birth plans turned into a long hospital birth and I didn't panic once. I totally credit hypnobirthing with this - kept me sane!

Helgi said...

It's funny because I'd never heard about but I used some of the things they describe during the last weeks of my pregnancy and during birth. I would lie down to relax, take deep breaths, pray and think about the birth, for example think of all the women who give birth around the world everyday, my body was made for doing this etc etc. It really worked. I started doing this as a teenager for my period, I have endometriosis and have had extremely painful periods since I was 10 years old, it really works. Breathing, praying (sometimes I'll recite something in my head that I know by heard like the Lord's prayer, psalm 23 or 121 or even poetry or children's songs that liked as a kid, anything to keep my mind focused on something other then the pain.
There came a point during the labor when I panicked for a moment (when the contractions hit my back - ouch!) but I quickly "grabbed hold of my mind" said a prayer and forced myself to deep breathly. I was induced and still managed to give birth without an epidural because of this.

Thanks for an interesting post (as always) :)

Helgi said...

hahaha oops - my husband was logged on. :)

xo
Kristín from Iceland

Lizzie Polish said...

And people wonder why I am having a scheduled C-Section . . . I don't want to have to think about this.

Lizzie Polish said...

And people wonder why I am having a scheduled C-Section . . . I don't want to have to think about this.

Katrina P. said...

Just started my hypnobabies home study class last night. I was really worried about it because I wanted to stay in control of my mind and body the entire time. Sometimes I've noticed as I've heard various birthing stories is that those who do hypno birthing classes are most in control and aware of what is going on. It's when the pain becomes unbearable that people loose the control and become anxious..that starts a vicious cycle of fear and pain. Definitely not something I am choosing to experience. I'm excited for the upcoming birth of our baby now!

Mackenzie said...

Hypnobirth! It rocks. I had a wonderful, wonderful birth experience with my daughter and am very much looking forward to delivering another baby. I loved giving birth!
I have ADHD,and at our first Hypnobirthing class, my husband was blown away at my physical response to the cd's we listened to- he kept talking about how nothing was wiggling, I wasn't bouncing my feet or wiggling my toes, my body and mind were in complete peace.
As other comments have said, the best thing Hynobirth gave me was a feeling of peace and confidence going into delivery. My body knows what it is doing, I am going to have an easy, natural birth, my baby is loved and safe...
My water broke at 10 am, Georgie was born at 4:10 after about 30 minutes of pushing. I spent two hours of labor in a tub, where I got bored (!) so I spent the rest of my labor curled on my side, eyes closed, in a peaceful place (where I did feel pain, but very, very manageable). I delivered on my side as well, and Georgie came into the world calm, content, and alert, and stayed awake for several hours after her delivery.
I cannot recommend the program enough!

Mackenzie said...

P.S. I totally thought that was a baby picture of Toby!

ahha said...

Thanks for sharing. Sometimes when I tell folks about using hypnosis for birthing they don't believe me when I tell them it worked! I did hypnobirthing but I found the script to be annoying vague - why can't you use the proper names for the body parts while still enjoying the benefits of the technique? I found a script by British Dr. Gowri Motha to be more useful. It is still hypnosis- she just walks you through the hypnosis and the body's process using correct terminology. You can find the book/cd on amazon. If you want to use hypnobirthing but don't want to refer to your cervix as a lotus flower this is the script for you. Plus, I liked her voice better.

Vang said...

I used Hypnobirthing for all three of my babies. It worked well for me. The second and third babies were born in a birthing tub, both times my husband said that I looked like I was taking a relaxing bath and happened to have a baby. However, my body was working hard while I was in the warm water, no matter how calm and peaceful I looked on the outside. The best part of each birth was immediately holding a healthy and alert baby.

Reyna Walker said...

I totally thought that was a picture of Toby! How cute is that? Hypnobirthing sounds like a great idea for one day when I have babies. I've had the opportunity to participate in hypnotherapy (which I thought was a load of baloney till I tried it) and it is fascinating how well it works. After reading this, hypnobirth sounds similar and I'd love to try it!

Mrs B said...

I prepared for birth using the Mongan Hypnobirthing method. It was great for preparing, but I ended up listening to the same Feist album over and over and over until an emergency C-section was ordered. I would recommend taking a conventional birth prep class in addition to hypnobirthing, so you know what you are in for if your baby has its own plans!

cauloccoli said...

I think many of these seemingly "hippie" approaches are really just re-educating us with knowledge about women's bodies that has been lost over generations due to changes in our cultures and demographics. 100 years ago more women gave birth at home, with midwives, surrounded by other women who helped support the mothering process. On the other hand, 100 years ago, childbirth was the number one killer of women.

Hypnobirthing and Bradley method techniques are extremely useful in helping you relax and relinquish control, but thank goodness for modern medicine's ability to step in when things don't go according to plan. Perhaps best to embrace both.

SeattleMommy said...

I looked into hypnobirthing because I was really terrified of needles and did not want an epidural. I was skeptical about it but during the class the instructor had us hold an ice cube in our fist and I realized I could ignore it and relax. I used the techniques I learned during a 32 hour labor and a 28 hour labor and can say that without a doubt I had long but pain-free labors. The only "pain" I felt was that last push but the feeling of my children coming out quickly erased that. I use hypnobirthing techniques at the dentist office or whenever I am feeling really stressed.

Sandhya said...

I hate to tell you this, but most women I've talked to who have had both a C section and a vaginal delivery say that recovering from the C section was much, much more difficult. A vaginal birth is the way to go unless Mom or baby are in danger. There are many effective ways to manage the pain, as other women have said, and I hope you'll talk with your midwife, doctor, and friends about your fears and come to the best solution for you.

junglegirl said...

Wow, this sounds similar to the work Elena Tonetti is doing with orgasmic birth and hip spiraling. I thought she should get a Nobel Peace prize, hah...for her work, and maybe she should, but clearly others are doing similar work! Here's a 10 min youtube clip from her dvd:

http://youtu.be/nZtYCHASqNM

Kelly said...

I did hypno-birthing for our baby #3. I had heard about it with our first child, but thought "weird!" so I never looked into it.

This last time I read the book and tried to listen to the CD (it kind of bugged me- I like mostly silence while I'm birthing). I also read "Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth" by Grantly Dick-Read. These two books gave me some good information and made me more confident going towards birth this time. I liked allowing my body to let the baby birth down naturally as I've never had the urge to push anyway even though I haven't ever had an epidural.

My mother and midwife said it was a very peaceful birth, they didn't even know when the baby was coming because I wasn't really pushing. I still felt the inner turmoil of birth, but it was my best yet.

Oh, and some of the hypno-birthing book was a little new-agey for us so we just skipped that part.

Kelly said...

I did hypno-birthing for our baby #3. I had heard about it with our first child, but thought "weird!" so I never looked into it.

This last time I read the book and tried to listen to the CD (it kind of bugged me- I like mostly silence while I'm birthing). I also read "Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth" by Grantly Dick-Read. These two books gave me some good information and made me more confident going towards birth this time. I liked allowing my body to let the baby birth down naturally as I've never had the urge to push anyway even though I haven't ever had an epidural.

My mother and midwife said it was a very peaceful birth, they didn't even know when the baby was coming because I wasn't really pushing. I still felt the inner turmoil of birth, but it was my best yet.

Oh, and some of the hypno-birthing book was a little new-agey for us so we just skipped that part.

Clairsy said...

"I love that little fetus, but when you’re throwing up all the time, you’re like, oooh, fetus."
Bahahahaha, that cracked me up.


I did Calm Birth which is similar. I listened to CDs every day, practiced relaxing my whole body, and visualised the birth. It turned around my whole attitude from being scared of labour, to trusting my body. I was skeptical and thought it all a bit hippy, but hey I had nothing to lose.

I didn't have the natural birth I'd hoped for, I ended up having a a very stop-start labour for 2 days then was finally induced plus epidural. I think without Calm Birth I would have flipped out - but I felt totally relaxed the whole time. I kinda enjoyed it! The CD prepared me for when things take a different path to how you might imagine.

I would definitely do it again.

Clairsy said...

...Also, I wouldn't say it was pain-free. Those contractions could be inteeeense. But I could totally manage them, and I wasn't frightened. I think fear is the enemy, not the pain: if you go in convinced it's going to be excruciatingly painful and you'll be screaming your head off like on TV, I think that makes it worse. (Having said that I did get the epidural (because they made me) at 6cms so I never felt the crazy bit at the end!)

haleysuzanne said...

I did Bradley method, which is more about understanding the physical, mental, and emotional signposts of labor and developing coping methods to deal with them. Much of what I did is similar, but a little less woo-woo. ;) I did have a mantra I repeated during contractions, and I had visualizations I developed to help me get through the pain. Beyond that, it teaches lots of good positions for labor and involves the husband in helping with pain management. I loved it, and I would do it again. It really helped put my husband at ease since he could see that my labor and the way it affected me were progressing normally. Hypnobirthing sounds wonderful, but I'm glad we chose the method we used. Between that and my wonderful doula, I don't know if I could have successfully given birth without pain medication otherwise!

Relish said...

My sister is a doula and she coaches in hypnobirthing. She has so many stories of woman who said, even though it wasn't their first birth, it was the easiest and most natural one.

She's AWESOME!!!!

Her email if you want to get in touch: bubblesofjoyforever@gmail.com

Steph said...

I did hypnobabies and loved every moment. It kept me so calm during pregnancy, labour and birth were very positive and calm experiences. My midwives kept commenting on how peaceful and calm I was through the whole thing. It is amazing to have someone talking you through labour and birth as you are in it, and you are used to relaxing to her voice because of all of the practicing. I have continued to listen to the tracks now since my baby was born just as a way to relax and stay calm and peaceful in stressful situations. There is nothing weird about it, it is simply a tool that you must choose to use like any other technique. My husband loved
It too! I will definitely be doing this
Again for my next births. Thanks for highlighting this...it's a wonderful option for women!

Anemo said...

I gave birth to my son ten month ago and the laborpain was the worst I ever experienced. It all felt like a neverending horror trip. Nevertheless I appreciate these extreme experience and feelings in retrospect. I don't want to keep control or stay calm during labor. I screamed like I never had before and it felt good and what's more it felt like it just has to be excactly like this.

I didn't have any painkillers but my boyfriend and our lovely midwife stayed with me the whole time and that helped so much. Of course that is just my point of view and every mother should decide what's best for her and her little baby! I'd like a peace bubble for everyday life though!

bisbee said...

I wish I had done this (many, many years ago). I had my tubes tied with no other anesthesia than being hypnotized by the anesthisiologist - he traveled all over the world teaching this method - this was at Johns Hopkins. It was amazing - no pain at all, even though I was vaguely aware of what was going on, and I could hear everyone talking.

Kristín Jóna Kristjónsdóttir said...

Saw that photo and thought "what a cute photo of Toby!" :)

Maeve Donnelly said...

Hi from Belfast
I have 2 kids, both water births. The first time I hadn't a clue how to breath and I was in agony. Second time around I was determined to have a more positive experience. A few weeks before I was due ( with 2nd child) I met someone in the park and they told me about Hypnobirthing - it was just what I needed to hear. I bought the book and devoured it. When it came to the birth, I can honestly say I had an amazing experience. I would recommend it to everyone. The breathing techniques meant I never really 'felt' a contraction and I 'breathed down' once and my daughter came out in the water with ease. All in all it was fast and quiet and lovely. I felt so empowered and wanted to tell everyone. I heard some poor soul screaming in the corridor and just wanted to tell her to 'breathe'.
The midwife said I could come back anytime I liked :-)since I was a dream patient. I had a ball!!

swayrebecca2011 said...

I used BlissBorn and loved it. I will definitely use it again. If you have time, I wrote about my experience here: http://thewellnessexperiment.com/2012/02/24/blissful-birth/

silver said...

Because of the medicalisation of birth and the fact that girl children and young women do not attend or witness births anymore (because they take place in hospitals) women in the western world are really impoverished when it comes to giving birth. Yes our bodies 'know' what to do but it is a massively challenging act to fulfil and we have nothing to draw on to help us through this experience except all the negative portrayals of childbirth we see in films and on TV.
That is why Hypnobirthing is so so great, it gives us back some of our 'truth' as birthing creatures. I did it along with really finding out about birthing and watching films of woman birthing at home...and I went on to birth our daughter at home, without pain relief - oh except a TENS machine.
It was one of the biggest challenges I have EVER faced and I honestly believe I could not have done it without the Hypnobirthing.


Kira Dorrian said...

Hey Joanna!

Thanks so much for putting out the word on hypnosis and childbirth. I actually teach HypnoBirthing in Seattle (www.seattlehypnobirthing.com) and love the program.

I am also a mom of 1 year old twins and I know that if it weren't for all of my education in hypnosis and HypnoBirthing I would never have been able to have them vaginally, nor would I have made it to almost 37 weeks with no bedrest.

I'm thrilled to hear that HypnoBabies was a positive experience for you and am grateful for you blogging about it!

allison said...

Hi, I just wanted to comment on the above statement about childbirth being the number one killer of women 100 years ago. Just to clarify, maternal mortality in the past was mainly a result of poor sanitation and malnutrition...not because the birth process is inherently dangerous. In fact, the increase in life expectancy in the western world over the past 100 years is mainly attributed to improvements in sanitation and nutrition...not technology. And in fact, in the late 1800s, early 1900s, when birth care was taken over by physicians and brought into hospitals, maternal death initially increased due to the spread of infectious agents and poor sanitation precautions among hospital staff. Washing our hands these days seems like a no brainer, but back then, doctors didn't wash their hands between attending to different women, resulting in the spread of a deadly bacteria causing Puerperal fever, also known as "The Doctor's Fever". THIS is the kind of thing that created those scary maternal death statistics!

So if you really want to know why it used to be so dangerous to give birth, it has nothing to do with birth itself, and EVERYTHING to do with how "modern" medicine managed birth (and in some cases, continues to manage it). Please read "Pushed" by Jennfier Block (http://www.amazon.com/Pushed-Painful-Childbirth-Modern-Maternity/dp/0738211664/ref=ed_oe_p), it gives a fantastic overview of the evolution of birth care, or watch The Business of Being Born. I highly recommend them both. I truly wish that this information was incorporated into our high school sexual health and physical health curriculum!

A.E., Registered Nurse, Master of Public Health

allison said...

Hi, I just wanted to comment on the above statement about childbirth being the number one killer of women 100 years ago. Just to clarify, maternal mortality in the past was mainly a result of poor sanitation and malnutrition...not because the birth process is inherently dangerous. In fact, the increase in life expectancy in the western world over the past 100 years is mainly attributed to improvements in sanitation and nutrition...not technology. And in fact, in the late 1800s, early 1900s, when birth care was taken over by physicians and brought into hospitals, maternal death initially increased due to the spread of infectious agents and poor sanitation precautions among hospital staff. Washing our hands these days seems like a no brainer, but back then, doctors didn't wash their hands between attending to different women, resulting in the spread of a deadly bacteria causing Puerperal fever, also known as "The Doctor's Fever". THIS is the kind of thing that created those scary maternal death statistics!

So if you really want to know why it used to be so dangerous to give birth, it has nothing to do with birth itself, and EVERYTHING to do with how "modern" medicine managed birth (and in some cases, continues to manage it). Please read "Pushed" by Jennfier Block (http://www.amazon.com/Pushed-Painful-Childbirth-Modern-Maternity/dp/0738211664/ref=ed_oe_p), it gives a fantastic overview of the evolution of birth care, or watch The Business of Being Born. I highly recommend them both. I truly wish that this information was incorporated into our high school sexual health and physical health curriculum!

A.E., Registered Nurse, Master of Public Health

Annie said...

I would TOTALLY try it! I'm going to buy the book today!

Lindsay said...

Awesome! You posted this on the day I was flying to AZ for my HypnoBirthing Practitioner training!
I did HypnoBirthing with my daughter's birth, and loved it so much that I am going to start teaching! I HIGHLY recommend it! :)
Great post and great comments!

Jenny Bennett said...

Joanna,

I think you know my sister, Mary B. and I think she actually mentioned to you my use of Hypnobabies for my 1st birth (and 2nd, and well, now... I'm an instructor!) So HI there!

I apologize if I'm being repetitive as I have not read all the comments you've received, but I just wanted to say quickly what the difference is between Hypnobabies and HypnoBirthing (the Mongan Method). As it sounds from most all of the reviews, both can be very helpful! Hypnobabies though is actual medical hypnosis techniques that have been used by people allergic to anesthesia for pain-free surgery or dental work (and all instructors receive 50+ hours of hypnosis training) whereas HypnoBirthing is more of a philosophy + guided imagery. I think the guided meditation can probably naturally induce a light state of hypnosis, however when you hear about women having pain-free or very comfortable births with Hypnobabies, it is in most cases due to the incredibly deep state of self-hypnosis they've learned to enter. So I just wanted to clarify that in case it hadn't been said yet. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any further questions. Thanks!

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insijaam said...

Joanna - wanted to follow up on this post and wondered if you had decided to try either of these for your second baby? I'm due the end of July, and am pretty sure I'm going to try the Hypnobabies home study course, but haven't pulled the trigger yet!

thinktwice said...

You don't want to think about going through childbirth... have you thought at all about the major surgery you're committing to with a cesarian? It's no walk in the park, believe me. I would take natural birth over it any day.

Alecia Staines said...

I had wonderful, speedy, calm and comfortable births with HypnoBirthing- The Mongan Method. I attended face to face classes of 2.5 hours x 5 sessions. It's taught in 45 countries around the world, which that alone speaks of how successful it is. I was in awe and felt totally empowered during birth. I have since trained to become a practitioner. Website is
http://www.shivayatherapies.com
I'd recommend anyone seeking a practitioner ensure they display a Gold Seal stating their affiliation with the HypnoBirthing Institute :)

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