Ready for a blissed out birth? A method of childbirth preparation called Hypnobirthing is garnering international attention for, purportedly, giving women the pain relief of an epidural without taking any actual drugs.
I’m totally the touch-feely, woo-woo type. I’ve spent more hours naked in the woods bonding with my inner child than I care to admit. For more than a decade, I’ve been training in mind-altering meditation techniques.
You had better believe I used them in labor.
I also, 30 hours into labor with my first child, had an epidural. With the second, all the pain relief I got came from my mad skills at self-hypnosis and a tub of warm water. The midwives would not even give me two Advil after I’d pushed out my 10.6 pound daughter.
Let me tell you: a steady drip of drugs to the spine is very different from deep relaxation exercises.
I’m all for Hypnobirthing, and Birthing in Awareness, or whatever path you want to take to a blissful birth experience. But I think any woman who goes into labor thinking her breathing exercises will take all the pain away is in for a rude awakening when the contractions start.
Childbirth is hard. It’s hard with drugs and hard without them; in a hospital or at home. I’d encourage any pregnant woman to lay hold of any safe tool that will make that passage easier for her. In that sense, Hypnobirthing and it’s ilk are a great tool: the side effects are nil, and for some women the benefit is huge.
Better yet, the tools you learn in these classes can also help you keep your cool when you’re going through the rough patches of parenting. There won’t be a friendly nurse with an IV there to back you up at 4 a.m. when your sick baby has been screaming for 8 hours, but you can always take a deep breath.
Did you birth in drug-free bliss using Hypnobirthing, or a similar technique? Would you try it with a future pregnancy?
Photo: lululemon athletica