Hypnobirthing: Is it for Real?

giving birth

Giving Birth Can Be Fun?

Is it possible to give birth without pain? That’s the idea behind hypnobirthing. To me, hypnobirthing falls in the same category as orgasmic birth. In theory, I believe it’s possible. I just find it hard to imagine.

Over at The Wall Street Journal, Anne Marie Checker writes about what she says is a growing trend towards hypnobirthing (although she provides no statistics). Checker interviews women who used hypnobirthing to deliver their babies and found it actually worked.

25-year-old Cassie Friesen, of Broomfield, Colo., said that she used relaxation an visualization techniques to help alleviate the pain of labor and that it worked.  She described her daughter Aster’s birth as “fun–even enjoyable.”

Certainly hypnosis  has been successfully used for weight loss, pain relief and smoking cessation. Why not childbirth? Under hypnosis, a state of deep relaxation, a person can be susceptible to the power of suggestion, according to David Spiegel, psychiatry professor at Stanford University.

“Many Hypnobabies moms have pain-free and fear-free births,” Kerry Tuschhoff writes in an introduction to her hypnobirthing course. Tuschoff told The Wall Street Journal that the pain of childbirth can be transformed into “comfortable feelings.”

But not everybody believes the claims. Marjie Hathaway, co-founder with her husband of the Bradley Method, a childbirth preparation course popularized in the 1970s, is a proponent of unmedicated childbirth, but doesn’t think it’s possible for it to be pain-free.

“I think that’s a lie,” Hathaway said. “This is probably the hardest work you will ever do in your life.”

I believe her there. I took a Bradley class and ended up giving birth to both of my daughters without medication. But as much as I tried to imagine I was on a sandy beach drinking margaritas, it hurt like Hell.

What about you? Do you think it’s possible to have a pain-free birth without medication? Have you successfully used hypnobirthing? Tell us about it.

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photo: Picasa/Bob Sims

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