Hypnobirthing. It’s all the talk lately with Kate apparently using it during her labor. (Side note: how do we know this stuff about her?) I have friends that have done it, there are classes locally for it, and it seems once people get on board, they tend to never look back.
So what exactly is hypnobirthing? Do you, as the tabloids seem to think, hypnotize yourself during labor? How is that possible? Is it strictly for natural birth? Does it tie into any other parts of life besides labor?
Hypnobirthing was founded by Marie Mongan, author of Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method, who says, “My dream is that every woman, everywhere, will know the joy of a truly safe, comfortable and satisfying birthing for herself and her baby.”
I first started using hypnobirth techniques like relaxation and mediation a few months ago with my grief therapist. She saw how anxious I was getting about going back to the hospital and being in labor after the loss of my twins, and thought learning how to calm my emotions and thoughts would help. There wasn’t anything crazy or strange about this, it was simply closing my eyes as she talked me through relaxing my body.
“When you have your baby with HypnoBirthing®, you will not be in a trance or a sleep. What you will experience is similar to the daydreaming, or focusing, that occurs when you are engrossed in a book or a movie or staring into a fire.” – Hypnobirthing.com
Anne Marie from DoNotFaint.com used hypnobirthing for her son’s birth and now is working to become an instructor with her instructor/doula Kate. She has been my biggest advocate for this and says, “I was so convinced that my body was made for birthing and that I was going to be safe, joyful, comfortable and satisfied, that I felt genuine confusion when my husband, doula, midwife and nurse suddenly all started saying ‘You’re doing great!’ in what sounded like really loud voices to me, at the time. I was later told that they were trying to cover up the sound of another mother crying out in pain in another room. My response was to think they were totally nuts, because it was totally obvious to me that I had never been better, in my entire life. Giving birth was the single best experience of my life.”
Hypnobirthing has very similar techniques. Color visualization, learning to relax the tension out of your body, focusing on surges rather than painful contractions. While my husband is still a bit hesitant to work with me on the visuals and audio, my doula has been studying up on it to help me during labor.
- “hypnosis” the way a show in Vegas uses the word
- only for home births
- a new idea–“In 1989, the HypnoBirthing movement came onto the birthing scene … ” (page 6)
- at odds with Western medicine — It only seems to be, sometimes, because some of the practices seem to clash with the habits many doctors and nurses have acquired, since the time when common practice was to knock women out with general anesthesia and get the baby out with forceps or a vacuum
- an attempt to remove the mother OR her partner from the experience of birth
- aiming for intervention-free, “natural” birth, but the techniques have proven useful in any kind of birth, even during a cesarean section, when a mother can use them to visualize a healthy surgery, a healthy baby, a baby in her arms, to stay present even when there is a big sheet put up and it might feel very unnatural.
- based on medical research dating back to a doctor in England in the early 20th century, who found that women who were afraid of giving birth experienced more pain than women who were unafraid of childbirth (usually, women who experienced childbirth quite often themselves, had witnessed many other women give birth, and who happened to also be quite poor).
- “The program is designed to for you both, for your birth companion will play a vital role during your pregnancy and the birthing itself. … HypnoBirthing is designed to enhance those feelings of uniqueness and awe [during any pregnancy and birth], helping you to reach an awareness of your body as the most perfect instrument of nature.” (xxi & xxii)
“HypnoBirthing uses ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY to explain how birth works and why your body is going to rock this; it is basic stuff that a shockingly high percentage of women do not know.” – Anne Marie
One of the things I love the most about hypnobirth is that you don’t feel pressured to have to have a natural birth or be a failure otherwise. Unlike many other methods where natural birth is pounded into a woman’s head as the “only way,” the hypnobirth site even has a section on their blog for c-sections and special circumstances. Written by a mom of multiple c-section births, it’s comforting to know that should things not go as planned or aren’t going to be normal (I may be induced for example), hypnobirth still comes strongly into play.
Photo credit: istockphotos.com
Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and a baby boy on the way on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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