March 5, 2010

Why Hypnobirthing, and BTW, What IS That?

"According to physiological law, all natural, normal functions of the body are achieved without peril or pain. Birth is a natural, normal, physiological function for normal, healthy women and their healthy babies. It can, therefore, be inferred that healthy women, carrying healthy babies, can safely birth without peril or pain."
- Dr. Jonathan Dye, 1891

In 2007, the national average for c-sections was around 30%. For mothers who used HypnoBirthing, the rate was 1/2 that - only 15%. Over 70% of moms who use HypnoBirthing have un-medicated births.

How We Found HypnoBirthing

I've heard about HypnoBirthing before, partially because the woman who teaches our local classes is a longtime friend of our family. Since I had Sam, I have done a lot of thinking and researching when it comes to birth. I've written about it, mainly in this post, which I wrote before I was even pregnant. After reading and watching different things, I knew that if I were to get pregnant again I wanted to have a different birth experience than I did the first time.

Knowing I wanted a natural delivery this time with as few drugs and interventions as possible, it made sense to start looking into ways I could make it the best it could be. One of the things I wanted to find was techniques for dealing with the intensity of labor and childbirth. When I was at the end of my labor with Sam, and during the pushing stage, I was very quiet. The room was quiet, the lights were off and it was dim with just the soft light coming through the windows. For the most part, it was very calm and quiet. I know that when I'm in that place, I will tend to turn within myself. I am not the kind of person who will scream out or talk a lot. I will most likely make low noises and tune out what's going on.

One of the reasons I chose HypnoBirthing is because it involves techniques and conditioning that allow relaxation and introspection during labor, and because of how things went with Sam I have a feeling it will work well for me.

What Exactly IS HypnoBirthing?

I know that many people have never heard of HypnoBirthing, or they've heard of it and honestly? Because of the name it may sound like something that's a little bit "out there." But once you learn what it's really about, it makes a lot of sense.

Here is a short description from

HypnoBirthing® - The Mongan Method - is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. HypnoBirthing® provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing. Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby. As a birthing method, HypnoBirthing® is as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times. It is presented in a series of five, 2 1/2-hour classes or four, 3-hour classes.

That's a pretty general description. Here are a few main points I pulled from their "about" page.
  • HypnoBirthing® is as much a philosophy as it is a technique.
  • The method teaches you that, in the absence of fear and tension, or special medical circumstances, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor.
  • You will gain an understanding of how the birthing muscles work in perfect harmony--as they were designed to--when your body is sufficiently relaxed and you trust birth.
  • You will learn how to achieve this kind of relaxation, free of the resistance that fear creates, and you will learn to use your natural birthing instincts for a calm, serene and comfortable birth.
So, that's part of what they have to say. When people ask ME what HypnoBirthing is about I have my own explanation. To me, there are two main ideas behind HypnoBirthing. The first is about our perceptions of birth, the way we view it, and what we expect to happen when we have a baby. HypnoBirthing focuses on positive thinking, mind body connection, and trying to change our perceptions from the negative to viewing birth as the amazing thing it is (more to come on this in my next HypnoBirthing post next week!). The second part is about learning relaxation techniques, aka self-hypnosis. By practicing and learning different techniques, the idea is that by the time you are in labor, you will be able to reach a state of deep relaxation that will allow you to experience labor differently as well as let your body relax so that you can let it work and birth your baby.

On the first day of our 5 session class, our teacher told us that a large part of the technique is restoring an innate confidence that a woman's body knows how to give birth and to trust it. On that first day, listening to her talk about almost painless births that she's witnessed, I was on the verge of tears thinking about a more natural, beautiful birth experience and how amazing the possibilities are.

This is the first in a series of posts about HypnoBirthing and the class we're attending. Part is How We See Birth; Changing Our Perceptions.


Dumblond said...

Very interesting.
Unfortunately, this wasn't an option for me with my first. I failed to progress during my labor and I had health issues so it was a C-section. And with my second, the risks of a VBAC were just too scary for my husband and I so we had a second C-section.
Sometimes, I think I missed out on something by not having my kids the "regular" way but I can't be sad about the outcome. Two healthy, beautiful children.

Mimi said...

Sounds like a dream. My oldest son was c-section after I failed to dialate past 4 & I tried VBAC for my second son. Little did we know that my uterus have covered over with scar tissue after my first child & Jack couldn't get out. They found out that my uterus had torn after 22 hours of labor when they finally did a section.

I didn't get to hold either of my boys after birth. I was knocked out cold by the time JD came out & Jack went right to the NICU after birth.