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Does Hypnobabies work for the cynical?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
So I had an awful labour with DD and want to try Hypnobabies this time.

The thing is, I'm not very comfortable with the terminology or even some of the philosophy behind it. I believe that the mind is powerful and that hypnotism works (for some people at least, never tried it yet myself). I don't believe that birth is inherently painless - I can't, after the pain last time! - and I tend to snort and giggle at euphemisms for contractions ("surges", "birthing waves" etc), referring to pain as "p***", talking about my "bubble of peace" and so on. No offense if you do those things - if they work for you, super. I just don't think I can use those words with a straight face. They're not me.

So - did anyone else who's cynical and maladjusted ever use Hypnobabies successfully? Does the system actually require you to believe birth is inherently painless? Did you find you could trick yourself into pretending/believing it was, even when you knew intellectually that it had hurt like heck in the past, and still derive benefit from the program?
post #2 of 52
I wrote kind-of a similar post a couple of months ago, only my question was more "Could a type-A overthinker use Hypnobabies?"

Anyway, in my brief experience with one birth, the answer is NO. Hypnobabies did not work for me. The whole finger drop, spread anesthesia through my body, didn't make logical sense and I could never forget that.

It was still helpful in a way, though, in terms of helping me to practice specific relaxation techniques (visualization, breathing, etc). I made it 11 hours on pitocin in a less-than-ideal situation before I asked for an epidural. Some of that was due to HB.

But did I drink the HB koolaid? Not even close.
post #3 of 52
I think that it could possibly be helpful. I'm not as cynical as you but I really latched on to the science behind hypnobirthing. If you can teach your body to relax, it will increase your blood (and oxygen) flow during labor and will let the contractions do their job much more efficiently. This part logically makes sense. Then you just have to figure out what will help you learn to relax. If the terminology and music and so on for hypnobabies isn't your thing, try to find another way to relax.

I personally think that it is BETTER if you don't think that your labor is going to be pain-free. I think that most labors have some pain and discomfort. If you think you're going to escape all pain, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I think that only happens to a small percentage of birthing mothers. HOWEVER, your labor doesn't have to be as painful as last time. Just see how much the hypno thing can do for you, how much you can reduce the pain, how much you can teach your body to relax, etc. I think it is worth a try.
post #4 of 52
I don't know the answer to this, but I just stopped doing HB after a couple of weeks of homestudy--I decided that for me, it would make more sense to use that 30 minutes every night to do yoga and meditate. I liked the relaxation aspect of HB, but was very annoyed by the voice, background music, and some of the terminology. I figure that relaxation through yoga is just as good if that is what will work better for me.
post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If you can teach your body to relax, it will increase your blood (and oxygen) flow during labor and will let the contractions do their job much more efficiently. This part logically makes sense.
Oh yeah, I'm all on board with that. It's not that I think the concept of hypnosis is bunk or anything - I mean, it's been used successfully for anaesthetic during SURGERY, so it must work pretty effectively some of the time. It's just that if the system relies on believing birth is painless... well, I'm not sure I can believe that, because I've done it and it wasn't. But I'm not sure how necessary that belief is to Hypnobabies, because I've only read bits and pieces about the system online.
post #6 of 52
i didn't do hypnobabies, but I did a little bit of work with a hypnotherapist one on one, and do consider myself cynicalish!

What ended up being helpful for labor was building in a trigger for relaxation that I could use at the beginning of every contraction once I was needing to cope. It is basically associating an action with a state of deep relaxation and then using that action to help induce that state later. It sounds simple, and I guess it really is, but it was definitely powerful. It sounds like the finger drop thing in theory. (What my trigger actually was was a deep breath, eyes closed but looking upward) Don't know exactly how my experience relates to hypnobabies, but thought I'd throw it out there.
post #7 of 52
Quote:
What ended up being helpful for labor was building in a trigger for relaxation that I could use at the beginning of every contraction once I was needing to cope. It is basically associating an action with a state of deep relaxation and then using that action to help induce that state later. It sounds simple, and I guess it really is, but it was definitely powerful. It sounds like the finger drop thing in theory.
I think this is a REALLY great way to think about it. I tried hypnobabies for the first time with my 6th pregnancy. I'd had one pretty-close-to-pain-free birth, I felt very strong pressure but minimal to almost-no pain. My other deliveries were not like that, they involved a precipitous birth of a baby in bad distress, an asynclitic baby that had to be manually adjusted, and another precipitous delivery.

I had a nice, relatively slow L&D with #6 but ended up with a c/s because of his presentation during active labor (transverse w/cord presenting!). Prior to needing a c/s I would say the hypnobabies was helpful. I do think it would've reached some point of having pain. I was not SUPER comfortable but I was dealing with things pretty well. Having your birthing partner being versed & supportive is a big part of it I think... at least it would've been for me had my labor continued.
post #8 of 52
Hi!

I used Hypnobabies for the birth of my first baby. Before signing up for it, I did extensive research...

What I like about Hypnobabies is that it covers all childbirth ed topics in detail, and additional references are provided so that you can do your homework, too. In addition to all that, hypnosis practice is just cream on top.

In your case, "light" reading on topic "power of birth language" might be beneficial, before you make a decision to use Hypnobabies:

1. http://bringbirthhome.com/guest-writ...irth-language/

2. Book "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (I'm listing this, since birth language goes beyond words like contractions, pain ,etc.):

"The language used to describe pregnancy and childbirth reflects assumptions about women that set the stage for different styles of maternity care. Woman-centered terminology portrays women as active, healthy, and powerful, and labor as 'natural' and 'normal,' In this view, associated traditionally with the midwifery model, providers 'attend' women, 'assist' at births, and 'catch' babies. In contrast, some medical language depicts women as passive subjects, putting doctors in the role of 'managing labor' and 'delivering babies.' Medical terms such as 'failure to progress,' 'inadequate pelvis,' and 'incompetent cervix' imply that something is wrong with a woman's body. This influences how we see ourselves, how providers see us, and how the media portray birth."

Before you snort and giggle at certain words, think what makes you react that way. Psycholinguistics studies not only how humans learn words, but how they react to words, as well.

There is a different reaction in brain when these two words are heard:

CONTRACTION vs. PRESSURE WAVE
LABOR vs. BIRTHING
PAIN vs. PRESSURE

It is that simple - if you reprogram your brain to use words with positive connotation, you utilize neuroplasticity and you give yourself a fair chance to achieve a different experience.

Relaxed birthing allows the feeling to be exactly like the pressure wave. It starts slowly, builds up, has a peak and then dissolves.

A calm birthing mom can be thrown into feeling of pain in a second, if a medical worker asks "On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how much PAIN you're in" - even if she did not feel that she was in pain before, this questions starts her in that direction and she starts looking for it and focusing on it and yes - feeling pain.

Google: FEAR-TENSION-PAIN in birthing and you'll find some interesting things.

With all that said - Hypnobabies never promises painless birth. This is something that a lot of moms that use Hypnobabies achieve (from the website: "Although not every woman will have a completely pain-free unmedicated birthing experience, many of our Hypno-Moms do and our success rate is about 70%, far above any other childbirth method, which is very gratifying!"), but really, it is up to each mom (with normal pregnancy) to decide how much relaxation and what kind of birthing experience she allows herself.

THere are two free mp3 tracks that you can check out (one is introduction to Hypnobabies and second one is "Relax Me" mp3):

http://www.hypnobabies.com/mylink.php?id=4058#2freemp3

Also check out: http://www.hypnobabies.com/mylink.php?id=3809

Q) How does hypnosis for childbirth work?

A) Short version: Like computer data entry. If you want to create a document to use later, you open one, enter the text and save the contents in a “file”, then give the file a name. Later, when you want to edit that document, you find the file name and open it, add to the document text and save it again. When you are completely finished with your document, you find the file by its name, complete and ready, and print it out for your use.

In Hypnobabies, our “files” are our medical hypno-anesthesia “scripts” in the form of CD tracks and paper scripts, and all you have to do is *listen* to them. In doing so, you train your inner mind, just like entering text, what to accept. Each week, you add a little bit of training, just like the text in your document, and your inner mind creates a new belief system about childbirth. It accepts that the normal birthing sensations that you will have when you give birth; pushing, pulling, stretching, pressure sensations, will indeed be there, but without discomfort attached to them. You train it to accept cues and techniques to bring you deeper into relaxation and hypnosis, and when you use them on your birthing day, just like printing out your document, they are there for you automatically! Your mind is very powerful and is capable of creating the deepest physical relaxation possible as well as a very comfortable birthing experience. Use it!
__________________________________________________ _____________
And, at the end, all that Type A , Type B info is just an excuse...
If you really want to try something (and from your post, I think you DO want to try this and that you DO want to have a comfortable birthing), why would you shoot yourself in the leg before even starting?

Feel free to ask me any question re:my experience and Hypnobabies homebirth that I had

Take care!
post #9 of 52
I'm not that cynical and I did believe all the stuff and Hypnobabies did not work for me.
post #10 of 52
I dug through my archive, and this is one of the fresh ones, check it out on power of words in medicine:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernie..._b_621161.html
post #11 of 52
This is part of the reason I didn't bother with anything like hypnobabies. I'm very cynical and those phrases and such immediately turn me off and irritate me. Good luck if you decide to use it, though!
post #12 of 52
WELL I'm a bit cynical, and I never really worried about the language, b/c the words don't have a negative association for me (now, I did avoid "pain" and did like comfort level instead I think, and the nurses and all were awesome about saying pressure, just from seeing it on some HB sheet and really getting into it, not per my request, but honestly it worked SO well it didn't matter, I was like, I don't feel too much pressure, this is AWESOME (in a sublime, 1800s Romantics sort of way) but not painful at all. Beforehand I definitely did go back and forth on whether it would be totally fine or totally awful, so it's not like my mind absolutely believed in painless birth. But the program still worked-- birth was hard work and I was glad when I was done, but it was totally manageable, and I credit HB for a lot of that.

So, I hear you on the silliness, I didn't fully buy in about all that, but I DID just tell myself to accept it and go with it (it's REALLY hard for me to relax when I'm not supposed to move. at. all.) and I think that's what's important-- it trained me to be relaxed. The program DOES say you have to accept it, and if you tend to overthink stuff, just focus on each word, try to take it all in, and then you have to use it during birth. But honestly, I wasn't great about actively using it the day of, and it still worked wonders for me. I think the habit of relaxing was so built in, it just worked. I slept through most tracks (I CANNOT stay awake, I guess maybe it's just the hypnosis, not sleep per se) and it still worked.
post #13 of 52
I would consider myself pretty cynical, and yet HB DID work for me. KikaKika had great info in her post. I also did extensive research ahead of time and found really great feedback on HB and decided that even if it didn't result in a painfree birth, I was going to have learned much of the same coping techniques and good nutrition-wellness info that I would in any other natural CB class. I have also learned since that the main use of hypnosis medically WAS for childbirth. It was pretty popular before they started using all the heavy-duty anesthesia in the 1900s.

I did not really change my vocab any, and thinking about them as contrax instead of pressure waves (etc) didn't stop HB from working for me. I understand the power of language and the theory behind the vocab change, but for me I felt it wasn't necessary since it was my first birth and I didn't have as much baggage as some women might from very painful prior labors. I did stop watching the TLC baby story type shows and listening to "typical" hospital birth stories.

I never really felt like the fingerdrop technique "did" anything when I was practicing, but I know that during labor, I never had what I would call "pain" in the whole, complicated 42 hours I labored. The nurses couldn't believe it when my uterus was hyper-stimming, and I quietly rested through it.

The part I never could get into were the affirmations (all I could think of was Jack Handey). Could NOTt listen to those without snickering through them, so I just didn't do 'em.
post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by konayossie View Post

The part I never could get into were the affirmations (all I could think of was Jack Handey). Could NOTt listen to those without snickering through them, so I just didn't do 'em.


This thread is timely for me. The vocab issue is a real one, and something I have pondered as I consider Hypnobabies.

Maybe I'll get myself some literature on medical hypnosis, specifically when it has been used for anesthesia in surgery. That will be very valuable in getting myself to a place where I can believe in the value of the program.
post #15 of 52
I could have written this. I get so annoyed with just reading about it, I tense up.
It would never work for me. I'm very cynical and intense it would drive me insane.

I did meditate on my own, and found my own "place".
I think relaxation (which is something I totally suck at because I'm high strung) helped a lot. I practiced in my own tub for months, weeks before hand. Learning to open up and relax. That was a challenge for me. I think it's important to learn how you want to birth. Oddly, most people here assume that everyone wants support people. I had a doula with my last birth and I found it irritating. My dh was so annoying to me, that I only gave birth when he left the room - maybe on purpose? I don't know, the sound of people speaking during labor annoyed me.

I definately think any form of relaxation techniques though are super helpful. It doesn't have to be a "brand" like hypnobabies, it could just be something you work through yourself.

Good luck
post #16 of 52
I had a standard birth with dd1 and with dd2 did hypnobabies. I too am highly cynical and rolled my eyes initially at the crazy wording. However I knew that the standard way of having a baby and positioning didn't work for me and I didn't want another epidural so I was willing to accept that they describe things and phrase things differently then I necessarily would. I did love that giving the "letter" to the nurses at the front helped them to understand we were doing things differently and to take the time to really listen to what we needed. I never used that terminology I could never remeember what was supposed to be what so I just used the terms I normally do and didn't care how other people said things...kwim?? Listening to the cds and things I just tried to accept and embrace the entire system, to not be distracted by the wording and to really just focusing on the thoughts and things behind the words.
To me the whole bubble of peace thing really just reinforced the idea that I could ignore anything people said I didn't like hearing (before labor think like nasty women and thier nasty delivery stories...ugh) but all in all I dont think this term was used much....
I refused to believe that birth is inherently painless, however this is true, the next time you stub your toe or injure a part of your body do the opposite of what your body naturally does. Most people tense up when they have pain suddenly come on them when actually if you stub your toe and it hurts like hell force your body to relax and take deep soothing breaths...the pain becomes less intense almost immediately and goes away faster think about being somewhere else and try to ignore the pain....this is to me essentially what the whole hypnobabies program tries to do. Teach you to block out the pain, relax, breath and remain calm.
I had a fairly bizzare labor/ birth so it was by no means traditional labor but i think the whole hypnobabies would work so amazingly well in the traditional sense in helping you stay relaxed and get through each contraction etc...I will admit now that I did not practice as much as I should have and next time I will definetly practice more. But to sum it all up for you I labored for 32 hours, by 30 hours I had no pain and was dialeted to 7cm 100% effaced +1station and had been for hours. My contractions were the same braxton hicks I had been having my whole pregnancy and my mw's kept saying if they had never done an internal exam they would have sent me home thinking I was in early labor...oddly enough the whole practice with hypno babies instead of saying to myself I would have a fast labor I rephrased it into slow in my mind...lol...coincidence who knows? I had to use a ton of breastpumping etc and was unable to have my ipod on for all of this time...but I didn't neccesarily "need" the comfort of it either, I could simply help myself relax, etc because the pain wasn't overwhelming.
My ctx never came closer then every 5-8min for 30.5hrs so they broke my water, then the painful crazy labor ctx started. Because I was so tiered from not sleeping for 30hrs it was so intense and crazy. I could feel myself on the verge of panic from the pain but put on my ipod and was really able to remain calm and relax. Despite the fact that yes I was in intense pain I was able to cope through it by breathing and relaxing and then 1.5 hrs after my water broke I had my little girl au'natural.
My only advice is to rememeber there is a "pushing" track to the whole program...in the midst of crazy labor I forgot this....lol.
all in all I think it teaches an amazing method of relaxing and blocking the pain and will help you remain calm throughout. There is really no reason to not try it kwim?
post #17 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the perspectives!

I've read a bit about anti-women medical terminology (ie "incompetent cervix") - I think it was in Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility? I'm not sure I'd agree that "pain" is a misogynistic term, though. I mean, I don't think it was Evil Male Doctors who came up with the idea that childbirth hurts. Still, I take your point that different words will have a different effect on one's perception - assuming one can accept the words, which is kind of my issue. I guess I could come to terms with "pressure waves", as it's medically accurate - "surges" and "whooshes" are a bit beyond my comfort level though!

The finger drop thing makes sense to me as well. Affirmations make me nervier - the kind I know of are the looking-in-a-mirror "You are a beautiful, worthy person and your life will be filled with light" type, which leave me cold - to say the least.

I did try to download those free HB tracks, but it didn't work - might be a Linux issue? I'll poke around YouTube and see if I can find anything helpful.

I think ultimately I'll probably give it a go. SIL is using the programme too, so we'll go halves, which will help with the cost (and I think she's getting a "used" programme anyway?). I figure it probably can't hurt, and the environment I'll probably be birthing in (birthing centre) will have other forms of pain relief such as a birth pool and gas, which I don't mind using. So it's not like I'd be utterly without pain relief if HB didn't work.
post #18 of 52
I recently got Hypnobabies (used). My first birth was definitely painful - pit sucks! I figure even if all the program does is help me deal with the "surges" then it will be worth it. I figure I don't really have anything to lose.
post #19 of 52
Yes, absolutely.

I had serious issues with some of the wording of the tracks. And it sometimes really, really annoyed me while I was listening to them (I did have to just let it go to a point).

What I took from it that was of value was the ability to instantly and completely relax. Which 1) cured my insomnia, 2) helped me get rid of the constant knots in my shoulders, and 3) let me stay calm, relaxed, and out of my own way in labor, including when my entire second stage lasted less than 5 minutes and I got to experience that whole "fetal ejection reflex" bit

I joined the yahoogroup, which was nice because it gave me a place to vent/work out my issues with some of the more technical details of the terminology that I disagreed with.

So, for me, I was entirely comfortable during my labor and slept through part of it until after 8cm when my midwife arrived (she looked at me and said "Hmmm, it may be early yet" ), and then I definitely *hurt* during transition but was still entirely relaxed.


Edited to add: I don't understand the BIRTH IS NOT PAINFUL! thing in the program. It's *possible* for birth to be pain-free. But I don't think, even under the best circumstances, that's always the case. I know hypnosis can work for people having surgery, and I don't think that surgical pain is 'all in their mind' or just 'due to the expectation of pain', so I figured there was no reason I couldn't help with childbirth.
post #20 of 52
Former skeptic here. I was willing to do ANYTHING to avoid another birth like my first baby (induced, lots of pain, AROM, narcotics, epidural, etc.). I chose to embrace the cheesiness of hypnosis and learn it as a tool to experience a better birth. It worked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Oh yeah, I'm all on board with that. It's not that I think the concept of hypnosis is bunk or anything - I mean, it's been used successfully for anaesthetic during SURGERY, so it must work pretty effectively some of the time. It's just that if the system relies on believing birth is painless... well, I'm not sure I can believe that, because I've done it and it wasn't. But I'm not sure how necessary that belief is to Hypnobabies, because I've only read bits and pieces about the system online.
Hypnobabies does NOT tell women that they must believe birth is painless. HypnoBirthing (Mongan), however, does. I know birth CAN be painless (I've experienced it using hypnosis), but I think it does a disservice to tell women that the pain of childbirth is in their heads. I like that Hypnobabies doesn't say the pain of childbirth is in your head. Rather, Hypnobabies teaches effective tools for releasing your body's natural painkillers (endorphins) on cue. More endorphins = less pain (sometimes none)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chellebee View Post
What ended up being helpful for labor was building in a trigger for relaxation that I could use at the beginning of every contraction once I was needing to cope. It is basically associating an action with a state of deep relaxation and then using that action to help induce that state later. It sounds simple, and I guess it really is, but it was definitely powerful. It sounds like the finger drop thing in theory. (What my trigger actually was was a deep breath, eyes closed but looking upward) Don't know exactly how my experience relates to hypnobabies, but thought I'd throw it out there.
That sounds like Hypnobabies' main tool: the mental lightswitch. You turn off your switch and instantly release endorphins while completely relaxing all skeletal muscles. There's a center position, too, which allows you to concentrate endorphins from breast to thigh while you walk around, talk, etc.

WRT the language, the Hypnobabies terms ended up being a more accurate description of what I experienced. The tightening in my uterus felt like a wave. It built, peaked, and ebbed away.

I would never give birth again without Hypnobabies.
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