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Does Hypnobabies work for the cynical? - Page 2

post #21 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
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.
Yeah, that's my reasoning too. Although I think it takes an extra level of chutzpah to do surgery without anesthetic - wow!

One thing that does give me hope is that during DD's labour, I was able to get through contractions for a while by thinking "mind over matter". During the contraction I'd squeeze my eyes shut and kind of think "This isn't real, I'm me, I'm in charge, I'll just ignore this and it will go away". Not very nuanced! But I think it did help for a while - definitely not forever, but then I was in a very bad headspace with fear and unhappinesss and a generally pathetic cringing suffering mentality. Which was largely because I'd pinned all my hopes and way too much of my planning on a "perfect" home waterbirth, so when I ended up being induced for pre-e it threw me completely off.

I'm definitely planning to address that this time. The hospital's been redone since then, and apparently the birthing rooms are way less hideously depressing than last time - so even if I do end up there again (very possible, due to pre-e's tendency to repeat), I'm hoping it won't be quite as bad. And I'm actually planning a birth centre birth this time. I don't want to invest all the emotional energy in preparing for a homebirth if it might not happen - so I figure that as I'm less "attached" to the birth centre, I'll be less upset if I have to transfer. Anyway, I transferred there for recovery after DD's birth and it was really lovely. I feel vaguely sad that I'm "over" the homebirth thing, and distinctly peeved that my MIL will no doubt rejoice that I'm not trying "That" again (even though a birth centre birth is really no safer than a homebirth, statistically - but well, that's another rant!): but I think this is the better way for my none-too-robust mental health. Returning the unused birth pool last time was just... depressing.
post #22 of 52
It's totally that-- if you are going through something painful, managing to overcome it, to relax instead of tensing up-- it makes it SO much better. I use it all the time when I whack my hand into the doorway or stub my toe or have any discomfort (kinda TMI but pregnancy tummy issues--good chance to practice relaxing ). And yes, it was like waves. I also was really drawn to ocean/wave imagery throughout my whole pregnancy so that worked well for me. The affirmations can be cheesy but I just put them on in the car and let them sink in. Otherwise, the tracks are great for relaxing and napping!
post #23 of 52
Well it didn't really work for me during "birthing time", I never got the anesthesia to work but it sure helped me fall asleep prior to the "pressure waves" starting. I didn't get to use the pushing out part, the OB wanted her out b/c her heart rate was fast so he had me do the hold my breath push to 10

I did do it med-free though, which was my point in trying it. My water broke prior to labor which is supposed to make it hurt worse, so maybe it would've worked better otherwise.
post #24 of 52
I am deeply cynical and pretty deeply fearful after my first birth. But it made for a very relaxing pregnancy and it was really helpful during my birth ( two hours of active labor, broken water, postier, delivered unplanned, unassisted) and although not pain free by any stretch seriously I delivered my omw baby by myself and didn't panic. How great is that for mental preparation?

The yahoo group is very helpful. You might want to can it for awhile.
post #25 of 52
I just wanted to second what Verisatum said: Hypnobabies does not teach that birth is inherantly painless and we create the pain in our minds through expectation. Hypnobabies teaches that birth CAN be painless and/or comfortable and that comfort can be created with our minds. Many women have had a painful birth (so they KNOW for a fact that birth CAN be painful) and they go on to have a comfortable birth with self-hypnosis with another baby. So they also know birth CAN be comfortable. I don't think that anyone would say that pain during surgery is due to expectation. But surgery CAN be comfortable using self-hypnosis because that's how powerful our minds are.

Plus, if you don't learn any self-hypnosis during your pregnancy, it's not usually a tool that is available to you during the birth. If you learn self-hypnosis, you CAN use it - the programming is there. You can choose not to or use other things along with it, but if you don't learn the tools and work on the programning beforehand, then they are not really an option. It never hurts to have self-hypnosis as a tool (in MANY situations, even besides birthing!).
post #26 of 52
I really believed in it and enjoyed it all throughout pregnancy. I wasn't a skeptic at all. Hypnobabies did NOT work for me during the birth. It was so useless that I just totally threw the whole thing out the window a couple hours after labor started and used other things (breathing, moaning, walking around, squatting, humming, rocking in the rocking chair, etc). I was very disappointed with my experience.
post #27 of 52
I'm super cynical and I knew hypnobabies would probably just irritate me, so I didn't use it. That said, I completely had a hypnotic birth. It was like being on a huge amount of psychedelic drugs, that's the only way to describe it. It wasn't pain free, but it was pretty close, and it was never unbearable. Definitely a good labor. (Also, I know a lot of it is genetic -- my mom and sister also had really easy labors).
I think hypnobabies tries to get you to that "laborland" place, where your brain shuts down and you're in a state of altered consciousness. I think if a woman is laboring undisturbed, it's a lot easier to get to that place. I'm pretty sure that my labor would have been harsh and painful in a hospital. Even at home, if someone tried to talk to me or make me think, it knocked me out of that fuzzy place, and back into reality where things hurt, and I had to make a conscious effort to slip back into laborland.
I think it's just your body releasing a boat load of endorphins, but whatever it is, it worked for me.
post #28 of 52
Personally, I could never get the terminology down. I work as a labor and delivery RN, and everytime I would hear a hypnobabies term, I would autocorrect it in my head.

I loved Hypnobabies while I was pregnant - it helped me relax and mentally prepare for the birth. I started at 23ish weeks and did my finger-drops/scripts daily until I delivered, like you are supposed to. In hindsight, I wouldn't recommend starting so early, by the end I was so annoyed with the tracks.

(For reference, I was induced at 41+3 - so I had my water broken and pitocin to start labor.) In labor, I felt like it helped me to relax and work with my body, and the cue words my husband used definitely helped me "come back from the brink" when things got intense. I wouldn't call it painless, but it was bearable. Everything was going great until my stubborn child decided to defy gravity and turn posterior when I was about 6cm. I thought I was in transition (vomitting, daydreaming of an epidural, etc.) but after 2 hours of excrutiating back pain I was still only 6cm. I started losing control and got an epidural. (It was still 8 hours until I delivered my asynclitic 9 1/2 pound daughter, so I think I made the right decision for me.)

Long story short: I think it just depends on the person whether Hypnobabies will work for you as far as pain relief. I definitely don't regret trying it, and I think it helped me relax and work with my body. I think I would have been more successful if I had went into labor naturally (pitocin really is evil). I will probably use the program with my next pregnancy/delivery.
post #29 of 52
I didn't use the program so I can't speak to that, but I'm also an L and D nurse and from my experience many people sort of naturally cope with labor by going into a hypnotic state if that makes sense---I've seen some really incredible hypnobirths--and only about half have said they prepared for it specifically. My favorite was a first time mama who was standing at the desk at triage, listening to her headphones. We got her checked in and checked her cervix and she was completely dialated. Externally, she was 100% calm, not even a grimace. She was listening to the tapes however and seemed very pleased with the results.

For my own birth, I too was very skeptical of the system and really disliked the tapes that I had heard at work. However, I ended up being a "mantra" person. I repeated "I can do this" over and over and over again--and I'm the kind of person who loves yoga for exercise but thinks intentions or mantras are completely silly. My point is that I think you might be surprised at what works for you and it seems like a valid tool for relaxation and finding a routine in labor--both which will probably only help.
post #30 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I really believed in it and enjoyed it all throughout pregnancy. I wasn't a skeptic at all. Hypnobabies did NOT work for me during the birth. It was so useless that I just totally threw the whole thing out the window a couple hours after labor started and used other things (breathing, moaning, walking around, squatting, humming, rocking in the rocking chair, etc). I was very disappointed with my experience.
Do you have any theories on why it didn't work? Had you used it successfully prior to the birth (like to cope with heartburn or whatever)? Or have you ever tried it since for other kinds of pain? Had you ever been successfully hypnotised before trying Hypnobabies?

Not trying to criticise you, just curious.
post #31 of 52
I used a hypnosis knock-off called hypbirth which was a similar approach, "you'll only feel presure-no pian, used finger drops and rainbow relaxation". it made for many lovely naps during pregnancy but was worse than useless in labor. My contractions went from nothing to POW!!!! height of pain and I never was able to figure out how to relax into it.

I'm now taking a class by a former hypnobirthing instructor who got kicked out because she had 3 births that did include some pain and she mentioned it and was "excommunicated". I like her program because she just helps train me to relax regardless of what is happening. I've been having monster leg cramps which has been great practice for using the techniques. They come out of nowwhere and I do tense up but then remember that it's better to just breathe through it, even though it takes me a few seconds to ease into it.

She also mentioned that if you have a 12 hour labor with typical 60-90 second contractions it's really only 2 hours of contractions... I like that thought!
post #32 of 52
A friend used hypnobabies with great success and lent me the CD's and talked to me about it. I have to admit i hated the very idea. I listened to the affirmations and i found many of them just too irritating to "hear the message behind" - 'i breathe correctly' sorry what? You have to BREATHE correctly? What if you don't? Do you fail the "test"? The whole thing seemed like a big ruse to pretend birth was all lovely and fluffy and look the other way while it actually happens.

I didn't want to minimise, avoid or otherwise "get out of" the birth. I wanted to experience it, in all it's raw glory. I wanted to FEEL it. I didn't buy that it was so terrible that avoiding it was the only thing to try to do, and i've done it nearly-drug-free and drug-free and i would stand by that. Obviously everyone is different, but i tend to tell people who ask me now that actually WANTING to feel it all is what made feeling it so bearable/great. Not saying it didn't hurt! It certainly did at times, but that is what my baby coming felt like. And i really enjoyed it. And i really cherish the memories of it. And i would do it ten more times (not pregnancy though, i really don't love that! ). I really don't believe i suffered less than the average woman (with DD1 i got through 4 hours of intense OP back labour, and fought the pushing urge for the whole 2nd stage, and both of my babies came direct OA (didn't turn for their shoulders)), it's just a different mindset to go in with.

Obviously we are all different, so ignore where appropriate
post #33 of 52
Smokering, I'm really not sure why did didn't work.

I used it extremely successfully during pregnancy- I was able to use the cue and really go to my special place. When I was having SPD pain, I would lay down and cue myself into a very relaxed state.

Before trying hypnobabies, I did attend a hypnosis show in Washington, DC. I volunteered to be on stage with a group of 5 others....and I think it worked. But that wasn't for pain, that was entertainment.

I tend to think I have a very high pain tolerance. Early labor lasted for about 40 hours. Long early labor. And for the start, for the first 24 hours of early labor, I felt like it was "working" okay. But after that time, when I was cueing myself, I would start out fine, then suddenly realize mid contraction that no, I was not fine, at which point, I wasn't able to "get on top of the contraction". I would just be thrown intensely into it. It was unbearable. It was painful. It was a lot LESS painful to breathe a certain way, and to be really connected with my body- and moan and move and do whatever felt right in that contraction.
post #34 of 52
I used it for my DD's birth. I'm pretty cynical as well, and in the back of my mind the whole time I was doing it I knew I didn't believe in it. And ocne labor started I couldn't find the rhythm to even TRY getting into it.

BUT what it DID do for me was help me relax through the contractions-every contractions I pictured my cervix relaxing and opening and it REALLY helped-when i got to the birth center the midwife didn't even think I was in labor as I was "too smiley" according to her. I did not have any benefit during the pushing stage-that hurt like an SOB (although she did come down and out so fast she dislocated my tailbone, which was probably some of that pain!!)

I'm also with whoever mentioned that having other people with them during labor was annoying. I was the same way for both my hospital-pitocin-epidural labor, and my natural-birth center labor. I was completely inside myself. the only time I really neede my DH was when I was laboring in the tub and got cold and there was no more hot water so I made him move the newborn heat lamp over above the tub. And for taking pictures.
post #35 of 52
I never did Hypnobabies, but I tried Hynobirthing and it didn't work (I know that most people on MDC think it's inferior anyway and that's entirely possible). What rang true for me was Birthing From Within. She says birth hurts and it's work, BUT you can relax and focus on other things so you're not consumed with the pain. I focused on my breathing pattern, had visualizations that made sense to me (kind of like the Hypnobirthing wave, but I would watch a light increase and then decrease with each contraction), and used mantras. And then, I would scream during pushing.

This is my 5th child and I feel like I know what works for me, after piecing together all of my experiences: stay active and distracted during early labor, and during active labor, having quiet, isolation, getting into my own groove, not being/feeling watched.
post #36 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I didn't want to minimise, avoid or otherwise "get out of" the birth. I wanted to experience it, in all it's raw glory. I wanted to FEEL it.
Which is cool, but there's no way I can get into that headspace after my birth. The glory was, shall we say, inconspicuous. I think, from my reading on Hypnobabies, that it still allows you to be aware of the birth, not zoned out and fuzzy - but frankly, even if it was the latter, I'd happily take it over experiencing the raw glory.

mama y sol: That's really interesting! I expected you to say it didn't work at all during pregnancy. So you found it only helpful up to a certain level of pain, and when the contrax got over that threshhold it snapped you out of it abruptly? That does sound very unpleasant! I did have pelvic girdle pain with my last pregnancy, and would very much like to be able to ignore it/turn it off this time around...
post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Which is cool, but there's no way I can get into that headspace after my birth. The glory was, shall we say, inconspicuous. I think, from my reading on Hypnobabies, that it still allows you to be aware of the birth, not zoned out and fuzzy - but frankly, even if it was the latter, I'd happily take it over experiencing the raw glory.
I've used hypnosis for four of my five births and I was much more aware during the comfortable hypnosis births. I'm fuzzy on some of the timing, lol, but I was aware of what was happening around me (if I wanted to be). I could also tune it out if I wanted.

I think Hypnobabies "works" on multiple levels. One level is to replace fear with confidence, a great step for anyone approaching giving birth! Another level is to teach hypno-anesthesia techniques which can reduce or (in some cases) eliminate childbirth pain.

One of my hypnosis births was extremely painful due to complications. Even though my hypnosis didn't keep me comfortable (so "it didn't work" for comfort), my hypnosis did keep me calm and focused. That was enormously valuable! I'm convinced that things could have been far, far worse if I had not had my hypnosis training. With hypnosis I was able mentally take a step back and think about what was happening without freaking out. My first thought was that the situation wasn't good and I wasn't pleased that it was happening. My second thought was that I would stay calm and have a discussion with my caregivers about what the appropriate action would be. I had a very strong urge to freak out and start screaming, but I had enough mental control to choose to stay calm instead.

I would never choose to give birth without hypnosis again, even if it did nothing to help with the pain.

As it happens, my other three hypnosis births were very comfortable. One of them was even pain-free. The others had moments where I thought, "I don't think I like this sensation very much." That caused me to actively use my hypnosis more and I'd become more comfortable. Using hypnosis early and often during my birthing time allowed me to build endorphins as the birth got more intense. Hypnobabies worked better for me than an epidural (even though I felt no sensation of any kind after 4 cm with that birth).
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
= So you found it only helpful up to a certain level of pain, and when the contrax got over that threshhold it snapped you out of it abruptly? That does sound very unpleasant! =
Yes, exactly. You understood what I meant...I was worried I wasn't explaining it well.

I was pretty disappointed that it didn't work well- I did the affirmations most nights and one of them was that I would have a short, pain free labor. I didn't even entertain the THOUGHT that it would be long again. My first labor was a totally natural birth after 60+ hour labor. I was so convinced that the second time around it would be a short birth, that when it was NOT short, I was unprepared and devastated. I wish I had not convinced myself the affirmations would come true, because when they didn't and my labor was 54 hours, well, I was crushed, exhausted and just plain mad at hypnobabies. I felt duped.
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I didn't want to minimise, avoid or otherwise "get out of" the birth. I wanted to experience it, in all it's raw glory. I wanted to FEEL it. I didn't buy that it was so terrible that avoiding it was the only thing to try to do, and i've done it nearly-drug-free and drug-free and i would stand by that. Obviously everyone is different, but i tend to tell people who ask me now that actually WANTING to feel it all is what made feeling it so bearable/great. Not saying it didn't hurt! It certainly did at times, but that is what my baby coming felt like. And i really enjoyed it. And i really cherish the memories of it.
This is exactly what I needed to hear. I'm a total skeptic but so far I've been doing the cd's and finger drops and they do seem to work for me. Now what I'm afraid of is that the program will work too well. I had a 23 hr labor with my first and it was very painful, but I was so happy to be able to experience birth. I did feel like I had reached a state of hypnosis just before transition (my mw said I was "in the zone"), so I guess what I'm hoping for is to get to that state sooner during labor because it really was amazing.
post #40 of 52
I just used HB for my second birth. My first birth was very painful, baby was posterior, and after about 8 hours, after which my cervix swelled from what was an 8 with waters bulging to under 6 after AROM. I couldn't go on, transferred to hospital for epi and then pit, and had vaginal birth with vacuum about 8 hours later (16 total).

I wanted things to go differently for my second birth. I felt totally unprepared for the pain of the first one, so gravitated to HB. I tried very hard not to be a skeptic, and to let it work for me. I have to say I did not practice a ton, definitely not 2-5 times per day as they suggest. However, I thought of it as an important tool to achieve relaxation, which everyone points to as the best way to let labor happen.

HB worked very well for me for several things. First, I was able to get rid of all of my fear about birth, which after the trauma of the first, was quite a bit. I really think the "hypnosis," which was really just a lot of subliminal or not so subliminal messaging, did this for me. Because I had no fear, I was in a much better mindset for the birth than I would have been otherwise. I felt like I knew I could do it. Visualizing the birth really helped -- mine was pretty similar to what I thought was my ideal birth -- short (3h15min), happening during a weekday with time to prepare (and on a Thursday so DH would cancel only one day of classes and have the weekend with us), etc. Also, I was able to use HB through the early contractions. I went to my special place and totally relaxed. This technique really helped me.

Once the labor got intense, though, it was another story. My contractions started at 2 minutes apart. All they did over time was get longer, to where eventually I had no break between contractions at all (maybe 2 seconds). After about an hour, HB stopped working for me. I suddenly remembered that the pain of my first birth exactly matched the second, even though he was in the right position (anterior) and I was doing HB. HB relaxation went out the window for me. Instead, I used vocalization to get through. There was no way I could "relax" and "smile" and think about each contraction bringing me closer to my baby -- I was being hit by a freight train. Again, no resting between contractions. I used "ooh" and "ahh" and eventually was roaring like a lion through transition.

I know some women have labors that are more discomfort than pain, or more like my early later than the later labor. I have to wonder whether HB can only make it painless if you have that kind of labor. Mine was so fast, 3h15 total, with no break between contractions that came every 2 minutes, that I don't think it would be humanly possible to relax or to "spread hypnoamnesthesia throughout my body"! So, I would be curious to read what kind of labor these women have had! Maybe they had contractions further spaced apart? Less intense??

In the end, I think HB helped me, because I probably did have a fast and smooth birth in large part thanks to the HB preparation. It also got me through the first part of labor. However, the last 2 hours went way beyond anything HB could do for me.

I would say it's worth giving a try! Read up on Ina May, etc. as well just in case you get a steamroller labor! But, it can still be really helpful!
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