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Can my body really do this without me?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi ladies,

So the Hypnobirthing book I had on hold for the last few months finally came in for me at the library and I thought well, I am only 39 weeks pregnant, what is the harm of introducing an entirely new birth philosophy this late in the game? Ha ha.

Anyway, I've read the book now and am really excited to have a new set of visualization/relaxation techniques at my disposal. Since I had my DD just 23 months ago without any drugs/interventions and with a midwife at a birthing center, most of the ideas introduced in the book aren't new to me and are a lot like the way I birthed my daughter.

With one big exception: the total commitment to zoning out and letting my body be, rather than doing things, however natural, to help the baby out. I'm probably not explaining this really well, but last time, with my daughter nearly two weeks late, we were using every natural method in the book to get her out. My membranes were being swept every other day, I was going to an acupuncturist, lots of sex, nipple stim, etc.

In early labor I was not resting, I was squatting and lunging around like a madwoman trying to get things going. It really seemed to help. I was really convinced that my labor would have just stopped in the absence of all of my efforts. It wasn't until well into transition that I finally felt like I could just let things happen and when I finally let myself go into the zone.

But even then, I remember my midwife suggesting I squat or sit on the toilet, or move around. I really didnt feel like doing those things. In the end I had only a 12-hour labor, with only Five hours from 6 centimeters to baby in my arms, so it wasn't like I ever stalled or anything.

The hypnobabies philosophy is particularly hard for me to accept in the birthing stage. I am all about woman-directed pushing, and that part of my labor was actually very mellow and totally driven by me. I pushed only when I reallly felt like it, sometimes resting through several contractions with no protests whatsoever from my midwives or hubby. But hypnobabies takes this so much further, suggesting you don't really need to push at all, just relax and breathe down and let the baby move down. Will that really work?! Don't I need to push a little?

I've already retraced my birthing steps quite a bit, and definitely want things to be less forced and more mellow than last time. (I am planning a homebirth this time, maybe in my birth tub). I want more moments of quiet in early labor, and I want to relax more and not feel like I'm sprinting around the whole time. The whole hypnobabies idea of staying so deeply relaxed really, really appeals to me, but I'm just so scared that if I really let myself relax that deeply and take such a passive role in labor it won't start/progress/end. Obviously I can just try this path and then get more active if I need to, but I'd really love some input from you all.

I really feel like this philosophy differs fundamentally from a lot of what I've read in the natural birthing world, including major players like Ina May Gaskin, who has many stories where women were told to walk around, move around, have sex, etc., etc., etc. Also from every prenatal yoga and natural childbirth class I've been to, where the emphasis is as much on optimal positioning to speed labor along as it is on relaxation.

Oh, wise women of the June 2011 Ddc, please tell me what you think: if I feel like just curling up in a corner and breathing deeply, will my baby really be able to come "without me?"
post #2 of 13

I never did hypnobirthing, but I guess I follow it even though I haven't read it.  LOL  I don't do anything.  I try not to think about it and let it happen.  My body definitely does it on it's own.  thumb.gif  It's so empowering and amazing.  Your body will definitely do it, too.  Someone recently told me, the only thing you don't have a choice about regarding birth, is that your baby is coming out.  You have a heap of choices you can make before, after and during, but that one you can't stop. LOL

post #3 of 13



With bfirst babies i do think women often have to push.  Not always, but often.  


With subsequent babies no, i don't think you need to push.


With my DD2 i experienced the foetal ejection reflex.  I did push but i was not at all in control of it.  I had the weirdest sensation of observing myself "oh i'm really pushing hard" "listen, i'm sheep breathing!  To think people try to LEARN this!" "oh, look even without a contraction i'm still pushing!" and so on.  It was a bit like throwing up.  No control.  It was great.  I have very fast labours (active phase 1hour24with dd1, including 5mins of pushing - actually the time from them realising her head was crowned to the next ctxn when i gave my one push, 61mins with dd2 with 6mins of pushing - that was from her head being at spines to her being born) but with long latent phases beforehand.  I don't do anything to get the baby to hurry, i just keep doing what i'd usually do at whatever time of day it is until that's not possible anymore and the baby comes within the hour.

post #4 of 13

I did Hypnobirthing and I was definitely fully aware, active and present during the whole birth, especially during the pushing phase. During pushing, the only time I really went into myself in any kind of restful state was during the periods between contractions/surges/rushes. During those resting periods, I felt like I was about to fall asleep. And then I knew it was time to push and was fully in the moment and I pushed. My husband still talks in awe about the amazing athlete I suddenly became. :) 


I most definitely did not breathe my baby down, but I still believe Hypnobirthing was valuable. I had my son in five hours total and I know a good deal of that was the work of the Hypnobirthing training. Not so much because I removed my brain from the process, but because I had listened to the relaxation/visualization exercises for months and I had tricked my brain out of thinking giving birth was a painful process. The only part of my brain that seemed to be far away (it made a few appearances) was the part of my brain that was afraid and in pain--the part that would cause my muscles to clench up and slow the birth. Otherwise I was all there. 


I know some women really do go into some kind of restful state, but my birth was so fast and intense I never got ahead of the contractions, or learned how to "integrate the rushes," as Ina May would say. 


I think that, like most philosophies, there are things that are helpful in Hypnobirthing and other things that aren't. I know that, for ex, Calm Birth is kind of similar in that you are encouraged to get your brain out of the way and let your body do what it has to do. However, there is less of an emphasis on being removed from the birth. (I also listened to the Calm Birth relaxation exercises for months...I was big into the relaxation exercises because I'm neurotic and normally a very anxious person and it really helped.)


This time around I only busted out my relaxation mp3s last week. But, after having such a good experience last time, I don't think I'll need to rely on them so much. I'm hoping to more consciously "integrate the rushes."  I'm also doing a homebirth this time, as opposed to a hospital birth. And I'm also looking forward to a calmer experience. LAst time I imagined DH and I would walk in the woods for a few hours a l Spiritual Midwifery and I would cook up a pot of beans and sweep out our bus, but it never happened. :D

Edited by prettyred - 5/28/11 at 7:57am
post #5 of 13

As far as the pushing part goes, my urge to push has always been SO strong that there was no way I could stop it. Even the panting breathing that you're supposed to do didn't work. I think that your body CAN and WILL do it on its own. If you feel the need to move around, then do it. If you don't want to, then don't. If you feel like you need to push, then push. I think sometimes we have a tendency to overthink things. As a doula I spend a ton of time telling my clients that if they can relax and get out of their own way then their body and their baby will take over and they won't have to think about what to do. They'll do what feels right and good and it will be exactly what they need to do.

post #6 of 13

I used hypnobabies' home study (not hypnobirthing) with my second and I didn't push at all.  Not "oh, you had an uncontrollable urge to push"- I was *not* pushing.  (you don't call it "uncontrollable urge to kick" when they smack your knee with reflex hammer, you know?)  My uterus was contracting and doing SOMEthing that shot the baby out in three or four contractions; I was devoting every bit of my energy to staying completely limp, loose, relaxed, and out of the way.  Then his head was out and our midwife told me that I need to push out the rest of him, and it took me awhile to a) process that information, b) completely switch gears, wake up, and try to DO something, and c) give a wimpy little push that nudged out the body.


I'm not certain this is actually in any way 'better' than slowly pushing the baby out in a controlled way, incidently, but it's definitely possible.

post #7 of 13


I did hypnobabies with my second son, and I can absolutely say that, for me, it was exactly like prothyraia said--there was no way that baby was not coming out, whatever I did or thought about it.  He could have been one of those babies born in the car, I had no control over it. (not unlike vomiting, gross as that comparison is)  It was very definitely the feeling of just getting your head out of the way of what was happening.  I did not do any pushing, mother-directed or otherwise, and I got to 10 cm and baby was out 13 minutes later. (I read somewhere that contractions are pushing baby down and out with like 60 pounds of pressure, but don't remember where right this minute...) 

I'm curious as to what you mean by thinking that labor would have stalled/stopped had you not been doing all of those positions during labor?    

I think that the hypnobirthing/hypnobabies philosophy (I did a hypnobirthing class in person and also did the hypnobabies home study but ended up committing more to hypnobabies--I like to be over-prepared) is that lots of moving around in labor can just wear you out unnecessarily and that, barring medical interventions, labor will take its course and the baby will come out. Laboring on a birthing ball or in a gravity-friendly position in bed allows baby to progress and lets you ration your energy.  That's just what I took from it, anyway.


post #8 of 13

With both of my Hypnobabies births I was very relaxed, focused and intentionally pushed both of them out in my own way and in my own time. I never felt out of control, swept away or divorced from the process of my children passing through my body. 

post #9 of 13

Originally Posted by gunnarsmama77 View Post


(I read somewhere that contractions are pushing baby down and out with like 60 pounds of pressure, but don't remember where right this minute...) 


Actually, our uteruses (uteri?) exert up to 200 PSI with each contraction! More than enough to squash an aluminum soda can totally pancake flat. It's pretty impressive if you ask me!


post #10 of 13

I have never read Hyponobirthing, or read much about it other than blubs on here,- but I will tell you - my first was a UC. I had no idea what I was doing - I had never given birth before! So, I just kind of went inside myself and let my body do its thing. I never pushed, not once. I have a hard time explaining it, but it was like a pp said - my uterus doing certainly doing something, but I had no control over it and I just kind of said "cool!" and went with it. There was no fear or resistance on my part, I was all about trusting my body to do its thing - and it sure did! It was awesome.
post #11 of 13

Thank you for bringing this up.  With my first two I certainly felt like I needed to push and I did not like it either time.  Labor I was able to moan though and it was OK, but pushing for me was not fun for me either time (it was only about 30 minutes each time).  I have been reading the hypnobirthing book and would really like to let me body do the work and relax, I'm just not sure and can not feel like I need to push.  And the birth breathing is a little confusing to me too.

post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by jshannyn519 View Post

Actually, our uteruses (uteri?) exert up to 200 PSI with each contraction! More than enough to squash an aluminum soda can totally pancake flat. It's pretty impressive if you ask me!


Wow, Jenni, I wonder how our babies are so calm about it! 


post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by JosieAK View Post

Wow, Jenni, I wonder how our babies are so calm about it! 


I've often wondered the same thing. If I was being squished that hard I might get a little upset! But the babies do help. They actually push off the top of the uterus with their feet when they're being born. The whole process never ceases to amaze me.


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