Hypnobirthing - Mothering Forums
February 2015 Due Date Club > Hypnobirthing
alivewithyou's Avatar alivewithyou 11:29 AM 09-02-2014
Alright so I plan on a hospital birth but if I can avoid an epidural I would like to. Who has experience with hypnobirthing?

What books/CDs would you recommend?

Any tips/warnings?

I know that pain is very much a mental game so I feel like this would be perfect for me.

murrelet's Avatar murrelet 12:38 PM 09-02-2014
I have no experience with hypnobirthing, but I can't recommend Birthing from Within highly enough! Seriously! I had 2 very intense labours, both with lots of back pain, both delivered at home, and I found the techniques in BFW to be very, very helpful. I also like that they encourage you to do whatever it takes for you to get through contractions, be it cursing, moaning, rocking, dancing, hypnosis, whatever! And that it's okay to change tactics mid-labour. The overall take home message is that we can't plan labour and birth, but that we can prepare for all possibilities. Labour is hard work, usually it hurts, and you can do it. If you can find BFW prenatal classes nearby they are well worth it.

Also, I can't stress enough the benefits of a doula if you can afford one. Not just for the labouring mom, but for the partner as well. There's this expectation that partners will handle their loved ones in pain with poise and clear-thinking, but that's not always the case. It's good to have someone there with experience supporting natural labour, and not least to let the partner have a break to eat and pee!
forestlover75's Avatar forestlover75 05:27 AM 09-03-2014
Originally Posted by murrelet View Post
I have no experience with hypnobirthing, but I can't recommend Birthing from Within highly enough! Seriously!
I did my doula training back in '99 through Birthing From Within. Since then, I have done DONA and other trainings, and then revisited BFW's newer training. It really is such an incredible approach towards birth that helps women find their own path. BFW classes are great if you have access to one.

All that said, hypnotherapy can be helpful, if for nothing else, to aid sleep and relaxation. It may not give you a "pain free" birth, but can enable you to find a place of calm within the intensity. But as murrelet suggested, some other tools may also be helpful, as there is no "recipe" for getting the birth you imagine.

I would definitely also suggest a well referred doula, particularly for hospital birth which can often add a layer of distraction and discomfort (beyond the birth process itself). A good doula can help you and your partner create space for your process within that context by (for example) always closing the door and dimming the lights again after a nurse leaves, ensuring your partner has sleep and food, explaining some of the confusing procedures that may occur and support you to return to your practiced relaxation techniques if you are disrupted or unnerved etc. etc. Another plus: I often notice Dr.'s and nurses relax when they enter those kinds of birthing spaces (dim, quiet, maybe some soft music or aromatherapy depending on your preferences), which can really benefit your birth experience.
dentonmidwife's Avatar dentonmidwife 06:49 AM 09-03-2014
I have had two clients use Hypnobirthing. The first one was so relaxed that she didn't realize how far into labor she was and called too late. I missed her birth. The second one didn't use it until pushing for some reason. She went from full on pushing to it putting her and the entire birth team to sleep. After an hour, I woke up enough to turn it off and get the show back on the road. As soon as it was off, her contractions started back up where they were.
alivewithyou's Avatar alivewithyou 08:44 PM 09-03-2014
Yeah we are already going to be paying the hospital $3,000 for our birth so I don't know if an additional 650-1000 for a doula is an option. I have definitely added birthing from within to my reading list though and I will look into classes. Hypnobirthing classes seem to be very expensive and I'm not sure if they will be necessary for me since I have had experience with relaxing my body with other pain and medical issues with the use of hypnotherapy. Definitely feel overwhelmed already!
murrelet's Avatar murrelet 10:18 AM 09-04-2014
This may not help for you, but I found it to be very helpful. That is, to think about where the pain in labour comes from.

The uterus is a big muscle with lots of ligaments etc attached around it. When muscles contract, and hold it for a minute or so, lactic acid builds up and it hurts. This is the same as when we use our muscles for anything strenuous like weight lifting or running. The muscle is sending a pain signal to the brain, but it's not "OMG my leg's been cut off" pain, it's "this muscle is working hard and needs a break and some oxygen soon" kind of pain. There is also pain associated with the cartilage of the cervix softening and opening, but again this is normal physiological pain and not injury pain per se. Because we're not usually familiar with feeling this kind of pain in this area, and because we also know cognitively that a baby coming out is going to happen, the pain of labour can be frightening. It also can get very intense and overwhelming. Having skills to allow yourself to enter the pain, to notice it, and not to suffer, is very helpful.

Have you ever done anything very physically strenuous? E.g. triathlon, running, long distance backpacking, yoga, etc? Anything that pushed your body physically to the limits? Labour is a lot like these things in my mind. I used to do a lot of long distance backpacking, and there always comes a point where I would feel that I just couldn't go on. My pack was heavy, and my legs were sore, and my feet (I never even usually wanted to admit they existed)... But, I was always able to stop for a sec, readjust my pack, and continue to put one foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, left, right, left, right. It became a mind game at that point. When I would reach the destination, my feelings of elation and relief, and pride would be so strong and so worth the pain of getting there. If you can push through and carry on, you will make it.

(Caveats! Sometimes women do reach their physical limits in labour. 24 hours of active labour with very little progress, and no food can make an epidural the natural, compassionate choice! This is by no means suggesting that women who need extra help in labour just didn't have the willpower to continue. However, with normally progressing, low-risk labour, I do think that most women can do it.)
entiti's Avatar entiti 03:45 PM 09-04-2014
Wow Murrelet, that was an awesome explanation. Thanks
forestlover75's Avatar forestlover75 07:47 AM 09-05-2014
Originally Posted by alivewithyou View Post
Yeah we are already going to be paying the hospital $3,000 for our birth so I don't know if an additional 650-1000 for a doula is an option.

Hypnobirthing classes seem to be very expensive
When it comes to doula's, I like to frame it in juxtaposition to a wedding. These days, you are lucky to have a wedding for under 6-10K. Consider that a doula costs less than the dress, shoes, hair and bridal pampering most women do. So, if we think of our births as being of equal (or more) value to our weddings, it can make paying for the support (which can be for up to 24+ hours of help) more justifiable. There are often new doulas who seeking births to complete certification. In my early years I did births pro-bono, or for small fees ($100-$200 or sliding scale) and I remain in contact with those families, who still to this day express gratitude for the support they had.

As for hypnobirthing, I have known many women who had good results using CD's. I bet you can find those used somewhere.

Whatever you choose, it will be the best choice for you
boscopup's Avatar boscopup 08:00 AM 09-06-2014
I haven't done hypnobirthing, but I had a crash course in Bradley method the afternoon I went into labor. Lol. I was in the hospital at 29 weeks, and my water had broken 4 days earlier. The crash course was more for my husband than myself.

Anyway, the biggest thing that helped me was to realize that when I felt like I couldn't do it anymore and was tempted by the drugs the nurse offered, I was probably in transition and it was almost over. Sure enough, a few minutes later we were rushing my bed from antepartum unit to LDR, and the nurse was telling me to close my legs and not push (which is a really stupid thing to say - lol!).

Just go into birth with knowledge of natural birth. Read positive birth stories, expect it to be painful, but have knowledge going in so you aren't fearful. The pain is usually manageable because you know there is a prize at the end.

Does your hospital let you get in alternate positions, avoid purple pushing, etc? That can also make a difference. My hospital birth was more difficult to handle the pain because I was stuck flat on my back and wanted so badly to be upright. My out of hospital births still hurt, but the pain was more manageable because I could be in the position I wanted, and my midwives encouraged me to let my body do the work during pushing.

If you can get in water, it really is an aquadoula for many people. Another thing to see if it's an option at your hospital.
boscopup's Avatar boscopup 08:05 AM 09-06-2014
Also, if you get a first degree tear, say NO to stitches. Your healing will be so much quicker! I've done it both ways for the same tear, and stitches sucked. (stitches were the first time, left it alone the second time... tore along the same tear line)