HypnoBirthing is still a relatively new kid on the block, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it is. Much of *how* you learn HypnoBirthing will depend on your individual instructor, so I really recommend that you ask lots of questions of any instructor you're considering hiring. I'm sorry to hear that there are instructors out there who are letting families walk away with the impression that HypnoBirthing necessitates laboring physically still in one position. That is not a tenet of the program at all: on the contrary, HypnoBirthing advocates and emphasizes active birth.
The cornerstone of HypnoBirthing is relaxation. HypnoBirthing uses self-hypnosis to help the birthing mama learn to achieve deep emotional and physical relaxation. The ability to achieve this relaxation is attained and improved through daily practice -- it is a mental conditioning program. Any birth attendant will tell you that moms who are able to relax have smoother labors and births. Every childbirth preparation method out there incorporates relaxation in some form because of this fact.
What does it mean to say HypnoBirthing "didn't work" in a given labor/birth? What would it mean to say Lamaze didn't work, or Bradley didn't work, or Hypnobabies didn't work? What I mean to say is that prepared moms as a group tend to have better and *more satisfactory* birth experiences than moms who have had no preparation. Who determines if a method doesn't work? What has to happen to determine that a method "worked" in a given labor and birth? In HypnoBirthing we go on simple research -- we know that moms who incorporate daily relaxation practice into their prenatal routine have happier, more relaxed, easier to soothe babies. We know that relaxed moms with relaxed partners and relaxed care providers are better able to listen to their bodies and do what they need to do to birth their babies more gently and comfortably than tense moms with tense partners and tense care providers. Relaxation makes birth easier, whatever means you find for relaxation. Relaxation works.
For anyone who is interested in learning more about what HypnoBirthing is about but isn't ready to invest in the class, you can find the HypnoBirthing book at Amazon, Borders, and most major bookstores online or IRL. Many local libraries have it as well. Or heck, I'll send you a copy of the old edition -- PM me. The book itself does not include the Rainbow Relaxation and the Birthing Affirmations that are part of the daily relaxation practice, and of course it does not include an instructor to teach you the course. But if you want to do self-study with HypnoBirthing, you can, and many moms have had good experiences with this. You can order the book, along with Rainbow Relaxation and the Birthing Affirmations, directly from the HypnoBirthing Institute. If you want a class and can't manage the finances, I encourage you to talk with your local instructor(s) -- many will be happy to think creatively with you about how to manage it. And that goes for other childbirth preparation methods you might be considering as well -- most of us in the birth community want, first and foremost, for committed and motivated families to be able to get what they need to birth the way they want to birth. But, consider this -- with most insurance plans, the price of a childbirth preparation class series is a mere fraction of what you would pay out of pocket for epidural anesthesia and the accompanying interventions/complications.
mama, cbe, doula, apprentice midwife