Monday, June 18, 2007

Hypnobirthing Offers Pain-Free Labor? Sign Me up!

In the comments of this post, Kyla made the following excellent point: “women have to do their own research to get the birth they desire, whether that means changing to a birthing center, transferring hospitals or OBs, or whatever. There need to be accessible options so we can experience a birth that makes us comfortable, whatever that may be.”

Yes, yes, yes!

I totally agree with the idea that women have to take control of their own pregnancies and childbirth experiences. But I have come to this realization slowly. During my first pregnancy, I was quite ignorant and just let things happen to me. I have written before of how scared and helpless I felt during my first labor. I knew that I didn’t want to go through that again and so I started to read and educate myself about childbirth. Instead of just taking the advice of my doctors and nurses without question, I brought questions to them. I started learning more about doulas and alternative childbirth methods and birthing plans and really taking the stuff seriously.

Now, with only 10 weeks left until my due date, I am actually looking forward to this birth. I just drafted my birthing preferences (birth plan) and have hired a doula. Our first appointment is tomorrow night.

But what I am really excited to write about is this - I have been studying hypnobirthing for the last two months. And I love it! I didn't have enough money to take a course in person so I chose to purchase a home study course called Hypnobabies, which was recommended by my doula.

Basically, the course helps you "re-program" your thinking about birth by listening to a sequence of CDs. The CDs help train your mind to think positively about your pregnancy and impending birth. Every message that you hear on the recordings is a positive and loving message about your pregnancy, your baby, and your upcoming birthing. The CDs and manual also teach you how to hypnotize yourself so that during labor you will be able to theoretically eliminate, or significantly decrease, your discomfort.

Basically, self-hypnosis is really just very deep relaxation. The theory is that the more you relax your body during labor, the faster and easier your labor will be. According to the program, you could actually have a pain-free birth. And who wouldn't want a pain-free birth??

So, is this too good to be true? Am I a sucker for paying $140 for the course? I truly don't think so. I already see it working in that I am much more at peace and much less fearful about this birth than I think I would be otherwise. I really feel that I will be "in control" of my experience in a way that I was not the first time around.

But I am still very curious as to whether I will really feel my pressure waves (contractions) as pressure or whether I will feel pain. I can't imagine that I will feel NO pain (as some women do) but I am hoping that my discomfort will be lessened to the degree that I will not need to ask for pain medication.

I have already spoken by e-mail with a couple of bloggers who recently used self-hypnosis in childbirth. I would love to hear from others who have tried it.

And if you are interested in seeing this in action, check out this link to a Dateline video showing two women who used self-hypnosis in childbirth. Call me a kook, but I think it's amazing! (The Dateline video is the fourth video in the list on this web page.)

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Anonymous mel said...

My very good friend did hypnobirth. She was very pleased. She said all of the way through her labor, she felt only "pressure" the time she decided that the pressure was close enough together to warrant going to the hospital, she was already in transition. I was skeptical when she said she was trying it, but it really worked for her.
I used the Bradley method, but if I were to ever have another baby, I think I would try it.

3:24 AM  
Blogger steph! said...

I think that our minds have an incredible amount of power over our physical selves. Think of a time when you've been emotionally upset and how that affected you I think it's very possible that you could use your mind to control what you're feeling/experiencing during labor.

I also firmly believe that you need to take charge in your labor. I also had a bad first labor (very, very fast which was good, but the nurse didn't believe me so the first time the dr came to check my progress Thing 1 was pretty much there). So in my second labor I was much more aggressive (that sounds negative, but I wasn't nasty...I don't think :) with the nurse, and with the doctor beforehand.

Bottom line - it's your baby, your body, and your experience. If this is something that interests you and you believe in then it's not a waste of money. I hope all goes well for you!

6:24 AM  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I was ready to sign up for 5 hynobirthing classes when I was pregnant with my boys, but as it became clear that c-section was going to be the only option (presenting baby breech, non-presenting vertex...dangerous combo for vaginal delivery), I never took any of them.

If I have another child and offered the option of VBAC, I would love to go the hypnobirthing route. I'm going to have to save this post as a resource for the at-home course.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Shortie said...

Whatever works girl. LOL... your baby!!! Good for you for figuring out HOW you want to birth!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

I've never done it - my c-section morphine worked great for me - but I have 2 friends who've done it. Both RAVE about hypnobirthing. Both of them were second time moms as well, and I wonder if that helps. You already know what to expect and you're able to be more focused and not afraid of what's happening. Good for you for taking charge of your birth!

And, hey, for what it's worth, being a mom the second time is easier too. No one treats you as if you're the first time mom/idiot anymore!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

I can't wait to hear about how it works for you! I'm really hoping you get the birthing experience you are aiming for this time around. I think that the peace the course has provided you has made it worthwhile already.

1:57 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I have good heard really good things about this, but I think the most important part is that you are going to be prepared . . . no matter what!

That way, even if your "plan" doesn't happen the way you pictured it (although I hope it does) you will know that at least you did your part.

Let the countdown to baby #2 begin!! :)


1:53 AM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

I hope it works great for you!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Fidget said...

I may look into this next time. Ive done it without pain med but BOY HOWDY it hurts like hell. Maybe this route would offer a less cuss-filled delivery.

12:43 PM  

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