A childbirth class was a must for us. I was certainly not interested in the Lamaze of our mothers’ time, and also not interested in the standard, basic course provided by our insurance. We’ve had a few friends tell us about HypnoBirthing® so after doing some reading (surprise surprise) it sounded like something we wanted to try. It sounds scary, right? Another crunchy pregnancy thing that Dave was less than thrilled about. But at least this didn’t involve paid strangers seeing me naked.
HypnoBirthing® is “built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system…”.
At doula Annely’s suggestion (honestly, I was willing to do anything this woman told me would be helpful), we got in touch with Rachel Flores of A Mother’s Nature Birth. We embarked on a 5-week class series with another couple. Admittedly, I had a lot of skepticism of hypnosis. However, we aren’t talking the traditional hypnotist type of situation, but rather using mindfulness and meditation techniques to enter a deep relaxed state. While their does seem to be emphasis in HypnoBirthing about unmedicated births, Rachel was super supportive when I expressed that I did not have strong feelings about having one. In fact, I always saw myself having an epidural. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through the course that I thought hmmm, maybe I’ll try au natural and see how it goes.
Dave and I were not as diligent about our “homework”, which included doing home meditations, but I will say that this course really helped get the discussion going between us about various aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenthood. One of the classes focused on eliminating fears. We had to write down our top fears and then we “threw them out” at class. My top fear was something related to being a terrible mom. Dave’s top fear was that Carson would have a peanut allergy. This is life.
HypnoBirthing also helped us become educated about what medical interventions we may or may not want during birth. We were able to develop a birth plan. Of course, many women don’t ultimately have a choice, but I knew that a C-section was not something I wanted. And an episiotomy (who wants that). I have linked my birth plan here. Something interesting we learned was about the “goop” they put in babies’ eyes after birth. We just assumed that this was necessary per hospital protocol. Apparently, it is widely utilized to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum in newborns born to mothers with STDs. According to Evidence Based Birth, many European countries have stopped the routine use of the erythromycin ointment. This is such a personal choice, and I definitely am not here to advise anyone what they should do, but my husband and I opted not to have the ointment placed.
And much like the doulas, there is at least some evidence that hypnosis for pain management is beneficial (see below)
While I (unfortunately) did not slip into a semi-vegetative hypnotic state and wake up with a baby in my arms as the name HypnoBirthing® might suggest, I definitely would recommend it as an option for those who are looking for alternatives to traditional birthing classes.
Madden K, Middleton P, Cyna AM, Matthewson M, Jones L. Hypnosis for pain management during labour and childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD009356. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009356.pub3.
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something first-time mom raising her little dude in southern California. It's been quite a first year, and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.