I read an interesting post where a L&D nurse (who I think is now a doula) shares her thoughts on HypnoBirthing.
I am so happy she linked to my blog for people to get more information about hypnosis for birth. I would like to comment on some of her concerns on using hypnosis for birth.
I will speak about Hypnobabies, as that is a very different program than HypnoBirthing.
There is just two issues I have with it. First off, it makes the claim that if you use this method, your birth will be painless. I have heard many people say how much this is true.
In Hypnobabies we don’t teach that. We do teach that birth can be comfortable, but prepare moms with lots of tools to work through their birth as they need, whether they are comfortable or not.
What if it does hurt?
The problems I have seen with this are with women who are doing very well working through their contractions, but are still feeling pain. I have seen a look of hopelessness as they have turned to me and said “this isn’t supposed to hurt. What am I doing wrong?”. Many times, they have given up because they came into this labor with the expectation that they would feel no pain, and yet they do. They were not prepared for that possibility, and were not prepared to deal with that mentally.
I could see that this could be a problem if a mom expected to feel nothing and then was overwhelmed with the intensity. I teach that birth is powerful and intense. That moms can expect it to be powerful, they expect to feel strong sensations and they know that they can do it!
I find that most of my moms are fairly comfortable, unless there is a positioning issue with the baby. We talk about this possible issue in class and how to help deal with it and work through it. I have had some moms be comfortable even with positioning issues.
In Hypnobabies we go to a depth of hypnosis where moms are able to create a natural anesthesia. There are parts of birth that can very possibly hurt and having a natural anesthesia that mom can control with post hypnotic cues is SO helpful in her being more comfortable.
Moms using their own ways of working through birth
Also, it doesn’t leave room for women to incorporate their own ways of dealing with birth. Such as their own rituals or visualizations that may spontaneously occur that help them cope. From what I’ve seen, hypnobirthing has a set scripts and visualizations. It doesn’t seem to allow room for women who need to be vocal and move and make a ruckus during labor. There are many women that are more external focused and trying to do so much inward work is difficult. Whereas, letting out a good roar helps them cope more.
Hypnobabies encourages moms to use their own ways to deal with their birth. There are many tools that they can use in many different ways.
- Turning off – going completely limp and loose during a pressure wave
- Turning to center – some moms prefer to move and sway during pressure waves, center switch is GREAT for this. They are still deeply in hypnosis and their hypno-anesthesia is flowing through their body and they are ACTIVE in whatever way works for them. You can see Tanya using her center switch through most of her birth so she can move, moan, rock, get in the water, slow dance – all while being in hypnosis!
- Listening to CDs – This is a great tools most moms love to use at some point during their births. There are 3 scripts just for the birthing day. Or they can listen to any of the others ones they want to.
- Birth Prompts – The Dad or doula can read little scripts to them to help them go deeper relaxed or strengthen their hypno-aneshtesia during pressure waves. (You could hear Carole, Tanya’s doula doing this during the video, as well as hear the CDs on in the background at times too.)
- Different post-hypnotic cues – The birth partner is taught quite a few cues, verbal and physical that they can use in any situation to help mom go deeper and strenghten her hypno-anesthesia. These can be used regardless of what ways mom wants to deal with her birth. Mom also has some post-hypnotic cues she can do herself.
Anyone CAN benefit
Bottom line, I think hypnobirthing is a wonderful way of working through labor. It has many benefits and I really think anyone could use these techniques to help them. But, I don’t think it will makes everyone’s birth painless or easy.
I agree that anyone can benefit from Hypnobabies during their birth. It doesn’t make everyone’s birth painless or easy. Birth is unpredictable, you can’t know what situations will come up.
Here is a video of Hope, she was not comfortable during her birth, due to a posterior baby and back labor. But she used her tools to stay calm and focused and to work through each pressure wave. She moved back and forth from the shower to the toilet for many hours before heading to the hospital, where she had her baby about 30 minutes after arriving.
You can hear about how she used her tools and see how she took what she learned and applied them during pushing as well.
Not the ONLY tool
I see it as another tool to tuck in your belt to use, but should by no means be the only tool.
The great thing about Hypnobabies is you learn many different tools that you can use in whatever ways you want or need, whether you are comfortable or not. Here are just some of the tools we teach in class.
- Mom intuitively moving into positions that feel right – we do talk about possible different positions
- All the hypnosis tools discussed above
- Water is a great tool
- Birth Balls
- Rituals – I talk about how moms often create their own rhythm or ritual during their birth. Often with cues they have been practicing. Counting down from 1-5, chanting “open, open, open”
Hopefully this has answered some of Rachel’s concerns. 🙂