How does HypnoBirthing differ from other childbirth preparation methods?
Unlike other childbirth methods that teach you how to cope with and manage pain, HypnoBirthing is based on the premise that childbirth does not necessarily need to be painful if the mother is properly prepared and relaxed. When women understand that pain is caused by constrictor hormones, created by fear, they learn, instead, to release fear thus creating endorphins—the feel good hormones. They are then able to change their expectations of long, painful labor and are able to replace them with expectations of a more comfortable birthing. Rather than exhausting, shallow breathing and the distraction techniques of typical “prepared childbirth” programs, HypnoBirthing parents learn deep abdominal breathing and total relaxation, enabling the laboring mother to work in harmony with her body and her baby. This allows her to achieve a shorter and more comfortable labor for herself and baby.
How is the Birth Companion involved?
The Birth Companion of the mother’s choice is an integral part of the HypnoBirthing experience. He or she practices with the mother in helping to prepare for deep relaxation. During labor the Birth Companion guides the laboring mother through hypnosis prompts, relaxation techniques, deepening methods, and visualizations, provides comfort measures, and joins in welcoming the new baby, often by receiving the baby as he emerges.
Will I be unconscious or will I remember my birth experience?
Despite misconceptions and misinformation, you are definitely not unconscious during self-hypnosis. The HypnoBirthing mother is deeply relaxed, but she is also an active participant in the labor process. Though she is deeply relaxed, she is totally aware and may return to a conversant state or choose to become mobile whenever she desires. HypnoBirthing mothers often find that they experience time distortion and are not distracted by other people or their birthing environment, while they focus on their birthing and their baby.
Will HypnoBirthing be useful to me if I don't opt for a natural childbirth or if circumstances necessitate medical intervention or a surgical birth?
Absolutely. The things you will learn in your HypnoBirthing classes will help you to learn relaxation skills that will be useful to both you and your baby, regardless of your birth experience. In the event that medical intervention of any sort is needed, you will find yourself better able to remain calm and in control. Mothers who have needed scheduled cesareans for medical reasons report that they were totally relaxed before, during and after the procedure. Many report that they needed little or no medication following the birth, and they were able to return to normal functioning in a very short period of time.
Is it true that I will experience a pain-free birth with HypnoBirthing?
HypnoBirthing does not promise painless birthing, though many HypnoBirthing mothers do report having a relatively pain-free birth or one that they were able to manage easily. When the cause of pain--fear that constricts the birthing muscles—is eliminated, birthing can be accomplished in a shorter period and much more comfortably. A relaxed mother’s body will produce more endorphins, nature’s own relaxants. HypnoBirthing mothers may still experience sensations of tightening or pressure; but most describe their birth experience as working with their body through the sensations, and thus avoiding the excruciating pain that is frequently spoken of by women who choose other methods of preparation for birthing.
What if my doctor/midwife is not familiar with HypnoBirthing? Can I still use this method and how can my healthcare providers help me to achieve my HypnoBirthing goals?
More and more care providers are becoming aware of the benefits of HypnoBirthing. Many hospitals offer HypnoBirthing as an option in their childbirth education programs, and HypnoBirthing is now taught in some schools of medicine to student doctors. If your care giver is not knowledgeable about HypnoBirthing, take the opportunity early in your pregnancy to discuss the techniques you will be using and the type of calm birthing environment that you desire. In class, you will learn how to create a plan of Birth Preferences, which will help you to communicate your birthing goals and preferences to your doctor or midwife. Also, your HypnoBirthing instructor can provide you with information specifically written for care providers that you can share to help them support you.