A little background before the question. I am getting my doula certification and one of the requirements is to audit an approved childbirth class. I chose Hypnobabies. During the course of this class one of the couples I met chose to use me as their doula. Although the couple was doing their "homework" and practicing hypnosis daily, when it came time for the birth, the mother did not want to use her hypnosis. At some point with some encouragement she did put one of the tracks on, and it did seem to relax her, but as a whole it was not the way it was described in the class or shown in the films that the instructor showed.

I was speaking to the instructor today about the whole experience and she was expressing her confusion at the fact that so many of the moms don't "succeed" in using the hypnosis in the sense that they are able to get in to hypnosis early, and stay there through out their labor and delivery.

My personal take on the situation was that labor essentially snuck up on her and she wasn't prepared for the intensity to come on so quickly. Once it did start, she found her comfort zone, and ways to manage the pain in a way that felt controlled, and was afraid to branch out and try to start the hypnosis out of fear of losing the control.

So, my question is, for those of you who used hypnosis in childbirth and were successful at it, what do you think lent to that success?

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immediately focusing on my Hypnobabies tracks, as soon as i felt my birthing waves beginning. Not to say that I didn't have conversations and remain active, but as my doula said, i "slept" through my birthing time because I would put on my deepening cd, or easy first stage and everyone else would let me do my thing. I hung on the side of the birth tub and just focused on using the techniques i learned.

how long was her birthing? was it a relatively short one? how'd she feel about her experience afterward?
Hi KM,

First of all, I am saddened by hearing that one of our Hypno-Moms had a less-than-ecxcellent birthing experience and if she desires any help processing it, please let her know that she can call us toll-free at 1-877-55-HYPNO.

>>>>>>>>Although the couple was doing their "homework" and practicing hypnosis daily, when it came time for the birth, the mother did not want to use her hypnosis. At some point with some encouragement she did put one of the tracks on, and it did seem to relax her, but as a whole it was not the way it was described in the class or shown in the films that the instructor showed.>>>>>>>>

The reason for this is clearly in the first line here - she *chose* not to use her Hypnobabies techniques. In doing so, she *chose* for her hypnosis not to work, since no one can expect anything in childbirth to work, even if they have practiced it faithfully, if they do not actually use it, and as directed. This is true for Lamaze techniques, Bradley relaxation and any other childbirth techniques. Practicing hypnosis faithfully so that you will have a much easier birth experience and then not using it, is like learning to drive but choosing to walk instead. It cannot possibly help you get where you want to go in the way you originally wanted to get there.

>>>>>>>>>>My personal take on the situation was that labor essentially snuck up on her and she wasn't prepared for the intensity to come on so quickly.>>>>>

Indeed that may be true and it is one of the reasons why we advise many times in Hypnobabies, for our moms to begin using their Hypnobabies techniques early and continuously in their Birthing Time, especially if their births start out more actively than most, focusing on themselves completely. Some do not do this and then it can be more challenging to get into the hypnosis later on when things have gotten even more intense. Some women even choose not to delegate chores, childcare and other responsibilities to their birth partners, doulas and family members, making it an even longer time until they can focus on their own hypnosis deepening techniques, of which there are many in Hypnobabies. Our program makes it easy for our moms to choose what hypno-tools they would like to use and exactly how they would like to remain deeply in hypnosis. Hypnosis is not merely deep relaxation, it is a re-training of the inner mind, using hypnosis cues and techniques, and if they are not used in labor, they will not work.

Considering the amazing number of women reporting to us how much easier and more comfortable their Hypnobabies births have been, many even pain-free, and describing to us how and when they used their hypnosis cues, CD tracks and other techniques, we can clearly see the correlation between what they consider "success" and their decision to use said hypno-tools.

It breaks my heart to hear that any of our Hypno-Moms did not get what they wanted for their Hypnobabies birth, and we will be posting videos soon of Hypno-Moms stressing how they chose to use their Hypnobabies techniques throughout their births, in the hopes that it can help future Hypno-moms make excellent choices for their own births.

Thanks,
Kerry
Founder/Director of Hypnobabies
I'm also a doula and a Hypnobabies instructor and I've also used Hypnobabies for my own birth (its what made me want to be a doula and instructor!). I agree with what Kerry has said, hypnosis isn't magic, there are techniques that are learned and practiced and then used during the birth. If they aren't used, then they won't "work".

As a Hypnobabies instructor I always tell my students that their success using Hypnobabies depends the most on 2 things: how consistently they have practiced the techniques during pregnancy (hypnosis tools do need to be built and practiced to be effective), how early during the birthing time they begin using the techniques (its much better to get deeply relaxed and in hypnosis early on, there's no benefit to waiting until mom needs to be using them).

Morgan Cornwall, HCHI, HCHD, CD(DONA)
I used Hypnobabies for my own birth and even with it being intervention-heavy due to medical necessity, it was very comfortable and an amazing experience. I never even thought about pain medications (I was just enjoying the sensations of my body) and I was able to give my son the best start possible not having narcotics in his system. I truly believe that is why he did so well in the NICU and was able to come home relatively quickly.

As a doula, I've seen many hypnosis births and they are wonderful! I hope that your enthusiasm isn't dampened, as you attend more Hypnobabies births, I think you'll see that this one was the exception rather than the rule. Good luck to you as you work on your certification! :)

Morgan
In my experience as a mom giving birth with hypnosis, I found the most comfort when I actively used my tools. It was fairly automatic for me, but if I ever found that the sensations were changing from comfortable to somewhat uncomfortable, I used my Hypnobabies tools to create more endorphins and relaxation. My comfort always increased when I did this. :-) Whenever I had any uterine activity, I always responded with my hypnosis tools. This gave me practice throughout my pregnancies and was an automatic reaction when my birthing times began. I've found giving birth to be a much easier process with hypnosis than without (I had an epidural with my first baby). I remember saying something to my doula with my last baby like "I don't know why anyone would choose to do this without hypnosis". It's such a valuable addition to the birth process. :-)

The weeks of preparation installing your hypno-tools give the biggest pay-off when you actively choose to use those tools during the birth. :-) I'm sorry this mom may not be happy about her experience with hypnosis, but from your description of what happened, it does seem she actively chose *not* to use her tools. If that's what happened, then it doesn't really seem surprising if they didn't work well for her, kwim? Some births do require more effort and focus than others and some come with more difficult challenges physically, but when a mom actively uses her hypnosis tools she generally finds it easier to handle whatever she is experiencing. My third baby's birth was complicated and I was very grateful to have my hypnosis skills because they allowed me to stay focused and calm in evaluating the situation when I could have easily freaked out.

Hopefully this helps you understand hypnosis better. :-)
---I've found giving birth to be a much easier process with hypnosis than without (I had an epidural with my first baby). I remember saying something to my doula with my last baby like "I don't know why anyone would choose to do this without hypnosis". It's such a valuable addition to the birth process. :-)---

Laura,

I feel the same way, I had an epidural with my first because I didn't have the "tools" that I needed. With my second one, it was actually enjoyable, the contrast can't be overstated. I've often told people that I'd love to be a surrogate as long as all I have to do is birth the baby using hypnosis, just not carry it for 9 months. :)

Morgan
First of all, I am saddened by hearing that one of our Hypno-Moms had a less-than-ecxcellent birthing experience and if she desires any help processing it, please let her know that she can call us toll-free at 1-877-55-HYPNO.


Kerry, I did not mean to give this impression at all. She had an excellent experience and was VERY happy with her birth.

Michael R- Your response was what I was getting at. I just wanted to know what you felt made the situation a success in the sense that you achieved hypnosis and remained in that state throughout your birthing.


I haven't had my enthusiasm for the technique dampened, nor do I think it doesn't work. I DO however think that it takes a solid dedication to do it, and for some women, it just isn't what ends up taking place. I'd also like to reiterate that this was a BEAUTIFUL birth and I know how wonderful the experience was for the couple as well.

Thanks to all who replied. :)
Thnaks, KM,

I am relieved to hear that this mom had a lovely birthing and I appreciate you letting us know.

As a matter of curiosity, whose Hypnobaies class did you have the pleasure of attending with this mom?

Thanks, Kerry
I am glad to hear the mom was happy with her birth. That is the most important thing! :)

It sounds like for this mom her birth was fast and intense and she found a way to cope that worked! So good for her. She may have even been using some of her Hypnobabies tools. Did she use the peace cue or fingerdrop at all?

It sounds like you did the right thing encouraging her to listen to the CDs but in the end supporting her in the way she wanted to birth!

As a hypno-doula and having attended over 20 births with moms using Hypnobabies, I have seen most moms have great success. You can see my class stats on my blog. http://enjoybirth.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/my-hypnobabies-class-sta...

I personally used Hypnobabies with my 3rd birth and used my tools from early birthing time. I did have an 18 hour birth, so plenty of time to use them and get into a groove!

Hope this helps!
Hey KM,

To give some more detailed background, with my first baby I started at 5 months with a different program and changed (quite last minute) to Hypnobabies because I felt like I needed more scripts, more detail, more than just guided imagery. I had 9 days practice before he came 10 days early. (i told you it was last minute!!)
I didn't immediately start using my tools as there were things that needed to be done, but once I did...that's all I focused on, and I was able to nap for a while. I was *pain* free from the time my labor started at 5am until about 4:30pm. At that point, back labor set in as my little booger turned posterior, and I just didn't have enough practice (as I'm sure you know 9 days compared to 6 weeks of practice is nothing!) to really focus passed it.
However, I still noticed that I was able to use my HB tools in *between* the birthing waves to remain calm, sleep DEEPLY for 90 seconds at a time and "regroup" before my next birthing wave began. I still felt like it helped a lot. I had about 6 hours of that before my baby was born and it was exhilarating to know what I could accomplish.

After his birth I became an instructor, and it's been wonderful to teach other mom's what I've learned. No matter what outcome their birth has, it's nice to give them "tools" to help them remain empowered, or calm, or not fearful, or to have something to go to instead of drugs if that's what they don't want. Ya know? There are so many reasons moms choose Hypnobabies - besides "i don't want pain."

With my next baby, I started practicing at around 20 weeks. My birth with him can be found on youtube at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLYNaJPjcTU
And it was amazing! No pain, and manageable discomfort during transformation. However, I believe this was because at this point I laid down on the bed. I've learned that this is JUST not a good position for my body!!
But even then apparently, I was calm on the outside as my friend later told me "you said you were "done", and that it was uncomfortable -- but i didn't believe you!! you didn't look it at all!!"
More so, I think physically I was okay, but mentally once I got to that hump in the road, the one you find just before your baby comes... I gave up. lol
I don't think everyone needs to practice for 20 weeks for their Hypnobabies to work. That's just what I chose to do, so that I WOULD get plenty of practice.

With this pregnancy, there have been quite a few issues that have sprung up. I've needed the deep relaxation and "de-stressing" that I know I can get with Hypnobabies. So I started listening to the scripts to help keep me sane at around 16 weeks. It's helped so much to listen to the affirmations and fear release. They help keep me positive, and the support that I get from other moms who are doing HB as well and my fellow instructors, is so wonderful. It's nice to have women to talk to who aren't fearful of their births. They help me overcome my own fears of things happening, and they give encouragement and knowledge without perpetuating fear.

As an aside, not sure how it was taught with your class. But in my own I make sure to tell our moms that you do have to practice practice practice.. and use your tools immediately. Don't wait.
As well as telling moms that there are things that can impede - such as unsupportive caregivers, (not using your tools/practicing), unsupportive people in the room *period*, or sometimes just a change of plans. As we know birth isn't a direct path. It's a dance.. one that YOU don't lead. lol Got to follow where it takes you.
I do hope that mom and dad we're happy. =)
Hi KM,

As others have posted I really hope you get to experience some more birth hypnosis clients as it will really change your whole perspective about labor and birth.

I agree 100% with Kerry's take on what happened here with this client. She chose not to use the tools - it's really that simple. I've heard of stories of moms who practicised faithfully during their pregnancies and when it came down to it they never took their Mp3 player out of their hospital bag...and then wondered why they couldn't get in the zone.

Hypnosis is a skill and it takes time and practice for most moms but the key is to practice practice and practice some more and apply everything you have learned on the day ( to keep the adrenaline levels as low as possible right from the very first sensation).

It's good to hear that mom was happy with her experience overall - I'm sure she'll have an amazing birth the next time around.

Tracy
GentleBirthUSA.com
As a two-time Hypnobabies mom and Hypnobabies instructor of more than 5 years, what you witnessed is the reason I constantly remind students to begin using their Hypnobabies skills any time they even *suspect* birth may be starting. It is so much easier to slip into that relaxed state and deepen it as the birth progresses than wait until things are very intense and then expect instant relaxation when it becomes necessary. The majority of women I know who learn Hypnobabies have astounding births. I really can't think of any who weren't "successful" with using their hypnosis if they chose to do so.

What makes me smile is that occassionally there is a woman who will say something like, "My birth was really comfortable and fast, so I never really used my Hypnobabies." I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Of course you did. What do you call all the weeks of practice that led to your birth beind easy and comfortable? You may not have needed specific hypnosis cues, but you were definitely responding to your Hypnobabies preparation." They simply don't understand how unusual it is to link "fast" with "comfortable" where birth is concerned. The deep post-hypnotic suggestions accepted during practice play a big role in the birth, whether mom decides to use her skills directly or not. But wow, what an amazing experience it can be when mom chooses to *use* everything she learned!

Susan
tranquilbirthing.com

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