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Here is a lovely letter a midwife wrote about Hypnobabies…

Despite the fact that I have been attending births for fourteen years, my first experience with Hypnobabies happened only a year ago…and I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it.  Why not?  Because I’d had previous experiences with “hypno”-classes and the subsequent births were often MORE challenging as the parents were not only underprepared for what they were about to experience, they were set up for disappointments with unrealistic expectations of a “pain free” birth if they just did their hypnosis “right”.   It was not unusual for my client to feel labor becoming active (generally 3-4 cm dilated) and panic, thinking she was not doing things ‘right’ because of how it felt, losing all confidence in her ability and desire to complete the job at hand…the exact opposite of what you want in labor.

The upcoming birth was a first time mother and, as most people know, first babies tend to be the most challenging.  I was skeptical and nervous about it as I knew this was a “Hypnobabies” mother.  I braced myself for the false alarms I often saw, emotional breakdowns, the pep talks I was used to giving about how she was NOT failing or doing it wrong, that her body COULD do this, that nothing was wrong.  During our prenatal visits I would ask her if she had any questions this week about nutrition, signs of labor, questions about the birth – and I was always pleasantly surprised at the depth of her knowledge and she would always assure me that they’d just gone over that information in her Hypnobabies class!  My curiosity was peaked, but I did remain skeptical.

I got the first call early in the morning that the mother thought her water had broken, but they assured me that she was doing just fine and would keep in touch with me and let me know if anything changed or she needed me.  She planned to do what she’d learned in her Hypnobabies class…to eat well and rest until labor commanded her attention.  Plan for the day was to take naps and watch a DVD!  Alright…now I was impressed!  I didn’t have to tell a first time mom to take it easy in early labor, or calm a panicking family because her water had broken!  How refreshing!

We kept in contact throughout the day until I headed to their house late that evening.  Contractions were coming very regularly, but she was still calm and handling things very well.  I figured I’d be there for quite a long time as it still sounded like it wasn’t far into her labor.  I got to their home and she was listening to her CD’s, calm and happy – uh oh, more confirmation that I’d probably be there a long time.  Imagine my delight when their son slipped out into the world while his mom sat on a birth stool in her peaceful bedroom!  Tucked into bed, mom smiled and looked at me and said, “That wasn’t nearly as bad as so many people told me it would be!  That was AWESOME!”

I was thrilled beyond words – but figured that the chances were great that it was the parents that succeeded IN SPITE of the method, not because of the method.  Glad that they had such a positive experience, Hypnobabies hadn’t quite won me over yet – I would need more experience with it before making a final judgment.

Thankfully I wouldn’t have to wait long.  Another first time mother (who had attended the same class as the previous mother!) called me early in the morning with early labor.  Similar story as her classmate; she labored all day, finally calling me out late in the evening.  A smiling and happy first time mom greeted me from her rented Jacuzzi hot tub in her family room.  I commented to my assistant that we were probably in for a LONG night and after our initial assessment we laid down to rest.  One hour later, when I went to check on the baby, she was out of the water and going to the bathroom.  Still smiling and happy, we all agreed that an internal exam might be a good idea.  I prayed that she would be at least 3cm but braced myself for much less.  To say that I was shocked is an understatement: I found her to be 8cm dilated and her water broken around my hand.  Her response to finding out she was 8cm was a smile and a calm, “yay”!  She got back into her water and soon after she delivered her 10 pound baby girl in her bedroom.  Her response to the birth was that it was “beautiful”.

I could feel myself converting to being a Hypnobabies fan.  Not for myself, mind you, but for my clients who time and time again had similar experiences.  Calm labors, centered mamas, working hard and never complaining because they EXPECTED and PREPARED to work hard!!  Babies born beautifully by empowered mothers who soon-after say how wonderful their births were.  I found myself referring people eagerly to the Hypnobabies classes, and my reaction to finding out someone was a Hypnobabies family was, “AWESOME!”  It has totally shattered all of my previous misgivings that I had developed, as it became obvious how different the Hypnobabies series was from all other hypno- classes.  The main difference that I saw was the amount (and quality) of childbirth information given.  Family were given information on how to keep themselves healthy through the pregnancy, stages of labor, physiological changes and ways to help facilitate the birth through positional changes and movement – and also given information on ways to use hypnosis to assist them through the birth.  The parents were given realistic expectations so that they could prepare for what they were likely to experience, not false hope of escaping the experience.

As a midwife, my Hypnobabies births are easy on me as I am dealing with healthy and informed families ready for the challenges ahead – and they are a blessing to the families as the tools and information given to them through their classes help them have the best outcomes possible!!  Yes, Hypnobabies….you turned this skeptic into a fan!

Stephanie Soderblom LM CPM

Nurturing Hearts Birth Services
www.azhomebirth.com

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I of course get to see this first hand with the moms I work with.

It was wonderful to see an article which discussed all the benefits.

Here are some highlights.

Moms that use hypnosis

  • use less drugs during birth
  • are more comfortable during birth
  • have shorter labors
  • less medical interventions
  • less depression and anxiety after birth

Hypnobabies is great for moms on so many levels!

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A study done in Australia shows that moms are more hypnotizable while pregnant.  This is great news for moms wanting to use Hypnobabies!

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Birth Location Matters!

A mom posted this on the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group and I asked if I could share it here.  I think it shows the importance of choosing your birth location carefully.  Yes, she could have chosen a hospital MUCH closer, but she wouldn’t be having the birth she wanted there!

Hi all!  I’m just stoked after my hospital tour, so I have to rant to you wonderful women who can understand why these little things are so exciting to me. :)

First, some background info:  We LOVED the little hospital where my DS was born while we were living in Austin, TX. But when we moved here to the Bronx for my husband’s medical schooling, we found ourselves living directly between two huge inner-city hospitals…they are literally across the street on one side of us and across a lawn on the other side of us!  Many of our friends think we are crazy for driving a half hour to Sleepy Hollow where my midwives attend births in a small, natural birth friendly hospital. I just know that I would be miserable with the hyper-medicalized, large-scale teaching hospital experience offered at our neighboring hospitals.

Today we finally found the time to drop by the hospital we will birth at, and we loved it! All of the nurses I met were incredibly warm and helpful, and everything I want in my birth plan is standard there. But what was a HUGE and wonderful suprise is that they do water births!  I knew they have tubs to relax in, but I thought they were like most hospitals where you have to get out when it’s time to push.  When the head nurse told me that my midwives frequently “catch babies” in the tubs, I felt like I had won the lottery! :)  It makes me even more excited and confident about my birthing time!

Anyways, just had to share the joy!  Good to know that the “medical establishment” is slowly coming around to more mommy/baby friendly methods.

Best to all,
Jana

Take the time to research the hospitals and care providers ALL around you!  It can make a huge difference.

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I really liked this Birth Preference List a Hypnobabies Mom shared with me.  Why?

1.  It is short and to the point. 

2.  Less than a page in length.

3.  Easy to read. 

Which means it actually will get read!

I got her permission to share with everyone, so here you go. 

Birth Preferences for _________

  • I will be using self-hypnosis to manage my birthing time and may not be immediately responsive to questions during pressure waves.  Please wait until my pressure wave ends and my eyes open to converse.  Or speak directly to my Birth Partner.  Because of the high level of concentration, I request low lights and quiet voices

 

  • I would appreciate being assigned a nurse who enjoys natural births.

 

  • Please refrain from any medical interventions not previously agreed upon.  I am happy to discuss any measures which may be deemed medically necessary prior to their implementations. 

 

  • Please no IV.  A Saline-Lock is fine. 

 

  • I would prefer intermittent monitoring.

 

  • Please do not offer pain medication or ask me if I am in any pain.  I will ask if I need it

 

  • I would appreciate a minimum of vaginal exams and do not want to be informed of my progress. 

 

  • Would appreciate perineal massage to help reduce the risk of tearing/episiotomy.  I do not want an episiotomy… but am willing to discuss its necessity should the occasion arise.

 

  • Please use a blanket (rather than towels) to dry off and clean the baby gently with.

 

  • Please allow me time (an hour or so) to get to know my baby before removing him from my chest for weight and measurement.

 

  • Please do not cut the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing

 

  • I appreciate your patience in waiting for the placenta to detach naturally

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Some Christian moms are hesitant to look into Hypnobabies for fear that hypnosis conflicts with their faith. They may feel that it is too “new age” or they will be disconnected from or unable to control their mind or body.

I would like to address some of these concerns in this post and will include a link at the bottom for another further articles to read. This is a topic that is discussed occasionally on the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group, we have a lot of Christian moms on that group and I have included a lot of their input.

Personally, I am a Christian and personally find no conflict in using hypnosis for childbirth. In fact, I have found that the Hypnobabies program helped me to become in better touch with my reliance upon God and the amazing beauty of how He created me to give birth to my babies. I also felt more connected to my body and birth and in control of myself during Bryson’s birth!

My favorite scripture is “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 I feel that Hypnobabies helped me to have the power of knowledge of normal birth, increase my love for my body and baby and helped me have a more control of my mind in preparing for and birthing Bryson.

Who is in Control?

Let’s clear up some misconceptions about hypnosis. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. In Hypnobabies moms learn to get themselves into that deep relaxed state. In every script they listen to, they are reminded that THEY are in control. They can enter or exit this relaxed state at any time. So they are completely in control.

I never found anything in the program that would undermine any of my Christian beliefs. It actually helped me to love and appreciate myself, and the gift of having a child so much more, because I was focusing my mind on it regularly. Besides, we must CHOOSE to use the tools that allow our bodies to relax easily, it’s not like it’s forced upon us. This same kind of programming happens to us throughout our lives anyway, this is just purposely choosing to make it all positive about childbirth.

 

Christ said that to, “love thy neighbor as thyself” was the greatest law second to loving God himself. You must have love for yourself in order to do this. The whole program is based in loving, respecting and showing gratitude for yourself and your baby. I see nothing to worry about!

Hypnosis is a Natural State

Here is something that Kerry (creator of Hypnobabies) said, “Hypnosis is something that we all already do many times a day, so it’s a very natural thing in our lives and is not an “altered state”. We are automatically in hypnosis when driving, swimming, doing other sports, sitting in church or a lecture, reading, watching television or movies or on the computer (a screen of any kind) and when waking up or going to sleep. In Hypnobabies we are simply guiding that process in a very positive way to create an easy, fear-free comfortable childbirth experience.”

What is on the CDs?

Moms are also encouraged to listen to the scripts at least once while alert so they know what they are hearing. (Many moms fall asleep during the scripts and don’t “remember” what is on them.)

Everything on the scripts are all very positive and uplifting messages about your body, baby and birth. Here are a few mom’s comments about what is on the CDs

1. I know it’s common for Christians to be anti-hypnosis out of the fear that your mind will be open to negative influence. As we all know, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. No one can force you to do anything that is against your beliefs.

Anyone who is concerned about anything on the Hypnobabies CDs can simply listen to them in a conscious state (while washing dishes or whatever) to make sure that they are comfortable with all the suggestions given.

There has never been anything on the CDs or in the scripts or materials that goes against my Christian values or beliefs. I actually view hypnosis as a gift from God since I’ve found it to be a wonderful tool. :-)

2. I’m also Christian and have never had issues with hypnosis. (I have two Hypnobabies with another one on the way.) I’ve viewed it as more prayer-like meditation. I also feel that the Hypnobabies program has helped me trust in God even more. He made my body perfectly so that I can give birth, when I trust my body to do its job, I am really trusting that God made everything perfectly.

 

Just my thoughts. I also like the suggestion to listen to the CDs while doing something active so you can hear the whole thing and make sure there isn’t anything that offends you in it… I personally have never felt that anything Kerry said was contrary to anything I believed.

3. I don’t see any conflict with it at all. In fact, I think it’s more Christian to do what you can to bring your little blessing into the world in a calm manner free of drugs. The argument in the church against hypnosis historically is that it leaves your mind open to negative influences. There’s nothing on the CDs as far as I know that would conflict with your beliefs–if I heard anything that conflicted with my beliefs I wouldn’t be doing it.

New Age?

Some hypnosis programs do lean towards a new agey feel. Hypnobabies is very mainstream in its orientation.

After I had my first successful Hypnobabies delivery, I came upon a copy of the Mongan Hypnobirthing book at a resale shop and bought it thinking it would make a nice additional resource for my next birth. When I became pregnant again, I started reading it, and was pretty much shocked at what I read.

The whole earth mother, goddess within, and rejection of the Eve story as a fabrication of men to keep women oppressed, line of reasoning behind why a woman can birth naturally and use hypnosis to help her achieve this goal was a big turn-off to me.

I am forever grateful that this was not my original introduction to hypnosis in birth, because it totally falls in with the types of negative preconceptions that Christians have toward hypnosis and the like and I am afraid I would have rejected the idea as not in line with my personal values.

I think Kerry has done an incredible job of empowering women to embrace their innate ability to birth their babies and find the strength within themselves, without relying upon ideas that *some* will find offensive.

Hypnosis is very similar to meditation, which is well supported in the Bible.

Do they think hypnosis is too New Age? I am a Christian AND I went to Seminary, and I don’t see any problem with it. Hypnosis is like a deeper form of meditation – and meditation is mentioned many times in the Bible as a good thing. There are passages of the Bible that talk about meditation, removing grief or fear from the mind, and putting away pain from the body (because isn’t that what we’re doing with Hypnobabies?)

Incorporating your beliefs into Hypnobabies

Kerry, “Many of our moms on this list are Christian and have had wonderful success with Hypnobabies while incorporating their beliefs onto the scripts and hypnosis practice as well as adding prayer into the actual hypnosis when giving birth. I have come to realize that that women know what they need and will find it in Hypnobabies, adapting it perfectly and serenely to their own religious or non-religious belief systems. They always do.”

When I am in my Special Place, it’s always me, the baby, and God behind me supporting me. I have recently begun to get involved in my faith again and I view this whole process of pregnancy, birth, and the hypnosis preparation for it is very spirtual. It’s like God is there(literally in my special place with me), telling me that he created me for this very process to bring this new life(again that he created) into the world with peace and love.

Here is a link to another article with more information.

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(Apr. 15, 2009) – We’ve heard it before: “Imagine yourself passing the exam or scoring a goal and it will happen.” We may roll our eyes and think that’s easier said than done, but in a new study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologists Christopher Davoli and Richard Abrams from Washington University suggest that the imagination may be more effective than we think in helping us reach our goals.

A group of students searched visual displays for specific letters (which were scattered among other letters serving as distractors) and identified them as quickly as possible by pressing a button. While performing this task, the students were asked to either imagine themselves holding the display monitor with both hands or with their hands behind their backs (it was emphasized that they were not to assume those poses, but just imagine them).

The results showed that simply imagining a posture may have effects that are similar to actually assuming the pose. The participants spent more time searching the display when they imagined themselves holding the monitor, compared to when they imagined themselves with their hands behind their backs. The researchers suggest that the slower rate of searching indicates a more thorough analysis of items closer to the hands. Previous research has shown that we spend more time looking at items close to our hands (items close to us are usually more important than those further away), but this is the first study suggesting that merely imagining something close to our hands will cause us to pay more attention to it.

The researchers suggest these findings indicate that our “peripersonal space” (the space around our body) can be extended into a space where an imagined posture would take us. They note there may be advantages to having this ability, such as determining if an action is realistic (e.g., “Can I reach the top shelf?”) and helping us to avoid collisions. The authors conclude that the present study confirms “an idea that has long been espoused by motivational speakers, sports psychologists, and John Lennon alike: The imagination has the extraordinary capacity to shape reality.”

Journal reference:

. Reaching Out With the Imagination. Psychological Science, (in press)
Adapted from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science.
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Association for Psychological Science (2009, April 15). Power Of Imagination Is More Than Just A Metaphor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/04/090414153527.htm

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