Archive for April, 2008

I haven’t posted at all this yahoo group, but I did the home study Hypnobabies course and had a great birthing experience that I thought others might find helpful. I should probably say that I am about the least likely person in the world to do natural childbirth. I have a degree in clinical pharmacy and am usually all about adequate pain relief! But after the birth of my first 2 children with epidurals that really didn’t help, I knew there must be a better way. So here goes…..

Pressure waves started at 12:45 a.m. after I’d been asleep for about 2 hours. They were approximately 10 min. apart. I stayed very comfortable and relaxed. Sat on my birth ball, listened to birthing day affirmations. Got up about an hour or so later and started to pick up the family room and kitchen (I wanted the house to be clean since I was pretty sure this was the real deal, and my husband had had football party the night before leaving out dirty dishes, etc.:) I’d turn my light switch to off when I had a wave, but felt totally fine and comfortable in between. Around 3:30 I had my husband call our babysitter who came right over. I laid on the bed giving her the final instructions on getting our daughter on the bus, what to feed the kids for breakfast, etc. while my husband finished packing the hospital bag. I would stop talking during a wave, focus, and breathe very deeply. She was amazed to watch how relaxed I could go!

We arrived at the hospital around 4:30 a.m. I was dilated to 6-7 and still remaining quite comfortable in between waves. We gave the staff our birthing plan and they were very respectful. I put in the Early First Stage CD and it was extremely helpful! I spent another half hour or so with the waves intensifying and then my doctor came in and I was an 8-9 cm.

She was getting ready to break my water, when I had to speak up and say, “I really don’t want my water broken right now.” I was handling the waves just fine but had no desire to intensify things at that point. She was supportive and the staff dimmed the lights while I listened again to the Early First Stage CD. I started to feel the pressure really increase and thought I was feeling the urge to push- my first thought was “Wow, this is incredible– even easier than I thought it was going to be!” After 2 really strong birthing waves, the next ones started to lessen in intensity. They seemed to be getting a little farther apart. I switched back to Birthing Day affirmations and tried to get some rest between the waves.

They checked me again around 6:45 a.m. and I was an 8. This was the point of discouragement. I felt like my body had done all that work in the past 2 hours with not much to show for it. I decided I needed to get up and change positions to see if we could get some more pressure on my cervix and get it dilating again. At this point a new nurse came on shift and she was wonderful!!! Extremely supportive and very calm. She seemed to know just what to say (and not say) to help keep me comfortable. She suggested that we move me to the shower or tub. (I had previously been lying on my side in the hospital bed because that is what felt most comfortable to me.) The tub sounded good so my husband ran a nice hot bath. The bubbles felt great and I was physically more comfortable, however I lost focus because I didn’t have a waterproof Ipod or CD player and couldn’t listen to the scripts anymore. After about 20 minutes in the tub, I knew I had to get out. (Note to others: Make sure you have an alternative way to listen to your scripts if you’re going to be in water!!!) I was amazed at how much listening to Kerry’s voice could keep me in hypnosis.

After I got out of the tub, I had a couple of waves while standing and realized that I needed to lie back on my side in the hospital bed. This definitely wasn’t the way I had planned to labor, but at the time it was the most comfortable position for me. I quickly put back in my Early First stage CD and started to relax better.

It was probably around 8 a.m. by then and the waves were definitely increasing in intensity. I asked the nurse to tell me the pros and cons of breaking my water at this point, (which she did very objectively, showing that she was totally committed to me having the birth I wanted.) I decided to have my doctor called and felt like it was the right time to have him (new doctor was on call- my favorite OB!) break my water. It was a good thing we had him called right then, because before I knew it my body started to go through transformation. This was a very different experience from when I had my previous 2 children and hadn’t even noticed that I was going through transition. Let’s just say it was kind of reminiscent of having the stomach flu- only 10 times more intense. With each wave, my temperature would rise and I felt I was going to throw up. But pretty soon, my body just started to take over, like it knew exactly what to do to give birth.

My doctor arrived and could tell I was totally ready to have that baby. He ruptured my membranes and I quickly switched to the Pushing CD. From then on my body just automatically pushed with the contractions. This was probably the best part of the whole birth. There was no one telling me when or how to push, it was just automatic. Since I was most comfortable on my side, my doctor had my husband hold my leg up to widen the pelvic opening and within just a few minutes the baby’s head was emerging. It was totally pain free! Yes, pain free. I was almost in shock that it wasn’t hurting more. Yes, I could feel a lot of pressure in the birth canal but the baby came out as slick as butter within 3 pushes. My first words were, “I did it!!!”

I was ecstatic to hold this new baby in my arms and to not be pregnant anymore! The doctor had me roll onto my back so he could deliver the placenta and put in a couple of stitches (I had a very small tear- but again, no pain with it.) The baby was calm as could be and very alert.

The whole experience was amazing. Thank you Hypnobabies for all the practice in relaxation and staying focused! I don’t think I could have done it without all the great resources and Kerry’s soft soothing voice in the background helping me stay in hypnosis during the birthing time.

Story shared by a mom on the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group!  Come join us if you are interested in learning more about Hypnobabies.  (you must send an introduction to be approved)  You can read over 150 other stories by real moms who used hypnosis for their births at Pregnancy Birth and Babies.

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There was a cool article in the BBC News about a man who hypnotized himself for an operation on his hand.  This man had been practicing hypnosis for many years, so was able to do this himself for this operation.  I have heard of others who have used hypnosis for different medical procedures using hypnosis, but typically with hypnotherapists there to guide them.

The great thing about birth is it is a natural thing that your body does, so it is an ideal situation to use hypnosis.  With Hypnobabies, moms learn to get themselves into deep self hypnosis in 3 seconds using the finger drop technique. 

If hypnosis can work for operations, then of course it can work for birth! 

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Today Painless Childbirth:  An Empowering Journey Through Pregnancy and Childbirthby Guiditta Tornetta was released on Amazon. 

It is exciting to see a book that appreciates the power of hypnosis for childbirth.  It was written by a doula who is a hypnotherapist and has used hypnosis to help many of her clients have painfree births. 

Buy the book by the 19th and you can enter a drawing to win a prize.  They are trying to get the book to the #1 position of pregnancy and childbirth books!   

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In Prevention magazine there have been some great articles about using hypnosis for different health issues.  These are great links to read if you wonder how hypnosis works and how it can be applied to birth!

How Hypnosis Works 

Healing Power of Hypnosis

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I was rather skeptical at first that I could really change my view of
natural and normal childbirth, but I figured, what I have I got to
loose?  I ordered my Hypnobabies around 30 weeks and was able to
start before 31 weeks.  I really took every word of the Hypnosis
reminder to heart that this will work for me and my baby just how it
is meant to.  I dismissed every thought of negativity from my mind,
ignored my husband’s reservations of the program, and blew off any
pesimism (sp?) from anyone else.  I really got into my Affirmations
and focused on listening and relaxing through my scripts.  I made
sure that I didn’t focus on *whether or not this was working* just
told myself it was!

This really helped me to change my expectations for my birthing
time.  I kept waiting for things for get like they did the first time
around and each pressure wave NEVER got any more than what I could
handle.  Things truely were calm!  And to think I only had my midwife
for the last three hours of my birthing time (12 hours or so total of
consistent PW’s).  I could have gone all the way to full dilation by

I went from thinking CX’s to PRESSURE WAVES and they became just
that – pressure!  It changed from  P… to MANAGEABLE, SHORT LIVED
DISCOMFORT.  Hypnobabies really helped me to change my perspective
and better prepared me for the natural birth that my baby and I


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April is Cesarean Awareness Month. 

Hypnobabies has some different tools for Cesarean moms and VBAC moms.  

Some moms have to schedule a cesarean for medical reasons.  These moms need support and Kerry created a CD set just for them.  Ceserean Birth CD Set. 

For moms who take the Hypnobabies course and end up with a cesarean, in the survey I recently posted, they all felt their Hypnobabies tools were helpful before, during and after the cesarean.  Here is a story of a mom who ended up with a surprise breech baby which led to a cesarean. 

Then for VBAC moms we have a special CD for them, which can be used alone to help them to prepare emotionally for their VBAC or paired with the Hypnobabies class for preparing for a comfortable birth. 

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I created a survey for moms who have used hypnosis to prepare for childbirth.  This is for moms who have already had their babies!  If you are interested, please go fill it out!

 Click Here to take survey


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 The Rev. Dr. Prentice Kinser III, B.A., M.B.A., M.Div., D.Min., CPC, NBCCH, is Executive Director and Pastoral Counselor for the Blue Ridge Pastoral Counseling Centers, Inc. (BRPCC), is an ordained minister (Episcopal priest), has received a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy, is certified as a Pastoral Counselor and Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, is an Adjunct Faculty member at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and is a National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, a Certified Trainer of Clinical Hypnotherapy, a husband, a father of three children, and a grandfather of three grandchildren.

Dr. Kinser leads Vestry retreats, spiritual growth classes, stop smoking, weight loss, and performance enhancement programs.

All of these positive benefits can be used to greatly enhance spiritual practices, deepen meditation and prayer, control stress, assist in physical, spiritual and emotional healing, and, in general, assist individuals to find greater wholeness and happiness in life.

“Hypnosis and Pastoral Hypnotherapy” is a portion of Dr. Prentice Kinser, III’s doctoral thesis presented in June, 1997 at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  Many psychological and physical factors, acting reciprocally through the image-producing faculties of the mind induce the perceptual response called hypnosis. 

The capacity to enter into hypnosis is as natural a phenomenon as sleep, but it is distinctly different from sleep.  Hypnosis has been described as “a state of consciousness involving an extension of concentration combined with a susceptibility to suggestion occurring during physiological relaxation.”(1)  Another definition I find useful is: “Hypnosis is a process which produces relaxation, distraction of the conscious mind, heightened suggestibility and increased awareness, allowing access to the subconscious mind, through the imagination.  It also produces the ability to experience thoughts and images as real.”(2)  

My own approach to hypnosis, pastoral hypnotherapy, and treatment comes out of my training and experience in using the therapeutic insights and writings of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (19011980).  From that perspective, hypnosis can be seen as an altered psychological state “generally characterized by certain physiological attributes (e.g., relaxed muscle tone, reduced blood pressure, slowed breath rate), by an enhanced receptivity to suggestion, and by an increased access to unconscious feelings, ideas, and memories (Erickson, 1989).”(3)   

It is important to remember that hypnosis does not have to involve the stereotypic rituals of swinging pendulums, watches or crystal balls, or that it is a fixed internal state.  “Clinical” hypnosis and “pastoral” hypnotherapy do imply a clinical or pastoral setting, with the focus more on the process of communication and therapeutic outcome, rather than on the hypnotic state involved.

Clearly, hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, i.e., it is different from normal waking consciousness. However, it is believed that all people go in and out of hypnosis on a regular basis.

Many people have experienced a type of hypnotic state while driving a car and become unconscious of the fact that they are still driving.   As they come out of the hypnotic state, they suddenly realize they do not remember what has happened for the past several minutes.   It is as though an unconscious part of the mind was able to drive the car, avoid danger, speed up and slow down as necessary, while the conscious mind went off on a brief vacation thinking about something else.  A hypnotic state may be experienced in the movies or while watching TV when people become so involved that they actually cry about a picture that has been projected onto a screen.   At one level of their minds they know the picture is fiction.   On another level, their minds move voluntarily into the imagination in which there is a suspension of reality testing and an acceptance of what is happening on the screen as real.

Likewise, when people experience hypnosis, they often simply allow their bodies to relax and their minds to focus attention on the words they hear, and the various images they may represent in their minds.   As Erickson observed, this is not hypersuggestible mind control but a very natural process that allows clients to more easily reach goals or objectives they have chosen for themselves.   With proper motivation, the client moves naturally and easily into a comfortable hypnotic state.  This is a safe process in the hands of a trained Hypnotherapist.  

In summary, hypnosis, when utilized by trained and competent practitioners, can be a natural, comfortable and helpful process of communication, during which clients and/or parishioners may experience increased attention to suggestions, profound concentration, heightened recall of memories and access to state-dependent memories, greater image-producing abilities, and increased ability to form new habit patterns.  


1. David Fox, “Mind/Body, Brain/Soul: Halakhic Explorations of Hypnotic Trance Phenomena,” Journal of Psychology and Judaism, Vol. 16, No.2 (Summer 1992), p. 97.

2. A.M. Krasner, The Wizard Within (Santa Ana: American Board of Hypnotherapy Press, 1991), p.2.

3. John H. Edgette, Psy.D., and Janet Sasson Edgette, Psy. D., The Handbook of Hypnotic Phenomena in Psychotherapy (New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1995), pp. 3-4.

4. Edgette and Edgette, p. 4, quoting J.K. Zeig “Therapeutic patterns of Ericksonian influence on communication” in J. K. Zeig (Ed) The Evolution of Psychotherapy (New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc, 1987) pp. 392-412).

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Janet Field, CHt, HCHI

A significant percentage of my Hypnobabies students are Christian – as am I!  The way many of my Christian students choose to use hypnosis is to add to the more general birth-related suggestions given in class by using the scripture verses which mean the most to them and are deeply encouraging for them.  During pregnancy and birth both partners find this extremely comforting and a very valuable assistance to a peaceful birth.

Because of the nature of hypnosis, women are in a deeply relaxed state when their partners read the scriptures to them.  In this relaxed state, the subconscious mind imprints those words of scripture deeply and directly and responds to and acts on the encouragement – even in the face of possibly difficult circumstances. 

For my Christian students, prayer usually becomes an integral part of the birth process, just as prayer is an integral part of their lives.  The only difference is that, with the relaxation of hypnosis, prayers are taken in much, much more deeply and the heart responds to them that much more deeply.

Occasionally someone has expressed concern to me that hypnosis would leave them open to “evil” forces.  Let me assure you – when you are using hypnosis, you are the one in control.  You are simply relaxed.  I say “when you are using hypnosis” because all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.  Nobody does it “to you”.  You are always in full control of your own thoughts and actions.  In fact, I let people know at the beginning of a hypnosis/relaxation session that, at any time, they can bring themselves back to their full awareness – much the way you would open your eyes and discontinue a prayer or meditation if you needed your attention on a suddenly pressing matter at hand.

Dr. Larry Nims, a PhD psychologist with over 30 years’ clinical experience, works with clients using hypnosis.  Dr. Nims’ works and articles about forgiveness are for a general audience, yet one can see the Lord’s hand in Dr. Nims’ work.   Following is a paragraph from Dr. Nims.  Through his words, I find one very positive description of the way some Christians use hypnosis for themselves.

“At the end of each hypnosis counseling session with all of my Christian clients, I ask them to say a prayer.  The prayer focuses on the negative attitudes and actions that were involved in each of the problems that were treated in the session, and it invites the Lord to occupy these places and be the Lord of them.  I always encourage Christians to use this prayer every time they use hypnosis on their own or in my office.”

Before and during my own work with students and clients, I like to stop and call on God in prayer, asking that I be used as an instrument of His healing love. 

A simple search of the web will provide an abundance of additional information on Christianity and hypnosis.

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