Archive for October, 2008

PregTASTIC Pod Cast about Hypnobabies

PregTASTIC is an online radio show about all things pregnancy, birth and babies.

They just did a podcast titled Hypno-Curious about Hypnobabies where they interviewed Kerry Tuschhoff, the founder of Hypnobabies.  It is a great show!

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9 Months and Beyond

Micky is one of our newest Hypnobabies Instructors.  Please take the time to vote.  🙂

In Sept I asked you to vote – well we made the OCTOBER FINALS!!!

Here’s the update – I need you to vote again please!!! And blog about
it too!

A while ago, I entered my business, 9 Months & Beyond at Ideablob.com.
Well, I finally got enough overall votes to make it into the finals
for October. That means I have to get the MOST votes between now and
Oct 31st to win $10,000 for my business. The money is given by
Advanta, a credit card company, but it is truly a check for 10,000
that I can use to grow my business however I see fit.

If I win, it will change my life. I will be able to get a site of our
own and expand the programming and hours/availability for classes.
There is NOTHING like this in Nashville (where I live) and little like
it in the Southeast. As you know, this is also the part of the country
with the most abysmal breastfeeding rates. I want to change the world.
I have big dreams and a big vision. I can SEE it on the horizon.

Will you please help me make this dream a reality? It will take just a
few minutes to register at ideablob.com and to vote for my idea. You
can even launch one of your own. I don’t think a birth related
business has EVER won!

Lastly, please pass this on too. If you blog, twitter, or just email –
tell EVERYONE who has computer access to vote for 9 Months & Beyond,
LLC. This contest is about getting the most votes. Ideablob doesn’t
spam you or email you every day so it is no hassle to sign up.

This is the link:


If you know someone with a blob that would support a
birth/breastfeeding/parenting focused business please ask them to blog
about it too.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers!

Micky Jones

Micky Jones, BS, CLE, CLD, CHBE, HCHI
9 Months & Beyond, LLC
Hypnobabies classes, Breastfeeding consultation and Medela pump
rentals, Birth Doula services and more
1-877-365-(MAMA) 6262
…helping you enjoy the most precious years of life
Vote for us on Idea Blob.com

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There is a new website out of the UK with information for moms worried about having a big baby. 


So many moms go to a late term ultrasound and are told their baby is going to be so BIG. I loved this quote from the site. 

I heard a great analogy from an obstetrician once, that likened trying to predict the size of a baby before birth, by ultrasound, to trying to guess the weight of a man, sitting in a bath full of water, in the room next door by measuring his waist and thigh bone. When you look at it like that it really does become apparent how ludicrous these gross measures we use are!

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I love going around to different blogs and finding their Hypnobabies Birth Stories. 

Here is a great Hypnobabies Home Birth Blog Post

see slide show HERE

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Vanessa’s Story
I had a mostly easy and uneventful pregnancy.  Even the morning
sickness was almost nonexistent, except for a general icky feeling
in the early evenings for the first few weeks.  I was incredibly
tired and hungry throughout the pregnancy, and during the last 2 to
3 weeks I was nearing exhaustion.  It was impossible to find a
comfortable position and I was unable to sleep.  My mental and
emotional states were suffering in those last couple of weeks.  I
arranged to start my maternity leave from work a week before my due
date in hopes of having time at home to relax.

About half way through the pregnancy I started practicing
Hypnobabies, a self-hypnosis program for a comfortable childbirth.
I had decided I wanted to have a natural drug free birth and put my
faith in 6 CDs with suggestions to help me relax through labor and
experience childbirth as an easy and painless event.  Listening to a
CD every night was a great way to relax and it also gave me
confidence in my pregnancy and my body’s ability to birth a baby.

My due date was 09/09/07 but I was really hoping to have my baby on
09/08/07 because numerically I thought it would be a fun birthday to
have.  It was rumored that eating eggplant parmesan would cause
labor to start, so we went out to an Italian restaurant for dinner
on 9/7 and I ordered eggplant parmesan.  I also had the leftovers
for lunch on 9/8.  I was having contractions on 9/8, but
unfortunately they were not regular or strong enough to make me
think that would be the day.  On the morning of Sunday 9/9 I woke
up, and after using the bathroom I noticed some pink spotting.  I
told DH I thought this would be the day.  I continued having
contractions that gradually…. very gradually….. got stronger and
closer together.

DH’s parents called and invited our 4-year-old daughter E to go out
for the day to visit my sister-in-law and see their new house.  E
was excited to go and spend the day playing with her cousin, and I
was glad that she would have the opportunity to do something fun
rather than sit around the house watching me have contractions all
day.  At one point, DH went out to run some last minute errands and
I was enjoying the peace of having the house to myself for a couple
of hours.  My dog wouldn’t leave my side; she must have sensed that
something was going on.

Around 6pm we decided it would be best for DH to call his parents
and tell them to keep E overnight.  A couple of hours later he drove
out to their house with some overnight things for her, and also to
drop our dog with them so we wouldn’t have to worry about taking
care of her either.  At this point I was having hot flashes, so DH
positioned a big fan in front of an open window and pointed it
directly at me.   I was lying on the couch with my eyes closed,
focusing on relaxing through each contraction, while I waited for
him to return home.  I was feeling confident that I could handle it,
I wasn’t experiencing pain or fear, though I did repeat to him
several times that he shouldn’t dilly-dally over at his parents’
house.  I didn’t know how quickly things would progress and I wanted
him to be home.

Later in the evening I was feeling hungry so I ate some soup.  I
remember thinking how nice it was to be at home and to be able to
eat when hungry.  After eating, I decided it was time to start
listening to some of my hypnosis CDs.  I listened with headphones,
trying to find a comfortable position on the couch.  Then I switched
to sitting on the exercise ball with my head resting on the arm of
the couch.  Through each contraction I focused on relaxing
completely, repeating the words “relax” and “peace” (hypnosis cues
that I had been practicing for weeks) over and over in my head.

Around midnight my contractions were about 3 – 4 minutes apart and
finally I agreed to let DH call the midwife.  After talking with
her, he told me she seemed surprised that we hadn’t called her
sooner and she instructed him that we should head for the hospital.
I was glad to be on the road during a time when there wouldn’t be
any traffic to worry about.  The hospital where my midwives are on
staff is about a 30 minute drive without traffic, and who knows how
long during heavy traffic times.  The only aspect of my labor and
birth that I was slightly nervous about was the drive to the
hospital, so it was a relief to know that heavy traffic wouldn’t be
an issue.  As it turns out, the drive was not a big deal at all.  I
sat in front with the seat reclined and my eyes closed, and
continued to listen to hypnosis with my headphones.  Before I knew
it, we had arrived.  It was about 1:00 am.

DH dropped me off in front of the emergency room while he went to
park the car.  We walked in the doors together and he talked to the
man behind the counter.  The man came out and got a wheel chair for
me, but I told him I preferred to walk.  He looked surprised, DH
looked slightly amused, and the man made some comment about never
arguing with a pregnant woman.  He led us to the labor and delivery

I got set up in my room, changed into the sexy hospital gown, and
the nurse came in to strap me up to the monitors and ask a bunch of
questions.  One of the questions the nurse asked was what my plan
was for pain relief.  I answered that I was using hypnosis for a
comfortable and pain free birth.  She also asked what my pain level
was on a scale of 1 – 10 and I answered, “zero.”  I was expecting
those questions and had prepared the answers in my mind ahead of
time.  She checked my dilation and I was disappointed to learn it
was only 4 cm and 50% effaced, but I told myself not to get

Over the next several hours I continued to listen to the Hypnobabies
on my headphones, repeating “peace” and “relax” to myself during
contractions.  I tried several positions during labor – on the bed,
walking around, in the shower, on the chair, on the exercise ball,
even on the toilet.  I changed positions every so often, but mostly
preferred sitting on the bed with the head of the bed raised
completely upright.  The midwife and the nurse both came in and out
of the room many times to check on me, always asking “Are you SURE
there’s nothing you need?”  I guess they were surprised to see a
woman in labor who was so relaxed and comfortable.  Since I was not
hooked up to an IV, they both continued to encourage me to drink
lots of water and juice every time they came to check on me.  Every
time they reminded me I obediently took a sip, then promptly forgot
about it until the next time one of them came in and reminded me

All night long I labored in the hospital, not sleeping.  At 8:00 am
the shift was changing.  The midwife and the L & D nurse who had
been there all night were leaving.  Another midwife was starting her
shift.  During my prenatal visits I had seen both MW’s several
times, so I was comfortable with both of them and glad they were the
ones on call during my labor.

I was very tired and was starting to think I would be pregnant
forever, that I’d never actually give birth to this baby.  MW told
me it was important not to get discouraged, and suggested breaking
my water to speed things up.  I was afraid.  I had been handling
contractions so well up to that point and I was afraid that breaking
my water would be too intense for me to handle.  She had to go and
assist someone else with a cesarean section and said she’d be back
to check on me again afterwards.  While she was gone, I discussed my
fears with DH.  He said whether she breaks my water now, or we wait
for my water to break on its own, it’s still going to be intense and
I will still have to get through it.  Might as well have her do it
and get it over with that much sooner.  That was an enlightening
observation, which made perfect sense to me.  When she came back,
she asked again what I thought about having her break my water.  She
said she had another cesarean section in a few minutes, and I
reluctantly, and bravely, told her I’d be ready for her to break my
water afterwards.

It seemed like no time at all had passed before she came back to
break my water.  It was around 11:30 am.  Before doing so, she
checked my dilation.  I was 8 cm and fully effaced.  I had to lay on
my back for this and as soon as my water was broken I felt this
incredible rush of energy, and I half moaned / half yelled “I HAVE
TO TURN OVER!!”  Somehow I wound up on my hands and knees on the
bed, which ended up being the only possible position for me.  I
can’t explain it, in fact I had consistently imagined myself giving
birth in the squatting position, but hands and knees is the way my
body positioned itself, and so that’s the way it was.  It was right
around this time that I lost my headphones.  They were getting in
the way and I just couldn’t be bothered to fuss with them.  Until
now I had been listening to the Deepening track over and over and
over.  The odd thing about this is that I didn’t really care for
Deepening during my practice, but it was the only thing I wanted
during my birthing time.

The next 50 minutes were unimaginably intense.  Looking back, I
wonder if I caused it to be so intense because that had been my
expectation, that once my water was broken things would get
intense.  In fact I have read birth stories in which labor became
less intense after the waters break, so I don’t know why I
necessarily had this expectation.

I clung to DH during this time.  I sweated and drooled on him.  He
sat straddling the bed, facing me, and I wrapped my arms around his
waist and buried my face in his chest.  I howled with every
contraction.  I felt the energy of a freight train through my body,
but I have to say it really wasn’t painful, just incredibly
powerful.  In between contractions there was nothing but waiting,
then suddenly the freight train feeling would be back.  I was
waiting for the famous urge to push, but it never came.  Gradually I
realized I had already been pushing for awhile.  Once I had that
realization, my next thought was that the also famous ring of fire
would surely be coming soon, but that never happened.  There was no
ring of fire, there was only stretching.

At one point the midwife commented that the baby’s head was moving
down, then back up again.  She said this was good because it meant I
was stretching slowly.  Then she was telling me to push a little bit
more, and I did.  I pushed with no contraction and noticed how weak
and wimpy my pushing felt without the freight train energy helping
me.  I felt the stretching, stretching, stretching almost as though
the baby’s body was squeaking from the tight squeeze as she inched
out of me.  Then the midwife said we needed one more big push to get
the shoulders out.  I obliged and felt her big shoulders come free,
then felt the relief as her soft belly, legs, and feet slid right

I had done it!  All I wanted to do next was collapse on the bed, but
our midwife was telling us to reach down because she was going to
pass the baby through my legs and she wanted us to take her.  DH
took her, and time stood still for a few moments as we marveled at
what had just happened and looked upon our beautiful daughter.  I
think DH summed it up right then by saying something profound
like “Wow!”  We both were surprised to see how much she resembled
E.  DH touched her face, and she turned toward his finger and
started vigorously sucking on it.  We were in awe.

After a few minutes we handed her over so she could be weighed,
diapered, and whatever else they do.  Absolutely everything was done
in the same room as me.  Finally I was able to collapse on the bed!
I was whining about my leg muscles being cramped.  After spending
the most intense hour of my life on my hands and knees, of course my
legs were tired!  I looked over at DH and said, “So… what’s her
name?”  We agreed he would have the final say on naming her, since I
had named E.  He smiled and said, “Vanessa Lois…?”

Without warning, the nurses began to “massage” my uterus.  This is
nothing like having a relaxing massage at a spa.  They were pushing
down on my belly with quite a bit of force and I made no secret
about not enjoying it.  The placenta came out without incident.
Then MW cleaned me up and repaired a small tear, which I also didn’t
enjoy.  Before long, I was being helped off the bed and to the
bathroom.  I felt great!

After returning to the bed, Vanessa and a lunch menu were handed to
me.  Someone said, “You must be really hungry!  Order anything you
want.”  Hungry?  I hadn’t really thought about it, but realized it
had been quite awhile since my last meal.  I ordered, and then
latched Vanessa on so she could have her first meal while I waited
for my lunch.

My whole experience was wonderful.  Labor was long, and I was tired
from not being able to sleep much, but I can honestly say it was not
painful.  My midwives were supportive, as well as the hospital

Before leaving us alone, MW said she was so glad I gave birth on
hands and knees.  At the time, I didn’t think to ask why.  Later I
began to wonder.  Did she have reason to believe it would have been
more difficult in a different position?  Would her shoulders have
been stuck?  At my 6-week post partum check up, I finally asked.
No, the baby was not stuck; in fact I had plenty of room for her to
come out.  The reason MW was so glad is because I am only the second person she has ever seen to give birth on hands and knees.  As a midwife, she tells women how important it is to listen to our body
and do what feels right, but still almost everyone ends up on their
back for pushing.  I was surprised to hear that.  I certainly didn’t
do it for the sake of being different.  In fact, I am one of the few
women who actually followed the instructions to listen to my body.

Vanessa was born 9/10/2007.
She was 8 lbs. 10 oz.

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Sandy, UT Hypnobabies Class Starting

I will be starting the six week Hypnobabies course on November 1st in
Sandy, Utah.  Please spread the word!  For more information or
questions, please call me at 801-674-7437 or visit my website

Mindy DeGraffenried, HCHI

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On Tuesday, May 13th, I went for my 41 week check-up. 20 minutes of fetal monitoring showed the baby was doing very well, and that I was aving some pws (I had no idea). I had used the 20 min to get into hypnosis, since I figured the doc would want to do an internal exam. I was right, but she mentioned the “i” word even before checking me. At this hospital, they like to induce at 41 weeks and 4 or 5 days. But since that was a weekend, she wanted me to come in on Friday if the
baby hadn’t been born yet. Her internal exam determined that my cervix was dilated 1/2cm and “wasn’t favorable,” though the baby’s head was far down.

Now I should mention that doctors here (Estonia, in northern Europe) really only deal with high-risk and overdue situations. I had only been seeing my midwife until this point, and my pregnancy had gone extremely smoothly. Naturally, I wanted to avoid inducing if at all possible. I asked the doctor to write down the name of the tablets (Cytotec) they use for inducing, and I’m so glad I did. I looked it up first thing once I got home from the appointment and decided that if they did induce me, it would NOT be with Cytotec. Also, the idea that I’d induce on Friday so they could have a nice weekend is crazy.

I wasn’t at all worried about being “overdue,” but I was worried about not having the birthing  experience I desired. So, that day I went for a walk or two, had lots of raspberry leaf tea, spent some time on mybirthing ball, and tried nipple stimulation with my manual breast pump (15 minutes on each side, twice, with a 30 min break between). I also made an appointment with an acupuncturist for the following morning. Then I took a nap, and when I woke up I could feel that my stomach was getting hard all over now and then. I assumed these were the pressure waves everyone talks about (I hadn’t had any Braxton-Hicks). They were really sporadic, and I didn’t feel anything more than a tightening. I then took a trip to the bathroom and there it was the mucus plug. I didn’t take either of these two occurrences as evidence that I was actually entering my birthing time, as I know some women have these “symptoms” for days or weeks before giving birth.

The pressure waves continued on and off for the rest of the day and night. They didn’t get stronger, so I didn’t take them too seriously or time them. DH and I are night-owls and we went to bed around 1am. I don’t remember if I slept at all, but by 2am the pressure waves had gotten stronger and I wasn’t able to sleep. I got out of bed and spent about an hour on the birthing ball in the living room, while listening to Hypnotic Childbirth 1 and 2. At 3am, I woke my husband so he could
time the pressure waves. At that point, they were lasting close to a minute each time and were 3 or so minutes apart, but they still weren’t entirely regular. I thought I was in my early birthing time
still and that the baby would be born sometime in the evening (judging from all the birth stories I’ve read and how long first births often take). Around 4:30, DH called the midwife. She didn’t  believe I was as far along as I actually was, and she said that maybe we’d meet at the hospital around 8am (and to call her again if things got more intense).

DH had arranged a huge stack of pillows from the sofa on the bed so that I could lean over them and rock back and forth during the pressure waves. He was really awesome with the hypnosis cues and definitely kept me grounded. Still, I was so shocked to be in my birthing time all of a sudden that I wasn’t able to get into hypnosis as I had intended. It was some time between 5 and 6 that I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I had been so anti-epidural throughout the pregnancy. The thought that I had many, many more hours of this was not a pleasant one. The waves in all of my birthing muscles I could handle and I don’t even remember feeling much there; it was the
entirely unexpected and intense feelings in my thighs that made me think I might throw in the towel. But, once again, DH was encouraging me that I was doing really great and that my body knew what to do.

DH was saying very encouraging things all along and got the shower going for me. The hot water felt sooooooo great during the pressure waves. Everything was getting more intense and the waves were closer together. DH called the midwife again at 6 saying that he thought we should head to the hospital. He wasn’t timing the waves still, but we think they were around 2 minutes apart and lasting at least a minute (consistently). Except for the calls to the midwife (at 4:30 and 6), we entirely lost track of time. The plan all along had been to walk to the hospital (we live very close), but we never expected things to progress so quickly. DH called his brother for a ride (we don’t have a car). I was frustrated because I hadn’t finished all of my packing preparations (I couldn’t find my ponytail holder!) and I didn’t really want my BIL to see me in my birthing time. After gathering our things, we went downstairs to catch our ride, but he hadn’t arrived yet. I
didn’t want to wait, so I began to walk towards the hospital. I had to pause every few minutes to deal with a pressure wave, but I found the cool morning air really refreshing. DH caught up with me after a few minutes (he really wanted to wait for the ride) and we were about a third of the way to the hospital when my BIL picked us up. We arrived at the hospital, walked in the door, and down to the floor I went. I just HAD to be on my hands and knees during waves. DH went to the

registration desk and they were asking, “So, where is she?” I was still in the hall on the floor. I got up when I was able. There was another couple that arrived just before us, but the woman didn’t look like she was even in her birthing time, so they had to wait. I had a few more waves in the registration office (on the floor, again), and because it was obvious that I was so far along, they decided to forgo the usual steps and get me to a room right away. Fortunately, the room with the birthing tub was free. I remember feeling annoyed that it wasn’t already filled with water when we walked in! Our midwife arrived and wanted to monitor the pws and do a quick internal exam. She had to wait a bit because she wanted to check between waves, and they were coming so close together. I was 7cm. I got into the tub and things relaxed a bit. The pws stopped for a few
minutes, but then picked up with greater intensity. I was feeling pushy, and the midwife removed the monitor straps. It was at this point that I needed to be frequently reminded to relax and breathe. The perineal massage didn’t feel anything like what I was feeling then. After about 20 minutes of pushing (and an hour after arriving at the hospital), at 8:15am on May 14th, Massimo Eli was born underwater.

Once his head was out, I was expecting his body to just slip out like I’ve read about, but the rest of his body was almost as tough. Turns out that he had a hand on his cheek and his chest and head measured the same. DH caught and pulled him out of the water. After their initial eye contact, our son turned his head and looked at me. DH placed him on my chest. I don’t remember him crying, and he was alert and calm. The midwife and DH helped me out of the tub and to the bed. After waiting for the cord to stop pulsing, cutting the cord, birthing the placenta, and getting one stitch, my husband and I spent the next 45 minutes alone with our baby. Then they did all the usual stuff, and we discovered that he was 7lbs 11oz and just over 20 inches. Our midwife commented on what a beautiful birth it was and that I obviously had educated myself well. We spent one night in the hospital and then walked home the next day.

While I wasn’t able to get into deep hypnosis, Hypnobabies definitely worked for me. I didn’t feel a thing until I was quite far along AND was able to give birth to my son without drugs (and without seriously wanting any) AND had such a fast birthing time (about 6 hours in all). I also credit Hypnobabies for having such a positive impact on my pregnancy and during these post-natal weeks. He’s eating really, really well and is already over 11 pounds. Everyone comments on what a
calm baby we have, plus my body has recovered super-quickly. Also, I have felt so incredibly empowered by my birthing experience �€” I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do!



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The Other Side of the Glass

The Other Side of the Glass movie trailer about Dad’s and their roles in births. 

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The Birth Survey

I have personally taken this survey.  It was fun to be able to share my experience.  This has the potential to be SO powerful in getting information from one mom to another about their positive and negative experiences with their care providers and birth locations! 

Take it today!

The Birth Survey

Share:  Give your personal feedback about the care you received and share your birth experience with others.

Connect:   View consumer feedback on hospitals, birth centers doctors & midwives in your community.

Learn:  Find the information on local hospital intervention rates you need to make informed choices.

 Women providing women with insight into maternity care practices in their communities.

It has been easier to get consumer satisfaction information about a camera than about maternity care services – but no longer. The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) has developed www.TheBirthSurvey.com a consumer feedback website where women provide information about the maternity care they received with specific doctors, midwives, hospitals, and birth centers. Families choosing where and with whom to birth can utilize this consumer feedback, along with data on hospital and birth center intervention rates and practices, to make informed health care choices.

Have you given birth in the last three years?  If so, take The Birth Survey and provide feedback on your experience, your doctor, midwife, birth center, or hospital at www.TheBirthSurvey.com

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My name is Carole Thorpe. I have been active in the natural childbirth community for over 30 years. I assisted hundreds of women in childbirth long before we were known as doulas. I was a birth assistant to an MD/OB, who owned and operated a birthing center, and who also “caught” babies in couples homes.

I taught many hundreds of his patients preparation for natural childbirth classes. I taught them the anatomy and physiology of late pregnancy and the birthing process. I also taught them how to manage or cope with any discomfort during their birthings by using breathing techniques similar to those taught by both Bradley and Lamaze, and taught their birth partners to employ touch or verbal relaxation cues, and I taught moms how to create their own guided imagery scenarios to be read to them during their birthings in order to give them mental respite from their contractions, and how to use external focal points to distract moms and diminish any perceptions of discomfort.

I encouraged them to trust their bodies and their baby’s journey through the birthing process. I personally assisted over 300 of those traditionally prepared women as they gave birth to their babies without drugs or interventions. I assisted women who were peaceful, physically relaxed and in control of their birthings, and who were empowered by the outcomes. I gave birth to four children this way myself. I’d venture to say that the majority of those who gave birth naturally this way, wouldn’t say that they enjoyed their baby’s birthing per se, or that it was physically pleasant. Maybe they were delighted that they achieved their goal of an unmedicated birth, and most of them were empowered by the fact that they endured, or that they managed or coped with the pain of childbirth. None of them said it was easy or comfortable, or that they enjoyed their babies’ births so much that they’d like to do it again the very next day.

Today I hear my doula clients say such things as, “My birthing day was the most amazing day of my pregnancy, NO PAIN!…I would do it again tomorrow”, (moments after giving birth to her first baby). One recent mom said, “THAT was IT? It was SO EASY…I so want one more!” (the instant her baby slipped out of her body and was brought up into her arms). And, I heard a high-risk OB say (with tears in his eyes), “In my 15 years of practice, I’ve never seen another woman give birth with such dignity, such grace and such control”. In this case the doctor I am referring to, was speaking to a 19-year old single mom. He had just witnessed her birthing her baby into her own hands. She held her own bottom to control the speed with which her baby came through her perineum, pushed when it felt right, waited, just breathing and allowing her body to push her baby when that was enough, holding her own labia open with her fingers, and watching herself in the mirror as she squatted on the hospital bed. Her baby’s head slid out, and the OB checked for a cord, and said, “It’s all you Allison, let me know if I can be of any assistance”, as she scooped her daughter up and into her own arms.

All of these incredible quotes are are in reference to the birthings of some of my recent doula clients. What makes for the difference between the experiences of the traditionally prepared couples I used to assist, and those whose incredible comments you read above? Simply put, it is the addition of post-hypnotic suggestions for releasing fears and creating hypno-anesthesia in the body, to a very thorough program of preparation for natural childbirth…Hypnobabies.

I am a DONA certified doula, a hypnotherapist, a lactation educator, and a childbirth hypnosis instructor. Over the past six years, I have taught the preparation for natural childbirth method called Hypnobabies “eyes-open” childbirth hypnosis. I have assisted at over 200 of my student’s births as their hypno-doula. The 200 Hypnobabies births that I have attended have resulted in such statistics as, a 6 percent epidural rate, a 4 percent cesarean rate, no vacuum or forceps assisted births, an episiotomy rate of less than 5 percent, with only one non-emergency transfer from the home to hospital for ROM times 18 hours with no contractions. 97 percent of these births occurred in hospitals, the remaining 3 percent were midwife-assisted births in couples’ homes or birth centers.

Some of the women who take my classes cannot have epidural anesthesia for one reason or another, such as VBAC, or scoliosis with corrective metal rods attached to their spines, or spina bifida, or a severe reaction to anesthesia during a prior birthing; reasons which make them a slightly higher risk for complications and interventions, not lower. And, yet, my couples statistics are amazing even to me. These statistics are not my opinion; they are actual tallies from the birth records I keep for each doula client and from the birth stories my students send me. These births all occurred within a 50-mile radius of my home in very conservative, highly litigious Orange County, California, where the hospitals average an epidural rate of 95 percent, an induction rate of 40 – 60 percent, a cesarean rate of 30 – 50 percent, and where episiotomy is routine for the vast majority of first-time moms.

In light of my unique and extensive experience assisting with natural birth, and also assisting women with hypnosis for natural childbirth, and as an experienced hypnotherapist, I would like to clarify some misconceptions that many have about hypnosis and its use in childbirthing. The most common misconceptions are, that hypnosis is merely another method of coping with pain or that it’s pain management, or that hypnosis is just flowery guided imagery delivered in a monotone voice that induces deeper relaxation than other methods, or that hypnosis distances a woman from her body during her baby’s birthing and denies her basic physiological responses that others create through enduring pain, or that women won’t remember their baby’s births, or that moms must lie still and listen intently to hypnosis recordings…their birthings entirely scripted, for hypnosis to be of any use. None of these assumptions are true of real self-hypnosis, deepened to the level of somnambulism, which is the depth of hypnosis that one must achieve to create an anesthesia effect in the body.

When a birthing woman is profoundly relaxed and deeply in a state of self-hypnosis, she responds to pre-programmed post-hypnotic suggestions so profoundly that her body creates endorphins, seratonins, melatonins and other relaxing hormones and stress-reducing brain chemicals. This happens automatically and all the smooth muscles in her body, all the muscles controlled by the autonomic nervous system relax so powerfully, that there is a physiological response that is perceived by the woman as a lessening of physical sensations, or a profound diminishing of discomfort, and for the majority of them the elimination of pain entirely. Hypnotherapists call this phenomenon, “hypno-anesthesia”.

It’s common knowledge among those who teach clinical hypnosis for medical purposes, that hypnosis can slow pulse and respiration rates, and lower blood pressure, and eliminate pain entirely. Doctors and dentists use this type of hypnotic conditioning with their patients to create “hypno-anesthesia” for their patients who are allergic to medical anesthesia. These doctors and dentists perform surgeries with no medical anesthesia, with no pain and no side-effects.

Hypnobabies eyes-open childbirth hypnosis teaches the same medical self-hypnosis techniques that doctors and dentists use for their patients who cannot have medical anesthesia. Women listen to hypnosis scripts to learn a cue to instantly enter self-hypnosis, and how to deepen it to the level of somnambulism in order to create an anesthesia effect in their bodies. Hypnobabies mothers experience their contractions as “only pressure” or a pressing down sensation, or even like being squeezed or hugged tightly. Many of the women I have assisted have described the sensation of their contractions as being very much like the sensation of a tight blood pressure cuff…intense, even sometimes mildly uncomfortable, but not automatically painful.

Hypnobabies moms learn to create hypno-anesthesia at the drop of a finger, literally. They learn to deepen their ability to do so by listening to a script designated to this purpose. Then with practice and by listening to other scripts, these women learn to strengthen the effects of this hypno-anesthesia in their bodies. They regularly practice scripts with their birth partners during their pregnancies to instill these skills as an automatic response to the sensations of their contractions when their labor begins. Through repetition and the resulting compounding effect, women learn to do all of this with their ‘eyes open’ so that they can move around and respond to their birthing body’s cues and their baby’s cardinal movements.

Hypnobabies moms learn ONLY their self-hypnosis techniques and relaxation deepening cues by listening to, and practicing with, their hypnosis scripts. Their BIRTHINGS are NOT scripted, nor are their individual contractions. No one could script a birthing since no two are alike. If someone were to see a Hypnobabies mom in ‘eyes-open’ childbirth hypnosis, she would look the same as any other birthing woman, with the exception that she could talk to you all the way through her contractions if she wanted to. She could “remain comfortable while moving around and still be in a state of deep hypnosis”, with “all the muscles around her baby completely loose, limp, lazy and deeply relaxed”, all the while “creating a mental hypno-anesthesia in her body”; actually enjoying…not merely enduring, her baby’s birth.

She can recognize and respond fully to the “pressure sensations” of her body bearing down during second stage, experiencing “gentle stretching and pressure as her baby crowns and is being born”, turning even more inward to focus MORE intently on the sensations of birthing her baby. A mom in true hypnosis (not one listening to guided imagery scripts which are meant to distance and distract) is never out of touch with reality, she’s actually hyper-aware of her process because she is simply tuning OUT, “all the external goings on around her, tuning IN more fully to her body and her baby”. Caregivers are often fooled by the mom’s observed level of comfort…and often don’t even believe a hypno-mom is in labor until they do a vaginal exam, when they very often discover that she is in late first stage, nearing time to push her baby out, or even complete!

Besides learning their hypnosis techniques, Hypnobabies couples receive a minimum of 18-hours of thorough preparation for childbirth, over the course of a 6-week series. All hypnosis for childbirth classes are NOT created equal. One stands apart from the others as a thorough preparation for childbirth class. This is the reason that DONA recognizes Hypnobabies as the only hypnosis for childbirth course that meets the DONA certification requirement that doula applicants must observe a complete childbirth class series. For example, Hypnobabies moms learn how to stay healthy and low-risk through exercise and nutrition. Couples learn all of the signs of labor, what constitutes an emergency situation during pregnancy and birthing, and they learn guidelines about when to head for the hospital or to call their midwives to come to them.

They learn all about routine procedures in hospitals, and the risks, the benefits and natural alternatives to each. They learn the questions they’ll need to ask in order to create true informed consent. They create their birth preferences based on this information, and based on what they choose for their baby’s birthing. Nothing is scripted for them. They have plenty of opportunity to ask questions in classes and to receive answers to their questions about late pregnancy, birth and the immediate postpartum period…including breastfeeding, and newborn characteristics, and much more. They learn from highly trained instructors who must show that they have a background in childbirth education and hypnosis, and be throughly screened, before they can even apply to enroll in a Hypnobabies instructor training. The certification process is rigorous, more thorough than any other preparation for childbirth program that I have been certified to teach, including other birth hypnosis programs.

Hypnobabies moms are not “denied an opportunity to love and trust themselves and their babies”, nor are they “denied opportunity for self-discovery and growth” during their preparation for birth, or during the actual birthing process…quite the opposite is true actually. During the script practices, when their birth partners read the script for that week to the mother, the mother relaxes so deeply that she creates endorphins and other stress-reducing brain chemicals that occur only in a state of sleep or deep hypnosis. When this happens, their babies play and bump around so much that we have to add to the scripts, “every movement your baby makes as you listen here to my {the birth partner’s} voice, just relaxes you even more”. Mothers and their babies quickly learn to associate that happy, relaxing play-time with their birth partner’s voice. Because of this opportunity for prenatal bonding, I have seen more than one fretful newborn become instantly peaceful at a word from the birth partner. Our couples see this daily practice session as a time to connect and enjoy bonding with each other and their babies, not as hard work.

By using the kinder and gentler terms we substitute for the words “contraction”, “labor”, “delivery” and “transition”, and by eliminating words that women have been negatively programmed with all their lives via every scary story they’ve read, or heard, or seen in the media about birth, we eliminate the fear associated with those words and stories. I fail to see how we deny women anything by giving them a sense of confidence through positive reinforcement (affirmations), and positive wording for what should only be a positive event in their lives. We don’t teach women to be afraid of pain, they’re already afraid of pain. What we do teach them is that they can trust their bodies and be confident that they are capable of giving birth in the manner they choose.

By emphasizing that a woman’s “body was created for birthing”, that a woman should “go within to find her own power through her baby’s birthing”, that her baby’s physical cues deserve to be responded to during birthing by the mother “being so in touch with her body and so in tune with her baby”, and by giving a woman the ability to create comfort in her body at the drop of her finger, we allow her an opportunity to attune more deeply to childbirth’s cues than if she were merely coping with pain, or distracting and distancing herself from pain with busy breathing techniques, or traditional other-than-self-directed comfort measures. The more “power that flows through her, the more empowered she feels”.

By putting the mother fully in control of her own level of comfort with her self-hypnosis techniques, she is free to use all of her hypnosis techniques in whatever way feels right for her. Some hypno-moms never listen to one script during their baby’s birth, preferring to use their instant cues to create deep relaxation and hypno-anesthesia, so they can move around as they wish, while others prefer to listen to CDs and scripts and prompts from their birth partners. They ALL experience all of the thundering power of their baby’s birthing, all the intensity, just not all of the pain. Their babies are born in an atmosphere of comfort, joy and love, with endorphins bathing their senses as well as their mother’s. Why should it take hours and hours of pain-coping for a woman to build up to an endorphin state when it can be created automatically, instantly with the drop of her finger? I fail to see the superiority of eschewing a comfortable method of creating the endorphin state that is necessary for infant-maternal bonding, just so long as it happens. Most of the moms I have worked with were happy that they were able to do so without discomfort. I can’t imagine anyone given the choice, saying, “I choose pain thank you”.

As for my experience with being a Hypnobabies-doula exclusively, it’s much different and much more rewarding than other doula-ing for me. I prefer to help a woman to be truly physically comfortable during her birthing, not just merely calm and peaceful in the face of pain-coping. It is very rewarding to help a mom achieve her goal of a natural, unmedicated childbirth, and to have her say she was completely comfortable and actually enjoyed the process. I prefer to have tools that really work for my doula clients like the word cue, “release” which instantly helps a mother achieve a deep state of hypnosis and hyper-awareness just by hearing it or thinking it to herself. I love that I can help her to deepen her relaxation instantly, when she asks me to, by simply pressing gently on her shoulder and saying softly, “relax, deeper now”. What doula wouldn’t?! It’s so easy.

That’s not to say that I don’t also put cool cloths on her face when she’s pushing and getting overly warm, or that I don’t use aromatherapy to add to the atmosphere of calm in the room, or that I don’t suggest different positions to help with the descent of her baby, or that I don’t do all the things other doulas do. I do all those things, AND I help mothers use their self-hypnosis tools to have their babies in comfort, joy and love. They tell me that they felt empowered by their ability to create a birthing that was peaceful and comfortable for themselves, and unmedicated and safe for their babies, using ‘only’ the power of their minds.

I have never had one Hypnobabies mom say, “I would never do that again”. All of the couples I have worked with, who have gone on to have more babies, become what I affectionately call, my sweet “repeat-offenders”, and most become lifetime members of my family of friends. I love my “work” and I am richly rewarded. It’s SO EASY to be a Hypnobabies-doula.

This article is respectfully submitted by,

Carole Thorpe

Yours in gentle, natural birthings…
500 sweet babies and counting!

Carole Thorpe, VP Hypnobabies
Hypnotherapist (NGH), Hypnobabies Birth Assistant
Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Instructor
Lactation Educator/Counselor (UCSD)
CPR for the Professional Rescuer (Red Cross)
Neonatal Resuscitation (AAP & AHA)
Homeopath, Reiki Practitioner
Happiest Baby on the Block Instructor

BIRTH PARTNER Professional Services
949.521.1980 cell
Mission Viejo, CA

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