Can you imagine not feeling any pain while giving birth? Most of the moms in our office laughed when talking about the idea and said “yeah, right?!” But according to HypnoBirthing experts and the HypnoBirthing philosophy, it really is possible to visualize your way through a pain-free birth. Modernmom talked to HypnoBirthing coach and teacher Stella Greenhalgh, who teaches HypnoBirthing in California and answered all of our questions — Gosh, she really turned us into believers! (Well, some of us at least). Here’s what she had to say:
A Pain Free Birth, Really?
A woman who allows herself to relax and let her birthing body take over, will experience a calm and stressfree birth. In HypnoBirthing classes, they teach birth rehearsals and strongly encourage the mother to practice relaxation on a daily basis and teach moms to trust birth. The very best thing for a birthing mother to do is “nothing.” Most likely the mother didn’t need instructions or coaching when she conceived — a woman knows how to deliver the baby without instructions and interventions as long as the mother and baby are healthy. HypnoBirthing teaches that all healthy muscles function without pain. The uterus is a muscle and there is absolutely no reason why that muscle should function any differently from any other healthy muscle i.e.without pain. Most of the tension women feel during birth is because of fear, says Stella.
Why Are Women So Afraid of Birth?
Sadly our culture is filled with scary stories about how painful birth is. Most of us have learned to expect pain and misery when delivering our babies. Several popular TV shows depict birth as dramatic and painful. Furthermore, our female relatives and friends often seem to rejoice in sharing birth horror stories. All of this in addition to the medical profession’s focus on all the things that can go wrong lead us to believe that birth must be scary and horrible. Certain religions also preach that a woman must bear her young in pain. HypnoBirthing focuses strongly on alleviating the fear and allowing the prospective mother to birth her baby the way nature intended, calmly and relaxed.
What Exactly IS HypnoBirthing?
HypnoBirthing is a philosophy more than a specific technique. We strongly believe and teach that a gentle approach to pregnancy and child birth produces calm healthy babies. HypnoBirthing is child-birth education based on the premise that nature “knows” what to do. Our mothers learn self hypnosis and relaxation in addition to breating techniques that promote calm and peaceful pregnacies
Can Dads Participate?
HypnoBirthing is very family oriented, we love our daddies. His role is to offer support and protection for the birthing mom and to prevent unwanted interference from medical professionals. We have absolutely nothing against the medical profession and have high regard for what they can do with their fancy equipment. However, a healthy normal pregnancy does not need medical intervention. Hence, there is no reason for a pregnant woman to submit herself and her baby to medical interventions unless there is a medical necessity. We teach our parents to ask pertinent questions and have a session where we teach the parents to develop their birth preferences. We also encourage daddy to insist on getting explanations for everything a medical professional might want to do. “We do not consent” is very powerful. In California patients have a right to informed consent. This logically follows an explanation both parents can understand. Daddy’s job is to protect mom and baby.
Daddy is also instrumental in helping mom to relax and go into self hypnosis. We teach him how to deepen mom’s trance and help her to focus on his voice so she’ll be able to relax to his voice.
Dads are also strongly encouraged to bond with their unborn baby.
Natural vs Drugs -Which is Better?
Most HypnoBirthing moms recover very fast because their bodies were not subjected to drugs and/or surgical interventions. The babies and also better off because they too don’t have to fight the effect of drugs. In addition, we teach our moms to prepare their bodies for birth and to eat a healthy diet which promotes health and stability.
Natural Birth in the Hospital?
We teach our moms that they have rights and to question everything they don’t agree with or don’t understand. We also teach that mom is wise to select a provider who is willing to support her preferences. We love and welcome doulas and midwifes in our HypnoBirthing classes so everybody will understand the needs of the birthing woman.
Another thing to keep in mind: birth is not a timed sporting event. There is no such thing as a too slow birth. Mother and baby working in harmony knows when the time is right.
Explore Your Options!
More than anything, I want to encourage women — those who want to become pregnant and those who already are pregnant, to explore different birthing options. Also encourage the men who hope to help the women realize their dreams of pregnancy, to explore birthing options and for everyone to become informed comsumers. This is especially important in today’s world of increasing health care cost and shrinking health care dollars.
More About HypnoBirthing