I was first introduced to the Hypnobabies childbirth method when pregnant with my first baby five years ago. I attended a 6 week course with my husband to learn how to relax myself into a state of self-hypnosis, hoping the delivery of my baby would be fear and pain free. Hypnobabies did a lot for me back then, and has continued to help me through each birth and even real-life situations (dentist, anyone?), the biggest benefit being a sense of absolute confidence and peace regarding pregnancy and birth.
In this post, I'll tell you a little bit about what Hypnobabies is, how it works, and the benefits you may see if you choose to use it.
From the Hypnobabies website,
"Hypnobabies...was adapted with permission from Master Hypnotherapist Gerald Kein’s “Painless Childbirth Program” techniques rather than using simple relaxation, breathing or guided imagery. This allows our Hypno-Moms to enjoy “eyes-open childbirth hypnosis”, easily remaining deeply in hypnosis while walking, talking and changing positions; being as mobile as they would like to be during childbirth. Hypnobabies is well-known for helping women to create much shorter, easier and more comfortable labors, making childbirth the joyful experience it was meant to be."
It's not "woo-woo" or anything very strange - it's as simple as memorizing short scripts and listening to meditation tracks to train your mind and body to enter into a state of reflexive relaxation. Essentially you're training yourself to respond to pain or fear stimuli in a relaxed way, rather than a tense way. It causes a disrupt, or redirect, in the fear-tension-pain cycle that so often can occur in childbirth.
Does it work?
I've seen videos of women using Hypnobabies who have birthed their children in seeming absolute relaxation and silence - zero fear, some claim zero pain, and that the whole process was almost effortless, even pleasurable.
This wasn't the case for me. There are affiliate links in this post, because I KNOW Hypnobabies works for so many women, in so many different ways. I am giving a completely honest review here, so I'll detail my experiences and HOW Hypnobabies helped me, and why I recommend it even though my birth wasn't "pain-free".
Here are some of the ways Hypnobabies has totally rocked my world through three (now four) pregnancies and births:
We called the midwife on duty. She said to stay home and get some sleep, so we did. We woke up at 8 am and went to the grocery store to get bagels because of my pregnancy cravings. At about 11 am I called in again. A different midwife was now on shift. She said to come in to the hospital right away because my water had been broken for almost 12 hours and I was GBS+ (and chose to receive antibiotics).
It didn't feel right to go in, though. I had heard too much about the hospital wanting to augment labor with pitocin after your water breaks to feel good about it. Thank you Hypnobabies for teaching me that and giving me confidence to listen to my intuition!
We waited until almost 2 pm before checking in to the hospital. They didn't believe my water had broken. I was only dilated to 1 cm. The nurse left the room and when she came back I had another HUGE gush of fluid - definite proof of my water breaking!
I was getting intermittent monitoring, per my request. Once an hour they came in to check baby's heart rate and my contractions, which were virtually non-existent. The midwife visited - if I didn't start dilating, they wanted to do pitocin. I was thinking "No way," but nodded my head and kept bouncing on my birth ball and listening to Hypnobabies on my computer, using the "Come out, Baby" and "Your Birthing Day" Tracks.
5 pm rolled around. Things started to heat up. I was breathing through contractions. My husband didn't know what to do - we wished at this point we had hired a doula to help us with getting labor going and helping me through contractions!
I was at a 3 when they checked me. Yay, progress! There was no more talk of pitocin. I rocked on the birth ball. I squatted near and later ON the bed using a birth bar, roaring through contractions, completely drowning out the "relaxation" Hypnobabies tracks. The woman's voice became annoying to me, so we turned on the Hypnobabies tracks that were just plain music and that's what my baby was born to.
In just 4 hours from the first real contraction, almost 24 hours after my water broke, my baby was born. 8 lbs, 12 oz, hardly a tear to be found. He was perfect, and we were so in love! My recovery was normal. Breastfeeding was hard, but we made it. The biggest shock from the whole experience was that it had been painful - I thought that Hypnobabies would keep the pain away completely, and I had practiced the scripts and CDs religiously. Not so. Birth WAS painful. And really hard work! And I thought for a long time I had done something wrong. I later accepted that Hypnobabies had been valuable to me - it helped me keep a positive mindset and a clear head. It helped me prepare in a way that nothing else could have, for my first time giving birth.
My second birth I again pulled out the Hypnobabies cds, but this time I didn't listen to them as often - I was chasing a toddler, after all! And I didn't listen to them at all during labor. My third baby I didn't use them much either, just when I felt that I needed some relaxation during pregnancy, or some positive input from the affirmations cd.
Fast forward to last night. I'm 32-ish weeks pregnant with my fourth baby. I haven't listened to the tracks at all this pregnancy, but now my baby is breech. I really wanted her to move and had tried some Spinning Babies moves, turning her once from transverse to breech, but she wasn't budging to be head down. Now, as a birth doula I've studied enough to know that I shouldn't really be concerned until about 36 weeks, when baby is much bigger and has a lot less room, but I figured if I could encourage her to go sooner it would be better for both of us and I would have less to stress about.
My mind kept going back to Hypnobabies. I remembered something about a hypnosis track they have that would help baby turn, and had heard some really good things about it. I looked it up right before bed last night and purchased it. I plugged in some headphones and the familiar, calming female voice sent me into a state of complete relaxation. My baby started kicking up a STORM. She was moving like crazy as I listened and focused on the words telling my baby to be head down.
I woke up this morning to kicks in my ribs, and a nice round baby head pointed straight down!
To be honest, I was shocked. I hadn't really expected it to work so perfectly! But it did, and I'm so grateful. We still have a lot of time left, and she could potentially flip back around to breech position. If she does, I'll definitely pull out the Hypnobabies "Turn, baby, turn" track again!
In any case, if you have been considering or are intrigued by the concept of self-hypnosis for pregnancy and childbirth, then you definitely want to check out the Hypnobabies program. They have a home study course you can do, but I HIGHLY recommend finding an instructor near you and taking a live class to practice the techniques and make new friends with other couples preparing for their own positive, peaceful, natural births.
Hypnobabies classes near Ogden, UT:
Contact Bonnie Baker
Contact Claudia Booker
More Hypnobabies videos:
Moment of Birth (less than 2 minutes)