I toyed for ages whether or not I should sign up for a HypnoBirthing® class, and then I just did. I mean, this was my 3rd pregnancy, I’d done all the prenatal stuff overseas, attended the breastfeeding lectures, the home birth info evenings, and had witnessed and assisted at many births, so did I need it? Gah! I tend to overthink these things, so I just jumped, which I guess is the best way to do stuff sometimes.
Like a number of people I’ve chatted to, I was a little put off (maybe confused is a better word) by the name, HypnoBirthing®. Kim from Beautifully Born suggested I come for the first week and if it wasn’t up my alley, I could duck and never return. Sounded like a sweet deal to me… of course she knew I’d fall in love with the concept and be itching to return – which I was.
Kim is the HypnoBirthing® Faculty Member, Regional Liaison, Practitioner trainer for South Africa, and Founder and Owner of Beautifully Born HypnoBirthing® – so you must know she knows her stuff. When you’re dealing in the potentially ‘airy fairy side’ of all this hippie birthing goodness, you want someone legit. Kim is legit.
TIME WILL TELL (ha ha ha) if my HypnoBirthing® training will be effective or not (look out for THAT blog post!) but I thought pre-birth, let me inform you what HypnoBirthing® is all about… well, what I understood it be.
“I’ve been a Labor & Birthing nurse for 17 years; and after attending HypnoBirthings, I’ll never look at birth in the same light. It’s incredible.”
– Traveling Nurse, Judy Richardson, RN
What is HypnoBirthing®?
HypnoBirthing® is a tried and proven method that guides and prepares a woman in giving birth in a peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful manner. It is a program that considers the psychological, as well as the physical, well-being of the mother, her birth partner, and the newborn, independent of context, whether that be in the quiet of a home, a hospital, or a birth center.
The HypnoBirthing® program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting. (source)
The HypnoBirthing® Premise
For me, a LOT of this made sense. Especially experiencing two different birthing cultures, in South Africa and Canada.For most of their lives, women have been inundated with the negative stories of other women’s birth experiences. Everyone, from their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, and even strangers, wants to tell them the horrors of giving birth. They have been conditioned to believe that excruciating pain is associated with labor; and because of this, women today hold an unprecedented fear of giving birth. This extreme fear causes their bodies to become tense, and that tension prohibits their bodies from easily performing a normal physiological function. The result is exactly what they feared most–long, painful birthing or unnecessary intervention.
People who are drawn to HypnoBirthing® have long been searching for a way to give birth confidently and as calmly, safely, and gently as possible, whether they have chosen to birth in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. Until HypnoBirthing®, this kind of birthing almost seemed unattainable for the general population.
Through a very simple program of self-hypnosis and education, healthy, low-risk women, as well as women who need medical assistance because of special circumstances, learn to dismiss fear-based stories, misinformation, and birthing myths; and they are helped to see birth as normal. They learn to trust that their bodies know how to bring their babies into the world in the calm and gentle way that Nature intended. (source)Not all HypnoBirthing is the same. Make sure you find a legit teacher, teaching the Marie Mongan Method.
Got it? Easy peasy, right? Ha. There are more details at the very bottom, but for the majority of you, I think you’re reading this to find out what I (the average human) thought of the class. I’ll put it in bullet point for you:
- Liberating and Empowering – reminding me that natural childbirth is just that, natural. Possible. Beautiful. Doable.
- I understood it as finding a state of relaxed-ness where your body can do what it was designed to do.
- The importance of understanding the fear – tension – pain cycle and how it can inhibit birth.
- Learning about the uterus’ muscles and what your body is doing when the beautiful, gentle and shy hormone Oxytocin leads the way…
- Rephrasing birth/labour lingo (this was interesting, and refreshing).
- Remembering the importance of positive thinking, the role of the subconscious, visualization and affirmations.
- Some of the mild hypnosis (deep relaxation) stuff was a bit out-there, and I’m nervous I might struggle without the lead of someone like Kim, but I’m very keen to give it a go and see how it all plays out.
Practically, here’s what I’ve been doing over the last 5 weeks: Reading the book (NB!), listening to the Rainbow Relaxation track on my phone every night (I fall asleep after about 20 seconds), and listening to positive birth affirmations in the car. Hubby has been practising the light touch massage (like a back tickle – so good!) and I’ve been rehearsing my 3 different types of breathing: calm, surge and birth breathing.
Honestly, I could ramble on and on and on about this (ask our Friday night dinner friends). Pre-birth, I would recommend this course to anyone who is inclined towards a natural labour (not augmented) and birth and is wanting to be instructed as to how to think about birth differently – with a fresh, new mindset, and NOT one where you feel like you’re out of control and are being filmed for the next horror movie.
Now tell me, have you tried HypnoBirthing? Did it help? What worked, what didn’t? Talk to me… but really… I need to implement this stuff within days. Yeeeee…
The Deets: HypnoBirthing® Classes are taught in a format of five, 2 1/2-hour classes.
You will be provided with the official HypnoBirthing® book, Rainbow relaxation CD and all course materials. Refreshments will be provided during classes.
- The cost per couple for a group course is R1950.
- There are private courses available in your own home or at a practitioner’s venue – contact Kim to find out about your nearest practitioner, prices and availability
Payment terms for all courses can be arranged, please ask your practitioner.
Here is the outline as to what is covered:
Week 1 – Building A Positive Expectancy
Introduction to the remarkable HypnoBirthing® philosophy
The History of Women and Birthing
Why and how you can have an easier, more comfortable, and safer birthing
How Nature perfectly designed women’s bodies to birth
How to assist, rather than resist, your natural birthing instincts
The vocabulary for calm and gentle birthing
Visualizing gentle births by viewing beautiful birthing videos.
Week 2 – Falling in Love with Your Baby/Preparing Mind & Body
The remarkable mind of your newborn baby—Prenatal bonding techniques
Rapid and instant self-relaxation techniques and deepening techniques
Breathing techniques for labor and birthing
Hypnotic relaxation and visualization
Selecting the right care provider
The Birth companion’s role in birthing
Preparing your body for birthing with massage and toning.
Week 3 – Getting Ready to Welcome your Baby
Preparing Birth Preference Sheets
Preparing the Body for Birthing
Light Touch Labor Massage
Your body working for and with you
Avoiding artificial induction and achieving a natural start to labor
Releasing negative emotions, fears and limiting thoughts.
Week 4 – An Overview of Birthing – A Labor of Love
Onset of Labor – Thinning and Opening Phase
Birth explained simply
Settling in at the hospital or birthing center
Preparing for home birth – or baby’s choice of birth
As labor moves along – passing time through labor
Hallmarks of labor
If labor rests or slows – Companion’s prompts and activities
As labor advances – birthing with your baby
Protecting the natural birthing experience
Birth rehearsal imagery.
Week 5 – Birth, Breathing Love, Bringing Life
Moving into birthing
Positions for descent and birthing
Breathing baby down to birth
Baby moves to the breast
Family bonding with your baby.