It’s been a little over two months since my fabulous, natural, hypnobabies, home birth. When I was preparing for a hypnobabies birth, a lot people asked me what hypnobabies is, how it works, etc. Now that I’ve used it successfully I feel like I’m qualified to talk about what it is and how it works.
^^I made a bunch of signs to hang around my room and bathroom to encourage and remind me during labor.
What is Hypnobabies?
[My own definition] Hypnobabies is a form of pain management to use during childbirth. It uses hypnosis techniques which is essentially mind over matter: using your mind to calm yourself down and tell yourself how to feel. It’s a way for you to go inside your head to your ‘happy place’ and take a break from what’s going on in the real world. It’s also helpful to change your mind about the way childbirth should be and release any fears you may have about what will happen.
But hypnosis isn’t as weird as it sounds. It’s not “When I snap my fingers you will quack like a duck.” Hypnobabies is self hypnosis. You can’t be ‘hypnotized’ if you don’t want to be and the things you’re telling yourself are more about how pleasant childbirth will be and less about quacking (let me be clear, there is no quacking involved.) We all do self hypnosis nearly every day. It’s as simple as when you zone out and forget what you were doing. Or when you’ve been driving on the freeway and realize you missed your exit because you were just in your own little world. All versions of self hypnosis.
Hypnobabies involves a lot of visualization. Like imagining you can see your breath enter, fill, and exit your body. You could imagine that each breath is cleansing or calming or strengthening, whatever you need it to be.
During labor, you visualize your breath pushing your baby out and it helps keep you calm during contractions.
Speaking of ‘labor’ and ‘contractions’, in hypnobabies they use different terms for those things as a way to make it sound more comfortable. Labor is ‘birthing time’, contractions are ‘pressure waves’, transition is ‘transformation’. Perception is reality. So once you believe that childbirth can be comfortable it’s more likely that it will be.
How does Hypnobabies work?
You can take a self taught home course or go to a physical class. In the class you learn all about childbirth and pregnancy and healthy things to do and all that jazz. But you also learn about self hypnosis and how to do it correctly and practice. The biggest key is that you have to practice or else you’re body won’t know what to do when you’re trying to hypnotize it.
Having never done self hypnosis before, I opted for the physical class. I will say that the first part of the class where we learned about natural childbirth was a tad boring for me because I’d already had a natural child birth and taken a class on it and knew how it works and what to expect. But I did feel like it was important for me to be in class for the hypnosis practice.
The in class practice was a lot like guided meditation. The teacher reads a script that has you get comfortable, relax, breathe deeply and the rest of the script just talks about the comfort and excitement of childbirth.
All the scripts that we read in classes plus some others are given to us in the form of Mp3s and we’re encouraged to practice on a daily basis.
Honestly, the daily practice was like the best part of the whole thing. I’d put Evelyn down for her nap and climb into bed and turn on one of the tracks and get relaxed into a nap. I pretty much fell asleep right away. It was such a nice sleep too.
Hypnobabies during Childbirth
So after a few months of practice, I felt pretty calm for the big event. As soon as I knew that my labor, or birthing time, was really happening I turned on a hypnobabies track and got comfortable.
For each contraction, or pressure wave, I would close my eyes, breath deeply and focus every inch of my energy on the voice on the hypnobabies track. The words would remind me to breath deeply and relax. It would encourage me to breath my own ‘anesthesia’ to the places that I was feeling discomfort.
Between the hypnobabies and the comfort of the bathtub my pressure waves were more than manageable. The only true uncomfortable part was when I got out of the bath and walked the stairs because I forgot to bring my hypnobabies tracks with me.
During pushing, I had Chris turn on the pushing track. I only kind of heard it in the background but I think it really helped Chris to remember how to prompt and comfort me during pushing. In the end that was even more helpful because I appreciated my comfort from my husband.
Hypnobabies: Final thoughts
I would absolutely recommend hypnobabies to anyone who is planning a natural childbirth. The class is great for learning what childbirth actually is and the hypnosis/meditation is key for keeping discomfort during childbirth under control.
Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask. I’m no expert but I’d be happy to share more about my experiences.