Natural pain relief in labor/childbirth classes

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DunyaWolf's picture
Joined: 07/25/08
Posts: 223
Natural pain relief in labor/childbirth classes

Hello all,
I am a member of the June 2009 BB as well as January 2011, but figured I'd stop in over here because I have some questions specifically relating to natural birth. For this pregnancy, and if all goes well for the birth, I am going to a group of midwives who work out of a birth center. I LOVE it there- they seem really nice and the whole philosophy of the birth center matches mine. I am thrilled about getting to give birth there, but really scared and doubting myself when it comes to getting through the birth. I remember how bad the pain got with my labor with DS, and I had intended to go without drugs but caved and got an epidural because I just couldn't handle it. Unfortunately though I think that epidural contributed to everything I didn't like about how the birth went- unable to change postions/try different pushing positions- they had me flat on my back, and I ended up with an episiotomy from hell! Which is part of my motivation to want to go to the birth center instead and have as little intervention as possible.

But like I said, remembering how bad the pain was with DS I'm just really doubting myself. I guess my question is, what kinds of things did you do during labor to help get through the pain? Especially during transition...which is when I couldn't take it anymore. And would you recommend any specific kind of childbirth classes that focus on natural pain relief? I have looked into Bradley and Hypnobirthing briefly, but am trying to get personal accounts/opinions. I did take a childbirth class last time, but it was more of a general, this is what happens kind of thing. It was very informative, but I feel like I need something that focuses more on natural birth. TIA!

kridda_88's picture
Joined: 01/28/08
Posts: 1798

I did the hypnobirthing and it's was a world of diffence. It was never painful for me just really intense. Most of the women here have done the Hypnobabies method. Funny enough my first birth was a horrible experience as well and only after I got the epidural, which i also planned to go natural. It is something you want to plan on and prepare for your entire pregnancy. I would get studying on a method asap and get as much practice in as possible. I also researched Bradly method but the fact that they were saying child birth was painful just didn't jive with me. IMO child birth doesn't have to be painful unless you expect it to be painful and let fear into your labor and birth.

jooniper's picture
Joined: 08/27/07
Posts: 780

I think a huge part of it is learning to relax, not panic, listen to your body's cues. I didn't do any classes (I was on bedrest), just read TONS of birth stories. I think my sister Lori- just had her baby this morning- summed things up pretty well. She was only to a 5 and things were super intense, then all the suddenly something clicked in her head and she though "wait a minute I know what to do" and she started doing these crazy unearthly moans and just kind of going to another place... when she hit transition she even started dancing because the helped her manage. Reading birth stories, watching videos of natural births... it really helps set the mindset to let you go with the flow.
If you can chase out the fear, you can do it!

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

Hi Jessica. I did the Hypnobabies homestudy for my son's birth and I loved it. It is a really complete program and goes really in-depth on how to use hypnosis to have a more comfortable birth experience. It teaches you how to relax on cue. I was relaxed and focused my entire first stage, including transition. I had a bit of a hard time with lost focus during pushing, but the techniques from the program were really invaluable to me. I do think that if I hadn't had those techniques and preparation, I would have gotten scared and asked for drugs.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

I did Hypnobirthing but didn't actually use it much during my labor (reminds me, I still need to write up my experience with and thoughts on that) but i still found in invaluable in a lot of other ways. My labor was long and I won't lie, it was painful and extremely hard to handle, but I made it through drug free largely because of the choices I'd made in advance to set myself up for success, like choosing a wonderful, supportive birth center where I was never offered drugs (epidurals aren't even an option there, although they do have some IV meds on hand...but they never offered and I didn't ask.) So in that sense you are already doing great! If your DH is not the type to be a strong, supportive birth partner, I recommend looking into doulas, too. Or, if your DH does want to be involved, Hypnobirthing was incredibly valuable for giving the partner tools to be truly helpful. But either way, having a really solid birth partner was another key factor for me in making it through a natural childbirth. Good luck! You are already on the right path, just by thinking and asking about this Smile

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

I took a Hypnobabies course which was wonderful. It really gave me the confidence and let me get over my fear about birthing BEFORE I even got to the labor stage. I wasn't as good about using it during labor and pushing, but it kept me from feeling fear and gave me confidence to say I can do this without drugs.

My close friend took Bradley. She said the one thing she really didn't like about Bradley was that it is very husband directed and her DH was more afraid and freaked out than she was. Her birth experience was quite quick and she felt like she panicked a bit. She's planning on trying Hypnobabies this time. Hypnobabies does have the element where your "support person" is very invoved, but it also gives you the tools to do everything yourself if need be (at least that is how I use it and understand it).

Oh - one method I really felt helped with the pain I felt was using a birth tub and being able to change positions during labor.

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

My main tool was hypnosis. I've used HypnoBirthing and Hypnobabies and found the Hypnobabies hypno-anesthesia techniques to be much more effective than the basic relaxation taught in HypnoBirthing. You can read more about my experiences with both here:
http://www.birthnaturally.org/hypnobirthing.htm

In addition to hypnosis, I gave birth at home, which was a more comfortable and supportive environment for me. I also walked, sat on my birth ball, vocalized, listened to music that I like, showered, used a birth tub, had my dh do counterpressure on my lower back, swayed, rocked on a rocking chair, ate, drank, and did whatever the heck I felt like doing at the time. Biggrin Without the hypnosis I don't think I'd choose to give birth without pain medication. Pain is, well, negative for me (I got an epidural with my first baby). I really appreciated the medical hypno-anesthesia techniques I learned from Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis! Smile

Here's a tool to help you figure out what preparation option might be best for you:
http://www.birthnaturally.org/childbirthoptionsguide.pdf

Here are over 250 birth stories of moms using hypnosis (mostly Hypnobabies):
http://pregnancybirthandbabies.com/POSITIVE_birth_stories.htm

LMCH's picture
Joined: 02/05/07
Posts: 2031

Hi Jessica! Good to see you over here Smile

Did the MW's give you any idea what their class is like there at the center? I kinda wanted to ask them since I took the general class at Mercy last time....and I didn't know if their class would be worth it.

Other than that last time, I read a lot (Ina May's book, Henci Goer's book)...this time around I have checked out Birthing from Within and the Birth partner. Last time I also had the hypnobirthing book...it is not an intensive study like Hypnobabies, but it had some good relaxation tips and 2 relaxation CD tracks. Despite all the different techniques taught during class and in books, I just did what felt right when I was in the thick of it.

Although I have no experience with it, all the ladies who have done hypnobabies seem to have found it very useful.

kvo
kvo's picture
Joined: 12/18/06
Posts: 902

"tink9702" wrote:

I took a Hypnobabies course which was wonderful. It really gave me the confidence and let me get over my fear about birthing BEFORE I even got to the labor stage. I wasn't as good about using it during labor and pushing, but it kept me from feeling fear and gave me confidence to say I can do this without drugs.

I agree with this completely. Transition is difficult and I think preparing yourself and having the birth center and midwives will help you. I will not tell you I had a pain free childbirth. The last stretch (pushing) hurt like hell, but it was a very small part of the labor and I knew it was the point of no return. My midwife kept repeating "your body was meant to do this." It's true! The majority of the labor, even the transition, was ver uncomfortable but tolerable.

krazykat's picture
Joined: 08/11/07
Posts: 1143

I absolutely LOVED my Bradley classes for the education aspect (even as a BTDT mom). My DH and I got SO MUCH from it, and I am really glad we did them. For the relaxation part, I have done the Hypnobabies home-study program faithfully. For me, it has given me the ability to sleep well through the pregnancy, even right here at the end, and that alone was worth the cost!! Also, the fear-clearing sessions are WELL WORTH it. Hypnobabies has restored a lot of my broken confidence. There is a very strong relationship between fear and pain, the fear-pain cycle. I've done some reading on that as well, and it makes a lot of sense to me about some of the things I experienced in my previous birth.

I will have to let you know how my HBAC goes thanks to both methods.

Joined: 04/30/09
Posts: 2257

As others have mentioned, hypnobirthing and the bradley method are quite popular. I haven't taken any classes myself outside of the ones my hospital provided (which actually pulled a lot from NCB things like hypno and bradley) but like Jooinper, I've been indulging in as many birth stories as I can.

One book I've found to be really interesting/inspiring on the road toward NCB is Ina May Gaskin's guide to childbirth. It was quite empowering to read all the experiences as well as some of the medical backing in the latter half of the book. I've also heard really good things about Birthing from Within (http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/).

Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 621

First of all - were you induced with your first labor/birth? If you were given any pitocin at all, that can definitely contribute to your pain.

I wish I could have had a labor that was described as not really painful! It hurt. a lot. I had serious back labor and was super surprised I didn't have those breaks in between contractions I'd read so much about!

That being said, I had the BEST experience ever! I would not trade it and would never consider an epidural if this next labor ends up begin painful. I can *still* remember how good the warm water felt when I got into the birthing tub. That was the best pain relief ever!

Read, read, read. That's what I did and I loved the positive birth stories! It really helped give me the confidence. I also did not listen to other people's horror stories. If one did slip in, I always asked, "Were you induced?" The vast majority of time they were!

Joined: 06/05/06
Posts: 61

Choosing a provider that supports natural birth and being at a birth center are already huge steps in the right direction of having a positive birth experience! I'm observing a Hypnobabies class right now (for doula training), and I love the class content and approach they have to relaxation! I only took a hospital childbirth education class with our first, but I read a LOT of birth stories that gave me confidence that it can be done naturally. I also read a lot about what causes pain/discomfort in labor and that I need to let my body do what it needs to do.

One thing I think is so important to remember: Trust your body. Women have been having babies for thousands of years. For the most part, our bodies know what to do. If you just give up the control, your body will take over and do its thing!

Good luck!

faeriecurls's picture
Joined: 06/04/08
Posts: 790

I haven't given birth yet, but I have been reading a lot of books, natural birth stories, watching videos of natural births on you tube and hanging out on this board for quite some time.

I am also using the Hypnobabies home study course and hope that it will help. I am not going in expceting anything to be pain free, but I know that I can do this because my body was made for it.

Having supportive people around you and making choices like the ones you have already started to make (using midwives in a birth center) are steps in the right direction.

Lots of luck!

DunyaWolf's picture
Joined: 07/25/08
Posts: 223

Thank you all for the responses! It sounds like hypnobabies seems the most popular/effective. When I asked the midwife at my first appointment what kind of class she's recommend, she said hypnobabies/birthing as well because she's seen it work so often. Its kind of funny because in labor with DS I was so out of it, I kind of went into another world by myself. Problem was, it was pain-induced and that's all I was focused on, it was just consuming me. Lauren- I forgot to ask about what their class is like there; I assumed it would just be a general one like at Mercy but maybe it actually would center around natural pain relief since its at the birth center and they don't really offer drugs. But, some of their patients also deliver at Mercy so who knows.

I was not induced with DS. Actually, the majority of the labor wasn't that bad... it wasn't until the last 3-4 hours that it got really painful. I spent most of the day at home, and though I was crampy and uncomfortable I didn't think it was really happening yet! My family laughs at me still because they had been there visiting and were about to leave to go out to eat... and I was *this* close to deciding to go with them, lol. If I had I'd probably have had Kieran at the restaurant. Late afternoon, after they left was when I was finally able to notice enough of a break in the pains to time them, and they were getting worse, and they were roughly 45 seconds long and coming every 3 minutes or so. So we left to go to the hospital. When we got there it was about 7 pm by the time we got checked in... I was 5 cm, and I had him 2.5 hours later. But that was the worst 2.5 hours! I hated having to sit in the bed, in that semi-reclined position, hooked up to the fetal monitors and IV. That position seemed to make the pain so much worse, and I couldn't do anything but sit there and deal with it. One thing that stood out to me through the whole thing was that I did NOT want to move around like a lot of women do- but at least I could change positions. At home I spent most of the time sitting on a birth ball and that was the most comfortable. When he came out he was also posterior which could have contributed to the intensity of the pain, especially the back pain. I have also heard wonderful things about water, and thankfully the birth center has jacuzzis! I also feel very comfortable there, its just such a different setting than the hospital, so hopefully that combination of things will help. The biggest obstacle is going to be not focusing on how bad the pain was la9st time, and changing to a more positive outlook. I have Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and LOVE it.

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

"DunyaWolf" wrote:

Thank you all for the responses! It sounds like hypnobabies seems the most popular/effective. When I asked the midwife at my first appointment what kind of class she's recommend, she said hypnobabies/birthing as well because she's seen it work so often. Its kind of funny because in labor with DS I was so out of it, I kind of went into another world by myself. Problem was, it was pain-induced and that's all I was focused on.

Keep in mind that the two programs are VERY different and it is important to choose the one that suits your needs. Smile My midwife LOVES Hypnobabies and has stopped recommending other classes unless a mom is not interested in hypnosis.

I can relate to feeling out of it due to pain. That was what happened durig my first baby's birth. Pain is very disorienting to me, which is one of the reasons I wanted to find ways to reduce or even elimate pain without using medications. Hypnobabies was the perfect solution for me. Smile

"DunyaWolf" wrote:

The biggest obstacle is going to be not focusing on how bad the pain was la9st time, and changing to a more positive outlook. I have Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and LOVE it.

Ina May is great. Smile Honestly, I don't think I would have avoided pain medication if I hadn't had Hypnobabies. The hypnosis was very effective during the birth, and I feel so confident going into it. The fear clearing recording was essential for me. It allowed me to recognize that my first baby's birth did not have to repeat itself and I could have an entirely new experience.

DunyaWolf's picture
Joined: 07/25/08
Posts: 223

Yeah it seems like a lot of people recommend hypnobabies over hypnobirthing; what are the major differences exactly? I'm going to ask the midwife today about local classes.

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

"DunyaWolf" wrote:

Yeah it seems like a lot of people recommend hypnobabies over hypnobirthing; what are the major differences exactly? I'm going to ask the midwife today about local classes.

I've used and taught both. I wrote a comparison here:
http://www.birthnaturally.org/hypnobirthing.htm

I took HypnoBirthing with my second child. At the end of the course I felt confident that a comfortable birth without drugs was possible, but I didn't know how to actually get that. At the time I took the class there was exactly one relaxation track (Rainbow Relaxation), which I happened to dislike. Blum 3 I liked the affirmations a bit better, but bought my instructor's CD (Gentle Surge, which is sold by HypnoBirthing now). I really liked Gentle Surge, but I wanted to have a more concrete set of hypnosis tools. The HypnoBirthing book and class talk about deeper techniques, but do not include scripts or recordings for practicing them. With hypnosis it is essential to reinforce techniques by repeated and frequent practice.

I was very frustrated with having to try to write my own scripts based on the descriptions of the techniques in the HypnoBirthing book. Looking around online I found Hypnobabies. At the time there was no Hypnobabies course, but they did sell a set of supplemental recordings to reinforce the tools taught in HypnoBirthing. I bought the set and mainly used that for the remaining six weeks or so of my pregnancy. The Hypnobabies set included a fear clearing recording which, as I said before, was a life-saver for me. I'm certain my second baby's birth would not have gone as well had I not been able to do multiple fear clearing sessions. My second baby's birth was pain-free until the very end, lasting about five hours.

I had such a great birth experience that I felt inspired to work with pregnant and birthing women. I first became a doula and then started teaching generic natural childbirth classes. I really wanted to teach Hypnobabies, but they weren't certifying instructors yet. I certified to teach HypnoBirthing, which I did from 2004 - 2006. My own personal frustrations as a student were simply magnified as a teacher. The course material in HypnoBirthing is very limited and omits some key childbirth education information. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a complete childbirth education course. Because of this, MANY HypnoBirthing instructors alter the class by adding information and scripts. They are not supposed to do this and still call the class HypnoBirthing, but I understand that they do it because they want their students to succeed. I have a friend who teaches a GREAT hypnosis for childbirth class that she calls HypnoBirthing (she's certified), but the course content holds very little resemblance to the HypnoBirthing course outline. What I'm saying is that an individual HypnoBirthing instructor may teach an excellent class, but the program itself is very lacking and I cannot recommend it.

While Mongan did finally update the book and add another CD in 2005, she didn't really see the need to do so. I began to feel like I was hurting my HypnoBirthing students by telling them that a comfortable birth was possible without really giving them the tools to get that. Some of my students did have comfortable births, but most of them did not. I decided I couldn't teach HypnoBirthing anymore.

I knew hypnosis could improve the birthing process, however, so I looked at Hypnobabies again. Hooray! Yahoo They were certifying instructors! I was beyond thrilled to find a program that not only taught very powerful hypno-anesthesia tools (far deeper than the tools taught in HypnoBirthing), but also included all the childbirth education information missing from the HypnoBirthing program. The structure and materials of Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis makes it easy for moms to use it and have easier births.

I took the Hypnobabies training when I was pregnant with my fourth baby, so I got to use Hypnobabies for her birth. I'm so, so, so glad I had the deeper tools of Hypnobabies. Even though I had successfully used hypnosis with babies #2 and #3, my 4th baby's birth was very long (nearly 24 hours). The Hypnobabies techniques allowed me to stay comfortable throughout the birth and I was also able to sleep. I stalled at 8 cm for five hours, but I was able to sleep! Smile I didn't even realize it when dd's head was halfway out because all I felt was pressure. I was very surprised when I put my hand down and felt her head. It was great! Biggrin

I have since had the privilege of teaching Hypnobabies to close to 200 moms. While not all of them have super easy, comfortable births, many of them do. Almost all of them report that Hypnobabies was very helpful, even if they experienced pain/discomfort or complications. The satisfaction of my students is really what has sold me. Smile I also feel MUCH better about sending them away after the last class because they've gotten the education they need to make the best choices no matter what happens during the birth. They also have hypnosis and other comfort measures to help them manage the sensations of birthing. I really appreciate the thoroughness of Hypnobabies because it really does a great job of preparing moms for whatever happens during their babies' births. Smile

kvo
kvo's picture
Joined: 12/18/06
Posts: 902

I seond the power of the fear-clearing. I am certain it helped me manage and stay calm and positive. Yes, I got scared when I knew it was time to push, but I didn't panic or freak out. I calmly whispered to my midwife, "I'm scared." And she said, "Okay, but you will do it and your body can handle it." I did not put myself into hypnosis during that part, but I did use my peace cue and I kept repeating some of the affirmations to myself. I was able to rest between contractions.

I too had a posterior baby and intense back labor. I was getting regular chiropractic and acupuncture treatments during the whole 3rd trimester and the little guy still chose to wait until birthing to turn around. I felt him turning as he descended into my pelvis---that was unpleasant (probably the worst part) but it didn't last long.

I have heard great things about Birthing From Within classes and if I had the time and a regular sitter for DD, I would have done it. I also recommend a doula unless your MW will be with you during the whole thing. They had my try so many different positions and I just did what they said unless it really felt wrong to me.

jooniper's picture
Joined: 08/27/07
Posts: 780

I love Birthing From Within- or rather, I love about 3/4s of it. I suspect the classes are the same. The idea behind it is very art-based. Make a visual representation of what your fears are, or what you want to have happen... I'm not an artsy person, I just wasn't into that.
But the rest of it was fabulous. It takes a very different approach from what I know of hypnobabies- rather than shooting for a pain-free birth, it goes with the approach that "birth IS painful, is IS hardwork, and YOU CAN DO IT". Seems more... believable and achievable to me. It gives some techniques for managing the pain and spends a lot of time, like hypnobabies, at clearing out fears and expectations.

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

"jooniper" wrote:

I love Birthing From Within- or rather, I love about 3/4s of it. I suspect the classes are the same. The idea behind it is very art-based. Make a visual representation of what your fears are, or what you want to have happen... I'm not an artsy person, I just wasn't into that.
But the rest of it was fabulous. It takes a very different approach from what I know of hypnobabies- rather than shooting for a pain-free birth, it goes with the approach that "birth IS painful, is IS hardwork, and YOU CAN DO IT". Seems more... believable and achievable to me. It gives some techniques for managing the pain and spends a lot of time, like hypnobabies, at clearing out fears and expectations.

I liked the art stuff from Birthing from Within (the book), but I hated the message that birth WILL hurt and IS hard, etc. Blum 3 For that reason, I think moms who don't identify with an approach like Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis will tend to do well with Birthing from Within (and vice versa). Smile

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

I agree with Laura (as usual). I read Birthing from Within between my pregnancies and loved the art stuff in it and how it embodied the spirit and culture of the Natural Childbirth community so beautifully (sort of the same reasons why I like this board). However, the message that you have to be prepared to experience a lot of pain to have a natural childbirth wasn't something I identified with either. No one type of childbirth preparation is going to be perfect for everyone, and everyone has to figure out what method is best for them.

I want to clarify that the goal of hypnobabies is not a pain-free birth. The goal of Hypnobabies, like the goal of any other preparation program, is to enjoy your birth. Some women best prepare to enjoy their births by accepting that there will be pain, that it is a pain different from the pain that harms you and serves a purpose. Other women have a knee-jerk pain-avoidance reaction, and will automatically think "if it's pain, I don't want it!" For these women (myself included), Hypnobabies is excellent.

DunyaWolf's picture
Joined: 07/25/08
Posts: 223

"MrsMangoBabe" wrote:

I want to clarify that the goal of hypnobabies is not a pain-free birth. The goal of Hypnobabies, like the goal of any other preparation program, is to enjoy your birth. Some women best prepare to enjoy their births by accepting that there will be pain, that it is a pain different from the pain that harms you and serves a purpose. Other women have a knee-jerk pain-avoidance reaction, and will automatically think "if it's pain, I don't want it!" For these women (myself included), Hypnobabies is excellent.

I'm not sure I could change my mentality enough to expect birth to be pain-free Wink Since I already went through it, and had lots of pain, I already expect that. But I do hope to be able to find ways to cope with the pain to make it less intense, or change how I perceive it... if that makes sense.

I got the contact info of a hypnobabies instructor today from my midwife, who said they really recommend her. I emailed her asking about class availability and prices... her website says classes are limited to the first 5 couples who sign up, which makes me worry we won't be able to get in... but I don't really know how popular they are around here either. I'll find out! I don't trust myself to do the home study myself, I know I'm not self motivated enough. I think going to a class will help me understand and get into it enough that I will hopefully practice in between classes and as birth approaches.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

Hypnobabies classes with an instructor are designed to incorporate a lot of at-home practicing. If a live class is an option for you, in most cases, it is a preferable option because nothing beats live support, and having to go to the class usually motivates people to do their practice better. I did the homestudy because there are no instructors in my area, but I'm hoping to change that.

The cost of live classes varies some by area, but be prepared for it to be a bit pricey (usually between $200-$400 for group class).

ETA: oh, and Hypnobabies is all about changing your perception of the birth experience--they don't refer to anything as "pain coping" because the use of the word "pain" can increase our perception of pain. I have some posts on my blog about this, if you're interested: Understanding Painless Childbirth and my most recent post Painless Childbirth, revisited

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

I just wanted to add that we read and practiced the pain relief techniques section from Birthing From Within in my prenatal group at the birth center, and I personally found those very helpful. The non-focused awareness worked particularly well for me, and although I didn't use it for contractions, I used it very successfully during more specifically/intensely painful moments like membrane sweeps and the uterine massage after birth. And while DH practiced acupressure on me in the days leading up to labor--ow! Wink

I also wanted to add that I do think Hypnobirthing is helpful in a lot of ways--I agree that I found the class much more helpful than what I was given to practice at home, which was fairly limited. But the reasons I didn't use it for pain management in labor had more to do with my own situation (being freaked out about risking out of the birth center) than the techniques or course itself. Just FYI, I wouldn't use my experience as a hallmark of the Hypnobirthing method's effectiveness. I talked to a couple of other women from my same class, one a FTM and one on her fourth birth, and both had FANTASTIC experiences using the HB methods. Nothing is one size fits all!

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

"cactuswren" wrote:

I also wanted to add that I do think Hypnobirthing is helpful in a lot of ways--I agree that I found the class much more helpful than what I was given to practice at home, which was fairly limited. But the reasons I didn't use it for pain management in labor had more to do with my own situation (being freaked out about risking out of the birth center) than the techniques or course itself. Just FYI, I wouldn't use my experience as a hallmark of the Hypnobirthing method's effectiveness. I talked to a couple of other women from my same class, one a FTM and one on her fourth birth, and both had FANTASTIC experiences using the HB methods. Nothing is one size fits all!

Certainly, nothing is one size fits all when it comes to childbirth (or pretty much anything)! Wink I'm glad you are happy with your birth experience and that you seem to be satisfied by your HypnoBirthing class. I know I've been rather harsh on HypnoBirthing and I hope you don't think I'm making any sort of commentary on your birth! :eek: My conclusions about HypnoBirthing come from many years of experience as a birthing mom (took HypnoBirthing with my second baby), a doula, and a HypnoBirthing Practitioner (2004 - 2006). The course content is just so bare and unless it's fleshed out by a teacher who knows a lot about birth, I don't think it's enough for most women to really be prepared. Even then, the hypnosis content is pretty slim. :confused: And, of course, if anything is added, it's not really HypnoBirthing anymore. It's HypnoBirthing + some other stuff that the teacher added because she knows it will help her students be more prepared.

There definitely are some helpful things in HypnoBirthing and it can be enough for some women. I like Hypnobabies better (obviously :rolleyes:) because it takes the sorts of helpful things in HypnoBirthing to a much deeper level. Hypnobabies also incorporates a ton of other things that are also helpful.

Ultimately, I hope the women who choose HypnoBirthing (or Hypnobabies or Birthing from Within or any other childbirth class) do so after knowing the pros/cons of ALL their options. Smile

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

"DunyaWolf" wrote:

I'm not sure I could change my mentality enough to expect birth to be pain-free Wink Since I already went through it, and had lots of pain, I already expect that. But I do hope to be able to find ways to cope with the pain to make it less intense, or change how I perceive it... if that makes sense.

I got the contact info of a hypnobabies instructor today from my midwife, who said they really recommend her. I emailed her asking about class availability and prices... her website says classes are limited to the first 5 couples who sign up, which makes me worry we won't be able to get in... but I don't really know how popular they are around here either. I'll find out! I don't trust myself to do the home study myself, I know I'm not self motivated enough. I think going to a class will help me understand and get into it enough that I will hopefully practice in between classes and as birth approaches.

I totally understand your first paragrah. What I learned through Hypnobabies was to change the idea of pain - from PAIN to "Uncomfortable, lets get through this, I can do this even though it doesn't feel good" mentality. I have no idea if my sentence makes sense, but to me the word PAIN was SCARY! And the fear is what I really needed to get over. Hypnobabies helped me to do that. I didn't expect birthing to be hurt-free, but I no longer expected it to be terrible....hope that makes sense! DS was sunny-side up and I had a ton of back labor. He also wouldn't come out (pushing 2.5 hours). Hypnobabies allowed me to stay calm and in control and I was able to NOT freak out and start being afraid. Strangely enough, I still associate broken bones with more PAIN than birthing....I'm expecting our 2nd in December and I've come across some possible complications to the natural Hypnobabies birth I want and what am I planning to do tonight - get out the fear cleansing CD and calm myself! Also, DH has used the fear cleansing CD to relax about non-birth related stressers, it's really a great tool to have.

Good luck getting into the Live class! In my area (northeast USA) there are always openings as natural birth is pretty much unheard of around here.... I felt as though the Live class forced me focus on practicing and gave me the motivation to keep up on it.

KUP!

ntmom6's picture
Joined: 01/07/10
Posts: 17

For us it was the Bradley method. My first 2 were born with epidurals and I never thought I could do natural birth. We took a Bradley class before #3 was born, and I wish we had done them all naturally. It's not so much that there will be no pain, it's how to manage and work with your body. Jooniper brought up how her sister all of a sudden knew what to do. That's what they teach in Bradley. Once you get to the point where you don't think you can do it anymore, it means you're done. You learn the physical and psychological signposts in the class. Worth every penny if you ask me. A natural birth may or may not be pain free, but Bradley really prepares you for it.

I've never done the hypobirthing or birthing from within so I have no idea how they compare. Good luck with your search. I wish someone had really talked to me about natural birth before my first was born.

Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 621

It's very interesting reading everyone's points of view about this.

I guess it's really depending on your definition of pain and how you perceive it. For example if pain scares you, then you would prepare one way vs another.

Personally, I went into thinking that yes, most likely there will be pain. However I would manage the pain I experienced at the time and once the contraction passed, I'd have a break between. That way, if it *wasn't* that painful, then GREAT, I'd overprepared Smile

In my experience, my labor was awesome for the first 3-4 hours. The contractions truly did not hurt. I was in the pool for an hour, so I know that probably helped. They seriously didn't even compare to the menstrual cramps I used to get.

However, I was NOT prepared for the sudden onset of back labor several hours later. I was shocked to learn that I was not getting the breaks between contractions that I'd so planned on! I guess I truly didn't realize what back labor was. I really thought that it would be the same (with breaks between contractions) but just be worse during the actual contraction. Wow, was I surprised! This is the point in my labor where I realized a doula (or any other support person) would have definitely been used. My DH was running through the house trying to get things together to go, time my contractions, get me something to eat while I was alone working through the pain.

However, that being said, it was the best experience ever!!!! Smile I cannot WAIT to give birth to this baby and even though I didn't have a set birth plan with DS and didn't *have* to give birth a certain way (tub, kneeling, etc.) I know this go around, I'll be even more flexible and open to what my midwife suggests.

To me, the pain wasn't necessarily scary, but I didn't want to think that it would just be uncomfortable because then I was afraid I'd *really* be unprepared and be begging for an epidural because it wasn't what I'd put in my mind.

But seriously after reading everyone's points of views, it really is up to the individual. I really like the Bradley style of recognizing tension and learning to let it go (DH uses that himself in life now!) I watched several videos of the hypno styles and it just didn't seem to fit with me. I will be borrowing a friend's this time and taking a closer look just to make sure I'm not missing something that fits.

I do think the key is practice. Although it may seem silly, practice relaxation with who will be your labor support....often.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

This discussion has been awesome. It is great to hear what works for different people.

One important thing is that I would not advise anyone to expect birth to not be painful if they were not using hypnosis (unless they grew up at The Farm or somewhere similar where they have not been exposed to fear of painful birth their whole lives). I kind of feel into this trap with my first birth. I learned that if I wanted to have a birth I wouldn't consider "painful," I had to do some serious reprogramming of my subconsious mind. (not being induced, *really* knowing how to relax, and hypnoanesthesia helped, too.)

Joined: 08/01/10
Posts: 5

Oh, you can sooo do this!!

Many women, if they can take out the fear from the fear, tension, pain cycle, they can alleviate most of the discomfort of labor - this can take the form of education, hypnosis, or intrinsic/instinctual/innate preparation.

Education - If you were going to go with formal CBE classes, I would recommend either Hypnobabies or Bradley. Hypnobabies reteaches your brain to understand this concept of labor as working muscles, not pain. This has allowed many women that I have worked with to have pain-free births. It teaches a conditioned response to hypnoanethesia cues. Very good outcomes. Bradley, OTOH, teaches the biological and physiological signposts and stages of labor and birth as well as multiple relaxation and massage techniques to work through each of these stages.

Research - There are two major schools of thought on the pregnancy/birth camps: research of the clinical/medical options and research of the holistic/intrinsic. If you work things through in your head more than your heart, you may be in the first camp. I recommend taking one of the routes, though, so that you can be a proactive consumer in your healthcare. If you follow the first camp, I recommend reading Dr. Sear's The Birth Book, reading Henci Goer's Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, and renting the Business of Being Born (and have your dh watch it - men find it entertaining and usually it helps them get on board). If you are following the second camp, I recommend reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth as well as Birthing from Within and watching Gentle Birth Choices.

Support - Building your birth team, I believe, is one of the most important things. Consider hiring a doula. They will provide the books and videos above (most likely) and be able to teach you much of what you would learn in a formal CBE class. If a doula is not in your budget, make DARNED sure your partner and birth team are on board with you. There comes a point in almost every woman's labor where she wants to give up (usually this means asking for medication).

This is a physiological/emotional stage of labor that is designed to get a woman out of her head and into her body so that she can transition from labor to birth - a triggering of hormones that require her to be out of her head and totally given over to the labor. As this is the MOST vulnerable part of labor, making sure your partner will back you 100% in your desire for a natural birth and won't cave and give in to you is very important. Making sure your birth team will encourage you and help guide you/love on you through this stage is of the utmost importance.

I know you can do this! Good luck and congrats!

usmcwife09's picture
Joined: 04/22/10
Posts: 34

This has all been incredibly insightful to me. Jooniper, from my December 2010 board suggested I come over here. This is my first pregnancy and the more research I do, the more I want to take the natural route. All of your stories are very empowering and educational!

DunyaWolf's picture
Joined: 07/25/08
Posts: 223

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's contributions as well- very insightful. I think I will be hanging around here more often- I need all the support and insight I can get as I prepare and approach this birth.

Well, I got into the hypnobabies class! I was slightly worried I wouldn't get in because she limits the class to 5 couples. But, I made it! I'm glad because I really think I need to go to a class to really help me understand it and motivate me to do the "homework." It doesn't start until October 27 and goes for 6 or 7 weeks. I wanted to get into an earlier class but it was full. It ends the first or second week in December, and my due date is January 26.

Anyway. She sent me a couple articles and the first cd which has 2 tracks that help you learn to deeply relax and connect with baby, and form a "safe place" in your mind that you can go to during contractions/other discomfort. I tried it for the first time today and WOW! I am honestly surprised at how relaxed I was. I really wasn't sure what to expect; you're supposed to practice with them every day so I figured it might be the kind of thing where it takes a while to really start to "work" if that makes sense. But I'm pleasantly surprised at how readily I took to it, I'm hoping this is a good sign.

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

"DunyaWolf" wrote:

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's contributions as well- very insightful. I think I will be hanging around here more often- I need all the support and insight I can get as I prepare and approach this birth.

Well, I got into the hypnobabies class! I was slightly worried I wouldn't get in because she limits the class to 5 couples. But, I made it! I'm glad because I really think I need to go to a class to really help me understand it and motivate me to do the "homework." It doesn't start until October 27 and goes for 6 or 7 weeks. I wanted to get into an earlier class but it was full. It ends the first or second week in December, and my due date is January 26.

Anyway. She sent me a couple articles and the first cd which has 2 tracks that help you learn to deeply relax and connect with baby, and form a "safe place" in your mind that you can go to during contractions/other discomfort. I tried it for the first time today and WOW! I am honestly surprised at how relaxed I was. I really wasn't sure what to expect; you're supposed to practice with them every day so I figured it might be the kind of thing where it takes a while to really start to "work" if that makes sense. But I'm pleasantly surprised at how readily I took to it, I'm hoping this is a good sign.

I'm glad you're enjoying your first CD, Jessica! Smile You'll be ending the class with plenty of time to spare.

faeriecurls's picture
Joined: 06/04/08
Posts: 790

Glad you got into the class. I hope it is helpful for you! I was amazed at how relaxed I was the first time I listened.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

I'm glad you got into the class and that you enjoyed listening to the first CD. Those 2 tracks are among my favorites. DS always moved a lot during "Special Place," even when I listened to it in early labor.

ekcanada's picture
Joined: 05/06/09
Posts: 1707

Hey Jessica,

I am glad you were able to get in. I just wanted to put my two cents in for the power of the Bradley Method. I took it and had a drug free birth. the thing that helped me the most during Hayleigh's birth was what the classes taught DH. We were able to focus on the birth, he knew what I wanted without me being asked and was just as tired at the end of it as I was.

Good luck with everything!

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

"DunyaWolf" wrote:

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's contributions as well- very insightful. I think I will be hanging around here more often- I need all the support and insight I can get as I prepare and approach this birth.

Well, I got into the hypnobabies class! I was slightly worried I wouldn't get in because she limits the class to 5 couples. But, I made it! I'm glad because I really think I need to go to a class to really help me understand it and motivate me to do the "homework." It doesn't start until October 27 and goes for 6 or 7 weeks. I wanted to get into an earlier class but it was full. It ends the first or second week in December, and my due date is January 26.

Anyway. She sent me a couple articles and the first cd which has 2 tracks that help you learn to deeply relax and connect with baby, and form a "safe place" in your mind that you can go to during contractions/other discomfort. I tried it for the first time today and WOW! I am honestly surprised at how relaxed I was. I really wasn't sure what to expect; you're supposed to practice with them every day so I figured it might be the kind of thing where it takes a while to really start to "work" if that makes sense. But I'm pleasantly surprised at how readily I took to it, I'm hoping this is a good sign.

I'm glad you got into the class you wanted and that you enjoyed the first cd tracks! KUP on how things are going!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I haven't had a chance to read all of these posts, but I just wanted to add...

Don't feel pressure to subscribe to a "method". I read a lot and took a hypnobabies home study and I took bits and pieces from all of them and came up with my own way of doing things in the moment. My doula was 100% hypnobabies and I was getting annoyed with her when she kept pushing it in labor.

Find what works and what doesn't - likely you won't even know what will work until you're in the throes of it!

Amy

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

"amy1673" wrote:

Don't feel pressure to subscribe to a "method". I read a lot and took a hypnobabies home study and I took bits and pieces from all of them and came up with my own way of doing things in the moment. My doula was 100% hypnobabies and I was getting annoyed with her when she kept pushing it in labor.

Find what works and what doesn't - likely you won't even know what will work until you're in the throes of it!

Amy

While I haven't been through labor yet, I have a feeling this is how I will approach it. We're doing the Hypnobirthing method and I'm really liking most of it so far. There are parts that are a little too "hippy-dippy" for my heavily left-brained way of thinking but we're working around it. I've asked DH to change some of the scripts in various ways to personalize them to the way I think. For example, the anchor line "and every time I say/do X, you will become twice as relaxed," immediately has me trying to "calculate" just how deeply relaxed I am so that I can meet the expectation of going 2x as deep. I prefer that he says "and every time I say/do X, you will become more relaxed."

After discussing Hypnobabies versus Hypnobirthing with the ladies on this forum, I also went and got the Hypnobabies CD set. I really need to get that uploaded to my iPod ASAP. I plan to take elements from both methods and also elements from all the reading I've done to work out what works best for me when the time comes.

I think the class has really helped DH more than anything. I think he was starting to feel a little left out and helpless but he now feels more confident in his role in our birth and that makes me feel more confident and secure. We're practicing our relaxation techniques and I've got him practicing counter-pressure and massage just so he'll know what to do when I need it ;).

DunyaWolf's picture
Joined: 07/25/08
Posts: 223

"amy1673" wrote:

I haven't had a chance to read all of these posts, but I just wanted to add...

Don't feel pressure to subscribe to a "method". I read a lot and took a hypnobabies home study and I took bits and pieces from all of them and came up with my own way of doing things in the moment. My doula was 100% hypnobabies and I was getting annoyed with her when she kept pushing it in labor.

Find what works and what doesn't - likely you won't even know what will work until you're in the throes of it!

Amy

This is good to hear as well actually. I am excited to learn hypnobabies but I'm not sure I'm the kind of person who can subscribe 100% to any one thing. Knowing me I am thinking I will probably be focusing more on some elements and less on others!