Hypno, what?! That’s exactly what my husband said and looked at me as if I had gone COMPLETELY MAD. So what is Hypnobabies?? It is a childbirth education course that focuses on hypnosis for an easier and more comfortable birth. I first heard about this course at 30 weeks pregnant from my yoga instructor. At first I brushed it off as silly, but the more I worked on my birth plan, the more interested in the course I became.
The main goal of my birth plan was to have as little intervention as possible with an ultimate goal of not having a c-section. I saw the hypnobabies course as a great preparation tool so I decided to give it a try.
The Hypnobabies course teaches medical hypnosis techniques that aids in a more peaceful and relaxing pregnancy and an easier and possibly pain-free birth. The course helps re-train our minds to think about labor and delivery in a more positive light. You can find more in depth information on the Hypnobabies website (click here).
The Hypnobabies course can either be taken by a certified instructor or as a home study. I decided to do the home study course. The only course offered in my area was every Sunday for 3 hours for 6 weeks and I really did not want to give up my last baby free weekends. The home study course is great though because you can do it at your own pace and at times that are convenient for you. The course comes with a comprehensive childbirth workbook and a set of CDs.
The CDs teach a variety of techniques to help you relax, enter hypnosis and create anesthesia. I honestly am not sure if I ever entered a state of hypnosis, but I was always extremely relaxed while listening to the CDs. Most of the time I would fall asleep after about 10 minutes and I am not talking about a light sleep either, this was a face plant in the pillow kind of sleep!
The greatest benefit for me was learning to look at child birth in a positive way and not fear labor and delivery. Everyone wants to share their birth story with a pregnant women (me included :)) and it can be overwhelming to hear others stories of how painful it was for them. I felt very calm and relaxed in the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy and I believe it was due to the Hypnobabies course.
Here’s a bit about my birth story and how Hypnobabies helped me….
At around noon on the day I went into labor I had a slow leak in my bag of waters. I had no contractions whatsoever though so I continued my day as normal. I went to bed at 10PM that night and woke up at 11PM with intense contractions. From that point forward, my first stage of labor progressed extremely fast! Within two hours we were headed to the hospital. By the time I was in triage and being checked by a nurse, I was already transitioning at 6.5cm dilated and 80% effaced. I started off wanting a completely natural birth, but as my due date approached I started leaning more and more towards an epidural. Once I felt my first contraction I decided that I 100% wanted an epidural :). Unfortunately, when I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was really high so they would not let me get one until they could test my blood and the results came back favorable. So, I continued to labor through 8cm dilated and 90% effaced non medicated.
All I can say is THANK GOD for my Hypnobabies preparation! Although I did feel the contractions, I remained very calm and relaxed during them. All the nurses were amazed at my state considering how far along I was in active labor and non medicated. Whenever I felt a contraction come on, I closed my eyes and focused on the hypnosis techniques I learned. Here is a picture of me while I was having a contraction at 8cm dilated.
I was finally cleared for an epidural and briefly considered not getting one since I was almost fully dilated. But damn, the contractions were getting more intense and I really wanted some relief! The feeling pre and post epidural were night and day! I was actually able to lay down and rest a bit before the pushing stage.
Once I got the epidural it lengthened my contractions and spaced them further apart. It definitely made the pushing stage more difficult. Had I not gotten the epidural, my contractions would have likely continued normally and I would have been able to try more positions to create a better path for him. It ended up taking me 4.5 hours to push him out because he was having difficulty getting around my pelvic bone.
We hired a Doula, Heather McCullough, for labor support and she did an incredible job! She convinced me to try a different position than the standard laying on your back. My doctor was extremely supportive and allowed my to squat on the bed and push (I know, not a nice visual). This position FINALLY created a pathway for my baby to exit! He was born shortly afterwards and I was able to avoid forceps and a c-section! All in my labor and delivery was 13 hours.
I would do it all again in a heartbeat for this sweet little boy.