With my second birth, I used hypnobirthing during my labor. You can read more about my birth story in the post below. I had heard a bit about hypnobirthing on some group forums, but was really introduced to it by a nurse I had during my hospital stay after the birth of my first daughter, Elena. The nurse and I were comparing notes on natural child birth, and she mentioned that she used hypnobirthing with her fifth baby.
"It was the most peaceful, painless birth. I'd think it was a crock if I hadn't done it myself."
Intriguing to say the least! Something that could make child birth painless without an epidural sounded amazing. So here's what I learned:
There are two schools of hypnobirthing; Hypnobabies and Mongan method hypnobirthing. Instruction is typically done in a class with certified instructors, with subtle differences in what is taught. For instance, a Hypnobabies class may teach specific hypnosis techniques for analgesia/pain relief where hypnobirthing may teach guided meditations for deep relaxation (helping to avoid the tension that leads to pain). Either way, here is the point of hypnobirthing: release your mind of fear and tension, and your body will use its natural ability to birth without excess pain. The more you tense, the more you feel pain, and the longer your body takes to birth. By relaxing your mind and body, the cervix can open much more easily. We are mammals after all. If we feel fearful, our mind tells the body, "I can't birth here, it's not safe."
The best way to utilize the practice, is to do just that. Practice. It does take repetitive practice to train your mind and body to relax. In our busy lifestyles of constant running, it can be difficult to turn ourselves off. To go to a quiet place and just be still. The more you can do this, the more effective the tracks will be in aiding relaxation during labor. I visualized a quiet place that I stumbled upon on Pinterest. (I know. Pinterest is so good at that, great pieces to inspire labor and bathroom redecorating.)
I used this as my safe place when labor got hard, and I could retreat to somewhere else mentally.
So did hypnobirthing give me a pain free birth? No. I had labor pain like any other birthing mammal, but my mind and body were relaxed the whole time. I was wonderfully prepared for my birth, and didn't feel the same kind of pain I had with my first. I would describe it as intense, but I was able to cope. Sophia's birth was peaceful, and I can't wait to do it again.
Other perks of practicing hypnobirthing:
1)I slept amazingly well. I slept like a rock when I did the tracks right before bed. Goodbye insomnia!
2) I noticed a decrease in freaky pregnancy dreams. Could be a coincidence, but it's worth trying.
3) The tracks were a great break during a stressful day. I ended a recording feeling calm and focused. Something I needed when my three year old was losing her mind daily in the last weeks of my pregnancy.
4) Others have reported less anxiety and being able to better cope with anxiety using the techniques.