My Thoughts on Hypnobirthing – Part I

After reading multiple pregnancy and labor books, I realized that I should probably take some sort of birthing class. It seems that the birthing classes fall into three categories – Lamaze, Bradley Method, and Hypnobirthing. Most people I ask have never heard of Bradley Method or Hypnobirthing. A pregnancy book I borrowed that was published 10 or more years ago doesn’t even mention Hypnobirthing as an option. It sounded hippy-dippy and I wanted to know more.

There really isn’t too much information online about Hypnobirthing and what exactly you learn in the classes. I still thought it sounded great, and I’m pretty sure it’s what Giselle Bundchen used for her labor — if you’ve ever watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born” and its related short series, you’ve seen her describe her birth as pain-free and “like riding a wave in the ocean.” It seems far-fetched, but I thought I could open my mind and learn some great coping tactics for labor and delivery.

My husband and I have now completed four out of our six two-and-a-half hour classes in Hypnobirthing. The jury is still out about whether I like it or not. I know my husband is not into it. In fact, we find ourselves giggling uncontrollably during class. I thought we would learn more factual information and details about what labor would be like, with distinct instructions for what to do and when. Instead, we mostly do meditation and visualization, going to our “happy place” for most of each class. I felt like a dummy in the first class when everyone took turns describing what they had seen with their eyes closed listening to the instructor’s soothing description of a bowl filled with lemons; I saw nothing. I really want to be able to achieve a hypnotic state like we are practicing. I’m just not sure if it is possible for me.

I am practicing the deep breathing exercises and I truly believe that going into birth with no fear and finding ways to calm my mind and body will really make labor easier. I totally understand all of the methodology behind hypnobirthing. For instance, in the Hypnobirthing book I read about the body’s sympathetic and para-sympathetic reactions to stress. In labor, if we tense up, our body will stop doing what it needs to do since the uterus is not a body part that the body sees as necessary to survival. But the contractions are needed to push the baby down into the birth canal, and your body needs to continue that function in order for things to progress. There is more to it of course, but that is the gist that I picked up. Hopefully I can learn to shut the logical part of my mind off a bit more and allow my imagination to take me to my happy place when the time comes. I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes!


- Summer