28 December 2011


If the subject of birth grosses you out, read no further.


Since my best friend was getting ready to have her first baby, I read up on hypnobirthing, which my sister highly praises, and which is not as freaky as it sounds. And though it may sound weird to have a single girl reading up on such subjects, I really enjoyed what I learned and I'm now completely convinced I will use my own personalized version of hypnobirthing some day. Here are my rough notes from my readings in hopes that they may help someone some day:
  • Fear is a problem. No fear=no pain. Pain comes from tensing up and it is not inevitable. We have conditioned ourselves to believe it is a curse. Let your body do the work. Endorphins are natural pain-killers. Amnesiac condition: mother draws into herself and her baby and forgets the world. Bodies naturally know how to birth, proved by other cultures and animals where birthing is no big deal. Birth is about family fulfillment. Women, partners, and babies are the main roles and should be listened to. Pregnant women are not diseased, nor are they ill, thus birthing does not have to take place in a medical facility. HypnoBirthing allows for aware, happy infants, and mothers who feel tired but well immediately after birth. HypnoBirthing cuts down on medical costs and length of labor.
  • What is experienced in the body is determined by the mind. Use positive words to discuss birthing plans (don't talk in "victim language"). Hypnosis is not as negative as people think--no one can be caused to do something they don't want to do through hypnosis. It is a natural state of focus that we use on a daily basis. Labor while in self-hypnosis means you are focused on being in charge and relaxed, in being part of your body and baby. Babies are affected by screaming, tenseness, and drugs: why make their birth traumatic?
  • Bond with the baby before birth as much as possible, through music, massage, conversation, singing, empathic imaginations.
  • Breathing (slow, deep breaths: draw in for up to 20 counts, then exhale equally slowly, with body still and limp, with body visualized as a bowl for your baby to rest in), relaxation (dim light, no disturbances, empty bladder, comfy clothes, background music, focusing on relaxing each muscle, light massage on back/arms/neck, repeat letters through the entire alphabet, of time going by without being noticed), visualization (of being in beautiful places, moving through different colors, of opening blossoms, floating upward with balloons) and of being energized, deepening. Practice daily just as an athlete would, and with your partner/coach.
  • Practice having your birth partner give you an anchor, or a sign, like a hand squeeze, that signals that you need to relax more deeply.
  • Practice birth breathing on the toilet: shorter intakes with nudging breaths downward (not too forceful)
  • Pushing is not good. Breathe your baby down gently instead of forcing it out, otherwise you will be limiting your baby's oxygen as well as your own, weakening both of you.
  • Stretch inner thigh muscles twice daily. Squatting (called the "Leaping Frog stance--with your arms inside your spread knees or behind you at the side of your hips so there's room for the baby and attendant and it relieves pressure in your butt) is a good birth posture, but we're not used to it as other cultures, so squat.
  • Perineal massage with oil stretches muscles and readies them for birth without tearing. (Practice relaxing and visualizing then.)
  • Have a list of birth preferences and discuss them with health provider and partner ahead of time.
  • If baby is breech, relax and get it turned by health provider.
  • False labor=practice labor.
  • Remember that due dates are just guesses. Relax. Let mother nature and your body and the baby ripen.
  • Read affirmations daily.
  • Partner: make labor go as you've envisioned (ask others to be quiet and calm, answer questions for you, etc.), touch, massage, wipe sweat, retrieve cool/wet cloth, get snacks, running the music and lights, changing positions, bathroom breaks, etc.
  • Begin labor relaxed and at home, in quiet and comfort, with the support of your partner. Calm down "ready-to-go" feelings. Get ready to go when surges are three and a half to four minutes apart.
  • Don't clench, clutch, or curl up. Walking is not necessarily helpful, nor is it relaxing during surges. Only do it if you feel the need to.
  • Passing time through slow parts of labor: birth ball, tub or jacuzzi, shower, humor, nipple stimulation, light touch massage, walking
  • Expect: body heat to go up and down, spotting, hiccups, burps, nausea when the diaphragm first reacts to labor, the feeling of needing to escape (relax in this case)
  • There are many positions. Move as you feel is best. Lateral position (on your side with a pillow to hold up a leg)
  • You or your partner can catch the baby and instantly cuddle, skin-to-skin. The baby will even instantly seek milk.


  1. Yes, yes, yes. I am recommending hypnobirthing to everyone (particularly of the Hypnobabies variety). After my first delivery experience was a nightmare, my second was the best thing I could have imagined, literally. And hypnobirthing was what got me through it. If you're already studied up on it, good for you! You'll be so much better-prepared than most of us!

  2. I'm one who has a VERY difficult time focusing. So not all hypnobirthing strategies work well for me. I'll have to work on that before my next baby! If you want a good read, try "The Thinking Woman's guide to a better birth" or "Pushed." Great books! :) I'm waiting for you to make some kind of announcement soon or something. ;)

  3. Another key point is: remember that the goal is a healthy baby. I read lots of books, including Hypnobirthing, before I had any kids, practiced and prepared, and was all ready to have a natural birth. After having preeclampsia with the first baby (which required an epidural to lower my blood pressure) and a breech baby that didn't turn even with medical help with the second baby, I learned that you often have to let go of expectations. That being said, I'm glad that I was prepared with the knowledge I had with both babies.

  4. I love to hear the new methods. I was so bummed when I had my first, breach, c-section, after practicing the breathing of the Lamaze method. But the next 4 babies were all vbac (vaginal birth after csection) natural, no drugs at all, and the Lamaze breathing was amazing. The nurses were so impressed with my hubby and I that they asked if they could bring in some students to watch! I focused, used effleurage, breathed, blew out pretend candles and only pushed when the time was right. But tough? yea, the toughest and the best all rolled into one.

  5. Hypnobirthing intrigues me. I'd love to have a natural, pain-free birth. But I'm to lazy to do all of the work leading up to it, so I'll just keep being not-pregnant. Then I never have to worry about it.