Last week, my husband and I attended our first class in the five-series hypnobirthing course at San Diego Hypnobirthing. This is my first post about why I chose to take this class and what I am learning from it. Stay tuned for recaps of the remaining four classes!
Why Try For A Natural Birth?
Tolerance of bodily discomfort and pain has never been a strength of mine. I was that girl who whined every time I had a boo-boo on my knees or elbows. My body goes out of whack when I don’t get my mandatory eight hours of sleep or when I don’t mix enough protein with my carbs. I can’t go to bed with a full belly because the sensation of digestion keeps me from falling asleep. Yes, I just happen to have one of those really sensitive bodies.
Despite my love for herbal remedies and all things natural, my bodily sensitivities were persuasive in convincing me that I would not be able to give birth naturally and unmedicated. However, when I became pregnant, I knew I had to do my due diligence and thoroughly research what my childbirth options are. As I was completing my “pregnancy 101” readings, I was happily surprised to learn that there were few negative effects of a medicated birth (using an epidural). I also heard stories from many mothers who underwent c-sections and still had very healthy and happy babies.
I am confident in the fact that as long as baby and mommy are happy and healthy, any childbirth method will do, and I am definitely not one who would be devastated if I was not able to have my birth naturally as planned.
But honestly…after I learned about hypnobirthing, I saw no reason not to give it a shot. I read many testimonials of women who had used hypnobirthing and reported to have relatively “pain-free” births…the possibility of a birth free from screaming and poking needles is incredible to me. My husband and I watched videos of very quiet, calm, and beautiful births. There were many positive Yelp reviews of the local hypnobirthing class, and this was supported by one of my husband’s coworkers who took it during her pregnancy.
Not all mothers who use this approach are able to have natural and unmedicated births. Some mothers have special circumstances that require medications or surgery. Other mothers do find that the pain is still very intense–even with all of the self-hypnosis practice–and opt for pain relief during their labors. Even though I’m aware of the likelihood that I still may not have an natural birth for one reason or another, I nonetheless wanted to strive for that goal and have all of the tools I need to have a peaceful birth. The five-class series is relatively affordable, so we had nothing to lose and only everything to gain!
So by this point, you are probably wondering what the heck is hypnobirthing?
Here is what I have learned so far about hypnobirthing through my own reading and our first class:
- Women’s bodies are built to birth babies. Women have been successfully giving birth for many centuries without the need for advanced medical intervention or technology.
- Fear and stress during labor makes birth more painful and can increase risk of complications. A relaxed and calm psychological state helps to maintain blood in the muscles that are working to birth the baby and ensure a smooth process.
- Only when baby or mommy are at medical risk should more advanced interventions be used (pitocin, C-sections, etc.).
- Fathers/partners/birthing companions are essential in the birthing process in calming the mother and helping to bring comfort via massage, acupressure, etc.
- The mind can have a powerful effect on the body during the body process. This is why affirmations, visualizations, and relaxation exercises are heavily taught in this class.
- It is possible to have a calm, relaxing, and even pain-free birth! (I pray that I can attest to this after my little girl is here!)
Our first class was meant to help ensure that everyone was on board and committed to having a natural birth, therefore we did not spend much time learning specific techniques yet. There are six other couples in the class, so we spent much of the time sharing about our hopes for our baby’s births. We also watched videos of hypnobirth babies coming into this world, very peacefully and calmly.
That’s all I have to share for this week. Before I end, here are a few other tips that I learned from our doula that some of you might be interested in looking into:
- Drinking raspberry tea in the weeks before the birth can help strengthen mommy’s uterine muscles and aid in a faster delivery.
- Eating dates also helps to ensure a shorter and easier delivery.
- Despite what I have read from other sources, kegels (pelvic floor exercises) are actually NOT recommended during pregnancy.
- During the last trimester, it’s not recommended that women recline or slouch when sitting on a couch as this could pull the baby into a less than preferable and usually painful position for mommy as she is nearing labor.