By Anne Ferguson
“What the mind believes, the body achieves.” This concept is one of the foundational components of Hypnobabies childbirth education classes. Would you believe that most women experience birth as painful because they expect to? Are you aware that in traditional cultures birth is a normal, natural event that is often experienced as much shorter and less complicated than birth in our culture? Why is this so? Well, in simple terms, it’s all about the mind. If the mind truly believes birth can be easier and more comfortable, it can be so for that mother.
However, in our culture, most people receive constant messages about how terrible birth is. Instead of telling women how beautiful and empowering birth can be, most people terrorize expectant mothers with all the most difficult and even traumatic birth stories. TV and movies portray birth as dramatic and painful, and difficult to accomplish without the use of drugs, doctors and other interventions. All of those messages are stored in our subconscious and form our belief system about birth.
Hypnobabies is a complete childbirth education course that also teaches couples self-hypnosis techniques to have an easier and more comfortable natural birth. Taking a Hypnobabies class replaces the need to take a hospital-based class or any other out-of-hospital childbirth education course.
Hypnosis is a very natural state that we all experience many times a day, when watching TV, or staring at a computer screen, or driving a car. Have you ever been driving somewhere, and upon arriving at your destination, wondered how you got there, because you don’t remember the last few miles of the trip? That is a state of hypnosis! All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and our students are in complete control of the experience when they are learning these techniques and using them during their birth.
In Hypnobabies, our moms learn “eyes open childbirth hypnosis”. This means they can walk and talk and interact with those around them, while remaining deeply relaxed and comfortable. They can choose any position they’d like to be in, and are fully present and will remember their birth completely. Birth Partners have a very important role to play. They learn along side the hypno-mom during classes, and are given many tools to use during the birth to help their partner achieve the birth of her dreams.
Because many of us come to birth with a negative or even scary view of what birth is, it takes a lot of time and effort to create the belief system deep in the subconscious mind that birth can be easy and comfortable. Hypnobabies classes meet once a week for six weeks, for about 3.5 hours each time. We practice a hypnosis script in class each week, and then the couple takes that script home and practices together. Students need to be ready to practice their hypnosis 30 minutes every day and also spend additional time each week reading, listening to affirmations, doing exercises and anything else needed to prepare for their birth. After the class ends, students continue to devote 30 minutes each day to practicing their hypnosis. This may seem like a big commitment to some, but our students report that listening to the hypnosis CDs and scripts helps them feel so much better about pregnancy, feel excited about giving birth, and even helps them sleep better!