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Five things that I want you to know about HypnoBirthing:

1. Hypnosis is not weird.

When I attended hypnosis training that was required prior to HypnoBirthing my first question was: What is the difference between hypnosis and meditation and the teacher replied: nothing. Since then I have spoken with hypnotherapists that do not completely agree, but the consensus is that they are extremely similar. Therapeutic hypnosis is nothing like stage hypnosis seen in comedy acts. Hypnosis for entertainment is real, however the subjects are very carefully chosen and no one is doing anything against their will. ALL hypnosis is self-hypnosis and it can not make anyone do anything that is against their values.

2. HypnoBirthing does NOT promise a pain-free birth.

It seems to me that HypnoBirthing moms tend to report a pain free birth more commonly than moms that prepare in other ways or not all, but HypnoBirthing explicitly does not guarantee a pain-free birth. News media stories about HypnoBirthing are frequently titled something like: “HypnoBirthing promises a pain-free birth” or “Childbirth with no pain?” and then they interview moms that did have a pain free experience. I believe that this is called sensationalism. I hate to seem ungracious for news features that bring awareness to HypnoBirthing, but we simply do not promise a pain-free birth, as is often reported. It can happen, it does happen, no promises though.

3. HypnoBirthing moms are completely aware of their surroundings and their births.

They just do not feel compelled to respond to stimulus the same way a birthing mom typically might. This seems to cause concern in onlookers at times. The main criticism that I hear is that moms are not alert enough to be active participants . You are awake. You are alert. You do feel. You can walk around and engage in normal conversation if you wish. HypnoBirthing moms are even more involved because they have trained their mind and body to relax and not fear what they are feeling.

4. It takes practice.

People seem to believe that HypnoBirthing works because even though birth is wretchedly painful, hypnosis can be applied during birth so mom doesn’t feel it. This isn’t how it works at all. What has happened is that our subconscious has been collecting horror stories about birth our whole lives, since the first century AD this has been the case. So the concept that birth is traumatic is embedded in us very deeply. With daily practice we can purge the fear and replace it with confidence. When fear is truly absent, the nervous system remains calm, and the birth unfolds completely differently than if the fear had been allowed to remain. Remember, this is your subconscious, so even if you’re logical mind knows that you have nothing to fear, and you feel completely confident, you must still put in the work to transform your subconscious. It takes practice. If you attend classes, you will get general childbirth education and a few hours of hypnosis that you will certainly enjoy. If you practice, you will enjoy a significantly enhanced experience.

5. HypnoBirthing is not just for non-medicated vaginal births.

I would approximate that 80-90 percent of the families that attended my class are hell bent on a non-medicated birth. I wish that I could also interest the families that opt for chemical pain relief and C-sections. An epidural relieves a mom of pain (usually), but not fear. The presence of fear triggers the release of stressor hormones, catecholamines. These hormones are shared with baby, and they tamper with the birthing body’s natural mechanism of hormone release. Moms with epidurals can still use HypnoBirthing techniques so that mom and baby will enjoy the perfect hormone balance of birth. A gentle transition can look a lot of different ways.

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