Jul 02 2010

Hypnobirthing. Seems dumb.

I just read/skimmed parts of the book HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method. It’s dumb.

I took a Bradley Method childbirth class to prepare for getting Johnny out, and it was great in terms of educating Shane and I about what would happen during labor, how to cope, nutrition, breastfeeding, etc. It was a fairly complete course and I think it helped us both quite a bit.

I plan on reviewing those materials as a sort of refresher, but I also am interested in other methods of natural childbirth to see if I can gain anything positive from them.

During the intense parts of labor, I remember wanting something for my mind to focus on, other than just plain “relax” and consciously trying to relax various body parts.

Now, there is a little bit in the Bradley course to help with visualization but it isn’t an extensive part of the method. I didn’t rehearse where my mind was going to be. I just rehearsed how to keep my body relaxed, and that part was helpful and I’m glad I did that!

So I thought a Hypno-something or other book or course could be helpful to me. I could practice the techniques at home and then call upon them when it’s my baby’s birthday.

I picked up the HypnoBirthing book on PaperBackSwap. It came with a CD with two tracks, but I didn’t listen to them because I thought the book was dumb, so I figure I won’t like the CD.

I just wrote a crabby email about it all to Karen, who just bought a HypnoBabies (completely different) home course, and will hopefully receive it soon. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote to her, to save me time from rewriting it:

The book is definitely intended as a supplement to the course. Lots of references of, “You will learn more specifics about this technique from your instructor.” Um, thanks. And I think there’s lots of unrealistic info about how birth is.
She said that most Hypnobirthing moms don’t experience vomiting during labor because they’re more calm. Whatever! The body will barf (usually this is during transition) if it wants to help clear your stomach out to maximize your gut space. It doesn’t want to waste time and energy digesting something when it’s focusing on getting the baby out. I barfed! So what? I had a bucket for that, and mouthwash to rinse the ick out.
I also burped really loudly in front of a nurse, and I apologized and she said, “It’s ok! It happens” and I’m sure it does. And I didn’t really care all that much, I just apologized because I knew that would be the polite thing to do.
The book says we aren’t supposed to push our babies out; we are to BREATHE them out. Are you kidding me!? I don’t even know what this fully means, since there isn’t a big explanation of it. She says the urge to push is a cultural condition that comes from the hospital way of doing things.
I distinctly remember having an urge to push, and my body started to push and I helped, and I got relief from that. If I DIDN’T push at that time, it would hurt!
The book lacks a lot of valid medical info (and it even says that it purposefully lacks it) because it doesn’t want to worry pregnant moms about what probably won’t even happen to them. Um, I think it’s good to be prepared in case you’re in any particular situation.
Like getting your labor augmented, or developing pre-e while in labor. Things that happened to me.
The author is a hypnotist and a mom but I don’t think she has enough of a birth-related background to really know what she’s talking about.
Some of the critical reviews I’ve read about her method make it seem like if you felt any pain, then you didn’t do the method right. Idiot. And way to go for making a new mom feel guilty and like a failure!
So yeah, this is a dumb book and probably a dumb method. I didn’t even get much hypnosis info from it. There were a few sections on visualizing, but it was so ridiculous.
I’m just disappointed that I didn’t get a good overview of how hypnosis can be used during birth. I was hoping to get that from this book!
I wonder if I had read that book and taken that class when I was pregnant with Johnny, if I actually would have believed all that. I think even then, I’d be skeptical of the “pain free” part. Like really? It’s not even going to hurt a tiny bit? Sure.
I know that some moms love the book and course. The reviews on Amazon and the testimonials on their site show that some people do benefit.
Oh, and another false thing — the book says, “Many physicians will not even consider artificial initiation of labor in the absence of any special circumstances until you are at forty-two weeks.” (page 192).
And this copy was revised in 2005!
That statement is so misleading.
For the record, the average, healthy pregnancy will come to term between 38-42 weeks.
And once you hit 42 weeks, you are “post-dates” or “overdue.” NOT at 40 weeks as so many women are led to believe.
Really, women (and doctors!) should consider their due-date to be whatever it is at 42 weeks. But to induce when a mom is 39, 40, 41 weeks or so for no other reason than they want to prevent her from going overdue…yeah. That’s no good.
Especially since when left alone, the average first-time mom delivers at 41w1d.
So she thinks she’s 8 days “overdue” but really, she’s pretty normal.
But anyway, many intervention-happy doctors will start talking induction much sooner than 42 weeks. Or try to do things to “encourage the baby along” like sweeping or stripping the membranes and such (which can actually break the water, and then you are truly on the clock!).
So there’s some misinformation in the book and I just think it’s not a useful tool, overall. There are much more complete books and courses out there!
I am optimistic that HypnoBabies is going to be a worthwhile course. It can actually be taken as a home course, so it is much more complete than this book, which pretty much requires you to take a class. And it doesn’t promise a painless birth, though it does try to help you minimize it.
I’m looking forward to hearing Karen’s thoughts on the materials she receives and I just might buy my own copy.
Do you have any experience with HypnoBirthing or HypnoBabies, or some other method? Tell me!

5 Responses to “Hypnobirthing. Seems dumb.”

  1. First – I’ll be honest – I skimmed your post – but I get your gist. I’ve been very skeptical of hypnobirthing too.

    However, I have been in physical therapy for pelvic floor issues since before I got pregnant (things are too tight and affecting my running) and they use relaxation scripts with me. At first I thought they were hokey – but the more I practice with them the more I love them.

    I have one CD that reads me something similiar to this (http://www.innerhealthstudio.com/passive-progressive-relaxation.html) – basically talking you thru relaxing every muscle in your body.

    I have a script that my husband reads to me similiar to this (http://www.innerhealthstudio.com/visualization-relaxation.html).

    Again, they might seem hokey – but if you concentrate on them and concentrate on relaxing I really think it helps.

    Anyways – just a suggestion to add fuel to the fire!

  2. Haha, I should have been more brief!

    Anyway, I’m not against the relaxation and listening to hokey scripts. My main issue was the Hypnobirthing book and how little info it actually contained on how to do this.

    When I was in cross-country in high school, our coach would lead us through visualizations of our race. It really helped!

    And to me, I think running a distance race is pretty similar to giving birth, in terms of needing mental strength.

    So I’m all for visualizations and scripts and even cheesy stuff, if it’s actually a thorough thing.

    I’m hoping that’s what I’ll find with the HypnoBabies tracks, if I get them!

  3. I’ve studied both Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies.

    In my opinion, Hypnobabies is far more superior. It has MORE information on the physical aspects of birth. What to expect as far as the hospital goes, and the options moms have in how to birth their babies.
    The Hypnotic techniques they teach isn’t just “relax” and guided imagery, but real medical hypnosis.
    When I first studied the mongan method I was sorely disappointed. I was scouring the net trying to write my own scripts. It was sad. But then I found Hypnobabies. I learned more about hypnosis in the first week class than I did the entire (3) classes with the other.
    I went on to have all my babies using Hypnobabies and have been a proud supporter.
    Not every one experiences a “painfree” birth. As Hypnobabies states they can’t guarantee that, but MANY moms have been very pleased with their experience because they felt empowered because they knew their choices. Or because they were able to keep calm and focused instead of feeling out of control. Or they felt more relaxed. Or because they felt only discomfort that was highly manageable… Moms have used Hypnobabies for their planned c-sections so they could feel more calm about a choice they had to make for a healthy baby.
    They have a fear release cd to help moms who had hard first birth experiences. Hypnobabies really does have it all.
    Not to mention, with Hypnobirthing I had to literally lay completely still in order to stay in hypnosis.
    With Hypnobabies, they teach the finger drop technique which allows for “Eyes open hypnosis”. I could move around, talk, eat drink.. bounce on the birth ball and still be completely comfortable and remain in hypnosis. It’s amazing and such a wonderful asset!!
    I have yet to hear of someone who practiced their hypnobabies faithfully, and was not satisfied with their hypnosis experience.

  4. Thank you so much for your comment, mommymichael! It sounds like you had a similar reaction to HypnoBirthing, and the fact that you even took a course and were still dissatisfied is a testament to HypnoBabies. I am excited to test it out!

  5. Our midwife requires us to take some kind of birth education class, and basically told us it ought to be Bradley or Hypnobabies. We’ve decided on Bradley, since it has worked for so many of our friends. Josh is about halfway through Husband Coached Childbirth, and is ready to find a class! He had a lot of anxiety about how the birth will go, and reading this book is helping- and taking the class will help lots more, I’m sure. Looking forward to it!

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