Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Has anybody tried this? I just read the book, and thought I'd post my quick thoughts here.

So, the important disclaimer is that I did not attend any classes. And this does sound like a method in which the creator intends for you to receive in-person training. That being said, I read the book all the way through with interest, and I did take a few things away from it. Overall though, I don't feel like I "know" the method well enough to actually use it during my upcoming birth.

I'll start from the beginning. This is definitely a "crunchy" book, but it doesn't bang you over the head with it. I always appreciate that. The introductory section is a fascinating look back into childbirth of the 60's and 70's. The woman who created this method discussed her 4 birth experiences. She opted not to receive pain medication each time (which was really unheard of back then) and if you can believe this, for the first two, she labored unmedicated all the way through to the baby crowning, and then hospital staff would whisk her to a delivery room, strap down her arms and legs, force an ether mask onto her face, and then once she was unconscious, deliver her baby forcibly with forceps. Because that's just what they did back then. There was no concept of a woman pushing her baby out on her own. My own mom told me that about her birth with my older sister in 1970. "Oh, we'll take it from here, Honey." And then she woke up hours after the birth. I mean, I was flabbergasted. An unconscious vaginal birth? I had a hard time imagining this.

As if to add to the horror, the author also detailed how the baby was kept in the infant nursery at all times except for designated feeding times, and at those times, the fathers were not allowed to be in the room. So, a new mother would not see her baby until the day after she delivered, and then for 4-5 days (used to be the customary stay for a vaginal delivery) would be with her baby only a few times per day. The other times she had to see her baby only through the nursery windows. New fathers had no contact with their baby aside from the nursery window glimpses until mother and baby were released from the hospital. I mean, seriously?

I guess I'm a child of twenty first century childbirth, and so this boggles my mind. Although there is no technique presented per se in this information, it strengthened my fortitude to be grateful for the birthing choices we now have and to assert mine in the way that I desire when the big day arrives.

The author ultimately was able to birth her second two children on her own without the dreaded ether, and even have her husband present for the births, after finding a sympathetic doctor. But alas, both were still whisked to the newborn nursery and all that entailed.

At any rate, after the introductory information, the book addresses the main techniques of Hypnobirthing, which are breathing exercises, relaxation, and visual imagery/meditation. As I mentioned, I found it hard to understand all of the techniques just from reading the book. There is a CD included, and I plan to check that out. But overall, it kind of reinforced what I wanted to do anyway: breathing techniques, position changes, music for relaxation, and a mental focal point. I'm sure I'm missing the very essence of Hypnobirthing, which puts these all together in some unique fashion, but it's the best I can do with just the book.

Anybody else have insight on this particular method of natural childbirth?

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