Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

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Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby mamapup » 12 Jan 2014, 11:07

A friend of mine is asking about hypnobirthing on facebook. I have read/heard very mixed things about it but personally am very skeptical about it. Since between you on this forum you seem to have every science degree covered, what do people here think? I'm interested, not for me, but for my friend. It's not something I think could ever work for me since my skepticism levels are simply too high.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby H and K » 12 Jan 2014, 11:25

It worked for me.
Last edited by H and K on 12 Jan 2014, 16:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby Alstarofwonder » 12 Jan 2014, 11:29

I tried it as I was desperate to avoid interventions and thought it would help me to remain in control. But I found the woman's voice on the CD really irritating and just couldn't relax into the breathing in golden light thing! Despite that I.did use some of the breathing techniques during the labour and I think it did help a bit. Would I recommend it? Maybe to give it a go, it can't hurt can it?
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby catkin » 12 Jan 2014, 11:51

I think we had the same CD alstar! The golden light thing just made me giggle, but listening to the cd did make me sit down and focus on relaxing during pregnancy. I often had a nap to it! and I did enjoy listening to it some of the time in labour, I think it helped some.
I didn't do the visualisation things it said, funnily enough I was completely overcome by different visualisations both times (and I didn't have the CD first time!). My first labour contractions were swimming through water to get to the surface, the second time I was a balloon being blown up then let down again. Made sense at the time.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby jvnt » 12 Jan 2014, 11:52

I think the theory behind it is solid - animals don't like to give birth if they are stressed or in a stressful situations, some can even delay birthing if they are feeling threatened. So when we are in labour and stressed, usually in a non-calm, strange hospital environment we have two conflicting instincts one to get the baby out and the other to delay labour until we are in a safe familiar place. By pushing against our own instincts we can cause exhaustion and long labour and a great deal of pain.

Where I part from the mongan method is that I don't like being told how to relax - I found the relaxation scripts irritating and kind of stupid. I also thought the book focused far too much on 'crappy birthing stuff that used to happen' like being sedated for labour - fine if you're interested but for me I just wanted stuff that was relevant to me now. However I'm very glad I did it as it was informative and I could take the bits that made sense and worked for me and find the right frame of mind to relax in my own way. Seeing and hearing positive stories gives a whole different view on birth and made me realise that it could be done another way if I worked out how to relax through it.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby cloudcuckoo » 12 Jan 2014, 11:53

I really like it. I have the CD from the NCT, and I find it very calming with nice visualisations and breathing techniques. It's the only 'antenatal' stuff I am doing this time. I say that lightly, because it tends to send me to sleep. It was really helpful that DH had listened to it too, so he knew what some of the cues were when I was stressed during labour.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby Lioncub's mama » 12 Jan 2014, 15:01

After a very far from ideal first labour, dh and i did a couple of hypnobirthing antenatal sessions before this labour (on the basis that it couldn't hurt and might help), and i found the advice around visualisations and breathing really helpful, even though i ended up using my own visualisations. I think it did also help just get me into a good place for labour - i definitely felt very calm and confident going into labour, even though i'd had a difficult one cirst time round. In the end, despite having an 11lb baby i had a great second labour, it was actually a reallypositive experience. I'm sure a lot of that was to do with baby's position etc, but i do think that some of what i took from the hpnobirthing helped.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby Cofa's Tree » 12 Jan 2014, 15:48

I read the book but only really took note of the sciency bits such as the physical mechanics of what my body's muscles would be doing to get the baby out, and just kept in mind to keep calm and not fight the contractions. So I guess I was using visualisation, but of what was actually happening instead of an abstract concept. Not sure I'd recommend hypnobirthing as an approach, but bits of the book helped me plan how I hoped I would cope.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby blackberrycrimble » 12 Jan 2014, 16:35

Cofa's Tree wrote:I read the book but only really took note of the sciency bits such as the physical mechanics of what my body's muscles would be doing to get the baby out, and just kept in mind to keep calm and not fight the contractions. So I guess I was using visualisation, but of what was actually happening instead of an abstract concept. Not sure I'd recommend hypnobirthing as an approach, but bits of the book helped me plan how I hoped I would cope.


This really. I read the book and found some parts of it useful. I agree that relaxation is an absolutely essential part of feeling comfortable and in control in labour. What I found less useful were all the anecdotes, both about 'evil medical intervention', and those that talked about giving birth being utterly easy and pain free. I read it between my two pregnancies, so I had my own experiences, but if I'd been a first timer it would have given me hugely unrealistic expectations, I think. As I said, I think relaxation and control are very important but other muscles hurt when we use them a lot, so of course those around the uterus might too.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby sleepysheep » 12 Jan 2014, 16:48

It worked well for me, if nothing else it taught me to remind myself during all the pain that I was in control and keep calm and concentrate on the baby. It helped put things into perspective that it was natural to keep in tune with my body. I also found that http://www.birthingmouthpiece.com/ was a great tool, it might seem crazy but it helped me get to 9cm with no pain relief however babs got stuck and we had an emergency c-section but that couldn't have been helped. I used the gum shield from 6cm onwards and the midwife likened it to a woman using the gas and air tube to bite up but it didn't fall out etc.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby mamapup » 12 Jan 2014, 16:59

Thanks for your thoughts, all. Very interesting. Seems people can get useful stuff from hypnobirthing but, from what youre saying, it sounds similar to what I felt I got from antenatal yoga. I've read some really negative stuff about hypnbirthing so it's good to hear from people I trust. I hope my friend doesn't pay a fortune for a course or anything, that's sort of what was worrying me.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby Jelly Belly » 12 Jan 2014, 17:47

I know people who have done hypnobirthing and absolutely swear by it while others gained more control for their birth using active birth techniques. I think it is rather personality based (just as some can take or leave water birth while others wouldn't dream of labouring without water).

Being contrary, I used both at different stages of my labour.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby t&n's mummy » 12 Jan 2014, 18:33

I really liked it, just read the book and dh read parts to me during labour. Two v straightforward water births with no pain relief, first was hb and mw knew I was hypnobirthing, second at birth centre, walked in and mw didn't believe I was in labour, wanted to send me home, I asked to be examined and she was surprised to find I was 6cm and didn't need to go home!
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby Where'stheMistletoe » 12 Jan 2014, 19:18

I really bought into the theory, and still kinda do, but it didn't work for me as a pain relief tool either time, I just couldn't switch off my analytical brain and go inside and I really tried this time. I used the cd each nap time to drift off though and I liked the breathing techniques. I was also very excited about both births and had no fear so there were definite positives. I actually think the better thing for me this time was reading lots of positive birth stories (Ina May Gaskin etc) and having a doula instead of DH.
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Re: Hypnobirthing - hooey or really works?

Postby StJuniper » 12 Jan 2014, 19:20

I don't think I'd be able to do it. Trying to be overly relaxed/focused makes me hugely jittery! We did relaxation exercises at my prenatal course with P and I found it painful to try to keep my mind from wandering-- I ended up laughing more than relaxing.

Like WM, reading home birth stories really boosted my confidence.
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