Birth in joy, relaxation, and comfort…with no epidural?

Yes, you read right.

Wait, you might be thinking.  Isn’t pain in labor protective and productive?  Isn’t that what what I learned in childbirth class? Don’t I need to move around in response to my pain and change positions to help labor progress?

Yes, those things are true under this circumstance:  when our brains interpret the sensations of birth as painful and when we respond to that pain with movement.  When we feel pain, we tense up our bodies in fear, and then we feel more pain.  It’s called the fear, tension, pain cycle. We also try to move away from the pain. But what if we could change the way our brains interpret the sensations of birth?  Do we need to feel pain in order to give birth, or do we just need a sensation like pressure or stretching?  What if we can re-define the pain of childbirth as a different sensation?

There are two things I consider to be true about giving birth: a woman that is utterly relaxed allows her uterus to do all the work of dilation and descent, OR a woman that moves with and responds to her body’s sensations can help her baby rotate and descend.  Yes, these are both true! Consider this. Women with epidurals are generally limited to the bed, laying on their back or side, or perhaps sitting upright. Yet in many cases, they are able to dilate and give birth. Why? Because they are very relaxed. They are not fighting their body’s progress or tensing their muscles in anticipation of the pain of the next contraction.  Those painful sensations have been blocked from reaching their brains.  What if we could do that without the medical intervention of an epidural?

We can. No, actually, you can.

It is called medical, somnambulistic hypnosis.  You can methodically change the way your mind interprets what you are feeling. We’ve all heard the phrase mind over matter. You can bring one tool to your birth that is the same as an epidural: hypnosis.  This medical hypnosis re-frames what is happening as positive, and your mind interprets the sensations of birth as pressure, stretching, and opening.  One additional lovely side-effect of the hypnosis? Total relaxation.

It’s called Hypnobabies®. And it is all self-taught.  If you have 6 weeks before your pregnancy is ended, you can teach yourself how to relax every fiber in your body and how to consider the sensations of birth as intense, pressure, stretching, hugging…but not painful.  When you have no fear of the next pressure wave, when every cell in your body is relaxed, when you are in your special, safe place with your baby, you don’t have to move, and your body works the way it was designed to.

But what if I don’t want to give birth in a trance? What if I want to be present, to remember, to talk and laugh, while I give birth? No problem.  In Hypnobabies®, you learn open-eye hypnosis.  You can move your mental light switch to the center position and reply to questions, laugh, change positions, walk to the bathroom, take a shower, whatever you desire. You can discuss things with your doctor and nurse.  It’s all a matter of moving your light switch.

With my second child, I taught myself medical hypnosis.  The process was so enjoyable.  One of the only things I needed to do was to listen to hypnosis tracks each day!  I recall one evening, when I had guests staying over, I was listening to a track on my Ipod. My guest came out into the living room after everyone else had gone to bed. He saw me laying on my side, listening to the track.  He asked what I was doing, and I was able to open my eyes and say “preparing for Carey’s birth!”  It was a joyful and exciting time.  I had no fear of what was ahead..only anticipation.

Last weekend, I had a client who chose to use Hypnobabies® for the second time when her daughter was born.  She was facing an induction for low amniotic fluid and all of the interventions that go along with induction.  She felt anxiety, but I reminded her that she could accept this change of plans easily.  Hypnobabies® offers a “change of plans” script. She used her hypnosis and positive affirmations to realize that her birth was going to be comfortable. She listened to her “fear release” script. She was ready.  She began using her light switch. She tried alternative induction methods with her midwife’s approval. As she headed further into her birthing time, she turned her switch off.  The nurse and midwife were astounded. The nurse asked me if there were any hypnosis tracks for migraine headaches.  In just 4 hours, mom was complete and baby was crowning.  Without a single bearing down urge, her body moved her baby down.

See for yourself.  You can read more Hypnobabies® birth stories and watch videos here (don’t miss this one!).  And if you are interested in having a certified hypno-doula support your birth, contact me.

Featured photograph provided by  windscafe from  Or Cynthia at

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