Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I decided to read Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan and take the accompanying course in preparation for labor.  I have to admit I've been torn in regards to my thoughts on birthing.

Part of my brain thinks:

I'm a woman!  God made my body especially for the bearing of children.  This is a natural process that millions of women have gone through (multiple times) without intervention, so why can't I?  

The other part of my brain thinks:

I'm a nurse!  I've seen medical interventions work!  Healthy babies are brought into the world using C-sections, epidurals, Pitocin, etc.  In fact, the birth I witnessed was a woman who was set on a natural labor, but ended up getting an epidural and using Pitocin.  Minutes after the birth of her baby she said to her husband, "I'm so glad I got that epidural!"

And since I've never been in labor before, its really hard to know what to expect.  Not to mention, birthing can be a unpredictable experience where my control might be limited.  So I'm cherry-picking the parts of Hypnobirthing that I like and agree with (some of it is a little too hardcore granola for my taste) and keeping an open mind for where reality may actually take me.

I've gotten a lot of questions about Hypnobirthing and the classes so after that long introduction let's talk about it!

Basically we have been most likely been conditioned to believe that birthing is a extremely painful and undesirable experience.  Consider all the movies and horror stories you've seen/ many positive stories have you heard?  So we go into labor already in fear.  According to hypnobirthing,  FEAR>TENSION>PAIN.  So if we release our fears, relax our bodies and minds, we can let our bodies work the way they were designed.  The uterus is a muscle with a job to do!  It needs oxygen like any other muscle, but if we are in fear or tense, our body sends oxygen to parts of our body that have a higher priority for survival (fight vs flight mode.)  This increases our labor time or our discomfort.  Physiologically, this makes sense to me.

The book and the classes teach you how to overcome your fears and use self-hypnosis techniques to put yourself into relaxed state.  No freaky trances or walking around clucking like a chicken because I'm "hypnotized."  I listen to relaxation CDs and positive affirmations and practice with Luke (he's nice enough to put up with this hoopla.)  They also teach you good positions for birthing, breathing and massage techniques to keep you relaxed.  I think the power of mind is very strong.  For a person who is a high strung as I am, I can already tell that these classes have been helpful in keeping me calm for what is to come.  As my body prepares for real labor, I sometimes get painful back spasms/contractions and I can usually get back to sleep using these techniques.  Win.

How its a little too "granola" for me:

-Birthing vocabulary is changed to be more "friendly."  A contraction is called a surge or a wave.  Personally,  the word contraction doesn't offend me, but whatever.

-They push the au naturel agenda too much for me.  I want to have my baby in the hospital.  I'm ok with getting my blood pressure taken and fetal heart rate monitoring....I WANT to know if my baby is in distress.  I respect the need for medical interventions.  You just have to weigh the risks/benefits and be able to advocate for what you want.

-That babies remember their birth and that it can have a traumatizing lifelong effect if it isn't a calm, relaxed environment.  I don't discount that birth is a big transition for a baby, but lifelong effects?  That's a bit out there for me.

Anyways, this could also all be a load of crap and I'll be screaming for that epidural the moment I get to the hospital. ;)

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