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Why did you choose hypnosis for childbirth?

(16 Posts)
Teatotaller Mon 15-Nov-10 14:29:04

Hello, I was wondering if anyone can help me...

I am a 3rd year student midwife currently carrying out research for my dissertation on the use of hypnosis in childbirth.

Within this project I am undertaking a meta-analysis/literature review of research into the efficacy of hypnosis used in labour.

To help support this project, I would just like to find out why women/couples choose to undertake hypnotherapy/self hypnosis (any model: hypnobirthing, natal hypnotherapy etc).

All answers will be gratefully received and referenced as this Mumsnet discussion page.

Thank you.

saucetastic Mon 15-Nov-10 15:58:28

I had experienced how useful NLP (neuro linguistic programming)and hypnotherapy could be 10 years previously. Several aspects of it were useful for my career in performing arts.
It seemed a natural progression to use hypnotherapy for birthing - especially combatting any fears i had of labour and a perceived lack of control over the situation. The relaxation and visualisation techniques were familiar and helpful.
That said, I've yet to go into labour, as ds was breech and elcs. (although i found techniques contributed to my sense of calm throughout the surgery). Current dd - potential vbac - is almost 37 weeks along, and i'm very much looking forward to embracing the experience.

Marylou242 Mon 15-Nov-10 20:41:13

I chose to do hypnobirthing because I absolutely hate hospitals. I didn't plan to go in one but wanted to be able to stay calm and in control if I did need to. My husband used hypnosis to stop smoking so I've seen it can work.

In the end, I did have to transfer to hospital but had a calm, peaceful birth. I also used a TENS machine, which I probably would have done without if I hadn't had 5 days of early labour and not much sleep...

Dylthan Mon 15-Nov-10 20:59:59

I used to freak out compleatly when getting blood taken the wake up call came when I got really bad stomach cramps at about 15 weeks the doctors ruled out there being a problem with the baby but where worried about my appendix so wanted to take some blood but didn't have time to wait for emla cream to work when my blood was being taken I lashed out at the doctor blush it wasn't intentional and I had no control.

This panicked me and the thought of being in labour and needing forceps, episotomy, iv drip just anything along those lines and loosing control was just an unbearable thought.

So I got myself booked in for some birth hypnotherapy. It was great I felt compleatly in control throughout the labour and felt really able to tune into what was happening to my body while being able to take myself away from the pain. This was all 4 years ago and I'm still able to control myself when I need to get bloods taken, I've also had another baby since then and felt just as in control this time as I did last time.

The hypnotherapy was the best thing I could ever of done even though at the time I was skeptical I would recommend it to anyone.

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 15-Nov-10 21:04:04

I think I wanted to be more in control, to be able to manage labour better than I thought I could. I had already been on a journey throughout my pregnancy - I'd started off terrified of labour and towards the end started to believe that I could do it. So I used a CD, and it was utterly, utterly brilliant. It transformed me into a birthing powerhouse! I only wish the NHS would invest in birth hypno CDs for every pregnant woman instead of giving us those useless Bounty packs, or even the Birth to 5 books. I am sure it would save heaps of money in the long run as there would be fewer interventions needed in labour since so many more women would know that they can just trust their bodies.

pozzled Mon 15-Nov-10 21:07:18

I'm 9 weeks pregnant with my second and have just ordered the natal hypnotherapy pack. My first labour wasn't too bad as far as these things go but it didn't go the way I planned. I was hoping for a home birth but ended up transferring to hospital and needing a syntocin drip. I think part of the reason why it went that way was because of me being very tense and nervous and unsure what was happening. I'm hoping that the hypnotherapy can help me to feel a bit more relaxed and in control, and also listen to the signals from my body a bit more. Obviously I have no idea whether it will work or not, but I look forward to finding out.

japhrimel Mon 15-Nov-10 21:07:42

I'd had previous experience with hypnotherapy, both as part of counselling and for pain control with a chronic pain condition. I'd used self-hypnosis to help with pain management for some years, so using self-hypnosis for labour made sense.

I also found myself getting very stressed about the labour when an OC diagnosis meant that my plans for a laid-back home water birth went out of the window. I knew then that I needed help to stay calm and utilise hypnotherapy techniques, so I bought the Natal Hypnotherapy CDs.

Am really hoping that they will help me stay calm and utilise breathing and relaxation techniques during labour no matter what interventions I have to have. They've already helped me come to terms with the idea of having to have a hospital birth with plenty of monitoring and possibly interventions, and they help with my day-to-day stress levels and sleep quality too.

Rolf Mon 15-Nov-10 21:32:29

I chose self-hypnosis for my 4th delivery after finding that I totally lost the plot when in labour with my 3rd. Medically the labour was fine but for various reasons my head wasn't. The memory of the terror I felt was very frightening and I wanted to avoid it next time round. I took other steps too, to try to prevent a repeat (I hired a doula, as part of the problem was poor communication) but the hypnosis was fabulous.

As well as wanting hypnosis to help with the delivery, I also wanted it to help with the pregnancy. My previous pregnancy had been very difficult and stressful, and I decided that even though I couldn't guarantee a straightforward pregnancy or a healthy baby, I could do something positive about my frame of mind, and try to find peace of mind from within instead of from extra medical involvement.

Both the pregnancy and the delivery were wonderful, relaxed, happy experiences. I can't recommend hypnosis too highly.

cardamomginger Tue 16-Nov-10 03:27:07

i chose to use natal hypnotherapy (book and cd) for birth of dc1 because i wanted to try and have as intervention free and drug free a birth as possible - i felt that the fewer interventions and drugs i had, the better the outcome for both me and dd. in the end, things did not go as i had hoped and i ended up transferring out of the mw led unit onto the labour ward and having an epidural - the pain was like nothing i could ever have imagined it was possible to survive, the hypno techniques were completely useless and i became very distressed (and stuck at 5cm). that said, hypno did help me cope during the early stages at home. if i have another baby i would still practice the techniques again - i really benefitted from the practice sessions during pregnancy and i think there is nothing to lose by having them ready to use during labour.

poguemahone Tue 16-Nov-10 04:29:08

I used hypnobirthing for the birth of 3rd child, after hearing about it on here.

G&A was not going to be available for this 3rd birth, and I didn't know if I could cope with a drug-free birth. I didn't want any of the other, stronger, drugs on offer. I had a 3rd degree tear with DC1 and rightly or wrongly thought that I would fare better if I were more aware of what was going on and therefore more in control.

I hoped (rightly, I am delighted to say) that Hypnobirthing would allow me to relax and therefore manage/reduce the pain, whilst remaining lucid and in control. Best, calmest, most enjoyable birth yet.

LittleMumSmall Tue 16-Nov-10 11:30:13

Hi Teatotaller,

I used a hypnobirthing CD for my first pregnancy. It wasn't something that occurred to me to do straight away and I might not have tried it at all but for a chance remark at lunch one day when a friend and I (both 6 months PG) were discussing labour and a mum at the next table leaned over and said hypnobirthing helped her have her a pain-free one-hour labour for her 3rd baby - so I thought why not?!

I used the Maggie Howells CD - easy to find and cheap to buy online - and listened about twice a week for the final trimester of my pregnancy. I always dozed off when listening and awoke feeling calm and happy. I used the breathing techniques to get to sleep most nights too.

When baby was ready to come I had a five hour, relatively pain-free labour (I remember pain at the beginning, but not at all towards the end) in my own home. No intervention, no drugs and I was even smiling when starting to push! I believe that hypnotherapy, although useful, wasn't the only thing to aid this. I expected to have a hospital birth when I first conceived, but my pregnancy took over my mind and body completely and after a couple of months I knew I needed a home birth. I nested furiously, took ante-natal pilates and yoga exercise frequently and let my instincts take over (often doing some very odd things in the process!).

I read Janet Balaskas' 'New Active Birth' several times and many of the passages in the book (which refer to positive, not traumatic, birth experiences), echoed in my head as I laboured. I also had the same midwives throughout my pregnancy which meant I knew and trusted them to act in my best interests. By the time 9 months were up I had confidence in myself and my body, and I feel the hypnotherapy was a part of this, but not the whole package, if you know what I mean. It definitely helped me relax and I loved the breathing techniques but I found it more helpful as an aid to keeping me mentally connected with my baby and relaxing throughout the pregnancy rather than through the labour and birth itself.

I will use the CD again for baby number 2 (due April), although haven't had time to listen yet as number 1 keeping me too busy!
Good luck with your studies. x

girlynut Thu 18-Nov-10 13:38:53

I was disappointed with the experience of giving birth to my first child. Although physically I was fine, I was scared and there was no support at the hospital due to low staffing levels. The hospital was dirty and I hated every moment there. I suffered mild PND afterwards (I think as a result of my birthing experience)

When I fell pregnant with my second child, I knew I wanted a different experience. I'd stumbled across hypnobirthing on the internet, researched further and booked some classes using the Marie Mongan method.

The end result was a really positive enjoyable experience. I stayed at home in a hired pool, using the hypno techniqies I'd learned. I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life and, if it weren't for the fact I don't want more children. I'd love to do it again!

I'm a massive advocate for hypnobirthing now and tell everybody I know!

Teatotaller Sat 20-Nov-10 12:33:58

Thanks to all who have posted so far. Your comments and stories are really useful and surprising - I thought most people would have chosen hypnosis to reduce pain, but most of you have said it was for control.

Please keep them coming - the more the better!

I also hope your experiences will inspire others who see this thread.


DorisIsAPinkDragon Sat 20-Nov-10 12:55:18

HI Haven't got time top read all the thread but I used a hypno birthing CD programme with DD2, as in the run up to her birth I was waking early in the morning with anxiety about birth, largely as a result of my experiences with DD1 (long labour, epidural, retained placenta and then surgical removal with several days post birth in hospital).

The hypno birthing hugely helped with DD2 just had gas and air in the last 10mins when crowning. And as a result I throughly enjoyed the birth.

With DD3 I didn't feel I need to use the CD's but wished I'd "revised" abit more.... I struggled to get to the 'place' (emotionally dealing with the pain) where I'd been for DD2's birth and ended up with epidural again and a longer post delivery recovery.

I throughly recomend hypno birthing to anyone who will listen!

Good luck with your work

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Sat 20-Nov-10 13:09:42

Hi Teatotaller,

Haven't read the other posts yet as don't want to be influenced.

My first birth was a disaster. I was out of control all over the place. Wasn't able to go into myself because of the prodding, answering questions etc. on and off the bed. I was terrified, screamed from 2cm to 10cm even on a full dose of pethedine. I just didn't know what to do with myself and fought every contraction as I was never ready for them. In short I 'lost it' really early on and never got it back. I never 'went into' myself. I watched the clock obsessively and the minutes were so slow. I begged for an epidural for the last 6 hours that never came.

I suffered PTSD as a result.

The second time I used the nataltherapy CD and my god what a difference. I was TOTALLY in control. I had somewhere to put my mind whilst my body was doing it's thing. It hurt much much less because I was embracing each contraction rather than fighting it, although I wasn't doing to to have less pain, I was doing it to be able to 'cope' with the pain. My worst fear was to 'lose it' like I did with my first when quite frankly I wished I was dead.

I never once lost it. In fact I refused any pain relief at all (As pethedine and gas and air made no difference the first time) as I thought it might throw my rhythm and concentration. I was comfortable and fine doing my 'thing' and I was SO in tune what my baby was doing. I only screamed once and that was because the head descended and it felt like a lightening bolt down the back base of my spine. It was then that I got into the pool and asked for gas and air, but it was the second stage already which was great because the gas and air helped me to relax, not push and let the baby find her way herself.

But I think that nataltherapy isn't just a technique, it is a whole 'philosopy'. I.e. to have an undisturbed birth. As a result I had no-one touch me 'down there' ever. I caught the baby myself and had no internals. I don't think I ever had the heartbeat checked either as the MW didn't think I was even really in active labour. Baby was delivered as a consequence with just her and no second midwife.


SpiderWilliam Sun 21-Nov-10 17:30:33

I used the natal hypnotherapy VBAC CDs to prepare for DC2's arrival. I decided to try it because I felt as though I had a mental block about how babies are meant to be born. I remember saying to friends only half in jest "I just don't believe that babies come out of bottoms". With DC1 I had gone 2 weeks overdue, was induced, eventually dilated to 10cm, pushed for a couple of hours but DS wasn't moving. When he became distressed I had an emcs. It turned out he was brow presentation and so a vaginal delivery was always going to be a tall order. When I became pregnant with DS2 I wanted to try for a VBAC but felt that unless I got into a positive frame of mind about my ability to have a vaginal delivery, the chances of achieving this would be compromised. I didn't really think about the potential to manage pain and to be honest I was reasonably sceptical about the whole idea of hypnotherapy, but thought that it was worth a try. DS2 arrived 2 weeks ago. I had an amazing VBAC, with no pain relief and the midwives consistently underestimated how far into the labour I was because I so calm. I am wholly converted to hypnotherapy!

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