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Can you teach yourself to hypnobirth?

(20 Posts)
Rachael200694 Thu 25-Jul-13 16:26:26

I was wondering if anyone had any experience teaching themselves to hypnobirth? I have been practicing my breathing and have found a technique I think will be suited for me! I was wondering what other things hypnobirthing entails and if you can practice yourself?

What things do you learn in hypnobirthing classes and how many hours of lessons do you typically have altogether?

Any info would be much appreciated! smile

rallytog1 Thu 25-Jul-13 17:46:43

The midwife who ran my ante-natal class was fairly adamant that hypnobirthing was something that comes naturally to some women - in that some people are just better than others at the 'mind over matter' thing. So I'd imagine if you're that kind of person, you could teach yourself to do it.

I don't know what happens in classes (I chose not to go down that route as I'm a wuss and was fairly sure I'd want pain relief) but my SIL has been going to them and has found them helpful in terms of having the space and time to focus on it, without all the distractions of home. So I guess the benefits may depend on whether you're the kind of person who'd be able to find the time and headspace to teach yourself.

LittleMissSnowShine Thu 25-Jul-13 20:42:42

I downloaded the Maggie Howell hypnobirth cds - not sure they were hugely useful but I found the 'relaxing birth music' one really good when I was pacing the floors at home with my tens machine on during a very long labour. The music is kind of like elevator music but prob crammed full of subliminal messaging and I did feel a lot more able to cope and relaxed when I was listening to it. I also managed to deliver a big and awkwardly positioned baby naturally and, by the end, pain relief free and I think that the hypnobirth stuff might have helped with that, so the cds are def worth a try even if they end up not being your cup of tea.

4athomeand1cooking Thu 25-Jul-13 21:00:22

I taught myself but had given birth 3 times before and knew exactly what to expect so knew which parts to concentrate on, where I would struggle IYSWIM.

I concentrated on changing my thought patterns, so things like painful contractions were muscle surges and not dangerous, this took the fear of pain away and I actually embraced them etc.

Then I used relaxing music and courses from you tube to learn deep breathing and how to relax my whole body.

The best advice I can give you (particularly if you will be having a hospital birth) is to always practice where you will be subject to plenty of distraction and use that distractions to drive your hypnosis. That way midwifes arriving , bleeping etc will not disrupt your hypnosis.

My labour was very enjoyable and pain free and so it does work!

whenhenshaveteeth Sat 27-Jul-13 07:35:30

I used the Marie mongan method. I wasn't that convinced at first to be honest, the book was interesting but not all the techniques suited me so I took what I liked and left what I didn't. I listened to the cd regularly from 25wks or so but I always ended falling asleep on it so I wasn't sure it would actually help.

On D day I ended having very gentle contractions in the middle of the night, which got stronger in the early morning but frankly nothing that bad. I had a bath, got my breakfast, got ready, including make up - I knew I was in labour but in my head it was going to take ages, quite possibly several days.

At 9am I was on the phone to my midwife and we were having a chat like we were in the street or something, I wasn't panting in agony or anything. We agreed I was probably going to give birth today but that although my contractions were close together, I should wait until they were longer (1min) to go to hospital.

Around 9.20am, the contractions got stronger and it was much harder for me to ride them out and focus on my breathing. Shortly after, I was sitting on the loo, trying to pee, feeling groggy and angry that I wasnt coping better. I was such a fool to even entertain the idea that hypnobirthing could work, I was probably 3cm and would be screaming for an epidural ins couple of hours. What an idiot.

Turns out I was transitioning... My waters broke and 5min later he was out! Thank god DH was there to catch him.

I had no idea I was so far gone as I coped really well up until the transition. With hindsight I think that my contractions were longer than I thought when I talked to the MW but because I was so in my thing I didn't realise. As for the pushing, I literally didn't nothing. I was completely in my bubble, I got onto all fours without even thinking and I let my body push him out. It didn't hurt, all I felt was immense pressure. He was out in 2 pushes so it happened very quickly but I didn't tear.

So I'd say, give it a go. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't work and that you end up having all the drugs on the planet - it doesn't matter, you'll still have a lovely baby.

Good luck!

kimbobby2000 Sun 28-Jul-13 18:19:51

Hi there,
This is my first ever post on MN, and was about to write a new post when i saw the word 'HypnoBirthing' and had to reply!

I am currently slightly overdue, however I am convinced baby will come when he is ready.

I had four sessions of 2.5 hours each and a follow-up refresher session closer to my due date. Although I think it IS possible to teach yourself the techniques, there are definitely benefits to going to the sessions. I found that watching the videos of HypnoBirthing mothers giving birth to be a MASSIVE help to eliminate fear, which is the basis behind the method. There are SOME videos on You Tube, but at the sessions we watched the complete birth stories of many different couples. I also think that you need some guidance on learning the breathing techniques. It is also good to practice visualisations while your practitioner is reading the scripts, and if you have a partner who is going to do it with you, he will benefit hugely from seeing how he can help you in labour- the light-touch massage is supposed to help enormously to release endorphins.

In short, you have to learn to eliminate fear and learn to relax on a deep level so that you release all control over your body and let your natural instincts come through. You CAN do it on your own if you put in the work.

I have been practicing a lot with the Rainbow Relaxation CD which you get with the course. I don't think you can obtain this any other way. However, I did also buy some MP3's off this website. I love them, and think they were well worth the money. I use the 'visualise your hypnobirth' download a lot.

Regardless of how the birth of my baby pans out, I already feel like I have benefited from the course, I suffer from anxiety and the techniques are useful in everyday life as well as giving birth. Plus, I have gone through most of my pregnancy without the stress of expecting a painful and traumatic birth.

I would say practice relaxation every day while listening to HypnoBirthing visualisation CD's / downloads. Practice calm and surge breath (explained in the HypnoBirthing Mongan Method book) during your relaxation.

I will come back with an update after the birth!
Good luck!

NeedlesCuties Sun 28-Jul-13 19:11:13

I did it myself, didn't even really realise till afterwards that that was the name for it!

DC was 9lb 1oz, back to back and I pushed her out with just gas and air smile

queenofthepirates Sun 28-Jul-13 19:31:52

My dad taught me to do self hypnosis for relaxation when I was 15 (old hippy that he is). I kept it up and practised for 20 years so teaching myself hypnobirthing was a doddle. I got the CD and read the Mongan method book and it clicked really quickly.

I had a two day labour with no pain relief until I found gas and air which turned out to be fabulous and that got me through the last bit (and the epidural but you don't need the gory details!).

Rachael200694 Sun 28-Jul-13 19:51:21

Definitely some lovely responses so thank you very much! Feeling a lot more positive about this now smile I feel that I'd really love to have a birth with no or as little pain relief. I keep practicing my breathing and I've got some relaxing music that helps my brain kind of zone out which is wonderful. I'm planning on labouring in the bath at home until given the go ahead to come into the birthing centre. Is this the sort of thing you need to be practicing, just to try zone out and let go? I feel like I'm over complicating things like there's more to it that I need to get doing! Thanks again for your encouraging replies!

kimbobby2000 Sun 28-Jul-13 20:11:17

I love this beautiful piece by Osho... it sums it up completely:


pettyprudence Sun 28-Jul-13 21:02:17

YY to all of the above. I did a course and it was really drummed into us (or maybe I just locked on to this bit) that fear of contractions and labour causes pain. If you tense up and try to resist the contractions (sorry, surges!) it will hurt and labour will take longer/stall. Relax and breath in to each contraction and let your body get on with it. Do not fight, do not tense up.

My birth story was fairly similar to whenhen except my mw happened to be around the corner when I finally called and she popped in on me (planned hb) and found I was much further along than I'd thought! Again, no pushing, no tearing.

I listened to the cd at bed time each night as sleep is the ultimate state of relaxation (according to my hypno practitioner) and during labour (contractions every 2.5 mins lasting nearly a minute) I fell asleep for an hour. I only woke up because DH called me (he missed the birth). I still have no idea what is on that cd but it obviosuly worked!

I will be doing a refresher course for dc2. I would recommend the book as well as the cd to give you the guiding principles and aims. Also, remove yourself from negative birthing stories.

PistachioTruffle Sun 28-Jul-13 23:44:05

I'm very interested in this thread and in hypnobirthing, I'm just wondering if anyone knows when is the best time to start? I'm almost 21 weeks currently.

Rachael200694 Mon 29-Jul-13 08:49:13

I imagine sooner the better smile as long as you can keep up to it! I'm 35 weeks and I've been practicing a while but I'm going to be doing tonnes of practice I'm getting nearer.
I think falling to sleep with relaxation music every night is a good place to start and do your breathing while you listen. Last night my body was instinctively doing my breathing because the music was on! It was lovely smile
I'm also going to start practicing in the bath as I plan to labour in water so practicing using water to relax will be the final piece to the puzzle for me!

Bronteshoes Mon 29-Jul-13 09:00:12

Like Needles I ended up doing it myself, I think. I wanted to do a hypnobirthing class but didn't have time and never got round to getting a book or cd. I managed to be really focussed during my labour and relaxed and breathed through contractions with just a tens machine and later in the pool. I didn't practice at all, so I suppose I was one of those people that it came naturally to.

Rachael200694 Mon 29-Jul-13 09:04:51

I'm thinking (and hoping) I will be the same. I've always been fairly good at withstanding pain, so I think because its such an exciting thing I'll be able to overcome it mentally and be able to relax and enjoy the arrival of my bambino! smile Fingers crossed anyway!

Bronteshoes Mon 29-Jul-13 09:06:16

I think being incredibly stubborn helps. And being prepared for it to be very painful but being able to go along with it Good luck!

NeedlesCuties Tue 30-Jul-13 08:29:10

The most important thing is believing that your body can do it, and that your mind is strong enough to get you through the experience.

The experience I mentioned upthread was my 2nd DC, with my first I was a bag of nerves and panic, although overall they were both 'good' births and are both lovely children now smile

My tips are:-
breathe in for 3 seconds, and breathe out for 4 seconds. In your head focus on the numbers while you count. Do this during the contractions to keep yourself focused.
Try to picture a flower as a bud and then opening. Do this during contractions too, imagine that it's your cervix opening.

birthrelaxationkit Thu 05-Dec-13 04:12:58

In some sense anyone can teach themselves how to hypnobirth, so long as they can find the right info to guide them.

Though hypnosis is not exactly like meditation, it is similar. And many people learn meditation without the help of a guide or guru.

The point I always emphasize is PRACTICE. Whether your main focus is physical (ie prenatal yoga, stretches or Kegels) or mental, such as combatting fear (hypnobirth, meditation, relaxation techniques, breathing teachniques), the key is to practice. Daily is best, but basically having some regularity to your practicing whatever method. This alone will make birthing more comfortable and allay fears.

Much information on "hypnobirthing" is out there on the web, so it is possible to use whatever you can find (Free!) and piece it together. It can be easier (=less overwhelming) to join a program or at least get some mp3s/books, such as our program, Hypnobabies, Hypnobirthing, etc.

It's often helpful to have guidance and support smile

Mavi and Jeremy

vichill Thu 05-Dec-13 06:34:50

I was vaguely interested in hypnobirthing but never read the books. I found they were too hippyish for me and other women kept saying it wouldnt help in a patronising tone so abandoned it. Birth plan didn't really happen as I was admitted for a bleed 2 days before (in retrospect obviously just the start of labour) that was made worse by the dr's examination of me. So I was scheduled for an induction at 10 am. Went into spontaneous labour in the early hours on the ward but midwives weren't interested in examining me due to the bleed and told me to hang on till am. I laboured on my own in silence (new mums in beds next to me) without pain relief. I kind of put myself into a trance staring at the curtain counting to 4 for about 7 hours! At 10am when I was taken to delivery suite I was 9.5cm and back to back. Had gas and air for pushing thoughwink I firmly believe that the mind can help you keep control and help you deal with pain...couldn't wait to tell all of the patronising doubters.

intotheblue9 Tue 15-Mar-16 14:13:18

I know I'm resurrecting a zombie thread (sorry) but I found it when searching for info on doing hypnobirthing online, as we can't afford to attend classes and DH doesn't want to sit in a circle discussing my cervix

I've just found a self-study online hypnobirthing course you can do for around £30. It seems pretty good and the person who does it is a hypnotherapist and childbirth educator. I think all the audio tracks are included, so I'm going to sign up later.

It's called hypnobirthing online -

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