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Hypnobirthing stories good and not so good please!

(37 Posts)
ovumahead Sun 14-Jun-15 14:49:18

Hi all
I had a very traumatic first labour and birth experience with my DS who is now 7 years old. Currently 27 weeks pregnant with baby number 2, and yes the big age gap is partly due to how long it took me to physically and emotionally recover from that first experience!

I'm planning a home birth despite being classed as high risk (due to previous cesarean) however I'm still in two minds about this due to the risk. I have a doula. I've just started a hypnobirthing course, however, I'm a bit skeptical of the whole "hypnobirthing births are always amazing and pain free and faster" etc. I feel this could set me up to feel a complete failure if things do hurt or end up not being completely natural.

I'd love to hear others hypnobirthing experiences, both positive and not so positive, just to help me get my head around it all!

I'm really not sure what else to do to prepare for birth this time around....confused

Lovemylittlebear Sun 14-Jun-15 14:56:14

I spent a fair bit of dosh on a private hypnobirth coach and really enjoyed the sessions...found then really relaxing. I liked doing the homework and was positive about the birth Of first child when starting to have contractions. All went down bill when induced on an emergency basis and couldn't do any of it - was in too much if a panic. From the videos I watched it helped lots of women though and I'm in too minds about trying it again - although I felt worse about the birth I did have coz of the one I had been in training to have if that makes sense lol smile

goshhhhhh Sun 14-Jun-15 14:58:59

So sorry you had a bad first experience.
First dc I did hypnosis birthing type thing without knowing it was called that. I was induced & breathed through it. I had lots of great support & only really lost it when I lost my concentration (other people's relatives arguing outside)

Dc2 - homebirth with pool. Quick. Did hypnobirthing type thing again. Very straightforward. Felt so good I even helped clear up afterwards whilst holding dc in one arm. Again great support.

It's weird - you need to believe you can do it and to concentrate & get into a rhythm with breathing in my opinion. It wasn't pain free but very manageable - the little bit there was, was part of the process e.g. more the tightening with the contraction.

It was very empowering & if I could I would do that bit again. Just don't want anymore children!

goshhhhhh Sun 14-Jun-15 15:00:32

Just to say I did regain my concentration with dc1 birth when my lovely midwife told me to pull myself together!

Tonicandgin Sun 14-Jun-15 15:17:20

Hypnobirth here. First birth, was in hospital for 3 hrs before she arrived.

Labour started in the morning, had a lovely day, going for walks and watching TV. I must have slept through contractions in the afternoon(seriously) had some dinner and then they ramped up.

The induction script actually got me into labour. Very odd experience, got to the end of it and felt dd shift down in my pelvis and I woke up with a show.

Definitely recommend it!

Lilipot15 Sun 14-Jun-15 15:21:48

Didn't work for me - difficult, long induction, like someone above I was in too much pain / anxious / tired. I'm not sure my hospital midwife was on board with it as she didn't prompt me. And my hypnobirth instructor made me very much doubt the induction which was extremely unhelpful for my mindset. So all in all, whilst it helped me relax in the pregnancy, the epidural was the only thing that actually helped in my labour which ended up in an emergency section. And as someone said above, I do wonder if the prep for a different labour made me feel temporarily worse about the delivery I actually had. Down the line, it really doesn't matter, myself and my baby are alive and well and were very well-looked after in delivery suite.

SaulGood Sun 14-Jun-15 15:37:58

It can be a useful tool.

My main gripe with one proponent of it became clear when I was preparing for dc2 after a gap. I'd had a tough time first time round with an emcs after a v long labour. I'd planned a home water birth. grin

I was quite positive about hypnobirthing as despite the difficulties, it had helped first time round. So I went back to the same book. It made me very angry and I genuinely burnt it on the fire. The language made me cross. I had a baby in a malposition first time round. Through no fault of my own, she was twisted up, coming ear first. It took me years to accept I wasn't a failure or didn't cause it. The bloody book's only mention of babies in the wrong position talked about thinking the baby into the right position and said that sometimes a woman has negative thoughts or can't let go of her stress and the baby then can't get into the optimum position. What a load of woman-blaming shite. It talked about intervention as 'giving in'. In fact it even said I would be 'surrendering'. I did NOT appreciate this language second time round.

So yes, hypnobirthing can be fabulous. Sometimes though, it can almost undo a lot of hard work you've done coming to terms with the nature of delivery and the hand luck plays in it all.

My second delivery (another planned home water birth but ended up with emcs) was a very positive and happy experience. This mostly came from exemplary care and a true open mind towards what might happen.

ChampagneShowers Sun 14-Jun-15 15:48:27

OMG, Saul - DH and I discussed actually burning the damn book too! Sorry, OP, didn't work for me either, and actually, I think it set me up to feel worse for failing to achieve that 'easy, breathe her out' birth for my daughter. All that stuff about how we're like all other mammals, designed to give birth, we just need to let go of the fear - meh. I don't think we are well-designed. I'm as hippy as they come, and really wanted to believe. But it hurt like hell.

SaulGood Sun 14-Jun-15 15:54:20

I'm a total hippy. Reek of patchouli, knit my own muesli, all that shebang.

It can be great if the damn books acknowledge the reality of some labours. Not 'you caused this by not thinking the right thoughts and therefore, you're on your own, go on give in you fecking failure'. I'm sure they're not all like that. It was just one book which I burnt on the fire whilst swearing and mumbling. grin

Jumpingshipquick Sun 14-Jun-15 16:15:20

I had a bad time with Dc1, and my home birth with dd2 didn't 'heal' me like I hoped. So I did hypno birthing course and loved it. Dd3 was still far from perfect experience, but sooo much better and in control (induced +14 and not at home like I hoped) but the relaxation techniques have helped me in real life too.

I'm trying to talk myself out of conceiving dc4 to see if I can get it just right!

Rox19 Sun 14-Jun-15 16:24:00

I know loads of people who've really wanted this.

It didn't happen properly (eg naturally in the pool usually/ at home, no intervention at all) for a single one of them

About half became very down/ depressed/ hung up about it after

Tbh I'd see hypo birthing knowledge as for pregnancy relaxation, accept it's a highly stressful unpredictable event (giving birth) and be proactive rather than just thinking positively.

Usually people have no idea what will happen and thinking you're in control just leads to issues. The happiest ones post birth are those that were the most 'whatever happens happens' not people who 100% want anything.

YouCanDanceIfYouWantTo Sun 14-Jun-15 16:28:09

I did Hypnobirthing before I had dd last year. I had a very straightforward, pretty quick drug free birth, but I in no way attribute it to hypnobirthing. I'm much more convinced that it was down to luck (and being in warm water for most of the contractions).

However, I enjoyed doing the breathing exercises and what I loved about hypnobirthing and what I found most helpful was realising that women have babies every minute of every day and have been doing so for thousands of years. We're so fortunate now that we're having babies at the best time in history to have them in one of the best places in the world so that if there are any problems, there's so much that can be done for you and the baby. I also I agree with the pp who said it made her feel in control. I'd definitely agree with that too.

I think if you take everything from hypnobirthing at face value it could set you up to feel like you've failed if you don't have a straightforward, pain free birth, but if you view it as a time each week you set aside to do some relaxation expercises and breathing exercises it's great.

YouCanDanceIfYouWantTo Sun 14-Jun-15 16:39:57

To clarify, when I said in control, I meant not in control of what was going to happen in the birth, because I really don't believe that is possible. But control in terms of being relaxed and prepared before the birth to accept what will be will be and that I may have had a birth with all the drugs, interventions etc. or not and that either was great as long as the baby and me were fine at the end.

So control in the lack of control about what will happen, but being aware that that was totally fine and normal because yes ,women have been having babies forever, but there have also been difficult births forever, and now we can actually get help for any problems, and it's safe.

Gosh that really doesn't make an awful lot of sense now that I've written it down, but I think I know what I meant...

ReallyTired Sun 14-Jun-15 17:06:19

I did natal hypnotherapy which is very similar for my second and it worked well. It was a little more realistic than Hypnobirthing. No one can guarantee you a pain free birth. In third world countries with poor maternity care many women do die in childbirth. We are lucky having the resources to make child birth safer.

I feel that managing fear and anxiety well maximises chances of a good birth and a happier pregnancy. There is little point in losing sleep while pregnant over something you cannot control. Learning good breathing techniques ensures your muscles get a good supply of oxygen. If you get overly anxious during labour you tense up which makes childbirth more painful. If you hyperventilate then your contracting uterus will not get enough oxygen and you will have anorobic respiration instead of aerobic respiration. (Think of aching muscles with a long run)

Ideally you would delgelate the worrying to someone you can trust. Certainly childbirth can go wrong, but it's best to cross that bridge when you come to it. I was lucky having a community midwife whom I trusted implicitly. I feel it's important to live in the present and not dwell too much on the past or the future.

goshhhhhh Sun 14-Jun-15 17:42:17

To clarify I have never read a book. I used visualization & hypno breathing. I probably would find a book irritating. When dc2 came along I was doing a nlp course & used a "magic" bubble. I think it is important to recognize things can change during Labour & be flexible. It's not your fault if things don't go to plan but it is also unrealistic to expect that there is no pain.

EldonAve Sun 14-Jun-15 17:51:31

I did a course before DC2
It didn't really help - I just couldn't get into the visualization stuff

SolomanDaisy Sun 14-Jun-15 17:53:49

I did natal hypnotherapy and had a quick and easy home birth. It was certainly not pain free, but it was an amazing, positive experience. That's mostly luck of course, but I think natal hypnotherapy helped. I was very calm, the midwives thought I still had hours to go and DS was born fifteen minutes later. I am a naturally calm person though, so that will have helped. What it really helped with was feeling prepared and positive and then having something to focus on during the birth. Natal hypnotherapy is quite realistic though, there are CDs for preparing for a caesarean and the trainer encouraged us to have two birth plans, one for staying at home and one for emergency transfer. I would really recommend it, I can't tell you what a wonderful experience birth was for me.

0utForAWalkBitch Sun 14-Jun-15 18:27:03

SaulGood it didn't happen to be the Marie Mongan book you felt like burning did it? I felt that way about it - total woman blaming claptrap. The message I took from the language she uses was that "birth isn't meant to hurt and if it does then it's your own fault for doing it wrong, stupid". Lots of "look at the peasant women in the fields, squatting, birthing their baby without fear, and it doesn't hurt because they don't expect it to" - MY ARSE, Marie.

FWIW despite my disdain regarding this particular book, I do think the whole hypnobirthing approach can be helpful. I did a pregnancy yoga class that taught visualisation and breathing exercises that I believe are very similar to those taught in hypnobirthing, and I found these useful for keeping calm during my labour (or the few hours of it that I was in control for before they panicked at her dropping heartrate and dragged her out with forceps angry). I also found taking the mental approach that our bodies are designed (albeit not that well) to do this helpful in remembering to stay calm.

I'm pregnant again, due next week, and this time I've read the Kathryn Graves book which is much more realistic. I can't get completely on board with the visualisation side of things if I'm honest, I'm not hippy dippy enough, but there's lots of helpful advice and affirmations in there.

SaulGood Sun 14-Jun-15 20:06:29

It was the Mongan book. Terrible language and message imo.

Natal hypnotherapy is much, much better.

ovumahead Sun 14-Jun-15 21:46:54

Wow thank you all for your wonderful honest responses ! All articulating exactly what I had been wondering . So so helpful !

Bair Sun 14-Jun-15 23:04:18

My first birth was medical but enjoyable really.

I read a hypnobirthing book this time. 30 weeks now. Stupid fucking book. Pretty much the same shit as Saul got, implies breastfeeding will be successful if you 'truly' want it, same with baby turning the 'right way'. Also suggests stuff such as homoeopathy, which is a sure fire way to make me doubt every opinion in there.

My method for this birth will be 'least first'.

Pool, G&A etc, then ramping up to the industrial stuff if I decide I want/need it.

applecore0317 Mon 15-Jun-15 01:55:39

It helped me two weeks ago, It didn't take the pain away but helped me focus on my breathing, using my energy for pushing instead of shouting and because I was so.focussed on my own breathing pattern I didn't want the gas and air because it was throwing me out of sync.

I just used Maggie Howells hypnobirthing cd and book.

adarkwhisperinthewoodwasheard Mon 15-Jun-15 02:21:13

Didn't do hypnobirthing as such, but a friend told me about mindfulness for my second dc. That really helped. Examining the pain and recognising the patterns put me fully in touch with the whole experience. I'd thoroughly recommend that

Tonicandgin Mon 15-Jun-15 07:11:39

I did a course which followed Kathryn Graves book/teachings.

We certainly weren't taught about 'blaming' and were taught that 'baby knows best' so if you have a CS it's because you/baby needs one and they taught us how to Hypnobirth through it.

It wasn't all about having a drug free/pain free birth. It was about having the most relaxing birth you can in the way you want.

Skiptonlass Mon 15-Jun-15 08:22:32


I bought the natal hypnotherapy book because it's my first birth and I'd like to get some breathing techniques under my belt. Like pps have said, I'm aware that birth is often not something you can control, but if it does turn out I can have a crack at it without a section, id like to.

Reading the book as a scientist, I have to say, caused a LOT of eye rolling. Her use of statistics is very misleading (x% of women using hypnobirthing had a c section, see how low that is! Uuuh, yeah, of course it is, you're self selecting a sample of women who a. Want to have a natural birth. B. Are probably not keen on having a section and c. Haven't been told they need a section due to factors outside their control...)

The section on homeopathy got major eye rolling. Seriously, that should NOT be in there. Null points (diluted and shaken a bit...)

Some of the birth stories were very cringey " I woke up at dawn, made a latte and dabbed some clary sage oil on my dressing gown.."

There's still a fair bit of noble savage shit. Yes, women have indeed been birthing in fields/baobab trees for millennia. I bet they were still terrified and the maternal mortality rate was hideous pre modern medicine. If you read any historical source you can see the dread of childbirth - it was always a big deal, and always dangerous. I doubt there's ever been time we just squatted and painlessly popped out an infant. Tribal populations now who still live in pre- modernity conditions do not have effortless births - there's a passage in the wonderful "cherubs, chattels and changelings" a book of child rearing globally, that describes a Yanomamo women dying agonisingly in birth with no one helping her, and everyone just basically shrugging and saying "well, that's life". So to think it was some sort of garden of Eden before modern medicine is deeply naive.

But, I still think the basic premise is sound. Learn to work with your body, control fear and pain and use visualisation and breathing techniques to do that.

I wish the basic premise hadn't been coated in a layer of poor science and noble savage myths. It doesn't need that and for me, it spoiled it. Also rather hard to get your also- scientist husband on board when he's going into full pedant mode reading it....

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