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Anyone finding hypnobirthing utterly useless?

(40 Posts)
EnglishRose34 Wed 01-Jun-16 23:59:30

I am 35 and expecting my first child one month from now. I am petrified of giving birth, and scared of tearing and all sorts of other complications. I enrolled myself on NCT and also hypnobirthing and in both cases talking about pain relief, natural or otherwise, has gotten me absolutely hysterical - I've started crying (privately in the toilets afterwards), feeling really low and suicidal, breaking out into a sweat and just feeling like I am going to faint.
I should add that I normally take Prozac for depression and anxiety but my doctor told me not to take this while pregnant or breast feeding so I came off it which I feel proud of although I've had some very dark days.
I'm really tempted to just pay for a C section in a private hospital (I've more than got the money to easily do this).
I did the hypnobirthing course but all the constant language used about 'no pain, no pain, no pain' just made me feel completely hysterical - the opposite of relaxed.
Has anyone else found hypnobirthing a waste of time? Does anyone have an opinion on what I should do?

Tumtitum Thu 02-Jun-16 00:22:50

I kind of half heartedly did it, just at home listening to CDs. I purposely chose ones which DIDNT use the word pain at all. I'm not going to lie, it was still painful but I stayed calm throughout and felt (mostly) in control. I also stayed at home for 13 hours of a 16 hour labour, arriving at hospital in time to push!
That said, if the thought of giving birth is making you feel suicidal then I would have thought that you could get a caesarean on the NHS (although I guess don't expect the recovery to be pain free? Not that I have any personal experience of this.). I would go and speak to your GP/midwife.
Also remember you can have an epidural!

Gingermum Thu 02-Jun-16 00:28:23

I found the idea of all that breath control a load of bollocks, especially when one of the fathers on the NCT course mansplained about how 'epidurals can leave the baby very sleepy'. Twat. I'd like to see him breathing through having his testicles slammed in a car door!

Basically you don't have to get permission to have the birth you want. As Tum said, bear in mind you could have an epidural and delivery vaginally (if you want). I had a mobile epidural which meant I could walk about and still push when the time came.

But if you can't bear the idea of it - then go ahead and have a c-section! Your body, your birth. smile

TheABC Thu 02-Jun-16 00:34:08

Take a look at juju sundin's birth skills. I found it very useful when I birthed my second child two weeks ago - she offers a range of techniques such as stress balls, shouting and movement. They worked for me although I did end up with an epidural due to an emergency c section.

AppleMagic Thu 02-Jun-16 00:38:45

I also listened to the CDs at home. I think it helped in the early stages but not so much when in proper labour.

In my first labour I had a lovely, lovely epidural. It provided total pain relief but didn't make me feel numb from the waist down. I could still feel pressure and still feel the urge to push. I had a calm, controlled delivery and felt it was a very positive experience. I didn't need a catheter or anything and could shower as soon as required after.

I was also very worried about tearing and did tear (2nd degree) with both my babies. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as I imagined. I didn't feel it happen (even with my "natural birth") and it never gave me any pain afterwards.

KnitFastDieWarm Thu 02-Jun-16 00:47:49

1) you can take Prozac while pregnant and you can take serataline while BF. I took Prozac thought pregnancy on a reduced dose with the advice of a specialist mental health midwife and my consultant obstetrician. Your GP may not be up to date with the latest recommendations on meds and pregnancy (I speak from bitter experience) so if you are struggling, keep pushing for help. You need to be a mentally well mum first and foremost flowers

2) I second the recommendation for the birth skills book - it's all about acknowledging and taking ownership of the process and the pain - a bit like you might when running a marathon - as opposed to trying to zone it out. I found it really useful.

Good luck! It's honestly ok, this giving birth business - and I say that as someone with depression and anxiety who ended up having an emergency c section. It was still overall a good experience!

Runningupthathill82 Thu 02-Jun-16 07:08:20

I found hypnobirthing almost completely useless in my first labour (24hrs, agonising back to back labour, failure to progress, ended in forceps). I think the fact that I went into the labour believing my body could do it, and believing I could do without pain relief, left me completely unprepared for what was to come and also led to my feeling like a failure afterwards.

However, my second labour (no hypnobirthing!) was entirely straightforward and was quite a fantastic experience. Drug-free, quick and amazing waterbirth. I'd gone in with no pre-formed ideas as to what I wanted from labour, but everything just worked as it should and I pushed DD out no problem. I tore badly (second degree tear) but hardly felt it!

If I'd had the easy birth first time, I have no doubt I'd have put it down to the hypnobirthing. But in reality it's just luck of the draw and largely down to baby's position, IME.

Talk of pain threshold is also bollocks, IMO, as labours can be so different. My second labour was extremely painful but I was entirely able to cope and feel I had some control. It felt nothing like my first, during which I'd have happily shot myself in the head, given the chance.

If I were you I'd just try and relax (I know, easier said than done) and put no pressure on yourself. Chances are, you'll have a straightforward birth - but if you don't, that's what pain relief and c sections are there for. The emphasis on "natural" birth by the likes of the NCT does people no favours, I think, and can create a lot of unnecessary pressure. Best of luck, OP.

MyBreadIsEggy Thu 02-Jun-16 07:25:37

I thought it was utter bollocks if I'm honest hmm
I had books and a cd....which was all well and good while I was pregnant. All the breathing techniques were quite relaxing. But when you've got a whole human head trying to force its way out of your lady parts, "no pain no pain no pain" isn't exactly effective is it?! After a while of trying with the cd I told DH to "please shut her up!". My DD was born with no "help" from the annoying "your body is a vessel of power and strength" lady, and a few puffs of gas and air during the transition stage.
Really wish I didn't waste my money now hmm

SolomanDaisy Thu 02-Jun-16 07:28:08

I think it sounds like your issues are more serious than hypnobirthing could be expected to help with. You need proper psychiatric support or a c section, or both. That said, if you want to continue with hypnotherapy, I used natal hypnotherapy which is different to hypnobirthing and never suggests there will be no pain. You might find that more suitable.

captainproton Thu 02-Jun-16 07:39:37

Well the key to a good birth is I think: baby in the right/optimal position, being active in early labour to let gravity aid you, and being able to focus on relaxing enough to get oxytocin "love hormone" going which aids contractions.

If you can tick all these boxes then birth won't be that painful, overwhelming yes, hurts a bit at the end sure. But I know it's not that simple to get a good birth, it's not a failure to be unable to achieve it. talk to your midwife and see what birth plan is best for you.

Rubberduckies Thu 02-Jun-16 07:43:35

Are you in the UK? Have you had access to the mental health midwife team/perinatal team? If my go back to your gp and ask for a referral. They can give you advice and support on either coping without your meds or safe medication you can take. They will also be able help with medication if you plan to breast feed. A good mental health midwife may work better for you than hypnobirthing!

Zaurak Thu 02-Jun-16 20:12:27

Perhaps you're trying to concentrate on having a pain free birth when that's not the best thing to aim for?
It might be more realistic/ empowering/ better prepared to have an approach that reassures you that if your birth is straightforward, there will be pain, it will be manageable and there are X y and z methods of reducing it. If your birth is not straightforward then the medical team will do X, y or z depending on situation - perhaps focussing on 'whatever happens they will deal with it and I will deal with it' would be better?
Giving birth generally hurts, but it is generally manageable. I think you may be trying to control the birth a bit too much, but birth is inherently unpredictable- if you go in expecting to breathe the baby out to whale music are you going to feel frightened if through no fault of your own the baby is in a bad position, or you need an EMCS?
PND is associated among other things with having high or very set expectations of a birth. You might be better to embrace all the different outcomes and accept that whatever happens, there's an overwhelming chance you'll be ok. You may have some anxiety from your post so try to see someone about that?
I don't think I've expressed myself very well! I mean that ether than pressurising yourself to have this prefect hypnobirthing experience, prepare for and be aware of a variety of outcomes.
I had a section because I had zero choice (serious issues) and it was painful. But it was also very controlled.
I'd see the midwife psychologist and discuss ways of accepting uncertainty and coping methods rather than trying to make everything perfect.

EnglishRose34 Thu 02-Jun-16 21:27:12

Hi all
Thanks so much for your comments. I've found all of them really useful and inspiring.
Gingermum - mobile epidural sounds like a great plan.
AppleMagic - I'm really glad to hear the tearing didn't hurt badly. That's one of the things I've been so scared about!
Runningupthathill82 - I totally agree with you re: hypnobirthing creating pressure and a sense of panic/ failure
MyBreadIsEggy - your post made me laugh out loud. Hilarious. And I bloody agree with you!!! :-)
Rubberduckies - yes I live in west London. I will definitely enquirer about mental health midwife, thanks for this as I didn't even realise such things existed.
ZauraK - thanks so much for your kind and sensible words. You really made me feel so much better and I think what you said is totally logical. I think perhaps I have been having a freak out because I am someone who likes to plan and work hard towards precise outcomes in my life and it has served me well so far but this is a context where I need to wise up and realise it's much more of an unknown and I just must accept that and accept its no fault of my own and not that I have 'failed' in some regard.
Thanks to you all! Xx

AdoraKiora Thu 02-Jun-16 21:32:14

I didn't do a class, but listened to a hypnobirthing CD in my last trimester of pregnancy with DC2.

I'd had a previous c-section and was aiming for a VBAC. I couldn't face a class because as a second timer I who had a section after lonoooog labour, I knew all the 'I am in control, I can breathe this baby out, I am a Goddess' stuff was absolute guff.

I didn't feel like it was 'working' at all and used to fall asleep about 10 mins into the CD every time grin.

However, I ended up with a c-section again and the hypnobirthing definitely helped me to feel calm and happy during the whole thing. I felt so at peace and the breathing and visualisation made it all feel so serene. Would def do it again.

Trust me, c-section is NOT 'easy' compared to birth if its performed as an emergency or under stress (

AdoraKiora Thu 02-Jun-16 21:33:21

Sorry posted too soon...what i was going to say is, c-section isn't an easy option...but if you need one, it will be fine grin

notonyurjellybellynelly Thu 02-Jun-16 21:41:10

OP, my only experience of hypnobirthing was when my DIL gave birth to her first baby in complete and utter silence. She hadn't even been to classes. She just read up on it on the internet and kind if lived the idea of it for months. I was with her from half an hour after she went into her 14 hour labour labour and once we were in hospital she went completely into herself, its the only way I can describe it, and she said nothing for those 14 hours apart from when she'd have a bit of a laugh with me and my son in-between pushes. There weren't even the usual noises associated with the pushing stage. Throughout it all me and my son also kept quiet and if we wanted to speak to each other we went outside the room. Even the medical staff did things very differently when they saw the way she was labouring. Ive never seen anything like it in my life and Ive had 5 children and been at the birth of my 6 grandchildren.

Over the summer theyre hoping to conceive baby number 2 and Im already wondering if labour number 2 will be the same.

What do I think of hypnobirthing? To be honest, I really dont know.

VeryPunny Thu 02-Jun-16 21:49:31

I did it twice (slow learner me) and wish I had never heard of it. Left me feeling like a total failure. Had planned home birth for DD, who was breech at 37 weeks. Was hysterical about the idea of section so went to vaginal breech, which was utterly agony and ended in EMCS which was fab, but I felt like an utter failure afterward. Did a different class with DS who was a forceps VBAC; again it was agnoy until the epidural kicked in.

I did all the preparation religiously - all the breathing, listening,mantras etc and yet both of my labours were very painful until the epidural kicked in. I felt very much out of control straight away; none of the breathing/ recordings helped. Never occurred to me that I would feel out of control and unable to cope, but that's what happened.

Epidural all the way if I ever do it again - once that kicked in, I was so much calmer and able to enjoy things.

Sophia1984 Thu 02-Jun-16 22:38:32

I'm planning to do hypnobirthing but know exactly what you mean about the 'pain' thing - I am finding it more useful to think about it as 'productive pain' rather than 'pain to tell you to stop doing something'. If you're not feeling overwhelmed with books, I'd suggest reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - lots of birth stories that talk about the pain but are realistic and not scary. I've also just bought Juju Sundin's 'Birth Skills: proven pain management techniques for your labour and birth' which looks really practical and helpful.

That doesn't sound very helpful of your doctor to have taken you off Prozac but not discussed other options. All my health care professionals and made it clear that the benefits for pregnant mums of not being depressed outweigh the small risks of most antidepressants (especially Sertraline). I have come off Citalopram, but it was very much my decision. With a history of depression, your midwife could have referred you to the perinatal mental health team, who have been a massive support to me. Pregnant women are also entitled to shorter waiting times for CBT. I know it can be scary to ask, but there is help available out there xx

MindfulBear Fri 03-Jun-16 00:13:39

I used Hypnobirthing and it helped. It really did. I still needed an epidural tho. I don't regret Hypnobirthing as it helped me accept what was happening.

As an aside if you are having depressive / anxious thoughts talk to your MW asap, get referred to the consultant next week and talk about meds you can take for your anxiety & the pros & cons of a CS. You can have a CS on the NHS if you want, especially with yiur fact pattern.

Do not delay in talking about this with the HCPs asap. You will feel so much better. Take your other half or a friend to advocate for you too. Will really help.

Don't suffer in silence. You don't need to.

Dixiechick17 Fri 03-Jun-16 15:51:45

I didn't do a class, just CD and book. Mine didn't focus on pain, the cd that is. The thing that I got from it was techniques to stay calm and trusting myself to make decisions that I was happy with and that each contraction bought me closer to meeting my baby. I'm a bit of a wimp, and was very open to having an epidural, however I managed a natural birth, with no pain relief. I also had a second degree tear, I didn't feel it happen at all and was surprised when the midwife said I had a tear. With regards to your anxiety I hope that you can get some support and feel better about it all.

Dixiechick17 Fri 03-Jun-16 15:55:03

I'm not going to say it doesn't hurt, it does, but I found it easier knowing there would be an end to it and that it wouldn't go on forever.

MessyBun247 Fri 03-Jun-16 16:01:18

1 word: epidural grin They are great!

Although you never know, you might be fine without one. Just keep an open mind and keep your options open.

MrsDoylesTeaParty Fri 03-Jun-16 16:27:28

I felt as anxious as you and had a c-section, I just couldn't handle it. It was painful afterwards but I felt I could cope with that as I was in control. I was happier and far less stressed. I really thought it would affect my mental health negatively if I'd given birth.

notonyurjellybellynelly Fri 03-Jun-16 17:24:19

managed a natural birth, with no pain relief

That was my DIL's experience also.

sambababy Sun 05-Jun-16 02:29:08

Just regarding the fear of tearing, for me at least the pushing stage was so intense (and imo almost a relief after the first stage because I felt it was productive and nearing the end) that I had no idea I had torn until my doc said afterwards she was going to do some stitches. It was 2nd degree but didn't take long to heal.

I read the Maggie Howell natal hypnotherapy book and listened to the cd. I didn't buy all the "golden light" stuff but I did listen to it many times, if only for relaxation practice. It might have helped very early on in my labour but not when the pain really got going. The book however was full of positive stories and a really good explanation of how our bodies were designed to birth and how they react to fear. The book definitely eased my nerves. This time I'm reading the juju sundin book which has totally different suggestions for distracting from the pain. Any book which pretends there will be no pain is just lying and setting you up for disappointment. But yes there is always epidural! And I can promise you the baby at the end of it will be worth it!

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