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Does anyone have experiences (good and bad) of hypnobirthing classes

(17 Posts)
pruney1977 Sun 24-Jul-11 20:01:52

I'm 99% sure my husband and I are going to take hypnobirthing classes and I pretty much have picked the practitioner I'm going to use but I just wondered if anyone out there had any experiences (good and bad) that they'd be willing to share with me?
The woman I've chosen seems very reputable, has lots of positive stories from participants on her website but I'm interested to see if anyone took the classes and didn't get anything from them? I have read differing views on hypnobirthing cds but I really want to do the proper course.
The other concern I have is my pregnancy is classed as high risk (due mainly to my weight, BMI is 57 blush) and so if I do have to be induced because there is risk to me or the baby, will I still be able to use the techniques. Although I'm high risk, I'm very keen to have very little intervention, to labour and birth naturally and to not use drugs or epidural. I'm aware that that is probably a pipe dream but as it's my first child, I feel I am entitled to have idealised and unrealistic expectations about how my birth experience will be smile
So, if anyone would like to share their experiences, I'd love to hear them and I think they'd really help me. I'm 18wks4 at the moment and have been very well throughout, heartburn in first term and very teary but other than that, I'm blooming, as they say smile

Haribojoe Mon 25-Jul-11 07:37:32

I used natal hypnotherapy when having DS2.

I didn't go to classes but bought the birth preparaton CD. I had been to a study day about it for health professionals when first pregnant and thought it sounded interesting.

Was one of the best things I ever did, I had a lovely straighforward waterbirth and even managed to stay calm during transition (that's the bit I always struggle with).


Gastonladybird Mon 25-Jul-11 07:53:17

Went to classes - tbh there was nothing in there that reading and use of a cd couldn't teach (you do need to work om the technique tho). Actually there was a great deal I'm class that was bollocks as seemed to be advocating going against medical advice in certain circumstances.

Gastonladybird Mon 25-Jul-11 07:54:11

And yes I used technique despite ending up having ventouse delivery- helped me get to about 8cm with just a tens machine

GingerbreadGiraffe Mon 25-Jul-11 07:58:44

I also used natal hypnotherapy for homebirth. I also didnt attend the classes.

Its hard to tell for sure but I'd say it was pretty good. I wasnt scared at all before hand, I had convinced myself I'd cope no problem with the pain so it made it easier at the start.

I too had a home waterbirth and delivered my 10lb11oz daughter with only a few wiffs of G&A. I am totally convinced I'd have had intervention without this and if I'd been in hospital (due to my fear of hospitals).

I'd say go for it, there is nothing to lose. It can only make you calm and help focus you. I think aiming for no intervention is a great thing to do but remain open minded so you dont get to down hearted if you need it for some reason.

Side point on re the heartburn, I personally found this the worst bit of pregnancy and it made me miserable from 6mths onward- if it continues get yourself seen by a doctor early on as there are some prescription meds that can be taken that can really get it controlled.

All the best. x

Aloha31 Mon 25-Jul-11 08:46:09

I used the CD and found it really helped me be comfortable (physically and mentally) despite going 16 days overdue. I ended up with an induction but felt so calm and accepting. Was lovely! DC1, got to pushing stage with no pain relief at all, lasted just under 6 hours.

Good luck!

Lala29 Mon 25-Jul-11 10:15:30

I am currently doing hypnobirthing classes (had 2 so far, read the book and am working with the relaxation CD). I obviously can't say anything about the birth itself yet, as this is my first baby. However, I have found both classes so far (as well as the book) absolutely brilliant and definitely worth the money currently. We have seen some amazing and inspiring birth videos with no screaming, just calm breathing. I was highly sceptical at first, thinking it's a load of hippie stuff, but it seems to make perfect sense on a scientific level to me and I have become seriously inspired. I am now actually looking forward to the birth (as in the process, rather than just the end result).

You do need to practice the breathing and relaxation on a pretty much daily basis, but I love it, rather than finding it a chore and can see that they really do work.

I would say go for it, but have a chat with the lady running it if with regards to her opinion on being induced, etc. When I spoke to my practitioner before I booked, she was very helpful in answering all my questions. (Oh and I really haven't found that they advocate you going against any medical advice at all, merely to be informed and know that you don't necessarily need to be induced/have drugs, etc)

FlipFantasia Mon 25-Jul-11 11:22:48

Myself and my husband went to hypnobirthing classes in London with [[ this woman]] and highly recommend them. We did a weekend course and then practised the techniques at home, and listened to the CD every night.

My DH was totally sceptical but ended up being converted, as it had such a good impact.

I had planned a home waterbirth but ended up being induced at 42 weeks - I managed with no pain relief, despite immediate hyperstimulation, until I had to have an EMCS, due to my son's heartrate dropping. It really helped us both handle what could have been a very traumatic birth.

I'm pregnant again and will definitely practise the techniques again, especialyl as I think they'll really help with my wish to have a vbac. Our teacher kept saying the key was in the practise - the more you practise the better.

pruney1977 Mon 25-Jul-11 12:32:34

Thanks everyone, that's really helpful.
I've had hypnotherapy before and usually have no problem going under. I have bought a pregnancy relaxation CD but haven't got on with it so well, keep coming out in the middle or not going under at all but might be because I didn't know this person whereas the last tape I had, my hypnotherapist had made for me (alas, she is now retired).
Lala29 are you doing separate antenatal classes as well or just the hypnobirthing? The person who does the one I want to go to says it's a complete preparation so I was thinking about not doing the NHS ones.

TeamAniston Mon 25-Jul-11 13:49:58

Hello, I don't often post but this thread caught my eye so I thought I'd add my hypnobirthing experience.

I was induced at 40+6 with my first baby and, using the hypnobirthing techniques I had learnt on a one-to-one course (particularly the deep breathing and the importance of staying as relaxed as possible throughout) I gave birth with no pain relief apart from some gas & air in the last 5 minutes (and for my stitches!)

I firmly believe that hypnobirthing can give you the confidence to trust your body and to relax and let nature get on with it, even when you've been induced. I went from 3cms to giving birth in just 3 hours - induced births can be quite quick - and it was manageable due to hypnobirthing and a very supportive husband.

I am expecting baby number 2 in November and am re-reading my Marie Mongan book and have dusted off my CD - I wouldn't dream of giving birth without it!

As an aside, the midwife who delivered my daughter commented on what a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere there was in the delivery room and how content the baby was. She seriously didn't cry for the first 24 hours (despite being surrounded by screaming newborns on the ward!) and she has remained a very calm, relaxed and mostly happy (she has her moments obviously!) little girl.

Good luck with it, I am convinced it's a state of mind so the most important thing is to believe you can do it and shut out all the negative messages about childbirth that surround us all the time. If hypnobirthing were available on the NHS I'm pretty sure that childbirth could be a much less medicalised procedure than it tends to be.

That said, I remember telling myself that the most important thing was that I delivered a healthy baby and that I was healthy at the end of it so keep your mind open to every possibility and try not to fixate on 'the perfect birth'.


Lala29 Mon 25-Jul-11 14:27:11

I have missed out on NCT classes and currently have opted out of doing hospital ante-natal classes. Hypnobirthing in my experience so far has been a complete birth preparation for a NATURAL birth. We have specifically been told that they don't like talking about what can go wrong and showing you all the medical instruments, as that kind of goes against the theory of not letting yourself be scared, which is critical to the success.

After a lot of discussions with DH, we have decided that we will not go to any antenatal classes other than hypnobirthing. He is going to read all he can about medical intervention and any emergency procedures, so he is informed and will be making the decisions for me should the medical need arise for these. What you will learn in hypnobirthing is that it is very much a partnership with you and your partner/birthing partner and he stays very involved in the process. So I am going to concentrate on my breathing and relaxation and will trust him to make all the other decisions. Obviously it's a very personal decision though...

pruney1977 Mon 25-Jul-11 15:18:53

Lala29 thanks for that, I might talk to my husband about doing the same if he's willing to. He's doing the hypnobirthing really because I want to and hasn't been negative but he is a worrier by nature so will need his confidence in himself to support what I want the birth to be and confidence in me that I can make hypnobirthing work for me. I hope that once we do the course, he'll relax a little but at the moment he's having a lot of dreams about the baby and bad things happening to it. The lady we're going to go with also does a practical parenting class after baby is born and she comes to your home to do it so we're thinking of doing that as well afterwards.

Teamaniston thanks for your input. In an ideal world, I'll get to labour mostly at home, go into hospital for a natural delivery and then come out but that's only going to happen if I carry on with having the easy pregnancy I've had so far. My doctor is apparently very worried about me because I'm high risk (or so she told my husband, which annoyed me a little!) but I'm staying positive that all will go well, not just with the birth but with the pregnancy. So far, my blood pressure has dropped since I've got pregnant so that's got to be a positive.

I'm so glad in general that those who've taken the actual classes have got benefit from them and that even if you've had some sort of intervention, the hypnobirthing still helped. That's really what I wanted to hear.

FlipFantasia Mon 25-Jul-11 15:50:35

On the classes front, I found the NCT classes fantastic for making friends. 16 months on from my birth and I still see many of my NCT friends once a week and can't imagine what maternity leave would have been like without that social network...whereas I didn't keep in touch with any of the hypnobirthing couples at all (as it was just one weekend and we were all at very different stages of pregnancy and from different parts of London).

Lala29 Mon 25-Jul-11 16:35:42

FlipFantasia, our classes are over 5 weeks with only 2 other couples, who all live locally and are at the same stages of pregnancy, so slightly different to you. I would have gone to NCT for friends-making purposes, but they did get booked up ridiculously quickly in my local area. I have since met a few ladies who came out of NCT classes a lot more scared about the birth than they went in, due to detailed explanations of what could go wrong. I realise all classes are different though!

NoseyNooNoo Wed 27-Jul-11 23:14:17

If you book a group class then you should be able to still make friends. Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioners run classes over 4-5 week which gives you the opportunity to make friends/exchange details etc.

Good luck!

MrsZB Thu 28-Jul-11 10:02:25


I did hypnobirthing classes when I was pregnant with my son nearly 4 years ago now.

I think there are pros and cons to them and I think the cons probably very much depend on who you do the classes with, so my list of cons are mainly very specific to the lady who ran my classes.

I went from being terrified of the birth to actually looking forward to it
I was very calm throughout labour, the midwives all commented on it
I felt I had a real understanding of how the body labours and the different stages (The Marie Mongon book is excellent)

The lady who ran my classes had her head in the clouds a little ...
She advised NOT doing a hospital tour as she said that if we did that then we would be thinking about that and not focussing 100% on the home birth (a bit like cosmic ordering).

We did do a hospital tour and when my ds wouldn't come out after 2 hours of pushing at home and we got transferred I was very glad I had as I knew what to expect.

She assured me that if I did the hypnobirthing techniques then labour DOESN'T hurt (she had had 2 c sections so wasn't exactly speaking from experience) so I was quite shocked when labour started to hurt!

She was very dismissive of the NHS midwives but I found them to be excellent and interested in hypnobirthing and they used the terminology like 'oh fab you are already 4 cms!' rather than 'you are only 4 cm'

Oh she advised us not to do any other childbirth classes (in case they talked about 'pain') but I did both the NCT and NHS ones and made friends through the NCT ones and was reassured at how kind the NHS ones were.

My labour with my son was back to back and so I had to walk the whole time and couldn't lie down and do the visualisations and we hadn't covered what to do if you just had to walk up and down!

I was very angry with the lady after my birth and was too angry and upset to contact her after the birth. I felt that if I had followed her advice I would have been less prepared for what happened and she was overly negative about the NHS staff.

Sorry, this has turned into a bit of a rant! Just getting a few things off my chest grin

But, when you look at my list of pros, it really was helpful in many respects. So my advice would be, do the classes but make your own decisions as well with regards to whether you do other classes/hospital tours etc.

I think I lost faith in the lady who did our classes when she showed us a spoon she had bent using the power of her mind ... says it all really!!

Lala29 Thu 28-Jul-11 11:24:45

Oh dear Mrs ZB! That really does not sounds very good. We got very lucky with the lady who does our classes (and I think my DH has fallen in love with her!). She had a horrific birth (in her own words) with her 1st child and then did hypnobirthing before her 2nd and had a totally different experience, so she can tell us both sides of the story. She very definitely advises to go have a look around both the birthing centre and the hospital, so you are prepared for what's to come, to ask them lots of questions, etc. She does say herself, that she perhaps talks about some things that she shouldn't do as part of the course, but she feels it's important for us to understand everything and not see hypnobirthing as a happy-clappy weird hippy thing!

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