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Kimberly Gross

Kimberly Gross

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Posted by on in Birth Professionals

Pain-Free Childbirth?
By Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI

Hypnobabies: "Easier, More Comfortable Childbirth"

First and foremost, it is important to understand that although many of our Hypnobabies moms do experience pain-free births, not all of them do, and we do not promise or guarantee that will be the case. Hypnobabies is dedicated to helping each birthing mother have the *easiest, most comfortable birthing experience* that she can have. This is one of the first concepts our students learn, since our student workbook directly states the following:

You are about to embark upon a journey to learn how you, your Birth Partner and your baby can have a much easier, more comfortable and joyful childbirth experience. It will take dedication, planning and a willingness to be open to new concepts, and all will be well worth your effort and time.

At Hypnobabies, our motto is, “ENJOY your baby’s birth … in comfort, joy and love.” This is exactly what we work towards and what Hypnobabies was designed for, as you will see by the wording of each Hypnobabies script. It is important to remember that we cannot promise you a completely pain-free or drug-free birthing.

Although the majority of our Hypnobabies moms do have very comfortable births, some even pain-free, it is important for anyone using this course to understand that every birth experience is different, just as every pregnancy is different, you need to know and accept that your own will be the perfect one for you, no matter what path your birthing journey takes.

Hypnobabies® - Natural Childbirth at its best!

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123 Mom 14 Reading Making Notes


There is no “right way” to do Hypnobabies, no one outcome or effect that every woman experiences. Therefore, there is no “failure” should things go differently than you originally planned. You will always be a successful Hypno-mom as long as you practice and use your Hypnobabies techniques, cues and scripts. Every woman has the kind of birthing that she needs to have, and every woman deserves to have the best and easiest one she can, so keep practicing your Hypnobabies skills until baby is born, and use what you have learned during your birthing … and afterwards.

Childbirth is so much easier when you use the incredible power of your own body, mind and spirit together, and that’s exactly what you are doing with Hypnobabies. Enjoy your course, your practice and your wonderful birthing!

As you can see, Hypnobabies does not guarantee a “pain-free” birth experience to anyone, and makes clear that birth outcomes for each mother are completely unique. This is exactly why we have affirmations and hypnosis scripts which include suggestions and directives such as:

“I easily accept any path that my birthing takes me when I give birth to my baby,
knowing that it is the right one for me and my baby.”

It is, however, extremely important that all mothers who embrace Hypnobabies *believe that it is possible to have a comfortable birth* using Hypnobabies techniques. There is no way for any of our moms to actually experience an easy, comfortable birth unless they believe it is a possibility for them and of course, that is what our course is all about: changing belief systems. I have actually heard birth professionals state that it is misleading to indicate to women that they can achieve comfortable, easy labor with Hypnobabies. Their reasoning seems to be that not all women do achieve this, so we shouldn’t teach anyone that it is possible!

Consider this: If we at Hypnobabies taught all of our mothers that “easier, more comfortable...even pain-free births can be experienced, but don’t expect that it will be that way for you”…what kind of outcomes would we see? We would be invalidating our tried and true, very successful techniques and tools, (and the birth stories of women who have had easy comfortable Hypnobabies births) in favor of…fear! This is similar to telling a child they shouldn't work towards getting an "A" in school so they won't be disappointed when they get a "C". To bring it closer to home, it is akin to physicians telling moms that “VBAC may be possible for some women, but don’t really plan on it for yourself because most moms can't achieve it”. Giving a bit of encouragement and then negating it with a *warning* is counter-productive and counter-intuitive to all that many of us stand for in the birthing world. It will benefit everyone if we all become a bit more open-minded about concepts that we don’t yet understand fully, and be willing to grow as we learn.

“If you have a hammer in your hand, you will suddenly see nails everywhere.”
~ Abraham Maslow

Planning Birth Realistically:

It is extremely important that all expectant mothers understand their own goals and needs for childbirth, so we encourage our Hypnobabies moms to plan their baby’s birth realistically by:

1. choosing a supportive birth team and birth place which will help them attain their natural (Hypnobabies) birth
2. maintaining prenatal exercise and excellent nutrition
3. using optimum fetal positioning
4. tuning in to themselves and their babies
5. and of course, learning, practicing and *using* Hypnobabies as outlined in our written materials, for their best benefit.

The good news is that most of our Hypno-moms are able to utilize the knowledge they have learned in Hypnobabies and enjoy excellent results. Sometimes, that is not the case. Although the written Hypnobabies material, audio tracks and other “hypno-tools” are the same ones used by Hypnobabies moms who have had excellent birth experiences, some moms have disappointing births…just like with all other childbirth preparation programs. For any mother to have experienced childbirth as anything but safe, satisfying and empowering is heart-wrenching to me, and it is even more disheartening to know that our wonderfully successful Hypnobabies techniques and “hypno-tools” are there, in each Hypno-Mom’s grasp, available to produce a much easier birth experience, and yet…

Same Hypnobabies techniques, cues, scripts, recordings, childbirth education, workbook and handouts. What happened? In reading birth stories and talking personally to some of the moms and other birth professionals, I have found:

The same thing happened that affects all other unsatisfactory births, with all childbirth programs out there: Life happened!

1. No time or willingness to learn & practice as necessary for the desired results
2. Incomplete birth preparation materials (in our case, moms only having the Hypnobabies audio tracks, which means they were not actually learning, practicing or using Hypnobabies)
3. Complications during birth, for mom, baby or both
4. Allowing large numbers of people at the birth
5. Emotional issues before and during birth
6. Birth attendants or “support” people that interfered with the natural process of birth
7. Birth attendants or “support” people that were unsupportive of the birthing method (in this case, of Hypnobabies) during birth
8. Other…

Misunderstandings: “No Different From….”

The first time I heard a fellow childbirth educator say that they considered Hypnobabies techniques to be “no more than deep relaxation” and “no different than _____ childbirth course" (in this case, the Bradley Method), I was astounded. I had no idea that people were so misinformed about what hypnosis really is; re-training the inner mind’s belief systems for a beneficial change. This is so much more powerful than just relaxation, breathing, or any other comfort techniques that I myself had previously taught as a non-Hypnobabies childbirth educator! As you will read below, our program’s success at helping moms achieve much easier and more comfortable births involves much more than “deep relaxation”, and you will learn why that is so important.

A brief explanation of Hypnosis:

Hypnosis begins with a deep state of relaxation, which can be induced either by a hypnotherapist or birth partner, with audio tracks or by self-hypnosis. Hypnosis is best described as an altered state of consciousness, a changed or focused state of awareness, concentration and perception. It is a heightened sense of suggestibility that redirects the focus of both the conscious and sub-conscious minds. While in a state of hypnosis, the conscious mind relaxes and the attention of the sub-conscious mind (where change takes place) is greatly stimulated, which allows access to all of our brain's potential.

The following is what Hypnobabies takes full advantage of, and makes our program much different than simply “deep relaxation”…

During hypnosis the subconscious mind is in a state of focused concentration and receptivity -- alert, accepting and digesting the specific suggestions that it hears, allowing changes in perception to occur from within. In essence, hypnosis is the process whereby resistance to change is reduced and selective thought becomes more efficient. When our moms are in this deeply subconscious state, Hypnobabies provides suggestions which re-train the inner mind with new, positive belief systems about childbirth. Powerful, specific directives for an easier birthing are compounded (repeated) many times so that the subconscious can accept the new beliefs, which takes several weeks to become ingrained.

How does this happen? Literally re-training the inner mind (by using deep, somnambulistic hypnotic states and powerfully re-framed language) with the following concepts:

1. Hypnobabies moms will feel all of the normal birthing sensations during labor; pushing, pulling, tightening, stretching, baby movements, etc., however, these sensations will be experienced comfortably (yes, comfortably! Read Hypnobabies Birth Stories Here, Here and Here!)
2. Suggestions for confidence, relaxing in-between birthing waves, feeling even more comfortable after the waters have broken and focused, mother-directed pushing are also built into Hypnobabies and work so beautifully when Hypnobabies is learned, practiced and used *as outlined in our course*.

I can’t stress enough that moms who borrow a used Hypnobabies course without all of its materials, or just listen to someone else’s Hypnobabies MP3s are setting themselves up for disappointment since they will *not* have all of the “tools” they need.

Excellent, joyful births also cannot be consistently expected for moms who actually learn and practice Hypnobabies faithfully but inexplicably choose not to use their techniques and cues during labor, or whose birth care providers continually interfere with the use of their Hypnobabies "hypno-tools". Doulas, midwives, nurses and doctors can assist birthing mothers in having much easier births by fully supporting the way each mother chooses to give birth, regardless of their own personal beliefs or emotions.

Pain-Free Birth?

For most people, the concept of a “pain-free” birth experience is steeped in mystery at the least and is akin to science-fiction at the farthest end of speculation. Few mothers have experienced one, and those who have and attempt to tell others about it are rarely believed, even if they have video of their birth which shows that they did indeed do so. Why?

Other mothers may feel envious, annoyed or even bitter to hear that someone else had a much easier experience of childbirth than they had, especially if theirs was an exceptionally difficult birthing. Many experienced birth professionals have only seen and experienced themselves that childbirth is “hard work” and therefore painful in varying degrees. This allows a belief system to be firmly implanted that childbirth cannot be any other way. This seems logical, until we realize that there are exceptions to just about everything in life, and what seems "impossible" at first can many times begin to change to "unlikely", then "possible", and finally it becomes an established fact.


At one time the earth was considered to be flat. Anyone who thought it otherwise was:

1. …ridiculed
2. …ostracized, or
3. …locked up for being “crazy”

Of course, eventually enough people began to question the earth being flat that they were allowed to pursue it to the point of proving that it was round, and then…anyone who thought it otherwise was:

1. …ridiculed
2. …ostracized, or
3. …locked up for being “crazy”

So it is with any new concepts; “new” meaning anything that we, ourselves are not familiar with. This is human nature - we tend to reject something that does not mesh with our own personal experiences and belief systems, until enough other people “validate” it that it seems worth looking into or changing our own beliefs about the subject. However, if our minds are automatically open to new concepts, especially ones that enrich people’s lives, we don’t need validation. To quote one of our most beloved, wise and kindhearted souls:

"When I encounter a story that reveals something about a labor or birth that is new to me, I don't automatically dismiss it as untrue or irrelevant simply because I am unfamiliar with the phenomenon it reveals."
~ Ina May Gaskin, Birth Matters

"Just RELAX and you’ll have a pain-free birth"?

Although the philosophy of some hypno-childbirth programs teach women that they will not have pain “if they just relax enough”, most women find that idea to be inaccurate and misleading. If this was a valid theory, literally millions of women would have had pain-free births just from practicing and using the wonderful, deep relaxation techniques that are taught in many childbirth classes, and that is not the case. Although there are women who do have pain-free births without much preparation or through deep breathing and relaxation, a great deal more is need for most birthing mothers, physically, mentally and emotionally in order to have a comfortable childbirth experience. That’s where the real, medical hypnosis in Hypnobabies comes in.

Childbirth experiences are different for every woman. There is no predicting how any one mother will feel as she gives birth, and telling a woman that she will feel no pain if she "just relaxes deeply enough" is inadequate at best and inaccurate for most. This can confuse the mother and create self-doubt before, during and after birth.

It is with intense frustration that I continue to hear the insistence (from other camps) that “childbirth is a natural bodily function and therefore it should not hurt if you relax adequately”, when I have heard thousands of reports to the opposite, directly from moms themselves.

The fact that childbirth is a “natural” function of the female body does not preclude the following:

1. There is (most of the time; in the absence of medications and real hypnosis techniques) some (small/manageable/serious/hurts like holy warts/ferocious) amount of pain “naturally” involved in moving an object the size of a small watermelon down through some pretty delicate tissues, and out.

2. A woman’s abdominal organs, ligaments, many nerves, uterine muscles, cervix, back, vagina, perineum and anus are pushed, pulled, squashed, torqued, stretched beyond belief at times and bruised as the uterus contracts, moves baby into position, opens and pushes the baby out.

3. If anyone tried to manipulate our insides and bottom like this for any other reason than childbirth, it would be considered inhuman and unconscionable *not* to use some form of medication (or real hypnosis techniques) to lessen the pain.

4. Are we to believe that if a mom “relaxes enough” and “lets go of her fears”, the experience will be painless just because childbirth is a “natural” female process? For most moms, that is untrue.

Simply relaxing through childbirth generally only "helps it hurt a little less", and “avoid unnecessary pain” as some childbirth methods teach (there is no “necessary” pain if you use Hypnobabies). And yes, as we do teach in Hypnobabies, some of that pain is caused by the ingrained and very powerful belief system that childbirth is *supposed to hurt badly* (which comes from other people’s birth stories, TV “birth” shows, movies, books and sadly, some childbirth classes). However, for most women when the above processes of childbirth kick in as they are supposed to do, to simply believe that “childbirth is not inherently painful if I relax enough because it is a natural female process" is insufficient to make that true, and some mothers can become quite traumatized by this.

Detractors of Hypnobabies have stated that we are teaching our Hypno-Moms to have similar beliefs: that they can have an easy, comfortable birth by using hypnosis. They feel this is a disservice to women who do not “achieve” this goal. In reality, as you have already read, since Hypnobabies teaches real medical-grade, very successful hypnosis techniques, what we are telling women is that they have the opportunity to enjoy childbirth much more…IF they are willing to:

1. Embrace Hypnobabies completely, since we do indeed teach all the childbirth, hypnosis, emotional and physical comfort techniques they will ever need to have an excellent birth experience.
2. Take the time, energy and love necessary to learn and practice Hypnobabies *as directed*; nothing left out.
3. Use, and continue using your Hypnobabies “labor tools” during childbirth: techniques, cues, audio tracks, scripts and birth team suggestions.
4. Educate their birth team and care providers on the use of Hypnobabies techniques and language, since all of our Hypnobabies mothers are deeply in hypnosis during labor, and can be instantly affected, positively or negatively by those around them (as all birthing women can).

The power of the mind/body connection is extraordinary and can be corroborated very simply and quickly by Ina May:

"I was able to learn midwifery in a way that permitted me to closely observe the birth process in hundreds of women without any imposed rules that would have interfered with the flow of labor. This was quite unusual for that the time, and it allowed me to observe phenomena and cause-and-effect relationships that medical, nursing, and hospital-based midwifery students would rarely (if ever) observe. I could see, for instance, how quickly a terrified woman could become calm and unafraid if the right action was taken or the right words spoken. I could see how previously unbearable levels of pain could diminish in the same fashion."
~ Ina May Gaskin, Birth Matters

“Pain in childbirth is caused by Fear”

There are also programs and books which teach that since childbirth is a normal physiological process for women, there is “no physiological reason for childbirth pain”, that pain is caused mostly by fear, and therefore eradicating fear in childbirth will eliminate their pain.

In reality, eliminating fear in childbirth is only one of the ways to help *reduce* childbirth pain. Women are moving a very large object through and out of their bodies when they give birth, and there are many sensitive nerves and body parts being pressed on, pushed, pulled and stretched to amazing lengths during this process. The big bag of muscles we call a uterus has stretched to the size of a small watermelon and the contractions that tighten these muscles are immense as well. Pain for most women is indeed part of that process, and eradicating fear is helpful in lessening pain, but does not ensure pain elimination.

We do know of course, that pain can be made much worse by tension in the birthing body and by fear being present in the woman's mind. The Fear/Tension/Pain Syndrome is very real, however, it needs to be recognized for what it is: a response to be eliminated so that childbirth can progress much more easily and comfortably. Women need to understand that simply eliminating fear during childbirth rarely results in completely eliminating pain, although it does indeed help.

The intensity of birth sensations depends partly upon:

1. A woman’s belief system regarding childbirth in general
2. The birthing preparation (tools) each mother has chosen, how well she practiced them and how she uses them as she gives birth
3. The choices a woman makes during childbirth which can help, hinder or even halt the process, including induction, immobility, Pitocin, etc.
4. A woman’s emotions, before and during childbirth, since emotional issues can cause constriction, Fear/Tension/Pain
5. The birth team each woman chooses to support her
6. Mom and baby positioning
7. There are actually many other factors which impact pain levels and the perception/experience of pain during childbirth.
Hypnobabies elements of a comfortable birth:

Elements of a truly comfortable birth:

In Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis, during birth preparation and childbirth, we focus greatly on many elements that assist with making childbirth easier and more comfortable. The three main ones are:

1) Deep, medical-grade somnambulistic Hypnosis is the *main and most important* element for an easier, more comfortable birthing and takes moms far beyond deep relaxation and breathing techniques. Hypnosis actually conditions the mind, through prior training, to convert birthing sensations from painful sensations to comfortable, even pleasurable ones. Normal birthing sensations are still experienced by our mothers, sensations such as pressure, stretching, pulling, pushing and tightening, as well as the movements and position of the baby, and they're experienced with less, little or no discomfort. This physical comfort is created by deeply embedded *hypnosis* techniques, not by relaxation, or focusing on guided imagery or simple meditation techniques.

2) Deep Relaxation, which is an automatic *side-effect* of Hypnobabies' deep, somnambulistic hypnosis. The muscles of a birthing woman's body, especially the ones around her baby must be completely and totally relaxed so that they can work efficiently and without any added discomfort from the Fear/Tension/Pain response. Practice is therefore mandatory and must be taken seriously. Hypnobabies moms learn to instantly accomplish becoming completely limp and loose like a dishrag when prompted to relax their body. This is one of the reasons we do progressive relaxation inductions, and in every Hypnobabies hypnosis script, CD track, cue and technique, deep relaxation is practiced so that it becomes a completely automatic response. Hypnobabies hypnosis training “implants” suggestions into our Hypno-Moms’ subconscious minds for instant and very deep total body relaxation.

3) Fear Clearing Sessions: Women who stay in a state of stress during pregnancy can become ill or develop complications, because the mind controls the body completely. By the time their pregnancy is coming to an end, the adrenal glands have produced many constrictors and catecholamines which are stress hormones, and the uterus may not get the proper blood flow, resulting in inadequate oxygen getting to the uterus and the baby. Muscles need oxygen to work properly; the muscle layers cannot draw up and back as needed and when that happens, dystocia (dysfunctional birthing – without progress) can occur, and what has been labeled “The Fear-Tension-Pain- Syndrome”. Our Hypnobabies moms realize fully that they can easily avoid this during pregnancy and birthing by doing regular Fear Clearing sessions.
Hypno-moms must practice their hypnotic cues and techniques on a daily basis until the baby comes for the best benefit, and to create an easier more comfortable experience for everyone involved, Hypnobabies moms simply have to do their “hypno-homework” every day. This practice is actually the easiest thing our moms do during their pregnancies! Getting into a relaxed position with soft music in the background and allowing themselves to float away into a wonderfully deeper mental and physical state … all while listening to suggestions for an easy, gentle and comfortable birth … is a gift they give themselves while pregnant that pays many dividends during birthing.


1. “Relaxation” is only one of the factors in producing a much easier and more comfortable birth; deep, powerful, medical-grade hypnosis has a very important part in this process, as does eliminating fear and the excellent childbirth education we teach in Hypnobabies.
2. Childbirth certainly *can be* (not is) inherently painful for many women (not all) and…..real, medical-grade hypnosis is needed to help it be comfortable (for most). This is where Hypnobabies comes in and makes a huge difference. Along with learning about variables and birthing choices in childbirth, our powerful hypnosis techniques and the deep relaxation that accompanies them account for our moms having much more comfortable births.
3. Our main message to families and birth professionals regarding Hypnobabies is:

“Those who find childbirth uncomfortable seek out Hypnobabies since our medical-grade hypnosis techniques and deep relaxation allow them to experience a much easier and more comfortable birthing, and our complete childbirth education helps them learn how to prepare for and make excellent decisions for pregnancy, birth and their baby’s care. Having the birth of your dreams involves learning how to relax deeply, which is automatically produced in Hypnobabies’ hypnosis sessions, as well as learning, practicing and using medical hypno-anesthesia, which re-trains the inner mind for a comfortable birthing. It also involves becoming an excellent consumer by learning how to remain healthy and low-risk, becoming educated on all childbirth processes and choices, and taking responsibility for your own birth experience. This is why Hypnobabies is a complete childbirth education course!”

Thanks for learning,

Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI
Founder/Director of Hypnobabies
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Too-early Solid Food Could Lead to Problems for Babies

"At least 40% of moms are feeding their infants solid foods far too early, according a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, and that may lead to problems for their children later in life."

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baby and mom 6-2
Giving your baby solid food too soon has been linked to a higher risk of obesity and diabetes, according to the study. Also, "starting infants on solids before 4 months can lead to allergies and eczema," says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and AAP spokeswoman who was not involved in the research.

Moms were also given 12 reasons to choose from to explain why they introduced solid food early. Among the top answers:
- 90% of moms said they thought their baby was old enough to start eating solids.
- 71% said their baby seemed hungry a lot of the time.
- 55% believed their doctor or another health care professional said their baby should start eating solids.

Please read the entire article HERE.
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Posted by on in Home Birth
Calah's Hypnobabies Homebirth

"Isaac made me laugh so hard at one point by trying to remind me of one of my Hypnobabies birth affirmations that says "every time a pressure wave ends, I smile and feel very happy" but he instead said: "remember, honey, that your uterus is smiling!" I kept picturing that during labor and cracked up every time!"

Hypnobabies® - Natural Childbirth at its best!

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sigrids third hypnobaby pool 1
Calah's birth was not at all what we were expecting, but it was amazing, miraculous, and wonderful. I was now 42+5 and totally stressing about it. It was the longest week of my life. I had originally planned another home birth, but now that I was post term, we were planning a hospital birth and I was going to be induced in two days. I went to the hospital's L&D unit for my fourth BPP/NST. The nurse there was like "Is your due date a joke?" LOL. We got another 10/10, meaning the baby and the placenta still looked healthy, considering how prolonged this pregnancy was. While there, the attending checked my cervix and stripped my membranes. I had been having wimpy contractions through the day and I was hoping this would help them pick up. We left, got some dinner, and then got home around 7:20.

The contractions increased a bit in strength, but not in length or frequency, and I really didn't think they were doing much of anything. I thought maybe it was early labor and I could have a baby by morning. I was so happy that my body was finally doing something! I put my Hypnobabies birthing day affirmations track on to listen to and went into self-hypnosis, while Isaac filled up the birth pool that was still set up in our bedroom so I could have a relaxing bath. I got in the pool around 8:20ish. I was comfortable and relaxed and totally quiet. I was in denial about being in active labor and Isaac didn't even know I was still regularly contracting, let alone close to birth. At around 9:15, told Isaac to call everyone (our midwives, doula, and photographer) to tell them we would try to get to the hospital in 30-40 minutes. I wanted to make the 25 minute drive before things got intense and would be harder to manage in the car. I got out of the pool to use the bathroom quick before getting dressed to leave. When I went to pee, my water broke and I immediately began involuntarily pushing. I told Isaac to grab a towel and then he helped me stand up as I could feel her crowning. As soon as I stood, her head was born. I told Isaac "ok, be ready to catch her, and then just hand her to me." Her shoulders hurt a bit but then she just slipped right out into Isaac's hands with the towel. I sat back down as he handed her to me and I turned into "newborn nurse mode" (I am a neonatal RN) as I rubbed her with the towel and asked for a bulb syringe to suction her mouth. Isaac called our wonderful midwives right after and they arrived half hour later (as soon as possible) to take care of us. It was definitely not the most glamorous birth (haha), but it was quick, "easy," and even kind of fun! An accidental unassisted home birth. I am so grateful we didn't leave any sooner or she would have been born in the car on the thruway!!
Sigrid breastfeeding

The moral of the story: God is GOOD, faithful, and loving! He provided us with so much supernatural peace during the labor and the birth. As my sister in law encouraged me to do, I just kept "breathing in His grace and breathing out His praise" during the contractions. I never once felt out of control or in pain... just uncomfortable (and my previous births were not this easy, so I thought we had way more time). I guess third time is the charm ... my hypnosis was SO extremely effective this time and I was just so happy that my pregnancy was almost over! Isaac made me laugh so hard at one point by trying to remind me of one of my Hypnobabies birth affirmations that says "every time a pressure wave ends, I smile and feel very happy" but he instead said: "remember, honey, that your uterus is smiling!" I kept picturing that during labor and cracked up every time! Praise God for his protection and grace!!!! And for a beautiful, alert, healthy baby girl! 12/27/14, 8 lb. 10 oz., 20.5"
Sigrids baby
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Posted by on in Hypnobabies Blog
Your Guide to Breastfeeding
By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health

We found this great breastfeeding resource online to share with you!

"To prepare for breastfeeding, the most important thing you can do is have confidence in yourself. Committing to breastfeeding starts with the belief that you can do it!"

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Lesley Levine baby on nursing copyThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) is raising awareness of the importance of breastfeeding to help mothers give their babies the best start possible in life. In addition to this guide, OWH offers online content at http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding and provides the National Breastfeeding Helpline at 800-994-9662. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding puts forth steps that family members, communities, clinicians, health care systems,and employers can take to make breastfeeding an easy choice for mothers. Learn more at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov. OWH also partners with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau to educate employers about the needs of breastfeeding mothers via The Business Case for Breastfeeding. The Affordable Care Act (health care reform) helps pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers get the medical care and support they and their children need. Learn more at http://www.healthcare.gov. Find the entire guide HERE.
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Why Are We Asking Doctors if Women Should Have Midwives?
By Cristen Pascucci

"Shouldn’t women decide if women have midwives?"

Hypnobabies® - Natural Childbirth at its best!

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"Things are better than they were, but nowhere near where they should be.  Today, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) refuses to recognize the midwives who attend around 80% of birth outside of hospitals(8) (“ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births.”)(9).  They have only recently acknowledged “accredited birth centers” as acceptable locations, as their long-time policy has been that all birth should be hospital-based (a 2008 policy statement actually blustered, “Choosing to deliver a baby at home… is to put the process of birth over the goal of having a healthy baby”)(10). Thus, they do not embrace the position of their maternal health colleagues who believe all birth should be where women decide to give birth.  There is truth to ACOG’s assertion that the training and education for a very small number of these midwives is not standardized, but, really, those midwives and their clients aren’t looking to obstetricians for approval. And pushing those midwives underground certainly does not result in better training or safer births." Please read the rest of this fantastic article HERE.
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Hypnobabies Hospital Birth of Aubreye

This lovely birth story comes to us from Jessica Drew, Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Instructor in Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC

"My ‘pushy' pressure waves felt like my body had no other choice but to push, and pushing actually felt good. During this pushing phase I didn't feel pain, just intensity and strength. But thanks to Hypnobabies, I had come to view this intensity and power as a good thing and something to look forward to and be thankful for … "

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Baby Aubreye
My guess date was September 30th, and quickly came and went without so much as a single pre-birth wave. Over the next few days I tried not to become discouraged as the thought of a medical induction seemed more and more likely with each day she was “overdue”, but worked to remain content and patient, trusting that she would come on her own at just the right time. I listened to my Birthing Day Affirmations, practiced my Hypnosis scripts, and surrendered my worry and desire for control over this birth to God, who I trusted knew our baby’s timing and would be with me no matter what path my birth took. I also questioned whether Hypnobabies would actually “work” for me, so I also read lots of Hypnobabies birth stories to grow my confidence.

My bag of waters finally broke on October 7th, one week after my guess date (still no pressure waves!). I felt so excited that my baby was coming, and also in disbelief that this was actually happening! I noticed that the waters were slightly colored, and my doula suspected that meconium was present. I called my doctor’s office and they suggested that I come in for an ultrasound to make sure the baby was still healthy. While waiting for the doctor, I went into center switch because I realized that this was probably the start of my birthing time! The ultrasound showed that baby was fine, but the doctor said that because my waters had broken and I hadn’t had any pressure waves yet, she would give me a 12 hour window to start laboring on my own (but noted, much to my annoyance, that she “highly doubted” that that would happen-thank goodness for the bubble of peace!). So, the plan was that I would call the doctor’s office and come in to schedule a medical induction if my labor hadn’t started by 11:30pm that night (it was currently about 2:00pm).

Now that I was “on the clock” I decided to some natural induction techniques. My husband and I walked around the block, fixed a castor oil smoothie, and spent some time together just enjoying the anticipation of what was coming. I began to notice slight sensations in my abdomen, but nothing that felt like “contractions.” I didn’t like the feeling of being “on the clock” and started to worry that my birthing time wouldn’t start on its own by 11:30pm. But with Stephen’s help I tried to keep trusting that the baby was safe and that the natural induction techniques would work. Around 5:30pm Stephen and I ate a light supper and watched a TV show while I used my breast pump to help stimulate pressure waves. By the end of the episode, I didn’t want to eat anymore and didn’t want to watch another episode (which is unusual!). My sensations were getting slightly stronger; they weren’t painful, but I just noticed them more.

Starting around 6:30pm, the Hypnobabies suggestion that “every 20 minutes will seem like only 5 minutes” really took effect. The time between 6:30pm and 10:30pm passed by quickly for me, and I really just remember squatting against the wall to help strengthen my pressure waves. I could feel them nicely at this point and they were gradually getting stronger, which made me happy. As my pressure waves became stronger I realized that I hadn’t been using my lightswitch or listening to the tracks on my Ipod like I had visualized myself doing in my birthing time. But I think that the Hypnobabies principles and techniques had become so ingrained in my mind and heart that I didn’t actually need to use my lightswitch or have the scripts read to me in the moment; it was like they were already there, and I was using them without even consciously trying to do so. As each pressure wave began, Stephen would read from the Hypnobabies scripts or recite some of my favorite Affirmations. During each pressure wave I would also recite in my own mind the Affirmations that I loved most, visualize my relaxation and anesthesia, and tell myself to remain loose and limp. All of this helped me relax and remain very calm. At no point would I say I felt any pain; I just focused on relaxing, breathing and affirming what was happening. It was actually exciting for me to finally feel these pressure waves which I had been looking forward to for so many months!

Around 11:30pm our doula arrived at our house. At this point I had to stop talking, focus and breathe through pressure wave. We stayed at our home for 4 more hours (from 11:30pm-3:30am), but it only felt like half that time to me! My doula applied counter-pressure (which felt amazing),I laid sideways on my bed (and even dozed off to sleep for a few minutes!) and sat backwards on the toilet for most of this time. During each pressure wave I would say “relaaaaax” for the length of each exhale, and this also felt so good! I was surprised how good it felt to vocalize through the length of each birthing wave. As I did, each pressure wave seemed to melt away, I think because my mind was so focused on relaxing. At one point I remember thinking “we should head to the hospital soon” but my doula felt like we could afford to stay a little longer. Finally, around 3:30am I said I wanted to go to the hospital because my instincts were telling me I would want to push soon.

We arrived at the hospital at 4:00am on Wednesday October 8th, and when Stephen pulled up to the hospital doors, I felt a “pushy” pressure wave and said, “Stephen, I think I’m pushing!”. Nevertheless, we made it safe and sound to the Labor and Delivery room. When the nurse checked me, she said I was 9.5 centimeters dilated! This was incredibly encouraging for me to hear! I had always visualized myself arriving at the hospital around 6 or 8 centimeters, so 9.5 was better than I anticipated! Also, the doctor who was on call that night was the doctor I had been praying would be on call for my birthing time, and that was another huge encouragement. She was content to let me do things the way I wanted to, so I spent about 30 minutes having pressure waves (some of them “pushy” waves) on all fours, and then changed positions and pushed about another 40 minutes sitting on the edge of the bed using a birthing bar. My “pushy” pressure waves felt like my body had no other choice but to push, and pushing actually felt good. During this pushing phase I didn't feel pain, just intensity and strength. But thanks to Hypnobabies, I had come to view this intensity and power as a good thing and something to look forward to and be thankful for, so I was able to work along with my body to help it do what needed to be done. I told myself numerous times “I am doing this” (one of the Affirmations) to boost my confidence and resolve. The transformation stage was something I was actually really looking forward to, and as the baby began to crown, I remember thinking “this is the part where people feel the ‘ring of fire,’ but it doesn’t hurt at all!”. I just felt fullness and stretching, but trusted that my body would be soft and flexible enough to let my baby out. My doctor said to feel her head, and I’ll never forget what that was like (surreal!). A few more pushes and out came little Aubreye! The doctor put her on my chest and let the cord pulse for a couple minutes like we had asked, but then stated that they needed to help Aubreye clear some meconium and fluid from her lungs. Once she was breathing well, they gave her right back to me. I felt tired, relieved, happy and so excited that I had actually done it! The nurse and my doula both commented that they were surprised how calm and in control I was the whole time (that’s why my doula thought I had so much more time left, because I was so calm!).

Looking back, what was most helpful to me from Hypnobabies was daily practicing visualization and relaxation, and listening to the Affirmations because they really replaced a negative, fear based belief system about birth with an incredibly positive, truth based belief system. Instead of going into birth uninformed, worried or fearful, I went into birth confident, prepared, grateful and educated, looking forward to the things that I would have otherwise dreaded (pressure waves, the “transition” stage, etc). During the birth, what was so helpful to me from Hypnobabies was visualizing relaxation and anesthesia, reminding myself to remain loose and limp, vocalizing “relax” through each pressure wave, and reciting in my mind my favorite Affirmations and phrases from the hypnosis scripts. Throughout the whole birthing process, I never once considered the need for an epidural. For me, birth was definitely an intense challenge, but I felt safe, supported and strong enough physically and mentally to give birth naturally. As I prepared with Hypnobabies I often questioned whether it would actually “work” for me. But now I have experienced just how effective Hypnobabies really is! It trained me to believe that what I expected to feel and experience would, in fact, come to pass. And that is exactly what happened.
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Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone
By James J. McKenna Ph.D., Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C.

"One of the most important reasons why bedsharing occurs, and the reason why simple declarations against it will not eradicate it, is because sleeping next to one’s baby is biologically appropriate, unlike placing infants prone to sleep or putting an infant in a room to sleep by itself. This is particularly so when bedsharing is associated with breast feeding."

Hypnobabies® - Natural Childbirth at its best!

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Mom and Baby Faces Sleeping Together
Definitions are important here. The term cosleeping refers to any situation in which a committed adult caregiver, usually the mother, sleeps within close enough proximity to her infant so that each, the mother and infant, can respond to each other’s sensory signals and cues. Room sharing is a form of cosleeping, always considered safe and always considered protective. But it is not the room itself that it is protective. It is what goes on between the mother (or father) and the infant that is. Medical authorities seem to forget this fact. This form of cosleeping is not controversial and is recommended by all.  Read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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Posted by on in Hypnobabies Blog
Postpartum: 4th Trimester
by Peggy O'Mara

"The postpartum period needs to be treated as a special time, a time when women deserve extra care."

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123 Baby Skin to Skin 1
"Around the world, the postpartum period is considered a special time—a time in which a mother is born, as well as a baby. Many cultures have special practices and customs that serve to recognize this very special time in the life of a woman: the postpartum period."

"In many cultures, women are not expected to carry on their usual lives, but are revered and recognized for the new journey they are beginning."

You may be on an adrenaline high right after the birth and may feel like you can conquer the world! This is not likely to last, however, and when your energy levels plummet, you may be discouraged. For this reason, it may help you to think of the first few days after the birth as your “lying-in” period, just as women did in olden times. Consider staying in bed for most of the first week. Dress in your pajamas to remind yourself to take it easy, and if you feel more energetic and are able to get up and do more, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Remember the adage: 5 days in the bed; 5 days on the bed; 5 days around the bed. Read this entire article HERE.
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Miriam (Miri) Margaret Hanstad’s Hypnobabies Waterbirth Story

"I focused on relaxing and sending my hypno-anesthesia to where I needed it. I would turn my switch to off during a pressure wave and tell myself, “deeper and deeper, more and more relaxed with every breath I take. My muscles are completely limp and loose.”

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Laura and Doula
Miriam (Miri) Margaret Hanstad’s Birth Story
I think the best way to start off this story and to illustrate how effective being a well-educated pregnant Mama with a support team around her can be is to say that Miri’s birth was VERY close to how I envisioned it, even down to the number of hours in birthing time (labor) and time of day she was born. Miri is our second daughter. As wonderful as our first daughter, Evelyn’s, birth was, it wasn’t the experience I wanted. Interventions were introduced and even though everything was peachy keen, I knew that I needed a natural birth in the future to help me heal emotionally from my first birth. I decided that I wanted a water birth.

Evelyn’s birth also led me to become a birth doula and hypno-doula. I decided to use Hypnobabies since I had been trained in it as a doula and saw the amazing births that came out of using that childbirth education program. It was fun to be on the other side of it as a student instead of the doula - you can never know too much about pregnancy, health, birth and post-partum! My husband and I registered to take the class with my friend and doula, Lindsay.

I had quite a comfortable pregnancy and my prenatal yoga at Blooma really assisted with keeping me in good shape and feeling good! The midwives say I carry my babies in my back, so I don’t gain much weight and look fairly small. Once they drew my attention to this, I realized that is why I had so much back labor and pain in my hips with Evelyn’s birth. I practiced my Hypnobabies scripts and usually sent my hypno-anesthesia to my back and hips and imagined it surrounding my baby.

• Hypno-anesthesia is what we use in Hypnobabies to ease discomfort and aid in a more comfortable birthing
• We use different, positive terminology such as birthing time and pressure wave in Hypnobabies to create a positive, enjoyable attitude about birth

Miri’s guess date ended up being December 1 after several changes by practitioners. December 1 came and went and I went into work the following week and planned to just kind of hibernate in my office so that if I had to go, I wouldn’t leave anyone in a lurch. I worked through Thursday that week and listened to my pregnancy affirmations and practiced my self-hypnosis whenever I felt a pressure wave (contraction). On Thursday night, I wondered if this might be the night. It wasn’t, but I could tell we were getting close so I decided to stay home from work on Friday.

My mom came over for much of the day and we talked and I rolled around hung over the birth ball on my hands and knees quite a bit. My husband, Joe, decided to work late since he figured he’d be taking some time off soon so my mom suggested Evelyn and I come over for dinner. We hung out at my parent’s house as things intensified for me. My mom graciously offered to come back over to my house to keep me company as I put Evelyn to bed and then I took a nice bath and watched Pitch Perfect to take my mind off of things. I had been working with my chiropractor throughout my pregnancy using homeopathy. He had given me some remedies for when my birthing time started so I took a dose of that to help me stay calm. My mom left at about 10:00 pm and I went up to bed. Joe got home around 11:30 and I talked to him for a bit because I couldn’t really sleep since my pressure waves were coming more frequently and I needed to move my hips. Now it gets really interesting because this is where my birth and visualized birth really start to line up.

In Hypnobabies, one of the tracks we listen to is visualize your birth. It helps you envision your ideal birth so that your birth is already imprinted in your mind. So I visualized that my pressure waves would start around 2:00 or 3 am and that my water would break at home; I’d have time to take a shower; eat some breakfast; hang out on the birth ball; spend a little time with Evelyn; my mom and our doula would come over; we’d drive calmly to the hospital while I’d listen to one of my tracks along the way; I’d walk myself all the way up to the midwifery birth center; I’d get to skip triage and go straight into my room; the midwife would check me and I’d be at 9 cm; I’d push for about an hour and that Miri would be born calmly in the water at 10:09 am (total of about 7 hours of birthing time) with the room only lit by candles; I wanted to catch her; we’d hang out in the tub for a bit and then start nursing. I pictured Miri as if she’d look just like Evelyn but with brown fuzzy hair.

Now back to reality. I stayed in bed until about 1:30 am and then, since I needed to move my hips during pressure waves, I decided to go watch a little TV and hang over the birth ball. My pressure waves grew stronger and then at 1:50 I felt a pop! Since I was leaning over on my forearms and knees no water ran down my legs so I thought, “Oh, either my water just broke or I’m imaging things.” I quickly stood up and went over to a floor mat that I wouldn’t mind getting wet. Yup, my water definitely broke. I was excited and things were going just how I envisioned them.

I texted Lindsay to let her know and then went upstairs and woke Joe up. I didn’t want to wake him up like they do in the movies and run around like a chicken with its head cut off so I gently woke him and said my water broke. It’s funny because now as I think about this, he had envisioned that I’d wake him in the middle of the night and say something like, “Honey, it’s time” and then we’d have an easy birth in no time. So really, both of our envisioned births came true! He started to get ready and I called the midwife. A nurse picked up and I was having trouble understanding her. She said my name on the phone and I could hear someone in the background say something. The next thing I knew, my favorite midwife, Laurel, got on the phone and said jokingly, “Laura, what trouble are you causing now?” I told her my water broke. She said she’d like me to come in but I asked if I could hang out at home a bit. She said yes but no more than an hour or so. I called Lindsay and my mom and told both of them to come over.

I started pulling together my last minute items and then Lindsay arrived. Our dog barked so Evelyn woke up. I told her the baby was getting ready to come and she was so excited I guess she didn’t sleep the rest of the night, according to my mother-in-law. Evelyn loves babies and I had been telling her about birth for a long time so she seemed to understand this was important and exciting. She hung out with me as I finished putting my bag together. My mom came and my in-laws popped up to say hi and good luck and to take Evelyn. I think having childcare coordinated early on took some stress off too so that I could focus since I knew Evelyn would be well cared for. We left at about 3:00 am. Joe and my mom drove with me as I laid in the back on my hands and knees and listed to my easy first stage track. The ride seemed very smooth and short to me. I know that the car ride can kind of slow things down or make Mamas anxious so I just tried to stay as calm and relaxed as I could. I was still feeling good and was excited for this journey!

When we got to the hospital I took a moment to strengthen my bubble of peace (a safe space we imagine to block out negative images, sounds, things people say, etc. to help us stay relaxed and focused). Then my mom and I walked up to the birth center while Joe went to park the car. I stopped outside the doors to deal with a pressure wave. I remember when it was over I smiled and looked up and Lindsay was there. I joked about how quick and quiet she was and we went in. A nurse stopped us in the hall and said, “You must be Laura.” I said I was and she took us straight to our room. Joe came in with our things and then Laurel came to check on us. I didn’t want to know my dilation but since she didn’t say anything about getting in the tub I knew I was less than 5 cm. That didn’t bother me since I know how quickly things can change, especially in Hypnobabies births. I later found out I was at about 3-3.5 cm upon arrival. After some time on the birth ball, hands and knees and a hip release that Lindsay performed on me she suggested we try the rebozo to help baby into the ideal position. Boy did that get things moving! Since baby’s initial readings were good they just did quick intermittent monitoring the rest of the birth, which was also something I wanted.

At this point, I started feeling the need to make some noise. I would “ahhh” (in a low tone) through each pressure wave to help open my pelvic floor (relax your jaw, relax your bottom). Joe suggested I take a shower or bath in our room’s bathroom. It felt good to have him run the showerhead over my back and on my hips. I had quite a lot of hip discomfort, which is probably related to what my midwives describe as “carrying my babies in my back.” I actually never felt any muscular discomfort or pressure waves in my stomach once I got into more active birthing time. I focused on relaxing and sending my hypno-anesthesia to where I needed it. I would turn my switch to off during a pressure wave and tell myself, “deeper and deeper, more and more relaxed with every breath I take. My muscles are completely limp and loose.”

In Hypnobabies, we imagine a light switch on the back of our neck to turn off sensations and relax our muscles. It can be in the on, off or center position depending on what we’re doing
Maybe I should have been saying the above to my hip bones in addition to my muscles (haha!). Lindsay was directing me to send my peace down and to surround my baby with it. While in the tub, Laurel came to check on me and asked if she could check my progress. This is an area where I really think Hypnobabies helps. In all the cervical checks I had, which was not many, I never felt any discomfort. I turned my switch to off and relaxed. I later found out I was at about 5 cm. Laurel said I could get into the big tub if I wanted to so they started running it and I eventually wrapped myself in a warm blanket and walked to the birthing tub in a different room.

The tub felt good since it covered more of my body but I was still cold so they brought me warm blankets for my shoulders. I did a lot of rocking back and forth on my hands and knees during pressure waves and then would relax between them. The room was dark and lit by electric candles just like I wanted. It was quiet and peaceful. I remember at about 8:00 am Laurel quietly told me she was going off duty and introduced me to Kathy, the new midwife on duty. It turned out to be Kathy’s last week before she retired so my baby would be one of her last, which was something special to me. Around that time I told Lindsay I felt like I needed to poop, and in doula language that means it’s getting to be push time. That means that I went from 5 cm to 10 in an hour! It didn’t surprise me that much since I went from 6-10 in an hour with my first birth but it was still exciting that I was progressing the way I had envisioned my birth.

I started squatting to push at this point. For a while, I just let my body push and didn’t actually initiate the pushing. Part of our birth preferences was that I would do mother-directed pushing so all I heard were quiet encouraging words, not “push, push, push…hold for the count of 10” etc. that you hear on TV and in the movies. Lindsay would help me with each pressure wave and Joe would kind of step-in in between to encourage me and give me sips of water. I would stretch out my hips after each pressure wave and then get back into a squat that I had learned during my prenatal yoga. I continued to “ahhh” my baby out and started to initiate pushing after a bit because my hips hurt.

I remember thinking that my mom might be worried about my “ahhh-ing” but I wasn’t worried about myself. I looked forward to pushing and crowning because I wanted something to distract me from my hips. I remember when Kathy said she could feel the head. Then another push and she said she could see the eyebrows. I took a pregnant pause to take the moment in. This was a turning point for me. I knew I was close and was really motivated and excited to be in the home stretch. A couple more pushes to ease the head out and then when she was out to about her belly, Kathy told me to reach down and grab my baby.

I remember taking a moment to just look down and see my baby as we were still connected for one of the last moments. Since I was squatting and holding on to a sheet wrapped around Joe for support, I could only grab one arm. Kathy gently said, “Joe, grab your baby and help Laura.” He reached down and grabbed under her other arm and then we both gently lifted her out of the water. She had the umbilical cord loosely over her shoulder so I gently unwrapped it and sat back with her on my chest and stretched my legs out. She was born at 9:16 am on December 7, 2013.

She was so quiet and calm but her skin color was perfect so the midwives and I weren’t worried. Then Joe said, “Shouldn’t she be making noise?” She did a tiny sneeze and we all laughed. She scored a 9 and 10 on her apgar. We hung out in the tub for a bit to wait for the cord to stop pulsating and to get to know each other a bit.

My mom came over to take a picture. Joe and I had kind of preplanned this but we took that moment to introduce her as Miriam Margaret Hanstad – Margaret is my mom’s name. My mom started to cry and then laughed and said, “Are you sure you want to saddle her with that?” We all laughed but we loved the name and were happy we kept it a surprise. Joe took Miri and did some skin to skin with her so I could get out of the tub, birth the placenta – which was also easy since I just relaxed and turned my switch to off – and let the midwife check me out. Only a minor first degree tear that didn’t even need a stitch. Joe brought Miri over and she started nursing right away. We all looked at the placenta and then Lindsay took it to encapsulate for me.

All in all, I had an amazing birth, which I credit to Hypnobabies, my support team and takingthe initiative to educate myself and make the right choices for my birth. I think it is a huge testament to Hypnobabies and having the right environment around me that pretty much the same day I gave birth, I could say I would do it again. My birth was so close to what I had visualized in my Hypnobabies practice, that it makes me excited to share with others and help them have their dream birth too!
Laura and BabyA few other notable things about having Hypnobabies and a doula at my side for this birthing journey:
I felt like my husband was so much more prepared and educated for this birth. Sure, he witnessed a birth already but his attendance at the Hypnobabies classes allowed him to ask more questions and give more input on our birth plan and baby preferences. He really surprised me throughout our birth and after it was done I remember telling him how impressed I was with him for a couple of days (and still to this day!). I also think having a doula allowed for him to concentrate on me more or take a break when necessary. It wasn’t all on him to take care of and remember everything.

I can’t say I had a pain-free birth, which Hypnobabies does not promise but it sometimes occurs, but I felt so much more prepared and confident to handle birth this time that I knew I could get through it calmly and experience the joy involved in such a momentous event. I had the right team in place including an awesome doula, supportive spouse, comforting mother and hospital care team made up of supportive midwives and nurses.

My baby was calm, happy and healthy and I believe the time we spent preparing for our birth experience connected us. It truly was love at first sight – even before she was fully earth-side (as opposed to womb-side)! We had special time listening to hypnosis tracks and practicing for the birth. I even notice she gets calm when we listen to the relaxation music now as she did in utero. I wish all of the birthing Mamas a comfortable, joyful and supportive birth experience!

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Holly's Hypnobabies Birth Story

"When She got there she said I was already 10 cm and to get me to a labor and delivery room asap. I have no idea what time we got into the L&D room because it truly did seem like 1 hour was 5 minutes. I remember once I got into my room I felt more relaxed and was laughing and cracking jokes."

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Holly Kneeling
First I would like to say that I was so exited to start this program I could not wait and started the Hypnobabies home study course when I was 15 weeks. I decided to do each lesson for two weeks and then maintenance after I was done with the lessons. However I had much resistance from my other half and my family on what I was getting myself into. I knew that I was going to be doing this by myself and was determined to do just that! I also found and hired a doula to assist me at the hospital to help with my birth plan and to be my advocate for the type of birth I wanted. My pregnancy was a joy and I had never felt healthier in my life. I was scheduled to work right up to my due date. They even had me scheduled for a shift on my due date! My due date fell on a Monday and the Saturday before I told them to go ahead and take me off the schedule because I would like some time to relax. The next day my mother and I went out shopping all day to get last minute baby items that we did not really need but we just love to shop. At my last midwife appointment I was already at 3 cm and they said any day now.

That night I was working at the computer late and felt a sharp period like cramp. So, I went to the bathroom and noticed some blood and I was instantly excited. I checked the time and it was 1:30 am on January 28th 2013, my exact due date! After I felt the cramping the pressure waves started shortly after and I started timing them on my phone with an app I downloaded. I called my doula to tell her what was going on and she told me it would be a while and try to get some rest. I just sat in my chair and used my finger drop technique and repeating the words peace and relax. After about an hour or so the app was alarming me that it was time to go to the hospital. I was confused and thought it could be wrong because this was not bad and I was planning to labor at home as long as I could. I called my parents and told them it was a good day for a baby, so they started heading my way. Then I called my doula and told her I wanted her to come over now. Things were progressing and the waves got stronger so I leaned over the corner of our sofa with my knees up and my belly on a stack of pillows repeating peace & using the open cue. At one point I remember getting the chills and dizzy and knew that this was transformation. After that happened my gut was saying it is time to go to the hospital. I called my doula back and told her we were leaving for the hospital and to meet us there. She was literally right behind us when we left the house. We only have a two mile drive to the hospital and on the way my waves completely stopped in the car.
Holly in love
We got to the hospital at around 7 am and I walked from the emergency room to the elevators and up to the L&D floor. I had two good pressure waves on the way and just stopped in the hall and went limp against my other half. Then we just continued on and arrived at labor and delivery where they wanted me to sit down and answer a bunch of questions. As I was sitting there I would just put my hand up while I did my finger drop and relaxed through a few more pressure waves. Then it was onto the triage room where I waited for the Midwife on call to come and examine me. When She got there she said I was already 10 cm and to get me to a labor and delivery room asap. I have no idea what time we got into the L&D room because it truly did seem like 1 hour was 5 minutes. I remember once I got into my room I felt more relaxed and was laughing and cracking jokes. My body was pretty much pushing on its own by now and my water still had not broken. The hospital I went to was designed by midwives and they have these really fancy beds that can break down onto different positions. I must have used all of them. First I was back and forth to the bathroom and leaning over the side of the bed. I was being monitored intermittently and only had a hep lock so I was very mobile. Then I thought lets try the squat bar to see if that helps get him to progress lower. At one point I could feel the bulging bag of water and knew it was going to be soon. At this point I was using the open and down cues to help baby down. I decided to let them go ahead and break my water to move things along faster. I was starting to get tired and decided to help push with the waves. At one point they said its time to get this baby out and I ended up on my back. I do not know how that happened. They knew I was getting real tired. I ended up doing 3 or 4 big pushes to get the head out. Then Elijah was born at 12:38 pm. When he was born I felt a huge rush of relief and then I was just in a state of aww. I was aww struck and could not hear a word anyone around me was saying. I know the midwife and nurses were talking to me about the placenta and stitches but I was not paying attention to them at all. I was thinking I did it! It was not painful, It was at times uncomfortable, but not painful. I even felt so good after that I was ready to go home the next day. The still would not let me leave until the following morning.

My doula talked with me after and told me that next time I would not need her. She told me that I was in tune to what my body was doing and what it needed. I love Hypnobabies and am using it with baby #2 which I am currently 26 weeks pregnant with. I started the program this week and hope to have an even better experience. I do plan to listen to the tracks while I am in the hospital this time (I did not do that last time.) Now my only worry with this one is making it to the hospital. I know that #2 will probably come faster.
Hollys baby
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The Importance of Sharing Birth Stories
By Tamara Parnay

"Birthing is a hugely important subject for parents and parents-to-be. We have a great deal to learn from and share with others, but with this subject, due to its potential contentiousness, we may struggle in our attempts to tap into our collective wealth of knowledge and experience. While the purpose of this article is not to sway readers one way or another about where and how to give birth, it does intend to point out the availability of a wide range of firsthand birth stories, which—perhaps more effectively than any other form of childbirth education—encourage and enable expectant parents to inform and prepare themselves."

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Fotosearch 1574R-02326A 2
Even the most informed people can run into unplanned, and sometimes serious, complications during the birth process. By no means is it justifiable for anyone to be made to feel negatively about whatever birthing options they choose or for whatever birthing experience they have had. We all deserve to have our birthing choices and experiences validated. Through our positive and non-judgmental contributions to this contentious topic, we create a collective harmony that enables everyone to leave the discussion feeling good. We bring these good feelings home to our families. Thus, the empathy we have given to each other touches the greatest gift we all receive in our birthing experience: our own children. - See more HERE.
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Imagination Before Dilation
By Kristi Arias

How Cervical Dilation Checks Undermine the Imaginal Power of Birthing Women.

"We need to understand what is at root when a woman asks for a cervical check and offer nourishment for the deeper need. In my experience, and in my opinion, women do know one of two things, where they are or where they’re going."

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homebirth mom

"I remember asking for a cervical check when I was in labor, but what I really wanted was, HELP me get back in to the present moment where i am connected to the cosmos and my baby and know the answers to my own questions. I also asked, How much longer and got these answers, We don’t know and It’s up to you.

We need to understand what is at root when a woman asks for a cervical check and offer nourishment for the deeper need. In my experience, and in my opinion, women do know one of two things, where they are or where they’re going. Our best contribution to the moment is to help her connect with her own inner knowing and guide. Or if we are birthing unassisted, to have a path back to ourselves prepared and ready." You will find this entire article HERE.
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What's an Ethical Response to Home Birth?
By Paul Burcher, MD, PhD

"I believe we have an ethical obligation at a minimum to accept transports from home with the respect and professional dialogue we afford our colleagues."

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Midiwfe Mom Birth Center Doppler
An observational study from The Netherlands that evaluated more than 500,000 births in homes and in hospitals showed no increase in adverse outcomes of any kind with home birth in low-risk women. So home birth, in ideal conditions where midwives and physicians work together as a team and where transport to hospitals in an emergency is highly efficient, appears as safe as hospital birth. Put another way, the data suggest that if home birth in America is more dangerous than hospital birth, it may be because of contingent factors that can be remedied. See the entire article HERE.
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Posted by on in Media Library

The Birth of Olivia - Video/Photo Montage

"Jenn was a smiling, happy, birthing goddess all through her labor."

Hypnobabies® - Natural Childbirth at its best!

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Thanks to Hypnobabies Instructor Aubrey Slabbert for sharing this beautiful video with us!
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How Hypnotherapy Can Help Your Labour Experience
by Vickie Scullard

Great article from the UK about hypnosis for birth!

"The results have been very positive in terms of shorter labour, needing less pain relief or intervention, and more positive normal birth outcomes."

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123 Mom 14 Reading Making Notes
"Hypnotherapy isn't about hypnotising the mum-to-be. It's about teaching them and their partners self-hypnosis – achieving a deep level of relaxation, teaching them about the different stages of labour, how to get rid of anxieties and fears, and changing their perception.

"If you can relax, there is better oxygen to the uterine muscle (muscle of the womb), the body will work better and that will help lower the pain as well. You wouldn't run a marathon without training for it; hypnobirthing is like that - training to give birth." You will find the entire artilce HERE.
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Alcohol and Breastfeeding
By Anna Burbidge - Le Leche League GB

With all the holiday festivities in full swing we thought you breastfeeding moms might find this information helpful.

"Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers." ~ Dr. Jack Newman

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Breastfeeding infant
Breastfeeding mothers often receive conflicting advice about whether alcohol consumption can have an effect on their baby, which can leave them feeling like they have more questions than answers. While women are often warned not to consume alcohol during pregnancy due to evidence that it could cause damage to an unborn child,  the risks of consuming alcohol while breastfeeding are not as well defined. Read all this great information HERE.
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First Time Mom Deanna Arrives at Hospital Ready to Push

Thanks to our Cyber Tuesday winner Deanna Blankenbiller for sharing her birth story with us!

"I have to say that I was so euphoric after giving birth, not simply for meeting my sweet babe, but for having such a empowered and comfortable birthing experience."

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Deanna an hour before birth

On Sunday morning, 7/6/14 I woke up and mentioned to my husband Matt that our baby would be here in the next day or two. My Braxton Hicks were more steady, though not frequent, and my gut said things were changing from practice to the real event.

Matt and I spent the day together watching movies and running errands. In the evening we took a long walk, the same one we'd taken throughout the pregnancy. We talked about how this could be our last evening we'd have before we finally met our baby. We went to bed pretty early, in case my pressure waves picked up over night or the next day, we wanted to be well rested. Around 2 am I woke up with stronger and more consistent pw, and decided to start my hypnosis tracks- just in case they didn't subside. I listened to the tracks easy comfortable and special place until 5 am, when I decided to get back in bed and watch the morning news to loosely time my pw. The pw's were about 7-10 minutes apart so I cuddled up with Matt and told him that he probably shouldn't go to work today. At 7am I decided to make breakfast downstairs, at this point we planned to take a walk, but then I realized being at home and close to the birthing ball was better for me. I noticed my waves were now 3-5 minutes apart, but still felt very easy. I showered, dried my hair, applied my makeup (while on the birthing ball), and got dressed. The waves were becoming more intense, but still felt easy- especially with the use of my peace cue. I kept envisioning my switch moving to off, and warm hypno anesthesia flowing throughout my body. At 9am Matt began timing my waves more consistently, and I parked myself on the bedroom floor with the bball figuring I'd be here for a while. We called my friend Veronica who soon came over to encourage & support me and Matt. The next two hours passed very quickly, my pressure waves were steadily two minutes apart and one minute long for most of those two hours. I felt that the waves were stronger as the time went on, but very bearable, especially when I used my peace cue. I was chatting and laughing with Matt and Veronica between waves and kept wondering when we should leave for the hospital. Since we were birthing our baby at a hospital that is notorious for interventions and that has a very high cesarean rate, I was very reluctant to head in too early. In fact, I had been admitted twice to the hospital in the past week for low fluids and had to defend our choice to not induce during our first stay, and our decision to not proceed with more intervention after being induced on our second stay. I used the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, technique we learned in class, and knew that our baby wasn't in danger.

Around 11:30am my waves began to feel much lower and I decided it was time to head to the hospital. Matt and Veronica helped get me into the backseat of the car, where I continued to listen to my hynosis tracks. I have to say the 15 minute car ride was the most uncomfortable part of my birthing time, partly because I was off my birth ball, and partly because I now know that I was in transition. Arriving at the hospital I insisted that we park and walk in together rather than getting dropped off. It was very important for me to do the things that helped preserve my bubble of peace, especially since it needed to be strong for the hospital. Matt and I walked to triage, after stopping a few times along the way to for me to drop down into hypnosis. When we got to triage I explained to the attendant that today was my baby's birthday and we were ready to check in. She asked a few questions, including if this was my first birth, and then she told us to wait. I wasn't sure why we were waiting, but I was relieved that the place seemed relatively quiet and calm. I continued to drop into hynosis in the lobby, and was leaning on Matt when my waters broke. We told the nurse my waters had broken, and she half jokingly said, "I guess that will get you a bed". No one seemed at all eager to check me or ask me many questions as I was being taken to an enclosed curtain area. After taking my vitals, the nurse said somene would be back to check my progress shortly. At this point, my waves were very strong and I began bleeding, which did make me a bit nervous. I was still using my cues, but it felt good for me to use low sounds with each wave, I kept repeating, "peace mama, peace". I was slightly embarrassed since I knew other moms were behind their own curtains, being very quiet and I didn't want them to feel scared by my low moans and cue words! We waited for about 10 minutes, then after going to the bathroom I told my husband I felt like I wanted to push. He quickly found a nurse to check me, but was sure to tell her that I didn't want to know how far dilated I was. The next thing I knew she quickly exited the curtain area and then the mild chaos began. Less than a minute after the nurse exited my curtain area she returned and quickly flung back the curtain, and ushered me into a wheelchair, I wanted to protest and ask to walk, but seeing her quick pace suggested I needed to move. The next thing I knew she was practically running me down the hall and to the elevator to get me to a birthing room, other nurses were holding open doors and clearing the way for us to move quickly.

The moment we entered the birthing suite I told the nurse I wanted to push, and asked her to please set up the birth bar. She said I was welcome push as I needed and that the doctor was on her way. The birthing room nurse was different from the nurse who escorted us upstairs, and though she was told I didn't want to know my progress she couldn't help question my escort nurse, " she's already at 10?!" I heard how far along I was and smiled at my husband! We had done it- arrived at the hospital with not much time for intervention! I began to push as I felt necessary, while kneeling on the bed and holding on to the birth bar. The doctor arrived and said baby would be here shortly but wanted to review our birthplan quickly first. She had a few minutes to review the plan before sitting down and getting to work. The baby was definitely close, and the doctor encouraged me to modify my position since at the rate baby was coming she wanted to have the opportunity to try and minimize any tearing. I pushed as my body was telling me, while husband kept encouraging me and repeating my cue words. At 12:39pm, after what felt like only a few minutes our sweet baby was born, and Matt announced we had a daughter! Lucia was immediately placed on my chest, while we waited for her cord to stop pulsing and the placenta to be birthed. After the placenta was out, the doctor congratulated us on our birth, and said though I had a tear, she was impressed with how calmly I was as a first time mom who wasn't using any anesthesia.
In the hour after Lucia's birth we had to sign the consent paperwork and fill out the forms we didn't have a chance to fill out before she came into our arms. As I left the delivery room I had a few nurses congratulate me and remark on how easy I made birth look.

I am so incredibly thankful to have used Hypnobabies for my birthing time, and highly recommend it to anyone who is open to the idea of a easy, comfortable birth. I have to say that I was so euphoric after giving birth, not simply for meeting my sweet babe, but for having such a empowered and comfortable birthing experience. Thank you Hypnobabies!!!
Deanna B
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Amanda's Hypnobabies Birth Center Birth

Thank you to our Cyber Tuesday winner Amanda Mason for sharing her story with us!

"I used the finger drop technique, which instantly helped my whole body, head to toe, to relax, which I think is part of the reason my labor progressed so quickly and smoothly."

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Amanda mason 2
When I became pregnant with my third child, I started looking for an OBGYN again, figuring it was all the same anyway, so what difference did it make. At around 16 weeks, I heard the term 'doula'. I had no idea what a doula was, but the idea of a woman, experienced in childbirth and natural birth, who would come and support me throughout my entire labor, thrilled me to pieces. I spent the next few weeks interviewing 4 different doulas in my area, and 3 of the 4 listened to my birth stories and basically told me, in so many words "I'm so sorry that all happened to you. This birth can be different. I'll be there for you." While this was encouraging (and I still greatly respect those women), the 4th doula's attitude was different. Katherine Stanglin, CD(DONA) of Ancient Hearts Birth Services told me that this birth could be different if I made different choices. She told me about my options. She asked me who my OBGYN was and gave me insight into her experience with him and her concerns about him being supportive of the type of birth I was looking for. She told me she'd support whatever decision I made, but that if I was serious about wanting a birth without an epidural, I had options. She told me that she would help me become aware of my options and that I would be able to better make informed decisions. I tried to hire her on the spot, but in her wisdom, she told me to think about it for a day or two so I could be sure of what I wanted. After hiring her, she helped me to form a list of questions for my doctor and told me about some local midwives who delivered in birth centers. I brought my questions to my OB and his answers were inadequate. I could tell that I wasn't going to have the birth I wanted with him or his office. So I searched through my new-found resources on midwives and birth centers and found a wonderful midwife, Pamela Wright, LM of Baby Bliss Birthing, who would work with me on payments and attempt to take my insurance (Insurance companies aren't always supportive of birth center/home birth midwives). By 26 weeks, I was seeing this fabulous woman full-time. Every concern I had, my midwife and doula were there to help, ease my fears, and answer my questions. I'd finally found the birth team I needed to give me the best chance to have the birth that I wanted. My doula inspired me and helped me to research natural birth, medicated birth, issues, benefits, risks, etc. It was like I was taking a college class the entire last month of my pregnancy. And it was fantastic. She encouraged me to try Hypnobabies as a form of relaxation and childbirth education, and I did the home study course, which I believe greatly helped. My midwife wanted me to feel comfortable and when the typical prodromal labor started, with which I was familiar, instead of suggesting induction she offered to let my husband and me stay the night at her birth center, sans children. She encouraged me to relax, thinking that might kick-start things. She was right. We arrived at around 7 pm, she gave us a key and went home. My husband and I set up in one of her upstairs rooms, watched TV and played cards and board games until we went to bed around 11. My water broke at 3 am and I called my midwife and my doula, very excited, but told my doula she didn't necessarily need to come yet. I knew it could still be a while. My midwife arrived, checked my blood pressure and listened to the baby's heart-rate through a contraction. She said I was free to do whatever I wanted, as everything looked good. My doula arrived (even though I told her she didn't need to. I guess she was excited, too or maybe she just knew me better than I knew myself) and told me her recommendation was for me to try to rest since things were going to get going soon and she wanted me to have my strength. I actually took a nap until 6. I woke up having regular contractions, and she helped me to use Hypnobabies methods, several other comfort measures, and spinning babies. By 10 am, I was just starting to feel like the contractions were becoming very intense. I wanted to get into the birth pool. The assistant midwife recommended I have my first dilation check since getting into the pool can slow down labor if one isn't progressing. I was at 8 cm. I got into the pool, surrounded by loving women and tons of support and almost exactly an hour later, my son was born. It wasn't 'pain-free' but the level of pain was far less than the pain I felt with my previous births. I felt so much more at peace and comfortable. We went home a few hours later.

Not only did Hypnobabies help me to stay on track during pregnancy, with a positive attitude, relaxation and nutrition, but I used it throughout my entire labor with my doula. During pregnancy, the pregnancy affirmations track was a huge help in keeping me focused and excited about my birth and uplifting my spirits even when I was having a bad day. Once labor started, I use the finger drop technique, which instantly helped my whole body, head to toe, to relax, which I think is part of the reason my labor progressed so quickly and smoothly. My doula played the birthing day affirmations that kept me in a positive mood. She frequently used the relax cue but honestly I don't remember how often because I was already so relaxed and at peace that I kinda zoned out through most of it, especially after transition and I got into the birth pool. Up until transition, mostly hypnobabies helped me to stay positive, and after transition started and during pushing, I relied heavily on the relaxation methods of hypnobabies (the finger drop, hypno anesthesia, and relax cues) to make it a much more comfortable experience than my previous birthing experiences.
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A childbirth Without Meds, Absent Pain? A Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Interview
By Lisa Larson - The Spectrum

Great interview about Hypnobabies with instructor Kelly Colvin!

Although Hypnobabies does not guarantee a pain free labor and delivery, Colvin says the goal is to have, "the most comfortable birth for you and your baby" as well as "the safest birth experience."

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Kelly Colvin
Colvin is quick to point out that the laboring woman is not asleep — a common misconception when it comes to hypnosis — but instead is fully functional and able to communicate. The difference is, she has placed herself in a deep level of hypnosis that allows her body to do what it was designed to do without fear and anxiety impeding the process.

You can see the entire interview HERE.
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Original SIDS Researcher Says Baby Bed-sharing is Not Dangerous
By Moorea Malatt of Savvy Parenting Support

The same doctor who made SIDS known to the American public believes that bedsharing with your baby is not dangerous.

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Baby 1 Hand Covering it From Left
Dr. Abraham B. Bergman was the first president of the National SIDS Foundation. He got SIDS research into federal programs in the 70’s.

According to Bergman,"The American Academy of Pediatrics has a policy against bedsharing but researchers, medical professionals, and worldwide organizations question the AAP’s position. The truth remains that there are no studies that show bed-sharing as a risk factor with a control for major concurrent risk factors like formula feeding, excessive bedding, and nicotine use in the home." The entire article can be found HERE.
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