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Recent blog posts
The Dangerous Game of the Feeding Interval Obsession
By Emma Pickett, IBCLC

"Some how, some where, new mothers got the message that the gap between when a baby stops a breastfeed and the time they start to need another one matters a very very great deal. 24 hours a day."

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Breastfeeding infant
It seems to matter beyond all logic and reason. They see this magic number – 90 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours – as a measure of something sacred.

And it’s crap.

There are mums sitting at home, relaxing and nesting with their gorgeous new baby. There’s a disk from a box set in the DVD player, a cup of tea on the go, a recent phone call with a friend. Breastfeeding is going well. Weight gain is fine. Baby is content. But when baby shows hunger cues after only 40 minutes instead of the hoped for 1hr 30 minutes, their heart sinks and they feel a sense something is fundamentally wrong. They aren’t ‘doing it right’. Their friend’s baby ‘goes longer’. Doubts creep in.

As adults, we grab a cup of tea, a glass of water, a sweet, a snack. We respond to our personal cues and we’re flexible depending on time of day, the temperature, our mood, our energy levels. Many go to bed with a glass of water or sip from a bottle throughout the day. I don’t know any adults that look at their watch and say, ‘Only 30 minutes till my next sip of water or mint! Not long now’. But yet we expect teeny growing babies to be governed by this artificial notion of time. See the rest of this informative article HERE.


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The Way We Talk About Midwifery Care Matters
by Avital Norman Nathman and Deborah Wage

"Words like “allowing” and “lets” imply a submissive relationship within the U.S. health-care system, in which permission may or may not be granted to midwives in order to practice what they have been trained, licensed, and certified to do."

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homebirth midwife
Unfortunately, when it comes to midwives actually practicing, this type of language has set the stage, so to speak. In the United States, midwives—who are overwhelmingly female, which is a factor that cannot be overlooked in this discussion—are “allowed” to do their jobs, and only then with many constraints that often restrict them from practicing to the fullest extent of their licensure. Regulatory restrictions vary from state to state and affect the type of care midwives can provide, including where they can practice, what types of patients they are “allowed” to care for, and, oftentimes, how much they will be reimbursed for their services.

When it comes to maternity care in the United States, the model of care needs to change to one where both physicians and midwives can flourish equally, as has been the case in the United Kingdom and other European countries. At present, we also need to be aware of how we discuss and frame the work of those providing care. Our for-profit system is set up to reward those billing more hours, patients, and procedures—due to the model of care they provide, that isn’t usually midwives. That has since translated into society viewing midwives as “less than” providers, despite evidence that they should be leading the way in all aspects of maternity care. Please read the entire article HERE.
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Alternative Methods of Checking Dilation {The Purple Line and More}
by Birth Without Fear

"Cervical dilation tells us one thing and one thing only – where you are right that second. It tells you nothing about what came before that check (when you compare to other labors or women) and it tells you nothing about what is to come. It only tells you about the here and now."

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Mom BT Leaning Forward
Studies also show that vaginal exams are not really accurate. When checking for exact dilation, studies show the accuracy to be around 48-56%. When allowing a margin of 1cm (which is a large margin of error when this information is used to time interventions or labor “cut-offs”) the accuracy is around 89-91%. [One such study abstract from real women in labor. And another study abstract which was done on models.] When you add in multiple people checking, the accuracy gets even worse. Yet, vaginal exams are considered the “gold standard” of assessing labor progress. And lets not forget that vaginal exams are just plain uncomfortable at the best of times – in labor they can be downright hellish.

So what are some ways of figuring out your dilation without actually touching the cervix?

The Purple Line or Bottom Line

This is a purple/dark line that shows up and extends well, to put it delicately, along your natal cleft. Or rather – your butt crack. The line starts at the anus and moves up the cleft. When it is all the way to the top, you are 10cm. Normally – you do have a bit of a line there. But this Purple Line or Bottom Line is not he line that is normally there (which is usually pink). This is a dark purple line. My suggestion is to check out your bum in early pregnancy so that you know the difference.Read about all the alternative methods HERE.
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Natural childbirth III: why undisturbed birth?
By Chris Kresser

"Spontaneous labor in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character."

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Birth Story
Human beings are mammals
As often as we forget this, human beings are mammals. We share the same 175 million year evolutionary heritage of birth with other mammals. These similarities should be starting point when try understand the process of normal, undisturbed birth in our own species.

Like our mammalian relatives, human females are designed to give birth safely in the wild without supervision or medical intervention. It is as natural to us as eating, breathing, digestion, elimination and sleeping. It’s in our genes.

As physician and natural childbirth advocate Michel Odent reminds us:

When you consider birth as an involuntary process involving old, mammalian structures of the brain, you set aside the assumption that a woman must learn to give birth. It is implicit in the mammalian interpretation that one cannot actively help a woman to give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily. Find the rest of this article HERE.
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This is my first time being pregnant, and I'm seriously looking into hypnobirthing.  My work schedule seriously conflicts with the only course offered by an instructor.  I have a book on hypnobirthingk but need to know if that will be enough?  Can someone tell me how important it is, going to the courses with an actual instructor?

 

Heeeeeeelp!

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Epidural: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
By Kelly Brogan, MD

"Epidurals are a delivery method for narcotic pain-killers that pass through the placenta to the baby and have largely unpredictable effects on the birthing woman. Evidence supports risks to the baby including reduced tone, poor feeding, jaundice, withdrawal, and sensorimotor impairment."

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Epidural 2
As a type-A taskmaster, myself, I understand the lure of a predictable and painless depositing of your newborn after the long and fear-punctuated journey of pregnancy.
I’m here to tell you; however, what your obstetrician won’t.

Labor is a physiologic process that recruits neurochemical, endocrine, and immune systems into a dance that we barely have the tools to conceptualize.

When we meddle with this, when we attempt to standardize it, we put women and their babies at grave risk – physically, psychologically, and even spiritually. We rob women of an opportunity for psychospiritual transcendence.

As a science-minded medical doctor, I don’t wield this phrase with ease!

The process of conception, gestation, and birth cannot, however, be reduced to daily activities and routine life occurrences. There is something built into our consciousness that makes room for its own expansion around these life transitions. The process of bodily separation – woman from her newborn – involves a passage through a space of trance-like awareness.

If you buy the potential significance of these considerations, you may want to know what represents your greatest obstacle and impediment in achieving this life milestone. You may be surprised to learn that it is epidural anesthesia. This discussion is meant to shine a light on elective epidurals – that, “Why not? Who wants to feel crazy intense pain?” choice that 2/3rds of women (and up to 90% in some hospitals) opt for every day. Please read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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10 reasons to have your baby at a birth center
By Poppy Daniels, MD

"ACOG has acknowledged that birthing in a hospital-based or freestanding accredited birth center is a reasonable option for low-risk pregnant women."

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Midiwfe Mom Birth Center Doppler
1. Due to intermittent monitoring versus continuous fetal monitoring which is standard in the hospital, the patient has increased mobility and a wider range of laboring positions/options: sitting, standing, walking, water, birthing balls. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has agreed that there is not a medical benefit to continuous fetal monitoring compared to intermittent monitoring in low-risk women.

ACOG has acknowledged that birthing in a hospital-based or freestanding accredited birth center is a reasonable option for low-risk pregnant women. They have recently released a statement with the American College of Nurse Midwives affirming evidence-based models of care and the need for collegial relations and collaboration between obstetricians and midwives. Read the rest of this article HERE.
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Cat parasite linked to mental illness, schizophrenia
By Amy Kraft

Because toxoplasmosis is especially hazardous to unborn babies, health officials recommend that pregnant women avoid cleaning litter boxes, if possible, or wear disposable gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.

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kitten
Everyone loves cuddling with kittens. But there can be a little-known danger lurking behind that furry little face and that innocent-sounding meow: a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii).

T. gondii is the most common parasite in developed nations, according to Schizophrenia Bulletin. The cat-carried parasite can infect any warm-blooded species, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 60 million people in the U.S. may have it.

Most people never suffer any symptoms at all. But in those with weaker immune systems, infection with T. gondii can cause an illness called toxoplasmosis, which can result in miscarriages, fetal development disorders, weeks of flu-like illness, blindness and even death. It has also been associated with mental disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Now two more studies explore the mental health issues in greater detail. Find the rest of this article HERE.
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Posted by on in First Time Moms
Beautiful Hospital Birth of Heath

"There were many times I cried during this phase because I was so happy with the development of my birthing experience and how beautiful it was. My body just knew what to do and my mind was focused on relaxation."

Thank you to Hypnobabies Instructor Fiona Cunningham for sharing this with us.

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Baby Heath
It was 6:50 am on Sunday May 24, 2015 when my waters broke. Myself and my partner, Ryan, were lying in bed when I felt a cramp in my stomach and then a gush of fluid. I ran to the bathroom all excited and informed my family of the news. A few minutes later I started having pressure waves so I started playing my Birthing Day Affirmations track and got ready for the day. I had just enough time for a quick bath and get dressed before I felt my pressure waves getting strong enough to stop what I was doing and focus. Poor Ryan was trying to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast but my waves were coming so frequently that he needed to call my mother and doula for extra support.

I spent the remainder of my time at home on my birth ball, listening to my favourite hypno-tracks to keep me relaxed. I felt calm, collected but also surprised that my pressure waves were coming so close together. I thought I’d have all day to bake cookies, finish a few projects and maybe go for a walk. Boy was I wrong! They were four minutes apart by 11:00 am so we decided to head to the hospital.

When we arrived at the Health Science, we gathered all my gear and made our way to the triage. I used my off switch and leaned against the wall during pressure waves while we waiting to be assigned to our room. I was 3 cm.

Once we were settled away, my birth team was very hands-on. My mother would read me scripts while my partner and doula would take turns applying pressure on my hips during a pressure wave. There were many times I cried during this phase because I was so happy with the development of my birthing experience and how beautiful it was. My body just knew what to do and my mind was focused on relaxation.

Around 3:30 pm I was 5-6 cm and found vocalizing with low “ahhhs” really helped release energy. My pressure waves were getting stronger and I was feeling very confident and peaceful.

At 7:00 pm I was 10 cm dilated. I would feel the urge to push in the middle of a contraction and it felt so good to get to this stage. Although my back was sore from all the squeezing, I felt absolutely no pain. The urge to push was so strong and satisfying. I had long breaks in between urges, which allowed me to rest. I visualized my pelvis and birth canal opening wider and wider so I could finally meet my baby. I had so much encouragement from my birth team. The room was full of love and support as I crowned my babies head and pushed him out. At 8:48 pm I looked up and saw this beautiful, wet little baby. He was so wide-eyed and alert and I instantly fell in love with him as he lay quietly on my chest. I’m here writing this all teary eyed… It was the perfect birth and I couldn’t have done it without Hypnobabies and my incredible birthing trio. I strongly recommend this course to anyone who is focused on having a peaceful and calm birthing experience.

Thank you Fiona!
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Posted by on in Know Your Options
Pitocin Is Not Oxytocin
By Kelly Brogan MD

"So, when we manufacture a synthetic version of this hormone and commandeer a woman’s labor physiology, it should come as no surprise that there are unintended and poorly understood consequences."

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pitocin-bag
“The Love Hormone”. Sounds important, no? Turns out that we know very little about the hormone oxytocin, beyond that it is incredibly relevant to multiple metabolic, behavioral, and endocrine functions. In a compelling review entitled Beyond Labor: The Role of Natural and Synthetic Oxytocin in the Transition to Motherhood, Bell et al explore the literature suggesting that, once again, we cannot outsmart, outdo, or circumvent nature with pharmaceutical products.

What is Oxytocin?

One of the known roles of oxytocin is in the complex physiology of labor and birth. Perceived by the obstetrical establishment to be a “contraction chemical”, oxytocin’s effects are bodywide, and most notably, brain-based. During pregnancy, oxytocin receptors increase in areas of the maternal brain related to mood, stress, and attachment behavior. Specifically, its activity has been studied in the hypothalamus, lateral septal nucleus, periaqueductal grey, Broca’s area, nucleus basalis of Meynert, locus coeruleus, vagus, solitary tract, trigeminal nerve, and lateral reticular formation. It is secreted continuously in the brain and in a pulsatile manner to the body through the posterior pituitary. Despite efforts, the brain-blood ratio has not been well-elucidated leaving major gaps in our understanding. When it comes to hormones, the production and release of the hormone is critical, but so is the receptor activity – the action of the baseball in the catchers mitt, and receptor sensitivity varies from person to person based on genetics and adaptation to experience. Please read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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7 Huge Benefits of An Undisturbed First Hour After Birth
By Sam McCulloch of bellybelly.com

"The way your baby is cared for and nurtured immediately after birth significantly impacts their transition from the womb to life outside."

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bigstock-Sleeping-newborn-baby-43511446 457x640
The way your baby is cared for and nurtured immediately after birth significantly impacts their transition from the womb to life outside. In a culture that commonly separates mothers and babies for routine procedures such as cleaning, weighing and measuring, most babies are missing that critical time of being skin to skin with their mothers, which has short and long term consequences for all. As these procedures are not necessary to maintain or enhance the wellbeing of either mother or baby, there is no reason why they cannot be delayed beyond the first critical hour. The first hour should be focused on baby’s first breastfeed and mother-baby and family bonding. Unless mother or baby is in need of medical assistance, hospital protocols should support this time of new beginnings for both vaginal and caesarean births. - See the entire article HERE.
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Aspen’s Birth Story - A Hypno-Dad's Perspective

Thank you to Hypnobabies Instructor Julie Byers for sharing this story with us!

"Without a doubt, this was the singular most positive experience of my life. It seems cliche, but my life changed instantly – seeing Aspen lie on my wife in the tub was unbelievable, incredible, amazing, humbling – I could go on and on."

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Aspen
Our birth story begins on a fall afternoon at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe. My wife Alexis set up a meeting with Julie Byers to discuss a childbirth class called Hypnobabies. I was skeptical at best. Up to this point I assumed my wife would give birth the only way I knew – as medicated and numb as humanly possible. After all, (bubble of peace) childbirth was something awful that happened to women. It means agony, anger, helplessness, and danger – hell, I was taught in church as a child that women were meant to suffer during childbirth as repentance for Eve’s original sin. That’s where my head was at leading up to our meeting with Julie.

After a 30 minute conversation, my perspective had totally shifted. My wife and I knew about options for childbirth, that women were totally capable of giving birth without help, and that the birth of our child could be a joyful experience. Aside from my wife, no one person in my adult life has had such an immediate impact on my thinking, on the power of women, and on the borderline injustice most women face when trying to navigate a health care system that views their pregnancy as a near disease. The next clear step was to sign up for Julie’s January 2015 Hypnobabies class.

Even without the childbirth hypnosis techniques, the class was invaluable. The information from Hypnobabies was great, but coupled with Julie’s personal experiences as a doula I was starting to feel comfortable with Alexis’ decision to go for a natural birth with the GMC Midwives. I never was a fan of reading the hypnosis scripts to my wife, but I did slowly notice myself using the language and we both started to shift our views of what childbirth meant to us. We became excited instead of scared. We looked forward to a joyful, empowering experience instead of one dominated by uncertainty and weakness. That being said, we still felt we were missing a big piece of the puzzle. The universe smiled on us then – Julie was available to be our doula for the birth of our first child. We were ready.

As our guess date of April 22nd came and went we continued to prepare. Alexis began leave and could focus on hypnosis scripts, affirmations, and enjoying this exciting time. I bought her a prenatal massage – she got an awesome henna tattoo on her pregnant belly – purchased lots of fresh flowers. A week and half past our guess date, and the midwives were not concerned. We were amazed, and so relieved that the people assisting in the birth of our child weren’t trying to force us to do anything. “Baby M. will come when he/she is ready.”

Baby M. became ready Friday, May 1st. First thing that morning Alexis told me to stay home from work. I excitedly made our planned waffle breakfast – our last meal as just the two of us. Pressure waves came and went all day long. We walked the neighborhood. Then we hit the swings in the park, and then walked again. Alexis expressed zero pain, just tightening and pressure – just like the scripts said. I secretly thought to myself that birth wasn’t happening any time soon. I was wrong.

That evening things got pretty intense. Alexis asked for the ‘peace’ and ‘relax’ cues more and more often, and I was happy to have a role to play. Hypnobabies made me feel like more than a powerless bystander – I was an active participant. Around 11pm, I think we both got a little frightened of the intensity so we called Julie. Alexis and I probably worked a little too long by ourselves, but just knowing Julie was a phone call away gave us a tremendous amount of confidence. An hour or so after Julie arrived she contacted the midwife on call to let her know we were on our way to the hospital. A quick check at the hospital showed Alexis was ready to push. Our nurse filled the tub in the birthing suite as fast as possible. After Alexis got in the tub, it seemed like only a few minutes before we met our sweet girl! It was crazy – 20 minutes literally felt like 5. We had to let Aspen know that she’d been born, and when she let out her first cry I doubt I’d ever felt such relief. We were at the hospital 63 minutes before my wife gave birth. Our daughter was here, healthy, and we were over the moon.

Without a doubt, this was the singular most positive experience of my life. It seems cliche, but my life changed instantly – seeing Aspen lie on my wife in the tub was unbelievable, incredible, amazing, humbling – I could go on and on. More than that, the physical expression of love that Alexis demonstrated by giving birth naturally has left me in awe of my wife. I’m so thankful to her, Julie, and Kim from Greenville Midwifery Care for helping us craft a positive birth experience. These three women will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I am eternally grateful for their love and support.
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First Time Mom: Brandy’s Comfortable Hypnobabies Birth

Thank you to Hypnobabies Instructor Julie Byers for sharing this story with us!

"At 8AM (after two pushes) I calmly told my husband, “heads out.” He had been watching me from the sofa and was unaware that I was even pushing. He jumps up and says, “WHAT?!”

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Brandy
I come from a very supportive family when it comes to natural birth. My grandmother always told me she didn’t experience “pain” during childbirth, only “pressure”. My mother was not as fortunate, but she always encouraged me to give natural birth a try before deciding to go the other route. When I was younger, I always thought I wanted to be knocked out for my birth because I have an EXTREMELY low pain threshold. But, as I got older, (and wiser) I saw that medicated birth began to scare me more than natural.

When I got pregnant, I committed to myself and my baby to try to make the best decisions for our birth. I came across hypnosis for childbirth and it peaked my interest. I chose Hypnobabies because of the amount of useful information you get that is well beyond simply learning to breath and relax. In the class, we learned different tools to use at different stages of your birthing time. I started using the finger drop technique on my back pains that I had in the third trimester.

The day before I went into labor I worked a 9 hour shift at work ( I would joke with people and tell them I wanted to work until I popped). At 4:30 AM, my water broke and I called my midwife to see when I should come in. She asked if I was having any contractions and I said, “not that I am aware of.” She decided I should come in to make sure I did indeed break my water (good thing). They tested me to make sure my water broke, it did. They hooked me up to a monitor and told me I was definitely having contractions, and they were curious that I didn’t feel anything at all.

I bought a relaxation album that reads bible scriptures and prayers of comfort and reassurance for birth in a way similar to Hypnobabies. I was waiting to use Hypnobabies tracks for the BIG waves. When they got me into the birthing room at 6:30AM, I asked my midwife how long it may take before I start feeling contractions. They told me if I was not in full blown labor by 12PM that day they would start a gentle dose of pitocin. They said the baby should be in my arms by 8AM the next morning. For the first time, I was scared. Natural birth, no problem. Pitocin terrified me!

The midwives were having shift change so the person that came and checked on me was a nurse. At 7:30 AM, the nurse came in to check on me and I was squatting by the bed because I started to feel pressure waves and I felt like squatting was productive. During a wave she asked me about changing my gown and I said I was most comfortable in my own clothes.

At about 7:45AM, I told my husband, “Get the nurse I feel like he is ready to come out but I feel like its too soon!” Nurse came in and rubbed my back and said, “Your midwife is on her way just give her a few minutes and she will look at you.” After my husband got her two more times and she just told him, “She is a first time mom so she is going to feel like he is right there. But, if the baby was coming you would both know it for sure.”

I decided, since nobody was coming, to get on the bed on my hands and knees so he would at least not fall on his head on the floor! At 8AM (after two pushes) I calmly told my husband, “heads out.” He had been watching me from the sofa and was unaware that I was even pushing. He jumps up and says, “WHAT?!” He comes over just in time for me to give a final push and he got to be the first person to hold his son! I pressed the call button and told the nurse, “We just delivered a baby in room 5!” Six people came rushing in baffled, it was awesome. I turned around and said to the nurse, “I told you he was coming!”

From the time I felt the first bit of pressure, to him in my arms was an hour and a half.

I have no clue what our birth story would have been without Hypnobabies, but when I tell it to people the looks on their faces are priceless. With all of the fear that culture feeds us about birth, it was worth every penny to just surround myself with the positive energy of like minds. It was worth every penny to have a teacher that could tell her first hand experiences with POSITIVE birth stories. It was worth every penny to learn about the real process of birth that doctors want to treat as if our bodies need help to birth. And, it is worth EVERY PENNY to realize how to completely surrender to your own body and trust that it knows EXACTLY what to do! Using hypnosis on migraines and other sorts of ailments is an added bonus too!
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Charlotte's Snow Storm Hypnobabies Birth on Super Bowl Sunday

"I really enjoyed practicing all the Hypnobabies techniques and I started to feel more and more confident about how our birth would go."

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Melanas husbandMy husband and I decided soon after we got pregnant that we wanted to have a natural birth with little interventions. After some research, we found a midwife and she suggested we use Hypnobabies! We started the courses at 34 weeks. I really enjoyed practicing all the Hypnobabies techniques and I started to feel more and more confident about how our birth would go.

I woke up at midnight on February 1, 2015 to use the bathroom. I noticed that my water seemed to be leaking slowly. I called my midwife after sitting around anxiously for hours while having very mild pressure waves. I finally called my midwife around 4:30 am and told her that I thought my water was leaking and I was having small pressure waves. We knew a snow storm was coming our way so she said she would leave soon. She lived an hour away, so she left as soon as possible and arrived finally just before 8am. My husband and I live with my parents, but we had all planned that once I would go into labor, my parents would get a hotel for the day and give us some privacy. Well the snow storm that was coming snowed them in, along with my older brother, his girl friend, and my younger brother. My sister called around 5am to ask if her and her husband could come up for the birth (they live two hours away). I told her, "why not", and they came up as soon as they could in the snow. So, our plan for an empty house didn't happen, my entire immediate family was present!
New FamilyWhile waiting for my midwife and her assistant to arrive, I labored on the birthing ball and my husband blew up the birthing tub. I listened to my Birthing Day Affirmations CD as well as my Hypno Anestesia CD. I was able to relax and breathe through each pressure wave easily. My husband held my hand as the pressure waves grew more intense. I kept picturing my special safe place and felt very calm. Soon after my midwife arrived, the power went out and the house got cold quickly- especially since we live downstairs. So, with the power out and the tub not filled, my dad started calling around for a generator. We live in the country so we had a farmer family friend that had one and a large truck to get through the snow to us. Again, I remained calmed and focused on each pressure wave instead of focusing on the chaos of trying to get the generator hooked up. My dad and husband got the hot water heater going with the generator and started filling up the birthing tub. By this time, my pressure waves were strong enough that the heat of the birthing tub sounded nice. After filling the tub up once, it was only 85 degrees and my midwife then told my dad it had to be 102 degrees. So he attempted to empty the tub with a water transfer that would suction the water out quickly so we could add more hot water. The transfer pump was broken, so he and my husband started to take the water out with a saucepan and 5 gallon bucket. I still remained calm and just watched them as I labored on the birthing ball- craving the heat of the water!! After a second fill up of the tub, the water still wasn't warm enough and they had to repeat the process again. Third time was the charm and the water was finally warm enough to get in! By this time it was around 1pm and I had been waiting for the tub for a few hours. The heat felt good and I sat back and held my husband's hand as I labored. I started to have that "bear down" feeling, so I started to push. I stared making the "OHHH-AHHH" sound to help my cervix open. My midwife then checked me and informed me that I wasn't ready to push, so I had to get on all fours in the tub to stop my body from wanting to push. I was in the tub for about an hour when the water got too cold (because the power was still out) and I got out. Since we were in the basement, with no bathroom, I had to take many trips upstairs where my whole family was- watching the Superbowl! My midwife had me labor on the toilet for a while, then back downstairs to walk around and labor standing up. My birthing waves were 5 minutes apart the whole day! I did some lunges and then was moved to the upstairs shower when the power came back on. I had a few birthing waves in the shower under the hot water. I then moved back downstairs to our bedroom and got in bed. I laid on my side and the pressure waves intensified, I still remained saying "OHHH-AHHH" through each wave. After some time on my side, I felt like I needed to push really hard, so I bared down and WHOOOOSH! My water broke, finally! It was 8pm by now. I now started to imagine my baby moving down the birth canal and out. My midwife had me move to all fours on our bed and I continued to push with each birthing wave. Each wave reminded me that I was that much closer to meeting our baby! I was getting so excited because we didn't know what we were having. With each wave I told myself to let my body do it's thing and naturally my body was baring down so hard. The last pressure wave I had, had started to end and I told myself that that was the last one and willed my body back into a contraction and there she was!! My sister had come in just minutes before Charlotte was born and had gotten a video of her crowning and being born! I was still on all fours so they slipped our baby under me so I could see. I frantically started looking to see what we had. Once I saw, I didn't say a thing but smiled and laid down. They placed our girl on my chest and I looked around to see my sister and husband both crying. I was so in shock and excitement! Charlotte latched on quickly and nursed easily. She was 7lbs 14 oz, and 20 inches long! She was born at 9:18pm, just after the Superbowl ended! My whole family was waiting outside the room once they heard Charlotte's first cry and they all got to meet her right away. It was so special to have everyone there, and it honestly didn't bother me one bit while I labored! It was an amazing experience, even with all the hiccups!

Hypnobabies was such an awesome tool during my pregnancy and birth. During my pregnancy, Hypnobabies built up my confidence about how the birth would go. During the birth, I was able to remain calm and relaxed during the chaos of the day. Not once did I feel afraid or worried. I took advantage of the CDs to stay calm and they really put me at ease.


PS. I attached a picture of my husband's face while I labored, as well a picture of my husband and I right after she was born, two skin to skin pictures of Charlotte and I and a professional picture of Charlotte.
Melana skin to skin


Melana Bucher
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Kevin's version of Violet's Birth

Thank you to Rachel McNamara of Lowcountry Hypnobabies for sharing this with us.

It's great to hear a dad's perspective!

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RachelThe Origin

My wife had our first son the standard way, lying in a hospital bed with an epidural, as expected. We'd attended and paid close attention during birthing class, and even memorized and rehearsed the breathing exercises. That was a fortunate decision on our part, as the epidural didn't work. Those breathing exercises provided the only slim relief during the very long process. Throw in a large regimen of pitocin, serious back labor, and many many hours of misery and you have our wonderful baby boy exiting his wrecked mother after 34 hours. Clearly, medicine was not the way forward. We decided to find a structured alternative to what was both expensive and miserably ineffective.

The Decision

My wife is a researcher tried and true, and after weighing all the options she could find, we came down to Bradley versus HypnoBabies. My mother had seven kids using Bradley, so we didn't doubt its efficacy. However, the schedule for the instruction programs available were probably the primary thing pushing us towards the latter, as my wife worked an odd schedule. How fortunate. Hypnobabies is designed based on clinically-developed therapeutic methods for people with allergies to anesthesia, and the program in general seem quite well presented and structured. So we ordered the packet.

The Preparations

The course was remarkably straightforward, with reading assignments for both mom and me. While I procrastinated both due to some skepticism and a lingering aversion to homework (what, I'm an Engineer, I've done my time), it really was a quick read. We slowly worked hypnosis rehearsals into her daily schedule and also before bed for both of us. We learned that even if you don't hypnotize yourself like me, lying in bed with the CDs playing knocked me right out. Do figure out how to play the tracks singly, otherwise you'll be waking up every thirty minutes. Over time I really began to appreciate the calming effects it was having on my wife, both in general and when I read the scripts for her. She even tried to hypnotize me and several other family members. I'm glad that it worked better on her than others, but I kept my faith in her.

The Version

Our daughter decided that she wasn't about to turn head down in the last month before birth, and we decided that she was wrong. The obstetrician recommended an "external version" in which he would basically crank on that belly until baby flipped, a procedure normally done with an epidural due to the significant pain involved. The very experienced and skilled doctor was skeptical of this hypnosis mumbo-jumbo, but recognized that an epidural was just a waste of good drugs and tubing on my wife. He brought all the student nurses he could find so that they could see both this somewhat rare procedure and whether Hypnobabies was worth its weight.

1. This procedure was ridiculous to watch and left my wife with one very beaten-up belly
2. She was perfectly calm and comfortable the whole time
3. The medical staff was dumbfounded. I'm not exaggerating. Our doctor was sold on Hypnobabies.

The Baby

Our daughter came on her own damn time, which was clearly foreshadowing, but regardless we spent the first nine hours of birthing waves at home, doing a lot of walking. Since my wife is very short-waisted, I would apply pressure to the top of her tailbone/hips if the intensity was significant. Learn how to do this. Once the timing got down to below five minutes, we headed to the hospital so that we could walk around some more for three hours waiting for a room with a tub. The ONLY time there was any pain is when the hospital insisted that she lie on her back for fetal monitoring. Learn how to say "no" to this, make them do it in a comfortable position for MOM, not the tech.
I held a briefing for the staff that was to be assigned to us, describing our comfort management plan. "Oh, she's the hypnosis lady... I heard about her!" That was nice to hear. Once in the room we spent a while on the birthing ball, about 90 minutes in the tub, and then the OB showed up for a pelvic. To our surprise, it was time to push! 20 minutes or so later, the water finally broke and out came baby with a lot of noise from mom's super-omming but again, no pain. Again, a very impressed medical staff and a healthy baby after a mere 16 hours of basically completely comfortable labor.

The Recovery

What recovery? My wife was up moving about on her own, packing up to move to an overnight room within 30 minutes. She had basically no ill effects that a few ibuprofen couldn't handle. Bring your own, as it is far cheaper.

Lessons Learned

1. There is no reason to be skeptical or daunted. This program is very straightforward but genuinely rooted in sound practice.
2. Be a man and take charge of the room. Mom has her business, everything else needs to revolve around her plan, and that's your job. Keep the negativity out of the room, keep the noise out of the room, keep the lights low.
3. Eat ahead of time. Mom can do the same. The only reason they push that fasting nonsense is in preparation for general anesthesia during surgery, and even that is a ridiculously small risk. But seriously: eat.
4. Learn about back-labor relief if your wife is short waisted. Do it.
5. Really learn and memorize your cues for her. Let everyone know that they don't need to assume that she's in pain, because she'll tell you if she is. Noise =/= pain.
6. Bring your own ibuprofen.
7. Have some way of playing the birthing day tracks on hand... speakers are good but an iPod in a ziploc baggie is as well.
8. Be prepared to be amazed.


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Everyday Attachment
Lauren Porter, PhD on Peggyomara.com

"The fear that responding to a baby’s every need will reinforce needy behavior and produce dependence is a myth; in fact, the opposite is true"

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babyandmom
The hallmarks of attachment security are availability, responsiveness, and sensitivity; hence, it is not just the presence of the parent, but the quality of the parental response—the parent’s emotional availability and sensitivity—that form the heart of a child’s security. When a baby is cared for in a wholly sensitive way, a secure relationship will likely develop and form a foundation of health to underpin the child’s entire life.

Babies who have an attuned, sensitive, and responsive caregiver more skillfully and joyfully negotiate the world. They are happier, less stressed, more engaged; they recover more quickly from fearful or upsetting experiences; and they are more confident and relaxed in social situations.

The fear that responding to a baby’s every need will reinforce needy behavior and produce dependence is a myth; in fact, the opposite is true. Research shows that children who are consistently soothed and comforted and whose emotional needs are dependably met are the ones who emerge with the stability and independence we seek to promote. The remainder of this informative artilce can be read HERE.
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Estimating the Estimated Due Date
By Trina Hampton for Pathways to Family Wellness

“I’m due on May 27th!” I was told enthusiastically by a friend who just found out she was pregnant. It took more than a little effort to mask my cringe and share her joy.

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Mom w-Clock on Belly 2
Little did she know that within hours of her positive pregnancy test, she had already given in to one of the biggest misnomers of pregnancy—the “due date,” also referred to as the EDD, for estimated due date. This is the very first thing to be determined once a pregnancy has been confirmed. On the outset, this seems like a reasonable practice. Parents want to know when to expect their baby, and healthcare providers need to have a time line with which to measure the baby’s growth and well-being. Please read the entire article HERE.
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Thank you to Hypno-Mom Michelle for sharing her beautiful birth story with us!

"Hypnobabies was a huge help throughout my pregnancy and definitely helped me through my birthing time."

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Lux skin to skin
"I can’t even count the number of birth stories I read in order to prepare myself for my own. I am writing this not only for my own memory but for others who are interested in natural child birth."

I was really fortunate to have a comfortable pregnancy but on Monday, March 23rd I had a horrible night of sleep. I kept tossing and turning, and I remember saying to Mike “it took me long enough but I finally feel uncomfortable”. Moments later (5:30 am) I went to the bathroom and something came out of me that I could only describe as a jelly fish (sorry for the detail, but this is a birth story after all).

I did what I did throughout the rest of my pregnancy when I had a question… I googled it. Turns out I had lost my mucous plug. I texted my mom to confirm Dr.Google’s answer and then waited. Soon my pressure waves started (pressure waves are contractions). I started listening to my hypnobabies birth day affirmations to prepare myself for what I was about to experience. After that Mike began to time my pressure waves and when they were 5 minutes apart for 1 minute long and getting stronger by the hour we called (7:30am). My midwife had been on holidays the week before and I had originally visualized my birth to happen over the March Break but when I found out she wouldn’t be available I immediately told our child not to come out until after Sunday, March 22nd. Turns out her timing couldn’t have been more perfect. One of the midwives came out to assess me and then we just waited for the pressure waves to get stronger and closer together. When that happened (they were 3:1:1) we met my midwife at the hospital (she had just came back on call) and continued to labour there (11 am).

I got into the tub but it slowed down my birthing time, which got me a little frustrated, but it quickly picked back up. I had practiced hypnobabies throughout my pregnancy but when I got to the hospital I just kind of went with the flow and did whatever I felt like my body needed to do. I spent every pressure wave with my face buried into pillows and my butt in the air, kind of like an ostrich with it’s head stuck in the ground. I tried switching my position throughout my pressure waves but I always went back to this one.

I can’t remember what time it was but I remember puking and thinking yes, finally! Because I knew puking was a good sign, it meant I was close to transition or maybe that I was in transition (entering the next birthing stage). My pressure waves grew quite strong and Mike (my husband & birth coach) was amazing at getting me through them. He just kept telling me I was doing great, he loved me, and that I could do this.
Lux sleeping
My membranes had still not ruptured (my water was not breaking) and my midwife asked if I wanted her to break them. I said no. I wanted everything to happen naturally. My goal for this birth was to have as natural of a birth as possible and that was what I was going to do. Except 7:30pm rolled around, I had been labouring for roughly 15 hours, and at that point I was 9.5 cm dilated.   At this point she asked me again, and told me it could either be another 3 hours of strong pressure waves or she could rupture my membranes and it could be an hour. I gave in and told her to go for it. The minute my water broke I felt a huge sensation to push.  I began pushing immediately and pushed for 30 minutes, drinking and eating apple sauce in between pushes. Mike held my leg up for what probably felt like hours to him and I am so thankful he was right there with me. I had tried different positions for pushing in and I had originally said that I did NOT want to push on my back but after trying all fours, side lying, squatting, the only position I liked was sitting up right but on my back. As soon as I heard them say we can see her hair, look at that head of hair, that gave me all the motivation I needed and I pushed and pushed until she finally came out. There was a moment of silence after the birth and the midwives worked quickly as the cord was around her neck so they had to cut it immediately and assess her. Mike kept asking is it a girl? Is it a boy? But they didn’t answer, they wanted him to be the one to say it’s a…. GIRL! What an amazing moment. Not knowing for 9 months made that three-worded sentence the most memorable moment of my life. It only took about a minute or two and she was back on my chest skin to skin breastfeeding 5 minutes after birthing her.

My midwife was patient as I had requested to birth my placenta naturally. I was just so happy to have our little girl happy and healthy laying on my chest. After giving me that time they weighed her in at 7lbs 15 ounces, just an ounce shy of 8 lbs! They checked her out to make sure everything was okay, they checked me out to make sure I was okay, and even though I birthed on my back, I didn’t tear (woohoo!).

We spent the night in the hospital because I had a bit of a fever and it was late, we were exhausted. We kept Lux, our new daughter, in the room with us for the night even though the nurse offered to take her so we could get some sleep. The last thing I wanted was to be away from her. We went home the following day after lunch.

I will admit, the experience itself was quite intense, but I would do it all over again in a heart beat because the reward you get at the end is better than winning millions of dollars. Nothing can compare to it. It is absolutely incredible what our bodies are capable of. I have my husband to thank for being so supportive and encouraging, he helped me stay positive throughout my whole pregnancy and birthing time. I also couldn’t imagine going through a natural childbirth without my midwife. She was amazing, understanding and knew exactly what to say and do to help me get the experience I wanted. Hypnobabies was a huge help throughout my pregnancy and definitely helped me through my birthing time. I do wish I would have used the CDs a bit more while at the hospital but I don’t regret anything about Lux’s birth.
Lux and mom
“Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when & how to give birth.”  – Virginia Di Orio
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You’re Not Allowed to Not Allow Me
By Cristen Pascucci

For most women, pregnancy and childbirth are one of the few times we let other adults tell us what we are “allowed” and “not allowed” to do with our own bodies. It’s time to change our language around this to reflect the legal and ethical reality that it is the patient who chooses to allow the provider to do something—not the other way around—and to eliminate a word that has no place between true partners in care.

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bigstock-Sleeping-newborn-baby-43511446 457x640
The truth is that women, like all other U.S. citizens, have the right to make decisions about their bodies based on informed consent—a legal, ethical standard which requires the provider to convey all of the information around a suggested procedure or course of treatment, and the person receiving the procedure or treatments gets to decide whether or not to take that advice.  ACOG states clearly about informed consent in maternity care: “The freedom to accept or refuse recommended medical treatment has legal as well as ethical foundations. . . . In the obstetric setting, recognize that a competent pregnant woman is the appropriate decision maker for the fetus that she is carrying” (ACOG Committee on Ethics Committee Opinion No. 390 Ethical Decision Making in Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dec 2007, reaffirmed 2013). Please read the entire article HERE.
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When I mention my work as a birth doula and Kansas City Hypnobabies instructor, often women respond, “I wouldn’t choose a birth without medication! I want an epidural – I’m such a wimp!” I never thought of it that way! I’m not really much of a tough cookie myself. I recently asked Kansas City Hypno-mom, birth doula, and self proclaimed Wimp, Sunny Schaffer, about her own experience giving birth unmedicated. ~Lauren

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Sunny
Unmedicated Birth Is For Wimps by Sunny Schaffer

I sat sobbing on my floor, unable to tolerate the pain, tears rolling down my rounded belly.

But I wasn’t in labor. I glanced down at my throbbing foot, certain it was broken (it never even bruised), wishing I could take something stronger than a Tylenol. As my husband dropped a bag of frozen peas in my lap, he snorted. “And you think you’re going to have a natural birth.”

My name is Sunny, and I’m a wimp. I don’t handle pain, at all. This was problematic, because I was determined to give birth without any pain medication.

While expecting my first daughter, I browsed various labor techniques and picked and chose what I liked and figured I’d try to labor naturally as long as I could. Her labor overwhelmed me. I was unprepared for the sensations I was feeling and I eventually got an epidural.

My second pregnancy, I knew I wanted a different birth experience. I decided to dig deeper into hypnosis since those techniques seemed to work best. I found Hypnobabies and signed up for a 6 week course.

Each week, we dove in depth about various education topics related to pregnancy and childbirth, and practiced our self hypnosis techniques. I practiced faithfully, and became more and more confident of my ability to comfortably birth my baby. I loved that Hypnobabies did not promise my birth would be painless, but that by using the techniques, could be comfortable. My mindset changed from “I’d like to try to…” to “I can do this!”.

My birthing time began on a warm Sunday afternoon. I had taken a bath earlier that day with my Relaxation track playing in the background, then settled in for a nap. I woke with painless waves coming exactly every 3 minutes. I thought nothing of it until I realized they were coming closer, every 2 minutes now. I could walk and talk effortlessly through them, but suddenly I knew it was go time. I called my midwife, who remarked I could come in if I wanted, but I hadn’t had any contractions during our 10 minute conversation. She was surprised when I said I’d been having them regularly, I was just comfortable. We checked into the hospital, apologizing to everyone I came across that I wasn’t sure if I was “really” in my birthing time. To my surprise, I was dilated significantly! I began using my peace cues during waves- they felt like a big, tight, warm squeeze, just as suggested in my hypnobabies scripts. Everyone who came into the room remarked that I didn’t “act” like I was in labor. I’d pause occasionally to breathe and make gentle sounds thru the increasing waves, then go right back to conversations. Looking at my doula and husband I kept asking “Is this real? Am I really doing this?!”

I napped in bed with my husband until my nurse announced I was 8cm, so I decided to hop in the tub. Suddenly, something broke my concentration and I panicked, but my husband reminded me to use my cues as an intense pressure came over me. They scrambled to turn on my Pushing Baby Out track, and just like that, my 8lb 13oz baby girl was born- quickly, peacefully, and comfortably!

I felt every sensation, I was aware and present in every moment, an active participant in my birth. I, the wimp, had enjoyed a comfortable birthing time!

Since then, my Hypnobabies techniques have seen me through injuries, dental work, doctors appointments,  2 surgeries, and even stressful days at home. The techniques I learned gave me the tools to not only enjoy a comfortable birth, but a more comfortable life.
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