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My third pregnancy has been both my easiest pregnancy and most challenging at the same time. In terms of the pregnancy itself, it was pretty smooth sailing. Compared to my second pregnancy where we discovered a cleft lip at the anatomy scan and my first pregnancy that left me constantly exhausted (I went to bed between 6-7 pm the whole pregnancy!), as well as overwhelmed at the thought of parenthood, this pregnancy has been much easier on me.
However, 2020 has been an emotionally challenging year to be pregnant. The stress of a global pandemic is something else, especially when there is limited data on outcomes for infected newborns. My husband is also in a high-risk group due to a health condition he has (type 1 diabetes), so I haven’t exactly been nonchalant about this whole thing. There have been so many times I wished I could pour myself a glass of wine to destress, but alas…pregnancy throws a wrench into those plans, too!
I have been doing my best to manage my emotions and feel like overall I have done pretty well all things considered. The tips I share in this post have helped me a lot, but I also have to credit Hypnobabies.
What Is Hypnobabies?
Hypnobabies is a birthing prep program for natural childbirth. It uses real medical-grade somnambulistic hypnosis to help birthing mothers have an easy, comfortable childbirth.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking– hypnosis sounds like a scam. That’s kind of how I felt, too. Or at least that maybe some people could make hypnosis work for them, but I couldn’t see it working for me. I’m too analytical, skeptical, and have a history of freaking out and panicking when the pain gets too intense. I also kind of thought…if hypnosis worked, why isn’t everyone doing it? (I have thoughts on this that I’ll explain later on).
If it wasn’t for the fact that I knew some people that have used hypnobirthing programs like Hypnobabies with great success, I probably wouldn’t have gone for it. But since I did know a few people and trusted that they out have no reason to lie to me about their success, I figured I would have nothing to lose.
I will discuss the components of the program later on in this post. But one thing I want to mention now is that Hypnobabies has a vernacular associated with it that is designed to remove words that have negative connotations to them from your everyday language. This is to retrain your mind to look at childbirth as a positive experience. Here are some of the terms Hypnobabies uses, and I will be using these terms interchangeably throughout the post:
Instead of labor, you say “birthing time.”
Instead of contractions, you say “pressure waves” or “birthing waves.”
Instead of pain, you say “discomfort.”
Instead of a fetus, you say “baby.”
Instead of delivered/delivering, you say “birthed/birthing.”
Instead of transition, you say “transformation.”
Instead of the due date, you say “guess date.”
Why Did I Choose Hypnobabies?
My first two pregnancies were successful vaginal deliveries, but I was so unprepared for the sensations of labor. With my first, my goal was to try going natural because I let some fear-mongering about epidurals get to me. I read the Bradley Method and figured I’d be able to muster through it.
Well, long story short, my first labor was NOT a textbook labor and my contractions started irregular and turned into one on top of the other. I opted for an epidural… but then the epidural was poorly placed and didn’t work. Then my labor “stalled” (or rather, I didn’t progress as fast as they thought I should have) and I got Pitocin to get it moving again, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much relief. However, once I was ready to push, I enjoyed that part of labor and that part took less than 10 minutes.
With my second, I ended up induced because they thought he fell off his growth curve. I was super anxious about the induction and had a panic attack the night before. I was a complete mess because my only experience with epidurals was that they didn’t do very much, and I was so afraid of how bad labor would be with Pitocin from the get-go.
However, my induction was a dream. My contractions were much more normal than they were with my first, and although I did opt for an epidural, it worked that time and still allowed me to feel the pressure of my contractions. When it was time to push, I pushed the baby out in 8 minutes. From start to finish, my induction was only 5 hours.
I figured I would probably just go for an epidural for pain relief the third time, too, but once Covid-19 started taking hold, I started to worry that the hospitals would become unsafe. I wasn’t fearful for myself but was for my husband and my newborn. I started to consider birthing in a birthing center to avoid exposure to the virus.
If I was going to be birthing in a birthing center, I knew I needed to figure out a plan for pain management STAT. That led me to ask around amongst friends that birthed naturally how they managed, which led me to the hypnobirthing concept and eventually to the Hypnobabies program.
As time went on, Minnesota’s hospital situation stabilized, and as my due date approached, I no longer worried about giving birth in the hospital. I liked my doctor and given my medical history didn’t want to change unless it was necessary. I decided to keep with the hospital birthing plan, but I still had my Hypnobabies training to get me through labor.
Due to how much information there is to give about Hypnobabies, I am including my birth story for my third child (aka my “Hypnobaby”) in a separate post to keep this from getting too long. Read my birth story for my daughter here.
How Does Hypnobabies Work?
Hypnobabies is a full-on childbirth prep course designed to be started around 28-30 weeks pregnant, although you can start earlier if you wish (like I did), and there are options and schedules to help moms that get started later be able to complete the program on time.
You can do an in-person class or a self-study online. They usually have a hard copy self-study option that you can purchase and have shipped to your home, but they have discontinued that option for the time being (at least at the time of writing this post) due to COVID. I opted for online self-study and do not have personal experience with the in-person classes, though I believe during this season of COVID, many are operating on Zoom.
This course comes with a class that teaches you about having a healthy pregnancy, getting ready for your birthing day, educating you about your options in childbirth, and when interventions might be necessary, etc. It is a comprehensive birthing class, and you do not need any other birthing classes if you take Hypnobabies. They tell you not to take other classes because they want you fully immersed in the language and experience of Hypnobabies to keep your pregnancy and birthing time as positive as possible.
There are six classes in this course, and they recommend you do one per week. Each week teaches you new things about childbirth. Alongside the information you get from the self-study course about childbirth, you have hypnosis training to do. Each week/class gives new hypnosis listening assignments.
After the six weeks are up, you enter maintenance mode and remain there until you give birth. Maintenance mode has a listening schedule of various hypnosis tracks to keep your mind primed for your birthing time.
How Much Time Does the Course Take?
One thing that surprised me was that this course took much more time than I expected.
The coursework for the six weeks of classes is probably about 2 hours per week. That in and of itself isn’t bad, and you can easily break it up into daily chunks or go through each class all at once if you prefer.
Hypnosis listening and training is the bulk of the time spent. Each day from the beginning of the course up until you give birth, you listen to a positive birthing affirmations track. This is 45 minutes in length.
Then you have a daily finger drop technique practice track (“finger drop” is a method for entering hypnosis). There are a couple of different tracks you use for this at different times during the program, and they range from 10 minutes in length to around 20 minutes.
Then you have your main hypnosis track, which will take you 30-60 minutes depending on which track you are listening to that day. There are several different hypnosis tracks, and you will listen to all of them several times at different points throughout the course. All in all, you have about an hour and a half of listening to do each day.
That’s a lot of listening, and it’s easy to get burned out if you don’t find a way to make this practice mesh with your daily routine.
Hypnosis tracks cannot be listened to when you’re doing anything other than relaxing (and never while driving), so you can’t multi-task. Thankfully, it is fine to listen to hypnosis tracks while sleeping. The creator of the program does recommend you hear each track while awake at least once so that you know what it is teaching your subconscious, but after hearing it while awake a time or two, you can feel free to sleep during them.
It is fine to listen to your affirmations track when driving, exercising, doing housework, etc.
I tried a few different things with my hypnosis schedule, and this is what I settled on:
1. Listen to the affirmations right when I wake up each day.
2. Do my finger drop practice in the afternoon/evening, usually after I do my daily walk and need a rest.
3. Turn on my main hypnosis track when I’m ready to fall asleep.
I mentioned the, “if hypnosis works, why doesn’t everyone do it?” question earlier on in the post, and I think the amount of work you need to do to train yourself and keep yourself trained is why. If you don’t believe it is going to be successful for you, you are less likely to put in the work required to do it well. While some people feel they get some benefits from practicing minimally, most people find that for the best, most comfortable childbirth experience possible, you need to be very committed to doing the work involved in the program.
You also need to be committed to listening to the tracks while you are in your birthing time (labor).
I went into this very committed and have taken it seriously every day. I started at 24 weeks pregnant, and up until my birthing time, I only missed two sessions of affirmations, and that was it. I told myself if I was going to purchase this course, I was going to do it justice and I was going in 100%.
Pros & Cons of Hypnobabies
Here are what I consider to be the pros and cons of Hypnobabies:
- Helps you have a calm & empowered pregnancy– I credit Hypnobabies for helping me stay sane during this pandemic.
- Does change your mindset and helps you become more positive.
- Helps you be more optimistic and empowered leading up to and during your birthing time.
- The program has everything you need to prepare for childbirth–no need to find other classes to supplement.
- Has a support group on Facebook to help you connect with others and ask questions
- Most importantly, this does help make your birthing time easier, more comfortable, and enjoyable. I have never heard someone say they had a worse birth than others after utilizing Hypnobabies.
- Requires a high level of commitment
- Everyone’s hypnosis experience is different and your experience may not be what you expect
- If you fall out of hypnosis during your birthing time and struggle to get back into hypnosis, they don’t offer many suggestions for getting through that
Should I Use Hypnobabies or Something Else?
If you are serious about having a natural birth, I 100% recommend you do Hypnobabies. They give you SO MANY MORE TOOLS than other natural childbirth programs. They help you prepare so much better. It is worth it.
Even if you are not committed to birthing naturally or know you are going to have to have a c-section, Hypnobabies can be helpful to help you manage your anxiety during pregnancy and your birthing time.
You can use the promo code hypno1528 to get 15% off your home study course. Get it here!
For my personal experience/outcome with Hypnobabies, click here to read my birth story post.
Would you use/have you used hypnosis to help with childbirth? Let me know in the comments!