Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hypno-Birthing Vs. Comprehensive Childbirth Education. Well, not really Vs. We work well together.

I have this conversation often because Hypno-Birthing has become a very popular form of childbirth preparation. So what exactly is the difference, and which one should you choose.  I teach the latter in the title of this post, but I honestly am objective about this subject and will offer my sincere opinions and experiences with clients and students who have used both.

Hypno-Birthing is a series of tools and techniques which, when used prior to labor while in a state of physical and mental relaxation, can WITH A LOT OF PRACTICE, be used during active labor to facilitate relaxation in response to contractions. The class series is usually shorter than a comprehensive course, which I know can be attractive, but in order for it to really be what people want it to be, it requires much more time investment than just the classroom alone. The intent is to replace fear with calm, visualize birthing being painless, and associate certain sensual tools with that state of relaxation, so that they can be used to trigger it during the labor process.  What it lacks in my experience is a thorough education of the physiologic process of giving birth, and that missing piece I believe can cause a great deal of fear.  If we add a comprehensive knowledge of the birthing process, we can hopefully avoid many fears altogether and then, with that understanding, we can better know where to apply the techniques and tools.

The argument for a comprehensive class is that there is much more to childbirth preparation that relaxation alone.  The tools offered in a hypno-birthing class can be very helpful, but they are less effective if you don't understand the physiology of labor.  More importantly, you partner must understand it, because you (the laboring mama) will be largely useless in the sense that you will be FAR too busy trying to work through your contractions as labor progresses to guide your partner as you learn on the fly what labor really means, and then, what you may need. He/she kinda REALLY needs to already know. Labor is really big.  It takes up space in your body, it is so big that it limits most women to focus on breath and releasing tension.  Sometimes just breath is all you can concentrate on.  Even the generally excepted "ideal" according to what most women believe they want (early and fast labor), can be cast with worry and a decided intensity, since all the same things need to happen...they just happen faster.  Average labors have their own specific challenges, and don't even get me started on longer than average labors.  They all have physical, mental, and emotional challenges, and they require specific kinds of support.  In order to truly be in support of a laboring woman, we have to be able to identify the APPROXIMATE stage of labor and apply support techniques strategically and appropriately, to the stage she's in.  Partners are so important.  I can't even count the number of times I have heard the words "I could NOT have EVER done that without _______." A comprehensive class will allow your partner to really feel like he/she knows what's happening and can interpret your experience into educated guidance, helpful support, and confidence.  My class, admittedly doesn't have one specific "style" of relaxation, it's more of a sampler.  I offer one or two ideas each week for 8 weeks, to give you some stuff to choose from.

The truth is, you don't have to choose between a comprehensive class and a tools based class.  Both would be awesome. You can take both classes in full and neither will directly contradict the other, I fully support the use of self hypnosis tools if they work for you. If both classes aren't in the budget, you can take a comprehensive childbirth education class and still apply self hypnosis techniques that Hypno-Birthing has to offer through downloads, youtube, books, etc. OR, If you are signed up for a Hypno-birthing class, I invite you to find a copy of my book, "Expecting Kindness", it will give you the context with which to know how and when you can appropriately apply the tools you have have been practicing.  You may find a few diverging ideas, but essentially, we are quite compatible.  Take what works for you from each, and be open to various possible experiences in labor.  You can not control your labor, it truly takes over; your job is to let that happen, actually. There are certainly elements of labor that are within our control, and I love to see women and their partners capitalize on those, but there is a lot of it that is just the raw, instinctive power of your body and I hope you will take the time to understand it so that you are free to be in awe, as I am, of it.  When you can be in awe, and have respect for what your body is doing, fear is defeated and you are free to apply tools and techniques that match your, and your partners energy, style, chi, joo joo, belief, whatever you want to call it, and really allow your labor to be what it needs to be to birth your baby.

You can find Expecting Kindness on Amazon! Follow this link:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.