Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The hypnobirthing classes I attended spent a good deal of time talking about the importance of the terms used throughout labor.  Our understanding of different words translates directly to our bodies; who doesn't get tense when they hear the word "contraction"?  So much of our language is communicated through our bodies.  Likewise, much of our language is absorbed through our bodies.  Here are a few different word choices you might chose (or at least think about) during labor:
  • Contraction = Surge.  Some call it a wave.  It ebbs and flows, and if you can release and let your uterus do what it was designed to do instead of tensing up (as "contract" suggests) your birth will be much smoother.
  • Birth Coach = Birth Companion.  Usually shouting sports-like encouragement is not very helpful, especially if it is coming from one who doesn't have much experience with it.  You should go through birth together, as companions; seperate individuals and a unified partnership.
  • Delivered = Birthed.  No one is delivering you, or the baby.  You are giving birth to that child.  Your body is bringing that tiny human being into the world.
  • Bear Down = Breathe Down.  In those final, emotional moments of labor, it is essential to be able to keep yourself open.  "Breathing" down down suggests a more relaxed approach, giving the baby more oxygen, keep the pelvic floor flexible, and giving the body time to adjust.  "Bearing" down brings to mind the capillary-bursting, oxygen-depriving method of holding your breath for ten straight seconds.
  • Birth Plan = Birth Preferences.  No birth ever goes according to plan.  The more you can let go and let your body take its course, the more successful you will be.  That does not mean, however, that you should not do your own research and let the staff assisting you know what your ideal birth would look like. 
The fact is that some women do not have pain during birth.  Most of us do; we are conditioned to fear it, our bodies are generally weak, and we do not believe in our own abilities.  Whether we chose to remedy those stumbling blocks or use medication, think positively.  Keep a positive atmosphere in the room.  You and your baby are emotionally and chemically effected by your surroundings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a comfort measure that works

I spent this past month observing a hypnobirthing class taught by Ellie Shea in Redondo Beach.  I was very impressed with the things I learned. 

The biggest problem to overcome with natural labors today is that woman are conditioned to fear them.  We are told birth is unbearably painful and extremely dangerous to both our infant and ourselves.  Most of us believe that we are biologically flawed and are about to malfunction at any moment.  Hypnobirthing attempts to help woman re-work that entire mind set.

Hypnobirthing is a technique that mothers are encouraged to practice daily throughout the month and up until the birth of their child.  They do not practice being hypnotized so much as they practice getting themselves into hypnosis.  It requires time and concentration, and professional direction from the instructor.  She leads them deeper and deeper into their subconscious; leading the way so they can learn how to get there themselves.

Hypnobirthing works off of several rules of the mind:
  1. "The mind can hold only one thought at a time.  Opposing thoughts cannot be held simultaneously; therefore, affirming a positive thought creates a positive outcome.  The person thinking the thought must choose what the nature of that thought will be.  If the pregnant woman refuses to entertain anything but positie images of birthing, she creates a positive mindset.  It prepares her for a positive outcome.
  2. Thought precedes reality.  Whatever one focuses upon, whether it be of an internal or external origin, becomes manifested.  Mental images become imprinted, and the subconscious acts out the plan.  By imprinting positive thoughts and birth plans, positive outcomes are realized.  Intention creates experience.
  3. For every thought or emotion there is a connected physical response.  Thoughts that are imprinted into the subconscious actually create a biochemical response within the body. Therefore, over a period of time, stressful worrisome thoughts can create negative conditioned responses in our bodies.  This rule is particularly important to HypnoBirthing success.  When fear is present, the fight or flight response is triggered; blodd and oxygen are directed to those muscles of the body that are involved in carrying out fight or flight; oxygen is depleted in the uterus; muscle constriction and pain result.  Positive thoughts and emotions for an easy, comfortable birth produce positive biochemicals in the body.
  4. Once a thought is acted upon, the behavior becomes easier with each subsequent similar thought.  Continued reinforcement of a thought or action tends to make the thought more readily accepted and it becomes easier for additional suggestions of the same nature to be accepted and acted upon.  Once an expectant mother accepts the premise that comfortable birthing is a possibility, she can more readily birth according to her own natural instincts."
Go to http://www.hypnobirthing.com/ for more information.