Hypnobirthing 101 & More

Hypnobirthing 101 & More

I think now’s the time to think about birth education! So many people skip this step! They are told, just don’t make a plan, don’t learn, and just do what the Dr and Nurses say, they know best. This is some of the worst advice ever given (can you believe this is the advice I was given!?). So glad I didn’t listen and I’m so glad, I have made it my mission to inform as many people as I can about the importance of Childbirth Education.

Childbirth Education

What if I told you that you could feel more prepared, more confident, and more supported during your pregnancy and birth just by taking the right childbirth education class for you? What if I told you that you could reduce or even eliminate birth trauma because you are simply informed of evidence-based information and can advocate your yourselves and your baby better knowing your rights and needs?

Yes, there are amazing providers and nurses out there but some only see birth as a pathology and something that needs intervention and needs to be “fixed”. They fear birth therefore, they present fear to their patients. It’s called the Nocebo Effect” When we look for something wrong, we can typically find it. Birth is natural and normal for mammals to experience and guess what?! We are mammals! We always forget that we have this whole other side to us and this is a function that the body knows how to do quite well without intervention outside of special circumstances.

Birth operates best with a patient, less is more attitude so only listening to your provider’s suggestions and desires to move things along, and speed things up can cause the “cascade of intervention.” For instance, it is normal for labor to slow or stop and it’s a sign you need rest, food, sleep. Doctors do not want things to stop so they will give you Pitocin (the artificial form of oxytocin) which makes things feel more intense and can cause distress in the baby, which then causes you to get an epidural, which then slows things down more and then you need more Pitocin, which causes the baby to get more distressed and sometimes cesarean is then “needed” to save the baby from distress. This is the perfect example of a cascade that happens most often in a hospital setting. It’s important to know your other options to avoid these unnecessary interventions that can derail your birth preference and effect how you feel about your birth for years to come.

Other benefits included:

  • Feeling safe
  • Feeling grounded
  • Feeling calm and relaxed about the process
  • Partners feel more confident and are more involved and know how to advocate better.
Pregnant woman in labor at the hospital

All these things create safety and calm in the body which allows birth hormones to flow more freely and there’s less fear. When we are less fearful, we are less tense therefore we feel less pain over all. Natural endorphins flow to aid the process and relax the body and heighten Oxytocin which is what the uterus and body need to make more endorphins. Some women even go into a euphoric state paired with the right circumstances, environment, knowledge base, mindset, and relaxation techniques. Many of my HypnoBirthing students report that they went into an “altered state” or “labor land” and that they moved through labor more relaxed.

And why is that?

  1. First, they understood birth physiology so they understand what’s normal and needed for the body.
  2. Second, they found a provider that supported their birth goals.
  3. Thirdly, they know their rights and how to advocate for them.
  4. They know the positions and movements that will help them move through the process.
  5. Breathing techniques to relax the mind and body and use affirmations and audio to help them stay focused on the goal and the breath.

Since HypnoBirthing is a 5-week class broken into 2.5 hours each class, I usually suggest people start a HypnoBirthing class any time between 20 and 33 weeks so starting the process of finding the perfect class and teacher for you early is an important step. Some people like more time to practice relaxation techniques and some people want the info fresh in their minds so figuring out what your best learning time will be is important.

Other classes like the Bradley Method are 12 weeks, there are more data-driven classes like Evidence Based Birth that is sometimes broken into a few classes. Spinning babies which are mostly focused on position and supporting physiology is usually one day. I have a hard time with hospital-based classes because I find people do not learn much about what birth is and what it needs. They learn about how to be a good patient which should not be a point of a birth class.

Doula giving class to a pregnant woman

Personally, I like families to have options so aside from teaching HypnoBirthing in a hybrid format (You can join online or in-person), I have a self-paced course that is called Birthing Bravely and I also teach it as a one-day in-person class for busy parents and a Partner Prep class that goes over advanced comfort measures like counter pressure, how to use the various birth tools and when to do what, how, and where. These options have made education more accessible to families so be sure to look in your area for your perfect class or reach out to me and see how we can work together to get you prepared and confident!

Just to recap.

  • Childbirth Education is important! So important so don’t skip this step! You will feel more prepared, and more confident and will be able to make decisions based on fact and not from a place of fear or coercion.
  • Find the right class for you! Do you need more relaxation techniques? Want to connect mind, body, and baby? HypnoBirthing and Gentle birth might be good for you. Do you prefer more data evidence-based info? Birthing Bravely or EBB might be for you. Do you want your partner to know positions and how to help birth physiology? Partner Prep or Spinning Babies might be best for you.
  • Start your search early! Many classes fill quickly and also may run longer than you have time for. It breaks my heart when people come to me at 38 weeks pregnant wanting HypnoBirthing and we are either scrambling to double up classes or schedules don’t allow for it.
  • Take a class from a privately owned business like a doula or birth consultant because they will give you unbiased, evidence-based information and are not beholden to a corporation such as a hospital. Just like everything, shop small business!

Reach out today if you need a consultation or need help planning your birth preferences or postpartum! It’s my life’s mission to help families during the prenatal and postpartum time!


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Meet Ailish McMahon-Lewis!ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ailish is a mother of a daughter and stepmom to 3 sons. She is a Certified Holistic Doula, Birth Consultant, & Educator as well as Reiki Master & Gentle Pediatric Sleep Coach. She has always been passionate about helping families in the perinatal time. Her goal is to provide her clients with the best education & support so they feel prepared & confident.

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