Is Hypnobirthing Better Than Drugs During Labor?

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hypnobirthing bookBeautiful though she may be, Jessica Alba isn't exactly the celebrity mama I'd look to for pregnancy advice. That being said, she's a big advocate of hypnobirthing, having employed the self-soothing, relaxation techniques when she gave birth to her first daughter a couple of years ago. As she explains, it "just makes you chill" during labor and delivery

Many are fans of hypnobirthing because it's said that the practice makes you less likely to have a c-section, less likely to use an epidural, and more likely to give birth in your own home. Well, that sounds good! But what exactly is it?

When you think about hypnosis, you may imagine some guy in a cape with a swinging pocket watch, lulling you to sleep, and later urging you to cluck like a chicken. Yeah, this is different. You're not giving birth in a trance, you're not subconsciously convincing yourself that labor feels freakin' awesome. Instead, you're using relaxation techniques to take fear and anxiety out of the birthing process, approaching delivery from a more peaceful place. As a result, your body produces more endorphins and less stress hormones, so you're better able to focus on what your body is doing and you'll feel less pain.

From what I've heard, this stuff really works. In fact, a doula shared with me that while assisting during a hypnobirth, the woman didn't scream once. With every contraction, she gave a little sigh, and then when the baby did come out, Mama just gave a bigger, deeper, longer sigh. Okay, so maybe that lady was a superhuman freak of nature, but I have heard women say that it significantly calmed them down during delivery and eased the pain, so what could be wrong with that?

Personally, I think all of that meditation and deep-breathing and mind-over-matter stuff really does work, and believe it can absolutely be a tool during childbirth. For women who are planning on doing natural childbirth, drug-free (whether at home, in a birthing center, or at the hospital), it seems like hypnobirthing would be essential for minimizing pain, reducing stress, and creating that calm, peaceful environment you want your child born into.

And even if you are going the clinical route, this kind of relaxation can be beneficial. When it comes to holistic or spiritual techniques, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Yes, I'm giving birth in a hospital, I'm going to have an epidural (without one ounce of shame about it, thank you), and I may likely have a c-section if that is what is best for my twin boys. If I do end up pumped full of drugs while my babies are surgically removed from my belly, then damn straight, I'd like to feel calm and peaceful about it!

So thanks for the tip, Jess! I think a hypnobirthing book or DVD might be the best thing to help me prepare for and ultimately enjoy the birth of my babies, regardless of how they enter the world.

Did you use hypnobirthing during your labor and delivery, or do you plan to?


Image via HypnoBirthing

homebirth, c-sections, labor & delivery, pain management