I've been interested in hypnosis as a pain management technique ever since I interviewed William Camann and read his book, "Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth." William Camann is an anesthesiologist and has seen quite a few births. When I asked him what techniques HE would use in labor (if he were a woman and could experience it, that is) based on what he has seen, he said he'd explore hypnosis. His words convinced me to explore the technique in-depth.
ME: How long has Hypnobabies been around?
TUSCHHOFF: Seven years. I founded Hypnobabies in 2001.
ME: Did you ever personally experience/use Hypnobabies?
TUSCHHOFF: No, both my labors were really, really painful and I was just trying to gut it out. In the throes of screaming during the 2nd labor, I thought that there had to be another way to have a natural childbirth without having to suffer like that. That's how my journey to Hypnobabies began...
TUSCHHOFF: Approximately 175. I also attended Bradley births for ten years prior to that.
ME: What setting is most conducive to birthing using hypnosis?
TUSCHHOFF: Most of our moms have their babies in hospitals, but Hypnobabies can be used Anywhere. Anyway. Anyhow. Birth center births. Home births. Water births.
That said - with any kind of birthing that you’re going to do - it’s going to be easier if you choose a home birth or a birth center because you automatically have a lot of choices which will keep you relaxed. Still, most women choose to birth in the hospital.
ME: When does Hypnobabies not work?
TUSCHHOFF: When people do not prepare adequately. I’ve also seen it be quite a challenge when people choose to be induced or when people choose to bring along people who will pose a challenge. This is true for any birthing.
I would say that most people follow through with Hypnobabies and embrace the full-on belief system…and then they have a really great birth.
ME: Are hospitals typically willing to accommodate Hypnobabies birth?
TUSCHHOFF: Here’s what we’ve seen. Hospitals actually really love Hypnobabies. It makes their job so much easier. The mom is already fully educated. She’s not out-of-control.
Hypnobabies is known in some parts of the country very well – CA, Utah, North Carolina. In other places, unfortunately, people roll their eyes. We have only 80 instructors right now. Because we're small, some hospitals only know other hypnobirth techniques...not Hypnobabies...and they have seen them not work.
We encourage all women who take our class to explain the method to their doctors and nurses. We even give them a sign to post on the door, "We’re using hypnobabies hypnosis. Please whisper and respect our wishes." We also have a handout that women can give to their doctor and a handout to give to the nurse. We encourage pregnant moms to bring a tray of goodies for the nurse at the beginning of labor to thank her. This sets the tone for a really great experience.
ME: If Hypnobabies is truly a gentle and peaceful way to give birth sans drugs, why is it not a more popular option?
TUSCHHOFF: It's about programming from several generations. We have been programmed to think of childbirth as this painful, fearful, agonizing experience. Everyone sees it and hears about it from past generations – moms and grandparents. Most women don’t even look into anything different. They don't realize that they don’t have to choose between drugs and gutting it out. They don't realize that it doesn't have to be scary.
Interested? You can find a Hypnobabies class in your area or you can purchase the Hypnobabies Home Study Course for Expectant Mothers. If you're not quite ready to "make the leap," you might like to take a peek at a few videos of women in labor using the Hypnobabies method or you can read birth stories on the HypnoBbabies website...
YOUR TURN: What pain management techniques did you use (Bradley, Lamaze, hypnosis, accupuncture, water, epidural, narcotics, etc.) and were you satisfied with the outcome?