Utah HypnoBirthing in the News

May 4, 2011

Here is an article about HypnoBirthing in the Daily Herald, for which I was interviewed.

Heidi Toth – Daily Herald Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Imagine describing childbirth as amazing. Imagine it being comfortable and enjoyable. Imagine the baby easing his way into the world.

Got it? Now, keep those nice thoughts, dial back your expectations somewhat, open your mind and consider a style of natural childbirth that uses self-hypnosis to accomplish the above.

HypnoBirthing is a natural birthing style that focuses on reaching a point of deep relaxation so the mother can work with her body. She practices self-hypnosis, which blocks out distractions, reduces the level of pain and allows the woman to enjoy childbirth. Essentially, proponents say, the mother relaxes and the baby just kind of slips out with little pain or discomfort. It’s largely in the mind.

“The power of the mind is phenomenal,” said Debbie Gordon, the HypnoBirthing teacher at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. “You can create your own reality literally with the power of your mind.”

That description is a far cry from what you normally see — and hear — with childbirth. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be, said Lauralyn Curtis, a Utah County HypnoBirthing practitioner. The difference, she said, is women believe childbirth is going to be painful and difficult; the body goes into survival mode and starts funneling blood away from non-vital organs, including the uterus.

The uterus not getting enough blood or oxygen causes cramping, which is what makes contractions hurt, she said. “The fear creates tension in the mother, and tension creates pain,” Curtis said.

Gordon said the purpose of a uterus is to give birth. It doesn’t do anything else; it was created solely for childbirth, and it can do that without putting a woman in pain.
“It’s doing its job,” she said. “So why does it hurt in labor?”

Well, said one doctor, labor does hurt. Dr. Sean Esplin, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at the University of Utah who also is with Intermountain HealthCare, said he’s talked to women about HypnoBirthing and he and his wife used the method for their sixth child. He said it was a great relaxation technique that can make labor less laborious.

But childbirth is uncomfortable. While there are ways to lessen the pain and discomfort, he’s not sure there’s a way around the reality that it hurts. When they were going to the classes, though, that wasn’t the focus. “They were teaching people that it’s not a painful process,” Esplin said. “The truth is that I think it’s different for every woman.”

He tells patients to have an open mind about different childbirthing techniques as they’re learning what’s out there but not have overly high expectations or feel like one way is the best. Women may go into labor intending to have a natural childbirth, and there could be complications or the labor could last longer than expected. Often, first children take longer than second or third children, he said. Every birth is a different situation.”It’s not a failure to have an epidural or to ask for pain medication,” he said.

Gordon said 20 percent to 30 percent of her patients heard about HypnoBirthing from their doctors, so they recognize the results. Esplin recommends it if patients are looking for an organized approach to pain management. His wife liked it, but also told him it wouldn’t have been ideal for all of her pregnancies.

Both Gordon and Curtis said they have given birth using HypnoBirthing as well as other techniques. Curtis said her 10-pound son came much quicker and much less painfully than she remembered from other births. She didn’t even realize how far the labor had progressed until he started coming. They didn’t make it to the hospital.
She doesn’t recommend that, she said. Most women still opt to go to the hospital and just ensure their health care provider is willing to work with how the mother wants the birth to go. That includes a dim, quiet room, as few beeping machines as possible and the woman pushing as her body tells her to push instead of when the doctor tells her to push.

“Ultimately, it is the mother’s choice, and she decides what type of birth she wants,” Curtis said.

read the article here

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ashley May 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I like just about everything about this article, but I do have to laugh that the male doctor, who has never given birth in his life, believes that the reality is that birth hurts. I didn’t experience a pain-free birth, but I wasn’t entirely expecting one. (I’ve had death cramps with each menstrual period for over ten years.) However, the discomfort wasn’t from fear, it had a purpose (bringing me my baby!) and it was definitely manageable! I was so excited that my baby was coming, that I had a hard time focusing on getting myself deeply relaxed. Something to work on next time around, but overall, my first birth was absolutely amazing thanks to HypnoBirthing!

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