Birth Professionals

Common Misconceptions / Questions

Having been active in the Birth Community in Vancouver since 2008, I have connected with a number of birth professionals (midwives, doulas, nurses, doctors, etc) and I have definitely noticed many common misconceptions and even concerns (or objections) people have when it comes to recommending birth hypnosis to the people they support.

1) Different Programs

Wait - isn't it all "Hypnobirthing" ? 

2) Outcomes

What if things don't go 'according to plan' ? / I don't agree with people being told they will have a "Pain Free" birth!

3) "It doesn't always work..."
Said as a sort of warning to people planning on using hypnosis for their birth.

 

4) Pushing!

Please explain to me how you teach pushing...

5) The need to do multiple programs / classes
For their prenatal education.

 

1) Different Programs

Wait - isn't it all "Hypnobirthing" ? 

In the interest of time, I'm not going to go into all the different options out there - also,  there are so many new ones continuously arriving on the scene that it's hard to keep up! 

I do believe that it's up to birth workers to know that different programs exist though. To understand what are the most popular options in their area & learn about them.

Sometimes I'll ask people to think of it this way: 

If someone tells you that they are taking a "prenatal class" - you wouldn't just assume you knew what that meant. You might want to know whether or not it was a one day workshop, watching some videos they found online, a weekend intensive or a class series (fully appreciating that on top of the format/structure, the organization/philosophy or instructor they have chosen will also make a difference). Some hypnosis programs don't actually require that their instructors have *any* experience with birth!!

 

For birth hypnosis, some people may only read a book. Others may meet privately with a hypnotherapist while some simply borrow or use mp3 recordings that they got off someone else or found online without any actual direction on learning or using the tools. There are also apps where people can access some guided meditations which can also be classified by some people as "using hypnobirthing". 

Then there are fully online / self-directed programs as well as live-class options. 

The main thing to know is that aside from the use of the word hypnosis, these programs often could not be more different.

If you come across someone doing an instructor-led class (in Vancouver / BC), they will most likely be doing one of two programs: 

Hypnobabies

- or - 

Hypnobirthing

Yes - that's right: one OR the other. They are totally different programs in every way. 

You can read more about why I chose Hypnobabies specifically here.

2) Outcomes

What if things don't go 'according to plan' ? / I don't agree with people being told they will have a "Pain Free" birth!

I recently ran a doula workshop and in it, a doula who I've known for over a decade made a comment about the concern she feels when her doula clients tell her that they are doing 'hypnobirthing' so they can experience a pain free birth.

 

And after discussing for about one minute, we determined that these people are not taking my Hypnobabies classes (See Common Misconception #1 above). 

Hypnobabies is not about achieving any particular outcome. It is about having an empowering and positive experience. Period. One where a person feels well-educated, well-supported, well-prepared and ready for anything. Yes - anything.

You can even read my own first birth story (a complete change of plans and still 100% 'successful')! 

We even have a script called "A Change of Plans" that can be read at any point to help the birthing person adapt to changes in the moment. 

We spend an entire class on interventions with a focus on how they can be used as TOOLS (I give positive examples of how a well-timed intervention can absolutely be helpful in achieving our goals). 

 

We don't actually (EVER) reference or use the term Pain-Free. Ever.... well I guess that's not totally true actually as I discuss this in our first class when explaining that this is not actually a measurement of 'success' with Hypnobabies!

3) "It doesn't always work..."

Said as a sort of warning to people planning on using hypnosis for their birth.

 

These comments are well-intended I believe; a way of "preparing" clients for possible disappointment. The thing about this is that an assumption is made about what the client's expectations are or about what they're being told.

 

Let's take this example to another aspect of birth - say you were supporting someone wanting a home birth (or an unmedicated birth). Never would you consider preparing them by saying "just so you know, many first timers end up transferring from exhaustion" ... why? Because you know that this would affect their confidence, that it might indicate to them that you don't have faith that they can do it... that they won't be prepared for any other outcomes... 

Instead, what we would say to our clients are encouraging things like "I've supported many home birth clients!" Or, "I'll support you in all of your choices...". And then go on to ask questions about their prenatal education and information they have around reasons for transfer, etc so that you know where they're at and if there are any holes that need to be filled rather than assume that they have absolutely no idea that plans can change sometimes. 

I like to suggest to doulas (& care providers) that we should take the same approach when it comes to birth hypnosis. Understanding that there are very different programs out there, that an instructors' approach to preparing for birth, their education & experience also comes into play, etc. It's much better to ask strategic questions about what clients are learning (if we aren't familiar) & go from there. 

In my Hypnobabies classes -  

I always tell my students that no one can promise them anything for their births; that we need to own our choices and decisions as well as be open and flexible when needed. 

I personally define "Success" for my students as follows: 

1. Having a positive pregnancy

When you're feeling empowered through education, getting the support you need, connecting with your partner AND having regular/daily hypnosis sessions - these things often just fall into place.

2. Looking forward to giving birth 

Not just afterwards - bringing the baby home. Really looking forward to birth! I hear this a LOT from my students (often to their own shock and amazement). This comes from feeling truly prepared - educated, supported, connected, etc. 

3. Having a really empowering birth (whatever the details)

I love hearing from students afterwards even when their plans went totally out the window and them explaining how calm they felt or how in control of decisions they were as things changed, etc. 

The births from those YouTube videos absolutely happen... and we can be open to that but it isn't the GOAL with Hypnobabies!

4) Pushing!

So often I've been asked by care providers about what I actually teach around pushing... or I've heard them say that they love everything about hypno "except the philosophy around pushing"

And I get it. Some programs teach that pushing is a completely man-made construct and we should resist all efforts and allow the body to do all the pushing. 

Ahem - please see point # 1 above  ;)

In Hypnobabies, we teach Mother-Directed pushing: note the word PUSHING! We cover the nerve endings that are triggered, labouring down and following your body's urges and instincts, pushing positions, etc. We explain that for some people, the body will do most of the pushing and for others THEY will want to put in the effort. We encourage working with their care providers at this point for input and guidance as well. 

5) The need to do multiple programs / classes
For their prenatal education

Hypnobabies is a fully-comprehensive prenatal class. The program was created by someone who had decades of experience teaching prenatal education (also a birth doula) because they wanted specifically to provide a program for people to get BOTH quality education and hypnosis (one stop shopping).

The program is also regularly updated to reflect the most up-to-date, evidence / research -based information (the 8th edition is due out in the spring of 2021). The information is gathered from a number of amazing sources giving it a well-rounded approach to childbirth education. 

Click here to see the course outline