Many mothers go through pregnancy with the fear of childbirth looming overhead. Some women cannot use or don’t prefer pain medication, and others just desire a more natural, comfortable birth setting. That’s where Hypnobabies can help.
Hypnobabies is a childbirth education class that uses a self-hypnosis method to create an automatic physiological response in the body. The response, called “hypno-anesthesia,” helps naturally reduce discomfort during childbirth while allowing the mother to remain fully awake and mobile.
Lexington is home to a Hypnobabies class led by Julie Six, doula and founder of The Birth Haven. Six used Hypnobabies for her third child after using the Bradley Method for her first two children. She feels this complete childbirth education class prepares women and their partners for childbirth and focuses on strengthening connections with baby and each other along the way.
“A lot of parents are scared of birth, they are terrified of what people have told them,” Six said. “This enables them to be more confident in their abilities and to just trust their bodies.”
The classes are three hours long, once a week for six weeks. Six said her classes have a high success rate of unmedicated births, but the preparation requires commitment. Class materials include a binder with “home-play” exercises, several CD’s with daily affirmations moms can listen to, and intensive partner training.
“We do really extensive birth partner training- helping the partner understand how the birth process works, the things we should say, things we shouldn’t say, how we massage, how we shouldn’t massage, so that they feel very capable going in to the birth,” Six said.
Jonathon and Jean Ellen Melton used Hypnobabies when their daughter, Kate, was born. The couple said they learned that you have to be very dedicated to the materials to get the most out of the program.
“You have the do the homework,” Jonathon said. “You have to want it. It requires a strong mind.”
Jean Ellen said Hypnobabies taught her how to advocate for herself during labor and delivery. She learned about how other cultures approach childbirth, and that helped shape her own experience.
Lexington has offered the Hypnobabies class for the past two years, and Six has seen incredible growth in the number of families interested. She has always filled classes and said care providers comment that they have seen such calmer births from moms who took the course.
“People think it’s just for women wearing patchwork dresses and Birkenstocks,” she said. “I have a wide range of people that come here and take Hypnobabies- attorneys, woodworkers, professors, business owners, photographers and even doctors.”
A common misconception about the program is that Hypnobabies encourages silent birth. Six said that is not the case at all.
“The perception about Hypnobabies is that these women are going to come in and just go ‘ah,’ and have a baby,” she said. “That’s not always going to happen. Some women are quiet and some make noise, and we support that.”
Hypnobabies teaches self-hypnosis techniques to keep your mind calm and your muscles loose, but Six said the class is not only about pain-free childbirth.
“That’s not realistic for every women,” she said. “A high percentage of our moms do have a comfortable birth with Hypnobabies, but it’s not only about that. It’s all about being empowered, having an easier and more comfortable birth experience and educated decision making skills.”
Another way moms gain confidence for their birth experience is the language Hypnobabies uses. Contractions are referred to as “pressure waves.” Instead of saying “labor,” moms call it “birthing time.” Doctors don’t “deliver your baby,” they attend the birth while moms birth their babies.
“It’s putting birth back in the hands of moms, by giving them the sense that they are capable of making informed decisions about their care,” Six said.
Hypnobabies classes in Lexington are held at The Birth Haven at 2891 Richmond Rd., Suite 206. Space is limited in each class, so Six encourages parents to call early in a pregnancy to reserve a place. For more info call (859) 553-1973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.