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 Post subject: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:30 pm 
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I know many of the mamas here have achieved successful natural births but I couldn't find a thread dedicated to natural birthing preparation/ideas/techniques etc.

I'm specifically interested in hearing any success stories, what worked/didn't work for you, any good exercises or techniques to practice to be better prepared for the main event!

I understand that all the planning in the world won't necessarily make it so, but that's not going to stop me getting preparing for the best outcome.

I'm starting a hypnobirthing class tomorrow, I know it sounds very woo and whatnot, but I'm looking forward to it anyway! Anyone else experienced hypnobirthing?


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:47 pm 
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We did Bradley. The techniques didn't really end up being all that helpful during my lovely 22.5 hours of back labor, but I think the course was great for prepping my husband to be an awesome support person even in the face of some difficulties. I think I owe my natural birth more to a combination of my extreme stubbornness and my husband spraying my back with a shower nozzle for like 18 hours straight than to the Bradley Method.

I'm curious to try something different next time around. I've heard good things about hypnobabies!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:59 pm 
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Next time I'm trying "Birthing from Within" - which is a crazy hard core class where they make you crush ice in your hand to prove to yourself you can withstand pain. A friend of mine had a hospital birth for her first where she wound up having unnecessary Pitocin and then an epidural and then took this class for the second and wound up giving birth in her bathroom (not on purpose - labor was super fast, there was a snowstorm, etc.) and was totally able to handle it.

I didn't have a drug-free birth, first because I wound up on Pitocin (very necessary) and then eventually really needed an epidural. I think the epidural saved me from a C-section, but that's definitely a special case. I took a Bradley class and I think it did allow me to deal with the pain much longer than I might have otherwise (I had 8 hours of crazy Pitocin labor, zero natural labor, before the epidural). I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing, honestly.

Now that I've had an epidural I feel like the most important thing to me about drug-free labor is freedom of movement. Epidurals literally tie you down. You have to be catheterized to pee. You have to be pumped full of IV fluid so your blood pressure doesn't plummet as a side effect from the pain drugs. You are then super bloated post-birth and it may be hard to walk because of the edema. Even if your provider is cool with you eating during labor, they will give you a super hard time about eating with an epidural. If you're on it long enough you get spacey from the lack of movement and lack of sensation and lack of food. It is all around shitty.

More important than all the classes in the world is birthing somewhere that does not require you to have an IV (freedom of movement is super important for managing pain), has access to other comfort measures (shower, tub, people rubbing your back, hot packs, TENS machines, etc.), doesn't put you on a clock so you're pressured into Pitocin or other interventions that make the whole process worse, doesn't require constant electronic fetal monitoring (best if there's zero electronic fetal monitoring and just handheld doppler so you don't have to be in bed for the short monitoring segments). Also, a doula is a huge help and a medical provider who is very supportive of drug-free labor is a huge help.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:24 pm 
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I have heard mention of Bradley classes on here but I have not come across any being offered here.
22.5 hours of back labour?! Pinko you are a machine!

Ariann, I am intending to birth at a birth centre [near to, but not connected with a hospital] and they do not offer epidurals, have showers and tubs [and fridges for snacks] in all birthing rooms, and will only have my midwife as a medical provider and she's completely behind drug/intervention-free labour so fingers crossed all that helps somewhat!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:27 pm 
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I was induced at 42 weeks with cytotec and pitocin but didn't need pain meds. Luckily the constant fetal monitoring (required because of the constant pitocin) was wireless so I could get up and move around - walking and swaying were helpful in the beginning. The hot tub though really helped me when things got intense so I HIGHLY recommend!!! Also my doula was invaluable. I think I would have asked for an epidural as soon as I walked into the hospital if I hadn't had her with me. She seriously was helpful reminding me to stay calm and breathed and groaned with me. I also HIGHLY recommend during labor not to think "forward" such as "how much longer will labor be?" or "how much harder will this get" but rather just think about the current contraction.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:56 pm 
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I didn't take a class or practice any particular technique in advance, but just having my midwives and doula (who are also friends) and my partner there to support me was incredibly helpful. There are studies that show that moms and babies have better outcomes when there's a non-medical person present during labor, even if they're just sitting nearby watching, and I didn't fully understand how helpful that could be until I was in labor myself and felt so much love and support just from knowing that everyone was there for me.

Like Ariann said, epidurals definitely have their place and I think women should be free to choose to have one, but I really feel like informed consent is not happening if women are not fully aware of how restricted they'll be once they get one and of all the common and less common side effects. When I was in labor and thought I might not be able to handle the pain, the alternative of having an epidural still didn't appeal to me because I've seen so many women get them and have them cause stalled labors, blood pressure drops and resulting fetal heart decelerations, swelling from all the IV fluids, anxiety from the inability to move or pee, etc, etc. It also definitely helped me that I was at home and getting pain meds meant having to get in the car and go to the hospital, which seemed impossible at the time!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:31 pm 
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The best money I spent all pregnancy was on my amazing doula. She came to the house and helped us figure out when to leave and stayed with me being a very calming energy, which I needed. I was told that a doula can provide mother energy, which is wonderful. She also is really great at keeping you focused, and my only regret is that I didn't want to be touched at all, because she had all this training in massage and body work. And in essential oils etc. She was just the absolute best, and I love her to pieces. Like annasrobbie, I would have asked for an epidural once I got there, because the pain was intense and I had no idea how long it was going to go on and I was 100% sure there was no way I could handle it. But she kept getting me through and explaining stuff, and it was great. I interviewed a bunch of doulas, but Jeannie was the one for me. And even though the doula fees sound expensive, you're getting someone on 24hr standby for you in the 2 weeks around your due date, someone who is constantly supportive and for me, saved me unnecessary interventions. She was also great as a breast feeding coach right after birth, and didn't leave my side until L and I had established our BFing relationship (L was born at 8:03 pm and we left well after 10 pm)

I did Bradley and completely agree with Pinko's assessment. I felt that it prepared you for one type of labor (conserve your strength for 20+ hours by not freaking out in the early stages), that wasn't the type I had (fast back labor), but it did really help prepare my husband for how to be an effective advocate, which at the end of the day is its purpose. I liked it and it was pretty reasonable, plus we met the nicest couples and are still friends with them.

We did the Hypnobirthing meditations and affirmations and I thought they were great (our doula is certified in it).

Another really great cheap thing to do is to do pre-natal yoga. The lovely appifanie sent me a video by Collette Crawford and it is wonderful. I've bought copies for my pregnant friends because it has such great stretches etc for helping you get ready for labor and manage pain in labor. http://www.seattleholisticcenter.com/store/yoga

Fwiw, I really had a great natural birth experience, and I know a big part of it was luck, but I also think that there is value in being prepared and supported. I had wonderful women with me, I felt their kindness and their strength and I felt like I was completely taken care off when I needed it. I think back to my birth and I have to smile, because I felt really empowered and powerful during it, and that was a great feeling. I hope you have a wonderful birth.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Oh-and I read billions of birth stories too while I was pregnant (I am still obsessed with them) - the ones from Ina Mae's guide to Childbirth were great! Some of those stories floated through my brain while I was laboring and gave me a little inspiration!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:04 pm 
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I did a much shorter version of Birthing from Within - like 4-6 hours total, I think. I loved the ice technique not because it taught me I was tough, but because the exercise taught me how to focus on something other than the pain (maybe my breathing, or the sounds of a truck outside - whatever). It's kind of hard to explain, but it was key for me. Echoing the thoughts above - my doula was extremely helpful, and I am so grateful for her. It also helped immensely that my labor was 3.5 or 4 hours, but I can't think of a way to order that up for you!

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:01 pm 
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I did hypnobirthing. Looking back, I do think it helped. My labored was exceptionally long but I was positive and composed throughout. Labor was uncomfortable but not painful and I think the hypnobirthing training really helped me with getting and keeping that mindset. My husband, who thought that it was a bit corny a first, can now look back and see how it helped him prepare, too. I particularly liked the affirmations. Despite my roller coaster delivery, I was never scared. So thumbs up from me. My midwife on the other hand felt strongly that birth is not meant to be quiet so there was some grunting for hr satisfaction. I didn't really feel compelled to make much fuss at all.

I also think Doulas are incredible. I wore both her and my husband out with the back massage during back labor.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:09 pm 
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Everyone's definition of "natural" is probably different, so first I would figure out what your priorities are and how you define it for yourself. Re hypnobirthing, I have no experience with it but my midwives' advice was that it works very well for some people and not at all for other people, and so it's helpful to do another class like Bradley as a backup to have a variety of pain management tools to fall back on.

Personally, I had a very lengthy but, I thought, fairly low-intensity labor. I never wanted pain medication, just some rest. I never felt out of control or incapacitated, which was my biggest worry/concern.

I was happy I had chosen a home birth because I almost certainly would've had a c-section or maybe not made it to the hospital on time (my labor was slow but I had no idea I was 9cm dilated until my midwife checked me while "delivering my ambien prescription so I could get some sleep during all this false labor.") I was also very happy my homebirth midwife was a CNM ready and able to administer the shot of pitocin that helped stop the bleeding after I delivered my baby. This was just the amount of nature I wanted. your mileage may vary.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:11 am 
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hypnobirthing was a great tool for me. i have had 2 intervention-free homebirths, which were both amazing. my midwife firmly believed that relaxing was a core key to a smooth labour. i also birthed in water both times, which was reeeeeeally good for me, i got out of the pool a few times the first time around and it was horrible :/ i also did bellydance right through my second pregnancy and i SWEAR it made a difference to my mobility and the descent of the baby. i did bellydance classes until 38 weeks. but the deep relaxation in the hypnobirthing, i swear by it.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:13 am 
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oh, and you're in nz right? the pelvis mapping bit of the pink kit really helped me psychologically believe i could birth naturally :)


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:50 am 
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I didn't take any classes or use any techniques with either of my natural births. The first was fast and easy. The second I agreed to pitocin due to blood my pressure spike, then had a random nurse tell me there was no way I'd make it without an epidural. That kind of boosted my already full motivation and I managed to breathe through the pain (pitocin really is awful) without medication. I'm already a big believer in mind over matter and implement it daily with my RA/fibromyalgia.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:26 pm 
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I had a really easy, natural home-birth....
I think having read and re-read the chapter in Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth on the 'sphincter law' was really invaluable to me.

I took Bradley classes and was lucky to have an incredible teacher (prob would not have liked the Bradley curriculum without her) who kept telling us "seriously, y'all, it's pretty much like taking a big poop"......she diffused a lot of the mystery and fear surrounding birth for us first-timers (all of us in the class ended up having med-free, complication free births as well)

I also happened to have acupuncture the day of my labor (water broke an hour out of her office), and I had spent the entire session in deep visualization that happened pretty spontaneously, and I'm certain that helped with my confidence.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:11 am 
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yes! the sphincter law is so great. it makes so much sense!!!! ina mae is so freaking awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:24 am 
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Junalou, that is interesting. My water broke and i had no contractions, but had an hour session with my energy practitioner, and did a visualization of an easy birth and by the end I was in active labor.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:30 am 
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can people explain a little more when you say that when you get an epidural that you are "restricted?"
i just want to understand what that means.
i *want* to have a natural birth but i also understand things may not go the way i want to.

pitocin is the stuff they give you to induce labor right?
i read just a little article on Dreena Burton's website about how her first labor was induced and it sounded horrifyingly awful.

my OB said the Bradley method was a great tool. she said the medical side of it is a bit outdated but the method itself is really great. she actually said any method we chose would be positive as long as we were looking into some sort of method. i think mainly she meant in terms of preparing ourselves any sort of learning is positive.

i stopped seeing my acupuncturist when i found out i was pregnant. i used to go i think either once a month or every 6 weeks for back pain and general relaxation/stress reduction but at $64 a pop i thought it was something maybe i should cut back on to save $$.
now im not so sure.
ive been having a lot of back pain when i wake up and it sounds like maybe it can be helpful in general.
also the two women that ive seen both have what you would call "positive mother energy"
they've both had kids. one of them just had twins probably less than a year ago.

hmmmm.......

im terrified of the actual labor part. TERRIFIED.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:04 pm 
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I would recommend the book "Pushed" for sort of a counterpoint to an OB perspective; I don't agree with the book entirely but it does a good job of telling you about the downsides of things like epidurals, inductions, c-sections, electronic monitoring, etc.

All of these interventions are useful and appropriate at times; if you look at maternity care in the 3rd world where huge numbers of women and babies die because they *don't* have access to them (slightly OT: did anyone see the second half of "Half the Sky" on PBS, at the maternity hospital in Somaliland? So heartbreaking!!), that becomes clear.. but every intervention comes with risks, basically, and for debatable reasons our medical system skews, I think, towards certain types of risk against others. The best thing IMO is to know what you want, learn everything you can, and know what your rights and options are.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:09 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
can people explain a little more when you say that when you get an epidural that you are "restricted?"
i just want to understand what that means.


The goal of an epidural is to numb you from about the waist down. Depending on how numb you get, you will generally not be able to move your legs. You will need assistance to move on the bed at all and unless the epidural is really, really light (which I've heard about it books, but never known anyone to experience in real life), you will definitely not be able to get out of bed. My experience was that I needed someone to adjust me in bed every half hour or so, tilting me slightly to the right, then slightly to the left, so that the medication was distributing evenly to my legs - otherwise one would be super numb and the other would lose numbness and I'd be in pain on that side. That's pretty much standard experience as far as I can tell. If you have an epidural you will necessarily also have an IV administering fluids. Epidural medication suppresses your blood pressure, which can be pretty dangerous, so you're pumped full of IV fluids to keep your pressure up. Those fluids might cause you to swell (edema), which might make it difficult to move even after the medication has worn off. You also will not be able to feel when you have to pee and won't be able to control your muscles to allow yourself to pee (and won't be able to get out of bed anyway), so you'll either have a catheter inserted at the same time as your epidural and it'll stay in, or you'll be catheterized intermittently when they feel like you should pee. There is conflicting information out there about whether epidurals increase the risk of C-section. Epidurals are known to space out contractions, so sometimes Pitocin is administered with epidurals to augment labor and counteract the calming effect of the epidural.

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pitocin is the stuff they give you to induce labor right?
i read just a little article on Dreena Burton's website about how her first labor was induced and it sounded horrifyingly awful.


Pitocin is one of the drugs that are used to induce labor (or augment natural labor). Pitocin causes contractions. Other drugs are sometimes used with or without Pitocin to soften or open the cervix. Sometimes labor is induced by drug-free methods such as breaking the amniotic sac or inserting a foley catheter to open the cervix manually. Some people find pitocin contractions unmanageable (I did), some don't. Pitocin increases the risk of uterine rupture and fetal distress. Induction in general at least doubles the risk of C-section for first time mothers.

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my OB said the Bradley method was a great tool. she said the medical side of it is a bit outdated but the method itself is really great. she actually said any method we chose would be positive as long as we were looking into some sort of method. i think mainly she meant in terms of preparing ourselves any sort of learning is positive.


This seems like it's probably true. The upside of the Bradley method is that you have lots of class time, so lots of time to ask questions. The medical information in Bradley is definitely a bit outdated and they have some ideas about diet that are not very vegan-friendly, but if your actual teacher is vegan-friendly, that doesn't matter so much.

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im terrified of the actual labor part. TERRIFIED.


Being terrified doesn't help! Do whatever you can to help yourself enter the experience calmly - educate yourself, get a massage, talk to other moms who have positive birth stories (Ina May's books are great for positive birth stories), etc. And if you have reasons to be terrified having to do with past trauma, see a psychologist before the birth (I highly recommend someone who does EMDR).


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:09 pm 
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I was terrified about the labor in early pregnancy. But I kept thinking to myself: every single person I see was born. They had a mother who gave birth to them, and most of those births were 'garden-variety', complication free births, and a lot of those women had more than child, so how bad could it be? :) I just tried to keep a really positive attitude.....when people asked about our birth plans, I said "oh, we're GOING to have a home birth", "yes I'm GOING to do it naturally"....of course, logically I knew that the best I could do was TRY, but just saying it and affirming it over and over was helpful to me.
One of the best parts of the Bradley classes was watching videos of birthing women. I loved that. Youtube actually has a lot of positive birthing videos, too, and my husband and I watched those a lot. On the one hand, we were like "Omgaahhh so grooossss", but when it came to my labor, he was so supportive and knew what to expect re: stretching anatomy and blood and stuff, that he could be fully present and not off with his head between his knees or something.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:28 pm 
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junalou wrote:
I was terrified about the labor in early pregnancy. But I kept thinking to myself: every single person I see was born. They had a mother who gave birth to them, and most of those births were 'garden-variety', complication free births, and a lot of those women had more than child, so how bad could it be? :) .



i keep telling myself something similar.

this might not be very PC but ive been telling myself "idiots, teenagers, and pilgrims had babies so i can too!"

right now ive just been trying to make it through the first trimester and i figure i will have time once i feel better to really start learning more. right now i just try to make it through the day ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:29 pm 
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oh and thank you Ariann for the very detailed info!!! that was very helpful! :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:35 pm 
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So many helpful comments here! You are all awesome.

Our first class went well but it was mostly just introductory stuff that covered things I already knew from reading the book, but apparently we will do a heap more practice exercises and such next week so looking forward to that. Really pleased the husband thought it was useful/interesting and seems on board.

Tofulish wrote:
I did Bradley and completely agree with Pinko's assessment. I felt that it prepared you for one type of labor (conserve your strength for 20+ hours by not freaking out in the early stages), that wasn't the type I had (fast back labor), but it did really help prepare my husband for how to be an effective advocate, which at the end of the day is its purpose. I liked it and it was pretty reasonable, plus we met the nicest couples and are still friends with them.

We did the Hypnobirthing meditations and affirmations and I thought they were great (our doula is certified in it).

Another really great cheap thing to do is to do pre-natal yoga. The lovely appifanie sent me a video by Collette Crawford and it is wonderful. I've bought copies for my pregnant friends because it has such great stretches etc for helping you get ready for labor and manage pain in labor. http://www.seattleholisticcenter.com/store/yoga

Fwiw, I really had a great natural birth experience, and I know a big part of it was luck, but I also think that there is value in being prepared and supported. I had wonderful women with me, I felt their kindness and their strength and I felt like I was completely taken care off when I needed it. I think back to my birth and I have to smile, because I felt really empowered and powerful during it, and that was a great feeling. I hope you have a wonderful birth.

I don't think we're going to be able to do another type of class as well as the hypnobirthing [that and I still haven't found any Bradley classes offered], but I will try and read all I can on it.
I've been doing a basic prenatal yoga dvd at home so hopefully that helps somehow!
So awesome to hear you can fondly recall your birth experience, that is a really reassuring and empowering thing to hear!

annasrobbie wrote:
Oh-and I read billions of birth stories too while I was pregnant (I am still obsessed with them) - the ones from Ina Mae's guide to Childbirth were great! Some of those stories floated through my brain while I was laboring and gave me a little inspiration!

I'm going to see if I can find that book at the library, thanks! : )

annak wrote:
Everyone's definition of "natural" is probably different, so first I would figure out what your priorities are and how you define it for yourself.

I guess what I meant was birth that is as medication- and intervention-free as possible, and for myself, staying out of a hospital setting is my strong preference.
❀madam dahlia❀ wrote:
oh, and you're in nz right? the pelvis mapping bit of the pink kit really helped me psychologically believe i could birth naturally :)

Yes, vegans down under!
I don't think I've seen anything about pelvis mapping, so hopefully that is to come later in the course. Great to hear you had smooth home hypno-births! There is a large tub/pool in the birthing rooms I will be using so I am hoping to make the most of that water as well!

Kelly wrote:
I'm already a big believer in mind over matter and implement it daily with my RA/fibromyalgia.

This is awesome. I am very stubborn about things I want, so I'm hoping this works for me too!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Ariann, your post was awesome. <3

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