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May 2009: Hypnotherapy for labor pain management
I'm pregnant with my first baby and exploring my options for natural pain
management - there are a lot of classes out there and i'd love to try them all
(if i had the time and the money) but since i can't i'd love some updated
Did you take a hypnobirthing class to prepare for labor and what was the
experience like? Do you recommend a specific instructor or class?
Also, did you take other childbirth classes that you found more or less helpful
than hypnobirthing, such as a mindfulness and meditation class? I'm still trying
to understand what hypnobirthing is or how it differs from other meditation
practices that focus on the breath.
The archived postings on this subject are over 5 years old so I'd really
appreciate your updated recommendations. Thanks!
I've had 2 hypno babies, both great births. Every baby and every
birth is different, of course. But what I felt hypno gave me that
other classes didn't was a combination of the relaxation/meditation
techniques AND a good overview of the mechanics of birth -- what was
going on at each stage and what to do to help your body do what it's
trying to do. It was sort of an idea of just getting out of the way
and letting your body do its thing as much as possible, which really
appealed to me. I don't think I was ever really ''hypnotized,'' at
least not in the sense that I think of it. But I was very relaxed --
the nurses didn't believe I was minutes away from delivering my 1st
kid. :) If you have the idea already that birth is a natural process
and you want to help that happen, hypno can be a great tool,
especially if you've done meditation/hypnosis before or if you're an
athlete or otherwise used to mind-over-body control. Some of the
hypno stuff seemed kind of new-agey to !
me, but overall I liked it. I've also heard good things about the
Bradley Method -- seems to be more of a middle ground between hypno
and Lamaze. Good luck with your birth!
I took a Hypnobirthing class with Carrie Flemming, who is also a
I would be happy to share my personal experience... I am very proud
to say that I stuck to the hypnobirthing for labor and delivery and
had a wonderful experience without any intervention. As for how it
differs from other meditation practices, I am not sure - but
hypnobirthing is really a way to focus and create visualizations that
prepare you for the birth. The classes are geared toward gaining
understanding of the birth process as well as relaxation. best of
luck, it is an amazing journey!
My partner and I took Betsy Appell's wonderful hypnobirthing class
and we both used it to great effect in my peaceful, meditative home
birth. Betsy is an experienced doula, an apprentice midwife, a yoga
teacher and a mom. I highly recommend her course and hypnobirthing in
general. Her web site is: http://berkeleydoula.com/zenclass.html.
Congratulations! I decided to do Hypnobirthing, after researching my
options. I took a class at Birthways from Betsy Appel, who I thought
was WONDERFUL. She not only teaches you about Hypnobirthing, but
combines elements of all of the most effective methods of pain
management, and she is a highly experienced mindfulness meditation
teacher as well! She is also a doula, and a mom, so she is incredibly
experienced, knowledgeable, honest and supportive. I really
appreciated her candor and integrity with the process. We ended up
hiring her to be our doula, we were so impressed with the class. I
feel that taking Hypnobirthing, especially from Betsy, made a HUGE
difference for me. I had a wonderful, drug-free birth (I never even
wanted an epidural). I cannot recommend her highly enough. She has
her own web site. I think it's www.sfdoula.com, but she's actually
based in Berkeley.
Happy Betsy Student
I highly recommend Betsy Appel's hypnobirthing class. Very
knowledgeable teacher, super comfortable environment, all the
important information, but not an overload. I think Betsy is great!!
Find her at Berkeleydoula.com.
I can give a more recent recommendation for betsy appell (who is
already well represented in previous posts). we took a zen birthing
(her spin on hypnobirthing, in which she is fully trained) class with
her in 2007 out of her home. it was very useful and informative and
covered a lot of ground. i remember the slogans that we read and
created (things like: there are thousands of other women laboring at
the same time right now) to have been particularly helpful for me
during labor. we also took a much shorter childbirth prep class
(only 3 sessions on saturday afternoons) taught by saraswati at
yogalayam on adeline and ellis. though it was done in less of a
this-is-what-some-different-birth-scenarios-look-like kinda way, it
really complemented betsy's class in that it was much more
exploratory in a physical way and there was more eclectic info.
saraswati's infectious character and stories of many births over the
years helped to put me in a powerful place during labor. i!
had a wonderful birth experience and feel that i owe so much of it
to those two women.
good luck in your search!
I took a hypnobirthing class with Deborah Saliby and highly recommend
it. Deborah also teaches a prenatal yoga class at 7th heaven Yoga
Studio in Berkeley. You can get more information from her there or
visit her website: http://www.envisionings.com/.
I will be giving birth in a hospital and I feel like the
hypnobirthing classes have given me the knowledge on how to deal with
the hospital staff and more confidence that I will end up having a
Betsy Appell's Zen Birthing class was probably the single most
important thing that we did during my partner's pregnancy!! We
learned vital skills to enable my partner to have the natural
childbirth that she really wanted to have. We learned and practiced
exercises that prepared us and helped make us a wonderfully strong
birth team. The birth process was an incredible and beautiful
experience for us and we truly believe that the class was foremost in
helping us make that happen. Betsy is a great teacher, skilled and
knowledgeable in the field of mediation and childbirth. We also had
a fun time in the class and met some great people. I highly
recommend Betsy and the class. Here's the website:
I did hypnobirthing with my first (and only) baby about 6 years ago
now, with Kristin Nemzer. It was amazing. I took private sessions
with her (although I think she also does group classes). I did not
have ANY pain, it was all self-coached during the actual birth, and I
gave birth 100% naturally in 3 and a half hours. Her website is
Don't believe anyone who tells you that birth HAS to be painful. I
understand that for a lot of women it is, but for me it was a very
pleasurable experience. I may have just been lucky, but I think
hypnobirthing gave me the confidence to trust in my body.
Note: 3 reviews were also received for Bradley Method Childbirth Classes
Re: Birthways vs. Kaiser for childbirth prep class
I got sooo much out of Betsy Appell's Zen Hypno-Birthing Class
(www.berkeleydoula.com/zenclass.html). She increased my confidence, was savvy to
hospital and home births, and it was such a calming, relaxing environment to come
to each week. We Learned breathing skills, positions, partner exercises, and more!
She's a fabulous teacher and as my midwife did a beautiful job catching my baby!
Does anyone have any experience with hypnosis for childbirth?
I'm having my first baby this year, and I'm wondering what
experiences, if any, anyone in this community has had with
Hypbirth or any other programs. Any input would be appreciated.
I had a great experience with hypnobirthing (ask me about my
drug-free 2.5-hour first-baby labor!). It doesn't work for
everyone, but if you are already confident that your body was
designed for birth and that there's a ''better way'' than Lamaze,
etc., hypno can give you the tools to achieve your goal.
Definitely check it out and see if it ''clicks'' with you and your
philosophy. I've even used the visualization techniques for
pain management and healing in other (non-birthing) aspects of
my health care. I took my hypno class from Deborah Saliby of
I am seeking information on the wherabouts of my excellent
hygienist from Nate Kaufman's office. Her name is Beth Davie.
The practice was sold and the new owners took over her patients.
Her skills, both personally and professionally are great. I (and
several other patients) want to find out where she went. Does
any one have any information? We would like to follow her to her
Kristin Nemzer is great. she offers classes in SF.
info AT hypnobirthingsf.com
So happy to have a chance to recommend my hypnobirthing coach
and doula, Betsy Appell. You can check out her extensive
qualifications at http://www.berkeleydoula.com . She includes
the option of a free hypnobirthing class when you sign her up as
your doula, or you can just take the class. We went the first
route, and it was fantastic. I had a very long labor - 38+
hours, and used hypnobirthing techniques throughout. The first
night, my husband coached me as Betsy had taught him at home,
and when he fell asleep I continued her techniques on my own.
We were able to labor for more than 24 hours at home quite
comfortably, and thanks to Betsy's training I knew exactly when
to go to the hospital, arriving at 5cm. Because the baby was in
an imperfect position (arm wrapped around head) it took me 8
hours to go from 7 cm to 10 cm, which my books had told me was
the most painful part of labor. With Betsy's help, I was able
to breathe through the contractions and relax my body so deeply
that I almost didn't feel the pain. I spent over an hour at 9
cm, while Betsy guided me through relaxation and visualization,
so calm that without a monitor no one would have known I was
having contractions at all. She's WONDERFUL. Down to earth,
caring, knowledgeable, so excited about helping her clients have
a positive birth experience. I had exactly the birth I hoped
for, and I couldn't have done it without her.
Betsy Appell is an experienced, caring doula specializing in
hypnosis. She was with me for the birth of my first child in 2004
and was fantastic. Her website is berkeleydoula.com.
I took Deborah Saliby's hynobirthing class in 2003 and had a
very successful and satisfying hypnobirth. While I don't have
any experience with other instructors to compare her to, I found
Deborah very compassionate and open. She didn't feel there was
just one ''right'' kind of birth, and wasn't just advocating
natural childbirth as the only route, but instead showing how
hypno can help in many situations. (She herself had a
difficult, high-intervention birth before she discovered hypno,
so she speaks from experience.) She's also a prenatal yoga
instructor and brought some yoga into her teachings as well. I
would recommend her.
I highly recommend doing hypnosis in preparation for and during
a birth. My husband and I worked with a terrific doula -- Betsy
Appell (http://www.berkeleydoula.com) -- for the birth of my
first child in October 2004. She trained us in hypnobirthing
techniques during our pre-natal visits with her, and gave us
great materials -- meditations on CD, relaxation excercises,
readings, etc. -- to use leading up to the birth. These
hypnobirhing techniques made me much more relaxed about going
into the birth, and directly contributed to being able to have a
natural childbirth, even after being induced and having to
discard many other aspects of our birth plan. I will definitely
work with Betsy and use hypnobirthing for my next birth.
Betsy Appell (http://berkeleydoula.com/) is a doula who practices hypnobirthing
and also leads hypnobirthing seminars in an intimate setting. My husband & I
found the techniques we learned in her class quite helpful. She is an experienced
doula who is knowledgeable and easy to be around.
Has anyone tried hypno birthing? Hypnosis to deal with
pain in labor? Private classes, Birthways classes, etc??? If
so, I'd love to hear about your experiences, advice,
suggestions. I'm considering it...
I took a wonderful hypnobirthing class at Natural Resources, a
natural childbirth education center in San Francisco
(www.naturalresourcesonline.com). They meet once a week for
five weeks, if I remember correctly (evening class). I planned
to give birth at a non-hospital facility. I went into labor a
week late and labored at home for 12 hours with absolutely zero
problems and very little pain (somewhat like mild cramps you
might have with a period). Unfortunately for me, my OB and the
midwives who practiced with him, who did not use ultrasound
prior to my due date, didn't know that my baby was breech, with
one leg crossed horizontally over my cervix. Vaginal delivery
wasn't a possibility, despite full dialation. I ended up having !
an emergency c-section after the midwives at the birth facility
saw the baby presenting a single foot instead of a head. So,
although I can't speak to the full birth experience with
hypnobirthing, I moved to full dialation and some pushing and
didn't find the experience particularly painful at all. That
said, I did have some difficulty when I felt the urge to push so
early (common with breech delivery) and was still a long drive
from the birth facility. Things got pretty dicy when we moved
to the hospital from the birth facility for the c-section. In
my opinion, fear had a lot to do with the difficult parts of my
delivery, because once I got frightened (both of the process and
for my baby), I had a very difficult time practicing the
relaxation techniques that had allowed me to progress so far in
labor without pain. Personally, if I have a second child, I
will definitely opt for a VBAC and wor! k with a hypnotherapist
and the hypnobirthing method again. It really seems possible to
me (from my experience) to have a natural delivery with a
minimum amount of pain and distress. And, as a HUGE bonus, your
baby will not be exposed to drugs in utero. Further information
about the course taught at Natural Resources is available at
www.hypnobirthing.com. I'd really recommend the course. Even
if you choose a more medically oriented delivery the
hypnobirthing course is great preparation. Also, my doula was a
fabulous resource. I strongly recommend you have one (I'd
recommend her, but she's not practicing right now due to family
obligations of her own.) I'm no doctor, but if you'd like to
talk to me directly about my experience feel free to contact
me. Best of luck!
I STRONGLY recommend hypnobirthing. I didn't do it myself, but I will for my
next pregnancy! My friend used hypnobirthing for her 2nd pregnancy and said it
was *amazing.* After giving birth to a healthy baby boy, she felt as if she'd
had 12 hours of sleep instead of 12 hours of labor. After a 3 hour nap, she
was ready to go home. While the hypnobirthing won't releive pain *completely,*
it makes it possible for you to relax into it and let your body's natural
endorphins kick in and make it bearable. I have anothe friend who is due at
the end of this month who will be doing hypnobirthing, also. Check it out!
I am pregnant with my first child and I am just overwhelmed
with information on different kinds of birthing classes
(methods). One that seems particularly interesting is
hypnobirthing. Does any one have personal experience with this
method? I would love to hear your experiences and
recommendations on the method itself and on hypnobirthing
Deborah Saliby teaches hypnobirthing seminars and one-day
workshops. We went to a one-day workshop, which was very nice,
and even my super-skeptical husband felt pretty comfortable
with it. Her seminars have gotten a lot of local and worldwide
media attention, of late, so they may fill up fast. Her number
Does hypnobirthing work? I can't say: I ended up having a very
complicated, very early delivery, which was highly medicalized,
as they say (a situation I'm not lamenting: my baby and I would
be dead if it weren't for much maligned Western medicine).
However, as things got scarier, I did find it very useful to
fall back on some of the self-hypnosis and calming breathing
techniques we practiced in the one-day workshop.
Try Deborah Saliby 644-1395, she offers a one-day workshop or a
series. We did the 1 day workshop, it was very good at helping me trust
my body to do its job; birth is not done w/ the intellect! Also her
classes are great and the breathing I learned (and practiced each night)
turned out to be what I used during labor to dissolve the pain and move
along (no meds, most labor at home, a great birth experience).
Try Makini Duewa, a doula certified in hypnobirthing. She'll
be able to tell you more about it and give you classes if
you're interested. Phone is (510) 625-1395.
Try Carolyn Schaffer in Berkeley. I found her voice to be very
soothing and her technique really helped me to relax on my own.
Does it work? Well, I ended up with a c-section due to a breech
discovered at the last minute. However, I can quote something
that Carolyn said when I expressed my fears of what could
potentially go wrong, not allowing me to get to natural birth
process. ''No matter WHAT happens, the more relaxed you remain,
the easier the whole process will be.'' While this may sound
like plain old common sense, it really hit home with me. She
was right. I used the hypnotherapy during my external version
procedure and it did help me to relax. I also used it during
My girlfriend also practiced hypnotherapy (she lives out of the
area, so I can't recommend her teacher) Anyhow, her first birth
couldn't have gone much better. She labored and pushed for a
total of 4 hours and went home that evening. Her second one
was also very fast however, it was an emergency c-section due
to fetal distress. In both cases, she used hypnotherapy to
So, my final thought is that pain manifests differently in
everyone. Using relaxation techniques of any kind are proven
to aid in pain management for most people. It's important to
find what works for YOU, whether it be hypnotherapy, lamaze, or
any other type of relaxation technique. In the end, just
because you practice the art of hypnotherapy or any other
relaxation technique, it doesn't mean you will have an
uncomplicated birth, however, if it helps you to relax just
when you need to most, it will be well worth the effort. I
will definitely try hypnotherapy with Carolyn for my second
Hope this helps!
This is a response to Alesia asking about hypnosis:
I am an RN & Marriage and Family Therapist and include
hypnosis and guided imagery in my private practice. I do groups
and work individually with women using hypnosis and imagery for
child birth. I would be happy to answer any questions and can
be reached at sonja AT imageryworks DOT net
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