Hypnobirthing: Calmer Natural Childbirth (cont.)

She attributes the growing popularity of hypnobirthing partly to the method's openness to medical intervention when necessary, an attitude that she says is often lacking among Bradley patients.

Nurse-midwife Megan Sapp, CNM, FNP, says her Maryland-based practice sees about 40% of patients using hypnobirthing, another 40% using the Bradley method, and the rest using other methods including Lamaze, meditative calm birthing, Birthing from Within, and more.

Sapp tells WebMD that moms who use hypnobirthing tend to have shorter labors compared to other methods.

A 2006 review of five existing studies showed that women who used hypnobirthing techniques were about half as likely to use painkiller drugs, and about one-third as likely to use an epidural.

Safety First

Regardless of the specific hypnobirthing program, there is always the possibility that things don't go as planned during labor, says David Keefe, MD, professor and chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University's Langone Medical Center.

"It's very safe," he says. "However, the key to a successful natural childbirth is having the attitude that you're doing this for yourself, not to please anyone else, and if you can't continue with it for whatever reason, there is nothing wrong with quitting," says Keefe, who is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Keefe says that expectant moms using hypnobirthing should choose a doctor who fully supports the method, and he recommends the delivery take place in a hospital with rapid access to emergency C-section facilities and a neonatal care unit in case of complications.

"This was by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," says Wall, who admits she did feel intense pain during childbirth, though it was not sharp. "But my experience was perfect. People see my son at the grocery store and say what a peaceful baby he is, and I feel hypnobirthing contributed that to him."

Anna Wall, Austin, Texas.
Smith, C. The Cochrane Library, 2006; 4.
Diana Weihs, MD, ob-gyn, Women Partners in Health; fellow, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
David Keefe, MD, ob-gyn, professor, chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University Langone Medical Center; fellow, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Rachel Conard, RN, Women Partners in Health, Austin, Texas.
Megan Sapp, CNM, FNP, nurse-midwife, Special Beginnings, Arnold, Md.
Marie Mongan, MEd, MHy, hypnotherapist; hypnoanesthesiologist, Epsom, N.H.
Carol Thorpe, doula, hypnotherapist, Hypnobabies, Cypress, Calif.
Michelle Leclaire O'Neill, PhD, RN, director, Mind Body Center, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The Birth Connection.
American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth.
Mongan, M. HypnoBirthing - The Mongan Method, Health Communications, Inc. 2005.
Medically Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on April 29, 2011
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Last Editorial Review: 4/29/2011 7:50:41 PM