I'm going to come right out and bluntly state that for the most part, Hypnobirthing is hogwash. Water birthing is close to that. Prenatal yoga? Same group. Eating pineapple to take away pain? Oh that goes on the top shelf with hypnobirthing.
Yes, my friend, I really did try all that. They all had some good points, to be sure, but there was one glaring lie that they all held: That a pain free labor can be achieved. Fellow mothers, you can laugh with me at such an idea.
I am a wimp when it comes to pain. A total, complete wimp. I practically buy ibuprofen in bulk, and take it almost daily (yeah, I know it destroys your liver and that I'll regret it when I'm old). And while I wasn't stupid enough to believe in such a thing as a "pain free birth", I was sure as heck gonna' try everything I could to at least decrease the pain. I had nine months to research and prepare, and that's exactly what I did. Reading through the books and websites for Hypnobirthing, water birthing, prenatal yoga, and herbal remedies, I noticed the very common thread of each practice claiming that "if you followed their method perfectly, then you too could have a gorgeous, pain free, relaxing birth that you would treasure in your memories forever!" Please read that sentence in a corny, sales-pitchy voice.
Well shucks, I don't know about a pain free birth, but I'll sure try it out and at least hope for a more comfortable one! So for nine months I prepped... I did the prenatal yoga every single day, I took a 1.5 mile walk whenever the weather permitted, I drank that nasty raspberry leaf tea twice a day (confession: it's actually not nasty; but after you've had it twice a day, every day, for months upon months, you get really tired of it!), I told the midwife to plan for a water birth, and by golly I memorized that entire hypnobirthing book AND listened to all those CD's that came with it. I know, I know... I sound like such a typical "first time mom" doing all that. But hey, remember the whole pain intolerance thing?
December 10th rolled around, and my water broke at 7am that morning. I dilated from 2cm to 10cm in a span of three hours. And you know what I very quickly learned? Contractions hurt LIKE THE DICKENS! Like a good girl, I did everything that I had learned over the months. I ate the pineapple to help calm the pain, I relaxed as much as possible, I did the slow, deep breathing, I got in the nice warm tub... I did it all, but I sure didn't feel like I was even getting mild relief despite all my efforts!
The irony of it all peaked when I was five hours into heavy labor, and my midwives (by now I had amassed four of them) began telling me to push. Push!?!? I just spent almost nine months reading material that told me that under no circumstances should a woman push if she wants a gentle, pain free labor! And here I was, being told by everyone in the room to push as hard as I could! It was in that crazy, foggy-brained moment that I declared all my learning to be a load of crap. And I began pushing for all I was worth.
After twelve hours, little Travis was FINALLY born, and I decided that I wouldn't waste my time with that hypnobirthing book again. There is no such thing folks, as a pain free labor. Some people may be blessed to have less painful birth if they're built right and they have a small baby, but I don't think anyone can claim to have had a comfortable time.
Now, I will admit that each one of those methods did help a little in some way or another, and the accumulated efforts of it all was probably what saved me from having to have an emergency C-section. The raspberry tea helped strengthen those necessary muscles, and helped me heal completely by 3 weeks postpartum. The hypnobirthing helped me handle the early, less-intense contractions, the prenatal yoga allowed me to regain my original weight and waistline by two weeks postpartum, and the water birth... Actually, the water birthing didn't do a thing for me and turned out to be more detrimental to my situation. Oh, and the pineapple sure didn't help the pain in any form or fashion!
Moral of the story: save yourself some time and trouble; instead of memorizing the hypnobirthing book, go take a nap. You'll gain more from the nap.