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September 21, 2010:
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What Professionals are Saying:

"It was amazing to watch someone labor with seemingly no pain!" - Laurie Perrin, Obstetrician

"This is how all births should be! Calm, focused, relaxed." - Sid Kamrava, Obstetrician

"Absolutely marvelous! I would have never believed it if I had not seen it. My client was so focused and yet so comfortable all through labor, enough to even brush her teeth at 8cms. I will definitely recommend Anne's HypnoBirthing classes to all my clients. Thank you Anne..." - Jill Colin, Certified Professional Midwife

"Wow! Your baby is so much calmer than most of the newborn babies I see. I need to learn more about HypnoBirthing!" - Lee McGarey, Pediatrician

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Teaching through sharing:

At first, Joe and Heather Mayer weren't keen on a reporter/photographer team from the Review-Journal witnessing the birth of their second child.

They viewed the birthing experience as a private affair, "the most spiritual time in a family's life."

The couple eventually decided to share their experience as a way to help others.

"We understand that very few people believe childbirth can be without pain, that such an experience goes against the grain of virtually everything people have been told," Joe Mayer said. "So by allowing you to share our experience with others, maybe they will believe it can be done and maybe we can make a positive difference in the world by giving people another option."

Heather Mayer said, "I want people to see that giving birth doesn't have to be what we're always told, that it's the worst pain you'll ever go through. I've found that through HypnoBirthing techniques that childbirth is the most wonderful thing I've ever been through. You get to embrace your body and realize how wonderful it has been made to bring another life into this world. And by having a child where your husband is actively involved, you become closer than ever before.

"If I give people the option to see it's possible to truly enjoy what should be the most spiritual time of your life, I think that's a good thing."


More News about HypnoBirthing:

Language of birth altered

Las Vegas Review-Journal Sunday, March 06, 2005 Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal


Method helps mother 'breathe her baby into the world'
When Anne Swanson was pregnant in 2002, friends advised her that she would need help dealing with the pain of childbirth.

"I thought I'd have an epidural like everyone else," she said.

But then her doctor told her that this most-used anesthetic of mothers-to-be, which numbs the lower part of the body, couldn't be administered because her spine had been fused after surgery to correct scoliosis.

"The doctor said that to insert the needle between the vertebrae you have to be able to bend the spine, and he couldn't do that with me," she said.

Worried about what to do, she went to the Internet. That's where she came across classes for HypnoBirthing, which promised a more comfortable and often painless childbirth through self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques.

A California resident at the time, she took the classes and later used the techniques to give birth in a hospital without the use of an anesthetic.

Couples who take classes in HypnoBirthing in Las Vegas now see Swanson on videotape giving birth to her daughter. She appears to be asleep through much of the birth.

"People thought there was no way I was in labor when they saw me in bed," said Swanson, who moved to Las Vegas two years ago and now teaches the HypnoBirthing method throughout the Las Vegas Valley. "There was no screaming. It's actually pretty boring to look at."

Swanson became a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner last year.

It was Swanson who gave a refresher course in HypnoBirthing to Joe and Heather Mayer, who used the method for the birth of Maxelyn Grace Mayer on Jan. 25. They originally had taken the course in California before the birth of their son, Gunnar.

About 50 couples in Las Vegas have taken the course, which consists of five 2 1/2 hour sessions. Course materials include the book "HypnoBirthing -- A Celebration of Life," as well as two audiotapes. One tape creates a state of self-hypnosis, leading an individual into a deeply relaxed state for easier birthing. Men are taught how to prompt their partner into this state.

Some women choose to listen to the self-hypnosis tape while in labor. The other tape contains uplifting birthing affirmations.

Techniques for slow-paced breathing also are taught, which Swanson said help the mother "breathe her baby into the world."

"When the natural process of birthing is respected, it is enjoyable, exciting, spiritual, exhilarating and miraculous," Heather Mayer said.

"I was brought up around animals in Colorado, and I used to watch them go off and have their babies without screams," Joe Mayer said. "Heather did the same thing with Gunnar."

What is taught in HypnoBirthing classes today is based on the work of English obstetrician Dr. Grantly Dick-Read in the '30s. American hypnotherapist Marie Mongan refined his approach by incorporating self-hypnosis techniques in the '80s.

Practicing medicine in the 1920s, Dick-Read generally used chloroform, a drug that rendered women unconscious, for the birth pain. But one night he witnessed a woman refuse chloroform and still give birth without a problem.

When he asked the woman whether she had suffered during the birth, she replied: "It didn't hurt. It wasn't meant to, was it, doctor?"

That experience caused the doctor to study childbirth, eventually resulting in his landmark book "Childbirth Without Fear," published in 1933. It wasn't until the '50s that his teachings found a receptive audience in the United States.

In his book, he wrote: "There is no physiological function in the body that gives rise to pain in the normal course of health. In no other animal species is the process of birth apparently associated with any suffering, pain or agony, except where pathology exists or in an unnatural state, such as captivity."

The fear felt by a woman during childbirth, Dick-Read hypothesized, caused blood to stream away from her uterus, so it could be used by leg and arm muscles to fight or flee the dangerous situation. This meant that the uterus was left without oxygen and was unable to perform its functions efficiently or without pain.

This hypothesis led to Dick-Read's theory that fear and tension cause the labor pains in about 95 percent of birthing women. He called this "the fear-tension-pain syndrome of childbirth," suggesting that an elimination of fear would allow women to return the uterus to normal function, eliminating the pain.

Education and relaxation tips, Dick-Read said, would help many women, but he also recognized that some women could not overcome their fear of childbirth and would need medication. He also understood that sometimes there are emergencies where medical intervention is necessary.

"One thing that is important for people to know," said Joe Mayer, "is that the evolvement of Dick-Read's philosophy into HypnoBirthing has not changed the way medical intervention is viewed. HypnoBirthing is not against doctors or hospitals. You can do HypnoBirthing in the hospital if you'll just have a doctor who won't push drugs at you all the time.

"HypnoBirthing realizes that sometimes there are emergencies where medical intervention is needed. If anybody thinks I would let Heather die to follow some principle, they're nuts."

One woman who was particularly impressed with Dick-Reed's work was Marie Mongan of New Hampshire, a college dean who had two of her four children without anesthesia 50 years ago while using his methods.

To help her children have comfortable, natural childbirths, she decided to enhance Dick-Reed's work, developing new relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques that promote the natural release of the body's own endorphins. These hormones are 200 times stronger than morphine, allowing for a more comfortable birthing experience. In

1989 HypnoBirthing was born. Mongan believes she even made the language of birth "less painful sounding and more caring."

There are no "contractions," but there are "surges." There is no "pain," but there is "discomfort." Babies are "birthed," not "delivered."

"Pizzas are delivered, not babies," Mongan, now 72, said in a phone interview from Arizona.

Mongan said that "when women are allowed to call on their natural instincts, birthing works beautifully." She said HypnoBirthing allows women to be awake and aware of what to do and relaxed enough to cope with any discomfort.

"A large number of doctors don't want to be part of HypnoBirthing because they are specialists -- not in normal births that most women have -- but in the abnormal, when something goes wrong," she said. "They've got women so frightened that a large number of women are opting for Caesarean sections. Doctors can make more money off them that way."

Studies show that about one-fourth of America's annual 4 million births are C-sections. The number of U.S. women who choose to deliver their infants by C-section when the procedure is not medically indicated is increasing, according to researchers at Boston University. More than 80,000 American women in 2001 had elective C-sections, an increase of 67 percent since 1991.

"We're talking about having unnecessary major abdominal surgery with all the possible complications that come with that, basically because of fear," Mongan said. "If we were supposed to give birth that way, girls would be born with zippers across their stomachs."

Thousands of women around the globe now have given birth using HypnoBirthing, but its techniques remain relatively unknown.

Dr. Florence Jameson, chief of obstetrics at Sunrise Hospital, said she is eager to see HypnoBirthing in action.

"If HypnoBirthing works, I'm certainly open to it," she said. "It would seem to make birth a more spiritual experience, which I'm all in favor of."