Are You A Skeptic?

I would like to address some of the questions I get from a lot of moms (or dads!) who are skeptical of HypnoBirthing.  I am mainly responding to an article in the Daily Mail that can be found here.  The NHS is going to perform a study in the UK to compare the effects of HypnoBirthing to the effects of pain medication in labor.  I am sure looking forward to the results of this study!

First off, let me say that I was, myself, a skeptic.  The first time my midwife mentioned HypnoBirthing, I thought of hippies giving birth in their inflatable bathtubs.  There was no way that was for me.  However, she explained further that it was more about using deep relaxation and visualization exercises to bring about a calm, comfortable birth–not the typical “stage hypnosis” stuff we are so accustomed to associating with the word “hypnosis.”  Well, that sounded like exactly what I was looking for, so I went for it.  If she had told me that one day I’d be a HypnoBirthing instructor, I would have told her she was crazy.

Four years later, here I am.  I am a living, breathing example that HypnoBirthing works (as are my two healthy children)!

Fact: drugs and analgesics typically used for pain relief in childbirth today DO affect both mother AND baby.  Countless studies have shown that using modern medicine in your labor can cause respiratory issues in the newborn, problems with breastfeeding and bonding, post-natal depression, and can even be linked to an increase in autism and similar delays.  If you are like I was, you will probably want to avoid all of the risks associated with these drugs.  But is it possible to have a pain-free childbirth without medication?  The answer is YES!

HypnoBirthing, the method developed by Marie Mongan, is founded on Grantley Dick-Read’s “fear-tension-pain” theory.  He argued that without fear (which leads to tension in the body and, ultimately, pain) there is no place for pain in childbirth.  Scientific information about the chemicals released in the brain during times of stress and times of calm support this theory 100%.  The article I referenced above puts it perfectly:

“Braving the wrath of mothers everywhere, [Dick-Read] wrote: ‘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.’

Dr Dick-Read went on to conclude that fear and tension was responsible for 95 per cent of labour pain, which could be eliminated through relaxation techniques.”

Let’s talk about hypnosis.  Yes, it is true that some people are able to be “hypnotized” by another person through various means (pendulums, spinning spirals, etc.).  However, this is not what hypnosis really is.  Think about a time where you were awake, but unaware of your surroundings.  Perhaps you were driving home from the store and your body went on autopilot.  Suddenly, you realize you made it home without really remembering any of the trip.  I had this happen to me once on the freeway.  I was so focused in my thoughts that I had passed my exit (and the next two!) and not even realized it.  This is hypnosis.  At these times, the mind is extremely suggestible and we are able to access and communicate with the very powerful subconscious.  This is how women are able to birth comfortably without drugs.  They have practiced using visualizations and suggestions (often combined with relaxing music or other comfort items) to achieve a state of hypnosis in which they don’t feel discomfort.  It’s quite simple, and even women who don’t feel they are able to get deeply relaxed can have comfortable childbirths with the tools in the HypnoBirthing method.

I will be completely honest with those I talk to about HypnoBirthing and tell them that I definitely felt pain at times during my labor.  However, the “pain” was more of an intense power within my body that lasted only a few seconds during a surge and was easily manageable.  I never felt the agony that some women describe.  I loved feeling in control of my body and my labor and the feeling of complete ecstasy that consumed me after my babies were gently surged from my body and placed into my arms.  It’s absolutely amazing!

If you are interested in learning more about HypnoBirthing, contact me at  Want to sign up for a class?  Click the “SIGN-UP” link above.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lee McCormack, iHypnobirth. iHypnobirth said: Skeptical about HypnoBirthing? I was too, now I’m teaching it. Not just for hippies! […]

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