For nine months all pregnant women can think about is the birthing process. This process is both terrifying and exciting. Most women don't know what to expect, they know it is going to be painful, but they are not quite sure how much. Since pain is different for everyone, it is hard to assess how much pain any one women will have. However this pain can be managed, not through drugs but through help.
The OBGYN typically discusses the birthing plan in the first few visits. Some women want natural childbirth, while others want to have drugs or other new methods such as underwater births. The choices are endless and making this decision is on which should not be taken lightly and should be thought through before deciding on a final plan.
You know there are going to be painful things happening during childbirth, just the thought of squeezing a baby the size of a watermelon through an opening the size of a lemon is a scary to say the least. You know there will be pain and it will take hours. You know it will take weeks to recover from either natural childbirth or a c-section and typically you are not able to be on your feet for long periods which is unreasonable with a new baby. Some women become so nervous that they psych themselves out and the whole process becomes unpleasant and the baby is born into an unhappy environment.
Pain free child birth is something every woman wants but with the least amount of risk to herself and her baby. An epidural will help the mother feel minimal pain, but can sometimes leave the mother out of it or she may be allergic to the drugs and not know it until they are administered. Lamaze breathing can help reduce pain during natural childbirth but still the conscious thought of pain can cause tension and anxiety which can create high blood pressure causing danger to both mom and baby.
A lot of women are experimenting with a new form of childbirth pain management called hypnoanesthesia. Hypnosis allows you many things such as relaxing through the pain and contractions which will keep your blood pressure low and anxiety under control. You are able to choose to feel labor pains as part of the birthing experience or simply choose to relax them away. You can avoid using medications and be alert and ready to hear your baby's cry for the first time. Hypnosis is thought to decrease labor by at least three hours making it seem just a little more manageable.
The hypnosis technique can be transferred to a nurse, husband or other partner and they will be able to help the mother maintain the state of relaxation through different cues and suggestions which will help her in labor.
There are ways out there to clam yourself through childbirth but they do not always have to involve drugs and you do not always just have to deal with the pain. Child birth is a happy, exciting and beautiful experience for all new mothers. As a new mother it is your choice how you want to delivery your baby, but before you make a decision for your baby, you need to decide what will put both of you at ease, research all your options before making this important decision.
Patrick Glancy, NGH Board Certified Hypnotist