I decided to use Hypnobabies for labor preparation. It is supposed to keep you relaxed and focused and some people even have pain-free births. The Hypnobabies Home Study course has 12 scripts. The program requires you to listen to two (approx. 30 minute) scripts per day: Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations which can be listened to in the car and another self-hypnosis script which must be listened to at home by yourself. At 38 weeks or so you can switch to from Joyful Pregnancy to Birthing Day Affirmations. I left my cd in Korea so I never made the switch. I did contact Hypnobabies customer service and after contacting the moderator on the Hypnobabies yahoo Group, I got them to send me the mp3 of Birthing Day Affirmations, but I never got to use it because I had my baby. You also practice your "finger drop technique" 5 times a day.
I bought several supplemental scripts as well: Birth Partner Be Calm and Confident (for Curt), VBAC Success and Turn Your Breech Baby.
From the reviews I read, the closer people followed the program, the better it worked for them. I did really well in my second trimester. The holidays, my persistent breech baby and trying to find a new provider at the last minute, definitely hurt my Hypnobabies practice. I did not practice the finger drop technique much and didn't always listen to both scripts a day because I was listening to the Turn Your Breech Baby script a lot. After the version worked, I was much better about listening to both scripts.
I used the "Peace" and "Relax" cues during the version. I also listened to some scripts on my ipod before the procedure. I definitely think it helped during the version. I did not find it painful like many other people have.
For labor, by the time I realized I was actually in labor, my contractions were 3 minutes apart. I had to lay on the floor of the van for 2 hours to get to the hospital. I listened to the Easy First Stage of Labor Hypnobabies script on my ipod. It made the ride seem a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be. I had my ipod in a sports armband which really helped. I kept it going almost the whole time. There was a point where things got very intense and the script had ended and I did not restart it and I definitely felt a difference. When it came to pushing, I put the Push Your Baby Out script on. I remembered the "Choose to Use Your Hypnosis" principle that they talk about in the program and turned the Push Your Baby Out script on. I did not feel a ring of fire, though I did have a tear. The pushing phase was fairly short and manageable. I was not pain-free for the whole labor, but it was manageable. I just felt discomfort for most of my labor because I didn't even realize I was in labor.
I would totally recommend Hypnobabies. I will definitely use it again if I have another baby. Here are the things that you will get out of the program, guaranteed:
1. The Affirmations script (you listen to in the car) program you with positive messages about birthing which help combat other people's negativity and build your confidence in your ability to give birth.
2. The daily practice requirement, if you follow it, gives you at least a 30 minute relaxation each day which has positive/restorative effects.
3. The program covers everything you need to know about nutrition, interventions and options with further recommended reading if you want to explore a topic further.
4. If you listen to the Birthing Day Scripts: Birthing Day Affirmations, Easy First Stage and Pushing Baby Out, during your birthing time, they will help keep you focused and relaxed. Even if you don't have a pain-free birth, the focus will help keep it very manageable.
The only negative comment I have is about the supplemental scripts. I was rarely able to listen to the 2 required daily scripts plus the supplemental in the same day. I have a 2 year old son and so we listened to the Affirmations in car on the way to wherever we were going for the day and I listened to one script during his nap, but I didn't often find time to listen to another one. I had to make a choice to replace the daily script with the supplemental script. I think the Birth Partner script that I got for my husband was good, though he didn't get a chance to test whether the techniques worked for him since he missed the birth. I did not need the VBAC script. I didn't listen to it very much and I didn't have a traumatic first labor before my c-section so I don't think I needed it. If you did have a traumatic labor that ended in a c-section and are attempting VBAC, then it might be worth it to get the script to try to work some of that out. However, even then, if you follow the regular program, I don't think you need it.
As for the Turn Your Breech Baby script, since this was my second breech baby, I think I would have been better off sticking to the program and not listening to the Breech script. I think it might have stressed me out more than it helped because as the time went on, it felt like history was repeating itself and I lost focus on the regular program. If it is your first breech baby, then I think it might be helpful. If I have a third breech baby, I will probably listen to it since I bought it, but not as much as I did in this pregnancy, only if I have done the daily requirement for the regular program and have time for the supplemental script.
I really liked the Birthing from Within book, which I read during my first pregnancy, but I do not like the pain coping strategies of holding ice to desensitize yourself, etc. Swapping one pain for another is not my thing. I like the Hypnosis method of not talking about or focusing on pain and focusing on relaxation instead.
Anyway, if you are pregnant and looking for a childbirth class, check out Hypnobabies!