Are you a soon to be new mom? Maybe you already have one or two kids, but you want to try something different to make birth and pregnancy a little easier this time? The following is a description of how I work with pregnancy and help you prepare your mind to give birth. At the end is a first hand testimonial from one client's perspective who saw me at my private practice in Boise, ID.
I originally started my career in hypnotherapy focused on pain control and working with the chronically ill. It’s something I still see a lot of, and many of the skills I’ve used to help those with chronic back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc… are directly applicable to helping women give birth.
There are many popular programs including HypnoBabies which utilize the power of hypnosis to help many different people. While the HypnoBaby program is a great one, it is very rigid and does not offer much room for flexibility. For those that want a more customized approach, what I offer is a great solution.
My strategy for pregnancy
The first thing I take into consideration is that everyone is different. That is why during the first session I talk with you about your strengths, fears, goals, struggles, and your unique physical symptoms. Some moms don’t have any morning sickness, others find it to be the defining torture of their pregnancy! The good news is hypnosis can help manage physical symptoms like nausea.
My pregnancy protocol typically lasts between three and five sessions (with an optional session taking place at the hospital). Most new moms find me in towards the end of their pregnancy, but getting a head start earlier can also give you a big advantage.
I use hypnosis and many different psychological strategies to help you do the following:
- Manage your pain during birth
- Instill confidence despite “horror stories” other moms might tell you of their experience
- Eliminate and reduce physical symptoms of pregnancy
- Keep you relaxed so you have a quick birth and easy pregnancy
- Help you sleep better during your pregnancy
- Heal faster after birth
Pain and symptom management
People have used hypnosis to experience a pain free birth. Although I cannot guarantee this, I can assure you that I will give you all the same tools I teach people that come to me specifically for pain issues. These are proven strategies to actively reduce your pain and increase your comfort. It might allow you to reduce your pain by 20%, 40%, 80%, or even eliminate it all together.
Hypnosis is also used for people experiencing acute nausea like those undergoing treatment for cancer. That is one reason that hypnosis is fantastic for morning sickness. I’ve seen a new mom who suffered from morning sickness her whole pregnancy completely eliminate it in a single session. Individual results may very, but the potential for massive improvement is available to everyone.
The following is a first hand testimonial from a client:
“Truthfully, as a first time mom I didn’t know what to expect when it came to labor. I considered myself to be ‘tough’ with a high pain tolerance after years of being an athlete. I have always had an interest in hypnosis. So with my first child I did a self-study of Hypnobirthing, as an attempt to support my desire to have a natural birth. I listened to the CD’s and did the exercises faithfully. When the day came, I found it to be helpful until my pain was at about a 6….and then I felt I was on my own. The labor process was painful to say the least and my daughter came out ‘sunnyside up,’ which made for an hour of difficult pushing and back labor (which from my experience was more painful than “regular labor”). I was surprised by the pain.
When it came to my second kid, I went into it anxious and expecting the same process. Labor was significantly shorter (about 9 hours) with no back labor and it took about 3 pushes and he was born. The pain in some respects was the same…however, I was relieved by the brevity. As the due date approached for my third pregnancy I was met with some apprehension and anxiety. My strategy was to just “survive it” and get through…until I discovered Ben. He inspired me and suggested it didn’t have to be that way. He educated me about the unconscious perception of pain. It made complete sense to me. Because of my prior curiosity in hypnosis I figured there was no better time to put it to the test!
I met with Ben 4 times the month before my due date. We worked on various issues related to labor. We started out with reducing general anxiety around the act of giving birth. I experienced immediate relief. My evidence came after my first session when Ben had suggested that I be unaffected by the “pregnancy horror stories” that other women tell each other. These stories always elevate anxiety ladies…why do we do this to each other? You know the stories…”I gave birth in the car to a 12 pound baby…or both my babies came out sideways.” I attended a girl’s night soon after receiving hypnosis, and wouldn’t you know, the horror stories came out. At one point, one of the ladies said “We shouldn’t be talking about this with you…” To which I replied, “It actually doesn’t bother me.” And it truly didn’t. My anxiety level didn’t go up like in the past. I didn’t start thinking about my biggest fears when it came to the labor. I was very encouraged and looked forward to our next sessions.
In our subsequent sessions, we tackled the difficult topic of pain management. It was hard for me to know its effectiveness until “birth day.” I was eager and encouraged to once again be giving birth (this was a significant change…always looking forward to holding my baby, not so much the labor pains). Ben came to the hospital, as I was being induced, and put me into a trance to enhance our work we had already done. I was relaxed and calm, to which the nurses commented on my demeanor and speed as I walked laps around the ward.
Long story short, I was so effective at managing my pain that neither my husband nor the nurse could tell how far along I was in the process until I told the nurse I needed to push. I remember experiencing a very strong contraction for which I felt my anxiety get triggered. I (my unconscious) quickly spoke up and said “pressure is not pain” and immediately calm melted over me and I used that for the next few contractions which increased in intensity.
I also had a sharp focus on using my hands (another strategy Ben suggested) to divert my brain’s attention to my labor pain. He suggested that maybe I find a rock to squeeze in my hand. I forgot my rock that morning and instead found my 2 year olds matchbox car in my purse. It was the perfect tool. I also squeezed the handle on the bed (I think my husband was relieved that I wasn’t trying to crush his hand). I used that strategy to the point of pushing (this was the point where I felt more pain because it’s a different sensation). I surprised the nurse, who barely had time to call my doctor, and ended up delivering my baby (she was amazing and did a spectacular job)! The baby came very quickly.
My labor was not entirely pain free, however, my ability to perceive and manage my pain were definitely improved. My recovery was short and my body healed quickly (also a suggestion during our hypnosis). Just one week after delivering I had to remind myself I just had a baby. People commented on how great I looked and were surprised at how quickly I recovered.
I could not have responded the way I did without Ben’s help. For me, the experience was a complete success. My needs and goals for the process were met. I went from fearing the labor process to anticipating it with feelings of empowerment and control. If I were to do it again (which I’m not), I would change a few things regarding pain management now that I’m familiar with the process. For example, I had a difficult time describing the pain I felt in my prior labors (i.e. putting into words what I felt) when asked by Ben. This time I definitely paid more attention to how I would describe it (hence the “pressure is not pain” statement helping me, at least I got that one right). I would also focus on the point of transition from labor to pushing. Although it was very quick, I felt as though the sensations were so different from the contraction pain and not something I described to Ben in our work. I think that these modifications highlight the advantages of doing personalized hypnosis. I loved that it was completely customized to my needs and experience. I would highly recommend hypnosis to any mom wanting additional support for a natural birth. I would also highly recommend Ben Schoeffler to anyone wanting to try hypnosis. He is the consummate professional and is driven and committed to client success. He is also incredibly friendly and kind. I felt cared about, supported, and safe in his care!”
Will you make your birth easier with hypnosis?
If you are planning a new family, pregnant with your first child, or even pregnant with your fifth kiddo, I’d love to help you make it a great experience. If you have any questions about me or my process, please e-mail or call me at 208-286-8966. You can also schedule an appointment by clicking at the menu at the top.