The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


Visualization and Self-Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy/HypnoBirthing®

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

See also:

Subsections on this page:

Resources - Hypnosis for Pregnancy and Birth

Blissful Birth is my favorite program for pregnancy relaxation and birth preparation because they use Hemi-Sync technology along with more traditional techniques.  Rob Woodgate's slight British accent and tenor voice are very pleasant and relaxing.  This is the guided imagery relaxation method that I'm using for myself now.  You can register and get a free sample of their work.

Effective Birth Preparation: Your Practical Guide to a Better Birth by Maggie Howell (Dec 15, 2009) - Maggie Howell is also the creator of the very excellent Natal Hypnotherapy audio birth resources.

The Learning Center - The Theory & Practice of Dr. Miller’s Approach to Mind-Body Medicine from Dr. Emmett Miller.

Mind-body therapies: are the trial data getting stronger?
Ernst E, Pittler MH, Wider B, Boddy K.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Sep-Oct;13(5):62-4.

The effectiveness of mind-body therapies is sometimes doubted. The aim of this article is to evaluate trends in the development of the evidence base for autogenic training, hypnotherapy, and relaxation therapy. For this purpose, a comparison of 2 series of systematic reviews was conducted. The first is related to the evidence base in 2000, the second to that in 2005. Both employed virtually the same methodology and criteria for evaluation. The results of our comparisons show considerable changes during the observation period. The weight of the evidence has become stronger for several indications, and the direction of the evidence has been altered in a positive sense in several conditions. Applying the rules of evidence-based medicine, the following mind-body therapies are now supported by strong evidence: hypnotherapy for labor pain and relaxation therapy for anxiety and insomnia, as well as for nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. It is concluded that an evidence-based approach for mind-body therapies is constructive and can generate positive results.

The Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure [2/2/13] - 8 habits that stimulate your vagus nerve and keep you calm, cool, and collected.

Although this was written about athletics, it applies equally well to the ability to relax while in labor, which is, after all, the ultimate grace under pressure.

Here are two key points from this article:

2. Practice, Practice, Practice. In a Psychology Today blog entry called No. 1 Reason Practice Makes Perfect, I wrote about the power of your cerebellum to store muscle memory and allow you to perform gracefully under pressure. Without extensive practice we are forced to rely too much on the ‘executive function’ of our prefrontal cortex. Anytime you 'over-think' your performance you are more likely to choke, fumble and drop the ball.  Arthur Ashe called this “paralysis by analysis." Once the cerebellum is running the show your vagus nerve engages which helps create fluidity in your thoughts and actions.

5. Use neuroplasticity to re-wire habits of positive thinking.  By generating positive emotions and a learned optimism you will ‘fire-and-wire’ together neural networks associated with a mindset that will give you grace under pressure.

CPT-4 Code

Procedure Code 90880    Medical Hypnotherapy

Certification Training in the Peterson Model of Holistic Childbirth Preparation, Prenatal Counseling and Body-Centered Hypnosis For Childbirth Professional from Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD. This is the ultimate training for birth professionals.  I believe Gayle used to practice as a midwife?

Body-Centered Hypnosis for Pregnancy and Childbirth:  PREGNANCY, BIRTH AND MIDWIFERYby Gayle Peterson, Ph.D. MSSW

There was a review of the literature, titled Hypnosis in Reproductive Health Care: A Review and Case Reports by David Baram, MD, in the journal BIRTH, Vol. 22, no 1, March 1995, pp. 37-42. There are also several books by Gayle Peterson, PhD, who has her own method of body-centered hypnosis: Birthing Normally, An Easier Childbirth, and Pregnancy as Healing Vols. 1 & 2 (with Lewis Mehl, MD). If they are interested in visualizations, Carl Jones has written several books on the use of visualization for childbirth preparation and labor (Mind Over Labor, and Visualizations for an Easier Childbirth).

Birth Resources with Gayle Peterson

Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis: A Clinical Model by Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD

Cascade has a variety of audio products, including some of the guided visualizations described here.

positive affirmations for birth - lovely visual relaxation aid

“Pregnancy Product of the year 2006” by Practical Parenting - one of the UK’s leading parenting magazines

You can also get her book, Effective Birth Preparation by Maggie Howell

Maggie Howell of Natal Hypnotherapy in the UK offers hypnosis CDs:
    * Prepare to conceive
    * Overcome Morning Sickness
    * Pregnancy Relaxation
    * Hospital Birth Preparation
    * Home Birth Preparation
    * VBAC preparation
    * Fast Post Natal Recovery
    * Relaxing Birth Music £10 (Only the music - no guided visualisation)

Maggie sent me a review copy of her VBAC CDs, and I was VERY, VERY impressed with it.  I have a background in hypnotherapy and am now a midwife, so I'm very sensitive to all the issues of hypnosis for VBAC, and I thought Maggie did an excellent job.  The guided relaxation is exquisitely sensitive to the issues of VBAC, and I would think any woman planning a VBAC would benefit tremendously from listening to this on a regular basis.  Maggie's website makes it easy to order these CDs from other countries, so don't hesitate!

Relaxation and Self Hypnosis MP3 for Labour from blissfulbirth.co.uk

HypBirth - a new  Home Study Course

FREE Childbirth Hypnosis Sensation Control MP3 download from jenniferwolfeyoga.com

Great article on Hypnosis for Birthing from BirthLove [Ed: birthlove.com is not available at this time.]

Pregnancy Visualisation CD from Vicki Bennett in Australia.

This is a shameless plug for the services of a friend of mine: Dan Craft, PhD, SeizeTruth.com, Professional Life Coaching to help you move your life toward what you want it to be.  His services are available by phone.  I have known Dan for about 20 years, and I have seen him make tremendous changes in moving his life towards what he wants it to be; I know he can help you, too.  I have a fair amount of experience with guided visualization, affirmations and coaching, and I was very impressed with his Vicarious Coaching CD, which can be mailed for just $4.95 (after follow-through rebate).

Hypnosis for Childbirth - Four- One hour video classes, with six audio hypnosis tapes by Wendi Friesen , a HypnoBirthing® educator

Hypnobabies - Hypnobabies Home Study Course:  Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis from Kerry Tuschhoff

Evolution of a Childbirth Educator by Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI
JOPPPAH 17(2), Winter, 2002, p. 123
Well worth reading if you can get your hands on it!  Here's a revised version of this article from Kerry.
She's affiliated with a Hypnobabies e-mail group.

Hypnobabies offers additional guided CDs for nausea, VBAC, twins, planned cesarean.

A Midwife's Experience with Hypnobabies  Hypnobabies Blog - "As a midwife, my Hypnobabies births are easy on me as I am dealing with healthy and informed families ready for the challenges ahead – and they are a blessing to the families as the tools and information given to them through their classes help them have the best outcomes possible!!"

[NOTE - I'm concerned that this web page may violate the registered trademark of HypnoBirthing® in its use of the word Hypnobirthing.]

The Leclaire Hypnobirthing Method - Your baby's easy way out! - Bringing Peace to the World one baby at a time.  CE's available for CNM's, RN's, Childbirth Educators, Doulas, Michelle Leclaire O'Neill Ph.D., R.N. is the author of Creative Childbirth Book and the creator of several hypnosis audiotapes and other resources.

Imagery Birthing Center - They offer a home study course.  (Individual titles include, "Bonding", "Releasing Fears", "Self Anesthesia", "Turn, Turn, Turn" (for breeches) and "Flow, Flow, Flow" (for milk production issues.)

CMLowe Programs & Resources, including hypnosis

The Mind Body Connection: Imagery for Labor and Birth

Prenatal Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis and Natural Childbirth - from Dr. Larry Deutsch, a family practice doc in Ottawa

Gary's Official EFT™ Tutorial - The Emotional Freedom Technique - can be self-taught, so is effectively free.

eftuniverse.com - The Emotional Freedom Technique - a wealth of resources

The Natural Childbirth Program - This site is dedicated to the spreading of knowledge in the area of natural childbirth, with information on the use of relaxation and suggestive therapy to instil calmness throughout pregnancy and birth, thus allowing a truly natural birth.

HypnoSoft Internet Hypnosis - Create a custom, talking hypnosis on the Internet. Send to any email. Your own topic, or choose from 32 prepared topics including: stress, anxiety, pain, pregnancy morning sickness, giving birth, more.

Think Labor Will Hurt? Hypnosis Might Help! by Abbi Perets

A Selection of Audio Tapes on Meditation and Healing - "Moon Over Water" is recommended in The Waterbirth Handbook

Childbirth preparation through hypnosis: the hypnoreflexogenous protocol.
Schauble PG, Werner WE, Rai SH, Martin A
Am J Clin Hypn 1998 Apr;40(4):273-83

"The method provides a "conditioned reflex" effect conducive to a positive outcome for labor and delivery by enhancing the patient's sense of readiness and control."

Changes in the Meaning of Pain with the Use of Guided Imagery [7/14/05]
Wendy Lewandowski, RN, PhD, CS; Marion Good, RN, PhD, FAAN; Claire Burke Draucker, RN, PhD, CS

Autogenic training - Around 1900 Vogt developed autohypnosis. It was noticed that patients reported less tension. Somewhat later, around 1932, a German ,named   Johannes Scultz, developed a training which he called autogenic, or (self-regulation) The benefits are similar to other meditative and relaxation techniques.

Visualization for a Loving Birth by Caroline Fitzgerald, C.H. (Certified Hypnotherapist) - a script

A Free Course in Autogenic Training  A Practical Guide  in Six Easy Steps  by Karl Hans Welz

The Euphoria Tape - an explanation of how it works

Autogenic Training

The five things I have found related to hypnosis and pregnancy are:

  1. "HypnoBirthing®" by Suzanne Grandon. this is a 33 hour format, and sometimes offered as a weekend during the summer. Cost: $475 for a 50 hours class taught at the Tacoma Community college. You must be experienced in Hypnosis before taking this course. Pam, an ICEA teacher who also now is being trained in hypnosis took the intensive this summer, and I will be meeting with her tomorrow, and look at some of the curriculum She felt some things were quite rigid, and that the material were not current with present thoughts about active labor.
  2. A set of four videos by Gerald Kein: Painless Childbirth. Cost $175 from Omni Hypnosis Training Center. I felt the concepts were good in these, but obviously this man (Gerald) has never had a baby, and I felt he was quite patronizing to the woman. Also, the videos were of average quality...I had expected a more professional presentation. ((OMNI Hypnosis Training Center: 197 Glenwood Road, Deland, FL, 32720. Phone: 904-738-9188). Send for their catalog. (gkein@aol.com)
  3. Claudia Lowe, Clinical Hypnotherapist with a course of Guided Self-Hypnosis for Childbirth and Beyond. Her address: CM Lowe, 4 David Court, Novato, CA, 94947. She also has a book about Guided Self-Hypnosis available through ICEA that is pretty good, and I lend it out to couples/women interested in hypnosis. (ADDED NOTE: CM Lowe now has a WWW site too...)
  4. Have you searched hypnosis on THE WEB ?? There are lots of things, and in one area I found some "Scripts" which I have copied and have among my stuff. I don't have a clue where I found them, but just play around with hypnosis.
  5. Have you found the hypnosis newsgroup? Not much on birthing, but lots of other interesting topics. **alt.hypnosis** I am learning hypnosis from Roy Hunter, the man who wrote the FAQs for the list. He is in Federal Way, about an hour from here, and we are doing a private course. His course is also offered through the community college) (rhunter@halcyon.com)
Some other suggestions: "Creating a Joyful Birth Experience" by Lucia Capacchione
Self-Hypnosis by Altman

The following is a blatant plug - I have no experience with these products, and can't endorse them, but they might be worth a look...
From: Steve Gordon- Hypnoworks (Hpnowrks4u@aol.com)

I am a hypnotherapist, a recording artist and a hands on healer. If anyone has any questions on mind\body healing feel free to contact me. I have tapes available for insomnia, stress relief, pregnancy and labor, pain relief, fear of the dentist, relax while having a massage and more. I also make custom tapes. I offer a money back guarantee. To order your tape send 14.95 plus tax in Ca. to Steve Gordon 1406 Azalea Dr. Carpinteria Ca. 93013 or call me at (805) 684-4184. I really do wish you well.

From Williams' Obstetrics, 1929, p. 365: "Hypnotism - From time to time, various observers, among whom may be mentioned Leichstein, and Cocke, have reported instances in which labor was painlessly conducted under the influence of hypnotism.  Rhonhof, Kirsten and others have reported a series of cases in which it was used with extraordinary success. Personally I have seen it employed successfully in a single instance, and consider that its field of usefulness is very limited, for the reason that the patient must be a susceptible subject, and one who has already been hypnotized on previous occasions."

What Benefits Might I Expect From Using Guided Imagery To Prepare For Surgery? - Although this site is primarily about preparing for surgery, it gives a lot of useful information about guided imagery and the mind-body connection.

Some free guided meditations from the Meditation Garden.

Books About Hypnosis

Books by Claudia Lowe:

  1. Guided self-hypnosis for cb and beyond - $15.

  2. Includes highlights of hypnosis, breathing awareness and exercises, relaxation basics, affirmations, meditations and more.
  3. 292 Labor support tips, techniques and ideas - $11

  4. Resource guide contains info directly related to labor support. Includes listings of labor support orgs.
  5. Becoming a childbirth assistant: the Lowe method - helping women to birth with clarity and confidence - $25

  6. Written to reflect the Lowe method, this manual is meant to provide a resource for individuals who provide care as birth support providers, in particular as cb assistants.


A word from Mickey Mongan, Founder of HypnoBirthing®

There is much misinformation and presupposition about using hypnosis to prepare for childbirth and how it affects the course of birthing.

Many feel that teaching a mom to use  self-hypnosis is teaching her to dissociate or "escape" from her birthing by mentally bringing herself to a tropical island or some other "safe place" (What does that say about labor?) while her body endures the rigors of childbirth.

Since the emergence of HypnoBirthing® in 1989, there have been many hypnotherapists, who are not childbirth educators, who have adopted exactly that approach--to "mask pain" by distracting the mother from it.  That is not the case with HypnoBirthing®.

The basic premise in HypnoBirthing® is that when a mother is totally and completely relaxed, she is able to bring her body into a limp state that allows her body and baby to do what they know how to do without "meddlesome interference." (Hippocrates)

Since it is a physiological law that healthy muscles can perform normal, physiological functions without "pain or peril," it can be inferred that healthy women, carrying healthy babies, can accomplish normal birthing without pain or peril. It happens everyday for many women who trust their bodies--with or without HypnoBirthing®. HypnoBirthing® is merely taking the message to a broader audience.

There is no physiological reason for pain in childbirth.

We teach the pregnant family to understand that when mom is relaxed, and free of the fight-flight-or-freeze response, her own Autonomic Nervous System steps in to release endorphins and enables her to bring herself into a state of well being that negates the secretion of catecholamines--those constrictor hormones that are believed to be heavily present in birthing.

HypnoBirthing® does teach dissociation, but it is dissociation from the myths and the complicated birth scenarios that healthy women must endure throughout their growing up years and through their pregnancies.

For that reason, detailed explanations of cumbersome birthing, complete with discussions of all that can go wrong is not present in HypnoBirthing® classes. Calm, confident HypnoBirthing® mothers are better able to go into their birthing bodies to birth with their babies.  They talk to their babies with birth affirmations throughout their pregnancies and during labor, and they use breathing that works with the birthing muscles during the thinning and opening phase of labor and while they breathe their babies down to birth. Animal mothers are not taught birthing anatomy, or stages of labor; and, yet, they accomplish birthing easily, and in a calm and serene state. HypnoBirthing® mothers take a page from their book. The result is calm, confident, and alert mothers birthing at home, in hospitals and birthing centers in  water, standing, kneeling, on birthing stools, and in any way they prefer, free of distractions that cause discomfort.

Anything that one might consider "missing" in the  HypnoBirthing® curriculum is not an oversight. It is a deliberate omission. Healthy women, carrying healthy babies do not need to be exposed to anything but joyful birthing, and certainly do not need to view birth as a medical calamity waiting to happen.  Birth is broken, and we don't want to perpetuate much of what has broken it and caused women to feel that they need interventions in order to be "rescued and fixed". The result is that many women experience short, comfortable labors, like those of the Hebrew women in the time of Moses, that last no longer than three hours. Even those that are longer are joyful births and they leave their birthing beds vowing to have their next birth at home or in a birthing center.  The paradigm is shifting.

  Mickey Mongan, Founder

HypnoBirthing® - A Celebration of Life

HypnoBirthing allows a new state of mind to be a new state of labor


We have hypnobirthers here in our community. I can honestly say that they do not appear to be any more relaxed and controlled than the Bradley moms. It seems as though they may be different paths to the same end. Both groups seem to be more relaxed and in control that the moms who had other or no preparation. There are always moms who prepare using a method and then can't "do it" in labor. That is where it is vital to have a good midwife or doula attending, who can help the mother find what will work best for her.

I'm a midwife and a hypnotherapist. It's been my experience that prenatal hypnosis and Bradley do seem to allow birthing women to attain comparable relaxation states. However, I do find that the posthypnotic suggestions seem to have more positive effects.

HypnoBirthing® seems to be all the rage lately. I was wondering what, if any, experience you midwives have had with it and what your thoughts are. I was also wondering what is your favorite way of birthing is..waterbirth, hypnobirth, birthing chairs/stools...What seems to work the best most often, be of least discomfort to the Mom and so forth.

I felt the HypnoBirthing® was very limited in its scope, politically extremely naive and passive, and some of the physiology taught was just plain wrong. Again, it focuses on PAIN as the issue (avoidance of). I much prefer Gayle Peterson's stuff. See her webpage at www.askdrgayle I went on to become a certified hypnotherapist after taking the HypnoBirthing® course (Marie Mongan's) There is also HypnoBirthing® by a woman in California which predates Marie's. Some women do very well with it, just as some women swear by the old fashioned LaMaze. Overall, hypnosis has great potential--but I was not impressed by the HypnoBirthing® course, either for birth people (who learned a little but not enough hypnosis) or for the hypnotherapists (who definitely didn't learn good birth stuff)

Wow, I really appreciate your comments. I would really like to know the specific issues that your found. What were the "birth stuff" issues you had with the teachings. I am interested in taking the course and I would really like to know if it is not going to be much more than a new fangled LaMaze. It sure wouldn't be worth it to me if that is what it is. I don't really have a problem with helping women to avoid pain. Not if it doesn't entail spinal injections and drugs, I think that would be very nice to be able to do, but, if this turns out to be a weak set-up like LaMaze, where the onus of "pain-relief" becomes the birthing mother's job to focus and breathe the pain away with techniques that are just overwhelmingly known to be insufficient for most women, then I may have to rethink this. I am Ok with the HypnoBirthing® course being politically passive in its teaching. I am going to learn the techniques, I already have my own political position. They teach to nurses who work in L&D wards at hospitals, so there is very likely some adjustment for the political climate they have to deal with, or they would not be able to get them to attend. I'm wondering now about this more than ever. Please share more of what you experienced.

I feel the last post on HypnoBirthing® was so negative as to turn away people from something that is a truly wondrous addition to the Natural Childbirth Movement. When I looked into HypnoBirthing®, what I found was a way to utilize some amazing techniques for difficult situations and apply it to the normal birth-quite successfully I might add. The difficulty being that the birth attendants are most often the ones who 'disrupt" the mother in her ability to maintain a low level trancelike state where she allows her body to give birth without mental interference. Much like the Bradley method (I used for years with my clients) when women use the deep relaxation so effectively that as labor progresses they truly let go into the birth and relax so totally they appear to be asleep in transition or in a trance. It is not often the Bradley trained women were able to do this-but sometime they do as they "get it' that this is what is really working to let the baby come out without them interfering. Few women can relax that fully and trust that fully. HypnoBirthing® gives a women a way to get into that space and follow through with it. It is actually the "midwives" who are just as likely if not more to interfere with HypnoBirthing® as it does not fit their experience with birth-I know midwives of 25 years who would really not be able to accept HypnoBirthing®. It is because it is a totally new paradigm for birthing-it takes a whole new view of why and how babies come out. And this practice disempowers the midwife in many of the ways she used to be powerful and often the most needed. I've seen some amazing things with HypnoBirthing®.. It changed my whole view of why and how babies come out-and why they may not seem to be wanting to. In this day and age, HypnoBirthing® could play a very important part in changing maternity care-it is actually something that can be done successfully in hospitals-nothing like blocking out what is going on around you there ? huh? HypnoBirthing® has such incredible health benefits too-I will expound on them at another time.

I agree that the training is somewhat naive in the political sense.  It is not always accurate or complete in her physiology. BUT what I do support is the simplicity. I do not agree that it takes a great deal of training in hypnotherapy to support women to use HypnoBirthing® during her labor. There are a very few women who may need the benefit of the more "involved" hypnosis methods. But as a childbirth method it is quite acceptable for most women. The training is quite clear that when someone is seen struggling with HypnoBirthing® techniques that they be referred to someone who can help them with what is making it difficult for them. Or that they receive further help. She is quite open to the fact that there are women who will not slip comfortably into this and will need further help. But isn't that true with any "birthing method." Unfortunately I think this method can too easily be disrupted by the "caregivers" and it is important that more education about HypnoBirthing® be done to educate the caregivers, so that they can be supportive and not undermine the mothers progress by demanding she "get up and walk" etc.. As for the other things lacking, Mickey is working hard at creating a more thorough training program for childbirth education.

I agree that hypnosis in birth can be very effective. I teach a form of self-hypnosis called "Imagery Birthing" and I go with the women I teach as a doula. Here is my description of a birth I attended this morning:

The mom called me around 9:30 pm to say her water had broken but that she wasn't in any hurry to get to the hospital and Dr. A had told her to stay home as long as she likes.

By 11:00 she called to ask me to come to her place... but I could tell by her voice that it was time to go up to the hospital. But I thought we still had enough leeway that I told her she was the one calling the shots and I'd come to the house. Before I could get there, though, they paged me to say forget it... the were going in.

I met them around 12:30. At 1:00 the mom was 4cm and 100% at 0 station. Handling it all very well. The nurses were of the mind set that we had a long way to go. My intuition was... "we'll have a baby around 4 am." The contractions were very strong and because of the IB... the nurses just weren't seeing it.... so they just left us alone figuring we had a long way to go.

At about 2:00 my client got a little panicky. We put on the "color anesthesia" tape and listened to the whole thing 2 times. She got very relaxed and went to sleep. For about 40 min. the only way we knew she was having a contraction is she would rock back and forth on the birth ball. She stayed asleep during those contractions. After the 40 min. was up she woke up and said "Susan, my labor has stalled." I said "No, T, you are just using the technique well." She drifted in and out of sleep and then, around 3:30 she woke up and got panicky again.

I said, at that point, "T, you are going into transition. Get in the bath tub and the water will help you open the rest of the way. She did a few contractions on the toilet... then got into a warm bath. By the second contraction in the tub she was pushing involuntarily. I let her do that about 4-5 times and then called the nurse to check her.

At about 4:00 they told her to push and called the resident. By 4:14 we had a baby. T screamed during crowning (mainly because they scared her with their rushing about)... but other than that you would never have known she was so close to having a baby!

Incredible. To be honest, I am now officially sold on the technique.

I find that it can work depending on the mom's belief in it, her ability to relax, amount of practice to facilitate deep level of hypnosis quickly, and her choice of practitioner and setting.  These women do best in quiet environment with headphone  on and most visitors out of the room.   Most of my Hypnobirthing clients that had sections went to big docs at major medical centers, lots of fear conditioning.  It's not for all, but it is really nice when it works.

Commerical Hypnosis Tapes and CDs

Available on CD

Now available on CD! - From one homebirth mom to another. I thought you'd like to know about an audio tape I made to help undo the negative cultural messages, build strength and trust in self, the body, the collective of women and the process of birth and mothering. If you're interested, check it out "Journeying Through Pregnancy & Birth" I'm also a midwife and the women I've worked with have told me it's been a helpful tool, gave them some "form" to re-frame their worries......something to use on a regular basis. One side for pregnancy and the other for term or post-dates to initiate/induce. WOMANWAY@aol.com or snail mail 1081 High Falls Rd. Catskill, N.Y.12414 $12.95 + $1.50 (S&H) or call 1-866-205-5004, pin #1212 with MC/VISA #

Calm Birth audio guide (cassette or CD) is for conception, pregnancy and childbirth delivery.  541-488-2563

Joyful Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond by Lina Clerke - also available from Birth International

Other audio from Birth International

I really like Great Expectations: The Joy of Pregnancy & Birthing and Rainbow Butterfly from Dr. Emmett Miller.

Let the Whole Birth Yoga Audio tape and CD guide you through a wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating hour of yoga and meditation especially designed for pregnancy.

Parenting your Baby Before Birth CD

Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives (Audio CD) by Deepak Chopra, MD

Breastfeeding Meditation and Journey into Childbirth Hypnosis for Empowered Birth by Sheri Menilli from CUTTING EDGE PRESS

Midwives June Whitson and Roxanne Potter have produced the cassette tape Waiting for a Child: Songs, Relaxation and Visualization for Childbirth. Created with musicians, Barry and Shelley Phillips the tape features cello, tabla, Celtic harp, and oboe. Copies are available at 150 Via Venito, Corralitos, Santa Cruz, CA 95076.  $10 each plus $2.50 shippint for 1 or 2 cassettes.

The Monroe Institute Catalog of Hemi-Sync Tapes offers a number of audio materials for Pregnancy and Childbirth, including the specialized Opening the Way: Support for Pregnancy and Childbirth - This 8-cassette series with 14 exercises is designed for the mother and those who are supporting her during pregnancy and birth.

Guided Relaxation for Pregnancy by Marcia Farmer is a good tape, made by a doula/CBE  in FL, available from Cutting Edge Press catalog.

PeaceWorks -  A simple, safe and effective method for stilling the fears related to pregnancy and childbirth and spiritually connecting with the miracle of creation. 1-800-382-0602

We at Light Unlimited Publishing (Jon Shore) have produced a set of tapes to help women through pregnancy and child birth. You can see and hear the tapes.

Maternal and Fetal Wellness Program includes a guided visualization/relaxation "exercise".

Creative Childbirth tapes are quite good - able to recommend to clients. The Leclaire Hypnobirthing Bundle for Happy Hypnomoms and Blissful Hypnobabies

Positive Affirmations

Visualization/Affirmation Poster

One of the best ways to help yourself have an easier labor and birth is to encourage the baby into the optimal position and to surround yourself with positive affirmations.  This is especially true if you have a care provider who ignores everything about your baby's position other than where the head is, or if your care provider is full of doom and gloom, always focusing on the negative possibilities.  This Visualization Poster is truly inspired and inspirational - it can be ordered from a U.S. distributor, Birth With Love, either plain paper or laminated.

Soften, Open, Release - A Coloring Book of Birth Affirmations by Amber delaine -  - Soften, Open, Release is an adult coloring book of eleven inspirational birth affirmations with illustrations. Color them during pregnancy to relax and mentally prepare for childbirth. They can be used on a birth altar or hung where you give birth to help you through labor. Many of the images are also intended to provide inspiration and comfort in the early months of motherhood. This book makes a wonderful baby shower gift or mother blessing gift for any mother planning a natural childbirth.

Empowerisms ...are simple, positive, empowering statements framed with homemade art.

Welcoming Contractions by Peggy Vincent

Don't try to intellectualize the Birth Process or try to make yourself stay in control.  Abandon your brain as labor progresses and allow yourself to become pure body and spirit.  Consider that bodies have been giving birth to babies for a long, long time; minds have never birthed a baby!  So try to get your mind out of the way and let your body get on with what it does best.

Get inside of the contraction - let the power of it surround you and carry you along.  Allow yourself to be awed by the dynamic physical and psychological change that you're going through.  If you trust your body's wisdom, then permit the contractions themselves to be your guide, dictating your actions, and let the breathing patterns and your behavior be your acknowledgment of the changing power levels within each contraction.

One of the main reasons for preparing thoroughly for birth is to enjoy the experience instead of fearing it and to be able to utilize the body's full potential instead of numbing it with drugs.  But birth is not an endurance contest, and there are times when medication is wise and/or humane.  The problem with relying routinely on drugs is that none are entirely free of potential drawbacks for either the mother or the baby and often both.

The downhill side of a contraction can be pleasurable if you'll let it!  Try to be aware of the contraction as it passes over the peak, welcome it, and then let yourself melt into the spreading relaxation.

The Pocket Midwife - Affirmations and thoughts for healthy  pregnancy and normal birthing

Visualizations by Gloria Lemay - terrific! [The BirthLove site has a small subscription fee - well worth the price!]  [Ed: birthlove.com is not available at this time.]

A Doula's Intentions for a Birth

Pregnancy and Labor Meditation

Russian water pioneer Igor Charkovsky suggests this daily meditation:  Picture the baby developing inside your body bathed in a golden, protective, celestial light. During labor, visualize your body opening easily and smoothly, like the petals of a flower.

For those of you who remember, I was putting together a list of positive affirmations for labor to put on a poster (and/or handout) to show in my classes. Below is my completed work....thanks to Nancy, Debbie and Elena for their contributions, some have been combined with others and some edited to suit my purposes.

I hope it is something that may inspire you and/or your classes as well.

by Patricia Blomme

Today is the day I have been waiting so patiently for. Within me I can feel the stirrings I have wondered about since the first realization of what was to come. They come from deep within me. I feel joy! Today my body will fulfill the purpose for which it has been made. Today I will show my strength, my courage, my love for my child. I can feel the strength in my body, a wonderful strength that is meant for just this purpose.

I can feel my body opening up. Opening up like the petals of a spring tulip on a cool morning. My body is beginning a labor of love. I accept all that comes to pass with the birth of my child. I know that it will require much from me, much that through love I am willing to give.

My body is strong. My body has hundreds of thousands of years of history in it that will allow me to birth my child with joy and ease. I will not feel pain.

I will feel the widening of my child's birth passage. I will surrender to the opening of my body. My body knows what to do, I must let it be. I will not let my mind interfere. My mind stays steadily focused on the wonderful expression of love that I am feeling as I birth my child.  My long awaited child I will give my body all the time it needs to work. I will not track time other than to gaze at the sun or the stars.

I know I must give in to the emotions of birth. I must remain open. As the waves come I will triumph over them, one by one, all the while surrendering to them. I am surrounded by love and trust, and that is what protects me. Today my body is opening and releasing my child to me. Today is the day that I will cherish forever.

I am a strong and capable woman.
I am creating a totally positive and new birth experience.
My pelvis is releasing and opening (as have those of countless women before me).
I am accepting my labor and believe that it is the right labor for me, and for my baby.
I now feel the love that others have for me during the birth.
I am treating my mate lovingly during the birth.
I have a "success consciousness."
I have a beautiful body. My body is my friend.
I now see my last birth as a learning experience, from which I am growing and changing.
I embrace the concept of healthy pain.
I am welcoming my contractions.
I have enough love to go around.
There is always enough love for me.
I am strong, confident, assured, and assertive and still feminine
I am helping my baby feel safe so that she can be born.

I am taking care of myself during this pregnancy.
I see my wife as a strong and capable woman, and this does not threaten me.
I am supporting her during her labor, even when she is in pain.
I am expressing my love to my wife easily and frequently.
I am accepting the labor that is meant for us.
I am accepting feelings of helplessness.
I am sensitive, tender, open, and trusting.
I am feeling the love that others have for me when I need support.

Put stars by the affirmations that feel right for you. Write the affirmations many times during the course of a week. Say them aloud, and use your name in the sentences. Then use the second and third persons. Example: "I, Susan, am a strong and capable woman.  You Susan, are a strong and capable woman. She, Susan, is a strong and capable woman." Add other affirmations that would be helpful to you personally.

A recent client made the most wonderful collages to post on her hospital walls during labor. She arranged pictures, mostly from magazines and cards and things, of women w/ babies, women breastfeeding, cute baby pictures and romantic couple pictures and interspersed them with affirmations like:

This was her second birth and she had the one from her first birth and a new one she'd made this pregnancy. The new one had a finger painting from her 2 year old in the center of it.

They were *so* inspiring and she had very cleverly woven messages to the staff into them, in a very non-threatening way. Every staff person who entered was drawn to read them and you could feel their whole attitude change as they read her most inner thoughts and hopes and dreams.

The nurse told me afterwards it was *the most* beautiful birth she'd been at in 10 years of working here.

The idea is from a book - Creating A Joyful Birth Experience, written by Lucia Capacchione and Sandra Bardsley. I know I won't every forget these collages and I'm thinking that the effect on the staff was so profound that that alone may be a reason to make them! We joked about her having 10 kids and completely wallpapering the room w/ them:)

Positive Affirmations - - Welcoming the Baby with Words by Patti Treubert

Affirmations can have tremendous power to act as a positive force for a pregnant woman or a woman in labor. They have been used successfully for many years. I have listed some of my favorites here. but you can help your clients develop their own.

When developing an affirmation there are some general rules to follow. They are:
• Always use the present tense.
• Use only positive words in the affirmation.
• Use the first person (I. me or 'clients own name).
• The affirmation should create a strong picture. successful in what is desired right now.
• Keep the affirmation short and simple.
• Find out if the woman has a religious or spiritual faith so this can be used to enhance the process.

Some of my favorites are:
• My body knows how to give birth and I will let it.
• My baby and I are working together.
• I am strong and I can let my contractions be strong.
• I am able to labor smoothly.
• I am and will be a great parent to my child.
• I feel my cervix opening.
• My baby feels my calmness and shares it with me.
• My baby will be horn easily at the right time.
• The baby and I are rested and ready for the work we will do.
• I accept my labor.
• I am proud of my body.
• I feel the love and support of those who are helping me.

Once an affirmation is developed, it is important to have the woman repeat them several times each day when she is relaxing or meditating. They can be placed on cards and hung in the area where the woman will labor and give birth.

In her book TRANSFORMATION THROUGH BIRTH, Claudia Panuthos asserts that women can replay their mothers' birth patterns.

I always ask clients what their mothers' experience of birth was like. It gives me an idea of what the client learned about birth from her mother and creates an opportunity to explore any concerns the client might have about her impending labor relative to what her mother experienced.

I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Claudia. She had one of the most fascinating interactive sessions I have ever attended. She ahd all participants (those that wished to) close their eyes. She had us all imagine we were pregnant (any men present could take part - but they really had to imagine). Then she had us imagine ourselves in an environment where we we felt the most safe - this could be anywhere, even a secluded island. Next we were invited to bring with us anyone (dead or alive) who made us feel secure or empowered. Once we were in this place, we were asked to release all negativity surrounding birth that we have been carrying around with us for centuries. Once our minds were clear, we were to allow ourselves to birth our babies, envisioning our babies moving through our uterus as it contracted, through our cervix, our vagina and out into the world.

WOW - what an experience. If any of my moms had any fears about birth, or their moms, sisters, aunts, etc. had negative experiences I asked them to try this. For those that did, when they went into labor, this was the experience they brought with them - a powerful birth where they felt safe and surrounded by those that loved and supported them.

Dear God,

What would You have me do today?
I am listening in the silence of meditation.
How can I help the world?
I accept the inheritance You have offered me.
I accept the tasks that are mine to do.
Work through me that all might be filled with love and joy.
Now is the time for love and I am willing.
Thank You.

--Ric Beattie

These aren't necessarily specific to labor, but these descriptions of the Australian Bush Flower Essences comes with a couple of wonderful affirmations for each essence.  What a great idea!

This was from Susan Lark, MD, after the New Orleans hurricane disaster, and I thought it was great for labor, too.

I believe that if there's any good lesson that comes from a disaster such as this, it's that we're reminded of just how interconnected we are. With that in mind, I encourage you to send messages of love, warmth, and healing to those suffering in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Whether it's through prayer, meditation, or some other form of spirituality, your good thoughts and well-wishes will create a powerful positive energy that will resonate throughout the world.

If you aren't sure how to begin, try one of my favorite prayers -- Circle of Light -- listed below.

Circle of Light

1. Sit upright in a chair, in a comfortable position. Allow your arms to rest gently at your sides.

2. Inhale deeply. As you breathe in, allow your stomach to relax so that the air flows into your abdomen. Visualize the lowest parts of your lungs filling up with air.

3. Imagine that the air you are breathing in is filled with peace and calm. Let a sensation of peacefulness and calm fill every cell of your body. Now, exhale slowly and deeply. As you breathe out, imagine the air being gently exhaled from the bottom of your lungs to the top. Continue to inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply.

4. Then, close your eyes and visualize in front of you a beautiful circle of light, filled with Divine Light and Love.

5. Inside this circle of light, place all of the people ravaged by the hurricane that you wish to offer healings to. You can also include, if you wish your city, your neighborhood, or even our entire planet. Ask for Divine Light and Love to heal and bless everyone and everything in your circle of light. Feel the warmth and beauty of Divine Love filling and infusing you and your loved ones with the most beautiful blessings and healing.

6. Open your eyes and slowly come out of this meditative state feeling refreshed, peaceful and renewed.

With deepest, connected compassion,

Susan M. Lark, M.D.

Hypnosis for Breech and Hyperemesis

Hypnosis for Turning Breech Baby

Hypnosis and Hyperemesis, i.e. Morning Sickness Phyllis Klaus reports in Midwifery Today (Autumn 1995, #35 p 15) on her success in treating hyperemesis with hypnotherapy aimed at revealing the underlying psychological conflict. Apparently hypnosis can be used to rapidly uncover unresolved past trauma that had been somatized. She gives several case reports of women whose hyperemesis stopped after only a few sessions.

Professional Techniques

How to Learn Hypnotherapy

Free scripts and hypnotic spiral images to download from Glenn Harrold.

Hypnosis Sessions, EFT, And Training: Hypnotherapy, Free Articles, Classes, Courses, Certification, Books, Tapes and Videos On Hypnotism from hypnosiscenter.com

I think reframing what you say is one of the critical things. I am also waiting for some materials from some different sources. I haven't heard of the one book you mentioned, but I know Mind Over Labor. Gerald Kein has some videos that have been fun to watch. I am just working on learning basic types of inductions right now. I would love to hear how you are presenting things. I also have a tape from ACNM conventions... Also have you found Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors by D. Corydon Hammond? I think it is wonderful. Also Hypnosis: The Application of Ideomotor Techniques by David B. Cheek.

[Response to further inquiry] I work with couples together or separately as they wish. Ideally initially I prefer to talk to them both together to get a feel of their joint situation. Then, I would work either separately or continue working with them together depending on what they feel most comfortable with.

Visualization and Self-Hypnosis for Labor - Experiences

Note: these methods require PRACTICE to be most effective. You can try them cold and they may help, but they really work best if you have spent some time using relaxation and visualization before labor.

Couldn't help but comment on the thread regarding visualization as a method of working with pain in labor. This REALLY worked for me! I read and reread "Mind Over Labor" by Jones. Now, some of it does seem "fakey", but I was able to use the information in the book. I found my own way of facing each new contraction during my five-hour second stage. I imagined myself in a "safe" pace, a physical place from my past (it was actually a large, shaded rock in the middle of a rushing stream near an old mill, you see, I made it very specific to my needs) between every push. As each contraction "wave" rose over me I would push in that special place. Without this visualization I would have been the same screaming wretch I had been during my first labor. I also did a LOT of reading in preparation for birth which included many evenings in the bathtub with "Spiritual Midwifery" by Gaskin. From this I gleaned a valuable gem that I called "giving some". I connected with my birth attendants, eye to eye, and gave them some of the pain I was feeling with each contraction. It may sound freaky, but it truly worked for me. Not to brag, but no pain meds until they gave me the duramorph for the surgery. Everyone experiences pain in a completely different way. I trip in my mind and I puke, and it works for me.

Imagine . ..
HOW incredible it was to be part of the process. Can you imagine what it would be like, if you all of a sudden became one of G-d's trees. It's late August, and the trees are preparing for Fall. Soon the chemicals will be changing so that the leaves will fall, and the tree knows just how to do it. Just how to prepare and take care of itself during Winter...so that in Spring it will send all the chemicals up its trunk so that we can watch the leaf buds appear, flower and become leaves in a matter of days. Your body is that tree. I don't know at which season you will enter labor, but your body will know, and it will be the right season for you. And your labor will last as long as it needs to. I don't know whether you're baby will arrive in the Fall of your labor like a leaf floating down, or be born into the Spring like a bud, or be like the branch standing our against a Winter snow. Perhaps it will arrive on its own green leaf...it will be your birth...spend more time talking to your friends about what animal births they have seen. What does a cow do...a cat..a dog..a giraffe. You are on your way.

I got through the contractions by focusing on my cat and repeating his name over and over again until the pain subsided.

With each contraction: Here comes another one. Soft on the inside/strong on the outside. Feel how strong the baby is, opening up the cervix.

My favorite place during labor was in my rocking chair. I would sit with my eyes closed and when a contraction came, my partner would read a passage from our Bradley Childbirth workbook (Master Exercise 1 on page 94) about letting the uterus float out and away from me, on its own, flexing to open a passage for the baby. His voice was so soothing and reassuring it helped me relax my body and stay out of the way of the uterus doings its work. It also helped me not get caught up in fear of pain. As long as I could feel the contraction beginning I could manage to concentrate, relax, and stay out of the way. I was actually very concentrated and my partner and I were managing well with no problem when the midwife arrived. I would sip "Recharge" until a contraction began again, close my eyes, concentrate and relax listening to My partner's voice, work to stay concentrated and relaxed, and then rest. My partner was diligently writing down the beginning, length and strength of each contraction, until I finally had to tell him (not very nicely :-) to stop writing the info down and just read to me. Really all the midwife had to do was monitor our "vital signs".

Remember, that feeling pain is not the same as suffering.
You can be distracted from it.

Using hypnosis for the birth of my fourth baby was an amazing and worthwhile experience. For the first time I felt in control. It is important to practice self hypnosis if you are to use it for delivery. It is also essential to be able to use hypnosis during periods of distraction and to be able to come and go into the state despite interruption from people around. Ensure that medical personnel are happy and supportive of the process. Practice should also include developing the ability to achieve moderate degrees of pain relief in addition to the ability to relax quickly,

One book I read in the 1960's was called Childbirth without Fear by Erna Wright this was very helpful and instrumental in helping me to learn a form of self hypnosis.

One woman's description of her own anesthesia distract myself from the sensations. I tried to "move into them" and really experience each sensation fully. As each contraction began, I would tell my husband, and he would read a passage about letting the uterus float. I focused on the "softer" sensations and felt them grow stronger and stronger. I also tried to relax and remember that my cervix was opening and softening. I stayed extremely concentrated between and during contractions. I don't think I opened my eyes for hours and hours, or said anything to anyone except "Read Carroll". I "almost" enjoyed it.

I talked to one woman who said that whenever she had a really painful contraction she saw it as her hands inside of her helping to push the baby down and out.

While I was in labor I remembering this "white light" which was actually the ceiling light above the bed. I tried to imagine that it was the sun and that the heat would warm and relax my body. (I tried to pretend that I was on the beach sunbathing and relaxed). [It seemed to work.]

AFFIRMATIONS How can we make birth more positive, and not focus on the negative? I constantly am doing this in my practice, helping women believe in themselves. We just need to keep talking, and focusing on the positive. I do that, and the other seems to fall into place. Those that make the growth during the pregnancy, and embrace the positivity about themselves, usually do well. There are others, however, who don't change much, and give in...and we just do the best we can. We tell our clients "It's there if you need it, but let's try to work hard to avoid it" They feel comforted that we will help them get an epidural if they really need it, but also do what we can to help them avoid one.

Hypnotherapist Attendance in Labor

From: C-upi@clari.net (UPI / LIDIA WASOWICZ, UPI Science Writer)

Organization: Copyright 1997 by United Press International

Date: Tue, 12 Aug 1997 0:50:53 PDT
HYPNOTIZING LABOR PAIN AWAY: A 40-year-old Oakland, Calif., woman was in the news recently for giving birth in an unconventional manner -- under hypnosis. Baby and mother are doing fine following the drug-free birth. Instead of an anesthetic, the mom got gentle suggestions from a hypnotherapist at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, Calif. At least a handful of ``hypnotic births'' occur every year in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's basically a natural birth process -- no drugs -- with the hypnotherapist acting as labor coach. Hypnotherapists claim there may be medical benefits for mom and baby. Gayle Peterson, author of ``Birthing Normally,'' says, ``The idea is to eliminate high-anxiety states throughout the pregnancy, which affect flows of oxygen and nutrients to the child.'' Alta Bates obstetrician Dr. Kris Yogam says, ``This isn't for everybody, but those who want to have no intervention will benefit from something like this.''


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