Monday, November 5, 2012

Why You Need A Hypno-Doula

I love teaching Hypnobabies, it is really one of the most rewarding things that I do. While our couples are going through the childbirth class, the topic of having a doula comes up many times.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a doula is, let me clarify.

Webster's Defines A Doula As:
"a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth"

 In everyday terms, this means having a trained professional with you and your partner from start to finish. A doula attends your birth to provide you with suggestions for physical comfort, emotional support, and understanding what the care providers are telling you. A doula often will suggest alternatives for typical medical procedures. Studies have shown that having a doula present at your birth can reduce the length of your birth 25%, reduce your chances of a cesarean birth by 50%, and reduces the request for epidural use by 60%. On top of all of that, women who have a doula present at their births often have a more positive view of how their birth went and have less postpartum depression. 

When I explain all these wonderful benefits to moms, I throw in a caveat, not all doulas are created equal. For starters, a doula who has been doualing for 10 years will have more experience and a better understanding of the flow of birth than a doula right out of training. Also, a doula who is trained in Hypnosis for Childbirth will have a better understanding of what to expect during a Hypnosis birth. (such as Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing) 
At first this might seem like a minor thing, having a doula who is familiar with hypnosis for birth. But in practical application this makes a huge difference. If you imagine that having a doula at your birth is like having a tutor during a test. You want your tutor to not just be familiar with your subject, but to really understand the subject. To have studied this subject as intensely as you have. This will make your tutor of more use to you. The same is true for having a "hypno-doula." These doulas have a very specific set of skills, and they are invaluable during your birth. These doulas know your hypnotic deepening techniques and cues. They also know that a hypnosis birth many times look different from a regular birth. For example:
  1. A mom using Hypnobabies will probably remain calm and focused for most, if not all, of her birth. I have had many moms show up at the hospital at 8 or 9 cm and have the nursing staff believe that they were still in their early birthing time (around 3-4 cm) This is amazing!! And for the untrained eye, or a non hypno-doula, they may mistake a mother's calmness and focus just like the nurses do...thinking it is only early birth and no need to rush or head to the hospital. I had one mom accidentally have her baby at home because when she informed her doula that she felt it was time to head to the hospital, her doula told her she was no where near having a baby and to relax on her bed. 15 minutes later this mom had her baby in her hands. 
  2. Secondly, a doula unfamiliar with how powerful her words are, and the effect they have on a mom in hypnosis can say the wrong thing and cause some unintended consequences. I had another mom tell me that her doula kept telling her that "I know this is painful but you can do it" or "I know it hurts, and you can just embrace that pain and move forward." Well, throughout her entire Hypnobabies class she had retrained her subconscious mind to only expect discomfort, not pain. She told me that it was incredibly distracting, and the more the doula talked about pain,, the more she felt "pain." This mom eventually had to ask her doula to leave the room. 
Now, I am not saying that you can't have a fantastic doula who is not a hypno-doula, it just increases the odd that your doula will be exactly what you need if she has this extra skill. Another benefit to a hypno-doula, she understand hypnosis. So even if a couple is not using hypnosis for childbirth, the hypnotic techniques she uses will help any birthing mother become more calm, focused, and relaxed. Every mother, Hypnobabies or not, is in a state of hypnosis during birth. These mothers are open to all suggestions given to them; why not make those suggestions positive and empowering, instead of fear inducing.

Now, if a hypno-doula is your tutor, let me add one other option. Imagine now that you are taking that same test, but instead of having a tutor, you actually get to have the teacher help you take the test. She is there to give you the answers and suggestions to help you have the best test you can have. 
This teacher, during your birth, would be your Hypnobabies Instructor. She knows the subject better than anyone, and she also knows exactly how to respond to the situation and help you have the best birth possible. Many of the Hypnobabies instructors are also doulas for their students. This is one of the best things you can do, in addition to taking Hypnobabies, to have a great birth. And, if your instructor is not a doula, I know she can refer you to one who is. 

With my second birth, I had 2 doulas. A hypno-doula and my Hypnobabies instructor. (and yes, my husband had plenty to do and never felt like his role was taken over) It was so empowering to know that when I, or my husband, needed the extra hypno-support it was there. My birth was so empowering, not just for me but for my husband as well. He told me afterwards that it was so nice to have another set of hands and eyes to assist him during the birth. 

So, if you are considering having a doula present at your birth, Hypnobabies or not, look into the option of having a hypno-doula present. 

For more information on Hypnobabies classes in Utah, please click here
For more information on Hypnobabies everywhere, or to find an instructor close to you, click here

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