Following on from the Channel 9 news segment recently about hypnobirthing, something has been bothering me, and this has bothered me ever since I started teaching hypnobirthing.
You can watch the original Channel 9 News video and post here:
As I’ve mentioned many times before “hypnobirthing” is nothing new – it is basically a word meaning “hypnosis for birth” and practitioners have been using hypnosis for birth for many, many years and long before “hypnobirthing” became a catch word some have tried to claim as their own.
That was prevalent when Judge McAuliffe ruled during a court hearing in London that “the conjunction of two common words (hypnosis and birth) does not make the new compound word ‘hypnobirthing’ open to become the property of any single person, so it remains in common free usage. It would seem, legally, that anyone who teaches birthing methods that employ hypnosis to aid in pain reduction has the right to call the process “hypnobirthing”. Nothing could be clearer than that.”
From my research, it appears that Michelle LeClaire O’Neill originally developed and taught the first hypnobirthing childbirth education program in 1987 (before the claims of ownership by Marie Mongan who wrote her book in 1989).
It has long been recognised that hypnosis has worked so well for women during labour and birth, and has been introduced into many childbirth education programs around the world, and research has also shown this to be of benefit to women.
But today with so many hypnobirthing programs on offer, it is important to recognise that we cannot compare apples with oranges.
Not all the hypnosis scripts you read or tracks that you listen to are the same or of equal quality.
Not all the childbirth education content will be of high quality or backed up by evidence, studies, research or experts.
Not all hypnobirthing programs will have strict guidelines and screening processes for the inclusion and training of practitioners to ensure that the ethos and professionalism of the program is upheld.
Not all programs are constantly reviewed and upgraded to ensure the best quality and most relevant information is shared with couples who do the classes.
Not all programs will continuously be looking at ways of supporting all birth – no matter how a woman births her baby.
And there is not just “one book” that is based on “hypnobirthing” – there are so many differing books available.
It’s like when we all say we drive a car.
The word “car” is used generally for a means of transport, however there are so many makes and models available from the budget conscious little two door Hyundai to a four door luxury car like Mercedes Benz. However there is a very big difference in the safety, comfort and features between these two cars.
So, across Australia (and indeed the world) there are many different hypnobirthing programs – and it’s important to acknowledge that they are simply a childbirth education program that includes hypnosis for birth, but they will not all be the same and will not provide the same learning outcomes.
The other thing that waves a “red flag” in my mind is when practitioners claim they “are the original”…..
To me this means they are stuck in a time warp, and are not dedicated in making improvements to ensure that the information they are presenting to couples during childbirth education classes is current – they just want to be known as “the original” but it doesn’t make them the “best” program in the community today.
Let’s go back to the analogy of cars.
If we had all stuck with the “original” then we wouldn’t be going very far now would we?
It’s awesome that many other inventors came along and built their own models and adapted from the original to make it better, faster, stronger and safer.
I hold a firm belief that what works for one woman may be totally useless for the next, so you need to do your own research, and talk to practitioners and find who is the best fit for you.
Director of Hypnobirthing Australia™ Melissa Spilsted drew on the knowledge, expertise and research of professional birth experts such as Professor Hannah Dahlen, Dr Sarah Buckley, Dr Michel Odent and historical information from the 1930’s by Dr Grantly Dick-Read who was instrumental in highlighting how fear affects birth.
It is frustrating when I read in social media forums women saying that they did a “hypnobirthing course” and it just didn’t work for them, or they didn’t get it, or they felt they failed because they “weren’t doing hypnobirthing right” ….and it frustrates me even more when health care providers say they don’t like hypnobirthing because it sets women up for failure and they can’t just “breathe their baby out”….
Our program is not about failure – with Hypnobirthing Australia™ there is no failure.
The Hypnobirthing Australia™ program is a tool to educate you, prepare you and help you to feel confident to ask questions so you can make the right choices based on your own circumstances. Yes we advocate that there are so many benefits to having a natural, drug free birth for mother and baby – but I say over and over in the classes – there is no text book for birth, so by doing the classes you have tools and techniques to help you have the best chance at a natural birth if that is what you want to achieve, but you also use those tools and techniques when things start to deviate from the “plan” or you choose medical intervention because that feels right for you and your circumstances.
You are all unique. Every pregnancy is unique. Every birth is unique and every baby is unique.
Some people get apprehensive about the “hypno” part of hypnobirthing and think it is about being made to dance around doing crazy things. Let me free you from that conditioning you have had about hypnosis – it is nothing like that. In fact, many of our past participants have said it has helped them to feel more relaxed than they have ever known themselves to be.
The hypnosis part of hypnobirthing is just a small part of the whole program. It is all about what the childbirth education component contains, and how that is taught by the practitioner and then how that is perceived by the couple doing the classes.
The Hypnobirthing Australia™ program is about preparing women for labour and birth, and also preparing them for deviations in the plan.
And this is where the problem lies – women are using the term “hypnobirthing” as a generic term and sharing their experiences good and bad, but not identifying what program they were using.
So when referring to “hypnobirthing” also include the program you were using – like “HYPNOBIRTHING AUSTRALIA™” so women start to recognise there are different hypnobirthing programs and they are not all the same.
I have always been proud to say I am a Hypnobirthing Australia™ Practitioner because I know that we have one of the best programs on the market today and we are leading the way in terms of best content and ongoing change (I am qualified to say this because I have taught other programs that just didn’t prepare women for special circumstances, changes to birth preferences or calmly meeting whatever turn your birth takes).
Our program is all inclusive, which means that regardless of who you are and how you are planning to birth, whether that is a hospital birth, a home birth, a drug free vaginal birth, birth with pain relief or a caesarean – this program is for you.
Here is a great video shared by Jessica on how she used her Hypnobirthing Australia™ techniques to have a positive, vaginal birth after having to be induced at 34 weeks of pregnancy due to special circumstances.
The Hypnobirthing Australia™ program doesn’t set women up with unrealistic expectations and is evidence based and supported by research.
It is modern, up to date and educational with a side serving of the practitioners own expertise, experience and flair based on their own qualifications.
In fact, in 2016 Dr Kate Levett and Professor Hannah Dahlen released a ground-breaking Australian study on effective childbirth education (they were also key-note speakers at our annual conference when the study was released). This study highlighted how important it was to not only participate in independent childbirth education classes but to also find a program that included complementary therapies to support normal labour and birth as it basically halved the intervention rates for births!
There is not another Hypnobirthing program the same as ours – and I have trained in other programs and that is why I have chosen to teach the Hypnobirthing Australia™ program – because it is an ethical, authentic and professional organisation and you get so much more value for money from our classes, but the strong message we want to highlight is that you have choices.
So in conclusion let’s get away from using the generic term of “hypnobirthing” and really start educating women on seeking out properly trained practitioners from a reputable company like Hypnobirthing Australia™ who have fully trained and professional practitioners like me who can help you to be prepared, educated and knowledgeable about your body, your baby and your birth.
If you have done the Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes please help me and the rest of the Hypnobirthing Australia™ team of practitioners proudly spread the word of our awesome classes – and make sure to say HYPNOBIRTHING AUSTRALIA™.
I am proud to say that I have also just returned from the Hypnobirthing Australia national conference in Brisbane, and for the third year in a row received the “Outstanding Performance – Community Support” award.
This award highlights my dedication in supporting women and their partners during pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond and the ongoing education and resources I offer not only to my own paying clients but to the community in general.
My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Australia™ Practitioner, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach. I am based in the northern suburbs of Perth and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or phone (08) 9303 9111.