First if you are interested in Hypnobirth all you need is to order:
The book is very thorough and although I took a class with a certified hypnobirth instructor (who was wonderful) I actually found the class very redundant and every class was basically an overview of the book. So read the book, study it! It's your birthing bible!
With my first pregnancy, I researched several methods before landing on hypnobirth and found this method to be the best choice for women who want to achieve a natural, non-medicated birth in a variety of environments (home, hospital, birth center). The Bradley method, though popular, was close to this method but not as practical with understanding what is actually happening to your body, and how to have a fear free, pain free experience. There is a lot of mental preparation and ridding yourself of FEAR that you practice when doing hypnobirth that separates this birthing method from ALL OTHERS. There are also "mind-full" birthing books, but I found them to be too new-age for me personally. I do not subscribe to the "goddess" mindset, but I do believe that fear-free childbirth is possible and that non-medicated birth is beautiful and incredibly powerful.
What is hypnobirth? Hypnobirth guides you through a series practices throughout your pregnancy of deep relaxation that will take you into a state of hypnotizing yourself. Sounds weird but we actually do it often. Hypnosis is basically when your mind shuts off while you are pre-occupied with something else - think of that long car drive when you kind of "come to" and realize you don't remember the past 20 minutes of the drive because you were so deep in thought. Hypnobirth teaches you to "go deeper" into yourself in order to achieve a complete relaxed state that lets your body just do it's JOB!
A lot of other women have said to me "wow! I could never do that". Well with a mindset like that they are right! ha! Just kidding. Actually anyone can do it. But it's TRAINING. I took my experience of running half marathons with me when I was "training" for my first hypnobirth. Basically if you had to run a marathon tomorrow without training - you would not be very successful. But if someone said HEY! In 9 months your baby will be waiting for you at the end of 26.2 miles - you would train. Hard and well. And that is what hypnobirth is. It's a process of training your mind to get out of your bodies way. To understand your body, and rid it of fear and tension. And it really works.
My first labor was 28 hours long. The last two were at the hospital. And I only pushed for 30 minutes! I used a birth ball for about 26 of those 28 hours and I would even say I achieved a better state of hypnosis with my first then I did with my second. This past June when I gave birth my labor was only 8 hours, and I only pushed for maybe 5 minutes. Both of my labors were in a hospital and my OB was AMAZING, & supportive. That is another aspect of birth that is really important. If you are going to have a hospital birth you must make up your mind to do natural and drug free before you even meet your doctor (basically). Confidence and determination are half the battle (I won't go into all the statistics, because we know them). My Doctor said that making your mind up is very important. We see this in sports science as well in visualizing your goal, visualizing how your body is going to move, and react. A lot of young women say "I'd like to try" - that mindset does not end in a drug-free birth (a majority of the time). MAJOR SIDE NOTE HERE: I don't want anyone who reads this to mis-construe what I am saying. Birth is amazing PERIOD whether you had a c-section, VBAC, epidural, induction, etc. I do not want to ROB anyone of their experience I am just sharing mine because people asked me to share. I do not want to use this post to bully or say my way is best. But for people wanting to have a vaginal drug-free birth this was my experience and my mindset.
Also no matter what way you decide - support is very important. Choose wisely. The hypnobirth book talks about this a lot and I am so glad that I interviewed three OB/GYN's before I found mine. I live 10 minutes from a Hospital Center but chose to go 30 minutes away for the care I wanted. Your Doctor is part of your support team - not the one delivering the baby. You do not want someone who is a know it all or condescending. You don't want someone who is just going to schedule you a C-section your first pregnancy because the "head is too big". You don't want to be bullied. Your medical care during this time is a partnership. And it is very important. Do not take this lightly.
Do your research, and find someone who you click with and if they are part of a bigger practice make sure that you meet the other doctors. (All this is covered in the book so I will shut up about it now).
I will be posting BOTH my birth stories so that you can reference those if you would like. But keep in mind every single birth is different because it is a totally different human being! Everybody's body works at different paces, etc. My first was a week "early", my second was 4 days "late" and I had pre-labor with her for about a MONTH! So relax into the uncertainty of it all.
God Bless You!