Hypnosis worked for us, but may not work for everyone. It’s a natural approach with no side effects, so it’s worth trying.
We were cruising along through a relatively uneventful pregnancy and were expecting a June 3 birth date for our son. So we were terrified when, in late April, my wife, Anika, started having very intense contractions. These contractions were regularly spaced, intense, and felt to us like the real thing. Any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature; our son was trying to exit at 33 weeks.
We wanted the baby to stay in for another month.
By the time we went to the hospital the contractions stopped. They sent us home but assigned Anika to bed rest. We went to the hospital again two weeks later (week 35), to discover that yes, Anika was indeed having preterm labor. She was already dilated, so her body was ready to give birth in the next few days, it seemed. At that point we were just on the border between being induced or being given Tocolytic drugs to delay the pregnancy.
It was too late for labor-postponing drugs, but too early to be induced. We wanted an all-natural birth so we opted for neither.
We used hypnosis.
I’ve been a long-time meditator and can appreciate the calm mind’s ability to slow everything else down. While in deep meditation, the heartbeat and breather slows dramatically. Stress disappears. The relaxed trance-like state of hypnosis is very similar to meditation, so we started looking for guided hypnosis tracks. We found and used this one.
Here’s what happened:
The guided hypnosis track is about 20 minutes long and is very repetitive. It puts most people to sleep, so Anika could only use it while lying down. One cannot be hypnotized while multi-tasking.
- Anika listened to it three times a day. Sometimes more if she sensed contractions coming on.
- Each time, the contractions would stop for at least an hour.
- The more she used it, the more effective it became.
- She seemed to fall asleep each time she used it, but it worked nonetheless.
- It was hard to believe how effective it was in stopping contractions.
- We made it to 37 weeks.
We are convinced the hypnosis tracks worked to both pause contractions and postpone birth. Anika was essentially in slow-motion birth for three full weeks, but ultimately the baby stayed in longer than any doctor had expected.
At $20 for one CD it seems pricey, but each additional day in the womb was, to us, priceless.
Each day in the womb matters.
Babies born between 39 and 40 weeks do the best in terms of having the fewest health risks, so doctors are now starting to call that narrow window “full term.” This matters because parents and doctors who believe 37 weeks is full term may actually be putting babies at risk by inducing birth too early.
The latest definitions around birth terms are as follows:
- Early term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks, six days
- Full term: Between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, six days
- Late term: Between 41 weeks and 41 weeks, six days
- Post term: 42 weeks and beyond
Each week inside the lets the baby flourish in the safest environment possible: all its nutrients are arrive as needed, the temperature is perfect, and there’s very little chance of infection.
After 40 weeks, though, it’s believed that a mother’s body can no longer put energy into the pregnancy. Mom’s body reaches a physiological caloric limit when babies are past 40 weeks.
Aside from using hypnosis, it’s also important to know the difference between birth contractions and Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are uterine contractions that actually start 6 weeks into pregnancy, but are only felt a few weeks before giving birth. These contractions happen randomly and can be very uncomfortable. Some call them “false contractions,” but there’s nothing false about the pain.
Follow the 5-1-1 or 3-1-1 rule.
Some people follow the 5-1-1 rule. Others follow the 4-1-1 rule. We followed the 3-1-1 rule. 3-1-1 means contractions are happening every three minutes, each one lasting one minute long, and have been that way for one hour. We opted to follow the 3-1-1 rule because Anika had had so many contractions before and because we were only 7 minutes from the hospital. We waited a grueling full hour before heading to the hospital. It was grueling because these contractions were more intense than ever and it was hard for me, as the husband, to just wait.
We had at least two other false starts where we were close to 4-1-1, but contractions stopped just shy of the 1 hour mark. That was confusing but we stuck to our 3-1-1 rule, giving us a couple more days.
Waiting is important.
Pregnant women are often quickly admitted into the hospital only to have her contractions stop. But by then, she’s already checked in, wearing a gown, and is psychologically ready to give birth. The hospitals don’t make money when patients just sit in their beds, so they pressure moms to be induced. That’s when the chances of a natural birth go out the window.
There are lots of misconceptions about hypnosis.
Have a look at the helpful infographic below to see how public perception compares to reality. Source: http://www.morpheusclinic.com/