Hypnobirth was “really Zen” for Jessica Alba, rewarding for others

Cross-posted last week at BlogHer

I’ll admit my finger is not exactly on the pulse of Hollywood happenings. As I stated earlier this week, I have far too many things going on and enough anxiety in my life to add celebrity watching to the list. However, when there is a natural or home birth in Hollywood, the news usually crosses my path one way or another. Natural childbirth, and home birth in particular, are some of the things that are near and dear to my heart and I tend to get pretty excited when they make their way into the limelight and mainstream news. And so I was pleasantly surprised to find out yesterday, thanks to my friend Melissa, that Jessica Alba’s new daughter Honor Marie Warren was born via a natural hypnobirth. Hypnobirthing – the Mongan Method – “is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques.”

Jessica Alba with new daughter HonorJessica told OK! magazine:

“I didn’t scream,” Jessica tells OK! in an exclusive interview and photoshoot. “It was really Zen.” And Cash could only marvel at his wife’s quiet strength when she gave birth. “She didn’t make a sound,” he says. “It was amazing.”

“The labor was more like meditation,” she says. “I did yoga breathing. I was focused.”

While Jessica was pregnant, she told FitPregnancy about her birth plan:

I want to spend as much of my labor as possible at home, and I’m taking a HypnoBirthing class. It’s a relaxation technique that allows you to avoid going into panic mode and tightening up. If you are calm and relaxed, your body will just do what it has to do.

Hypnobirthing classes are taught in format of five 2 1/2-hour classes or four 3-hour classes. I took the classes myself in preparation for childbirth when I was pregnant with my first child. Some women who practice Hypnobirthing report relatively pain-free labors and births, describing the sensations as those of discomfort and pressure, but not painful. While I wouldn’t say either of my two births were exactly pain-free (though I didn’t experience pain with my second birth until I was in transition), I was notably calm for both of my labors and feel that Hypnobirthing was very helpful to me in learning to go within myself and tune out the world. I also feel it helped make my children’s entrances into the world as peaceful and serene as possible.

There are plenty of women blogging about their experiences with Hynobirthing.

TurleyBenson writes:

Hypnobirthing is part-pain management, part-breathing method, part-life philosophy that holds as one of its core messages that giving birth doesn’t have to be excruciatingly painful or traumatic. The “hypno” part refers more to learning to self-hypnotize, or really just relax to a point of letting go of the fear and tension that usually accompanies birth, thus decreasing the pain.

She also jokes around and says that due to her partner’s suggestible nature, he should be the one having the baby.

I’ve learned in our classes that the correct word to describe this ability of Mike’s is suggestible. Mike is highly, highly suggestible.

Last night’s class was a sort of wake up call for me. Firstly, our instructor led us in a relaxation exercise, and quite literally, by the time she was 10 seconds into it, Mike was almost snoring. Not only is this just AMAZING, but it distracted me to the point that I had a tougher time getting into it. I just sat there thinking, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS GUY !

Candace at Love Makes a Family (who is due any day now) wrote about her first Hypnobirthing class:

I definitely have a lot of anxiety and fear even thinking about labor and this class is all about conquering that. And I love the entire theory around the hypnobirthing and how she was talking about everyone just being programmed into thinking labor is painful. I mean, have you ever heard someone not mention pain and labor in the same sentence?

Tiffany at Nature Moms Blog has had two hypnobirths. She feels that Hypnobirthing is “like deep meditation and focus” and that “it teaches you to withdraw into yourself during labor and take control of your pain and your birth experience.”

Mama Hope at Hippie Dippie Bebe (who has also had a hypnobirth) wrote about Finding Your Personal Childbirth Approach:

As far as the subject of “pain” and the process of birth, most natural methods, including Hypnobirthing and the Bradley Method are based on the work of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, who noticed that cultures that do not teach women to fear birth tend to have amazingly smooth, stress free births — in the same way that animals giving birth simply go to a quiet, private place, relax, get into a zone, and “just do it.”

Cindy Unger, a Hypnobirthing educator who blogs at Chicago Hypnobirthing, expresses her frustration when health care providers require Hypnobirthing moms to push instead of “breathe their baby down” as is instructed in the classes.

Babies are born beautifully and calmly if mom just lets her body do all the work. Trust the process. Follow this advice: “Purina’s Handbook of Cat Care advises owners to pet the laboring cat reassuringly and leave her on her own. She may stay in the box; on the other hand, don’t be surprised if she doesn’t. The best thing to do at this point is to do nothing. Keep quiet and do not attempt to help her – it’s her problem. Mother nature usually takes over at this point and it is amazing to see how she goes about doing what comes naturally.”

Carol, a Certified HypnoBirthing practitioner who blogs at A Well Lived Life, posted a Hypnobirthing testimonial that was sent to her.

There is absolutely nothing that has been a more rewarding/organic experience as the morning my firstborn entered this world. Without the skills that are instructed in HypnoBirthing, I would not have been so sure of my commitment to going totally natural, nor would I have had the discipline to stick with the initial pains of nursing. My surrender to a more healthful, less risky approach was a form of empowerment that has made me a stronger person, and to this day I use the same skills to get through physical pain, as well as to find calm during those days I wish I could just bury my head in the sand.

While Hypnobirthing may not be the right for every woman, it has helped many women and is certainly an option worth exploring. To learn more about Hypnobirthing, visit the official site.

21 thoughts on “Hypnobirth was “really Zen” for Jessica Alba, rewarding for others”

  1. Oh, wonderful! I used hypnobirthing with my previous two homebirths and will be using it again. One was pain free, the second was more intense, but still wonderful. Thanks for posting this.

  2. I used HypnoBirthing with my 2nd baby and Hypnobabies with my 3rd baby. Hypnosis is a wonderful tool for pregnant moms and for birth. Pregnant moms sleep better and feel more excited about their upcoming births and many have comfortable unmedicated births.

    I have gathered over 150 wonderful hypnosis and childbirth stories at http://www.pregnancybirthandbabies.com You can also see Bryson’s birth at You Tube

  3. HypnoBirth provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing. Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby. As a birthing method, HypnoBirth is as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times.

  4. I’ve always heard a lot of great things about Hynobirthing. I used the Bradley method, but if I had known more about it when I had my first I probably would have tried hypno instead.

  5. Although I had a number of complications that kept me from really achieving the state of relaxation, I do think the Hypnobirthing book and tapes did help me concentrate during Birth #1 and avoid a c-section.

    I’m really hoping things go more smoothly with this one and I can labor longer at home and really make use of the relaxation techniques.

    One of the things I like about hypnobirthing is that it is there for every woman. Even if there is an emergency that requires more intervention, hypnobirthing can still help you focus and relax and work with your body.

    Thank you for the great info and links and for sharing the idea of hypnobirthing.

  6. I too used Hypnobirthing with my daughter Ava. I was really able to control pain and really only felt it during transition. I was on pitocin so I’m hoping my next birth will be without it and the transition will be a bit easier. I can’t recommend it enough. It even helps with the stress of everyday life.

    Hypnobirthing is truly amazing!

  7. Sweet! My lat two were born in a birth center…the middle one was hypno-birthing by accident. I just went fetal in the center of the bed for three hours, then ye;;ed, “Roll me over! Baby’s coming out!” And she did. Third one was actually more challenging, as I was afraid the 2nd easy labor had been a fluke. But no! hours and out. Breathing did make all the difference.

  8. I’m glad to read these testimonials because I’m planning on trying Hypnobirthing soon (baby is due in December). I don’t live close to a big city, so I will be using the CDs instead of the classes.

  9. I think it’s absolutely fabulous that you found a current celeb news item to help spread the word about hypnobirthing! When I first encountered it, I have to admit that the name had me a little bit wary. I’ve even discussed with other mamas the difference between “hypnosis” and “hypnobirthing” — the fact that it’s not about losing control to a magician dangling a watch in front of your eyes.

    It’s more about gaining control: focus, awareness, calm, and positive thoughts that change your experience in a significant way.

    Though not all of us follow celeb’s and their stories, there are so many who do I think it’s smart to help bring awareness that natural births, water births, babywearing, etc. are a part of so many women’s lives, celebrities included. It’s not fringe, it’s mainstream!

    Thanks, Amy!

  10. I’ve had two Hypnobabies births. The first I only had 9 days practice, but half of my labor was completely pain free. My second, I felt discomfort and a lot of downward pressure during transitioning, but no pain at all during pushing *aka no ring of fire* My hypnobabies techniques taught me to direct my hypno-anethesia to where I needed it, and to push my baby out easily. I had both my 7lb baby and my 9 lb baby with no tears!!

    In fact you can see my birthing video on sheridan’s (previous commenter) site!

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