If you watch any movie or television show depicting a woman delivering a baby, the scene is always, as you might expect, a little dramatic. And while anyone who has been through the actual process will likely agree that those scenes are a little off the mark, the consensus among most women seems to be that, yes, childbirth is hard work and, when un-medicated, incredibly painful.
However, based on her own experiences, Kelly Colvin of Washington Fields says it doesn't have to be.
After delivering two children in the hospital with an epidural and not being pleased with her experience, Colvin started looking for alternative methods when it came time to have her third child. What she found is a trademarked version of hypnobirthing known as Hypnobabies and the concept just made sense.
Practicing medical grade hypnosis techniques, Colvin says Hypnobabies teaches its participants to tap into the deepest level of hypnosis that is, "ideal for giving birth."
Colvin is quick to point out that the laboring woman is not asleep — a common misconception when it comes to hypnosis — but instead is fully functional and able to communicate. The difference is, she has placed herself in a deep level of hypnosis that allows her body to do what it was designed to do without fear and anxiety impeding the process.
"All hypnosis is self-hypnosis," says Colvin, a certified Hypnobabies instructor, as well as a Hypnobabies doula. "No one is controlling you."
To the skeptics out there, Colvin says the average person is in a state of hypnosis several times a day without realizing it – while driving, while watching television or staring at a computer.
"Anytime you are concentrating deeply on anything, that's a form of hypnosis," she says.
"The key with Hypnobabies and hypnobirthing, is to control that concentration and reprogram the mind that childbirth does not have to be a painful experience.
Although Hypnobabies does not guarantee a pain free labor and delivery, Colvin says the goal is to have, "the most comfortable birth for you and your baby" as well as "the safest birth experience."
Colvin herself utilized the Hypnobabies techniques with her third and fourth children, delivering in a birth center with the third and at home for her fourth, but she has acted as a Hypnobabies doula on many occasions for women delivering in the hospital as well. For her, the difference in her birth experience from the first two children to the latter two was amazing and she couldn't wait to tell other people about what she had experienced.
"In our culture we view (birth) as this horrific, painful experience but when you educate and prepare yourself it is so much different," Colvin says.
A six-week class, along with at-home practice CDs and literature serve as a guide for women seeking to give this style of birthing a try. For Savannah Swanson ofWashington City, the difference was night and day.
"It's very empowering," Swanson says. "It's not just about birth, it's about the way you view things."
Working as a mental health therapist, Swanson was familiar with cognitive behavioral therapy and the power of a person's thoughts. Putting that idea into action by using the tools she learned in the Hypnobabies classes helped when she delivered her third baby.
She delivered her baby at Dixie Regional Medical Center with an obstetrician who was "very supportive of my using Hypnobabies," and although her experience was not completely pain-free, it was "a stark contrast" to her previous births.
"There was one moment of, 'this is really hard!' but with the Hypnobabies training the more positive thinking started to kick in and I was like, 'You know what? I can do this,'" Swanson says.
Minutes later she was holding her child in her arms.
Chelsea Stephenson of St. George was also displeased with her experience delivering her first three children, all of which had to be induced.
"I was thinking, there's got to be something better out there," Stephenson says.
She heard about Hypnobabies from a sister-in-law, but was skeptical at first.
"I thought it sounded really hard," she says.
After attending the classes and meeting Colvin, she jumped in with both feet, opting to deliver at home with Colvin serving as her doula. When the day came, she was in a completely relaxed state.
"I was never crying. It was never a pain that I couldn't handle," she says. "It was amazing how it worked."
The key, Colvin says, is getting away from the fear and the traditional mindset that childbirth is such a negative experience.
"When fear is present it leads to tension, which leads to pain," Colvin says.
With that in mind, Colvin says she felt her own contractions as "pressure, like a big warm hug, stretching and pulling."
With more and more women in the Southern Utah area becoming interested in natural childbirth, Colvin says the idea of Hypnobabies and hypnobirthing is gaining popularity. To her knowledge she is the only person offering the official Hypnobabies classes, but there are other hypnobirthing technique classes available in the area, including through Dixie Regional Medical Center.
For more information on Hypnobabies, log onto peacefulbirthchoices.com.