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Focused at Birth

While getting ready for the birth of her second child, Melinda Wood ended every day with a special nighttime ritual.

After tucking her son into bed, the expectant mother went to her own room, sliding a blue patchwork quilt across her stomach before slipping a pair of headphones over her ears. Within minutes, musical chimes followed by a soothing voice would direct her to focus on colors and images.

As she closed her eyes, the stress of the day would disappear with each measured breath. But more importantly, she was getting ready for the day she would deliver her daughter.

“Just minutes in and I’d be sleeping,” she says, holding her one-year-old daughter Gracie on her lap. “It was relaxing, but it also gave me confidence. I was ready to go.”

From her fifth month of pregnancy on, Melinda practiced HypnoBirthing, a method that uses guided imagery visualization and relaxation techniques, to prepare for the birth of her daughter. The experience was exactly what she was looking for.

A natural approach

About three years earlier, the Sioux Falls mom had her first child, delivered by a Sanford Certified Nurse Midwife, Sanford’s experts in high touch, low technology obstetric and gynecological care. From her first appointment, she loved the way the caring certified nurse midwife handled her care.

Now, pregnant with a second child, she was looking for a way to prepare again, both physically and mentally, for childbirth. Certified Nurse Midwife Terry Engelmann suggested HypnoBirthing classes and Melissa and her husband decided to give it a try.

“Noah’s birth had been a good experience, but I could remember the pain,” Melinda said. “When you have your first child, you don’t really know what to expect. This time I really wanted to be ready.”

Body designed for birth

HypnoBirthing, a method that is increasingly popular with women across the country, works to help prepare moms-to-be by helping them use their natural instincts to relax and overcome the fear, tension and pain associated with childbirth. Women and their birth partners learn techniques that allow them to replace stress hormones with natural endorphins that both relieve pain and promote relaxation during and after birth.

The couple attended five weeks of classes that focused on teaching relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques. They learned ways to help focus and fully engage in their child’s birth.

Melinda admits that the first few times she popped the practice compact disc into her home stereo she got the giggles. But after a few weeks, she appreciated the quick relaxation the exercises provided.

“You really have to embrace it for it to work,” Melinda said. “Once you get past the initial strangeness, you can get into it.”

Approaching with confidence

On the day of Gracie’s birth, she was prepared and calm. She entered the delivery room with a focus and sense of confidence she hadn’t felt with her first child’s birth.

“I was in control throughout my whole labor,” Melinda said. “I felt like I was in tune with my body and I knew what to do.”

Since her daughter’s birth, she’s recommended Sanford HypnoBirthing classes to friends and relatives. Many people don’t understand the idea or are put off by the idea of hypnosis, she says.

Melinda says she describes her experience as being far from a “trance-like” state. She was fully alert and involved with every stage of the labor, but found herself free from tension and fear.

“It was a wonderful experience, something that made me feel strong and confident,” Melinda said. “I felt absolutely great afterward.”

Melinda and her husband recently found out that they are expecting their third child. There is no question in their minds about using HypnoBirthing again.

“This is the way you want your childbirth to be,” she says.

Posted Date: September 2011