19 Years of Excellence
When it comes to pregnancy and birth, there is so much conflicting and even scary information. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure. I provide one-on-one guidance, education, and effective relaxation techniques that allow birthing women to feel informed, confident, and peaceful.
In 2016, a researcher named Hauser did a meta-analysis and looked at all the randomized trials on using hypnosis for a variety of purposes. They found that hypnosis was superior to usual care in terms of reducing emotional stress, making you have a quicker recovery, and decreasing your need for pain medication. They concluded that hypnotherapy is a safe and effective complementary medicine technique for use in medical procedures and that it even shows promise for helping people manage irritable bowel syndrome.
The use of hypnosis to relieve labor pains is nothing new. It was effectively used as far back as the early 1800s, saw a resurgence in the 1950s, and has been used for years by members of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, an organization that promotes excellence in the use of hypnosis.
Dr. Paul Schauble, a psychologist and a member of the ASCH and professor of psychology at the University of Florida, has been using hypnosis to treat patients since the 1960s and has seen first hand the effects it has on laboring women.
Schauble supervised a study in the May 2001 edition of the Journal of Family Practice titled "The Effects of Hypnosis on the Labor Processes and Birth Outcomes of Pregnant Adolescents." In the study, 42 patients were divided randomly between a treatment group that received childbirth preparation using the hypnosis techniques and a control group that received non-hypnosis supportive counseling.
The study found that women in the hypnosis group had fewer complications and surgical interventions, and less need for anesthesia. They also had shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries.
Family-centered hypnobirth teaches you, along with your birth partner, the art and joy of experiencing fertility, pregnancy, birth, and parenthood in a more peaceful and confident manner. The techniques you will learn in my classes teach you to create a relaxation habit within your mind and body. It positively impacts the way you respond to the journey of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.
HYPNOBIRTH ENHANCES YOUR CHILDBEARING EXPERIENCE
creates a relaxation habit in your mind and body
reduces the fear of childbirth
creates or strengthens a positive view of birth
enhances prenatal bonding
heightens your connection with your own inner wisdom
makes you more aware of your baby's needs
helps you plan wisely for your birth
inspires trust in your body and the ability to work with it
provides a means of self direction
increases the likelihood of a shorter labor
reduces and even can eliminate the pain of labor
lessons the chance of laceration during birth
reduces the likelihood of complications, including a cesarean birth
helps you prepare for a smoother transition to parenthood
reduce the likelihood of postpartum blues
Sadly, these days women are often ridiculed or shamed if they share that they would like to give birth naturally without pain medication. Friends, family, co-workers, strangers, and even medical caregivers are quick to dismiss her exclaiming, "Well, you can try to give birth without an epidural, but I don't believe you will be able to do it." When remarks like these come from an authority figure, it is known as what we refer to in hypnosis as a prestige suggestion. Negative prestige suggestions like these can completely undermine a woman's belief in herself.
When a woman’s subconscious is programmed with negative beliefs about pregnancy and childbirth, it causes her to doubt herself, her body, and her ability to give birth to and mother her child. If it is her first pregnancy, her subconscious mind does not have any previous personal experience to refer to. Therefore, it references everything that she has been told by others, watched on television or in movies, and viewed on the internet. If her subconscious is programmed with scary and disempowering thoughts, beliefs, and images, she will go into fight, flight, or freeze mode in order to protect herself and her baby. This can make for a more stressful pregnancy and a painful, frightening birth experience for them both. The beauty of hypnosis-assisted childbirth is its ability to ‘de-hypnotize’ these negative messages and beliefs that are constantly coming at pregnant mothers in all different directions from the media, caregivers, friends, family, and even strangers.
Fearful thoughts and/or negative emotions can inhibit the hormonal balance necessary for laboring efficiently. The hormone oxytocin, which is released by the anterior pituitary gland, regulates uterine contractions. Oxytocin is less likely to be released if a mother is upset. At the same time, the stress hormones released when she is very tense can impair labor. This fear and tension cause the muscles around the cervix to tighten. Longer and harder contractions become necessary to open the tight cervix. Tension also decreases the available oxygen to the uterus when a woman enters into fight, flight, or freeze mode, leading to more painful contractions. A confident, relaxed state eliminates the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle, thus maintaining the necessary birthing hormones and enhancing the release of endorphins. Endorphins are our own natural pain relievers which are 200 times stronger than morphine! With hypnobirthing, you will learn how to tap into nature's own epidural and call upon your body's own natural relaxant, thus lessening, or even eliminating discomfort and the need for medication.
My hypnobirth childbirth classes provide women with deep, powerful relaxation techniques that are taught in an incremental approach. Each session of the class series builds on the next, facilitating the release of fears. My classes help you to connect with your own inner wisdom and define your own beliefs about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. The effectiveness of these classes comes from the synergistic blending of a comprehensive childbirth education with creative visualization, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, fear release techniques, positive affirmations, and the development of a relaxation habit within the mind and body. Women naturally go inward during labor, and hypnosis-assisted childbirth skills help you to more effectively maintain nature's own labor-land. Even though you are in a deeply relaxed state, you are still able to easily interact with others, utilize different labor positions, etc.
This relaxation habit is a tool you can use on your own, whenever you may need it. I feel this is vitally important, especially during labor. If I make a woman dependent on me, a partner, or a doula to help maintain this relaxation, I am not serving her well. Of course, a birth companion reinforcing the skills is extremely valuable. However, that is not something that every birthing woman has or every birth partner is able to provide.
Using birth hypnosis techniques during pregnancy and birth positively impacts your baby and you. Purposely taking time each day to relax lessens tension and fears reducing the amount of stress hormones present within your body and your baby's body. Research has shown that the hormones produced by a mother experiencing chronic stress will profoundly alter the distribution of blood flow in her baby and change the character of her developing child's physiology. Birth hypnosis elicits the relaxation response, which counteracts the body's physical and emotional response to stress, allowing it to return to a calm relaxed state. When a person elicits the relaxation response, there is a measurable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle tension, and stress hormone levels.
The relaxation response also causes normal waking brain-wave patterns to shift to predominantly slower patterns and pave the way for the hormonal and immune systems to return to normal, benefiting you both. A recent study concludes that "Babies who experienced the calm of HypnoBirthing® in the womb and during their birth were more likely described as calm, content and happy as both babies and older children. The Hypnobirthed babies were also more likely to be good sleepers, as well as easy and alert babies."
Mothers fondly remark on the deep connection and bonding present with their babies that took place during their pregnancies. These benefits extend beyond your birthing, for you will have valuable life-enhancing skills that you can use for the rest of your life.
LEARN WITH CONFIDENCE
As a birth hypnosis specialist, I have been facilitating classes since 2003. I am Central Florida's original hypnodoula and the first to teach HypnoBirthing® -- The Mongan Method, Hypnobabies®, and HypnoBirthing® Fertility in the Orlando and Kissimmee-St. Cloud, Florida.* I have studied multiple birth/fertility hypnosis programs including Dr. Richard Widmeier's New Concepts in Painless Childbirth, The LeClaire Method for fertility and childbirth, The Fertile Body Method, The Mind-Body Fertility Connection, HypnoFertility, and the childbirth creative visualization techniques of Carl Jones. I have maintained a practice in the field of hypnosis and regression therapy for 19 years. I am a trained trauma-informed professional and certified grief counseling specialist. My services provide you the assurance that only comes with learning from a seasoned practitioner who has facilitated 800+ hypnosis-assisted childbirth courses. Additionally, you also benefit from my 20+ years of experience I have gleaned attending 750+ births and counting as a doula and midwifery birth assistant as well as, an Evidence Based Birth professional member and Birth Monopoly Know Your Rights Graduate.
* As a birth hypnosis specialist, I have thoughtfully chosen to no longer recertify or be affiliated with neither the Hypnobabies® Network nor the HypnoBirthing® Institute.
LEARN ABOUT HYPNOBIRTH ON THE BIRTH EASE PODCAST
In this first episode of Michelle's series on hypnobirth, she shares her guest appearance on the Birth Story Podcast with Heidi Synderburn. Michelle explains ins-and-outs of Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies, and guided relaxation. Michelle addresses the misconceptions surrounding these practices, as well as provides guidance on preparing for the birth plan of your dreams, no matter what it looks like. Heidi shares her insights on birth hypnosis as a Certified HypnoBabies™ Doula. Heidi and Michelle end the episode with Michelle giving a brief hypnobirth relaxation session.
In this second episode in Michelle’s series on birth hypnosis, midwife Laura Nathan shares her passion for homebirth and the difference that hypnobirth makes within pregnancy, labor and birth, postpartum, and beyond in this replay of episode 44.
"Because it doesn't have to be that way. That's what we see in the movies and the sitcom sketches. It doesn't have to be that way of the screaming, painful birth that is just awful and gotta get through it and suffer through to get to the end, to the good thing at the end, which is the baby. The process can also be really uplifting. It can be a really beautiful process that… the mom can feel really empowered by it."— Laura Nathan
In this third episode in the birth hypnosis series, Rene Brent, Clinical and Transpersonal Hypnotherapist, and Michelle dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding hypnosis and hypnotherapy. They discuss the power of the subconscious mind works and how it works. Rene explains the imprinting that can happen within the subconscious mind, especially when we are children. Together Michelle and Rene share the transform that hypnotherapy can create.
"Thoughts create chemistry, and chemistry, we feel that in our physical body. If it's fear then we have another thought because we feel it in our stomach or our gut. And that's called the felt sense… When you are in worry and fear because worry is all about fear. Nobody worries about things being amazing." —Rene Brent
In this next episode Michelle's series on Hypnobirth, she shares some of the realities of birth and being a hypnodoula. She expresses her gratitude for hypnosis and hypnobirth, for what she teaches, as well as her gratitude for the families she has worked with over these 20 years. She ends the episode with the fun birth story of her April Fool's Day hypnobaby prankster.
"[Hypnosis], it's an incredible tool for healing, and for returning to our center and connecting with our own inner wisdom."— Michelle Smith
In this next episode Michelle's series on Hypnobirth, she shares what led her to become a birth hypnosis specialist and a bit of history regarding hypnobirth. Michelle has previously certified in and taught both HypnoBirthing and Hypnobabies childbirth programs. She thoughtfully shares her observations regarding the two methods to help expecting families to decide which method might be best for them.
"I believe that the relaxation techniques that I teach provide a birthing woman a focus and control not realized by the average birthing person. Women report a feeling of empowerment, that they have learned skills they can use the rest of their lives." —Michelle Smith
In this episode of Michelle’s series on Hypnobirth, Michelle invites Stephanie Smith back to the podcast. Stephanie has over 20 years of experience as an E-RYT, PRYT Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and as a student of meditation. Together they have a casual conversation regarding the benefits, similarities, and differences of hypnobirthing/hypnosis and the Calm Birth Meditation practices.
WHAT IS HYPNOSIS?
It is a natural state we all enter in and out of everyday. Hypnosis is simply a state of profound relaxation and focused concentration. Hypnosis elicits the relaxation response within the body—a physical state of deep rest that occurs when a person is profoundly relaxed. It counteracts the body's physical and emotional response to stress, allowing it to return to a calm relaxed state. This causes a measurable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle tension, and stress hormone levels. This is especially important for conception, pregnancy, and birthing. The relaxation response also causes normal waking brainwave patterns to shift to predominately slower patterns and pave the way for the hormonal and immune systems to return to normal.
Hypnosis also enhances the mind-body connection. This allows the body to do such things as speed healing, increase a mother's milk supply, decrease stress, and even alter the perception of pain.
Anyone of normal intelligence who can listen to directions can be hypnotized. All that is necessary is imagination and a willingness to cooperate. The ability to be hypnotized is dependent upon the ability to relax and merely listen. Occasionally, a person may need several attempts before actually entering into hypnosis. Generally, this is due to the person holding onto a little bit of fear—fear of loss of control or a part of themselves resisting the positive changes they desire to make. The clients that realize the best results have a good reason for the hypnosis and a strong motivation to accomplish their goal or desire. This is certainly the case for mothers planning a natural birth.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You choose to enter, stay, and exit this natural relaxed state at all times. Therefore, no one can ever be hypnotized against their will. The hypnotist is simply the guide that assists as you tap into the incredible power of the mind-body connection. A suggestion can never be given that would cause you to do anything against your ethics or moral values. Hypnobirthing assists clients in releasing negative programming about birth and creates a relaxation habit within the body. The suggestions given are to help you return to your natural birthing instincts. The proper use of hypnosis actually gives you greater control over all aspects of your life. Remember, hypnosis is a natural state everyone enters into every day, therefore it is impossible to get stuck in hypnosis. There is no danger of a person failing to come out of the hypnotic state. You are neither asleep nor unconscious, just profoundly relaxed.