Jan 2 2004
Tuesday, Dec 09, 2003 Mercury News
The woman in the videotape is relaxing in a warm bath, eyes closed, almost trancelike. Soft music plays in the background as her partner pours a steady stream of warm water over her swollen belly.
She shifts and moves in the water, letting out a few uncomfortable groans. Moments later, after just a few pushes, her baby boy is born.
The perfect hypnobirth.
It's not the stuff of television maternity ward shows, where women are often screaming and begging for drugs.
Hypnobirthing, catching on among mainstream moms-to-be, is a wholly different way of approaching the later stages of pregnancy and birthing. Using hypnosis, deep breathing and communication with the fetus in the womb, those who have experienced hypnobirthing say they give birth with less pain and, often, no drugs.
“Most of the time, women don't know what to expect during childbirth, and we've been conditioned to be afraid of the pain,” said Yvonne Schwab, founder of the San Jose HypnoBirthing Center. “Hypnobirthing teaches women to give birth in a peaceful way, allowing their body -- and their baby -- to do the work for them.”
The philosophy behind hypnobirthing is that when a woman is properly prepared for childbirth physically, mentally and spiritually, labor and delivery can be easier and more comfortable. Pregnant women learn not only how to hypnotize themselves, but their partners also learn how to coax them into a relaxed state by using verbal and taped messages and music.