What is Hypnobabies? Is it for me?

Megan alexander what is hypnobabies

What is Hypnobabies?

An Interview with Megan Alexander

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Hypnobabies instructor Megan Alexander. Megan is the only certified Hypnobabies instructor in the state of Alabama. I was able to chat with her and find out what Hypnobabies is, and who it is right for. Her interview is below.


So the short answer that I always give people is you’re teaching yourself how to go to a very relaxed state so that you can perceive the contractions as pressure versus pain. It’s like reprogramming your subconscious mind and how you’re perceiving those sensations of birth and instead of fighting against it, you’re relaxing and using, they call it, Hypno anesthesia, but just kind of directing where you want to be comfortable in your body.


And hypnosis, I guess kind of has a scary connotation, but you’re not going to do anything weird. You just kind of sit there, like you’re asleep or resting. You’re always in control. People are in states of hypnosis throughout the day. Like you’re falling asleep or watching TV or you’re driving home and then you’re home and you don’t remember how you got there. That’s a light state of hypnosis.


I did a hypnosis session with my coworkers yesterday and they were like, is this going to be weird? And then when we finished they were like “That was amazing!” It’s just very relaxing.


Speaking from my personal experience, I had a completely pain-free birth. Maybe I was uncomfortable, but I was never in pain. It was very intense when he was, you know, crowning and coming out. But I labored for almost 24 hours. I was very comfortable.


Depending on how much time someone spends preparing and practicing their hypnosis, that’s how much payoff they’re going to get. But I’ve seen it work perfectly well, and they never have any pain the whole time. And I’ve seen it work up to a point. And then they say, OK, I’m ready to do something else now, and that’s fine too. It’s just a tool like anything else. 

But in general, Hypno moms have very comfortable births. Hypnobabies can’t guarantee a pain-free birth, right? But the goal is easier and more comfortable. I have students (clients) who want an epidural, but they want some tools in their toolbox to get them from that first contraction or “pressure wave” to the epidural, so they’re not suffering in the interim and I think that’s awesome. You know you just use it for whatever your goals are.


The only way they wouldn’t be is if they were like “You may not have a natural birth.” Because generally providers, even not crunchy providers, really like Hypno moms, Hypnobabies students, because they’re very calm. Pain-free birth doesn’t necessarily mean a silent birth. You couldn’t be vocalizing but you have tools to keep your body relaxed and calm.


And so I would say yes all providers would be in favor of it. They might be like, “What are you calling those contractions? Why are we saying pressure wave?” But even if you have a provider who’s not using the Hypnobabies language, I’ve heard my students say that they just get to a point where they just replace the word in their mind, like they hear contraction and they just say “pressure wave”.


You don’t. It’s ideal, of course, in any birth to have a partner who’s on board, but you can definitely do it. My husband was 0% familiar with Hypnobabies with our last birth, but he was still able to be helpful for me and, you know, just generally being supportive of whatever I wanted to do, squeezing my hips.


But as far as like knowing the Hypnobabies’ cues and reading these scripts and that kind of stuff that we practice in class it’s not required. I just finished a class with a girl who did it completely by herself, but then during her birth, her husband was very involved and supportive, but he just wasn’t able to make it to the classes. So it works both ways.


So like I said, I used Hypnobabies with our second baby. And then I wanted to become a childbirth educator. So I started looking into what it would take to become a Hypnobabies educator. And then I saw, well, there aren’t any in Alabama, so there’s a need. I went through the process of becoming certified, which was about a year-long process, and finished with a 5-day training in Denver. It was the best thing I could think to share with people who are like, “What should I do? How should I prepare for my birth?”


That’s what I was most familiar with and how I came in contact with it was my midwife said, “Hey, I think you’d like Hypnobabies”. “OK, I’ll look into it.” And then I ended up really liking it. And there are just very few things that you could offer somebody that, like, “Hey, you can be comfortable during your birth versus just distracting yourself.”


You know, there are a lot of other childbirth programs out there, and they’re really good. But at best that’s what they could offer is, you know, squeeze an ice cube or squeeze a comb in your hand to distract yourself. And this is you’re truly comfortable because your brain isn’t fighting against pain, it’s relaxing and so that mind-body connection, and I talk a lot about Hypnobabies and just getting your mind and body to work really well together which leads to quicker births and fewer complications and better positioning for the baby just because everything is kind of synced up. I think it’s kind of cool.


I started teaching at the last of July, so 3 1/2 months, something like that. So I’m new, but I definitely have noticed that every time I go through it feels like I do a little bit better. You know, you become more familiar with it.


I guess about the program in general is the hypnosis scripts. Getting to practice those through your pregnancy just because you’re getting periods of not being stressed. So if you think about being under chronic stress, that’s hard on your body, but if you’re in intermittent periods of stress your body has time to relax and recover. When you’re in hypnosis, you’re relaxed. It’s giving your body a break and it just, it feels good. You’re just relaxed and then you wake up and you’re like, oh, just very refreshed.


There are hypnosis scripts that we listen to and then there’s also just pregnancy affirmations and just staying in a positive frame of mind about your pregnancy and about your birth and that it’s going to go well and just kind of reinforcing that mind-body connection.


My favorite thing about teaching Hypnobabies is similar, but at the end of each class, we go through about a 25-minute hypnosis script. But typically both partners get to participate and go all the way down into hypnosis. In the second class there’s a part in there where I tell the birth partner to squeeze the mom’s arm and I demo it on the dads beforehand and they’re squeezing hard and then the moms answer whether they feel pain or pressure or discomfort or pressure and they always say pressure.


Then afterward you have them show Mom how hard they were squeezing and they’re all like, “Ow, that hurts!” and so that’s very helpful in reassuring and convincing them that, “OK, this really is working. You know, this would have hurt, but since I was in hypnosis and I was telling my brain it was just going to be pressure, it really was just pressure.” And so after that one, there’s a lot of buy-in at that point.


Because most people start out and they’re skeptical. And I totally get that. I was very skeptical when I started, like, “OK, yeah, we’ll see, maybe it’ll help,” but it’s really amazing. Even in that short of time, like that’s week two. From week one to week two they can already get to that point.


It’s a bit of a challenge getting everybody’s schedule synced up to where they have childcare and they have 2 1/2 hours to devote to practicing. From a scheduling perspective that’s probably the hardest. The teaching? I don’t think it’s hard. I mean, Hypnobabies gives you everything just to teach. Having in-person classes is great versus just doing self-study at home because I can tailor it. Like if everybody in the class, it’s their third baby we can skip through some of this stuff that they already are familiar with. But if it’s your first baby, we can slow down and hit everything.


I don’t have a business background. I went to nursing school. So that’s been a learning curve for me. Just trying to figure out “How do I market this?”, and “How do I make a website?” I’m learning but it’s slow. And then as soon as I started teaching, I was pregnant. And so I felt really, you know, it just all kind of rolled together.


I really do love birth work. It’s just my calling. That’s why I went to nursing school. I wanted to work in birth, and so I feel like I’m able to offer people what they’re wanting. How cool is it to be able to offer somebody an easier birth? That’s amazing. I mean, it’s nice to also have the extra income on the side, but I think that’s kind of secondary. I really do enjoy meeting people and helping them and then hearing afterward that it works so well. “Yay, I’m so happy for you!” I guess too it’s still newer at this point to me so that’s helpful.


Also, I was going to mention this another motivator is that there’s an affirmation script that is just for instructors. So affirmations are not hypnosis and so you can listen to them while driving. And so as I’m driving to class I’ll usually listen to, I think it’s called “A Confident Hypnobabies Instructor” or something. So I like to listen to that on the way there. And just think I do know what I’m talking about. I’m going to share this information in a clear way and help them understand.


Other than take a Hypnobabies class? I don’t think I mentioned this, but I work in a midwife’s office, and so I’m talking to a lot of moms on a regular basis maybe or maybe not having a natural birth or hypnosis or whatever. But I encourage everybody to do some kind of preparation for birth. Don’t go into it blind. Educate yourself as much as you can. You’re going to be your own best advocate.


Even if you’re wanting all the medical things, I would still suggest preparing and just finding out what are the hospital’s procedures and making sure, “Do I really want all of those things? How do I envision my birth to be? Do I want all the lights on? Do I want it to be quiet and calm?” And not just going into it blind.

Be Prepared

Because I’ve had plenty of patients, especially when I was working in labor and delivery, who would come in and expect to feel absolutely nothing and then have this, to them, traumatic experience because they still did feel something. Even if you’re planning on getting an epidural, that’s great, I’m here for it. But it may or may not work perfectly and with an epidural, you’re still going to feel pressure, so doing some kind of preparation beforehand is really key. Just having reasonable expectations.


Because I’ve talked to plenty of people who thought that “Yeah, I just want whatever they do, whatever they say, that’s what I want.” and then they start looking like, do I really need to put the antibiotic ointment in my baby’s eyes? I don’t have any infections, do I have to do that? No, you don’t have to do that. And so just becoming a little bit more familiar with what is going to happen and making informed decisions on that.


So far it’s been about once a week. Each class meets once a week. So I mean if I had more than one class running concurrently, however many classes I had going but so far just had one class going on time.


Every six weeks. Yes, it’s a 2 1/2 hours commitment each class, but it’s only six weeks as opposed to some other childbirth preparation classes out there that are 12-14 weeks which only meet an hour at a time, great, but it’s still a chunk of time. And if you have to have a full 14 weeks to go through your program, then you’re going to need to decide super early that you want to do that, to finish it by the time you have your baby. Usually, around that 28-30 week mark, people are starting to realize, I’m going to have to get this baby out of me somehow. Yeah, maybe I should prepare for that.

When to Start

That’s about the ideal time to start Hypnobabies. It’s designed to start at 30 weeks so that when you finish you’re 36 weeks and you have a few weeks to just do “maintenance”, is what they call it. And just keep practicing your hypnosis and getting really comfortable with that. Which is the best time to practice in my opinion, because after 36 weeks I was always very uncomfortable. And so getting to go into hypnosis and be relaxed and comfortable was not a chore for me. I was looking forward to it.


Just contact me in some kind of way. Facebook and messages and e-mail are what is probably the best, just because that’s how we’ll correspond about the classes where I can send the registration link and all that. So the e-mail address is info@hypnobabieshuntsville.com. And that’s how most people have reached out. There’s also a website that I said was a work in progress, but it’s there and there’s a contact form on there and it’s just hypnobabieshuntsville.com.


Hi! My name is Megan Alexander and I am thrilled to begin offering Hypnobabies classes to expectant families in the North Alabama area. I have been married to my husband, Ryan, for 6 years, and we have two boys, ages 4.5 and 2.5. I am a registered nurse, with 5 years of experience in labor and delivery, and now work with midwife patients in the office setting. I found Hypnobabies during my second pregnancy, in an effort to feel more prepared for the birthing. The birth was so peaceful and truly pain-free. I knew that I wanted to share what I had learned and experienced with others, which led to pursuing Hypnobabies instructor certification and ultimately the creation of Hypnobabies Huntsville.

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