Ep 230: Hypnosis For Childbirth with Kerry Tuschhoff of Hypnobabies

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Hypnosis during labor and birth has come up several times on the podcast and today I’m interviewing an expert. Kerry Tuschhoff is a doula, birth instructor, and founder of Hypnobabies. No, they don’t hypnotize babies :). It’s an online resource for hypnosis classes and courses for childbirth.

Kerry was shocked at how severe the pain of childbirth was and decided to dedicate herself to finding a way to make it easier. That path led her to hypno-anesthesia and eventually becoming a professional hypnotherapist. She has so many great tips and lots of good resources to share in this episode!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What hypnosis actually is
  • Who is a good candidate for hypnotherapy and who is not
  • How hypnosis is used during childbirth
  • Why you may want to practice meditation and visualization
  • How your birth partner can support your hypnobirth
  • How hypnosis can help your birthing partner

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Dr. Nicole (00:00): You are going to really love this episode with Kerry Tuschoff, the founder of Hypnobabie. Welcome to the All about Pregnancy and birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Callaway Rankins, a board certified OBGYN, who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

(00:52): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 230. Whether you're a new listener or a returning listener, I am so grateful you're spending some time with me today. In this episode of the podcast, we have Kerry Tuschoff. She is the founder and director of Hypnobabiess Hypnobirthing. She has loved being a childbirth educator, doula and hypnotherapist for over 30 years, teaching families to trust in their minds, bodies, babies, and the process of childbirth is her passion and hearing healing birth stories is her joy. We have an incredibly informative conversation about what led her to start Hypnobabie, what is hypnosis, what mental state you're in during hypnosis. She chats about how you're not asleep or unconscious. We discuss whether or not everyone can be hypnotized, some of the benefits, who are good candidates to use hypnosis in childbirth, what role the partner plays in hypnosis and so much more.

(02:02): Again, super, super incredibly informative conversation and I know that you're going to find it useful. Now, before we hop into the podcast, I have a favor to ask. If you enjoy listening to this podcast, do me a favor and leave me a five star review in Apple Podcast. Those reviews are helpful for the show to grow. They help other people find the show. I am on a mission to reach and serve as many pregnant folks as possible, and I was so appreciate your help and doing that, and also I love to hear what you think about the show. So if you enjoyed the show, leave me that five star review in Apple podcast. I would so appreciate it. Okay, let's get into the conversation with Kerry from Hypnobabie. Thank you so much, Kerry, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I'm so excited to talk about this topic. I know people are going to be interested in it.

Kerry Tuschhoff (02:55): I love talking about how to make pregnancy birthing and postpartum much better.

Dr. Nicole (03:01): Love it, love it, love it. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your work and your family if you'd like.

Kerry Tuschhoff (03:08): Okay. Well, I am the founder and director of Hypnobabie Childbirth Hypnosis, and it is a hypnobirthing program, but I've also developed many other things for people, pregnancy tracks that help them with nausea and eliminating insomnia and the fear of needles and the fear of childbirth and also a fertility program because some people need a little extra help then just relax. You'll get pregnant. It is my world basically, and I have two children. They're both grown and it was their births that drew me to create Hypnobabies.

Dr. Nicole (03:50): Okay. All right. Did you use hypnosis for their births or was it after that that you started to think about creating this?

Kerry Tuschhoff (03:58): Well, I did not use hypnosis. The way it happened is I was newly married and a friend of ours from church had a baby and she had it with no drugs. She used the Bradley method. I'm not sure if you're okay. So she used the Bradley Method of natural childbirth and she said, yes, it hurt like holy warts, but she did it unmedicated and I was fascinated. I thought everybody went in and had an epidural. And so I started to look into it and I just got bit by the birth bug

Dr. Nicole (04:32): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (04:32): I became a Bradley instructor, even though you're not supposed to until you've had your own. But I convinced them that I could and I did, and I started teaching people and being their doula as well. And yeah, it was very, very painful for everybody, but I thought I knew everything about how to do what they call avoid unnecessary pain. And then I got pregnant. So when I had my first baby, it was very long. She was posterior, which for your viewers means her head was turned around not in the proper position, and the nerves in my back were basically being scraped with each contraction. So it was so painful. I was shocked. In fact, I was traumatized. And I ended up going from a birth center after about, I don't know, maybe 26, 30 hours to the hospital across the street, and I was never so happy to see anyone as I was that anesthesiologist with that great big long epidural needle sticking it in my back. And I gained a very healthy respect for why people would choose epidurals and other drugs, which I had not had before as a childbirth instructor. And so it was good for me to learn that.

(06:00): However, I was traumatized and it took me four years until the next baby,

(06:07): And

(06:08): I had nothing really to deal with the pain. And even though it was only seven hours worth of labor, he was also posterior. And I was just screaming my head off and my husband was pushing on my back. My sister was holding my hands. I was at a birth center with a wonderful midwife, and after a particularly gnarly contraction, I looked up into her tear stain face and she said, it should never have to be this hard. And it's like a light bulb went on over my head that I was going to find whatever that was to make it easier if people wanted a more holistic unmedicated birthing or just wanted an easier time of it before they got to the hospital. And I did. I went on and I learned about hypnosis for childbirth. I got trained at a regular hypnobirthing program, and it was not what I was looking for to say the least. I just wanted a little more when I was going to though my students' birth that I was teaching this hypnobirthing to, they were also in a lot of pain as much as my Bradley students had been. And so I went and I studied hypnosis and then hypnotherapy, and then I found what's called hypno anesthesia.

(07:31): And that is something that rarely, but it does happen that people are allergic to medical anesthetics and they need to use hypno anesthesia to have that surgery or procedure anyway,

(07:44): So

(07:44): They work with a hypnotist ahead of time and use the hypnosis during that particular procedure. And that's what I had been looking for. So I trained in a program called Gerald K's Painless Childbirth Program, and he was a master hypnotist

(07:59): And

(07:59): Found out directly from women what they wanted in a hypno program for childbirth. And I asked him if I could use his techniques and create a childbirth program with them in it.

(08:13): And

(08:13): He said, I can't wait to see what you create, and the rest is history. It's just grown and grown and grown since then, and pretty much organically

(08:24): Things

(08:24): Have been added to it and taken out based on feedback from our students, from our instructors, because now we teach instructors to teach Hypnobabie in groups

(08:36): All

(08:37): Over the country and also our doulas, people who were attending

(08:44): The

(08:44): Hypnobabies births, what works, what doesn't work, all that

(08:48): Important information.

(08:51): And so we have updated Hypnobabies every few years and it's pretty amazing for people who learn and practice and use it as directed.

Dr. Nicole (09:00): Yeah, I love that. I love that you are obviously very serious about this work and you put in the time and effort to study and learn it and not just do that, but also continually improve it. And in this age today of where it feels like everybody wants to be an influencer or expert on things, I think that's really important for folks to hear that you want to get information from somebody

Kerry Tuschhoff (09:29): Who's

Dr. Nicole (09:29): Serious about it.

Kerry Tuschhoff (09:30): Exactly. And people we teach in Hypnobabies, I always like to include this even if I'm not asked, but we teach in Hypnobabies how to be a really good consumer, which means find out what your choices are in pregnancy. We do not tell them what to choose, but we do tell them the risks, the benefits, and the alternatives of what other people call interventions. But we call them choices in Hypnobabies because most people are unaware that you can choose not to blah, blah, blah, fill in the blank, whether it's have an IV or get induced or whatever it is. And so we teach the benefits, the risks, and the alternatives of these things so that people can research more what they're really needing or wanting or desiring for their birth, put together a plan also with flexibility, because most people are giving birth in a hospital and you just have to go more with what's going on, although the choices are always yours. What I mean by that is that people don't understand that if you're in a hospital, there are certain protocols, there are certain things that protect the hospitals and the nurses and the doctors that have privileges there.

(10:53): So those things are going to come into play. And how they come into play depends on your flexibility, your knowledge, and your education ahead of time to decide percent what that's going to be. Is that going to be okay? And if it's okay, great. And we actually include a hypnosis track called change of plants, and they use that. They listen to it. If there is a change of plants,

Dr. Nicole (11:18): What

Kerry Tuschhoff (11:18): If they get in there and they didn't want an iv, but one is necessary.

Dr. Nicole (11:21): Now,

Kerry Tuschhoff (11:22): That's a small thing, but to some people it's major. And so they get to listen to this track which says, Hey, we're changing our plan now and we're going to roll with it so that the veins don't go flat and our temperature stays normal and we're calm and relaxed throughout the procedure and that it is what is needed at this time. So they get to use hypnosis for that as well, all the way to if they end up needing a cesarean. We've had them listening to the track all the way to surgery because that's a major change of plans, but it can help them stay absolutely calm and make the experience less traumatic for some people. For others, they're just like, eh, but they're calmer and so is their birth partner, which helps.

Dr. Nicole (12:10): Absolutely. Absolutely. So then let's get into it. What exactly is hypnosis?

Kerry Tuschhoff (12:18): Well, first of all, hypnosis is not what people see on the stage. They think that if it's hypnosis, there's a guy waving a watch or making people on the stage act like Elvis or quack like a duck or any of that stuff. That's a lot of fun. But it's a show and it's entertainment and the people up on stage are playing along real therapeutic. Hypnosis is different. So first of all, hypnosis is just a state of very focused concentration, and that happens to us many times a day. As you know, we're all on screens of many kinds all the time. And so anytime you're on a screen, there's things in your point of view, your eyes are going back and forth, and you actually go into an alpha state.

Dr. Nicole (13:09): So

Kerry Tuschhoff (13:09): It could be a movie, it could be that you're reading a birth story.

Dr. Nicole (13:13): It

Kerry Tuschhoff (13:13): Could be that you're watching a show like this. It could be anything on a screen scrolling through your social media. And we get into an alpha state where our brainwaves start to slow down a little bit. So that's a state of hypnosis. Anytime that we're reading, sometimes you can be reading something, a book, a magazine, and there's people calling you and it takes a couple minutes for your mind to catch up because you're in a state of hypnosis. People who are gaming try to get the attention of somebody who's super focused now, when you're going to sleep, when you're waking up, anytime that you're daydreaming, and of course we all know that when you are driving and you've been driving for a while and all of a sudden you're thinking about what's going to happen when you get there, and then you're there and you're like, where did the last five minutes go to?

Dr. Nicole (14:09): But

Kerry Tuschhoff (14:09): You were in a state of hypnosis. So these are light states of hypnosis, but in therapeutic hypnosis, what we do is we take people deeper.

Dr. Nicole (14:18): Got it.

Kerry Tuschhoff (14:19): And that helps to access the subconscious mind. So there's the conscious mind up here and the subconscious mind down here and in between is what's called the critical faculty, and it's basically the filter or the guardian.

Dr. Nicole (14:34): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (14:34): In hypnosis, we relax the mind and the body together, and then the guardian takes a nap and we can get down to the subconscious. In the subconscious there is files and folders and videotapes of everything that you've ever heard and seen and done and experienced and thought

Dr. Nicole (14:56): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (14:56): Felt emotionally. So what we're going to do is we're going to go down and we're not taking anything out, but we're actually upgrading the software. So we're going to add a layer. We're upgrading the software so that what we knew about childbirth, for instance, all the scary stuff, what our sister told us or our last birth experience basically gets altered and the sensations of birthing also get altered. So they're still there. There's going to be pushing sensations, pulling, stretching, tightening, baby movements, things like that, but they're not going to be associated as much with the kind of discomfort that we normally associate with birthing.

Dr. Nicole (15:40): Got it.

Kerry Tuschhoff (15:41): And so it just takes it way down. For some people, they can have a completely pain-free birth with hypnosis. That is not going to be everyone's experience because things do happen. It happens in childbirth. All kinds of things happen as being a doctor, and we can't predict those things. That might take our focus away from the hypnosis, something happening with the mom or the baby. Sometimes all betts are off, and sometimes people do not learn practice and use the hypno techniques as they should. That's up to them as well. We are completely supportive of people's choices. If they study and practice Hypnobabies, for instance, like crazy, and then they get in there and they're like, oh my gosh, no, bring in the anesthesiologist righty. Then we respect everything that people choose and we're just there to help them have an easier time of it.

Dr. Nicole (16:45): Got it, got it, got it. I love that you're honest about the fact that this isn't a miracle thing in the sense that every single person is suddenly going to be pain-free. That everybody's experience of it is going to differ, but it's definitely going to be a situation if you put in the study and if you put in the practice that it will help you perceive pain differently, I guess, or alter your perception of pain. Is that fair to say?

Kerry Tuschhoff (17:15): It's altering your perception of pain, but also your subconscious and your body's perception of pain together.

Dr. Nicole (17:21): Got it.

Kerry Tuschhoff (17:22): So you're literally creating different sensations than you normally would have. And people's goals are also very different. There could be one mother who goes in and says, I want to completely pain-free birth. That's probably not as realistic as she thinks, but her belief may make it so,

Dr. Nicole (17:46): Because

Kerry Tuschhoff (17:46): You and I both know the mind body connection is amazing, and also the placebo effect is a real thing. What people believe to be happening is often what happens, but there's also mothers who come in and they say, I just want a better experience than last time. It was just awful. I didn't have any tools, physical tools, emotional tools, confidence tools, relaxation tools. I didn't have what I needed. And so that's what they work for.

Dr. Nicole (18:18): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (18:18): Me, what I work for is to help people avoid that first traumatic birth because that can be life altering.

(18:28): But also the people who've had a traumatic birth before or a difficult or challenging birth can have a healing birth now because they have much less discomfort. But also it helps all of these people to have hypnosis while they're pregnant because as soon as you start with your Hypnobabies program at about 30 weeks-ish, the messages inside the Hypnobabies tracks the written materials and the affirmations all change your point of view, your mindset about childbirth, about pregnancy itself, but then about childbirth and postpartum and what to look forward to. So you're basically building a platform to look forward to something in a much more positive way, which then helps all of your physical body and processes and hormones stay normal as they should. Instead of being tight and tense and

Dr. Nicole (19:36): Fearful and

Kerry Tuschhoff (19:37): Freaked out

Dr. Nicole (19:39): Fearful.

Kerry Tuschhoff (19:40): We take all of that out. We do actually have fear clearing sessions in Hypnobabies to help you release all of that. And the gift that you give yourself to look forward to your baby's birth

Dr. Nicole (19:52): Because

Kerry Tuschhoff (19:53): Of that, instead of being anxious and afraid is immeasurable. So for pregnancy, it's really wonderful as well. And then birthing, and then afterwards, they can use hypnosis for afterbirth pains. They can use it for breastfeeding, they can use it for parental confidence, new parent confidence, all kinds of things. So we go into postpartum in Hypnobabies as well, where we're teaching them things, what to look for, things that are normal and not normal emotionally and mentally, and when to call the doctor, when to seek help, things like that. So we're following them from pregnancy all the way through and helping them out all the way through with the powers of their own mind and emotions.

Dr. Nicole (20:43): And I love this because it speaks to the fact that we cannot always control the things that are happening around us and to us, but we absolutely have control over the way we respond to things.

Kerry Tuschhoff (20:56): Exactly. So

Dr. Nicole (20:57): It helps us to not or be in a better place, to respond to the natural things that may happen if it's a change of plans or if you have to have a cesarean or however things go. It helps you to get yourself in a mindset that helps to keep the environment a bit calmer, a bit more peaceful, so it's not as stressful or traumatic.

Kerry Tuschhoff (21:19): Exactly. And

Dr. Nicole (21:21): Another

Kerry Tuschhoff (21:22): Thing that we do in Hypnobabies, which I found out was very important from a student of mine, is that we give the birth partners their own hypnosis track. Oh yeah, let's

Dr. Nicole (21:33): Talk about that. What do you do for the partners?

Kerry Tuschhoff (21:36): It's pretty cool. Well, it came from a student who came to a Hypnobabies class of mine maybe 15, 16 years ago,

(21:46): And the wife was having her third baby and she was fine, but the husband, the birth partner was just so freaked out about childbirth, about pregnancy, what was going to happen. They treated her so badly last time in the hospital, and I was like, this man needs help. So I wrote a script and I went in and recorded it and gave it out to the whole class, and he listened to it, and I was there as their doula at their birthing. And they had learned so much just by learning so much. He was much calmer

Dr. Nicole (22:25): About

Kerry Tuschhoff (22:25): The whole process of what was going to happen and what you could choose and not choose and all of that, that he was much calmer, but he was using the hypnosis cues that were in the track to keep himself calm if he thought anything was happening. He was a nervous type person. But all of our birth partners do that now. They have their own hypnosis track, they listen to the track. It allows them to create what's called an anchor or a post hypnotic cue,

Dr. Nicole (22:56): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (22:56): It's a word that means something to them. Hopefully they don't choose the word pizza, but something like peace or calm or relax or something like that. And then whenever later on after listening to that track over and over again, anytime they say that keyword, that anchor, then that hypnosis kicks in

Dr. Nicole (23:16): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (23:16): They're like, alright,

Dr. Nicole (23:20): I

Kerry Tuschhoff (23:20): Got it. I'm calm. So that's made a huge difference as well for our birth partners.

Dr. Nicole (23:25): I bet. I bet, I bet. So then can everybody do hypnosis? Is this something that's available to everybody?

Kerry Tuschhoff (23:37): Yes. And so first of all, you have to be over the of two. And we do have children doing hypnosis with great success, but two year olds and under cannot really focus and sit still. You also have to be not mentally ill in that. You have to be able to focus and concentrate and listen and follow directions,

(24:06): And

(24:07): You can't be on drugs or alcohol because your mind is just going to go someplace else. However, anyone can be hypnotized who is not in that grouping. And the reason we know this is because we are all in states of hypnosis many times a day, as I said, and there is sometimes a little element of fear when people say the words, well, I can't be hypnotized or I've tried it. There's going to be a little element maybe of fear of something, and you may not even be aware of it, but if you listen, you are motivated and willing to follow the directions, and that's the key. It will work. Okay. So for instance, if you were going to learn to play the piano L, and your piano teacher pressed down on a key and said, this is middle C, and if you accepted that that was middle C, then you would learn to play the piano much easier and faster than if you never accepted that that was middle C, then it's going to be a big, hard, long process. You have to understand that you are doing something super positive for yourself with great effects for yourself. And there can't be anything called secondary gain. And what that means is that people say for instance, well, I'll pick something, I want to lose weight,

(25:45): And they do on a conscious level, but then when they get in there and they are to be hypnotized or I mean they're not being hypnotized. No one ever does anything to you, all hypnosis is self hypnosis. So you're either doing it or you're not doing it. So if they are following the directions but not going into hypnosis, then there's possibly something in their subconscious that is saying, for instance, and this is not everybody's case, but for instance, I really don't want to lose weight because, and you can fill in the blank, but it might be something like, if I'm thinner, I'll be more attractive, and then I've got to date people and I'm scared to death to put myself out there. So that would be secondary gain. So it's not that they can't be hypnotized, it's that they won't allow it.

Dr. Nicole (26:46): Gotcha. So have you found, are there some people who are like, it's really great for them and some people who it's like, you probably should not try this?

Kerry Tuschhoff (27:01): Hypnosis in general, yes. For instance, there's also something else to know. Hypnosis is not recommended for people who have seizure issues because some people, for some people with seizure issues, it's absolutely marvelous. And other people, it can be a trigger.

Dr. Nicole (27:24): I did not,

Kerry Tuschhoff (27:25): It's also not recommended for people with mental illness because we don't know what's going to trigger them. Sure,

Dr. Nicole (27:33): Sure.

Kerry Tuschhoff (27:34): Okay. But so also there are people who just are just going to get frustrated if they are saying, I tried this before. It doesn't work. I'm not going to do it. I can't be hypnotized, then they shouldn't do hypnosis because they're just going to get more frustrated. However, with Hypnobabies, I think, and this is just me, that even if people think they can't be hypnotized or that's not going to work for me, I may be right, but it's also possible that they should try it. And not necessarily Hypnobabies, but there's other hypnobirthing programs out there. We have a hypnosis track, it's free, and it's called Instantly Calm. Okay, I suggest that everybody get it, and I will send you the link, download that track, listen to the hypnosis, see what's involved in relaxing your body, and then your mind and see what it feels like, see what it's doing for you. For instance, there's a cue and anchoring there that anytime you get upset, frustrated or whatever, you can use that keyword and boom, you're instantly calm. So is that doing something for you? So trying hypnosis in another way before committing to an entire program like Hypnobabies

(29:11): Would be the thing to do.

Dr. Nicole (29:13): Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. So how long is the program and how much practice does it take to get you ready?

Kerry Tuschhoff (29:20): Well, our course is six weeks long, so it's six weeks. Whether you take a group class with an instructor or whether you do our self-study course, we have a physical self study course where we send you the workbooks or you do our online course, which of course you can do from all over the world. And then when you are finished with learning the course, so that's reading the materials, listening to the tracks in order that we give you in order. Then there is a maintenance period. And

Dr. Nicole (29:53): In

Kerry Tuschhoff (29:53): That maintenance period, you listen to one main hypnosis track a day, and you rotate them.

Dr. Nicole (29:59): So

Kerry Tuschhoff (29:59): There are six of them, and you listen to one Monday and one Tuesday and one Wednesday

Dr. Nicole (30:05): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (30:05): So forth. So for instance, you always have one fear clearing session every week,

Dr. Nicole (30:10): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (30:11): You do that visualize your baby's birth, which is super important, and several of the others that keep the very deep hypnosis techniques embedded in your subconscious because it can be a little lazy. So you want to constantly reinforce it. You do that until baby comes. And then when you're in your birthing, there are tracks that you can listen to that will keep you in hypnosis. We have several birthing tracks. One is specifically for pushing, one is specifically for first stage. There's one to get you rolling. That's just all birthing affirmations that have some of the cues in it that you've been using

Dr. Nicole (30:52): This

Kerry Tuschhoff (30:52): Whole time that you've been learning and embedding into your subconscious. So there's that. But you can also use the cues, these anchors

Dr. Nicole (31:02): That

Kerry Tuschhoff (31:02): You have created in your subconscious by listening to Hypnobabies tracks forever for the last two months. You can use those inside your head when you're birthing all by yourself, you can have your birth partner read to you what we call birth prompts, and those are little phrases that come directly from the tracks you've been listening to that activate your cues. They activate those anchors,

Dr. Nicole (31:30): Those

Kerry Tuschhoff (31:30): Post hypnotic cues, so that boom, you've got that hypnosis and what we call hypno anesthesia in the places that you need the most. That could be in your back, your cervix down your thighs, in your birth canal, your perineum, whatever you need.

Dr. Nicole (31:47): So it sounds like there are a lot of layers and different techniques that you bring in that you can tools in the hypnosis toolbox. It's not just you listen to one track. It may be your partner's reading you things. It may be one track here, a different track there. So it's not like this one size fits every situation kind of thing.

Kerry Tuschhoff (32:11): That's true. I mean, people can choose the kind of things that they want to use during their birthing time. So we have, for instance, physical cues where the birth partner puts his hand on their shoulder or their forehead, whichever they want. And this is embedded in the tracks and what they've been practicing with their birth partner as well,

Dr. Nicole (32:31): So

Kerry Tuschhoff (32:31): That as soon as they touch and say the word relax, which is just one of the keywords that we have or release or peace, boom, those anchors kick in, and they can use that. They can use the word release to enter hypnosis. There's a physical cue called the finger drop technique that they can enter hypnosis with the word peace spreads hypno anesthesia around their body.

Dr. Nicole (32:58): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (32:59): So they can use all these techniques and cues in different ways. They can listen to their tracks. They can have their birth partner or doula or hypno doula, hopefully read the birth prompts. There are so many different ways that they can choose to use this, and some people just choose to play, and this is fascinating, but they choose to play the background music that's in Hypnobabies tracks. So we use the background music, same background music that has binaural beats and binaural beats will help to and train or create a, if you use it with headphones and you have both sides in then, so once you put this in, then a frequency goes in this side, a frequency goes in this side, and with binaural beats, it creates a completely different one right in the middle, which helps your hemispheric, the sides of your brain actually sync up. And this helps them with hypnosis.

Dr. Nicole (34:03): So

Kerry Tuschhoff (34:04): That's in the background of all of the tracks they've been listening to. But we also provide, if you're taking a Hypnobabies class, the music by itself. So some people in their birthing will just listen to the music and the second it comes on, they're in hypnosis and they start doing the cues all by themselves, or the hypnosis just kicks in. So there are many ways for them to use the hypnobirthing techniques. Sure,

Dr. Nicole (34:31): Sure. I love it. I love it. So then, if people are maybe thinking about hypnosis or maybe they don't necessarily don't want to do hypnosis, what are some maybe three techniques or things that they can do during their pregnancy to help prepare themselves, get themselves in a better mental state for their birth?

Kerry Tuschhoff (34:50): Well, I always say meditate because some people have a vision of meditation as sitting on the floor going, oh,

Dr. Nicole (35:00): It's not.

Kerry Tuschhoff (35:01): And you certainly can, but meditation can also be just being quiet every single day for five minutes and breathing deeply, which automatically calms down your entire body and nervous system. And then while you're doing this, if you add in visualizing what it is that you want, that's going to help you a lot to stay calm in your pregnancy and have a better birthing. So what do you want for this pregnancy? What do you want for the birthing? And visualization can be tremendous. We know that athletes and speakers all do visualization ahead of time, so they practice and practice and practice that shot, and they're head to go throw the basketball at the actual event and boom, it goes in because we've practiced it so many times. We do that in Hypnobabies with our visualize your birth script. But people can do that by themselves by just meditating every single day in a very calm state. Another thing I would say is, and this is duh, but Eat. Well do some exercise or yoga to keep your body just limber and calm and relaxed throughout your entire pregnancy and ready for birthing and look up spinning babies.com

(36:26): Because it is an amazing place that has lots of resources for pregnant people

Dr. Nicole (36:32): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (36:33): To make birthing easier, to make pregnancy easier, but to make birthing easier, of course. And then the last thing, the third thing would be to research all of your options. So if you put together a birth plan and you say, I want this, this, this, and this. Go research those things and see what the real research, the evidence-based research is about those things. One really good resource for that is evidence-based birth.com,

Dr. Nicole (37:03): Excellent resource,

Kerry Tuschhoff (37:04): And yes, and the person who created it, Rebecca Decker, she's actually a hypno mom of Hypnobabies, but she's also a medical researcher, and she has done tremendous work to let us all know what is the latest evidence, what are the latest studies and research on everything from having an epi episiotomy to cesarean, and on and on and on. So that would be the third thing is research your options.

Dr. Nicole (37:34): And those are both excellent places to get information, and Rebecca, who's such a lovely person, puts a lot of work into what she does.

Kerry Tuschhoff (37:43): Oh, yeah.

Dr. Nicole (37:45): So as we wrap up, what would you say is the most frustrating part of your work?

Kerry Tuschhoff (37:50): I'm sorry, I don't mean any disrespect. No, just go ahead and say it.

Dr. Nicole (37:55): I feel like is it going to be something about doctors or is it going to be

Kerry Tuschhoff (37:59): So it is when births get overmanaged and the hospitals doctors and nurses manage people into complications that would never have happened if they hadn't stepped in and intervened with things that were unnecessary.

Dr. Nicole (38:20): That

Kerry Tuschhoff (38:21): Is the most frustrating part of my work. And possibly yours.

Dr. Nicole (38:26): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Something that I've learned over the course of my 20 years of practice is that we don't know. I mean, I tell people, stay at home as long as you can, because when you get to the hospital, it's like we can't help ourselves but try to do something instead of just letting things unfold. So we definitely have a ways to go in terms of going with the flow and being patient with the process of birth. So totally get that. Yeah,

Kerry Tuschhoff (38:52): Thank you for saying that.

Dr. Nicole (38:53): Yeah. And then on the flip side, what is the most rewarding part of your work?

Kerry Tuschhoff (39:00): Without a doubt, talking to our students after they've given birth or reading their birth stories, I feel like each one of them heals me

Dr. Nicole (39:09): Because

Kerry Tuschhoff (39:10): I've been there, I've been there having a baby, there is nothing. So life-changing to me as having a child, something the size of a watermelon come out of you and all of a sudden there's a human out here. It was just in there, but it's out here. And the way that you give birth, it can affect you for the rest of your life and affect your relationship with your baby, which is something that people don't even talk about.

Dr. Nicole (39:39): Yeah, that's true. That's very true. I always say that the moment that for me, if birth ever gets old, then I need to retire. Something has happened where it's time for me to stop because it's amazing to grow a whole entire human in your body and then give birth to that human is a pretty amazing thing.

Kerry Tuschhoff (40:03): It is. It's a miracle. And even when every time I see it, I am just like, how did that happen? Yes,

Dr. Nicole (40:12): Yes.

Kerry Tuschhoff (40:12): Absolutely. It's just a miracle

Dr. Nicole (40:14): Indeed. It is indeed. So then what is your favorite piece of advice that you would give to expectant families?

Kerry Tuschhoff (40:20): Well, this is not just for expectant families, but it's for everybody, and that is to be your own health advocate.

Dr. Nicole (40:26): So

Kerry Tuschhoff (40:27): That means whether you're going to a nurse practitioner, a midwife, an obstetrician, a family physician, or a surgeon, make sure that you understand what's going on. This

Dr. Nicole (40:41): Is so important

Kerry Tuschhoff (40:41): Before you go there for an appointment, make a list of things that you want to talk about those things and write down the answers. And then go home and research it all. And if you need to get a second opinion, then do it because you are the person that is responsible for your own health.

Dr. Nicole (40:59): Yes, yes. I always say at the end of the day, your doctor, whoever, they're just going to go home and I mean, it's still going to be you who has the issue. So thank you for saying that. Really, really important. So where can people find you, find all of the resources?

Kerry Tuschhoff (41:15): Well, we have a ton of information on Hypnobabies.com, and it's H Y P and O B A B I E S. And we do not hypnotize babies. For those of you who are still confused, we teach hypnosis to pregnant people.

Dr. Nicole (41:31): Right. People think you hypnotize babies.

Kerry Tuschhoff (41:34): Yes. When I say Hypnobabies, I was just on a publicity summit and every single time I had to explain to the media that we don't hypnotize babies. But anyway, and our store is Hypnobabies store.com,

Dr. Nicole (41:53): And

Kerry Tuschhoff (41:53): We are on Facebook as Hypnobabies and everywhere else, Hypnobabies official TikTok and Insta and Pinterest and everywhere. And we have a YouTube channel, and it's, if people want to email us, please email info@hypnobabies.com with your questions. We will be happy to get right back to you.

Dr. Nicole (42:17): Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This was really, really great information. I'm so glad that you could come on. So appreciate your time.

Kerry Tuschhoff (42:25): Thank you, Nicole. I appreciate being here.

Dr. Nicole (42:33): Wasn't that a great episode? I tell you, it was going to be informative. I know I learned a lot, and I hope you enjoyed it as well. Now, after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's notes, which are my takeaways from the conversation. And here are my Dr. Nicole's notes from my conversation with Kerry. Number one, learn information from people who are serious about their work and put the effort into it. I see more and more with these days of social media that pretty much anyone can pop up and say things without really having a lot of in-depth knowledge or training or understanding of a thing. So just understand who you're getting information from, particularly about pregnancy and birth, and learn information from people who are serious about their work, their upfront about their training and how they got their knowledge, and they put the effort into it to do it well.

(43:32): Number two, be wary of anyone who says that whatever it is that they're talking about works perfectly for everyone, or that they are the end all, be all only possible solution for something that is a big red flag. Okay, you heard how Kerry talked about evidence-based birth. You heard how she talked about spinning babies. I do the same thing. I'm going to refer you to other resources as well, because I know that I'm not perfect for everyone. There are other people who are out there that are also providing great information. If you hear someone says that they are it, that is all that there is to look for. Don't look at anything else. It's going to work perfectly for everyone. Again, that is a big red flag, and you should be wary of the information that they are providing. Number three, I really like how she was honest and upfront that pain-free isn't going to be possible for everyone giving birth.

(44:36): It's not something that she believes is necessarily attainable for every single person. And again, this just goes to being honest about what the realities and things are surrounding birth. So I really appreciated how she said, Hey, pain-free isn't going to be for everyone. It's unrealistic to think that that is going to be an option that everyone is going to obtain. Just again, just not realistic. And then the final thing I will say is that you have to educate yourself. You must must educate yourself so you are making choices from an informed place. I of course, have childbirth education options. I have the birth preparation course, that's my online childbirth education class that will get you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth, particularly in the hospital. You can check out all the details of the birth preparation course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. However, there are other options for childbirth education out there.

(45:35): It's just so, so important that you find something that works for you. Do not skip it. Okay. So there you have it. Please share this podcast with a friend. Sharing is caring, helps me to reach and serve more people. Also, leave that five star review on Apple Podcast if you enjoy the show. I would so appreciate you doing so and come follow me on Instagram. You can get more great information there. We can connect outside of the show. I'm on Instagram at @DrNicoleRankins. So that is it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.