Ep 95: HypnoBirthing – What It Is, How It Works and Who Should Try It

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In this episode we are finally talking about a topic that I have been wanting to learn about for a long time: HypnoBirthing!

Here to tell us all about HypnoBirthing is Caroline O'Neill. She has been a HypnoBirthing instructor since 2012, which she combines with her specialization in fertility, prenatal & postpartum massage. She has used HypnoBirthing techniques for her own four births and is passionate about helping other women do the same.

Caroline and I start with the basics of what HypnoBirthing - what it is, how it works, and some of the common misconceptions about the practice. We talk about what makes HypnoBirthing techniques successful, why you need to practice them before your birth, and how your support partner can help you with all of this, too. 

This was a super-informative and interesting episode - I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How Caroline found HypnoBirthing and used it during her own pregnancies
  • What exactly HypnoBirthing is and how it works
  • Why you absolutely must practice the HypnoBirthing techniques you learn if you want them to work for you during labor & birth
  • Who HypnoBirthing is good for and three things to be aware of that could make it less effective
  • Common misconceptions about HypnoBirthing
  • What role the supporting partner will play during HypnoBirthing classes & labor
  • When a pregnant person should start learning & practicing these techniques and how much classes usually cost

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Ep 95: HypnoBirthing - What It Is, How It Works and Who Should Try It

Nicole: I have been wanting to do this episode for a long time. It is on hypnobirthing.

Nicole: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN, 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, competent, 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. Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 95. Thank you for spending a bit of your time with me today. In this episode of the podcast, I am so excited to talk about hypnobirthing. I of course have heard about hypnobirthing before, but I never really understood how it worked and this week's podcast. Guests breaks it all down for us. I have Caroline O'Neill on the podcast. She has been a hypnobirthing instructor since 2012. Hypnobirthing empowered her to achieve the birth that she desired, not only with the right mindset, but also with the tools and techniques to achieve that birth. She is so passionate about helping other women do the same as a hypnobirthing instructor. And she also specializes in doing fertility and prenatal massage. Caroline lives in Leesburg, Virginia. That's just up the road from me- I'm in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and her beautiful four children.

Nicole: So we talk all about what hypnobirthing is, who hypnobirthing is good for the things that can help make hypnobirthing successful. Some misconceptions about hypnobirthing and much, much more. This is a really informative episode. I know you're going to enjoy it, but of course you enjoy all the episodes don't you. All right now, hypnobirthing is one way to manage pain and you really want to know about all of your options for pain management, so that you can make an informed decision about what option will work best for you. So in order to help you, I have created a free pain management guide. It covers all your options for pain management and labor medication-free techniques, nitrous oxide, IV pain, medication, and epidurals. You'll learn the pros, the cons, the risk and benefits of each method. It's a really comprehensive guide. You can grab that free guide at drnicolerankins.com/pain. That is drnicolerankins.com/pain. Definitely check that out. All right. So let's get into the episode with Caroline about hypnobirthing. Thanks so much, Caroline, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am so excited to have you here. I have been wanting to learn about hypnobirthing for so long. So I feel like this episode is just as much for me as it is for the audience.

Caroline: That's awesome. I love that. Thank you so much for having me.

Nicole: So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself, your work and your family. If you'd like.

Caroline: Sure. I live in Northern Virginia, outside of DC, and I'm here with my husband and my four kids. They are four, six, eight, and 11. I have been a massage therapist since 2007 and I specialize in fertility, prenatal and postpartum massage. And I am also a hypnobirthing instructor. Um, and I've been doing that since 2012.

Nicole: Nice. So that's an interesting combination of doing massage and hypnobirthing.

Caroline: Yes, that's actually, how I got into birth is, um, I was doing prenatal care on my massage clients and I really just fell in love with the prenatal body and caring and nurturing for mom and baby during that special time.

Nicole: Got it. Got it. Got it. So how did you get interested specifically in hypnobirthing?

Caroline: Yeah, so 12 years ago I was pregnant for the first time and I told my midwife that I wanted an unmedicated birth and she handed me a card and said, well, you have to take this class. And so I thought, well, all right, if my midwife says to take it, I'm going to take it. And honestly, I don't even know if I read much about it. I just went ahead and signed up before the five weeks was over, um, of taking the class with my husband. I knew I was going to teach it because I realized it was not just about wanting an unmedicated birth, that the tools that we learn in hypnobirthing are so valuable for everyone. I just felt, I was like every mom, every pregnant woman needs to have this mindset and tools that I have going into my birth. And then after my first birth, which was 24 hours. Um, and it was unmedicated, I felt absolutely certain I could not have done it without hypnobirthing. So two years later I went ahead and got my training.

Nicole: Nice. Nice. So what does that training entail exactly?

Caroline: Sure. They do a whole birth basics class with us first because it is a fully comprehensive childbirth class. Then the second half of it is the hypnobirthing specific training.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. And you said you've been doing that since...?

Caroline: Since 2012. I was pregnant with my second and I jumped in and got certified.

Nicole: Okay. And I'm like, God, that's eight years ago. Like where does time go?

Caroline: So fast.

Nicole: Yes, it does. So let's talk a little bit about hypnobirthing and why don't we start with what for me is a really basic question, but one that I don't think I know the answer to, what is hypnobirthing exactly?

Caroline: What the heck is this hypno-thing? Um, so as I mentioned, it is a fully comprehensive childbirth class, but the hypnosis part is we teach breathing techniques to help us through the different phases of labor when we're not having a contraction, when we are having a contraction, which, um, you maybe have heard, we switched the words to surge instead of contraction and then also breathing for birth. So we have, we really focus on those three breathing techniques. So then we also teach relaxation exercises as well as, as self guided hypnosis. So like, I am not a hypnotherapist. I am teaching parents how to guide themselves through these relaxation and hypnosis techniques. And through that, what we're doing is we're clearing our mind of any outside fear or anxiousness or nervousness. And then if our mind can be calm, then we can have a more relaxed body while we are in labor and therefore, we're really able to kind of tune in to our natural birthing instincts.

Nicole: Nice. So breathing, relaxation, and self-hypnosis techniques, and then really just being able to, not only, I don't know if it's take control of your mind, but be in control of your mind in a way, right? To really, um, to manage the surges of labor or what people come, you know, contractions. And that's really important because we, so, especially in traditional medical field, underestimate the, the mind piece when it comes to labor and how important that is.

Caroline: Yeah. And let me tell you one thing we talk about as far as the mind, um, first I'll give you a good definition of what hypnosis is.

Nicole: Yes. Please.

Caroline: Yes. Hypnosis is heightened focus and concentration. That's it. You know, it's not, I'm going to be so out of it. I don't know what I'm saying. I don't know what I'm doing. It is actually the opposite. We're very aware of ourselves in this moment.

Nicole: I was literally going to ask you, like, does it mean like you're sort of out of it or

Caroline: Yeah. Dangling and, you know, getting people to tell their deepest, darkest secrets. Um, it's really choosing what is in our mind. So as you're, I'm sure familiar with, you know, scientists have different laws of the mind, and we talked specifically about the psycho and physical association. So the definition for that is for every thought there's a corresponding physical and chemical response and change within our body. So our thoughts are so powerful. You know, I give the example of someone who may be so nervous about giving a public speech before they do that public speech, they are sweating, they are turning red, they may feel nauseous. Their heart is racing. And all of that is conjured up by the mind. You know, the body is acting as if it is in danger, but actually is just the mind that is manifesting all of that. So if we can change the way we think and things that we think about during birth, then we can have hopefully a more pleasant experience. If we're super fearful, then we're going to have a fearful birth, which is full of tension. So we don't want that.

Nicole: Yeah, for sure. And this is one of the things like, I think it's really, really normal to fear birth just because it's an unknown, you, you know, you haven't done it before. And the key is learning how to manage that and not let it overwhelm you. And just acknowledging that it's there. I think a lot of times we have this sort of like, oh, we can go in and we can just, you know, sort of dominate and crush, you know, all these things about our birth and that's fun, some of that, but there needs to be something behind it. That's like, actually, it's okay. We, you know, it's normal to be scared. And it sounds like hypnobirthing helps you manage that fear.

Caroline: Yes. Yes. And of course there's no way of a hundred percent eliminating it, but the tools we have really help reduce that fear and give the families confidence and calmness and comfort.

Nicole: And I'm sure it helps when you have a newborn too. Some of the techniques that are,

Caroline: Yes. It is absolutely helpful for when you have a baby and are transitioning into parenthood. And I will also tell you when your toddler or small child is yelling at you, it is also a good technique.

Nicole: Yes, yes, yes. So are there different types of hypnobirthing or is it all pretty similar? How does that work?

Caroline: There are different, um, programs out there. Marie Mongan the founder of hypnobirthing. She founded it over 30 years ago. So it has been around for a long time. And I think other programs have also come out, but I am trained under the Marie Mongan method.

Nicole: Got it. And then as far as hypnobirthing goes, are there people who hypnobirthing likes is, is really, really great for, or people who maybe it's actually not that great for?

Caroline: That is a really good question. Okay. So the, the people that it works for is I truly believe it can work for everyone. Even people who plan to get an epidural, absolutely fine. My classes and, and all hypnobirthing teachers, you should feel pressure-free, this is not, you must have an unmedicated birth. This is really just to have a positive birth. So there's different types of people that come to class. There's always the types that are saying, I believe in birth, I trust in birth. I want to unmedicated birth, and that's great. We need to trust the process. However, um, there is still underlying fear of that unknown. And also, unfortunately what society has kind of done to bursts. And we also have our friends and her family that are telling us horrible birth stories. So the techniques that we teach can help, even those believers, quiet their mind of any of those negative outside thoughts. And then often I get people in my class that are scared. They are anxious, they are nervous about birth, and they realized I need something. I need some tools. And then I also get every class one or two people say, I am type a, I like to be in control. And I realized that I cannot be, I need tools to help me through this.

Nicole: Uh, laughing. Cause that would be me.

Caroline: Yeah. So it is, it is truly for everyone. So here's why I think it doesn't work for some people. Sometimes I have three, three factors I think play into it. Number one is their care provider. And I know you talk about this a lot, like finding that care provider that is supportive of whatever type of birth it is that you want, because, you know, you could go to one provider and say, hey, I'm taking hypnobirthing and they could say, awesome. I love it. I really see good results with that. And then you could go to another care provider and say, no, that doesn't work well. You know, that's kind of an easy decision to make. You need to find a care provider that is open. They don't even have to know a ton about it, but they have to be open and supportive of what you are doing.

Caroline: I will say the beauty that I've seen over the years with relationships I have built with care providers is once they see it, and once they learn more about it, they not only support it, they facilitate a birth environment for it. Right. Okay. So yeah, provider, provider, provider, the number two reason is people don't practice enough. You must practice the techniques. We teach you every day. You know, you can't show up to labor, put on some nice music and light some candles and think you're going to be relaxed. Got it. You must practice every day. Um, and over the years I've learned to put on my, uh, I tell them I'm putting on my mom pants and I'm telling you, you've got, gotta do your homework. Right. And my, my midwife friends say, they're like, Caroline, your moms listened to you. They're practicing, they're practicing. And then the last thing, I think that if someone is striving for perfection, I do my best to instill confidence and assurance that they can achieve the birth they're hoping for. But I also try very hard to balance that with realistic expectations, um, that there's not a checklist and that hypnobirthing can look different on everyone. So as long as they go into it with a very open mind of, okay, I don't know how this is going to play out exactly, but I feel prepared.

Nicole: Got it. Okay. Okay. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. And when you say, I mean, I guess we'll get to it maybe a little bit later about how it tips to be successful in learning hypnobirthing. So I'm curious to learn about when you say practice, what that means, but we can get you in just a moment. Um, so what are two or three misconceptions about hypnobirthing? I know one thing you said is that you can actually use it if you plan to have an epidural. Um, so I'm curious to know more about that, but are there any other misconceptions about it?

Caroline: Right. Yeah. So as far as the unmedicated part, I think a lot of people do assume it is only for unmedicated births, but I have plenty of people that take my class and say, you know, I'm fine if I get an epidural or epidural is definitely happening. And then there's always people that surprise themselves and end up not needing the epidural because of the class. But, um, we want, of course moms, if it is the right choice for them to labor at home, as long as possible. And yeah, so you still need tools and your partner that is going to be with you for all of that time, needs to understand as well. And then as you, you know, hopefully you can get into active labor before you get your epidural. Um, so we, they still need those tools to help them through that first part of labor until they do decide to get their epidural. And then of course, it's still helping reduce the fear. I would imagine that some people that want an epidural there's things they are fearful about, and that's totally understandable, but we can help reduce those fears.

Nicole: Yes. I say this all the time, like, please stay home as, I mean, if you can stay home as long as you can. Yeah. And wait until you're in good active labor before you go to the hospital. And yes, every single part, like there is some time before the epidural happened. So every single pregnant person needs to understand how to manage things without an epidural for at least a short period of time. For sure. Yes, yes. Yeah. Or short or longer. I mean, it could be, you know, depending on how long that early phases, which can last a while.

Caroline: Right, right. So this helps. So that's kind of the mindset of that as well. The other misconception is I love working with moms that have already had babies. So this is, you know, let's say you've had a baby, but the first birth wasn't as you expected, and it doesn't even have to have been bad. Um, but maybe you just felt out of control. There was parts of it that you, you wish you had been more prepared for. And then of course there are women that often come to me and are like, whoa, I thought I was prepared, but I was not, you know? Yeah. Just read a book, you got to really take a class and be prepared. So those are some of my favorite, those when those emails come in after their, their second or third births, it's very exciting how empowered they feel. Yeah, for sure. Um, and then one thing I touched on earlier is a misconception about like being out of it or not being in control, not being aware, you know, you're very aware and instead of feeling lost during your, your labor, I like to say that hypnobirthing helps you navigate through it.

Nicole: Perfect. Perfect, good. You don't want to be lost. Like I think there's definitely this, like the whole typical pendulum swinging sort of thing in front of you, but that's not what it is at all.

Caroline: Right. And you know, some people can, if they really want to take out the word hypnosis because it just doesn't sit well with them. I say, well, it could also, it's also, it is a form of meditation. Um, meditation, I think is hard. So sometimes people can't wrap their head around that. Um, and I've also had other people liken it to prayer. So if that is something that speaks to the people in my class, they can look at it as, okay, this is a form of prayer, a very focused time, um, as if they are praying it's about something different.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. So how does the partner, what, what role do they play the partner or support person when, uh, there's when the birthing person is practicing hypnobirthing?

Caroline: So, um, when can many good childbirth education classes, you know, I feel like dads really leave learning that they are going to be a big advocate, help, um, guide through how to talk to the provider and the nurses and just everyone involved. I really take a lot of time to help them think through how they're going to speak to their providers in a respectful way so that the communication is open. I don't want anyone going in there being like, this is what we're doing. You know, we're not budging because no one is going to want to work with you. So we need to go in there and really have good open communication. And I think partners should be a part of that, not just mom. So then as far as labor and birth, the partners are learning all the breathing techniques, all the relaxation techniques.

Caroline: And I encourage them to practice with their partners. They also learn light touch massage that is going to help release endorphins. We in the last class get on the floor and we are going through different birth positions. So it's a very like hands-on dad is super involved. If, if it happens to be a man, it's really interesting to see the progression because they don't always understand. They haven't given birth much thought before. Right. And so they're there because they want to support their, their partner. And then by the end of the class, I love it because most of the dads are just as excited as the moms and they feel like they can really be an active participant.

Nicole: That's really important. And I also like how the partner, you're saying like the birthing person can't do everything. Like they need to have that sort of person who can communicate and that respectful communication. And I don't even know if respectful is the, I mean, that's certainly part of it, but also does, like, you want to create this like friendly, like a warm energy around the birth. And when you start off with that, like demanding tone, it does not create a nice energy surrounding the birth. Cause everybody's like on edge on both sides.

Caroline: Absolutely. Oh my goodness. And you know, over the years of me having babies, you know, I remember every care provider I had, every nurse I had and the relationship that we built with them. And I I'd love to just share a little tidbit of what was so invaluable to me, even as a fourth time, mom, and this is speaking to partners and providers. So I was having my fourth baby and it was getting towards the end and, you know, trying to keep my focus, maybe not always focused, trying to keep my focus. And my husband said, look at me, this is the best one yet. And it was exactly what I needed in that moment. So I really talk to partners about how there are going to be times when mom is not in the zone. There are going to be times when she is struggling and she is going to need you more than ever, more than ever. And then, just moments later in that same birth right before my son was born, we're all just kind of anticipating this moment. And it was going rather quickly at the very end. And my midwife looked at me and said, Caroline, remember you want to do this gently. And again, like the best gift here I am a full-time mom. I am a hypnobirthing teacher, but I need those reminders. I need those reinforcements. So I just think that that is just a huge part of a positive birth experience.

Nicole: Absolutely. And really your, your partner can't, your partner can't support you if they don't understand the process and sort of understand what's going on. So they need to be educated about those things, especially I think it can be hard for the support person, your partner, to see, to see someone in, in pain or see someone uncomfortable or being able to like manage that piece as well and understand that those things are normal and not something to be worried about. So to speak. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So can you walk us through kind of an example of how hypnobirthing would be used or, um, yeah. Can you do that?

Caroline: Yes. So absolutely. The, so we have the breathing techniques that we listen to tracks. We have two tracks that are exclusive to people that take hypnobirthing. One is all birth affirmations, and one is our big hypnosis track called the rainbow relaxation. So that is something that you listen to on a regular basis. And then to take you even deeper into that relaxed state, we have deepening exercises that have to do with there's different numbers of that. We count down and just different body relaxation techniques, because we don't want to just be on that surface level of relaxation of like, oh, I feel good. And I'm listening to a nice track. We need tools and techniques that are going to help get us in the zone. And I liken it often to our elite athletes. You know, they have rituals, they have mantras, they have music, they have vision boards on game day.

Caroline: There are certain protocols that they follow, right, but they're not in the game or in the match or whatever it is doing drills. They've already done the work so that when that day comes, they are ready and prepared. And that's why the practice is so important in hypnobirthing because it is a trigger. It triggers us when we hear that music, when we do that deepening exercise with time, you will get into that place in a quicker fashion. So, you know, when I'm out of practice, it takes me time to get back into it with each pregnancy, I would have to practice for two months leading up to it so that I was good at getting back into the zone. And then when mom is in labor and of course there's ups and downs and some unexpectedness, and I always say she is allowed to freak out. She is allowed to have some tough moments and that is okay. And sometimes you just have to get through them, but then you have your tools that both you and your partner have learned to say, okay, that was a rough hour. How are we going to get back on track? Then you can bring in your tools, which tools do I need to bring in at this moment?

Nicole: Nice. Okay. Okay. Um, yeah, so it's really like a whole system of things to learn like you talked about.

Caroline: And we give them a lot of tools, um, so that over the months of them practicing, they can really figure out the ones that work for them. So they're not gonna use all of the tools all the time. They really figure out what is good for them.

Nicole: Sure. Okay. Okay. Yeah. That's um, that, well, I guess that's a nice segue into the next question of if someone wants to learn hypnobirthing, when should they start?

Caroline: Sometime between 20 and 30 weeks is a great time to start. I always say, if you can be finished with the five weeks by 32 weeks, that's my sweet spot. You know, like people have taken it later and they absolutely can still be very successful. I've even had people miss the fifth class, and still have phenomenal births. But the key is having enough time to practice.

Nicole: Got it. Okay. And so it's a five week class and then are each of the classes like how long?

Caroline: They're two and a half hours.

Caroline: Okay. Okay. And then, um, how often do folks need to practice afterwards?

Caroline: I really encourage them to practice every day, every day. It's probably about twenty-five minutes and they, I say, get out your calendar and figure out when you're going to do it and put it on your calendar. Do not lay down on the couch after dinner and you haven't done it because you are definitely not going to want to get up and go do it. So sometimes people will practice in the morning before their day starts, or I say, all right, you guys ate dinner. Mom's going to go upstairs and practice while her partner, her spouse can, uh, do the dishes. But, um, but also I also want the partners to practice with them a few times a week as well.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. So it does take a bit of a commitment then. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And those five classes, which I assume now are happening virtually or I used to. Yeah. Yeah. It's more than just the techniques. There's also childbirth education. Like what labor is like, and, and all of those kinds of things are incorporated.

Caroline: Right. It's fully comprehensive class.

Nicole: Got it. So it's not like you need to take a hypnobirthing class and another childbirth education class. It wraps it all up into one.

Nicole: Yeah. Got it. Okay. And then you talked about one of the tips for being successful is practicing. What other couple tips do people really need to know in order to be successful at hypnobirthing?

Caroline: The practice and getting their partners involved. I just don't want moms to practice on their own. Um, we also do a really big, um, fear release in class, in, in the class after a few weeks, that is a 25 minute guided, um, hypnosis script that I read. And we don't sit around and talk about their fears as a class. They don't have to share that with the other people in the class, but if it is something, you know, they may speak to me about outside of class, but I really encourage them to have that strong dialogue with their partners, because I think that helps the connection between them, that their partner understands what they're fearful of so that they can be encouraging for them and support them and help them to believe in themselves.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. And then anything else to be successful? I mean, that's enough. That's plenty.

Caroline: I really, I also really think, um, the realistic expectations component. I truly believe that they can have the birth that they want, but they have to also realize and, and be prepared for unexpected turns.

Nicole: Sure. Yeah. And that's birth in general. Exactly. Um, and then, but it sounds like it teaches you how to, for lack of a better way to put it, get back on track. If things sorta start going a different way, how to kind of re-center or refocus your mind and get back in the game, so to speak here. So how much does a typical hypnobirthing class cost?

Caroline: I would say in the US it's somewhere between $350 and $450. Okay. And with that, they get the full Marie Mongan, um, book. They also get, um, a spiral handout of over 50 pages that has a lot of what we're teaching. And then those two exclusive tracks that I mentioned as well.

Nicole: Okay. And then for those who, that may be a bit of a stretch of an investment, you've mentioned the book. Is the book alone sufficient as a S I mean, it's obviously not going to be as, as good as an in-person thing, but does the, do you get some benefit from just reading the book alone?

Caroline: You absolutely can get some benefit from the book. Um, it does have some of the tools and techniques in there and you know, that I totally understand that, that isn't always an option for people to invest, especially during that time of preparing to bring a baby home. But if they are able the, the value of face to face, whether it's on Zoom right now or not, but that, that real life person teaching these tools and techniques is really invaluable because for most people they have never done something like this before. So I would, if, if that is their scenario, I would reach out to a hypnobirthing teacher in their area and see if they give any, um, you know, special rates for people that, um, have a lower income and would like to take the class.

Nicole: Yeah, for sure. And I think this is also another thing that I shouldn't say, like I'm on a crusade, but I'm definitely like, can we stop putting 500 onesies on the baby registry and instead ask for services because those are things that'll probably go a lot longer to help you then, you know, all of the like burpee cloths and die, you know? So not that those things aren't important, but think about expanding your mind, like baby list. And I'm not affiliated with them at all, but you can put anything on your bait on your, on that registry. So if you want to put like, help contribute towards my hypnobirthing class, then that could be something that you could do for sure.

Caroline: That is a great idea. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. So is there anything that we missed as we wrap up that you, that you want to share about hypnobirthing? I feel like I have a much better understanding of, of what it is and how it's used and it's, um, how, how useful it can be, not just during your pregnancy. And I'm sure it also helps with the practicing helps with, um, keeping you, not just, I guess, getting ready for birth, but also helping you stay calm, peaceful, more centered during your pregnancy and not have a lot of that anxious mind that can go along with pregnancy sometimes.

Caroline: Yes, yes, yes, yes, definitely.

Nicole: But is there anything that we missed that?

Caroline: Yeah. You know, I think what I would like to just kind of leave with is we don't know how it will go. We don't know if we can achieve that unmedicated birth or if we will need to choose interventions or if you would need a Cesarean birth. But that doesn't mean you can't dream big. I strongly believe that you will feel way better about the outcome that happens. The more prepared you are. And if someone really dives in guess what they could achieve the birth of their dreams, like why would you short yourself of that? And I know, and I definitely did not coin this at all, but my motto is preparation is power. Yes, yes, yes. Knowledge is great. Knowledge is great. Read a book. That's fine, but that's not enough. It's the preparation that gives you the power.

Nicole: Love it. Love it, love it. Well, thank you so much. Where can people find you if they're interested in taking one of your virtual classes or, um, or even if, um, I don't know, are you still, I guess you're not doing massage at the moment?

Caroline: I am actually massage. Massage is happening. Um, you know, with careful measures.

Nicole: Sure. Well, if people are happened to be in the Northern Virginia area and are interested, where can people find you?

Caroline: Um, my website is bodybirthandbaby.com. And then I'm also on Instagram @bodybirthandbabyLoudon because I am up here in Loudon County. And if you're looking for a hypnobirthing teacher near you, you can go to hypnobirthing.com type in your zip code because during this whole pandemic time, Hypnobirthing Institute has really wanted people to work with people in their area to support their practitioners that are close to them as if they were still going to them in person. Oh, that's really nice. Now of course, if you're in an area that doesn't have it or the timing doesn't line up, they, they of course will be fine with you taking it from someone that is a little further away.

Nicole: Right. Well, that's nice of you to promote like other, your colleagues and different places.

Caroline: Well, it's all over the world, so no matter where you are listening.

Nicole: And we will of course link all that stuff in the show notes. Well, thank you again for coming on. This is super, super informative. I know this is going to be a popular episode for sure.

Caroline: Thank you so much, Nicole. I love all that you do.

Nicole: Thank you. All right. Take care.

Nicole: All right. Wasn't that great. I know that so much more about hypnobirthing than I did before. So I really appreciate Caroline coming on. And I know that you learned a lot too. Now after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the episode. And here are my Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Caroline. Number one, I appreciate her candor about hypnobirthing and the fact that it takes work. You really need to practice to make it work. This isn't like a magic pill or something that's just gonna magically take pain away. It's something that you have to put some effort into in order to make that work. So I appreciate her really communicating that. Well, number two, Caroline talked about the importance of the mind body connection. That is so, so important in labor, the mind body connection, it's important period, but it's definitely important during labor.

Nicole: It's important. If you want an unmedicated birth, it's important. If you have an epidural, it can be important. Definitely. During the pushing phase of labor, I have seen labor completely stop. When someone really believes that it will not happen. You can throw buckets and buckets of Pitocin and whatever medication you want, but if the birthing person really strongly doesn't believe that labor can happen, then genuinely it won't. So that mind, body connection is important. And it's really important for you to work on your mindset and get in tune with that mind body connection before labor, um, as best you can, some ways you can do that are meditation. Obviously hypnobirthing is a way to do that. Affirmations are another great way to do that. I talk about this also in the birth preparation course is actually the first lesson in the course on mindset and that mind body connection, but really know that your mindset and how you approach labor really can have an influence on the progress of labor.

Nicole: Okay. I think I've beat that point to death enough. Okay. All right. Point number three is how you communicate with your care team, how she talked about not going into the labor and birth experience with this sort of firm attitude. This is how it's going to be, and sort of a demanding kind of tone. Think about that. If someone approaches you in a way that has that kind of like demanding, you better do what I say, I'm going to do sort of tone that doesn't really set a good energy and atmosphere around your birth. You want to go into it with an attitude of, we are working together. You want to start from a kind and gentle connecting approach. I connect with someone on a human level. I think that's really important to set the energy and atmosphere surrounding your birth. Now, an important part of being able to do that is understanding your provider's philosophy towards birth and the way that your hospital approaches birth before you get to the hospital.

Nicole: When you know those two things, it makes it so much easier to go into it with this tone of, and this energy of like kindness, calmness, peace, instead of being anxious, that you have to be sort of demanding. This is something that I talk about in my free online class, on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works, some questions you can ask in order to know the philosophy of your provider and your hospital. So you feel more confident when you go into your birth experience and that you don't have to have this demanding tone because you have some assurance ahead of time that you don't need that. So you can check out that free class at drnicolerankins.com/register. It's an on demand class. So you can grab it whenever it's convenient for you. That's drnicolerankins.com/register.

Nicole: Now, by all means, I do want to say, if you start with that kind tone and people aren't responding and they aren't respecting you, then you better take it up to the next level in order to get the things that you need to get for your birth. Don't be afraid to escalate things if need be, but it's best to start from that kind of human connection if you can. All right. So that, is it be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple podcast or wherever you are listening to me right now in Spotify or Google Play. And I would so love it if you leave an honest review on Apple podcasts, that really helps me so much in order to help the show to grow helps me to reach more folks and help them have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. So if you can leave that review for me in Apple podcast, I would so, so appreciate it.

Nicole: Also come check me out on Instagram. That's my favorite place to hang out on social media. I post daily helpful tips there. Well I shouldn't say daily helpful tips. I post daily there. Just lots of fun stuff happening over on Instagram. So do check me out on Instagram. We could connect in between the podcast episodes. I am on Instagram @drnicolerankins. All right. So that's it for this episode do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you beautiful pregnancy and birth. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. Head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information or my free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.