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Hypnosis in the Delivery Room

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Hypnobirthing can also be used along with other birthing processes ranging from Lamaze to pain-killing drugs, Burrell says.

Couples learn the technique by taking between four and six classes, starting after the first trimester of pregnancy. "The partner is the hypnotherapist and helps the woman get into a trance-like state, where she is fully conscious of what her body is doing," Burrell explains. "She is very relaxed, which provides a safe and healthy environment for the baby and the mom."

Burrell says hypnobirthing creates a strong bond between the couple as well as between the mother and her baby.

The cost varies across the country, and many insurance companies do reimburse for hypnobirthing classes, she says.

Debbie Wagner, a clinical hypnotherapist in Bellevue, Wash., has taught hypnobirthing to hundreds of expectant mothers since the early 1990s."I have had great success with it," she tells WebMD. "Many women have told me that they had a sense of control that wasn't present [in previous births] after using hypnobirthing."

But some experts warn that hypnotism may not be enough to help everyone endure the powerful pains of labor. Yvonne Thornton, MD, PhD, a senior perinatologist at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, says she would counsel women to think long and hard before they decide to try hypnobirthing or any other method of drug-free delivery.

"If you really want to have a drug-free birth, you have to be committed to the program or technique because if you are not really committed, it's a farce," she tells WebMD. "Some people have a fairy-tale idea about the true nature of labor, but it is painful. It is one of the most painful crisises that the woman has to endure."

For more information on hypnobirthing, call the HypnoBirthing Institute at (603) 798-3286.

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