I've added a link on the right side of the page with a list of Childbirth Education Organizations. Generally I will avoid listing information on my blog unless I have researched it myself. However, I've not yet been able to research each of the childbirth methods I've listed. I think it's important to provide resources and allow people to do their own research and decide what is best for them. With that in mind, please don't take the opinions expressed on here as fact. I am opinionated because of my personal experiences and the direction of my research. I want to help facilitate education and informed choices.
I have done some research on Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies, so I'll explain a little bit about them for you. Both are based somewhat on Grantly Dick-Read's Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome, covered thoroughly in his book Childbirth Without Fear. The concept is that fear, conscious or subconscious, creates tension in the body, which is what causes the pain in childbirth. Women have been conditioned over the years to believe that childbirth is always painful, and Dr. Dick-Read disagrees. He postulates that in many cases is it the fear of the unknown or fear of outcomes that lends to the physical pain in labor and delivery.
I know from personal experience that there can be a number of fears for a woman approaching childbirth. With my first labor I was afraid of having a c-section, afraid of being out of control, of not understanding what was happening with my body, despite my best efforts to educate myself. I was afraid of pain and the unknown. I know a woman who has always wanted a natural childbirth. She had a c-section with her first baby and has had more than one vaginal birth since then, but still the fear of possible uterine rupture keeps her from being able to let herself go without an epidural. Fear is powerful! Dr. Dick-Read wrote that the key element to dispelling fears related to childbirth is prenatal education, along with proper nutrition, exercise, relaxation techniques, and proper support from friends, family and professionals.
Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies are the only childbirth methods I'm aware of that offer the option of natural, pain-free childbirth. Hypnobirthing was designed specifically after Dr. Dick-Read's extensive research and practice, and Hypnobabies incorporates the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome in its method, along with other practices including learning to tap into the body's natural anesthesia and send it to specific parts of the body, particularly during childbirth. Many women have used these methods and have felt no pain, and had beautiful, exhilarating birth experiences.
The concept of natural, pain-free childbirth is incredibly appealing to me. In the natural births of two of my children there was much pain, albeit well-managed. I will be taking a full 6-week Hypnobabies series in November as part of my doula certification requirements, and I'm very excited!