Forget the rapid, shallow breathing espoused by the old Lamaze method. The new trend in childbirth is called hypnobirthing, and its proponents say it's helping moms give birth without the fear associated with labor and delivery.


The premise behind hypnobirthing is to help moms achieve a more relaxed state during childbirth so that they can trust their bodies to do what needs to be done to deliver a happy, healthy baby. Contrary to what you might think, there are no pocket watches or weird trances involved. Some moms use music — like Bach or beach sounds — while others just use visualization techniques to stay calm, present and focused during delivery.  Focused that is on cuddling with their newborn, not on fear and pain. 


Hypnobirthing has skyrocketed in popularity lately after endorsements from celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Tiffani Thiessen and Busy Phillips. 


It does not promise a pain-free delivery, but it does reassure moms that their bodies already know what to do and help them stay calm during delivery so that they can more easily endure any pain that does come.


Tiffany Washko of NatureMoms wrote about her first hypnobirthing experience in Hypnobirthing and My Birth Stories:


"My first hypnobirth went so well that I was in almost NO pain. I labored without pain at home and in a car listening to Abba while my mom ran errands until I was 9 centimeters dilated."


That's pretty impressive, especially when you compare that to Washko's first birth experience!


Hypnobirthing instructors say their methods reduce pain that stems from apprehension and anxiety about giving birth.


Hypnobirthing specialist, Liz Vincent, author of "Finding the Light," explains, “We hold a lot of fear in our bodies and fear creates pain so the more relaxed and calm the expectant mother is, the more she will be able to overcome any feelings of discomfort associated with the birth.”


The recent popularity means that many more hospital and birthing centers are offering classes on hypnobirthing in tandem with their other childbirth classes. If you're interested in learning more about the technique, contact your local center to find out if there is a class available near you.


Did you use hypnobirthing to deliver your baby? I'd love to hear your story in the comments!

Hypnobirthing: The new Lamaze
New childbirth technique teaches moms to focus on their baby, not on fear and pain.