Blissborn birth hypnosis natural childbirth

What about that swinging watch?

The Swinging Watch

That darn watch is the bane of our existence.

Much like birth, hypnosis has been greatly distorted by the media and popular culture. People often associate hypnosis with a swinging watch and some kind of trippy mind control.

The truth is Blissborn uses a state known as hypnosis that is a natural brain wave pattern. It's a state everyone goes into and out of several times a day.

Think about a time you felt really relaxed, zoned out, and focused in on something intently. That's it — that's basically what we're talking about.

So the swinging watch idea and people being zombie-fied, although great for freaking people out, isn't the reality. We just teach you how to use a natural state, and some tools that work really well within that relaxed and focused place.

Stage hypnosis and clucking like a chicken

You may have seen a show on a stage somewhere that has you a bit worried. We get this question a lot — will I cluck like a chicken? Not on our watch.

Here's the scoop on stage hypnosis. Stage hypnotists start out with a large group and test everyone, dismissing those that aren't responding as well. By the time they're ready to start the clucking, they have the person or people up on stage who proved to be most willing to go for it. And those people have agreed, through their participation, to go along with the show. Sure, there is some amount of focus and suggestion, but don't think for a minute that the people participating are stuck or want to quit. If they wanted to quit, they would just quit.

While the state we are using is called the same thing, the way we use it is pretty different. Blissborn helps you learn about your own abilities, and helps you develop them so they're ready for your use, instantly. Sort of like a guided meditation, your teacher is like your coach on a journey of relaxation and self-discovery.

Read more about it and how it can work wonders for you by starting from the top in the FAQ!

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FAQ about birth hypnosis

Birth hypnosis is becoming more popular than ever. However, hypnosis has its own mythology, so deeply embedded in our culture that most people don’t even question what they think about hypnosis until they experience it.

You can begin to understand hypnosis by preparing to forget everything you’ve heard, seen and thought about it. Then read the answers to our most frequently asked questions below.


Questions about hypnosis


Questions about Blissborn


Questions about hypnosis

Q: What is hypnosis?

A: Hypnosis is a natural, yet altered state of mental relaxation that allows the mind to focus selectively while critical thinking is partially suspended. It is not sleep. It is a state of altered awareness that everyone has experienced when daydreaming, reading, driving, watching TV and in the first moments of drifting off to sleep. In hypnosis, the passive, dreamy quality of total absorption is focused to accomplish a goal. The effect is similar to the way a magnifying glass can focus the sun’s rays to make them more powerful. Most people underestimate the power of their minds.

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Q: What is self-hypnosis?

A: In effect, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. When you follow a hypnotist’s instructions, you’re using your own willpower to pass those instructions to your mind and body. However, the term "self-hypnosis" generally means inducing, managing and terminating your own state of mind without anyone else’s help. To learn self-hypnosis is to acquire a powerful tool for self-control. Your mind is like a super-computer that runs programs for your body functions (including labor and birth), thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Self-hypnosis gives you access to the programming.

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Q: What does hypnosis feel like?

A: If you ask 20 people what hypnosis is like, you’ll probably get at least 20 different answers. There’s no one “right way” to do it – people experience it in their own ways. Hypnosis has the unique quality of increasing or decreasing sensory awareness, depending on what that person needs at that time. Most people report feeling extraordinarily relaxed and focused, as if the mind is awake while the body rests. They can move, talk and express emotion as usual.

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Q: Is it harder for a smart person to be hypnotized?

A: Just the opposite! Intelligent and creative people are usually easier to hypnotize because they already have experience controlling their own minds. However, if a person chooses to resist, they will not go into hypnosis. This is usually a sign of fear, rather than strength. And fear can be resolved with education about what hypnosis is all about.

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Q: In hypnosis, will I be deaf or lose my memory?

A: No. The idea that you lose control of your senses and memories is part of the mythology of hypnosis built by Hollywood to sell movies. Real-life experience always busts these myths. Here are some things people say upon emerging from their first hypnotic experience:
“I heard everything you said.”
“It wasn’t like being asleep, the way they show in movies. I was aware the whole time.”
“I remember all that happened.”
"I was totally in control.”

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Q: Can I be controlled or brainwashed?

A: No. Hypnosis actually gives you greater control over your mind and body. Hypnosis is not something someone does TO you — to be hypnotized by another person is simply to follow his or her instructions because you have chosen to do so. If you choose not to follow the instructions, you won’t be hypnotized. It is not possible for you to be hypnotized if you resist (and this also makes it impossible to get the experience you came for). While hypnotized, you can modify the instructions and control your experience. For example, if you are told to imagine relaxing on a lovely beach, but you’d prefer to be elsewhere, you can instead imagine another scene that relaxes you. You are in control the whole time while experiencing hypnosis. You won’t do anything in a hypnotic state that wouldn’t be acceptable to you in your everyday awareness. You won’t accept any instruction or suggestion that wouldn’t be good for you. In hypnosis, you are able to decide what to do, what to say, and what to think at all times.

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Q: Can I get stuck in hypnosis?

A: No. You can choose to emerge any time. You are always in control. Hypnosis is all about increased communication between the conscious and subconscious mind; coming out of hypnosis is as easy as changing the subject. In hypnosis you actively participate and help direct the session. You put yourself in hypnosis and you can take yourself out when ready – your Blissborn class will teach you how.

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Q: How do I know hypnosis will work for me?

A: Most people go into hypnosis easily once they understand what it is. Experts estimate that 15-20% of the population is highly responsive to hypnosis, 15-20% is highly resistant to it, and everyone else is somewhere in between. Those who are "resistant" are choosing to be so, usually based on doubt, fear or misunderstanding about the natural state of hypnosis. Generally, good candidates for hypnosis can focus on a project for a time and enjoy working alone sometimes. They can use their imaginations, feel empathy, trust others and follow instructions.

Even if these qualities don't totally describe you, you can still benefit from hypnosis by working with your instructor to customize an approach. Since it's a natural state, everyone can learn to use it. It's even great for people who have trouble meditating — it's like meditating with a coach, and following someone else's instructions is a great way to quiet that "monkey mind" right down!

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Q: What is birth hypnosis?

A: Birth hypnosis is simply the use of the hypnotic state to make birth easier, safer, and more blissful. Your thoughts and feelings affect the way your body works. From early in life, most people raised in Western cultures are taught that thoughts and feelings don’t matter when it comes to the functioning of our bodies because they are separate from each other. But in hypnosis, using the power of your mind, you’ll experience and manage the intimate connection between your mind and body. As you learn how to control your mind and body more effectively, you’ll practice keeping them comfortable and relaxed, allowing your baby’s birth to progress in its own perfect way. In addition, self-hypnosis shortens labor — relaxed muscles aren't fighting each other, so labor progresses more quickly. One study found a reduction of 3 hours for first-time mothers for active labor, taking the average length of labor down to about 6 hours. Pushing was shortened significantly as well. And, thanks to a hypnosis phenomenon called time distortion, women using hypnosis have reported that their labors felt shorter than they actually were. And another cool thing — many of our moms spend a lot of their time in labor so peacefully that people think they're asleep.

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Questions about Blissborn:

Fun facts #5

Q: Why do people choose Blissborn training?

A: There are many reasons.
• It’s effective.
• It’s economical. It will dramatically reduce your chances of needing medication or surgery. In the US, 30-40% of babies born to non-hypnosis moms are delivered by Cesarean section. But 85% of Blissborn moms give birth naturally, and of the 15% who need assistance with medication or devices, only a fraction end up in the operating room.  Did you know that a cesarean costs more than $7000?  When you compare that to the cost of hypnosis training, the choice is clear!
• It’s safe and 100% natural, with no negative side effects (and lots of positive side effects!).
• Self-hypnosis, fear release and pain control are some of the tools you'll learn that you can use for the rest of your life.
• It’s proven to shorten labor, reduce pain, reduce bleeding, speed recovery, increase parents’ satisfaction and reduce post-partum depression.
• Practicing keeps you on track. We provide CDs for deep relaxation, and suggestions and imagery to use before, during and after your baby’s birth. Practicing actually maps your brain so you can return quickly and easily to that wonderfully relaxed state, whenever you choose.

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Q: What is the difference between Blissborn and other programs?

A: There are so many differences! Get ready...this is a long one.

We firmly believe that Blissborn is the best, most comprehensive, well-organized and modern childbirth education available, ANYWHERE, EVER.  Really.

But you want specifics, so here you go.

First, we want to say that we all want the same thing — every birth program wants your birth to be peaceful and satisfying. We're all on the same team! We also want to make sure that your program is a good fit for you, so please read on and decide for yourself. This is all about you and what you want and need. Our goal here is not to put down other programs but to provide you with the knowledge you need to make the right decision.

Blissborn versus regular birth programs

(such as Lamaze®; The Bradley Method®; Birthing From Within®; independent or hospital birth classes)

Information and regular relaxation are wonderful. They build confidence. We have tried these programs and think they're great. Blissborn also offers tons of great, modern, relevant information (and it's footnoted, painstakingly researched, and updated regularly). Beyond this, Blissborn presents this information in a really positive way, and doesn't focus too much on why you should have a natural birth — if you found us you already know about natural birth and why it's so great. In addition, Blissborn has so many useful tools — tools that really work, as shown by Blissborn parents' phenomenally high rate of success (more than 85% of Blissborn moms birth naturally in less than 5 hours).

The main tool we use is hypnosis, and it's simply the perfect state to be in for a more peaceful, faster and easier birth. Since it takes some practice, taking a Blissborn class is the best way to get really good at being in that state.

Blissborn versus other birth hypnosis programs

(such as HypnoBirthing® and Hypnobabies®)

So here it is. We think these programs are great. They've helped a whole lot of moms have more peaceful births. Mickey Mongan's book, HypnoBirthing, is a wonderful, wise and groundbreaking work. HypnoBabies has a well-deserved and loyal following, and was the first mainstream method that used real hypnosis.

And yet, when we (as birth-crazy and intelligent information-junkies) were looking for a good program, we found that we wanted more modern information, better organization, and more hypnosis. And we aren't alone here — if you look for it, lots of people agree. A look at a website can tell you a lot about how the program is organized, and how modern it is.

When things aren't well-organized it gets in the way of learning, and your time is valuable. Blissborn is well-organized and footnoted, full of the very latest pertinent information, and put together using education methods that respect you as an adult, respect the way you learn, and provide you with important tools, lists and illustrations.

A light version of hypnosis can give moms just enough control to keep their labors from progressing, or it can fail people when things get intense. Plus, there are so many great tools available within the world of hypnotherapy, and some other programs just skim the surface. Blissborn goes deep.

Other differences

In our hypnotherapy practices, we've worked with our clients to alleviate severe and chronic pain, and we've helped many, many people with anxiety and fears, too. So all of that is in Blissborn, and our teachers are experts trained in this field. We give you all the information you want and need, but most of the class time is spent on learning the TOOLS ... which is why we have the very highest standards of any program, anywhere, for our teachers. Other birth hypnosis classes train their teachers in hypnosis for a day or two. Our Blissborn Educators are highly-trained clinical hypnotherapists (with more than 200 hours of training), which means they're experts in how your mind and body work together, and they are capable of teaching real hypnosis and helping you find real solutions.

Also, Blissborn gets down to the nitty-gritty, quickly and in an organized fashion. More class time isn't always better! We don't deal with nutrition or exercise because by the time you find us, you pretty much have that part nailed down. We don't spend a lot of class time on why natural birth is so great, because you found us and you already know. We spend our valuable class time on the important stuff, and we provide even more in-depth information in the manual for people who want to go deeper. We have the very latest useful, easy-to-digest information, and we add to it and update it regularly.

We call things by their real names (contractions and labor, for example) so you aren't the foot-soldiers out in your birth place, trying to change your provider's behavior. We respect your provider's expertise as well as your expertise.

We know your partner is one of the most important parts of your peaceful, connected birth, and that means a well-trained, well-informed partner is a huge part of our program. It's the dad's or partner's baby too, and partners are tired of being left out. We get that! We insist that your partner comes to every class, for good reasons. Read more about that in the question "Why does my birth partner have to attend every class?" below.

All of this comes with an understanding that you don't want magic — you want real tools with a scientific basis, and an understanding of how and why they work. A modern program that's respectful of your intellect and abilities. Not annoying or patronizing. Just what works, from moms like you who demand the best birth class available, because this is THAT IMPORTANT. We have tried it out and KNOW what works. And results speak for themselves: 100% satisfaction with the classes and materials, and 85% of our moms birth naturally with less than 5 hours of active labor.

The Homestudy Program

Ditto about our homestudy program...It has the same great info! One of the main differences here is that our homestudy has all of the things listed above, and the class comes in an audio format. We've done the research, and we've found audio to be the best way to get the information across if you can't attend a live class. You could read and read, and sift through all of the information on your own, but with our audio class you get class-like instruction and you set a time to do the class with your partner. You are both more likely to get it done and learn what you need to learn this way, creating more connection and more confidence.

Our goal is to support you in whatever a good birth looks like to you, and we want you to have the tools to be satisfied with your birth no matter what. This clears the way for the birth you deserve.

So THAT'S why we say we're the best program available. Don't take our word for it! Read some thoughts from other parents like you. And come back and add your story after your beautiful, peaceful birth! If you have further questions, we're always available to our Blissborn family. Contact us any time. That's another thing — Blissborn sets the standard with the best customer service available — real people available to you, responding with real solutions.

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Q: If childbirth happens naturally, why do I need Blissborn?

A: Women have gone into altered states naturally in childbirth since ancient times, but our culture has largely forgotten how to use this state during the past century, with the medicalization of birth. Furthermore, in our society, we have to get past a lot of negative programming around birth, and creating positive expectations is an important tool for accomplishing this. Blissborn works with you to develop your "blueprint" for birth — so your mind has a positive image of where it's all going when labor starts. Many moms report that their labors happened almost exactly as they imagined.

With Blissborn, you'll learn tons of great tools to keep you relaxed and confident. Plus, Blissborn is so much more than just birth hypnosis. You'll have the latest, most relevant information — the best and most relevant facts, studies, and ideas. You'll learn to use lots of great tools and have powerful resources at your fingertips. In this busy world, it's nice to know you can trust someone to give you the good stuff.

So, while you have the natural ability to give birth peacefully, with Blissborn you'll have the best training available to use that ability, and to use it whenever you want. When you train for a marathon, you can do it yourself, but you'll go a lot farther, a lot faster if you train with someone who has done it before, studied it, and made it their life's work to help you have that experience be the most powerful, enjoyable, satisfying experience of your life.

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Q: What about painless birth?

A: We get this question a lot, usually asked with a look of incredulous, hopeful longing!

The easy answer is that it is possible. We estimate that about 10% of our moms reported back to us in 2010 that they felt little or no pain throughout their labor.

The longer answer is that we can't promise a pain-free birth, since every birth is so different. We do know there seems to be a correlation between the amount of practice moms put in on the comfort techniques and the smiles they have on their faces when they share their birth experiences. In Blissborn we teach you five different hypnosis techniques for reducing, transforming, or eliminating pain — the same techniques used for surgeries with no anesthetic. If you'd like, watch some videos about hypno-anesthesia here. Blissborn has more tools and techniques than any other birth program — tools to help you achieve comfort and ease in your labor and birth.

So beyond this, it's good to know that a really cool thing happens naturally in hypnosis, and it's something you get to experience yourself in your Blissborn class and in your daily practice. Lots of studies have shown that people in hypnosis have reduced brain activity in areas related to pain and suffering. This translates to a certain "removedness" from the pain, and moms report that pain feels, well, much less painful in hypnosis (and much more manageable). So even if you're not one of the "pain-free" moms, you can count on experiencing a big difference in your labor. Birthing your baby can be easier than you expected!

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Q: Will I be able to open my eyes and move around?

A: Absolutely! When you first start learning how to go into hypnosis, you'll probably want to practice while remaining quiet and still. By your second class, you'll be up and moving around, and we encourage you to practice in lots of different situations and positions. Moving around in labor is so important, and we want you to move, move, move! You'll be an expert before you know it!

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Q: Will Blissborn work for first-time moms?

A: Absolutely! In fact, the majority of our moms are first-time moms (and the rest are more experienced moms who want to do things differently this time).

First-time moms are looking for information. Maybe it's more appropriate to say they have a passionate and fervent drive to understand every possibility, idea, and piece of anatomy involved in labor and birth. We meet that need for up-to-date, interesting, and confidence-building information. We provide the tools to help moms achieve the births they barely dare to hope for! Even new moms report feeling excited to give birth.

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Q: What about twins and multiples?

A: Blissborn works equally well with moms of singles, twins and multiples. We suggest that parents of multiples take the class a little earlier! Hypnosis works wonders with relaxation, and visualization is great for bonding with babies and creating more confidence about parenting multiple babies. We also support vaginal delivery of multiples when your healthcare provider says it's a good idea, and we have a great section in the manual on ways hypnosis can help in different scenarios. Congratulations on your multiple blessings!

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Q: What will my OB/GYN or midwife or doula think of Blissborn?

A: Once they experience a Blissborn birth, healthcare providers love Blissborn! You'll probably be one of their easiest clients. You may have to share some of the finer points of the program with them (we are relatively new on the scene, after all) but we include a handout in Class 5 for just this purpose. It includes education about what you'll be experiencing and how to help keep your peaceful labor going ... like supporting a "nest" of safety and calm in the birth room. We also let them know that they may be surprised by how far along you are in your labor, so they're prepared for your birth a little sooner than they might otherwise estimate. And we always welcome providers into our classes for free so they can learn firsthand what Blissborn is all about. Oh, and FYI, a "doula" is a helper you hire to provide support before, during and after labor. They're a wonderful addition to your birthing team, and they're welcome to come to Blissborn classes too!

Imagine how much easier your provider's job is when you are more in control, more comfortable, and moving right along in labor! We've found many providers just step back and let you keep on doing what you're doing because it's going so well.

They are also often relieved to find out that Blissborn is provider-friendly. There's no special language to learn, and it's designed to work for you, wherever you are, whatever is going on.

That said, we also include training for you and your birth partner to ask the right questions, diplomatically express your desires, and peacefully get more of what you want. Although we'd prefer for every birth environment to be set up perfectly, you'll have the tools to feel satisfied with your birth, no matter who is present or what is happening.

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Q: What will my husband/boyfriend/partner think of Blissborn?

It's always a kick to see that partner who got dragged to that first class, who won't make eye contact with the instructor...he's wondering what kind of hippie voodoo he's gotten dragged into! We also get many partners who are even more excited to be there than the mom. Whether your partner is freaked out by the whole notion or totally curious and excited, we've found that almost every partner enjoys the class, loves the hypnosis experience (often more than the mom), and appreciates having a real role in the baby's birth. Plus it's so nice to have designated times each week to spend together, concentrating on each other and the baby and peaceful, comfortable, lovely relaxation.

Other partners (friends, relatives and doulas) are usually welcome to attend classes as well! While not everyone in the birth room has to be an expert, it helps if they at least understand what's going on. If someone is a cynic, most of the time education is the solution. We include a handout in Class 5 to share with other birth partners so they understand a little more about Blissborn and the mom's peaceful state of mind.

Have your partner look over the website, and have them contact Shelley or Laura or your instructor with any questions.

One neat thing is that by the end of the first class, the hippie-phobic dad is usually the most enthusiastic person in the room!

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Q: Why does my birth partner have to attend every class?

Partners are such an important part of birth. They have many important jobs before and during labor. Providing support, advocacy, and coaching are the top three. After going through the classes with you, they also know what you're experiencing in hypnosis and have special tools to assist you in getting into that peaceful place and staying there. We want your labor and birth to move along naturally, easily and peacefully in the instinctual part of your brain. Your partner is there to take care of everything else. So can you get into that state by yourself? Absolutely. And your chances of staying in that state are tremendously improved by relying on your partner.

If the father of the baby isn't available, a friend or relative is a great choice. While we always love to hear that couples have partnered with doulas (in Ancient Greek doula means "a woman who serves"), in some situations it's best to hire a doula to be your main partner in labor.

Partners love taking the class — they're learning all about labor, hypnosis, and how to be a truly effective part of the baby's birth. And they're learning lifelong skills too!

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Q: What will my birth partner’s role be?

A: Birth partners (the father of the baby, a relative, friend or doula) are a very important part of your preparation and birth! Classroom instruction and homework are for both the mother and her partner. In addition, we teach the partner how to help mom in lots of ways — real tools to make her more comfortable, to support her, to protect her, to coach her, and to be a part of the birth. Partners are so important we don't let moms take Blissborn classes without them.

Partners deserve to have a more active and effective role in the baby's birth. They'll learn how to be more helpful, how to be better advocates, and how to not take things personally if it gets intense.

Everyone loves having time each week to concentrate on each other and the baby and to just RELAX. Blissborn moms report feeling more supported, connected and close to their partners after taking the class; Blissborn partners report feeling confident, strong, connected, and ready after taking the class. And frankly, they usually love learning hypnosis even more than the moms!

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Q: How will my Blissborn training benefit my baby?

A: Your mind and body affect your baby’s mind and body. Our minds and bodies are intimately connected within ourselves, and baby and mother are connected and cross-connected to each other’s minds and bodies. It can seem magical that imagination can cause a reaction in the baby, but it’s true. For example, studies of breech babies (positioned in the womb in a position other than head-down) have shown that women using hypnosis to "imagine" the baby into the right position can turn their babies to a head-down position with an 81% success rate. (See your instructor for a session to learn how).

Stupid joke #1

More importantly, when you stay calm and relaxed in pregnancy, labor and birth, you share all of those happy hormones with your baby, too. A relaxed body offers less resistance to the baby’s head as it descends the birth canal. Anecdotal evidence shows that after birth, hypnosis babies are calmer and easier to comfort, and they sleep better.

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Q: What are some other benefits of taking Blissborn training?

As you might have guessed, there are many, many other benefits for you, your partner, your baby and your life!

Hypnosis is recognized worldwide as a great way to relax, lower blood pressure, regulate body systems, control pain, ease anxiety, ease insomnia, and end habits and addictions. Plus a gazillion other things — anything the mind controls including thoughts, feelings and behaviors...and so much more. So, yes, learning these valuable skills is great not just for your labor and birth but for your whole life.

Beyond this benefit, moms have specifically reported sleeping better, feeling more confident, feeling more connected to their partner, lowered blood pressure, cured morning sickness, cured migraines, feeling closer to their baby, feeling EXCITED to give birth, starting labor when needed, relaxing more, worrying less, feeling more content, controlling hip pain and joint pain...the list is long. All this and no negative side effects! We all know what stress can do to a body. Just think of this as an anti-stress sundae, with a dollop of confidence on top. As one of our moms said, it's like birth with sprinkles!

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Q: When should I start my Blissborn classes?

A:  We recommend you start classes in weeks 28-32 of your pregnancy (early in your third trimester).  Your partner should attend each class with you. We want you to take it early enough to have time to finish, even if your baby is a little early, and late enough that you're still motivated to practice, practice, practice until your baby is born! And the practicing is the best part — it's all about relaxing.

If you're earlier or later in your pregnancy, we have solutions for you. The class can be condensed, or you can start working with hypnosis early on. Ask your local instructor about your options.

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Q: What do Blissborn classes cost?

A: Blissborn teachers set their own prices. Class prices are usually in line with other birth class prices in your area. Go ahead and get in touch with your local teacher and talk to her or him about the class — our teachers are here to help you find what you need!

If you're wondering about the cost of the homestudy, you'll find it here.

If you're wondering about the cost of working with Shelley or Laura, check out your options here. This is the biggest investment and doesn't reflect on the price of taking a live class with a teacher in your area.

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More questions? Contact Laura and Shelley directly.

We promise, we'll get right back to you! And we hate spam as much as you do, so ask away and don't worry a bit.


To learn even more, you might want to check out these links: