NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ask almost any woman and they’ll tell you that childbirth is a joyous, but painful experience.
Now, a new technique is letting some achieve the seemingly impossible — having a baby without any pain.
Shira Uriarte brought 9-month-old Akiva into the world in a somewhat unusual way. She was medication and pain free during a 10-hour labor.
“I did not have pain. I certainly felt pressure, a lot of pressure, but no I was not in pain,” she said.
Uriarte used a technique called hypnobirthing. It’s a five week program taught by a certified instructor.
Sara Kramer leads couples through exercises in a Brooklyn home.
“You enter into this place where you are so calm, and so relaxed,” she explained.
It’s essentially teaching women how to hypnotize themselves to help ease the pain of labor, and in some cases, eliminate it entirely.
“The body knows how to birth naturally, and what we’d like to do is get the mind out of the way so the body can do its job,” Kramer said.
The classes are just part of hypnobirthing — much of the work takes place at home.
Through most of her pregnancy, three times a week, Uriarte listened to tapes to help her body learn how to relax.
She did visualization exercises, deep breathing, and repeated positive mantras.
“So I would go through these, read them to myself,” she explained.
During labor she even brought herself to a more peaceful place — already bonding with her newborn.
“I would imagine that I was on the beach with the baby, holding the baby, feeling the sand on my feet,” she said.
But Kramer said the technique can’t promise everyone the same experience, however it can be more pleasant.
“We help women to shed the fear of birthing, and they feel empowered, and they feel confident, they feel secure and in control,” she said.
OB-GYN Dr. Carol Livoti, of Lenox Hill Hospital, said hypnobirthing can be useful, but women should be realistic.
“Don’t go in with preconceived notions. Don’t go in picturing that’s going to go a certain magical way,” she said.
For Uriarte, it worked beyond her expectations.
“A woman can have a pain free, happy, extremely positive experience,” she said.
The hypnobirthing philosophy is that women come to the birth calm, and open to whatever turn the birth takes, even if that means accepting interventions and pain medications.