Hopewell Woman is First "HypnoBirthing Graduate" to Deliver at University Medical Center at Princeton

Jan 4, 2008

Susanne Giller of Hopewell Township became the first woman to deliver her baby at University Medical Center at Princeton after completing the hospital's new HypnoBirthing course. This class teaches expectant mothers self-hypnosis techniques that can result in a faster, less painful and less stressful childbirth.

Giller gave birth to son Alexander Heinz Giller at UMCP at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, December 16, after four hours of labor without pain medication. He is the first child of Susanne and husband, Oliver, and came into the world weighing eight pounds, four ounces.

Unlike the trance or sleep-like state often associated with hypnosis, the techniques of HypnoBirthing help women achieve a focused state of concentration through techniques such as visualization, guided imagery, special breathing techniques and positive affirmations.

Giller, a pediatric occupational therapist with the Flemington School District, said her interest in HypnoBirthing stemmed from a desire to deliver her baby without medication if at all possible, and with minimal stress, both for her own well-being and for the well-being of her baby.

Giller said the pain of labor was manageable thanks to HypnoBirthing techniques that taught her how to work with her body, let go of stress and relax.

"The program gave me the tools to get through labor without medication," said Giller, who completed UMCP's first HypnoBirthing course in October. "The body knows what to do during birth, and these techniques allowed me to let my body go at its own pace."

The HypnoBirthing program was developed 18 years ago by New Hampshire hypnotist Marie Mongan and has since been growing in popularity. Today, it is taught internationally by more than 1,700 doctors, nurses and midwives who are trained and certified by Mongan's HypnoBirthing Institute.

One such certified instructor is Lisa Stout, RN, of UMCP, who teaches the hospital's HypnoBirthing class. Stout said that women who learn HypnoBirthing's techniques have been shown to experience shorter and less painful labors.

"Often the discomfort and pain felt in labor is brought on by tension caused by a mother's fear of pain," said Stout. "A woman who learns how to decrease her anxiety through the techniques of HypnoBirthing can also reduce the pain she feels."

Giller said that while HypnoBirthing may not be right for everyone, she wants expectant mothers to know it is an option. Above all, she encouraged women to make their own decisions as to what is best for themselves and their babies.

"My advice to women is to be in charge of your birth plan and have no regrets when it's over," Giller said.

Giller also commended University Medical Center at Princeton, from the community education department for offering programs for expectant parents such as HypnoBirthing, breastfeeding and exercise classes, to the nursing and medical staff that supported her during delivery.

"Everyone was really supportive, and it was great to know that, if things didn't go perfectly, they would be able to take care of us."

The increasing popularity of HypnoBirthing comes at a time when the techniques of hypnosis and self-hypnosis are finding growing acceptance in the medical community as a method for reducing pain. Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnosis in providing pain relief following surgery, as well in reducing pain from cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, arthritis and other conditions.

UMCP begins its next HypnoBirthing class Thursday, January 10. The five-week series is offered from UMCP's Community Education & Outreach site at 731 Alexander Road in Princeton at a cost of $180. Expectant parents who are interested in registering or learning more about the program may call 888.897.8979.