Calgary HypnoBirthing: Jenn Price-Jones


I just thought I would drop a line to let you know how Kahlan's birthing went.

The nurses at the Foothills Hospital were amazed at how easy my labor was. I ended up having to be induced as my water broke, and they didn't want to risk infection. Even with the stronger contractions brought on by the Oxitocin drip, I only needed a little bit of laughing gas during the last stage. Unfortunately, there were a few complications, and she ended up staying in the special care nursery for a week on IV antibiotics. Everything is fine now, and she is doing great. She has already gained over 4 lbs!

I really wanted to thank you for all your help in teaching us the HypnoBirthing method. I tell everyone I know who is pregnant now about it.


Marie Thompson


Dear Jenn,

This quick note is to thank you for teaching me the Hypnobirthing techniques. I truly believe that they contributed to my wonderful birthing experience. The sessions, along with the book and the tapes were a godsend. I played my Rainbow Relaxation tape faithfully every night as I fell asleep. I used this tape during the inducing process as well. I was told that inducing would make my contractions very strong and painfull. Thanks to yoga and Hypnobirthing, I did not need an epidural or any other drugs. The doctor broke my water and 6 am and my beautiful daughter, Shannon Victoria, was born less than two hours later.

I had been hooked up to the oxytocin IV the night before. The monitors indicated that I was having contractions, even though I could not feel them. I had sciatica in my legs and spent a rather sleepless night due to that, but I certainly did not feel any labour pains. It was not until the doctor broke my water that I could even tell I was having contractions. I had such a quick labour that I did not even get to use many of the visualizations but I am convinced that my ability to remain relaxed throughout the inducing and labour process is the key to such a successful birth.

I tell every woman who is planning to have children or is pregnant to learn about Hypnobirthing. It certainly worked for me!

Toby Gaskarth

Joni’s Birthing Story

My first birth could not have been more painful! I thought I was going to die! Because I was having so much pain I begged by doctor for an epidural and a C section, but it was to already too late. After this birth, I swore that I would never again go through labour. I had always wanted 2 or more children, but after that experience, I was convinced that one child was enough. ( Joni told me about how she clutched her husband’s hand and the bed frame so tightly that her hands were cramped into claws & the nurse needed to straighten them out after the birth.)

A year later when I found out that I accidently got pregnant, I panicked. “Oh no, I don’t want to give birth!” The panic I felt was overwhelming. If I had to give birth I determined to find an easier way! As luck would have it, I was watching 20 / 20 on T.V. and they had a story about an easy pain-free birth. They called it hypnobirthing. My first reaction was that it was kind of “nutty”, but I was so scared about giving birth a second time, that I was willing to give it a try.

I took the childbirth relaxation course with Jenni Price-Jones. I was expecting hypnosis where you “fall over” like Ravine does. It was sooo different. I never felt hypnotized at all - just relaxed. Jenni helped me concentrate on releasing my fear (fear causes the pain) and on relaxing and breathing. What a difference!

I was only in labour for about 5 hours and it did not hurt. When I felt a contraction, I breathed very deeply, while listening to my “positive affirmation” tape. All during my contractions, I concentrated on letting my body go limp with relaxation. This let my body completely take over the birthing process.

The only time I lost control was when I felt a lot of pressure in the vaginal area. I wasn’t sure what was going on so I yelled for the nurse. She came running over just in time to catch the baby’s head. When she told me that the pressure I felt was the baby crowning, I was able to relax again. I had been confused because the baby had crowned without me pushing at all! Because my body and muscles were relaxed my birthing muscles were able to take over like nature intended. On tiny push and the baby was out! I remember saying to the nurse “What? That’s it! It can’t be over! It was too easy! The doctor didn’t even get here yet.”

I was also shocked that I was not tired after my birth! I was full of energy! My husband was a great help in keeping everything calm around me, so that I could birth peacefully. It was a wonderful experience.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE, From THE Calgary Herald, Neighbours section, September 25,2003, written by Jacqueline Louie.

Shari Lester has no war stories about the birth of daughter Lilly, her first child. Lester, a 30-year-old Calgarian, cheerfully describes her birthing experience as “great!”

The entire process took just over 10 hours and she had no epidural or episiotomy. What helped Lester and husband Curtis bring their baby confidently into the world this past April was HypnoBirthing.

It which teaches mothers and birth companions techniques for a safe, satisfying birthing process using guided imagery, visualization, focused breathing and self-hypnosis.

Founded in the U.S. in 1991 by clinical hypnotherapist and educator Marie Mongan, HypnoBirthing is based on the work of British obstetrician, Dr. Grantly Dick-Read. Based on the belief that birth can, and should, be a joyful experience, its goal is to help women have their babies naturally or with as little medication as possible.

For Lester, who had wanted as natural a birthing process as possible, HypnoBirthing was all that she had hoped for. “We wanted to go into our delivery with some type of tool to prepare us for the labor and delivery,” she explains. With HypnoBirthing, “I was able to focus on everything; I was fully aware of everything. Because of it, I had tons of energy afterward, and my baby didn’t have any drugs.” Lester, who would recommend HypnoBirthing for anybody who’s having a baby – no matter whether it’s their first, second or third child, describes HypnoBirthing as “a very modern tool for anybody going into labor and delivery. It can only help – there are no drawbacks.” And it’s easy to learn: “It’s deep relaxation techniques that anybody that knows how to breathe can do,” Lester says with a laugh.

According to Calgary HypnoBirthing’s Jenni Price-Jones, a certified HypnoBirthing instructor, certified hypnotherapist and doula, HypnoBirthing is a naturally induced state of relaxation for mind and body, in which suggestions are communicated to the subconscious mind (the part of the mind that influences thought, feelings and choices). It can control discomfort – and make a major difference for mothers as they bring their baby into the world.

“I’m basically teaching these ladies how to really relax,” says Johnston, who has taught approximately 30 mothers about HypnoBirthing in the past couple of years.

While some mothers give birth easily on their own, she adds, most need some kind of assistance, such as drugs or a relaxation technique such as HypnoBirthing. The mothers she has worked with have all had a much easier birth than they would have had otherwise, Johnston says. “It’s a much easier way to do it, because you’re working with your body, not against it.”

Joni Clemmer of Grande Prairie is another mother who recently learned HypnoBirthing techniques from Johnston. “Jenni helped me concentrate on releasing my fear, on relaxing and special breathing,” says Clemmer, whose first experience giving birth had been painful and traumatic.

Thanks to HypnoBirthing, Clemmer’s second experience this past April was very different. She felt relaxed, she was in labor only five hours, and it hurt less than her first experience.

“When I felt a contraction I breathed very deeply while listening to my positive affirmation tape,” Clemmer recalls. “I concentrated on letting my body go limp with relaxation. This let my body completely take over the birthing process.”

According to HypnoBirthing advocates, “easier, more comfortable birthing is the way that nature intended.”

In Calgary, Johnston teaches the techniques over the course of four 2 ˝-hour classes, or a two-day workshop.

HypnoBirthing is similar to a guided meditation, teaching mothers specific breathing techniques promoting calmness, peacefulness and relaxation and helping them to call on natural birthing instincts to bring their baby into the world. It can reduce need for chemical anesthesia because it allows endorphins, the body’s natural anesthesia, to kick in.

Other benefits to HypnoBirthing: “It usually shortens birth,” Johnston says. HypnoBirthing often eliminates the need to push to bring the baby to the crowning stage; because the mother is less tired, she is more alert and has more energy to bring her baby into the world; and postnatal recovery is faster.

It’s effective because when you are calm, “all your muscles will work properly.” When people are afraid, their muscles tense up – and things don’t work as they should and they will feel pain.

According to Lester, HypnoBirthing’s emphasis on eliminating fears about childbirth makes a huge difference, says Lester. “It really reminds women and their birthing partner that birth is the most 100 per cent natural thing anybody could go through - and to trust your body,” she says. “For me, that was a huge thing - learning to trust yourself. HypnoBirthing really allowed me and my husband to go into it a lot more relaxed.”

With HypnoBirthing, the husband or partner plays an integral role in the entire process. “It’s really good - it really bonds mother, father and baby,” Johnston says. In addition to (or in the absence of) the husband/partner, birthing companions can also include a friend or relative, such as mother or sister.

Lisa's Story

Growing up I decided not to have children as I was petrified of the whole birthing process. Then one day I realized I was pregnant. Married for 5 years and still petrified of the birthing process, it was time now to look into birthing options.

Doing lots of research from Lamaze to midwifery I decided on Hypno Birthing. After reading the book on Hyno Birthing I was no longer as fearful as I once was and starting to enjoy being pregnant. Approximately 3 months to my due date we took our home course with Jenn Price-Jones, which was absolutely wonderful. We got to watch videos of water births, home births, hospital births and births where only midwifes were present.

As the course progressed I realized that birthing doesn't need drugs and I was going to do it. Over the next little while my husband and I practiced the relaxation techniques until that fateful day when we were to meet our new bundle of joy.

Upon arriving at the hospital I was indeed in labor and two centimeters dilated but remaining calm and relaxed. The next thing I was told was the baby was coming and I was six centimeters, my husband was to go down and have me admitted. Being so relaxed and having my disc man in hand I walked down and admitted myself. Upon my return I was told it would only be a short time as I was nine centimeters. Remembering what I had learned that weekend with Jenn made me calmer than ever. My baby was not ready to come yet and decided to hold on a little longer. The shoulders "were stuck" and my contractions had stopped. That's when the doctor decided on the pitocin drip to get things going again.

Everything worked out fine, and we soon got to we met our new baby boy, Tristan. From the classes my husband learned how to work with me and play an active role in our baby's birth. I am no longer petrified of the birthing process and we are starting to plan for our second child thanks to our Hypno Birthing experience. Lisa Dominaux

Note: Learning how to really relax & get rid of any fears (if it doesn't come naturally for you) is one of the greatest secrets to a great birth experience. Jenn

Lisa’s Birth By Sventlana Kamenetsky

This easy birth wouldn’t have happened if, one day I hadn’t found the book by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read entitled “Childbirth Without Fear” that drew my attention promising easy labour. I was pregnant and scared of the very thought of labour. Stories about giving birth provided by my mom and friends weren’t very calming. The book seemed to be my hope. Dr Dick-Read stated that relaxation leads to painless labour. This sounded so simple and I thought that if other women did it I could do it to. Now the question was how to do it.

In theory I knew how to breathe and I could hope it would be enough but what if I still have fears. How shall I cope with them during the labour? It was evident that I need to learn relaxation. It was then when I found the Hypnobirth course. During a weekend session Jenny taught me, my husband and another young couple several relaxation techniques. We watched videos, and listened to the soothing music while Jenny taught us self-hypnosis.

Then for three months every evening I listened to the CD Jenny gave me. It was so relaxing that often I would fall asleep listening to it. It didn’t bother me in fact I was looking for each “Pavlov’s dog” reaction. My bad dreams became lighter, self-confidence grew, and, the most important, I now thought of labour without any fear.

The birth itself lasted 12 hours. It started in the late evening, so I was awake for the whole night. With the every surge I closed my eyes and scanned through my body imaging every muscle relaxed. Several deep breaths and the tightness would fade away. Everything was alright but in the morning I felt worn out – the sleepless night made me feel tired. Then I put the Hypnobirth CD to play. It was like magic – I could sleep in between surges. Probably it made the labour a bit longer but then it didn’t matter – I needed some rest. In an hour or so my water broke and contractions became even stronger. The doctor checked me to discover that baby lay with her face to my belly instead of facing my spine. It meant a really painful experience unless the baby would turn.

My only hope was to change position and stay calm. My husband Ilya massaged me through the surges breathing with me. I closed my eyes and tried to visualize my baby turning. Repeating like a prayer “Turn, please turn” I breathed slowly. It seemed endless…And suddenly I felt her moving inside. Now I think this would be impossible if the labour wouldn’t be all natural. Who knows which complications I escaped by using Hypnobirth techniques. Soon after the baby’s moving I felt the strong urge to push. After three contractions the baby’s head was born. She yelled so loudly. One more push and she was out – my beautiful baby! I was so overwhelmed with happiness! I remember the bright sun shining through the windows, baby yelling and me laughing and crying altogether. Lisa was born 7 pounds 10 ounces. Beautiful and healthy. “Happy baby” as nurse called her. There is no need to say how proud I felt for making the choice to give birth naturally. And I am really grateful to Jenny and Ilya for their help.

Today after two months passed since Lisa’s birth I think we should thank relaxation techniques for her calm and steady temperament. She can be easily calmed down during the rare fussy periods. She is easy to deal with and we enjoy every moment with her. When my friends ask me about my labour I am glad to tell them how smooth and easy it was. Moreover for my pregnant friends I have ready advice where to go in case they want natural labour.

Jenn’s note: In Hypnobirthing the Moms learn how to relax very deeply, how to remove their fears, and how to work with the Dad or birth companion using visualization and special breathing techniques for a more comfortable birth and that more nearly mirrors nature.

Chandra's Birthing Story

I had borderline high blood pressure for the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy so my OB was monitoring me quite closely thinking I might develop preeclampsia. But my health remained pretty good despite the blood pressure and I insisted that they not induce me unless there was a real medical urgency for it. My “guess date” was March 16, and I was in early labour on Sunday, March 19 but never had regular contractions that were strong enough to put me into active labour. The OB didn’t want me to go a week past due date due to the blood pressure so I basically WILLED myself to go into labour the day before they were to induce me. I did my own fear releasing session the night of Tuesday March 21 and told the baby that I wanted to meet her and we both needed to let go of our fears so that she could come into the world the way we planned. About 3 hours later my water broke. But despite this, I still did not progress into active labour on my own so ended up having to go on the oxytocin drip the next day. I was a bit disappointed at needing this extra “boost,” however stayed focused on the idea that I could have this intervention and still have the birthing I wanted and had prepared for.

I was put on the drip at 2 p.m. March 22, went into active labour about 3 hours later, and at 7 p.m. was only 4 cm dilated. I was discouraged at how little progress I seem to have made, and I was having intense surges that I felt I couldn’t handle. I was losing control and focus & was unable to relax in between the surges that were coming every 2 minutes and lasting 1 minute each. But my husband put on my headphones with the rainbow relaxation CD and told me that I could do it and needed to “get to my place.” He describes the next 2 hours as basically watching me “sleep” and what I recall is kneeling on the bed, leaning over the birthing ball and when a surge came, rocking back and forth and moaning to get through it. A short (it did feel VERY short) two hours later I told the nurse I felt the urge to push and our daughter was born at 9:34 p.m. Our nurse was wonderful and said that she had never experienced a birthing like this before. She had never seen a turn of events like that – me appearing to lose control one minute then completely regaining focus the next minute and being able to go within and let my body do its job.

I am so pleased with the preparation that hypnobirthing provided me, and even though my labour was quite a bit more intense than I’m sure it would have been had I progressed on my own, I can honestly say that our labour and delivery went as planned. I still consider this to be the natural, gentle birth we prepared for. I am proud of myself and believe that it all paid off in the end. My body has recovered quickly, and our daughter is proving to be quite a calm and content baby.

Thank you for your assistance with the hypnobirthing class. I believe that not only did this preparation help me with my pregnancy and labour and delivery, but it has generally made me a more relaxed person – and parent! The power of the mind is amazing when you put your faith in it and open yourself up to the possibilities.

Hi Jenn

Hypnobirthing totally worked! Thanks for everything Jenn.

Kaitlyn arrived at 5:27 am on Friday, March 14th. She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and measured 20 inches long. We arrived back home on Saturday at noon.

I woke up at 12:30 am with surges and by 1 am knew that I needed to go to the hospital as I was told that I was so far along at my doctors appt the previous day that if I was actually having contractions I would have been in labor at that time. (I totally believe that my body did some of the birthing in advance as I was 3 cms dilated, 80% thinned and baby's head engaged the day before at my doctor's appointment.).

We arrived at the hospital at 2 am to looks from nurses that thought I was crazy to say I was in labor. They checked me out at 2:30 am and I was 5 cm and totally thinned and the nurse told my husband to run downstairs and check me in so he wouldn't miss anything. I breathed through all the surges and felt some discomfort but not alot. I did not have any pain medication... not even the gas mask. I would just close my eyes, listen to the music and breath until the surge was done. I would then open my eyes and start talking and joking around again. The nurse staff was amazed and told me that they didn't know what I was doing but that it was working and was quite amazing.

At about 3:30 am we all walked over the the labor and delivery room and the nurses could not believe that I was joking with them as I walked there.

At 4:30 am I knew that I was fully dilated because I could feel the baby start moving downward. I used the birth breathing learned at hypnobirthing to breath the baby down for 1/2 hour without telling the nurse what I was doing. At 5 am I told her I was ready to have the baby. She checked me and I was fully dilated. At that time I made the decision to go away from hypnobirthing and actually push instead of breathing down. I don't know why, it's just a feeling that I had. I stood up for a few surges to move the baby's head down and then it only took 2 more surges laying down and only one with the doctor there (she almost missed it) for Kaitlyn to be born. I felt the burn for the last 2 surges because I did decide to push and get Kaitlyn here but other that that no real pain at all. An amazing experience.

I had tonnes of energy afterwards and had only a very minor tear... didn't even hurt... and probably wouldn't have had that if I didn't decide to push instead of breathing down.

I did not hemorage like I did with my first child. Kaitlyn also took to breast feeding right away which makes life a lot easier.

The total labour was 5 hours and active labour was 1 1/2 hours just like I had invisioned in hypnobirthing class.

Thanks again Jenn.

Debbie Robillard

Hi Jenn

I first would like to apologize for not contacting you sooner - the last 5 months has been a whirlwind to say the least. I just really wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your involvement in helping Todd and I make the birth of our baby girl a great experience.

I ended up finally being induced on October 11 - exactly 2 weeks after my due date. We tried absolutely everything to get her to come (even the eggplant recipe you sent!) So, although it was not the wish list, here is our story.

I went in the morning of the 11th and was induced with Cervadil at 8:00 am - at noon nothing was happening so they sent us home and told us to return at 4:00. We went home and had something to eat and a nap and went for a walk around the block before heading back to the hospital. At about 5:00 I started to feel a little crampy but nothing significant. At 6:00 there were definately contractions and they were coming very often but were not that intense. Todd read the paper and I read my book until about 6:30 when the pace really started to pick up and they were becoming a bit more intense. At 7:30 the nurse decided that the Cervadil should come out because I was having 10 contractions lasting upwards of a minute long every 15 minutes and they said they were coming too fast. I was doing my breathing but because of the lack of time between contractions I was finding it quite difficult to get to my "special place". When the nurse and my doctor (who had dropped by) took out the Cervadil, they indicated that I wasn't even dilated - only fully effaced. My doctor and the nurse indicated to me that there was a very strong chance that we may have to start the process all over the next morning. Needless to say she said the contractions would lessen and start to spread out. However, the contractions continued to come quite quickly and we had the lights dimmed and our music playing and I would walk and sit on the birthing ball but found it kind of difficult since the contractions were coming so quickly and I really needed to be lying down to focus on my breathing.

Only two hours later, thinking I was going to be there all night, I thought I may have to consider getting an epidural at some point because I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I say uncomfortable because I really didn't feel 'pain' per se. I told Todd that maybe he should go and talk to our nurse (who I might add knew about Hypnobirthing) and let her know that I was starting to feel quite abit of pressure. He did so and returned at 9:40 saying that the nurse said that this was normal as the baby was just moving down. At that point I told him that maybe he should go and get her to come in. When she came at 9:50 I told her that I was feeling quite a bit of pressure and my contractions were right on top of each other with only seconds between each one. It was funny because she sort of looked at me like she recognized the moment where all first time labouring mothers who said they didn't want narcotics or pain treatment now realize they've changed their minds! I said "maybe you should check me" and she said " well I can if you would like". At this point in time it is now 10:00 - she proceeded to check me and said in absolute shock " Oh honey, we've got to get you across the hall (to a labour/delivery room as I was still in the induction room) - you are going to have this baby right now!!"

So I got out of bed and walked across the hall where our little girl Jorgie Wynn Cornish was born only 54 minutes later. I did the best I could in "breathing my baby down" (vs "pushing") but her arm was caught behind her head and she weighed 9lbs 2oz so I think I may have lost some composure a couple of times in the 54 minutes... but I really think it was only a couple of times.

I have to say that the whole experience was great. I only wish that I had not been induced as I saw how it would have been alot easier to really achieve that really deep state of relaxation which was hard for me to do since things were happening so fast. After you spent the weekend with us I did alot of visualization and had visualized a 3 hour birth - happy to report that I was not far off.

News of our hypnobirthing spread very quickly around the maternity ward and soon nurses were popping into our room saying " you're the couple who used this Hypnobirthing Method.. we heard you two were great and it was a wonderful experience" . One of our nurses even told us that only 1-2 births out of every 100 at the Red Deer Hospital (which averages about 240 births per month) are drug/narcotic free.

So.. thank you Jenn for helping me overcome my fears of the birthing process and allowing us to truly have a wonderful birthing experience. I tell every expectant mother I meet about my experience and encourage them to purchase Marie's book and look into spending time with someone trained in Hypnobirthing.

Thanks again.