Premature baby Matthew Hirsh, born at 28 weeks, lies in the neonatal intensive care unit in 2004 in New York City.
Everyone's heard of the Lamaze and Bradley methods of childbirth, but there's a new way to manage pain during delivery.
The new procedure is called hypnobirthing, and women across the country are trying it. Also known as the Mongan Method, it involves daydreaming or focusing on visualizations with a birth partner. About 72 percent of moms who employ hypnobirthing do not take pain medication while giving birth, according to practitioners. The method can also be used with pain medication.
There are skeptics, of course.
"Everyone kept saying, 'Are you going to be hypnotized so you don't know what's going on?' " said San Diego County resident Anica Miller Rushing, who used birth hypnosis. " 'Are you going to be aware?' Everyone kept calling it the hippie freak thing to do."
There's a book of hypnobirthing scripts and visualizations to practice before labor begins. Named after the doctor who wrote the book, the alternative Mongan Method relies on the idea that a woman's body naturally knows how to give birth. There are several hypnobirthing classes offered in San Diego. Officials from the HypnoBirthing Institute said pregnant women should always ask to see a practitioner's certificate of training before beginning a class.