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HypnoBirthing: You're Becoming Very Drowsy, Relaxed

New York City MarathonJessica Alba

When people think of hypnosis many may imagine a swinging pocket watch--but HypnoBirthing is nothing like that.

Maria Durand wanted a natural childbirth and turned to Dallas HypnoBirthing practioner Cheryl Johnson who guided Maria through a soothing session.

"Slowly allow the breath to slowly move through your body," Johnson said to Maria who is expecting her first child in less than a month.

"I plan to take this birth on my own," Maria said. "I want to be able to make it my own, not give it away to doctors or hospitals or anybody else. It's going to be my process."

Johnson has practiced HypnoBirthing for four years--she said that stars like Jessica Alba--who reportedly recommends it--have helped put it in the spotlight.

"Self hypnosis," Johnson said. " Is essentially just relaxing, just kind of teaching yourself how to let go and then allowing someone to suggest to you, hey, let's drop a little deeper in our relaxation."

Maria agreed.

"This is a technique for relaxation so in that moment of tension and discomfort I can get back to my play, my place of calmness," Maria said.

To get there HypnoBirthing makes everything relaxing--contractions are called waves and pain is renamed discomfort.But there is no promise of a pain free birth.

"HypnoBirthing doesn't suggest or guarantee that is going to be pain free," Johnson said. "What it does is hopeful so that you will be so connected to the experience you will be able to let go of the pain."

Maria also practices pre-natal yoga and her husband Grant also attends the HypnoBirthing classes.

She's approaching her first baby the same way she did the New York City Marathon.

"This is my marathon. I'm going to finish at 26.2 miles," Maria said with a laugh. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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New York City MarathonJessica Alba