MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Delivering a baby is a very stressful time, but some couples say they have found a way to help them stay calm. It’s called “Hypnobirthing.”

It’s an unconventional birthing method that’s quickly gaining popularity because some say it reduces pain during child birth, even eliminating an epidural for some. It’s also getting dads more involved in the delivery.

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Jessica and Terry Dowling appear calm, but like any new parents to be, the Dowlings have a wide range of emotions. “Really excited, very excited,” said Jessica. “Nervous and excited, I’m excited,” said Terry.

To calm their nerves before and during delivery, they decided to try hypnobirthing, a technique that teaches relaxation, breathing, and visualization to control birthing pain.

“It was really important to me to at least try to have a natural birth. I wanted to make it as easy as possible on myself and give myself as many techniques to get me through the labor,” explained Jessica Dowling.

Hypnobirthing has been around for more than 20 years and hypnobirth instructor, Vivian Keeler, said every year more women sign up for her classes.

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She teaches parents the techniques at Mount Sinai Hospital. Parents meet weekly for 5 weeks to learn the foundation for a natural, calm birth.
“It focuses on deep relaxation, letting go of fear, really based upon the idea that birth is normal and as women we innately know how to give birth, but our culture teaches us something else, to be afraid and to be stressed,” explained Keeler.

Keeler said a number of women try hypnobirthing because they want to avoid an epidural for the pain.

“Well, many of the mothers that take hypnobirthing are looking for an alternative to that and so most of our mothers do very well and in fact don’t need anesthesia or epidurals.”

She said she still encourages women to give it a try, even if they do plan to have an epidural because the class has other calming benefits.

Dad plays a very active role in hypnobirthing.

“I guess I have learned how to be calm when all hell is breaking loose. I guess just to be that support person, to kind of coach her, give her encouragement to get through, you know the actual birthing,” said Terry Dowling.

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