Book review: HypnoBirthing: The breakthrough approach to safer, easier, comfortable birthing (fourth edition)

Patricia Jarrett reviews Marie Mongan's book on the use of hypnotherapy in childbirth. 

3 stars

Criticisms of the medicalisation of maternity care and unnecessary intervention in childbirth are fairly common, with the promotion of a more holistic approach to childbirth now reasonably well-established in the UK.

The book argues that hypnosis is a
natural, everyday state. 

The text is, in part, a critique of the medicalisation of childbirth. The author suggests that the pain women experience in childbirth is primarily due to medical socialisation and fear – women have been taught to disregard their own natural instinct and give birth within a medical model of care.

Historical and other evidence is provided to support this. The author promotes HypnoBirthing as an alternate paradigm to the medical model, presenting a philosophy of childbirth that encourages women to achieve a more instinctive and natural experience.

The book does not discuss the technicalities of hypnosis other than to say that hypnosis is a natural every day state that most people experience. For example, when daydreaming or immersed in a movie.

The author explains that hypnosis is a process that brings mind and body into harmony through relaxation, breathing and visualisation. 

Primarily, this is a self-help book for pregnant women or for those planning a pregnancy, and who want a more holistic and less interventionist birthing experience. However, the book would also be of use to those providing care to women during pregnancy, or helping them prepare for a more relaxed and natural birth.

Overall, the book is comprehensive and well-written, drawing on personal experiences and case scenarios.

It would be a worthwhile addition to any library that supports the education of midwives, obstetricians or GPs.

Marie Mongan | Souvenir Press Ltd | 336pp | £14.99 | ISBN 98780285643352

Reviewed by Patricia Jarrett, research fellow in midwifery, centre for critical Research in Nursing and Midwifery, Middlesex University


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