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.
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 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