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HypnoBirthing or Natal Hynotherapy?

(50 Posts)
ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Fri 19-Oct-12 10:18:00

Just reading Marie Mongan's HypnoBirthing book and am enjoying it. But not sure I'll be able to afford hynobirthing classes.

Have seen Effective Birth Preparation Natal Hypnotherapy (book.and cd set) by Maggie Howell on Amazon. Thisis more affordable and seems to be something I can do more on my own, whereas hypnobirthing seems to need A LOT of input from birth partner and not sure how comfortable OH would be with it.

Any advice or sharing experiences would be gratefully received.

I've only got a little experience of the Maggie Howell one that I have been using in the last few weeks (DC2 was due on Tuesday) - I am not sure if I will find it useful in labour but I have felt able after a few uses to 'take' myself to a place of relaxation a few minutes in.

I thought the main difference was that 'hypnobirthing' was the American term for it.. Hopefully someone who knows about both will be able to clarify

notcitrus Fri 19-Oct-12 12:40:43

I read both books (Mongan before ds, then Howell before dd). I found Mongan more realistic and less patronising - Howell got on my wick and went on about being pain-free, which as I had a very painful pregnancy, didn't go down well.

Didn't bother with the classes - was beautifully calm with ds (except for the bit where my pelvis fell apart until I got an epidural), but with dd all breathing exercises went out the window as I had a hideous cold! In both cases the 'surges' were a doddle, it was my SPD that was a problem, so not exactly a typical case.

DH read a couple pages I showed him, but as I was basically ignoring him during the birth I don't think it would have made much difference.

Cath505060 Fri 19-Oct-12 14:08:52

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Haribojoe Fri 19-Oct-12 14:14:45

I have to agree with CATH.

I have used Natal Hypnotherapy for 2 of my births and have been on one I'd Maggie Howell's birth practitioner study days.

She doesn't talk about birth being pain free. What she does say is that using her techniques will help to remove fear and enable you to feel empowered and in control even if things don't "go to plan".

I would highly recommend the natal hypnotherapy technique. When I get to transition I get overwhelmed with fear, both times that I used NH this didn't happen and I was able to stay completely in control. Can't sing it's praises enough.

DottyMidwife Fri 19-Oct-12 14:23:10

I've looked after women using both systems and they are both really good. I think you have to go with what feels right to you and what's affordable. Natal Hypno is more cost effective whether you do the workshops or listen to the CDs. And I definitely agree it's Marie Mongan that talks about being pain free- Maggie Howell says it's manageable which fits with what I have seen and experienced myself. But both are good.

GoldenBanana Fri 19-Oct-12 14:32:53

If you want to see a brief overview of the differences between Natal Hypnotherapy and HypnoBirthing you can have a look here: . Scroll down to the bottom of the page and there's a table about the two methods. I met a HypnoBirthing practitioner the other day who seemed keen to train in Natal Hypnotherapy instead! Natal Hypnotherapy talks about reducing fear, remaining calm and feeling in control. To my knowledge it doesn't promise pain-free, but suggests "manageable". The HypnoBirthing practitioner I was talking to also told me that Natal Hypnotherapy is cheaper. There are several CDs to choose from and the book, Effective Birth Preparation by Maggie Howell, is easy to read without being patronising and is very down-to-earth. If you like people to tell-it-like-it-is, the book is definitely the right one!

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Fri 19-Oct-12 14:35:57

Thank you. I have seen the Natal hypno 3 cd set on Amazon for £40 so I think I'll give it a go. I felt completely out of my depth with DS and had a horrible labour alone in a hospital bathroom! I'm sure this contributed to my tear. Had an ELCS with DD to avoid it all but really want a successful vbac this time.

wildsofwilts Fri 19-Oct-12 14:46:03

I think you have to look into both methods and see what might work best for you. I know women who have found both very helpful. I personally find that Maggie's Natal Hypnotherapy is more empowering for the women as it equips her with the knowledge, confidence and coping stratagies to help herself with her partner being a calm gatekeeper and supporter rather than some of the Hypnobirthing techniques that often put the partner in control of giving the woman cues and reading scripts so she has to rely very much on her birth partner. I have recently supported two women who used Maggie Howell's Natal Hypnotherapy CD's and Book and had fantastic birth experiences, they are still glowing! One of them had a traumatic Caesarean after long induction first birth and feels Natal Hypnotherapy has healed that for her and her partner. Horses for courses I guess but Natal Hypnotherapy gets my vote every time :-)

wildsofwilts Fri 19-Oct-12 14:48:30

Meant to say ..... Wishing you all the very best for a positive birth this time ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs :-)

LolaP1 Fri 19-Oct-12 15:15:00

I don't know that much about Hypnobirthing except that I chose Natal Hypnotherapy because you didn't have to change your language and they didn't talk about it being pain free so think maybe notcitrus might have got the two muddled up????

I used Natal Hypnotherapy for both my births and it was brilliant, one was at home and one at hospital and they were very different experiences but I think Natal Hypnotherapy was brilliant for both and helped me no end. I've got friends who have used the CDs for loads of things - one friend has just told me that she believes she has finally conceived after listening to their CD and another friend used them to prepare for her planned section.

I was a bit of a sceptic before my first birth but would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone now.

I'm sure hypnobirthing is fabulous too afterall both approaches are aiming at the same thing but personally, for me, I preferred the British voice in Natal Hypnotherapy and I believe that birth pains should be manageable - but not that they shouldn't be there at all.

Have a wonderful, fabulous healing birth, xx

danimummytothree Fri 19-Oct-12 15:19:20

I think Maggie Howell's Natal Hypnotherapy is fab! I looked into both methods and whilst I would agree that it is different strokes for different folks, the acknowledgement by Maggie that you do feel it but here's how we can make it more manageable, made so much sense to me. I was also more comfortable with the English voice on the CD as opposed to an American one. I would say that if you are able to get to a course it makes the whole thing even more effective because your other half gets involved too. Admittedly, he did look at me as though I had sprouted an extra head when I told him that was what we were doing but after going on the course he was so much more confident about being there for me (he didn't have to do anything too new-agey - just simple phrases) and he was amazing. Have recommended Natal Hypnotherapy to all my friends. I don't know where you are but if you look on the main website you can get a list of practitioners and their locations. Best of luck x

nikaia60 Fri 19-Oct-12 15:22:01

Hi there, I hope you don't mind me chipping in. Just wanted to make you and any other thread followers aware that the Mongan Method & Natal Hypno are not the only methods out there. I used the Mongan method myself with my first birth 3 yrs ago and agree with what some of the others have said re. setting an unrealistic expectation of birth being pain-free. I've since trained as a hypnotherapist myself and I practise a different approach, called Confident Childbirth hypnobirthing. It's flexible, tailored to the individual and realistic; ie.acknowledges that pain / discomfort may be part of the experience and teaches you how to work with it so you can manage it (using self hypnosis training to enable you to dissociate from any pain, as well specific pain control techniques). I also teach clients how to overcome fear and issues such as trauma from previous births , and to develop their own resources for birth eg confidence / calm / ability to keep going / assertiveness when needed). There are no lists of banned words, no need to go into hospital with a sheet over your head and a 'don't speak to me' note pinned to it(!).

I understand that classes are not an affordable option for all so I'm looking into a CD-based option to offer to clients who live further away or can't attend classes because of cost or other reasons. I wanted to ask, if you were looking at a CD option what would you ideally want from it?

Himbim Fri 19-Oct-12 15:45:01

I was in the exact same place as you now...and read the hypnobirthing book and thought my husband would rather jump off a cliff than practise the techniques with me! I also couldn't really relate to things like the rainbow relaxation and some of the visualisations that had fishes and things in it. I'm a bit of a practical kind of gal - call it what it is sort of thing....and my husband was a real skeptic and real rugby man's man. However I used the natal hypnotherapy CDs, and then also managed to drag him to a workshop and used it for both of my births. One lovely waterbirth, and one VERY quick homebirth before the midwife even got there. I believe the techniques I learned are what enabled me to keep calm and in control for my second birth. I didn't panic at all, and just let it happen. I think that hypnoBirthing (the US version) would probably suit the men that are really in touch with that kind of thing. I have a friend whose husband does yoga and really REALLY wants to be part of every step of the birth, so they find that suits them. But I preferred the confidence and the independence that the natal hypnotherapy gave me.... good luck!!!

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Fri 19-Oct-12 16:24:34

I'm thinking that natal hypnotherapy is going to be the way to go for us. My OH is very supportive and us happy to be with me and do what he can to make me more comfortable, but I just think he'd struggle with the 'new agey' feel of the Mongan method. I personally don't mind it but grew up in a very new whey household! But there does seem to be a reliance on your birth partner and I think I would actually be more nervous about that than anything else - I like to be able to do things for myself when I need them.

In response to your question Nikaia60 what I'd personally like from a cd is a calming but not too plinky plonky voice! I love guided meditation/visualisation because if left to my own devices I end up drifting off on a total tangent! Predominantly I want something that I can use throughout pregnancy, because I find pregnancy difficult - I'm just not one of those women who 'glows' - so relaxation and things to help reduce anxiety (especially in early pregnancy) would be great. ther things would be exercises to.use in labour and birth that can be done alone if necessary (in my first labour for example my birth partners were sent home because I 'wasn't in labour' apparently so I had no one to support me). I also like things where I can have a cd and a book. I know this is probably too much to expect from one cd package but thought I'd share my preferences!

notcitrus Fri 19-Oct-12 22:58:25

might have got the two muddled... also I didn't use the CDs, what with being deaf! The one with visualising the golden thermometer I found useful, the other one not so, but I suspect the amount of pain I was in during pregnancy #2 made me a heck of a lot more cynical and less receptive - IME labour was less painful than SPD, and understandably both books don't address SPD at all!
(pregnancy no.1 I mostly spent off my face on codeine, which might have helped me relax for birth - obviously couldn't do that next time as had to be sober to look after ds...)
Good luck with your births everyone.

georgiewindrush Sat 20-Oct-12 14:49:39

Natal Hypnotherapy workshops are tailored to each individual and are an excellent option for ante-natal preparation.

By listening to Maggie's CDs regularly, relaxing becomes second nature; key to managing contractions.

I have taught many couples and testimonials reflect that the ability to stay calm pays huge dividends, to all three, mother, baby and father.

However your birth unfolds, it makes a massive difference in ensuring you feel postive, knowing you did your very best.

Best of luck to you all; hope this helps.

ConfusedKiwi Sun 21-Oct-12 03:02:50

I bought the Natal Hypnotherapy CD (for birth centres/hospitals) and Book in my last pregnancy and found it excellent. In particular, it was incredibly relaxing to listen to (I used to listen when I got home from work) but also made me feel really energised at the end. I think the key thing was just feeling that I had prepared in some way (my NHS antenatal classes just gave pain relief options).

I was lucky to have had a straight forward and quick labour and birth (following induction), then lent it to a friend who used to fall asleep in her lunch break listening to it and also had a really easy birth, then onto a relative who had a successful VBAC. Have finally got it back as now 30 weeks with my second and again, I just find it a good time out to relax.

I did initially find it a little bit 'cheesy' but after listening a couple of times it was fine. The book is also really good if you want to create your own visualisations/script.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Sun 21-Oct-12 03:14:46

When pg with ds (after a traumatic time first time round), I tried the Mongan books and they made my birth trauma/ptsd/pnd worse.

My first labour went wrong because of malpositioning. The only mention of malpositioning in Mongan's book is in the bit about breech births really. Interestingly, breech babies are caused by the mother being unable to let go or having some kind of psychological block. You can fix malpositioning by thinking positively. It was really empowering to hear that one, it was all my fault and two, lots of other stuff about how pain was me being weak and out of control. As opposed to, you know, the problem I had with my pelvis and the pain being a warning sign of things going wrong. I felt very upset when rereading it second time round.

I very much like and advocate natal hypnotherapy which is better at empowering you to deal with what happens due to sheer luck as opposed to convincing women that things going wrong is due to not letting go psychologically.

NB I think Mongan is right in one respect ie needing to let go and overcome the mental hurdles to giving birth. But to state that malpositioning is simply caused by the mother's thought processes? Pah. She needs to look at exactly how her wording affects women who have been blaming themselves for years already for something which wasn't their fault.

maggiebhowell Mon 22-Oct-12 10:53:17

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment to this discussion and thanks for all the positive words and support about the Natal Hypnotherapy approach.
ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs - i wish you all the very best and if you have any questions you can contact me through our facebook natal hypnotherapy page.

maggiebhowell Mon 22-Oct-12 10:55:28

I am really sorry that this was your experience - I am saddened that this is the message that comes across in the hypnobirthing book. The last thing that any pregnant woman / new mum needs is a sense of blame that she did something wrong!

maggiebhowell Mon 22-Oct-12 10:59:23

Thanks for taking the time to read my book and I am sorry that you felt that it "got on your wick". I did want to clarify one thing though, in my book I do not make any inference to the fact that birth should be "pain -free" - in fact I talk about finding ways to reduce pain by working with your body and that nothing in life worth having is completely pain free - falling in love, being a parent, running a marathon. It is more about how we work with that pain, and how to work with your mind and body to be able to manage it.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Mon 22-Oct-12 11:02:49

I prefer the Maggie Howell approach. There are some useful things in the Marie Mongan book, but like some of the others I didn't like her tone - and the implication that if you felt pain you were doing it wrong!

GoldenBanana Mon 22-Oct-12 12:35:54

@ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs.... Just noticed your comment about ideally wanting a CD to help throughout pregnancy. There is a Pregnancy Relaxation one that you might find useful, produced by Natal Hypnotherapy. You can get CDs by Maggie Howell for conception, pregnancy, labour, postnatal, breastfeeding, general relaxation and stress reduction, supporting midwives in their work...... the list isn't quite endless but there are a lot to choose from!

Birthandbaby Fri 26-Oct-12 10:03:10

I am a Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner (Mongan Method). I remain really disappointed that Natal HypnoBirthing staff continue to come on Mumsnet and market their brand by lying about the Mongan Method. It always strikes me as extremely unprofessional and it doesn't help parents to make the right choices.

I am so pleased that Maggie Howell from Natal Hypnotherapy is on this thread. Perhaps she could ask her staff to stop lying about HypnoBirthing. Perhaps also she could remove the comparison chart from her website that gives 7 features of HypnoBirthing, of which 4 are incorrect. This has been pointed out quite a few times now over quite a few years.

On this thread we have had Natal Hypnotherapy staff say that:

- HypnoBirthing is just the American term for Natal Hypnotherapy - NO - HypnoBirthing was around in the 1980s, well before Maggie Howell copied it.
- Natal Hypnotherapy is cheaper - well it should be, it offers less of a course with more people sharing the course.
- HypnoBirthing promises pain-free birth - just not true.
- HypnoBirthing is about natural birth only - just not true.
- HypnoBirthing doesnt prepare you for when things don't go to plan - just not true.
- HypnoBirthing uses a really annoying American accent - NO - it is voiced by Callie Copeman Bryant who has a gorgeous velvety voice and hails all the way from Cambridge.

I could go on but I have work to do.

As a practitioner, all I want is for the couples I work with to have a positive birth experience that they enjoy at the time, and look back on without regret. Different courses have different benefits but let's at least be honest abou the benefits rather than repeatedly lying; that's just not nice.

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