Gentle births with HypnoBirthing

“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change” Marie Mongan, Founder of HypnoBirthing

The creation of a tiny life is a miracle in itself, and there is nothing more exciting for expectant parents than watching mom’s body grow and change as the baby within her develops. But for many mothers to be, there is a cloud on the horizon – the upcoming birth. As much as she cannot wait to hold her little newborn in her arms, the fear of the actual birth itself can be overwhelming. The birth stories of others, the way that birth is portrayed in movies and TV shows, and even the attitude and comments of doctors, can all lead to the perception that birth is a terrifying and agonising ordeal. Is it any wonder, then, that so many pregnant women in South Africa opt for an elective c-section?

It is against this backdrop that HypnoBirthing – a childbirth philosophy and programme – is quietly but steadily changing the way that women all over the world experience birth. HypnoBirthing was developed by Marie Mongan, an American, in the 1980’s; through her training as a hypnotherapist and her experiences giving birth to her own four children. Building on the work of Dr Grantly Dick-Read, who first described the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome during labour and birth, in the 1920’s, she developed a childbirth education programme that has at its heart the elimination of fear and anxiety during birth. Today, HypnoBirthing is taught in more than twenty countries around the world, and it is a growing phenomenon in South Africa.

The HypnoBirthing philosophy is simple – we believe that for most healthy women, birth is a natural and normal part of life, and should be celebrated as a rite of passage. Just as a women’s body knows how to grow a tiny embryo into a perfect little human being, so too does it know how to give birth comfortably and gently. HypnoBirthing classes teach moms how to enhance what their body already does naturally, through techniques such as breathing, relaxation, deepening, visualisation and affirmations. Moms who use HypnoBirthing techniques during labour and birth can expect shorter labours, less need for chemical pain relief, fewer interventions, and an overall greater sense of satisfaction with their birthing experience*. Because classes emphasise the role of the birthing companion in supporting mom during labour, an often unexpected additional benefit is a beautiful bonding between mom and dad as they work together to bring their baby into the world.

Cathy**, who gave birth to little Liam earlier this year has this to say about her experience using HypnoBirthing techniques: “The nurses and [my gynae] were all saying that they wished that they had filmed my birth so that they could use it to encourage others to try natural birth. And that they hadn’t seen anything like it in a long time.”

For more information on HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method – and to find a teacher near you, visit

*Source: The HypnoBirthing Institute

**Quote shared with permission but names have been changed

Callen Gerrits

Callen Gerrits is a mother of two and a certified HypnoBirthing childbirth educator who teaches classes in Durban.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.