The art of hypnobirthing hits the city

Leanne Brown had a hypnobirth with her daughter Lola, 3.
Leanne Brown had a hypnobirth with her daughter Lola, 3.

It’s drug-free , relaxing, and currently enjoying a ‘rebirth’ in popularity.

More and more women are trying out the hypnobirthing - or Mongan method - but they are questioning why it is not allowed on the NHS.

Elspeth Mukerji and husband Mark with their baby boy Issac.

Elspeth Mukerji and husband Mark with their baby boy Issac.

Hypnobirthing was founded by Maria Mongan in 1987 and promises most women will have a calm and relaxing birth.

In Lancaster, a major edvocate for hypnobirthing isformer community midwife Jean Anderson.

According to Jean, 88 per cent of women use no pain relief and 25 per cent who choose hypnobirthing have shorter labours, less intervention and less surgical births resulting in higher energy levels.

Among those she has helped is is Leanne Brown, wife to ex-Manchester United footballer Wes Brown.

Jean Anderson at one of the hypnobirthing classes in Lancaster.

Jean Anderson at one of the hypnobirthing classes in Lancaster.

Jean taught Leanne and Wes through classes at their home when Leanne was pregnant with their third daughter, Lola, three.

After having a bad birth previously, Leanne was overwhelmed with the ease of the birth.

Leanne said: “During the birth I was lying down for five hours in the bedroom. I was in total relaxation, music on, lights dimmed and candles lit.

“My husband and mum where there and they couldn’t believe they didn’t have to do anything. It was so beautiful and serene.”

However, the mum of three girls admits that women could save money if hypnobirthing was made available on the NHS.

She said: “They would save money in the long run as it would limit medical intervention because hypnobirthing enables women to totally relax.

“Obviously have medical intervention when necessary and I’m not knocking doctors who save babies’ lives, but if a woman is relaxed, the smoother the births will be.”

Jean,63, was a midwife for 30 years in Lancaster and Morecambe and has been a part of 400 hypnobirths since she started teaching it five years ago.

Jean said: “When you give birth the body releases hormones, oxytocin and endorphins, which act as relaxants.

“We are naturally impregnated with fear from the media, everybody is having bad labours, from stories, from friends, we are impregnated to think that pain equates with labour and so you have fear.

“Hypnobirthing is not going to be masking pain but eliminating fear.”

However, Jean admits hypnobirthing doesn’t work for everyone.

Jean said: “Everyone says: god I wish I had done this earlier. We can’t say it will always work. Somebody can still say I felt pain but it is a huge learning journey, it depends, there is no one formula, every woman is different.

“I want women to learn that there are good ways to give birth, it’s educating yourself into your choice.”

However, a Lancaster mum, Elspeth Mukerji, 42, explains that hypnobirthing is not explianed enough in hospitals.

Elspeth said: “I think every woman should know about it. I can’t believe that it is not on the NHS. The confidence Jean gave me to give birth is so important.

“You assume things are going to go wrong and hospitals are needed. I’m not insulting hospitals at all but there is so much more you need to know.”

Elspeth attempted a hypnobirth with daughter Amelie, three, but went through complications during contractions. S

She then had a second attempt, with help from Jean, with son Isaac, who is nine months-old.

She said: “Apart from using homeopathy during labour I didn’t have any pain relief apart from the water and I’m sure that hypnobirthing enabled me to be relaxed enough not to need it.

“My husband Mark was the first person to pick up the baby in the pool, I felt euphoric.”

Although Jean has no children she doesn’t believe it has had an affect on her career.

Jean said: “Everybody says you can’t be a midwife if you don’t have children, but I don’t think it matters because for me, I have had no preconceived ideas.

“I had to learn from the hundreds and thousands of women I’ve looked after.

“I soon learnt that mothers need to feel emotionally and physically safe and she needs to feel power in her birth.”

Jean teaches at two hospitals in Manchester, Stepping Hill and Tameside and runs the Lancaster Birth Support Group.

n If you would like to get in touch with Jean or get involved with the classes email or telephone 07913 389009.