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HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,681 Ratings  ·  627 Reviews
Childbirth is not something to be feared; it is a natural expression of life. With HypnoBirthing, your pregnancy and childbirth will become the gentle, life-affirming process it was meant to be.
In this easy-to-understand guide, HypnoBirthing founder Marie F. Mongan explodes the myth of pain as a natural accompaniment to birth. She proves through sound medical information t
Paperback, 302 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Health Communications (first published April 16th 1998)
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Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has given birth without drugs and tells you "It didn't hurt at ALL..." is FULL OF POOP (and you can tell them I said that). Newsflash: having a baby hurts! PAIN... That's what happens when something the size of a watermelon comes out of a hole the size of a quarter.

However, I did my second birth naturally by the Mongan "Hypnobirthing" Method, and I can tell you that natural birth IS POSSIBLE (even for Piglet-level wusses such as myself). This book is great... but the hypnobirthing cla
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
Well, well. What to say about this book.

To preface, I should say that I grew up being told by my own mother exactly what this author is saying, namely, that contractions during childbirth don't hurt and that giving birth is just a lot of pressure "down there". My mom described the feeling of contractions to me as a heavy truck hanging from a rope that is attached at your cervix, pulling down into a deep abyss of nothingness, but not painfully. And so, for most of my teenage years I assumed that
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I combined this with classes from a HypnoBirthing practitioner. I am not anti-medicine or a hippy (I eat cows, wear leather, I rarely exercise let alone think of going near a yoga mat). It worked, because it does. There's nothing weird, anti-science or particularly flaky about mind over matter. Sports scientists, CBT therapists, people on diets all know this. Hypnosis is something we do all the time - the Mongan Method simply organises it into a programme for birth and adds that there's simply n ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who like to pretend that childbirth is a piece of cake
According to the World Health Organization, childbirth is the leading cause of death of women in developing nations. Is this just a "social construction"? Can we visualize this fact away?

I burned this book after giving birth. I didn't want anyone picking it out of the garbage and accidentally reading this.

This book is simply very unrealistic for what I'm betting is the majority of women who have waited til their 30s to get preggo. I would much more recommend a breathing course, and a course in
Jul 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Are you kidding me??? I feel like I am being insulted at every turn in this book. Here's the problem, Mongan makes some generalized statements about "simple" women and "African" women that really put me off. She uses these examples as a means of developing her argument about the effectiveness of relaxation as a means of supporting women during delivery.

What bothers me most, is that there is PLENTY of evidence that suggests that when a person's cortisol, GH and norepinephrine hormone loads are l
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This another book that I feel every pregnant woman should read, even if she isn't planning on using hypnosis or even having a natural birth. The author talks a lot about overcoming fears, especially the fear of birth. There is way too much fear surrounding birth, especially for new moms, and she gives strategies for being prepared physically, emotionally and spiritually for birth. Why is it that no one would ever run a marathon if they hadn't been training (both mentally and physically) but we t ...more
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: baby-stuff
First of all, there are good things in this book. The author puts forth an interesting philosophy, which is based on her own considerable experience - both personal and as a birthing 'coach', 'instructor', or whatever terminology you want to use - and the experience and observations of others. Her main point is that most of the natural world gives birth without medical intervention, and that we, as natural beings, should also be able to do this. Theoretically, I agree with this. I also agree tha ...more
Lindley Walter-smith
Nov 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is a misogynist, woman-blaming text, with bonus racism, classism and heterocentrism. If I could give it zero stars, I would. Its philosophy is simple and based on that other horrendous book, "the Secret": if you feel pain, suffering or if anything goes wrong, it's because you deserve it, because your attitude was just not good enough.

There is very little actual practical help on self-hypnosis as a method of relaxation and pain control in this book. Instead, we get a lot of birth politics,
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
There are some concepts in this book I wholeheartedly agree with, and others I that I think are misguided. I haven't yet given birth myself (still two months away) but I have read at least 10 books on birthing by now and, based on that knowledge, can see that some of the information in this book can be helpful, and some misleading.

I DEFINITELY agree with the author's discussion of the mind-body connection; a positive attitude can definitely affect birth performance, and expectant mothers should
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: resource
I feel like this book sets women up to fail. It claims childbirth doesn't hurt, at all, and if it hurts you, well that's just because you've been conditioned for birth to hurt. So you go into childbirth expecting all this new wave awesomeness and your body tenses up, a lot, and you start to stress because it kind of hurts and that's your fault and you must be doing something wrong. If you hurt, that's not natural but Western indoctrination. If you have the urge to push, that's not natural but We ...more
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Awesome!! A little weird at the beginning but you gotta just let that each his own. BUT....the relaxation techniques and the approach to labor and deliver is life changing. After reading this book, listening to the CD's and practicing the techniques I was able to endure a 30+ hour labor and I was successful in the end. I was able to completely relax my body so that I wouldn't fight against labor pains making it almost painless to go through labor and delivery. I lost sight of my goal dur ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've just finished reading this booking in preparation to support my friend who is using hypno-birthing for the birth of her baby in the Summer; we are also attending hypnobirth clases.

To reflect on what others have said, while the book is a great aid in itself, it really comes into it own alongside the classes. It has also been helpful to mine information out of the internet too. There are very many videos of Mum's have wonderfully peaceful, pain-free labours and deliveries using the method. Se
Jill Miskin
Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I waited to review this until after I had given birth-I figure beforehand would have just been speculation. Anyway, when I read this I thought some of the ideas were quite unrealistic. I was then surprised when some of the techniques worked really well. My delivery nurse is a hypnobirthing instructor and I was pleasantly surprised how well I could keep under control with the breathing techniques and how relaxed and calm she kept me. So even though I read the book and knew the techniques, having ...more
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest lessons I took away from this book is the concept of breathing through difficult moments, in parenting and in life. This definitely applies to childbirth (which was the primary focus) but I have found it very helpful in my day to day parenting.

The idea that we can manage stress, anxiety and fear through educating ourselves, relaxation and conscious living seems intuitive enough, but putting it into practice really changes the way I SEE challenges. These relaxation techniques
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I must confess, I didn't read this book in its entirety. I don't subscribe to "hypnobirthing" completely; there are certain aspects of it that I really liked, but I wouldn't (and didn't) go as far as to attempt to hypnotize myself out of feeling pain. I skipped all those parts. I do believe that this book helped me prepare for childbirth though. I learned a lot about the "fear cycle", where fear = tension = pain, especially where labor and birth is concerned. It helped me learn how to relax thro ...more
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
I wish that I could give this book both two and four stars as there are some things that I very much like about the book and other things that I very much dislike.

On the positive side, the research supporting the use of hypnosis for pain management is well established and many of the exercises in this book are excellent. While I have other relaxation and visualization scripts that I prefer, those presented here are good and the suggestions appear to be consistent with having a positive experien
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the fourth or fifth time I have read this book. I first encountered it in preparation for the birth of my second child. I turned to Hypnobirthing after a very fast and painful first labor and delivery. I had used the Bradley Method and found that it left me with a profound fear of hospital birth and intervention and taught that birth is excrutiatingly painful. I was terrified by my delivery and when I was pregnant for the second time, I did some research online and found Mongan's book. I ...more
Dec 14, 2009 rated it did not like it
I'm giving up. I can't take any more of this über-crunchy hippie-dippy nonsense. While I can get behind the idea that birth doesn't have to be scary and horrible, and that the scary parts can be eased with self-relaxation techniques, I just can't read any more of this book. Even the sections that could make sense, I have trouble parsing, thanks to the reinvented lingo (for instance, I won't have "contractions," I'll have "uterine surges." There will be no "pushing," only "birth breathing"--becau ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book a few months before giving birth the first time. It was the first book I read about natural childbirth, and it was radically different from what mainstream America thinks about birth, but the principles seemed so right for me. I balked a bit about some of the specifics, but the general concepts were appealing. I ended up listening to the accompanying CD often, although I always fell asleep after the first 5 minutes. Those first 5 minutes were crucial later, though, when I was in ...more
Feb 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I took this class and enjoyed the material. The idea is sound. You can significantly increase comfort by practicing relaxation and visualizations. Some experience pain-free labor; that was not the case with me! You get what you put into it.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A revelation into what could be possible re natural birth, though quite repetitive in places.

Not reached the 'big day' yet so will see how I go! Definitely worth a read to get an insight into how the body actually works in labour; facts I had so far not managed to pick up from the medical profession or any other pre-natal literature so it was worth it just for that! I'm also taking the classes and agree with other comments that the two together are probably the most effective.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The most assuring thing I've read my whole pregnancy. We'll see in a few months if any of it is worth its salt.
Jan 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
The concept of hypnobirthing sounded like a good one to me to aid in the accomplishment of natural birth. Perhaps if I had taken a series of the classes, I would have liked the techniques and it would have proven worthwhile. I did not find this book helpful at all, however.

Filled with redundancies and irksome phrases like "Hugs before drugs" (Yes; used several times!), this book reads more like a hoakey, overly simplistic pamphlet. It continually references you to take the classes, so it is more
Mar 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: birth
I was reading this to be familiar with other methods as a doula, and also just curious. Since I teach Bradley, I was comparing the two as I read this. I did find many similarities - hypnosis in this sense is little different from how Bradley Method talks about relaxation. (Bradley does teach more varied coping techniques.) I did find the trust in the natural process of birth a little extreme. It made it sound like if birth did not happen as planned, it would be the mom's fault for not being rela ...more
Sep 04, 2012 added it
No matter where you stand on the natural-vs-medicated birth divide, there is some great info in this book. One, it introduced me to the amazing power of self-hypnosis (and I am not a crunchy granola mystical earth being). I am now a firm believer that we'd all be better off if we self-hypnotized and consciously relaxed for a few minutes every day. The Rainbow Relaxation audio track that came with the book still puts me soundly to sleep whenever I listen to it.
Two, it exposes the role of the Cath
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My midwife recommended hypnobirthing which prompted me to read this book. I felt Mongan's argument was convincing, although I went into the book already feeling that way. Having delivered 2 babies "naturally" I was already inclined to believe that un-medicated birth was not just possible, but should be the norm rather than the exception. I really appreciated the chapter Mongan devotes to explaining the history of birth and how it changed from being a celebrated ritual to a shameful, fearful one. ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to try an unmedicated childbirth with my 4th child, but I saw no sense in paying $150, plus the cost of babysitters, to take the class with my husband. So I read this book instead. I made the right choice; this book was enough to get me through it. However, I should clarify that I did not buy in to all of the self-hypnosis techniques, and I found some of the language and the alternative vocabulary a little laughable. Maybe I didn't believe it all, or I just didn't think I would personal ...more
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pregnancy
"life-changing"..."joyful"..."adventure"..."new life"..."feelings and emotions"..."unique experience"..."miracle"..."free of pain"..."some degree of discomfort"

i hate this stupid bloody book. although i did find it helpful after reading a horrible medical tome about everything that can go wrong in labour, to read something that balanced it out. you might as well go into it with as positive a mindset as possible and as relaxed as you can, being frightened in advance isn't going to help (even if i
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I used the Hypnobirthing technique for my first child, and am using it again for my second which is due in a few weeks. It makes me feel peaceful, informed and in control, especially as this time I am birthing at a much larger hospital than I did for my first child.
I'd recommend the book to anyone, even if you do not use the technique, because it can help you be informed of what your rights are while in the hospital, how much control you have/ought to have over your birthing,
Anita Hopkins
Nov 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pregnant women
With the birth of my first son I actually took the class and read the book. I found the meditation and relaxation techniques very helpful after being on pit for almost 24 hours. It should be remembered that an opinion is an opinion, and just because this author might promote natural childbirth, that doesn't mean if you have made an alternative choice that that makes you less of a mother or a woman. By advocating natural childbirth, as I do, that doesn't imply that if you have had a cesarean or e ...more
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Marie Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy., of The Villages, Florida, is an award-winning hypnotherapist, who brings to her classroom over thirty years’ experience in education and counseling on the college level and in the private sector. As the most comprehensive birthing education program available, Mongan Method HypnoBirthing® offers women and their partners opportunities to explore their choices and develop ...more
More about Marie F. Mongan

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“in 3000 spain, france, the british isles and old europe, the lives of people centered on nature and motherhood. they honored mother nature, mother earth and mother creator. women were revered as the givers of life. as creators, they were thought to be connected to diety. statues of the goddesses of these early people were of full-breasted women with bodies clearly depicting the ballooning abdomen of women about to give birth. these primal people regarded birthing as the highest manifestation of nature. when a woman gave birth, everyone gathered around her in the temple for the "celebration of life." birthing was a religious rite, and not at all the painful ordeal it came to be years later. ” 6 likes

His message was simple. It goes to the heart of what we in HypnoBirthing frequently puzzle over: Why has all the "stuff" that denies the normalcy of birth and portrays it as an inevitably risky and dangerous medical event become a routine part of most childbirth education classes? Why are couples in a low- or no-risk category being prepared for circumstances that only rarely occur? Even more puzzling, why do parents accept the negative premise that birth is a dangerous, painful ordeal at best or a medical calamity at worst? Why do they blindly accept the "one-size-fits-all" approach?"

If what couples are hearing in childbirth classes is far removed from what they want their birthing experiences to be, why do they spend so much time entertaining negative outcomes that can color and shape their birth expectations and ultimately affect their birth experience? In other words, if it's not what they're wanting, why would they "go there"? In HypnoBirthing, we doan have all dees stuff, and deliberately so."

HypnoBirthing helps you to frame a positive expectation and to prepare for birth by developing a trust and belief in your birthing body and in nature's undeniable orchestration of birthing. By teaching you the basic physiology of birth and explaining the adverse effect that fear has upon the chemical and physiological responses of your body we help you to learn simple, self-conditioning techniques that will easily bring you into the optimal state of relaxation you will use during birthing. This will allow your birthing muscles to fully relax. In other words, we will help you prepare for the birth your plan and want for yourselves and your baby, rather than the birth that someone else directs. We will help you look forward to your pregnancy and birthing with joy and love, rather than fear and anxiety.”
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