Meet the women who had a pain-free and natural labour

Manchester Evening News
Deanna Delamotta
March 30, 2011

Sophie Woodward with her son Reuben and Danielle Quinn with her daughter Elvi

As viewers of One Born Every Minute will testify, one thing is certain: natural childbirth is excruciating. The Channel 4 hit series, set in a Southampton hospital maternity unit, ended its current run on Monday night. It will doubtless be re-commissioned as we can’t seem to get enough of women screaming in pain and men acting like hapless spare parts in the labour room.

But mother of two, Katy Redford, is no fan because she thinks it only exacerbates the deep fear of natural childbirth most expectant mums feel. She insists it doesn’t have to be this way:

“Birth can be absolutely beautiful and I don’t think enough women realise this. I know I didn’t.”

Katy, 37, discovered Hypnobirthing: the Mongan Method, were mums-to-be practise self hypnosis, deep relaxation and breathing techniques, when she was pregnant with her second child Harry. Her first-born’s entrance into the world had been a harrowing experience:

“I was being screamed at to push and bright surgical lights shone at me. I felt exhausted, quite ill and, if I’m honest, in shock. It wasn’t how I’d planned it – I’d pictured bean bags and lavender oils.

“Don’t get me wrong, when my baby boy Joseph (now 14) was placed in my arms it was still the most amazing, special experience but the part leading up to it was etched in my memory.

“Never again”, I said, afterwards.

Over a decade later Katy, of Dane Bank, Denton, was pregnant and fearful of the ordeal that lay ahead. “I’d go as far to say I was petrified,” she says.

The turning point was a remark by a consultant midwife at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport who asked if anyone had heard of Hypnobirthing.

Katy soon became a fully fledged devotee of the Mongan method of hypnobirthing named after American former college dean turned hypnotherapist, Marie Mongan.

“I followed the relaxation programme faithfully and learned about how our bodies are made to birth, how fear affects birthing. And when it came to labour I had a really comfortable and calm time. My 8lb 3oz boy was born in a pool at Stepping Hill with absolutely no pain relief.”

Now Katy leads a £200 five-week course in the method at the hospital and is in talks to roll out the classes at Tameside Hospital as well as teaching women privately in their own homes.

“From the very first class everything you’ve been told about natural childbirth is challenged. You realise that it doesn’t have to be an excruciating experience.”

The Mongan method is very specific and it’s important to realise that it doesn’t involve being hypnotised – you’re in control throughout.”

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