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Frequently Asked Questions

Does it work?
Yes! is the simple answer.  The body knows how to birth a baby, everything a woman needs is already inbuilt and imprinted. The only thing that can derail this is fear.  When Adrenalin comes into play, it cancels out vital birthing hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins.  The reason we're made that way, makes good sense.  Picture a pregnant cave woman out gathering wood and berries for her cave.  Her contractions start, and by their intensity and frequency she knows if she needs to return to the cave or should hunker down and give birth there and then.  Should a Saber-toothed Tiger suddenly put in an appearance at that point, the resulting adrenaline rush would stop labour in it's tracks so she could get herself and her unborn child to safety.
Nowadays, we don't have to worry about too many four legged animals roaming the labour wards, but Saber-Tooth Tigers can appear in many guises - a strange room, a woman screaming next door, an un-sympathetic midwife or consultant or a TV documentary on how awful birth is. Natal Hypnotherapy gives you valuable tools to remain calm and relaxed at all times, encouraging the powerful birthing hormones to do their stuff and keep Adrenalin at bay.

Some hard facts* :-

Natal Hypnotherapy Birth Preparation course - 9% women had a C-Section

Natal Hypnotherapy CD's only - 15% women had a C-Section

UK National Caesarean Section Rate - 24%

(*for more information please see

Why is the course split over 2 workshops?
​The Natal Hypnotherapy course has been divided into two separate days; day 1 teaches the hypnosis skills and day 2 talks more about the physiology of birth and why things happen when they happen, and what your birth partner can do to help at the different stages.  They can be taken together or separately.

​Many couples want to start the process of learning hypnosis earlier but still want to learn the birth preparation techniques nearer the birth. With this system you can attend the hypnosis for birth workshop at any time in your pregnancy so you can really get to grips with the techniques and have plenty of time to practice and benefit during your pregnancy. Then towards the end of your pregnancy, you can then attend the birth preparation workshop so the tools and techniques are fresh in your mind. Also, for many couples taking 2 full days out to attend a course can often be a challenge, so with the workshops split over 2 days, you can attend one day on one month and the second day at another time.

Does my partner need to attend?

It is a good idea for the person who is going to be with you during the birth, to come to the course.  It helps you to feel supported and at the same time, it gives them invaluable skills and knowledge to help you during labour and, of course, they then feel so much more a part of the process.  If your partner feels nervous at the thought of attending, call Elaine for a chat and she's usually able to put even the most panicked of partner's minds at rest.

Do I need the course if I'm already doing NCT or other antenatal classes?

These workshops are an excellent complement to other antenatal courses as they approach birth preparation from a unique yet simple, easy and effective angle covering areas not covered by most other courses. As one mother said:-

“This course reaches the parts other courses can not reach!”

Most antenatal courses cover a wide range of topics – what will happen during birth and all the procedures and protocols of our modern maternity system, pain relief options, breastfeeding, babycare skills, early days as a parent etc.

The Natal Hypnotherapy™ workshops focus exclusively on what you can do to help yourself have the most positive birth experience, regardless of the type of birth you are planning. They teach you in depth skills to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally as well as physically for the birth.

Whether you want a natural water birth at home or are open to having an epidural in your local hospital, what you learn on these workshops will give you the confidence and ability to work with your body no matter what your birth choices are.

What if the birth doesn't go as planned?

The truth is, nobody knows exactly how any birth is going to go. Whilst positive thinking and the techniques taught by Natal Hypnotherapy can greatly increase your chances of a straightforward birth, it’s important to remember that using it does not guarantee you the perfect birth experience. Birth is after all a natural, physiological process that involves both you and your baby. But it gives you the techniques to make it a positive experience regardless of what may happen on the day, and for any method of birth. Whether that be preparing for a planned caesarean, or for something that you just weren’t expecting on the day. You will have the tools to manage the time around the birth of your baby as a beneficial and positive experience for the entire family.

How is it different from other 'hypnosis for birth' courses?
Natal Hypnotherapy is the UK’s version of hypnobirthing and is now offered in Southern Ireland. It is also sold in france and spain and many other countries across the globe.It has been developed in the UK by it's founder, clinical hypnotherapist, Maggie Howell.  The techniques have been developed organically through her experiences of using them for her own five births, through her work as a hypnotherapist and a Doula (birth companion) and her work with leading birth specialists such as Michael Odent, Ina May Gaskin and Sheila Kitzinger.
All 'hypnosis for birth' courses use professional hypnosis techniques to help couples prepare for the birth and all teach relaxation, however Natal Hypnotherapy courses are tailored to each participant. You and your partner are asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire when booking the course, so we can be made aware of any specific issues you're concerned about.  You can buy pre-recorded hypnosis CD's to accompany the course but equally you could write your own (full guidance is given) if you choose to.  You're encouraged to find the level of breathing which is most comfortable for you with the emphasis being on the depth and rhythm of breath, rather than any set patterns and timing.

Most importantly, you leave the course with the skills required to take yourself into self-hypnosis.  Your partner also leaves with the skills to help you, if you need it, and a huge dose of confidence that he or she has a very important role to play. The Midwives welcome Natal Hypnotherapy because it doesn't require a change of language (e.g. 'surge' instead of 'contraction') from those attending the birth. It has helped over 100,000 women have a better birth experience so far!

Is Hypnosis Dangerous/ Will I be under somebody else's control?
NO!!!!!  Forget anything on television or in novels.  Hypnosis is not magic!  A hypnotic state is like a daydream and we all enter into it naturally several times a day - ever driven the car, arrived at your destination and can't, remember how you got there?-Hypnotic state!!  It is not the same as being asleep or unconscious and the only person who has control over the situation is you.  We induce a hypnotic state by allowing the subject to relax, focusing on their breathing and their body.  In a hypnotic state, the therapist can suggest changes to beliefs and attitudes by having direct access to the subconscious, i.e. 'As a woman you have a powerful ability to birth your baby', 'Contractions are merely powerful movements of the Uterus', 'Labour will take as long as necessary to bring your baby safely into the world'.  If at any point the person becomes uncomfortable or doesn't feel safe anymore they will simply open their eyes and come out of it.

Our practitioner, Elaine McMahon Dossett, has been trained by Maggie Howell who is the founder of Natal Hypnotherapy. In order to get her license to practice Elaine had to undergo thorough training and rigorous assessment in hypnosis and birth physiology.  All Natal Hypnotherapy practitioners are continuously assessed and required to attend continuous professional development training to ensure all clients are receiving the very best of service.

Please feel free to contact Maggie Howell or any of the team at head office on 00441252  716859 for more information.

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