28 Jan

Book Review: The Hypnobirthing Book, by Katharine Graves

Hypnobirthing is something I think I understand, without ever having read much about it. As a general topic, the background theory of pain and fear was one of the first truly “birthy” things I learned about; and this book offers a clear explanation of how that works, as well as the impact of language on a birthing mother’s state of mind. The whole thing is mind-blowingly logical, and Katharine Graves sets out the case beautifully.

I enjoy the writing style, which is, for me, the ideal combination of gentle and no-nonsense. I particularly like the author’s suggestion that if something she suggests seems wrong or sits uncomfortably, to research it and then, if you still want to, reject it: a good strategy for informed decision-making.

The Hypnobirthing Book covers the physiology of birth, the importance of the birth environment, and strategies for getting into a helpful mental and emotional place to cope with the experience of birth. These include many practical things such as relaxation scripts, as well as some strong advice about a woman’s rights during childbirth. As such it is quite an all-encompassing read and I would recommend it to anyone supporting women during birth or teaching parents-to-be about birth, as well as to pregnant women themselves.

As with most largely sensible books about birth, there is the usual dip into alternative therapy, which if it worked would be called therapy. If you have a skeptical nature, just skip this bit, as the rest of the book is superbly useful: clear, direct, and comprehensive.