Jessica Alba, Pamela Anderson Chose Mind of Matter
to Create Calm Labor and Birth

In Marie Mongan’s day, child birth meant a sterile, medicalized birth with drugs, and if you happened to be awake, lots of painful pushing.

Katie Drake and her husband Brian of Ocala, Fla., are shown here with their 16-month-old son Jack. She is expecting a baby in September and is training for a HypnoBirth.

“Most women were totally anesthetized and out cold, and their babies were taken from them with forceps, except for the very few who didn’t make it to the hospital and had them by the side of the road,” said Mongan, now 77.

So Mongan, then a young New Hampshire English teacher, devised her own way to circumvent the system when she had her four children in the late 1950s and 1960s.

She practiced a form of self-hypnosis, relaxing and imagining a calm birth, one that was painless.

Today, the her method has a registered trademark — HypnoBirthing — and women in 34 countries, including celebrity mothers like Jessica Alba, Giselle Bundschen, Pamela Anderson, and “ER’s” Noah Wyle’s wife Tracy, have learned how to put mind over matter.

Actress Tiffani Thiessen of television’s “Saved By the Bell” and “90210” has also just announced she will prepare for a HypnoBirth. “We are very conscious of the mind-body connection and any approaches that can reduce the need for medication are a good thing,” said Dr. Tracy Gaudet, an obstetrician and executive director of Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine.

“We use hypnosis for all sorts of things,” she said. “But it has kind of a PR issue and a bad identity with a lot of misperceptions around someone controlling the mind. But once patients and physicians are given accurate information and they work hand in hand, these are very powerful approaches.”

Between October 2005 and January 2008, 1,059 parent birth reports were sent to the HypnoBirthing Institute, which was founded by Mongan. Of these, 806 were from United States.

“There’s a calmness and not as much fuss,” said Mongan. “That’s the way babies are meant to come into the world.”

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