How did this all start?
I started all of this in 2000 when I was pregnant with my first son. Back then there was nothing out there about hypnosis for birth and I only came across it as my husband had studied NLP and heard about the use of Hypnosis as a form of pain relief. I was very sceptical and thought it would be a load of hippy-dippy nonsense. However, I decided to give it a go and so went on a 2 day self-hypnosis course. Luckily there were no beads, incense and whale music – just a bunch of professional people who all wanted to make things better for themselves. I have to admit that I was blown away by what we were able to do JUST by using our minds in a focused, positive way. Especially the pain management as I was able to anesthetise my own arm to allow a whopping big nappy pin to be pushed through the skin!
So armed with this amazing new understanding, I set off to really understand birth and how I could use my mind to help manage and work with the contractions. Pretty much everyone thought I was nuts when I said I was going to have a home birth using hypnosis (and pretty shocked as I am so far from the earth mothery, alternatively type of person). However, I practiced the hypnosis by listening to a recording over and over again until I had retrained my mind to know exactly how to respond to each contraction, how to totally relax my body, how to use my mind to decrease any strong sensations and ultimately to feel confident, trusting and excited (yes excited!) about giving birth.
So the big question you may be wondering “was giving birth pain free?” For me, no, but that was OKAY. That was never the goal – nothing worth having in life is pain free – however, it was fear-free and stress-free. It was long and it was challenging, but it was also incredible, life changing, awesome (in the real sense) and completely and totally manageable. So that was how it all started.
Please watch this 2 minute video on how you can prepare for birth.
After that I met so many women who had had such negative birth experiences. I was no different from them in physiologically, but where my experience differed was the ability to use my mind to overcome fear and to work with my body rather than to tense up and fight against it. So as someone once told me, if you have discovered something remarkable you have a duty to tell others. And that is what I have been doing for the last 15 years!
Maggie Howell with baby
Maggie didn’t set out to become a birth expert – in fact, she’s an unlikely convert. She was a busy international sales executive who only reluctantly attended a self-hypnosis course to help her with her first birth. But she was blown away by the mind’s ability to control the body’s response to pain and 3 months later, she had a peaceful, manageable birth at home without so much as a paracetamol – to the surprise of her and her NHS midwife who said: “Maggie appeared to be ‘sleeping’ during most of her contractions, breathing slightly more deeply as they peaked. She used no pharmacological methods of pain relief and conducted her labour and delivery entirely under self-hypnosis. She appeared to experience no pain and very little discomfort.”
It was the turning point in her life. Inspired by her experiences, she trained to become a clinical hypnotherapist and left her job to pursue her new life goal: to teach other women the techniques which help them have a positive birth.
The result was Natal Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading provider of hypnosis for childbirth. The philosophy is simple: to help women have a better birth. Maggie’s work is revolutionising women’s birth experiences by teaching them to overcome fear and work with their bodies during birth.
Maggie says: “In our society, fear has become the overriding emotion pregnant women feel about childbirth – something fuelled by TV depictions and horror stories other mums love to tell. We have not been brought up to see birth as a positive thing, so we’ve lost confidence in our own ability to give birth naturally and so go into it fearful and anxious – feelings which cause much of the pain and complications in birth.”
The facts speak for themselves: Natal Hypnotherapy users have an average caesarean rate up to half the national average and are recommended by 97% of users. Medical research has repeatedly found that hypnosis reduces surgical intervention, use of pain medication, mum’s pain perception, and labour times.
Maggie says: “This could revolutionise the way women give birth. If we could give every pregnant woman in the UK a Natal Hypnotherapy audio track to listen to we could save the NHS a fortune and change birthing culture!”
It may not be on prescription yet, but Maggie’s work is already changing the birthing world. Thanks to Maggie, effective birth preparation is no longer only available for those with the luxury of money and time. Her range of self-hypnosis audio downloads for pregnancy and birth, and book “Effective Birth Preparation – your practical guide to a better birth” are accessible for everyone, and designed to fit into a hectic life. From terrified teenage mums to women planning their sixth home birth, the techniques have helped women from all walks of life have a more positive birth.
Today, Maggie has personally trained over 1200 midwives, has a network of practitioners who teach the techniques in comprehensive workshops all over the country, regularly appears as a birth expert across the media, and has used the techniques for the births of each of her five sons plus helping in excess of 150,000 women have a better pregnancy and birth experience!
My name is Maggie Howell and I am the founder and voice of Natal Hypnotherapy. I am so delighted that you have stopped by to read about how Natal Hypnotherapy can make a massive difference to your birth experience.
- Over 150,000 women have used Natal Hypnotherapy
- Over 115,000 people have watched my birth video
- I’ve personally trained over 1200 midwives on what hypnosis is and how they can best support women using it.
- Over 3000 midwives and birth professionals recommend my work
- Professional Hypnobirthing training course is accredited by the Royal College of Midwives
- Several world champions and Olympic gold medallists have chosen to prepare for birth with Natal Hypnotherapy
- More than 10 awards from leading organisations and publications.
Please note that although Maggie does read all your comments there may be a delay in responding. If you have a query about Natal Hypnotherapy you may find the answers in our Learning Hub.