Overcoming the pain of childbirth

Jane Dignum

“Before I met Dr Motha I wanted my husband to have the baby. “

LABOUR is something that can be enjoyed by mothers, not something that has to be endured. This is the philosophy behind a technique to give a quicker, easier birth, taught at a South Woodford clinic and practised at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Although giving birth is one of the most natural processes in the world, many expectant mothers look forward to it with terror at the prospect of hours in pain.

“Self-hypnosis for an enjoyable labour” is a programme run by Dr Gowri Motha of the Jeyrani Health Centre. Glebelands Avenue. South Woodford. In the five years since the clinic was opened, more than 300 mothers have practised the technique, often in connection with a water birth.

Latest success

One of the latest success stories is Alison Levy, from Chigwell, who gave birth to her first child, daughter Maayan, after just three hours in labour.

She explained: “You are in a state of very, very deep relaxation and although you do feel the pain it is not something you allow to register. “My message to all would-be mothers is that giving birth really can be an enjoyable and beautiful experience with the minimum of pain and discomfort.”

So impressed with the technique is Alison that she has decided to learn it to teach to expectant mothers when she goes to live in Israel. She heard about the hypnosis through a friend, Martine Groman-Marks, from Woodford Green, who used it during the birth of both her children, Basya (2) and 12-week-old Ariella.

Martine’s second daughter was delivered just 10 minutes after her arrival at hospital. She also heard about the process through a friend, Helena Rosenberg, from Chigwell, who has two children David (three-and-a-half) and Liana (one-and-a-half). Her husband read about it in a newspaper article.

She told the Guardian: “Before I met Dr Motha I wanted my husband to have the baby. ”

Dr Motha, who also pioneered water births at Whipps Cross, said she felt something needed to be done to improve facilities for giving birth. She began practising conventional medicine but she explained: “All the time I felt unhappy. ” The relaxation techniques she teaches have been picked up from around the world and have been getting better and better over the years. Her aim is to get the self-hypnosis programme available on the National Health Service. “We want to change the public view that labour has to be endured. It is something that can be enjoyed,” she added.

Guardian and Gazette Newpapers, 6 August 1992.

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