Hypnosis brings benefits during pregnancy and childbirth
by Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.
(NewsTarget) Hypnosis has been used during childbirth for approximately 100 years. Many research studies have been conducted to study the effects of hypnosis on pregnancy and labor. Hypnosis has been used on women during labor to help reduce pain. Hypnosis can be used as a natural analgesic to not only reduce pain but reduce use of pain medication. In addition to pain management, self-hypnosis has been used to control breathing during labor. Other studies show that hypnosis has a psychological benefit to mothers and to newborns.
A meta-analysis of studies conducted involving hypnosis with pregnant women was compared to non-hypnosis intervention, no treatment, and placebo. Primary measurements in the meta-analysis included analgesia used during labor and also pain scores during labor. The meta-analysis included 8395 women who had used hypnosis during pregnancy or labor. The analysis concluded that fewer women needed to use a form of analgesia during labor. Women who received hypnosis reported less severe pain than those in the control groups.
In another study, 60 pregnant women participated. The participants were divided into two groups based on their suggestibility; all received childbirth education and tips on pain control. These two groups were then subdivided with half receiving a hypnotic induction and the other half learning breathing and relaxation exercises. Women in the hypnosis group and in the high suggestibility group reported less pain. Those who used hypnosis reported using less medication and had a shorter stage 1 labor.
Another meta-analysis looking at various studies performed using hypnosis with pregnant women showed that hypnosis reduced the level of medical intervention during labor and reduced risk to women and newborn babies. One study showed that women who were trained to use hypnosis during childbirth very rarely experienced postpartum depression. Hypnosis can help manage both depression and anxiety related to pregnancy, labor, and becoming a new mom. This shows that hypnosis can have many benefits on both women and their newborn babies.
One study found that women in their second and third trimester of pregnancy were more suggestible. The study showed that as women became further along in their pregnancy, their suggestibility increased according to the Harvard Hypnotizability Scale. Pregnant women also scored higher on the Creative Imagination Scale. This study researched women at two time periods, when they were pregnant and not pregnant. The research shows that if women are more suggestible during pregnancy, there is more of a reason to use hypnosis for pregnancy and childbirth.
Alexander, B., Turnbull, D., & Cyna, A. (2009). The effect of pregnancy on hypnotizability. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.
Cyna, A.M., McAuliffe, G.L., & Andrew, M.I. (2004). Hypnosis for pain relief in labour and childbirth: A systematic review. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 93(4), 505-511.
Harmon, T.M., Hynan, M.T., & Tyre, T.E. (1990) Improved obstetric outcomes using hypnotic analgesia and skill mastery combined with childbirth education. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58(5), 525-530.