Research on the use of hypnobirthing

in pregnancy and childbirth


To help you understand the potential benefits of using deep relaxation and hypnobirthing techniques, here is a catalogue of research from around the world. 


Hypnosis for Childbirth (HYPNOBIRTHING) is as much a philosophy as it is a technique. Dr Grantly Dick-Read, a British physician, was the first to propose the "fear-tension-pain" syndrome in his work Natural Childbirth (1933) and he, therefore, recommended childbirth preparation as a means to prepare for birth. 


While midwives and physicians recommend natural childbirth preparation, hypnobirthing is an extremely effective way to eliminate the fear-tension-pain cycle. Hypnobirthing applies the theory to the subconscious level, which at the same time allows your physical body to deeply relax, not only during the sessions but also during birth. 


in our hypnobirthing classes, you will learn easy, effective and powerful techniques for a calm and relaxed birth.


The Royal College of Midwives states that hypnotherapy can help women, and says that "any methods that can help calm women's labour fears" are beneficial. 

Research studies from around the world show that the use of hypnosis for childbirth results in: 


* shorter labours 

* reduced use of pain medication 

* higher Apgar scores (measurement of the baby's well being at birth) 

* reduced surgical delivery (Caesarian delivery and forceps)



Jenkins and Pritchard found a reduction of 3 hours for primigravid women (from 9.3 hours to 6.4 hours, p<0.0001) and 1 hour for multigravid women (from 6.2 hours to 5.3 hours, p<0.01) for active labour (262 subjects and 600 controls). Pushing was statistically shorter for first-time mothers (from 50 min to 37 min, p<0.001). 


A British study found a statistically significant reduction (p<0.001) in the length of labour of first and second-time mothers: 70 hypnosis patients (6 h 21 min) compared to 70 relaxation patients (9 h 28 min) and 70 control group (9 h 45 min). 


Hao et al in China measured the effect of nursing suggestions to labouring women and recommends that the conversation of the nurses be "controlled carefully for the purpose of advancing the birth process". This randomized control trial examined 60 first time mothers with a matched control group of 60 first time mothers and found a statistically significant reduction (p<0.01) in the lengths of the first and second stages of labour


In a study that compared hypnosis and Lamaze training, 96 women chose between hypnosis (n=45) and Lamaze (n=51). The first stage of labour was shortened in the hypnosis group by 98 minutes for first-time mothers and by 40 minutes for second-time mothers. These women were more satisfied with labour and reported other benefits of hypnosis such as reduced anxiety and help with getting to sleep. 


Mellegren noted a reduction of two to three hours of labour


Abramson and Heron found a shorter first stage of labour for 100 women trained with hypnosis (by 3.23 hours) compared to a control group of 88 women. 


Forty-five Hypnosis for Childbirth clients (first-time mothers) had an average of 4.5 hours for the active labour, a significant reduction compared to the usual 12 hours.


In a British study, 55% of 45 patients (first and second-time mothers) required no medication for pain relief. In the other non-hypnosis groups, only 22% of 90 women required no medication. 


Two research pieces reported on 1,000 consecutive births: 850 women used hypnotic analgesia resulting in 58% of no medication. 


Five other research pieces reported an incidence of 60 to 79% non-medicated births


In a randomized control trial of 42 teenagers in Florida, none of the 22 patients in the hypnosis group experienced surgical intervention compared with 12 of the 20 patients in the control group (p=.000). Twelve patients in the hypnosis group experienced complications compared with 17 in the control group (p=.047). 


Harmon, Hynan and Tyre reported more spontaneous deliveries, higher Apgar scores and reduced medication use in their study of 60 women. 


Of the 45 Hypnosis for Childbirth clients, 38 delivered without the use of caesarian, forceps or vacuum, a rate of spontaneous birth of 84%. This is a higher than average rate of normal birth for the general population of first-time mothers.

In a randomized control trial of 42 teenagers in Florida, only 1 patient in the hypnosis group had a hospital stay of more than two days compared with 8 patients in the control group (p=.008).

McCarthy provided five 30-minute sessions to 600 women and found a virtual absence of postpartum depression, compared to the typical rates of 10-15%. Women with a history of postpartum depression did not develop this condition, even though an estimated 50 percent eventually do. 


Harmon et al also reported lower depression scores in the hypnotically treated group. 


It appears that a simple intervention, hypnotherapy (hypnobirthing), has far-reaching effects both medically and socially. Some, but not all, of the above studies are randomized, have large numbers, include control groups and demonstrate statistical significance. 

Hypnosis: practical application and theoretical considerations in normal labour

Jenkins, MW, Pritchard MH, Aberdare District Maternity Unit, Mid Glamorgan, Wales. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1993 Mar; 100(3): 221-6 




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