Hypnobirthing Evidence summarised by Kidderminster Hypnotherapist Joanne Marie

Hypnobirthing training is available at Breathe Holistic Therapy. The full course is five hours training which is delivered on an individual (couple) basis. 

As a qualified nurse I always look for evidence to support the therapies I provide including hypnotherapy for childbirth. There are many studies available that explore the use of hypnotherapy in pregnancy and childbirth. I have summarised some below.

Increased movement of the baby in the uterus: Fuchs et al. (1987) evaluated the influence of maternal hypnosis, they noted a significant increase in foetal activity as a result. This, they believed was due to a reduction in maternal anxiety and improvement in placental blood perfusion.  Mothers who used hypnosis for anxiety and stress management had foetuses who moved in a much more active manner than a control group (Zimmer, Peretz, Eyal & Fuchs, 1988)

NICE guidelines: The National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines from April 2007, discussed the benefits of teaching relaxation and self help/coping strategies to pregnant women especially in reducing depression and anxiety for those who are vulnerable to suffering these mental health problems. 

Treatment of preterm labour: Hypnosis combined with conventional drug therapy can significantly prolong the duration of pregnancies threatened by premature labour. Omer (1987) found that adding hypnosis to the treatment regimen prolonged pregnancies an average of 18.8% longer than patients treated with medication alone. 

Hypnosis effects on turning foetuses from breech position:  One hundred pregnant women whose foetuses were in breech position at 37-40 weeks’ gestation used hypnosis; and a matched control group did not . 81% of breech babies were successfully turned  to a head down position in the hypnosis group compared with 48% in the control group. The success was thought to be down to psychophysiological factors which may influence the breech position. (Mehl, 1994)

Reduction in length of labour using hypnosis:  Jenkins and Pritchard (1993) found a reduction of 3 hours for first time mothers (from 9.3 hours to 6.4 hours) and 1 hour for women on second or subsequent labours (from 6.2 hours to 5.3 hours) for active labour (262 subjects and 600 controls). Pushing was statistically shorter for first time mothers (from 50 min to 37 min). These women were more satisfied with labour and reported other benefits of hypnosis such as reduced anxiety and help with getting to sleep.

Abramson and Heron (1950) & Gallagher (2001) 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 9 hours. (Harmon, Hynan and Tyre, 1990)

Need for analgesia in child birth:  In a British study, 55% of 45 patients (first and second time mothers) required no medication for pain relief after training in hypnobirthing. In the other non-hypnosis groups, only 22% of 90 women required no medication. Two other research pieces reported on 1,000 consecutive births: 850 women used hypnotic analgesia resulting in 58 percent rate of no medication. Five other research pieces reported an incidence of 60 to 79 percent non-medicated births using hypnotherapy.     (Harmon, Hynan and Tyre, 1990)

An analysis using  data from 14 studies that included more than 1,400 women showed that hypnosis reduces the need for drug pain relief in labour, lessens the need for medications that augment labour and increases the number of spontaneous vaginal births (Smith et al., 2006)

Rates of Intervention: Thirty-eight out of forty-five Hypnosis for Childbirth mums, delivered spontaneously without the use of caesarean, forceps or venteuse. This rate of 84% is higher than the average rate of normal birth for the general population of first time mothers (Harmon, Hynan & Tyre, 1990)

Postnatal depression: McCarthy (1998) provided five 30-minute sessions of hypnosis to 600 women and found a virtual absence of postpartum depression, compared to the typical rates of 10 to 15 percent. Women with a history of postnatal depression did not develop this condition in the hypnosis group Harmon et al (1990) reported a reduced incidence of postnatal depression in women who had been taught hypnosis for child birth.

Lactation:  There are many studies documenting how hypnosis can be used to promote and to suppress lactation (August, 1961; Cheek & LeCron, 1968; Kroger 1977)           

If you would like any more information please do contact me


Posted on October 13, 2015 and filed under hypnotherapy.