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Prenatal & Birth Research

Research: Hypnosis for Pregnancy and Childbirth

The results from research studies echo benefits my birth clients enjoy, finding hypnotherapy a natural, safe and effective method for creating a wonderful birthing experience.

Hypnosis can reduce fear and pain

Reduces fear of birth (Mehl-Madrona, 2004)
Reduces anxiety and stress during pregnancy and birth (Mehl-Madrona, 2004; Brann & Guzvica, 1987)
Reduces pain and perceptions of pain (Harmon et al, 1990; Tiba, 1990; Guthrie et al, 1984)

Hypnosis can reduce medical intervention

Reduces incidences of women being induced (labour augmentation) with synthetic oxytocin (Harmon et al, 1990; Martin et al, 2001, Cyna et al, 2006)

Hypnosis significantly reduces need for chemical analgesia (i.e. drugs) (Jenkins & Pritchard, 1993; Davidson, 1962; Martin et al, 2001; Bobart & Brown, 2002; Cyna et al, 2006)

Reduces complications and postpartum medication (Martin et al, 2001)

Fosters quicker recovery from birth (Moya & Jones, 1982; Gross & Posner, 1963)

Hypnosis can decrease duration of labour

Labour duration is significantly longer in women with fear of childbirth (Adams et al, 2012)

Hypnosis significantly decrease length of labour for both first time and second time mothers (Harmon et al, 1990; Jenkins & Pritchard, 1993; Davidson, 1962; Brann & Guzvica, 1987)

Hypnosis increases speed and ease of labour  (Gross & Posner, 1963)

Hypnosis can help rotate breech babies

Hypnosis significantly increases incidences of conversion from breech to vertex presentation – in a study of 100 women 81% of the group receiving hypnosis experienced a conversion to vertex presentation compared to 48% of the control group, some of which had an external cephalic version to assist rotation (Melh, 1994)

Other benefits of using hypnotherapy to prepare for birth

Newborns are more likely to have higher Apgar scores.  Apgar is a scale used to determine physical condition of newborn and determine if medical care or intervention is required.  Higher scores indicate good condition.  (Harmon et al, 1990)

Mothers are more satisfied with the birthing experience (Brann & Guzvica, 1987) and are less likely to experience post-natal depression (Harmon et al, 1990; McCarthy, 1998))

Aids pregnancy disturbances such as getting to sleep (Brann & Guzvica, 1987)

Reduces post partum insomnia, headache and breast discomfort (Moya & Jones, 1982)

Can prevent pre-term delivery (Reinhard et al, 2009)


Adams, S. S., Eberhand-Gran, M., & Eskild, A. (2012).  Fear of childbirth and duration of labour: a study of 2206 women with intended vaginal delivery.  BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 119(10), pp1238-1246

Bobart, V., & Brown, D.C. (2002).  Improved obstetric outcomes using hypnotic analgesia and skill mastery combined with childbirth education. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

(Brann, L. R., & Guzvica, S. A. (1987). Comparison of hypnosis with conventional relaxation for antenatal and intrapartum use: A feasibility study in general practice.  Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 37, pp437-440

Cyna, A. M., Andrew, M. I., & McAuliffe, G. L. (2006) Antenatal self-hypnosis for labour and childbirth: a pilot study. Anaesth Intensive Care, 34(4), pp464-469

Davidson, J. A. (1962).  An Assessment of the Value of Hypnosis in Pregnancy and Labour.  British Medical Journal, 2(5310), pp951-953

Gross, H. N., & Posner, N. A. (1963). An evaluation of hypnosis for obstetric delivery.  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 87, pp912–920.

Guthrie, K., Taylor, D. J., & Defriend, D.  (1984).  Maternal hypnosis induced by husbands.  Journal of Obstetrics Gynaecology, 5, pp93-96

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, pp525-530

Jenkins, M. W., & Pritchard, M. H. (1993).  Hypnosis: Practical applications and theoretical considerations in normal labour.  British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 100, pp221-222

Martin, A. A., Schauble, P. G., Rai, S. H., & Curry, R. W. jr.  (2001).  The effects of hypnosis on the labor processes and birth outcomes of pregnant adolescents.  Journal of Family Practice, 50, pp441-443

McCarthy, P. (1998).  Hypnosis in Obstetrics.  Australian Journal of Clinical and Experiential Hypnosis, 26(1) pp35-42

Mehl, L. E. (1994).  Hypnosis and conversion of the breech to the vertex presentation.  Archives of Family Medicine,  3(10), pp881-887

Mehl-Madrona, L. E. (2004).  Hypnosis to facilitate uncomplicated birth.  American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 46(4), pp299-312

Moya, F., & Jones, L. S. (1982).  Medical hypnosis for obstetrics.  American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 24, pp 149-177

Reinhard, J., Huesken-JanBen, H., Hatzmann, H., & Schiermeier, S. (2009).  Preterm Labour and Clinical Hypnosis.  Contemporary Hypnosis, 26(4), pp187-193

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