*A reminder no post next week due to Rosh Hashanah*
Hypnosis and Child Birth
Labor pain is one of the most critical issues in the life of a woman because it represents both a psychological and a physiological challenge. Although labor pain is an experience that every childbearing mother must undergo, every woman experiences it differently and the level of pain may also differ from pregnancy to pregnancy. Moreover, it has been determined that the degree of pain every woman experiences is influenced by different environmental and emotional factors. Although different methods can be used to relieve labor pain, it has been determined that natural methods can be more effective than sedatives and regional anesthetics. Some of these techniques can be used to induce relaxation and help mothers manage their pain effectively. These techniques include breathing, emotional support, hydrotherapy, music, and hypnosis. Hypnotherapy has been used in pregnancy for over a decade now and it has proved to be one of the most common and effective pain management techniques for this type of pain.
Stephanie & Jaqueline (2020) examined how hypnosis-based interventions can change women’s perceptions towards childbirth. This study was a systematic review of past studies conducted to evaluate the efficacy of hypnotherapy in managing pain associated with childbirth. The researcher found that the majority of the studies included in this review found a positive relationship between hypnotherapy and different domains such as labor outcomes, reduction in fear and pain related to childbirth, better childbirth experiences, and post-natal well-being. The findings of this study show that hypnosis-based interventions can have a positive impact on mothers’ childbirth experience. An interesting finding of this study is that pregnant women who use self-hypnosis during the onset of their labor pain often feel so relaxed during childbirth, and this may be as a result of reduced anxiety and fear.
A similar study by Abbasi et al. (2009) examined the experiences of a woman being taken through hypnosis during childbirth to understand the crucial issues associated with hypnotherapy as a pain management technique. The hypnotic intervention incorporated progressive relaxation accompanied with guided imagery that suggested a safe place, dissociation techniques to help the patient dissociate from pain, as well as suggestions for changing the pain perception. The study participants were also trained on self-hypnosis and encouraged to practice it. Results indicated that all the patients felt that hypnosis brought about feelings of pain relief and consolation. The majority of them also indicated that they had increased satisfaction, confidence and a sense of control. They indicated that hypnosis reduced their fears, anxiety and labor pain. Werner et al. (2013) also found that women who underwent hypnotherapy during labor pains had better experiences during childbirth as opposed to those who not hypnotized. These women had low levels of fear and delivered through the normal delivery process.
In sum, hypnosis is an effective therapeutic technique that can be used to manage pain during childbirth. It is a technique that has proved helpful in reducing anxiety, boosting one’s confidence, and reducing the fear associated with labor pains. For better outcomes, it is recommended that the technique be used during the early stages of labor pain as research indicates that those who showed better experiences during childbirth are those who underwent the therapy during the start of labor pain.
Abbasi, M., Ghazi, F., Barlow-Harrison, A., Sheikhvatan, M., & Mohammadyari, F. (2009). The effect of hypnosis on pain relief during labor and childbirth in Iranian pregnant women. Intl. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 57(2), 174-183.
Catsaros, Stephanie, & Wendland, Jaqueline (2020). Hypnosis-based interventions during pregnancy and childbirth and their impact on women’s childbirth experience: A systematic review. Midwifery, 102666.
Werner, A., Uldbjerg, N., Zachariae, R., Wu, C. S., & Nohr, E. A. (2013). Antenatal hypnosis training and childbirth experience: a randomized controlled trial. Birth, 40(4), 272-280.
Melvin S. Marsh is a certified hypnotherapist serving Atlanta GA, Augusta GA, Statesboro GA, and Savannah GA. He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide virtually. He can be reached at www.afterhourshypnotherapy.com .