The Self Hypnosis for pain management during labor trial has been organized in England with 800 women expected to take part across Lancashire and Greater Manchester and is due to finish end of July next year (2012). The aim is to assess the effectiveness of the technique for women by primarily looking at the rates of epidural usage in labor by maternal request. Secondary aims include looking at the physical and psychological benefits for women, the wellbeing of the babies and the economic benefits for the National Health System (in England).
This is the largest of the studies carried out on the use of hypnosis for birth.
Previous studies have shown that hypnosis reduces analgesia requirements in labour1,2 and that hypnotherapy has decreased the length of both first and second stages of labor, particularly for first time mothers2.
As the BBC recently reported:
Dr Downe, a midwifery expert at the University of Central Lancashire (England), said: “The mind and body are actually linked.
“There is an effect in the way people think and feel in what happens in their body.
“The reason we are looking at this – apart from the fact women have asked us to look at it – is because it appears if you can reduce anxiety in women through the use of hypnosis we can then reduce pain because pain and anxiety are connected.”
1Hypnosis for pain relief in labour and childbirth: a systematic review A. M. Cyna1, G. L. McAuliffe and M. I. Andrew – Br J Anaesth. 2004 Oct;93(4):505-11. Epub 2004 Jul 26
2Hypnosis: practical applications and theoretical considerations in normal labour M.W. Jenkins and M.H. Pritchard – Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1993 Mar;100(3):221-6