I've heard that hypnosis can be used to ease pain during childbirth. How does hypnobirthing work?
Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Hypnobirthing is a birthing method that uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help a woman feel physically, mentally and spiritually prepared and reduce her awareness of fear, anxiety and pain during childbirth.
While specific programs differ, hypnobirthing classes generally teach participants to practice and use a combination of music, visualization, positive thinking and words to relax the body and control sensations during labor. Keep in mind that hypnobirthing can be used in combination with many other birthing techniques.
Research examining the benefits of hypnobirthing is mixed. However, some research suggests that hypnobirthing might be more effective than other interventions at reducing labor pain.
If you're interested in finding out more about hypnobirthing, talk to your health care provider. He or she might recommend a childbirth educator certified in hypnobirthing or other professional who can help you determine if hypnobirthing is right for you.
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Aug. 06, 2019
- Lothian JA. Preparation for labor and childbirth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 5, 2016.
- Finlayson K, et al. Unexpected consequences: Women's experiences of a self-hypnosis intervention to help with pain relief during labour. BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth. 2015;15:229.
- Beebe KR. Hypnotherapy for labor and birth. Nursing for Women's Health. 2014;18:48.
- Granger S. Hypnotherapy for childbirth. The Practising Midwife. 2012;15:S13.
- Landolt AS, et al. The efficacy of hypnosis as an intervention for labor and delivery pain: A comprehensive methodological review. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011;31:1022.
- Jones L, et al. Pain management for women in labour: An overview of systematic reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009234.pub2/full. Accessed Aug. 5, 2016.
- Madden K, et al. Hypnosis for pain management during labour and childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009356.pub3/full. Accessed Aug. 5, 2016.
- Howell M. Lie back, listen and relax: Hypnotherapy. The Practising Midwife. 2012;15:12.