What is Hypnobirthing?

The concept of “Hypnobirthing” is not a recent development. In his book ‘Childbirth without Fear’ (1889-1959), Grantley Dick-Reid noted that women unburdened by fear during childbirth often underwent pain-free deliveries without the need for analgesics or strong pain medication.

Marie Mongan, a pioneer in birth education with hypnosis, further advanced the concept in the United States in 1989 (www.hypnobirthing-uk.com). Numerous hypnotherapists and birth practitioners have since introduced their own methods, each claiming its unique merits. Despite variations, the term ‘hypnobirthing’ refers to a set of tools and skills designed to assist and empower expectant mothers, offering them a clear understanding of the impending journey and the physiological aspects of labor.

Various research trials have explored the benefits of using hypnosis during childbirth, suggesting potential advantages such as:

– Reduction in the duration of labor
– Decreased reported pain
– Lower rates of medical intervention, forceps, or ventouse usage
– Decreased Caesarean section rates
– Diminished need for pharmacological anesthesia/analgesia
– Higher Apgar scores, a visual assessment conducted at 1 and 5 minutes after birth by a midwife.

While these outcomes align with the expectations for calmer birthing experiences, whether using hypnobirthing or not, conclusive evidence remains elusive. The Evidence Based Birth website, as noted by Rebecca Dekker, cites studies supporting the positive effects of hypnosis during childbirth. For instance, a 2016 Cochrane review and meta-analysis by Madden et al. indicated a 27% lower likelihood of participants receiving any form of pain relief drugs when hypnosis was employed.

Another significant study by Werner et al. in 2013, conducted in Denmark with 1,222 participants, revealed that women in the hypnosis group reported significantly better childbirth experiences compared to those in a control group. However, it is crucial to note that conclusive evidence is lacking, and the findings are not universally accepted.

Despite the absence of definitive conclusions, there exists substantial anecdotal evidence from couples who have incorporated hypnobirthing into their childbirth experiences. Many report positive differences, especially those who have undergone formal courses rather than relying solely on videos. The popularity of hypnobirthing remains evident in these personal accounts.