One such proposal seems sound enough: hypnobirthing. An 18-month NHS trial study aims to teach expectant mums how to hypnotise themselves before giving birth as an alternative to painkillers. This will involve learning how to attain a trance-like state during labour in the hope that they will not need costly treatments such as epidurals. First started in the US, it uses self-hypnosis, relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques to prepare for birth.
Currently as many as 60 per cent of mothers have epidurals and many more use other forms of pain relief, the safety of which has often been questioned. Many mothers enter the delivery suite intending to have a "natural" birth, then understandably demand drugs when the true might of their contractions kicks in.
Hypnosis is successfully used in many other areas of healthcare, including dentistry, well known for its association with pain and fear, and fear here seems to be the key. Most mums experience anxiety and fear about the impending birth, in part due to our society's highly medicocentric approach to birthing, implying that it is a dangerous, painful and scary experience.
Hypnotherapists believe that a lot of the pain of childbirth comes from fear acting on the body to cause tension and muscle constriction. If women can relax and release muscle tension, this causes less pain, more effective contractions and often a shorter labour. It certainly sounds plausible, and the feedback from women who have used it has been consistently positive.
It's even been backed up by several relatively large-scale studies, one of which found that self-hypnosis during childbirth eased some of the pain of labour, lowered the risk of medical complications and reduced the need for surgery. Another study found that hypnotherapy shortened the first and second stages of labour. For women having their first babies, the first stage was reduced from an average of 9.3 hours to 6.4 hours, and the second stage from 50 minutes to 37 minutes on average. The differences for women having their second or later children were less dramatic, and it is here the financial benefits may be seen.
I can certainly see the downsides; this technique will not work for all women. I also worry that medical staff may attend less often seemingly self-sufficient labouring women, so putting them more at risk of complications going unnoticed.
But in general it's harmless, proven in studies, and empowers women to have more control over the birthing process, unlike other ill-thought-out proposals the NHS comes up with."
Article from London Evening Standard 16th Feb 2011. View origainl article at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/health/article-23923758-hypnosis-is-the-new-way-to-give-birth-painlessly.do
It is great to see that hypnotherapy is starting to get the recognition it deserves. It is an amazing therapy that allows you to gain control of your own thought process and take the steps to achieving your goals. If you want to find out more please visit my site or contact me to see how hypnotherapy can help you.