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Hypnotherapy can be used during pregnancy and childbirth to prepare a mother for birth and/or to attempt to treat a number of issues ranging from fears and minor health conditions related to the pregnancy, to the possibility of reducing or eliminating pain during labor.
General use during pregnancy
Evidence suggests there may be value in using hypnosis for a wide range of pregnancy related problems,such as heartburn, high blood pressure and postnatal depression [How to reference and link to summary or text]. Practitioners believe that during pregnancy and prior to birth, the use of hypnosis can significantly shorten labor, reduce pain and reduce the need for intervention. Practitioners also believe that babies born to mothers who have used hypnosis to relax and calm themselves will sleep and feed better.
Hypnotherapists who specialize in hypnosis for childbirth can offer a tailored approach geared towards individual women. This is especially important if they have additional phobias or fears associated with childbirth. This can include needle phobias, fear of hospitals or even fear of pregnancy itself.
Hypnosis for labor
Hypnosis can also be used as a pain relief method during labor. Obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read first wrote about the phenomenon in the 1930s in his work on natural childbirth and since the 1980s a range of different techniques have been developed that utilize hypnosis in a natural childbirth. These include the Mongan method (also known as HypnoBirthing), Hypnobabies, the Lamaze method, and the Natal Hypnotherapy method.
A post-review of patients who had used hypnotherapy for labor was published in 2004 in the British Journal of Anaesthesia 2004 (93(4):505-511) by A.M Cyna, G.L. McAuliffe and M.I. Andrew. The review suggested that there was evidence of the reduced need for pharmacological analgesia but a more substantial trial was required. Subsequently there is a major controlled trial currently underway in Adelaide, Australia which is seeking to conclusively prove that hypnosis can a make a significant difference to women in pregnancy and labor .
In 1993, a randomised control trial by M.W. Jenkins and M. H. Pritchard, 'Hypnosis: Practical applications and theoretical considerations in normal labour'  reported that hypnosis, combined with childbirth education,:
- reduced the length of labour
- reduced the incidence of pain medication use
- produced higher apgar scores
- reduced the incidence of postpartum depression
- increased the incidence of spontaneous deliveries
HypnoBirthing - The Mongan Method was first developed in the US in 1989 and is taught by practitioners in 33 countries around the world, including over 350 practitioners in the UK. HypnoBirthing is named after its founder Marie (or 'Mickey') Mongan.
Hypnobabies is a complete childbirth education course using medical hypno-anesthesia techniques to help eliminate pain and fear from childbirth. Based on Gerald Kein's Painless Childbirth program and created by hypnotherapist and childbirth educator Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI, Hypnobabies classes are taught throughout the U.S. The Hypnobabies course can also be utilized through self-study.
Natal Hypnotherapy is a UK-based method of preparing a mother for childbirth taught through CDs and courses. It was developed by Maggie Howell D. hyp, C.hyp, UKHypReg, C.tshyp, who used self-hypnosis for the birth of her first child and then went on to train as a Clinical Hypnotherapist before developing the Natal Hypnotherapy method. It has been found that listening to self-hypnosis CDs before and then during labour stimulates the positive mental images and deep relaxation that have been practised earlier. 
Nastere Prin Hipnoza (romanian for 'Hypnosis For Childbirth')
Nastere Prin Hipnoza is the Romanian-based method of preparing a mother for childbirth taught through CDs and courses. It was developed by Hypnotherapist Voicu Sorina, specialized in Clinical Hypnosis and Ericksonian Hypnosis, who has also used self-hypnosis for the birth of her first and second child and then developed her own method to use in Romania.
- ↑ Hypnosis Antenatal Training for Childbirth (HATCh): a Randomised Controlled Trial accessed 12-Feb-2009
- ↑ British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 100(3), 221-226, 1993
- ↑ Sheila Kitzinger, 'Birth Crisis', Routledge 2006, ISBN 0-415-37266-6
- ↑ Voicu Sorina, 'Nastere Prin Hipnoza' (romanian for 'hypnosis for childbirth'), www.nastereprinhipnoza.ro
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