Effects of Hypnosis on the Labor Processes and Birth Outcomes of Pregnant Adolescents

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Date: May 2001
From: Journal of Family Practice(Vol. 50, Issue 5)
Publisher: Jobson Medical Information LLC
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,873 words

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* Hypnotic preparation for labor and delivery can be an effective intervention in:

* reducing the number of complications.

* reducing surgical interventions.

* reducing length of postpartum hospital stay.

Hypnosis has been used in obstetrics for more than a century with little empiric evaluation of the effects of this type of intervention on labor and delivery. We evaluated how childbirth preparation incorporating hypnotic techniques affected the labor processes and birth outcomes of pregnant adolescents. The study included 42 teenaged patients receiving prenatal treatment at a county public health, department before their 24th week of pregnancy. They were randomly assigned to either a treatment group receiving a childbirth preparation protocol under hypnosis or a control group receiving supportive counseling. When labor and delivery outcome measures were compared in the 2 groups, significant differences favoring the hypnosis intervention group were found in the number of complicated deliveries, surgical procedures, and length of hospital stay. Larger studies in different populations are needed.

* KEYWORDS Hypnosis; obstetrics; labor; delivery; anesthesia. (J Fam Pract 2001; 50:441-443)

Hypnosis has been used to control pain during labor and delivery for more than a century, but the introduction of chemo-anesthesia and inhalation anesthesia during the late, 19th century led to the decline of its use.(1,2) Recently there has been a resurgence of this technique in obstetrics.(3-7) Hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in providing pain relief,(8,9) reducing the need for chemical anesthesia,(8) and reducing anxiety, fear, and pain related to childbirth.(1,2,7,10,11) Hypnosis has also been helpful in both managing various complications of pregnancy (such as premature labors,(5,12-14)) and reducing the likelihood of premature labor and birth in high-risk patients.(12) It has also has been effective in the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum,(15-16) acute hypertension associated with pregnancy(17) and conversion of breech to vortex presentation.(18)

One promising application of hypnosis is in the area of labor and delivery.(1,5,6,19) The use of hypnosis in preparing the patient for labor and delivery is based on the premise that such preparation reduces anxiety, improves pain tolerance (lowering the need for medication), reduces birth complications, and promotes a rapid recovery process.(1,2,5) The key aspect of this treatment is involvement of the patient before labor begins, to promote her active participation and sense of control in the labor and delivery process. This is accomplished through educating the patient about this process and teaching her alternate ways to produce hypno-analgesia and anesthesia(1,2) Hypnotic preparation thus provides the expectant mother with a sense of control for managing her anxiety and physical discomfort.

Although there have been numerous reports suggesting the value of hypnosis in obstetrics, our study is one of the first to report a randomized controlled evaluation of childbirth preparation incorporating hypnotic techniques on labor processes and birth outcomes.


Our subjects were teenage patients (18 years or younger at the time of conception) who entered...

Source Citation

Source Citation
MARTIN, ALICE A., et al. "Effects of Hypnosis on the Labor Processes and Birth Outcomes of Pregnant Adolescents." Journal of Family Practice, vol. 50, no. 5, May 2001, p. 441. Accessed 26 June 2022.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A75244770