hypnotherapy for childbirth, childbirth, happy mums, calm babiesThere is both clinical research and anecdotal evidence that Hypnobirthing works!

Things are changing ……

Fear of birth leads to increase in length of labour. Wednesday, 27 June 2012 British Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology

Research published on the 27th June 2012 in the British Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology showed that women who were frightened of giving birth had longer labours and were more likely to need intervention. It is estimated that one in 5 women have severe fear of birth, sometimes also known as tokophobian. With NHS resources more strapped than ever, woman is receiving even less antenatal education and in particular very little support for their emotional well-being. As a result women are turning to providers of the NHS to help them prepare both physically as well as emotionally for birth.

  • A detailed survey (2) of more than 1250 women, including 853 first time mothers, who learnt self-hypnosis as part of their birth preparation, indicated that these techniques lead to a significant reduction of any fear of labour as well as a reduction in intervention.
  • A staggering 89% said using the techniques had enabled them to overcome any fears connected with giving birth;
  • 72% reported feeling calm during the birth with 61% feeling able to manage the pain in labour.
  • Only 15% required a caesarean compared with the national rate of almost 25%.
  • Overall, 95% of women felt they had benefited from learning self-hypnosis as a way to help them have a more positive birth experience.Effective birth preparation

John Thorp, BJOG Deputy-Editor-in-Chief says:“There are a number of reasons why women may develop a fear of childbirth. This research shows that women with fear of childbirth are more likely to need obstetric intervention and this needs to be explored further so that obstetricians and midwives can provide the appropriate support and advice.”

What is the evidence that it works?

The recommendation of using hypnosis is one way that Obstetricians and midwives can provide this support. There are pockets within the NHS where these techniques are being both recommended such as the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS trust (4) and researched such as the NHS funding the largest know trial of the use of hypnosis for birth (SHIP trial (5). These techniques are a low cost, safe and practical antidote to the fear based, drug-dependent labour management culture that has developed in the UK over the last fifty years.

Clinical research has shown that for women using hypnosis for birth there is a:-

Reduction in length of labourStudies showed a reduction from 9.3 hours to 6.4 hours for first-time mums, and from 6.2 hours to 5.3 hours for second-time + mums
Less reported painMothers gave an average of 6 on a self-scoring model of 0-10, with 10 being the highest
Reduction in medical intervention and use of forceps or ventouseStudies reported an 84-99% rate of spontaneous, non-surgical deliveries
Reduced Caesarean rateStudies reported Caesarean rates of between 5 and 8% compared with the national average of 24%
Reduced need for pharmacological anaesthesia/analgesiaStudies reported a 55-79% rate of non-medicated births
In addition, research showed that, for women who used hypnosis but then needed chemical anaesthetics, the anaesthetics were administered more easily, and smaller amounts were needed to have the same clinical effect


  • Jenkins, M.W. Pritchard M. H, Aberdare District Maternity Unit, Mid Glamorgan, Wales. Br J Obstet Gynaecol, 1993 Mar; 100(3):221-6.
  • Harmon T. M, Hynan M. T., Tyre T. E. The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, J Consult Clin Psychol, 1990 Oct; 58(5):525-30.
  • Alice A. Martin, PhD; Paul G. Schauble, PhD; Surekha H. Rai, PhD; and R.Whit Curry, Jr, MD, Gainesville, Florida, The Journal of Family Practice – May 2001 – Vol. 50, No 5 General.
  • Schauble P.G., Werner W. E., Rai S. H., Martin A., Counseling Centre, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1998 Apr; 40 (4):273-83.
  • August, R. V., Obstetric hypnoanesthesia. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 79, 1131-1137, 1960, and August, R. V., Hypnosis in Obstetrics. New York: McGraw Hill, 1961.

Better Births initiative – Royal School of Midwives unveiled in May 2014 promoting and enabling women to have a more normal birth experience. Achieving normality Achieving normal births for majority of women and normalising the process of birth for all women regardless of the type of labour and birth they will experience is our focus. Getting the best care during pregnancy, labour, childbirth and the postnatal period can be linked to short and long term health and social benefits to mothers, children, families and communities. We are continuing the Campaign for Normal Births as part of the RCM Better Births Initiative.

Read our resident Hypnobirthing expert Karen Doyle’s blog about her experiences using hypnotherapy for childbirth.

“Everything You didn’t Know About Pain Free Childbirth”

I you would like to find out more about hypnobirthing, hypnotherapy and childbirth, you can make an appointment for a free initial consultation.

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