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The Science of Hypnosis for Childbirth.

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. It is easier to just drug the woman than work with her for weeks before her birthing.

Hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in providing pain relief, reducing the need for chemical anesthesia. Hypnosis has also been helpful in both managing various complications of pregnancy (such as premature labor) and reducing the likelihood of premature labor and birth in high-risk patients. It has also been effective in the treatment of hypertension associated with pregnancy and turning of breech babies to the vertex presentation. Hypnosis preparation reduces anxiety, fear and tension, which causes pain, reduces birth complications, and promotes a rapid recovery process. Hypnotic preparation thus provides the expectant mother with a sense of control and empowers her in managing her pregnancy and birth experience.

Results are best when the Mum is introduced to hypnosis at least a few weeks before labor begins. In this way she can practice the hypnosis skills she will need during the birth of her baby. However, introduction at any time is better than not using hypnosis at all.

More and more, scientific studies are showing the usefulness and effectiveness of hypnosis in childbirth. The mind/body connection is extremely strong and powerful and this connection can be used to enhance and ease a woman's birthing experience.

A recent Australian study concludes that hypnosis helps alleviate pain during childbirth, especially for first time mums. Australian study

A study by University of Florida researchers (August 2000) found that learning self-hypnosis actually gives a patient greater control over the stress, anxiety and pain of medical operations and childbirth. They concluded that women who learn hypnosis before delivering babies suffer fewer complications, need less medication and are more likely to have healthier babies than are women without hypnosis.

In 1990 the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and Waukesha Memorial Hospital studied the benefits of hypnotic analgesia as an adjunct to childbirth education. They found that hypnotically prepared births had shorter Stage 1 labors (the opening and thinning phase), less medication, higher Apgar scores, and more frequent spontaneous deliveries as well as lower incidents of post-partum depression.

A Retrospective study was conducted by a Canadian Study in 2001 to assess the effects of prenatal hypnotherapy classes on the length of labor, use of pain medication, intervention rates, maternal pain perception and maternal satisfaction. The results showed that women who were prepared with hypnosis had shorter labors, used less pain medication, had lower intervention rates, and perceived their births as being very satisfactory and would recommend using hypnosis to other women. The birth partners were also trained in how to use additional hypnosis support during the birthing.

As early as 1993 studies were showing a reduction in the length of labor when the Mum was prepared for birth with hypnosis. This study was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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