There are many ideas and beliefs in every culture about labor and childbirth. In many Asian, African, Native American, and South American cultures childbirth is seen as a natural part of the life cycle. The literature suggests that many women have a non-stressful and comfortable experience.
The use of hypnosis for more comfortable childbirth has a long and distinguished history. Some of the earliest documentation is from the 1920s in Russia. A doctor named Platanov became very well known for his hypno-obstetric success. Ferdinand Lamaze learned these hypnotic techniques during a visit to Russia and brought them back to France where he developed the "Lamaze Method" that is still used today. He originally called it, “Childbirth without pain through the psychological method."
In more recent times, labor and childbirth with hypnosis have been widely studied. In July 2007, The British Journal of Anesthesia performed the most comprehensive study to date. Their conclusion was:
This report represents the most comprehensive review of the literature to date on the use of hypnosis for analgesia during childbirth. The meta-analysis shows that hypnosis reduces analgesia requirements in labor. Apart from the analgesia and anesthetic effects possible in receptive subjects, there are three other possible reasons why analgesic consumption during childbirth might be reduced when using hypnosis.
First, teaching self-hypnosis facilitates patient autonomy and a sense of control. Secondly, the majority of patients are likely to be able to use hypnosis for relaxation, thus reducing apprehension that in turn may reduce analgesic requirements. Finally, the possible reduction in the need for pharmacological augmentation of labor when hypnosis is used for childbirth may minimize the incidence of uterine hyperstimulation and the need for epidural analgesia.
Hypnotherapy for Labor and Childbirth in 6 sessions
The optimal number of sessions for Labor and Childbirth with Hypnotherapy is 5 or more, scheduled a week apart. This gives the client and her birth partner plenty of time to build rapport, learn self-hypnosis, discuss and discharge any fears or concerns, discuss any relationship issues, achieve maximum depth, learn the “partial hypno-anesthesia technique” and practice, practice, practice!! Remember hypno-anesthesia is a skill, just like playing a musical instrument, the more you practice, the better you get! Since I tend to price sessions in pairs, 6 sessions are ideal.
For a woman who is experiencing her first pregnancy schedule the introductory appointment before week 30. This gives us plenty of time since the average first pregnancy is 40 weeks. Twins and triplets tend to come sooner! Schedule the first session before 25 weeks. After the first pregnancy, terms can get shorter. For second or third pregnancies (and beyond) schedule the first session before week 28.
- Session 1 is my standard 90-minute introductory session. We answer questions, do the state paperwork and experience hypnosis for the first time.
- Sessions 2 through 4 are one-on-one with the woman and the hypnotherapist and are 60-minutes each.
- Sessions 5 and 6, are ideal for the woman to bring her birth partner, doula or another support person. These are also 60-minutes.