Research and Evidence

Many studies have been carried out with some amazing results, see below for just some of the studies that have been undertaken in Hypnosis for Childibirth.

A British study found a statistically significant reduction in the length of labour of first and second time mothers: 70 hypnosis patients (6 h 21 min) compared to 70 relaxation patients (9 h 28 min) and 70 control group (9 h 45 min) (Davidson 1962).

Jenkins and Pritchard found a reduction of 3 hours for prim gravid women using hypnosis for childbirth (from 9.3 hours to 6.4 hours) and 1 hour for multi gravid women (from 6.2 hours to 5.3 hours) for active labour (262 subjects and 600 controls). Pushing was statistically shorter for first time mothers (from 50 min to 37 min) (Jenkins & Pritchard 1993).

Mellegren noted a reduction of two to three hours of labour for women using hypnosis for childbirth Abramson and Heron found a shorter first stage of labour for 100 women trained with hypnosis (by 3.23 hours) compared to a control group of 88 women. Forty-five Hypnosis for Childbirth clients (first time mothers) had an average of 4.5 hours for the active labour, a significant reduction compared to the usual 12 hours (Abramson & Heron 1950).

In a study that compared hypnosis and Lamaze training, 96 women chose between hypnosis (n=45) and Lamaze (n=51). The first stage of labour was shortened in the hypnosis group by 98 minutes for first time mothers and by 40 minutes for second time mothers. These women were more satisfied with labour and reported other benefits of hypnosis such as reduced anxiety and help with getting to sleep (Brann & Guzvica 1987).

Harmon, Hynan and Tyre reported higher Apgar scores in babies born to women using hypnosis in childbirth in their study of 60 women. (Harmon et al 1990).

In a British study, 55% of 45 patients using hypnosis (first and second time mothers) required no medication for pain relief. In the other non-hypnosis groups, only 22% of 90 women required no medication. (August 1961).

A retrospective survey notes an epidural rate of 18 percent in Southern Ontario for women using hypnosis, where the epidural rate in most hospitals is 40 to 95 percent (depending on the setting) for first time mothers (Hornyak et al 2000).

In a randomized control trial of 42 teenagers in Florida, none of the 22 patients in the hypnosis group experienced surgical intervention compared with 12 of the 20 patients in the control group (Martin et al 2001).

Hao et al in China measured the effect of nursing suggestions to labouring women and recommends that the conversation of the nurses be “controlled carefully for the purpose of advancing the birth process”. This randomized control trial examined 60 first time mothers using hypnosis for childbirth with a matched control group of 60 first time mothers and found a statistically significant reduction in the lengths of the first and second stages of labour for those women using hypnosis (Hao et al 1997).

Harmon, Hynan and Tyre reported more spontaneous deliveries and reduced medication use in their study of 60 women. Of the 45 hypnosis for childbirth clients, 38 delivered without the use of caesarean, forceps or vacuum, a rate of spontaneous birth of 84%. This is a higher than average rate of normal birth for the general population of first time mothers (Harmon et al 1990).

McCarthy provided five 30-minute hypnosis sessions to 600 women and found a virtual absence of postpartum depression, compared to the typical rates of 10 to 15 percent. Even women in the group who had a history of postpartum depression did not develop the condition again, compared to an estimated 50 percent of women who would be expected to develop it again when not treated with hypnosis (McCarthy 1998).
Harmon et al also reported lower postpartum depression scores in the hypnotically treated group (Harmon et al 1990)


Alice A Martin PhD, Paul G Schauble PhD, Surekha H Rai PhD & R Whit Curry Jr MD (May 2001) The Effects of Hypnosis on the Labor Processes and Birth Outcomes of Pregnant Adolescents. The Journal of Family Practice, 50(5): 441-443.

Hao TY, Li YH, Yao (Oct 1997) SF. Clinical study on shortening the birth process using psychological suggestion therapy. Zhonghua Hu Li Za Zhi. 32(10):568-70. (General Military Hospital of Jinan, P.R. China.)

Brann LR, Guzvica SA (1987) Comparison of hypnosis with conventional relaxation for antenatal and intrapartum use: A feasibility study in general practice. J R Coll Gen Pract; 37:437-440.

Harmon TM, Hynan M & Tyre TE (1990) Improved obstetric outcomes using hypnotic analgesia and skill mastery combined with childbirth education. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 525, 530.

Mellegren A (1966) Practical experiences with a modified hypnosis-delivery. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 14, 425-428.

Jenkins MW & Pritchard MH (1993) Hypnosis: Practical applications and theoretical considerations in normal labour. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 100(3), 221-226.

Abramson M & Heron WT (1950) An objective evaluation of hypnosis in obstetrics: Preliminary report. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 59, 1069-1074.

August RV (1961) Obstetric hypnoanesthesia. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 79, 1131-1137.

Hornyak, Lynne M & Joseph P Green (2000) Healing From Within: The use of hypnosis in women’s health care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

August RV (1961) Hypnosis in obstetrics. New York: McGraw Hill.

Davidson J MD (Oct 1962) An assessment of the value of hypnosis in pregnancy and labour. Br Med Journal, 951-953.

McCarthy P (1998) Hypnosis in obstetrics. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 26, 35-42

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