A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Hypnobirthing: How does it work?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypnobirthing/AN02138
- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
Labor and delivery (7)
- Doula: Do you need a doula?
- Back labor: Childbirth myth or reality?
- Cord blood banking: What are the options?
- see all in Labor and delivery
Postpartum care (4)
- Lactation suppression: Can medication help?
- Sagging breasts: Inevitable after breast-feeding?
- Low milk supply: What causes it?
- see all in Postpartum care
Hypnobirthing: How does it work?
I've heard that hypnosis can be used to ease pain during childbirth. How does hypnobirthing work?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
Hypnobirthing is a birthing method that uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help a woman feel prepared, narrow her focus, and reduce her awareness of fear, anxiety and pain during childbirth.
If you're tense or afraid during labor, stress hormones can redirect blood flow to your limbs, heart and brain — the fight-or-flight reaction — and waste precious energy. Hypnobirthing may counteract this process by preventing the release of stress hormones, which potentially reduces the pain of labor.
Hypnobirthing classes typically begin during the third trimester of pregnancy. While specific programs differ, they generally teach participants to use a combination of music, visualization, positive thinking and words to relax the body and control sensations during labor.
Research examining the benefits of hypnobirthing is limited. A 2004 research review found insufficient evidence to show that the technique is effective. A 2006 research review, however, found that hypnobirthing reduced the use of pain medication during labor.
If you're interested in finding out more about hypnobirthing, talk to your health care provider. He or she may recommend a certified childbirth educator or other professional who can help you determine if hypnobirthing is right for you.Next question
Lower back tattoo: OK to have an epidural?
- Lothian JA. Preparation for labor and childbirth. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 5, 2011.
- Smith CA, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2006;CD003521. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews. Accessed March 16, 2011.
- Valente SM. Hypnosis for pain management. Journal of psychosocial nursing and mental health services. 2006;44:22.
- Huntley AL, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine for labor pain: A systematic review. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2004;191:36.
- Vandevusse L, et al. Hypnosis for childbirth: A retrospective comparative analysis of outcomes in one obstetrician's practice. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 2007;50:2.
- Mottershead N. Hypnosis: Removing the labour from birth. The Practising Midwife. 2006;9:26.
- James U. Practical uses of hypnosis in enhancing fertility, healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2009;15:239.