labor, pregnancy

Easing Labor

Preparing for labor can be a stressful time for an expecting mother, as she tries to learn techniques to make the process easier and looks forward to taking her baby home. Studies show that hypnosis can vastly increase a woman’s comfort in the anxious months leading up to labor—even make labor itself easier.

In an experiment where some women had hypnosis at weeks 16, 20, 28, and 36 of pregnancy in addition to their regular medical care, researchers found that these women performed better before, during, and after labor than those who did not receive hypnosis. The sessions were aimed at relaxing the pelvic muscles, decreasing anxiety, and instilling a sense of positivity regarding labor and the postpartum period. Women who attended the four hypnosis sessions and practiced hypnosis at home had less anxiety before labor and less depression, anxiety, and fatigue after labor. None of them opted for epidurals or C-sections either, and women who practiced hypnosis felt more confident and in control of labor pains than those without hypnosis who opted for epidurals or C-sections.