How Effective is Hypnosis for Pregnancy Issues and Childbirth?

We can all remember watching a movie, or even a cartoon, where the guy with the black suit and handlebar mustache is swinging a watch and saying in a low drone, "Look into my eyes." He was hypnotizing someone and that, for most people became the foundation of belief about hypnosis. But, to be fair, things have changed a lot and today more people than ever are using hypnosis to deal with all sorts of issues - from health to finances to relationships.

Hypnosis Defined

The Mayo Clinic defines hypnosis this way: "Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus, concentration and inner absorption.

When you're under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. Under hypnosis, you're more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to modify your perceptions, behavior, sensations and emotions.

Therapeutic hypnosis is used to improve your health and well-being and is different from so-called stage hypnosis used by entertainers. Although you're more open to suggestion during therapeutic hypnosis, your free will remains intact and you don't lose control over your behavior."

The History of Hypnosis

The history of hypnosis is really quite ancient, having roots in the spiritual practices of oriental cultures, including the Persians and yogis. The application of hypnosis came to the forefront in the Western world in the late 1700s with a man named Franz Mesmer (from whom we get the word mesmerize).

Several years later, a Scottish surgeon by the name of James Braid based his practice on Mesmer's but differed in his theories and in 1841 the phrase "neuro-hypnotism" (nervous sleep) was coined by him. He used the practice of hypnosis to rid himself of severe pain and used it on his patients regularly. As a pain relief method, hypnosis can be used to help arthritic pain, joint and muscular pain and discomforts associated with lupus and other auto-immune diseases.

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and the hypnotherapist is really just a guide. You can find online hypnosis sessions and hypnosis videos which take you through hypnosis. In them you will discover that the state is one entered into and out of at the will of the participant. It is neither a sleep state nor an unconscious state and a person cannot be made to divulge information. It is nothing more than a way to direct the inner mind toward what is positive.

Uses For Hypnosis in Daily Life

Today, people learn hypnosis and practice self-hypnosis for a variety of reasons. Hypnosis for smoking cessation became big several years ago and many people were able to leave the cigarette habit behind after just one or two sessions of hypnosis for smoking. Another popular use was and continues to be hypnosis for weight loss.

It has been shown to be effective in helping people lose small amounts of weight when used in conjunction with other weight loss efforts. As with anything, there are mixed reviews on the system, however, there is little clinical research either way to determine its efficacy for major weight loss.


Where there has been a surge of interest and participation is in the area of using self-hypnosis for childbirth. It's called hypnobirthing and from most reports, it works quite well. People who have life-threatening allergies to anesthesia have been hypnotized and were able to undergo dentistry and surgery with no drugs and no pain. In cases like this, hypnosis works by training the mind to experience the discomfort only as pressure and that principle is what is used in labor and childbirth.

The more relaxed the mother is, the more comfort she experiences. Hypnosis helps a laboring mother arrive at a deeply relaxed state necessary to go through labor without serious pain. Practicing using relaxation and guided visualizations along with positive hypnotic suggestions allows the subconscious mind to be programmed to believe the labor and birth will be easy and comfortable.

A realistic view of childbirth is necessary, especially since there are variables that can affect the outcome of labor and childbirth. Nevertheless, the benefits of using hypnosis for childbirth include fewer or no drug use at all, meaning less risk of side effects on the baby; shorter labor because the resistance to pain response in the muscles is minimized or eliminated; the mother is awake and has energy; the environment is calm and peaceful and fewer interventions are necessary, allowing for a more natural and normal childbirth.

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