Research published on the 27th June 2012 in the British journal of obstetrics and gynaecology showed that women who were frightened of giving birth had longer labours and were more likely to need intervention. It is estimated that one in 5 women have severe fear of birth, sometimes also known as tokophobia. With NHS resources more strapped than ever, women are receiving even less antenatal education and in particular very little support for their emotional well being,
As a result women are turning to providers outside of the NHS to help them prepare both physically as well as emotionally for birth. A detailed survey (2) of more than 1250 women, including 853 first time mothers, who learnt self hypnosis as part of their birth preparation, indicated that these techniques lead to a significant reduction of any fear of labour as well as a reduction in intervention.
A staggering 89% said using the techniques had enabled them to overcome any fears connected with giving birth; 72% reported feeling calm during the birth with 61% feeling able to manage the pain in labour. Only 15% required a caesarean compared with the national rate of almost 25%. Overall, 95% of women felt they had benefited from learning self hypnosis as a way to help them have a more positive birth experience.
Maggie Howell, Founder of the award winning Natal Hypnotherapy Programme, which is the UK’s largest provider of hypnosis for birth cds, books and courses says “In our society, fear and an has become the over-riding emotion pregnant women feel about childbirth - feelings which cause much of the pain and complications in birth. As the survey shows us, Natal Hypnotherapy helps women overcome fear, feel more in control and learn techniques to stay calm and relaxed so that they have a more positive birth experience”.
John Thorp, BJOG Deputy-Editor-in-Chief says:
“There are a number of reasons why women may develop a fear of childbirth. This research shows that women with fear of childbirth are more likely to need obstetric intervention and this needs to be explored further so that obstetricians and midwives can provide the appropriate support and advice.”
The recommendation of using hypnosis is one way that Obstetricians and midwives can provide this support. There are pockets within the NHS where these techniques are being both recommended such as the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS trust (4) and researched such as the NHS funding the largest known trial of the use of hypnosis for birth (SHIP trial (5). These techniques are a low cost, safe and practical antidote to the fear based, drug-dependent labour management culture that has developed in the UK over the last fifty years.
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Notes to Editors
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Call 07710 019068 or 01428 712615 and/or visit
1. BJOG release: Women with a fear of childbirth endure a longer labour finds new research
2. A RETROSPECTIVE SURVEY ON THE PSYCHOSOMATIC AND PHARMACOLOGICAL OUTCOMES OF WOMEN USING NATAL HYPNOTHERAPY CDS DURING PREGNANCY
3. Over 2,300 midwives and birth professionals across the UK are now recommending Natal Hypnotherapy techniques. Hypnotherapy has been an accepted therapeutic practice recognised by the British Medical Association since 1955.
4. Natal Hypnotherapy workshops are being offered to women at Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals
5. Self-Hypnosis for Intrapartum Pain management (SHIP) trial
6. Natal Hypnotherapy was awarded the Practical Parenting ‘Pregnancy Product of the Year’ award for its CDs, the Practical Parenting ‘Editors’ award and won the gold award from “lovedbyparents” The CDs were finalists in the Pregnancy Product awards in 2010 and 2011.
7. Other CDs in the Natal Hypnotherapy range include:
The IVF Companion Home birth preparation* Fast post natal recovery*
Prepare to conceive Prepare for a Caesarean* Breastfeeding companion
Overcoming Morning Sickness Hospital birth preparation* VBAC preparation
Pregnancy Relaxation* Relaxation and Stress Management
*denotes twins version available
8. Natal Hypnotherapy was founded in 2001 by Clinical Hypnotherapist and doula, Maggie Howell (d. Hyp. C. Hyp, LHA,UK HypReg), following the birth of her first child in which she used hypnotherapy techniques which she then went on to develop into the Natal Hypnotherapy product range following further research with mothers and antenatal groups. Maggie has since gone on to have four more children.
9. Natal Hypnotherapy CDs (£11.99) and book (£8,99) are available from www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk
10. Natal Hypnotherapy workshops are available from £95 throughout the UK from licensed Natal Hypnotherapy practitioners
11. Natal hypnotherapy is a UK trademarked approach to hypnosis for birth and should not be confused with the US Hypnobirthing method
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