Hypnosis helps alleviate pain during childbirth, an Australian study suggests.
South Australian researchers found women having their first child who learnt self hypnosis in the lead-up to labour were less likely to need an epidural than other first-time mothers.
They compared 77 women who were taught hypnosis in preparation for childbirth with a control group of more than 3,000 mothers who received normal ante-natal care.
The differences were most marked in women having their first babies.
Marion Andrew, senior consultant anaesthetist at the Women and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, said that of the hypnosis group, 36 per cent of first-time mothers had epidurals compared with 55 per cent of the controls.
"I think when they're having their first baby, they're very highly motivated and a lot of women these days would prefer to avoid analgesia in labour if they can," she explained.
'Dr Andrew presented the findings of the case-controlled comparison study to the annual scientific meeting of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists in Auckland.
She said the limited number of randomised-controlled trials that had been done internationally on the issue showed women taught hypnosis tended to need less pain relief and were more likely to have a normal birth.
Recent research involving brain imaging of people undergoing hypnosis while receiving a painful stimulus found reduced activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the region responsible for the emotional component of pain.
Dr Andrew, one of two anaesthetists with training in hypnotherapy at the Women's and Children's Hospital, said hypnosis had become very much in demand among pregnant women.
Mickie Mongan creator of HypnoBirthing (check out http://hypnobirthing.com) has know this for a long time!!