Antenatal Hypnosis Training and Childbirth Experience: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors

  • Anette Werner MHSc, PhD,

    midwife
    1. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Aarhus N, Denmark
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  • Niels Uldbjerg MDSc, PhD,

    professor
    1. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Aarhus N, Denmark
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  • Robert Zachariae MSc, MDSc, PhD,

    professor
    1. Unit for Psychooncology and Health Psychology, Department of Oncology, Department of Psychology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark
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  • Chun Sen Wu MD, PhD,

    post doctoral
    1. Department of Public Health, Section for Epidemiology, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark
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  • Ellen A. Nohr MHSc, PhD

    1. Department of Public Health, Section for Epidemiology, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark
    2. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Odense University Hospital, Odense C, Denmark
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  • Funding The project was made possible by funding from: Nordea Fonden, Aaseog Ejnar Danielsens foundation, The Danish Society for Clinical Hypnosis, VIFAB (Knowledge and Research Center for Alternative Medicine), King Christian X's foundation and The Danish Association of Midwives. We are very thankful to all contributors.
  • Ethical approval This trial was approved on December 15, 2008, by the Scientific Ethical Committee for the Region of Central Jutland, nr. M-200080200 in Denmark and by the Danish Data Protection Agency on November 5, 2008, nr. 2088-41-2797. The trial was also reported to ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00914082.

Address correspondence to Anette Werner, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Brendstrupgaardsvej 100, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark.

Abstract

Background

Childbirth is a demanding event in a woman's life. The aim of this study was to explore whether a brief intervention in the form of an antenatal course in self-hypnosis to ease childbirth could improve the childbirth experience.

Method

In a randomized, controlled, single-blinded trial, 1,222 healthy nulliparous women were allocated to one of three groups during pregnancy: A hypnosis group participating in three 1-hour sessions teaching self-hypnosis to ease childbirth, a relaxation group receiving three 1-hour lessons in various relaxation methods and Mindfulness, and a usual care group receiving ordinary antenatal care only. Wijmas Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ) was used to measure the childbirth experience 6 weeks postpartum.

Results

The intention-to-treat analysis indicated that women in the hypnosis group experienced their childbirth as better compared with the other two groups (mean W-DEQ score of 42.9 in the Hypnosis group, 47.2 in the Relaxation group, and 47.5 in the Care as usual group (p = 0.01)). The tendency toward a better childbirth experience in the hypnosis group was also seen in subgroup analyses for mode of delivery and for levels of fear.

Conclusion

In this large randomized controlled trial, a brief course in self-hypnosis improved the women's childbirth experience.

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