Hypnotherapy during the perinatal period of motherhood
Pregnancy can be a physical and psychological rollercoaster and a very individual experience.
Many women experience commonalities however, such as ambivalent feelings and emotions of happiness and uncertainty whilst adjusting to the phenomenal physical and sometimes traumatic changes and stressors their bodies are experiencing as they adapt to motherhood.
First-time mothers may experience more anxiety than women who have experienced a successful pregnancy before. Women who have experienced a difficult pregnancy, or a pregnancy loss may be equally as anxious as a first-time mother-to-be because they may have negative expectations, anxiety, and beliefs that a similar situation could occur again.
Around 10-15% of women are severely affected by perinatal depression dealing with symptoms such as insomnia, weight/appetite loss, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt, inadequacy and worthlessness, hopelessness and despair, loss of ability to feel pleasure, and thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Symptoms of which not only affect their own mental and physical health but also that of their un/born child.
There are some amazing benefits of using hypnotherapy to support women during the perinatal period and it has been used widely in obstetrical care, particularly in hypnotic childbirth training.
August (1960) for example, performed more than 1000 births using hypnotherapy alone, but it’s also been shown to be very effective in reducing pain, the need for medications, the amount of time spent in labour, and complications during pregnancy (Davenport-Slack, 1975).
Hypnotherapy has also been found to significantly prolong the pregnancy in women who experience premature labour (Omer 1987), to promote and suppress lactation (Kroger, 1977), and for managing morning sickness (hyperemesis).
One study, in particular, found hypnotic ego-strengthening, and other positive suggestions significantly reduced morning sickness and halted it altogether in the majority of women (Fuchs, Abramovici, Peretz, & Paldi, 1980).
Some expectant mothers may experience gestational hypertension (high blood pressure) during pregnancy. Hypnosis and stress management techniques have all been found to be effective strategies to help reverse hypertension during pregnancy.
August, R. V. (1960) 'Obstetrical hypnoanesthesia'. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 79: 1131-1138.
Davenport-Slack, B. (1975) 'A comparative evaluation of obstetrical hypnosis and antenatal, childbirth training'. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 12: 266-281.
Fuchs, K., Abramovici, H., Peretz, B. A., & Paldi, E. (1980) 'Treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum by hypnosis.' International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 28: 313-323.
Kroger, W. S. (1977) Clinical and experimental hypnosis (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.
Omer, H. (1987) 'A hypnotic relaxation technique for the treatment of premature labor'. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 29(3): 206-213.