Antenatal hypnosis training and childbirth experience: a randomized controlled trial

Birth. 2013 Dec;40(4):272-80. doi: 10.1111/birt.12071.


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.

Trial registration: NCT00914082.

Keywords: antenatal training; childbirth; childbirth experience; hypnosis; relaxation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Mindfulness
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Prenatal Care / psychology
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data