Hypnosis-based interventions during pregnancy and childbirth and their impact on women's childbirth experience: A systematic review

Midwifery. 2020 May:84:102666. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2020.102666. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Background: Hypnosis has been increasingly used in recent years in healthcare, with several applications during pregnancy, labor and birth. Yet, few studies have assessed the impact of hypnosis on women's childbirth experience.

Aim: This systematic review examines the use and effects of hypnosis-based interventions during pregnancy and childbirth on women's childbirth experience.

Methods: A literature search was performed on several databases (Science Direct, PsychINFO and PubMed). Published articles reporting on hypnosis-based interventions carried out during pregnancy and/or childbirth that evaluated childbirth experience were included in the review. The articles were assessed with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT).

Key findings: Nine articles met the inclusion criteria. The methodological value of the articles was limited for half of the studies (four studies scored 60% or less on the MMAT). Despite this methodological limitation, the results suggest a positive impact of hypnosis-based interventions on childbirth experience, in alleviating fear and pain and enhancing sense of control during labor. The hypnosis-based interventions improved women's emotional experiences and outlook towards birth, with less anxiety, increased satisfaction, fewer birth interventions, more postnatal well-being and better childbirth experience overall.

Implications for practice: The findings of this review suggest that hypnosis-based interventions improve childbirth experience. Further studies should be undertaken in order to better determine and develop hypnosis-based interventions aiming at improving this experience. Such interventions could enhance several aspects of the childbirth experience by taking into account women's partners, medical and surgical history, narratives of childbirth and specific aspects of complicated pregnancies that women can go through.

Keywords: Childbirth; Childbirth experience; Hypnosis; Hypnotherapy; Pregnancy; Self-hypnosis; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Life Change Events*
  • Parturition / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires