Hypnotherapy can be used during pregnancy and childbirth to prepare a mother for birth and/or to attempt to treat a number of issues ranging from fears and minor health conditions related to the pregnancy, to the possibility of reducing or eliminating pain during labor.
Practitioners believe that during pregnancy and prior to birth, the use of hypnosis can significantly shorten labor, reduce pain and reduce the need for intervention. Practitioners also believe that babies born to mothers who have used hypnosis to relax and calm themselves will sleep and feed better.
Hypnotherapists who specialize in hypnosis for childbirth can offer a tailored approach geared towards individual women. This is especially important if they have additional phobias or fears associated with childbirth. This can include needle phobias, fear of hospitals or even fear of pregnancy itself.
Hypnosis can also be used as a pain relief method during labor. Obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read first wrote about the phenomenon in the 1930s in his work on natural childbirth and since the 1980s a range of different techniques have been developed that utilize hypnosis in a natural childbirth. These include Hypnobirthing (as originally coined by Michelle Leclaire O'Neill), The Mongan Method (also known as "HypnoBirthing"), Hypnobabies, the Lamaze method, Natal Hypnotherapy, FreshStart and the GentleBirth program.