UCLan lecturer reveals findings from largest UK study on self-hypnosis for women in labour

Posted on - 14th May, 2015 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, UCLan
Soo Downes who led the study into self-hypnosis during childbirth

Soo Downes who led the study into self-hypnosis during childbirth

A UCLan lecturer has unveiled findings from a three year study showing the effectiveness of self-hypnosis during childbirth.


Professor Soo Downe’s study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research showed that the therapy only had minimal impact on the pain during labour, but that it did reduce fear and anxiety levels.

She said, “The results suggest that self-hypnosis poses no danger to participants, and that two group sessions in pregnancy along with a CD is very inexpensive. However, if self-hypnosis is offered to women, maternity care staff will need to be made aware of how relaxed some women can appear when they are using self-hypnosis, even if they are actually in strong labour.”

The report, which was published this week in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, found that spending less than £5 on a pregnant woman can make these differences. The study was sponsored by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, and involved 680 first-time mums from three hospitals in the North West.

It was the largest randomised controlled trial on self-hypnosis for labour in the UK to date, and the second largest in the world.

The report comes shortly after the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child, where the use of self-hypnosis was heavily contested for their first baby, George.

The study, entitled Self-Hypnosis for Intrapartum Pain management (SHIP) in pregnant nulliparous women: a randomised controlled trial of clinical effectiveness, involved researchers from UCLan, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, University of Liverpool, University of York, and Lancaster University alongside East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital.

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