An 18 month trial has been started by the NHS aiming to teach expectant mothers self-hypnosis so that they do not have to rely on drug treatments such as epidurals, gas and morphine for pain relief during labour. 800 first time mothers will participate in the trial of hypnobirthing, that will be run in hospitals in Burnley and Blackburn.
The aim of the trial is to give women greater ability to manage their labour, with the courses lasting several hours and teaching the expectant mothers to enter a state of deep calm and relaxtion. The participants will also be taught to massage themselves to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are a natural painkillers released by the body, and also learn to replace words like 'contraction' and 'pain' with more neutral terms.
Drugs used during labour are expensive and also thought to be potentially dangerous for the mother and the baby, and it is also hoped that with the self-hypnosis helping to control pain, there may be a reduced need for supervision by a midwife during the labour, which will help to ease the pressure on busy maternity wards.
Read on to find out more about the NHS trial into hypnobirthing