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MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing

December 2002, Volume 27 Number 6 , p 335 - 340


  • Debra Ketterhagen MSN, RNC, CNM
  • Leona VandeVusse PhD, RN, CNM, FACNM
  • Margaret Ann Berner MSN, RN, CNM, HBCE




  • Hypnosis

  • Review of the Literature

  • Hypnosis Compared to Other Therapeutic Approaches to Pain Relief

  • Case Report

  • Clinical Implications: Antepartum

  • Clinical Implications: Intrapartum

  • Conclusion

  • References


    The purpose of this article is to inform nurses about the use of self-hypnosis in childbirth. Hypnosis is a focused form of concentration. Self-hypnosis is one form of hypnosis in which a certified practitioner or therapist teaches an individual to induce his or her own state of altered consciousness. When used for childbirth pain, the primary aim of self-hypnosis is to help the woman maintain control by managing anxiety and discomfort though inducing a focused state of relaxation. Before the widespread use of pharmaceuticals for pain, hypnosis was one of the few pain relief methods available for labor. However, as new technologies for pain relief emerged, hypnosis received less attention. Most nurses have little experience with hypnosis, and there is limited information available in the literature. However, because nurses are at laboring women’s bedsides, it is important that nurses learn about self-hypnosis to be able to inform pregnant women fully about all pain control options and to maximize the benefits for the woman choosing hypnosis.

    We began an exploration of the topic of hypnosis in labor because of a client’s request. Although all experienced nurses, only one of us had clinical experience with women using self-hypnosis for pain relief in labor. This client’s request challenged us to learn more in order to help women with self-hypnosis, a method that does not have the side effects associated with medications or epidural anesthesia ( Goldman, 1992 ). The purpose of this article is to inform nurses about the use of self-hypnosis ...

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