Painless Childbirth with Hypnosis
Data from Soviet Studies
Copyright (c) Donald Robertson, 2010
The graph below shows data from exactly one thousand childbirths in the Soviet Union. 641 of the women had “prophylactic preparation” in the form of preventative psychological education suggestion, of whom 25% reported complete absence of pain in childbirth. This sort of rational “psycho-education” took place in groups of 30-35 women over the space of up to six sessions. A smaller group, 246 women, were given verbal reassurance and suggestion by a hypno-psychotherapist who was actually present at the birth, of this group 56% reported painless birth. Only 113 women received full hypnotherapy, of whom an impressive 84% reported completely painless childbirth.
These figures have very limited validity, for a number of reasons. In particular, there is no indication of randomisation, so women may have been selected for different treatments in a way that could have prejudiced the results. There’s also little information on the method used to measure the outcome, i.e., the way pain was measured and reported. Nevertheless, during this period there was considerable support for hypnotherapy and suggestion used to alleviate the pain of childbirth in the Soviet Union on a very large scale, and these figures give some rough indication of the perceived benefits.
Zdravomyslov, V.I. (1956). ‘The Significance of Psychotherapy in Obstetrics and Gynecology’ in Psychotherapy in the Soviet Union, Ralph B. Winn (ed.). Grove Press: New York.