Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Nursing in Richmond, VA explored the perceptions of pregnant African American women toward using guided imagery as a stress management technique. Interest in this was high, as maternal stress during pregnancy has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and pregnant African American women are reported to have higher levels of stress than most other ethnic groups.
The guided imagery intervention was part of a larger mixed methods randomized controlled trial. The 12week intervention was a professionally recorded compact disc with four tracks developed and sequenced to reduce stress and associated symptoms in listeners.
Researchers from the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University, Waco, TX developed a study to evaluate the feasibility of a guided self-hypnosis intervention for hot flashes.
Thirteen postmenopausal women received 5 sessions of guided self-hypnosis (guided imagery) in which all the hypnotic inductions were audio recordings.
Subjects were provided with guidance regarding symptom monitoring, individualizing the mental imagery and practicing the technique.
Hot flashes were measured through diaries. Results indicated that the average frequency of hot flashes decreased by 72% (p < .001) and hot-flash intensity decreased by 76% (p < .001) on average.
Positive Trends for Hypnosis
Researchers from the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital and The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, conducted a literature review of studies in the efficacy of hypnosis for the treatment of severe, pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum).
They searched databases from Cochrane, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and Web of Knowledge databases. A total of 45 studies were identified, and, of those, six fulfilled the inclusion criteria.
Studies were reviewed for study design, methodological quality, intervention and outcomes. Methodology between the studies differed but all reported encouraging positive outcomes.
Investigators from the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology at the University of Valencia in Valencia, Spain, examined the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention in breast-feeding mothers.
The research team developed and tested an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention aimed at improving maternal self-efficacy, mindfulness, self-compassion, satisfaction with life, and subjective happiness, and at reducing psychological distress.
A randomized controlled, between-groups design was used with treatment and control groups (n = 26) and pretest and posttest measures.
Investigators from Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel, investigated whether hypnosis during embryo transfer contributes to successful fertility outcomes.
In this case-control, clinical study with infertile couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), 98 IVF/ET cycles with hypnosis were matched with 96 regular IVF/ET cycles. Rates of clinical pregnancy and implantation were then compared between the two groups.
There were 52 clinical pregnancies out of 98 cycles (53.1%), with an implantation rate of 28% among hypnosis IVF/ET cycles, as compared with 29 out of 96 (30.2%) clinical pregnancies and an implantation rate of 14.4% in the control cycles.
Investigators from the Clinique du Mail in La Rochelle, France, conducted a randomized, prospective, controlled study, comparing the efficacy of hypnosis on patients receiving embryo transfer, to measure impact on pregnancy rates and degree of anxiety, as compared to the efficacy of Diazepam (Valium).
Previous research by Levitas et al (2006) showed in a cohort study that hypnosis during embryo transfer (ET) increased the pregnancy ratio by 76%.
In order to evaluate hypnosis during ET in a general population, the authors compared the impact of diazepam (usual premedication) administered before ET plus muscle relaxation, versus hypnosis plus placebo, in 94 patients.
In this feasibility study, investigators from Baylor University in Waco, TX examined whether a hypnotic intervention could reduce hot flashes.
Thirteen postmenopausal women received 5 sessions of guided self-hypnosis in which all hypnotic inductions were recordings. Additionally, they were given guidance regarding symptom monitoring, individualizing their guided imagery, and on the general practice of self-hypnosis.
Hot flashes were determined through diaries.
Results indicated that the average frequency of hot flashes decreased by 72% (p < .001) and hot-flash scores decreased by 76% (p < .001) on average.
Researchers from the Department of Family and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing in Richmond, Virginia, and Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, conducted a feasibility study examining the impact of guided imagery on maternal stress in at risk, hospitalized pregnant women suffering from conditions such as preterm labor, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, incompetent cervix, multiple gestation, and so forth.
The investigators used a repeated-measures, pre-/posttest design. Mean stress and systolic blood pressure measurements were significantly lower after the intervention, as compared to before listening to the guided imagery CD. Measures were taken on Day one and whatever the last day was – number of days varied and could be from 2 to 10 days.
A randomized controlled trial by researchers from Oslo University Hospital examined whether a self-administered practice of relaxation techniques, positive affirmations and guided imagery in the final part of pregnancy resulted in a positive impact on giving birth; and additionally, whether using a CD with a booklet, with no previous training or practitioner assistance, could be effective.
Outcome measures were monitored both during and after delivery. During delivery, pain and anxiety were measured at different stages of birth. Post-delivery measures included well-being (Edmonton Scale 0-10, where 10 is the worst), pain, anxiety, Apgar score, duration of birth, complications and anesthesia/analgesic use.
Researchers from Georgia College and State University examined the effects of listening to music and guided imagery on the quantity and quality of breast milk produced by mothers of preemies. It has long been understood that breast milk is the nutritional gold standard, but that preterm mothers are at risk of not producing enough milk, due to multiple factors, including stress, fatigue, and the separation of the breastfeeding dyad due to hospitalization.