Pregnancy & Childbirth Research
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.
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.
Researchers from Medical Department Oslo University Hospital in Norway investigated the impact of self-administered relaxation, guided imagery and positive affirmations during the latter part of pregnancy on the experience of childbirth.
Subjects with no prior training were given a CD and accompanying booklet and compared with treatment as usual in this randomized, controlled clinical trial.
Amount of pain and anxiety were measured during different stages of birth and after delivery. Post-delivery Wellbeing (Edmonton Scale), pain, anxiety, Apgar score, duration of birth, complications and degree of anesthesia/analgesic used were recorded. Those in the CD-intervention group also reported how many times they had practiced.
Researchers from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque addressed the issue of anxiety, fatigue and emotional stress interfering with the ability of new mothers of premature infants to express milk for their babies in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit).
To facilitate the breast-feeding experience, intervention mothers were given a 20-minute audio cassette tape based on relaxation and visual imagery techniques.
Researchers from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, assessed the benefits of mind-body interventions during pregnancy in preventing or treating women's anxiety and in influencing perinatal outcomes.
They searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 November 2010), MEDLINE (1950 to 30 November 2010), EMBASE (1974 to 30 November 2010), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) (1 December 2010), ClinicalTrials.gov (December 2010) and Current Controlled Trials (1 December 2010), as well as searching the reference lists of selected studies and contacting professionals and authors in the field.
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing in Richmond, VA, explored the effects of relaxation-guided imagery on stress, anxiety, and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) levels in pregnant African American women beginning their second trimester.
The prospective, longitudinal pilot study of 59 women used a controlled, randomized experimental design with the two groups conducted over 12 weeks. The intervention was a set of three relaxation guided imagery CDs developed and sequenced to influence study outcomes. The control group was usual care patients.
Researchers from the OBGYN Department at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, hypothesizing that adverse birth outcomes can be reduced by relaxation exercises, compared the immediate effects of two active and one passive 10-minute relaxation technique on perceived relaxation and concrete physiological indicators of relaxation in 39 healthy, pregnant women.
The subjects, recruited at the outpatient department of the University Women's Hospital Basel participated in a randomized controlled trial with an experimental repeated measure design.
Researchers from University Hospital Basel in Switzerland compared the immediate effects of brief guided imagery and relaxation exercises - two active and one passive 10-min relaxation technique - on prenatal stress in a randomized, controlled trial with 39 healthy pregnant women.
Subjects were assigned to one of two active relaxation techniques, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or guided imagery (GI), or a passive relaxation control condition.
Measures were self-reported relaxation on a visual analogue scale (VAS); the State Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S); scores on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (cortisol and ACTH); and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) system activity (norepinephrine and epinephrine). Additionally, measures were taken of cardiovascular responses, such as heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Scores were measured at four points before and after the relaxation exercise.