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.
We love getting birth announcements. Some come from people who had fertility struggles, maybe a series of miscarriages; sometimes we hear from people who had difficult pregnancies; and sometimes, like the message below, we just hear about a regular birth experience made a little easier.
We are still hoping for a systematized study of guided imagery in childbirth, but until one of those comes down the pike, we'll settle gratefully for postings like this one:
I gifted my 28 yr old daughter with the Pregnancy & Childbirth Pack early in her pregnancy. She has used Belleruth's guided imagery in the past.
She just delivered last Saturday and was notably calm during the process - so much so, the nurses commented and asked her if she'd been practicing imagery and/ or meditation for a while.
The Pregnancy & Childbirth Pack was especially helpful to her during her pregnancy & delivery. I now have a 6 lb 1 oz grandson -- my first! :)
Thank you, Belleruth & all the staff at Health Journeys!
[Ed. Note: We just found a whole pile of happy CD users of this guided imagery here as well! ]
I love your guided imagery CDs and downloads. They have been so helpful to my family in so many ways.
Now my sister is now pregnant after 4 miscarriages in 3 years. According to all the pre-natal testing, the baby is healthy, strong and free of any possible congenital abnormalities. Nevertheless, my dear sister is (understandably) "waiting for the other shoe to drop". What imagery would you recommend?
I ask this because due to prior complications, she must have a scheduled C-section. The pregnancy and childbirth CD appears to be focused on vaginal birth. I want to honor her reality and provide her with a program that will support her confidence in her body.
Terry K., Chiropractor
Someone just sent us the link to this very encouraging review of our Help with Fertility imagery. We think this woman nails some of the key features BR was really trying to achieve on this audio... the main thing being that there are many ways to have a positive outcome to this challenge, all the way from having your own pregnancy, to seeing your baby growing in somebody else's belly, to adopting your child, to being at peace with not becoming a parent.
We've been hearing a lot about increased negative self-talk - this seems to be a natural by-product for many people undergoing IVF and other daunting, baby-making procedures.
Researchers from Stanford University, the University of New Mexico and New York University conducted a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate 6-month outcomes from a skills-based intervention designed to reduce symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression in mothers of preterm infants.
One hundred five mothers of preterm infants were randomly assigned to (1) a 6- or 9-session intervention based on principles of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy with infant redefinition or (2) a 1-session active comparison intervention based on education about the NICU and parenting of the premature infant.
Outcome measures included the Davidson Trauma Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory II, and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Participants were assessed at baseline, 4 to 5 weeks after birth, and 6 months after the birth of the premature infant.
Researchers from India’s Samanvaya Trust and MS University in Baroda investigated the efficacy of hypnotherapy for couples seeking fertility solutions.
Over a period of 28 years, 554 couples with what is referred to there as “unexplained reproductive failure” were studied.
Hypnotherapy was added to the standard protocol for fertility. Initially the hypnosis was targeted at general stress relief, but it evolved into including more specific, identified stressors such as the stress associated with infertility (100%) and other stressors of marital life.
The success rate of pregnancy with hypnosis was 71.67%.
Although this was not a double blind study, 349 of the 554 couples had been unsuccessfully treated elsewhere before entering the study. These couples had the same success rate of 70%.
The researchers interpret this unprecedented, high success rate as evidence that “unexplained reproductive failure” is psycho-dynamically triggered and reversible with psychotherapeutic hypnosis. They conclude that when psychosomatic stress is alleviated with hypnotherapy, there are remarkable results.
[Ed. Note: this appears to be a hasty logical leap. It is not clear from this study exactly what the mechanism of success from hypnosis is operating here.]
Citation: Vyas R1, Adwanikar G1, Hathi L1, Vyas B2. Psychotherapeutic intervention with hypnosis in 554 couples with reproductive failure. Journal of the Indian Medical Association. 2013 Mar;111 (3):pages 167-9, 173.
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.
We loved reading this blog entry on how this sassy, resourceful woman got pregnant (with twins) after 3 years of struggle. It’s filled with attitude, excellent advice and smart pointers, laced with a nice, realistic dollop of hopefulness. And she used guided imagery! And Monica Morell’s Fertility Yoga! How smart was that??
The only thing we’d add to this wonderful list is reading Victoria Maizes’ terrific new book, Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child.
Here it is, in her own words:
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.
This question gets answered, but also propelled a refresher look at the data bases to see if recent research reveals any new solutions to this age-old problem, which usually strikes pregnant women between weeks 4-16, from the sudden influx of hormones. Those new studies can be found on our Hot Research page.
BR, got any suggestions for nausea/vomiting from morning sickness during pregnancy? I could use some.