The experience of women who use self-hypnosis in childbirth: An interpretive study using phenomenological processes

Cox, Julie
Gilkinson, Andrea
Smythe, Liz
Item type
Degree name
Master of Health Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

This interpretive phenomenological study explores the experiences of four women who have learned to use self-hypnosis in preparation for childbirth. Self-Hypnosis in the form of HypnoBirthing has been recently introduced to the South Pacific region touching New Zealand within the last five years. However HypnoBirthing does not appear to be commonly discussed in preparation for childbirth within New Zealand. There have been recent studies that have concentrated on birthing outcomes in relation to the use of self-hypnosis. To date there have been no qualitative studies undertaken in this area. This research study uncovers the meaning of the experience of women who use HypnoBirthing for childbirth. The methodology used is an interpretative approach using phenomenological processes informed by Van Manen (1990). This is an appropriate methodology as it gives the flexibility of exploring the meaning of the HypnoBirthing experience. Data was gathered by interviews with four women who have experienced HypnoBirthing. Four themes were identified. ‘Overcoming fear’ in childbirth; ‘Doing the work’; ‘Being in the HypnoBirthing experience’ and the ‘After-birth experience of HypnoBirthing’. The findings from this dissertation identify the fear that women bring to their childbirth experience from previous birthing experiences. Through the techniques of HypnoBirthing these fears can be released, and women can experience childbirth feeling ‘calm and relaxed’. This has resulted in a positive birthing experience, in some cases with only feelings of pressure as opposed to pain. The HypnoBirthing experience has had a flow on effect into the postnatal period, enhancing recovery for the mother and continuing relaxation manifested in a calmer baby. The findings of this study increases awareness of an alternative method of pain control for childbirth and brings knowledge and understanding of the technique. This offers a stronger position to provide positive support to women who choose HypnoBirthing for childbirth.

Autogenic training , Hypnotism in obstetrics , Natural childbirth , Analgesia
Publisher's version
Rights statement