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Another hypnosis in labour trial

July 26, 2013

Save your money

We discussed this randomised trial (click here) at our local BJOG twitter journal club this morning (#bluejc to follow or contribute). Well designed and conducted, the trial was registered here in 2006, and the sample size, treatment groups and primary endpoint were all pre-specified. We should believe the results.

Hypnosis, whether taught by a trained doctor or untrained nurse, and supplemented by a teaching video, does not reduce mother’s need for pharmacological pain relief in labour. It doesn’t reduce overall drug use, nor use of entonox, opiates or epidural separately. These are identical findings to a similar trial in February’s BJOG (click here).

Enthusiasts clutched at straws – there may be some beneficial effect among women who also practised yoga – but that wasn’t even a planned secondary analysis. At best it was a data-driven hypothesis-generating observation.

And some women rather liked the hypnosis. But they hadn’t read the results!

I don’t think the NHS spends much on hypnotherapy for pain relief in labour, but some individual women do.  They should save their money for the baby.

Jim Thornton

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