Hypnosis for Morning Sickness

Morning sickness can be both debilitating for the mother to be and potentially harmful to the developing baby.

And as a mother of three grown children, I can vouch for how unpleasant morning sickness can be.

A number of studies have shown a link between chronic morning sickness and reduced foetal activity and lower birth weight.

During the past three decades there have been many studies showing that hypnosis is highly effective in reducing the symptoms of morning sickness and in reducing its effect on the health of mother and child.

In a paper published in Issues in Prenatal Care*, Doctors Simon and Schartz, reported:

Hyperemesis gravidarum (Morning Sickness) in pregnancy is a serious condition that is often resistant to conservative treatments. Medical hypnosis is a well-documented alternative treatment. This article reviews the empirical studies of medical hypnosis for treating hyperemesis gravidarum, explains basic concepts, and details the treatment mechanisms. The importance of a thorough differential diagnosis and appropriate referrals is stressed. The article presents three case studies to illustrate the efficacy of this treatment approach. It is suggested that medical hypnosis should be considered as an adjunctive treatment option for those women with hyperemesis gravidarum. It is also stressed that medical hypnosis can be used to treat common morning sickness that is experienced by up to 80 percent of pregnant women. Its use could allow a more comfortable pregnancy and healthier fetal development, and could prevent cases that might otherwise proceed to full-blown hyperemesis gravidarum.

While a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology** commented:

Hypnosis is used to control physiologic changes that are thought to be involuntary. Hypnotized patients have, however, been able to control sympathetic tone, vasoconstriction, and vasodilation, heart rate, and muscle tone. It has been compared with biofeedback because patients are trained to voluntarily control these mechanisms. Biofeedback uses an external method of feedback whereas hypnosis uses an internal control from the patient.

Hypnosis works through a dissociation of content, when the individual’s attention is focused on a certain task causing the rest of the information surrounding him or her to be temporarily unreachable. An example of this is the unnoticed hum of a computer motor. Hypnosis also acts through dissociation of context, in which this narrowing of attention briefly suspends higher-order processes.

In the case examples of hypnosis treating hyperemesis performed by Simon and Schwartz, the treatment was found to be effective in two ways. The first component is a deep relaxation that acts to decrease sympathetic nervous system arousal. This decreases the sympathetic hyperaroused state. The second component is the response to hypnotic suggestion of symptom removal. This response to suggestion is independent of the sympathetic or parasympathetic systems and is often independent of their conscious awareness or memory of the suggestion. It is, however, necessary to dispel any myths or doubt the patients have about hypnotic treatment. No teratogenic effects were noted. It is also proposed that expanding this treatment to women with morning sickness would prevent the nausea and vomiting from worsening or progressing to hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hypnotherapy from a skilled therapist can dramatically reduce the occurrence of morning sickness.

While addressing the problem itself, I also help the expectant mother to achieve a high state of relaxation, which is good for both mum and baby and also encourage the mother’s body to desire and enjoy healthy food choices.

And best of all, with hypnotherapy, there are no side effects and no possibility of harm to baby.

Volume 26, Issue 4, pages 248–254, December 1999

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