Effects of antenatal hypnosis on maternal salivary cortisol during childbirth and six weeks postpartum-A randomized controlled trial

Tidsskriftartikel - 2020

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BACKGROUND: Cortisol has been used to capture psychophysiological stress during childbirth and postpartum wellbeing. We explored the effect of a brief antenatal training course in self-hypnosis on salivary cortisol during childbirth and 6 weeks postpartum.

METHODS: In a randomized, controlled trial conducted at Aarhus University Hospital Skejby Denmark during the period January 2010 until October 2010, a total of 349 healthy nulliparous women were included. They were randomly allocated to a hypnosis group (n = 136) receiving three one-hour lessons in self-hypnosis with additional audio-recordings, a relaxation group (n = 134) receiving three one-hour lessons in various relaxation methods with audio-recordings for additional training, and a usual care group (n = 79) receiving ordinary antenatal care only. Salivary cortisol samples were collected during childbirth (at the beginning of the pushing state, 30 minutes, and 2 hours after childbirth), and 6 weeks postpartum (at wake up, 30 minutes after wake up, and evening). Cortisol concentrations were compared using a linear mixed-effects model. Correlations between cortisol concentrations and length of birth, experienced pain and calmness during birth were examined by a Spearman rank correlation test.

FINDINGS: During childbirth, week correlations were found between cortisol concentrations 30 minutes after childbirth and length of birth. In the beginning of the pushing state and 2 hours after childbirth, we found a tendency towards higher cortisol concentrations in the hypnosis group compared to the other two groups (hypnosis versus relaxation p = 0.02 and 0.03, hypnosis versus usual care p = 0.08 and 0.05). No differences were observed in cortisol concentrations between the groups 30 minutes after childbirth (hypnosis versus relaxation p = 0.08, hypnosis versus usual care 0.10) or 6 weeks postpartum (hypnosis versus relaxation: p = 0.85, 0.51, and 0.68, hypnosis versus usual care: p = 0.85, 0.93, and 0.96).

CONCLUSION: Antenatal hypnosis training may increase the release of cortisol during childbirth with no long-term consequences. Further research is needed to help interpret these findings.

Reference

Werner A, Wu C, Zachariae R, Nohr EA, Uldbjerg N, Hansen ÅM. Effects of antenatal hypnosis on maternal salivary cortisol during childbirth and six weeks postpartum-A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One 2020;15(5):e0230704.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230704

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