An international study by Cochrane, an independent network of researchers, last year found that – in a study of almost 3,000 women – fewer women who had used hypnotherapy needed pain relief medication for labour, but it didn't impact the number of women who used an epidural.
The report states:
"Hypnosis may reduce the overall use of pain medication during labour, but does not seem to reduce the use of epidurals. Women using hypnosis are no more likely to have a normal vaginal birth."
It adds that more high-quality research is needed "to say whether hypnosis helps women feel more satisfied about their pain relief in labour, nor whether it improves their sense of coping with labour".
Kathy Cleere is a midwife who helped introduce hypnobirthing classes at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in Dublin.
She says hypnobirthing classes offered by the Coombe are very popular and usually booked out months in advance.
Kathy tells TheJournal.ie:
"The whole point is to prepare mentally for birth, it's a completely normal life event and not something to be frightened of.
"When women are afraid they produce adrenaline and that can really affect their labour."
Kathy says, in her experience, women who use hypnobirthing feel calmer and more in control during labour – even if they have to go through a C-section. It's not just for women who have a normal vaginal birth with no assistance at all. Many women are going to have to get pain relief, it's not about whether pain relief is good or bad.
"It helps them to remain calm & connect with their baby, and know it's going to be okay … They're in control and not scared, that's the difference and that's what I see."