Research: Hypnosis for Turning Breech Babies (Optimal Fetal Positioning)

From Archives of Family Medicine, Vol. 3, Oct. 1994
Hypnosis and Conversion of the Breech to the Vertex Presentation
Lewis E. Mehl, MD, PhD
Dept. of Psychiatry
Univ. of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of hypnosis to convert a breech presentation to a vertex presentation.

A study conducted at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, USA evaluated the efficacy of hypnotherapy in converting a breech presentation to a vertex presentation. One hundred pregnant women whose fetuses were in breech position at 37 to 40 weeks' gestation were analyzed and a matched comparison group of women with similar obstetrical and socio-demographic parameters derived from databases for other studies from the same time period and geographical areas.

Hypnotherapy was given in the form of suggestions for general relaxation with release of fears and provided whenever it was convenient and possible for the women until they were delivered of the baby or the baby converted to the vertex position. A successful conversion for the intervention group was scored when the baby spontaneously converted to the vertex position before delivery or if there was a successful external cephalic version. The conversion rate of the women receiving hypnotherapy was compared with a control group who received standard obstetrical care without the opportunity for hypnosis. 

The results revealed that eighty-one per cent (81%) of the fetuses in the intervention group converted to vertex presentation compared with forty eight per cent (48%) of those in the control group, demonstrating a considerable and statistically significant therapeutic effect of the hypnotherapy treatment.

The report concluded that motivated women can be influenced by a skilled hypnotherapist in such a manner that their fetuses have an increased frequency of conversion to vertex presentation.

Mehl LE. Hypnosis and conversion of the breech to the vertex presentation. Arch Fam Med (UNITED STATES) Oct 1994, 3 (10) p881-7