LOOK into my eyes! Hypnobirthing, a technique to help mums have easy, drug-free births through hypnosis, is coming to three north Essex hospitals.

It is thought Colchester Hospital Trust will be only the second in the UK to offer classes on the practice.

Starting later this spring at Colchester Hospital, as well as at Clacton and Harwich hospitals, they will be given by midwives specially trained to be hypnobirthing practitioners.

Teri Gavin-Jones, one of the three who have just completed their training, said: “Hypnobirthing is going to make a remarkable difference to women and their experience of labour, whatever type of birth they have.

“If you’re going to run a marathon, you prepare for it mentally and physically, and hypnobirthing is a way to help couples prepare mentally and physically for labour and childbirth.

“Pregnancy is not an illness, but labour and childbirth have in many ways become over-medicalised and I firmly believe that hypnobirthing will help to redress the balance.

“I am confident it will in the future benefit thousands of women and their partners and, as a forward-thinking trust, we are keen to embrace it.”

Mrs Gavin-Jones added the evidence showed women who used hypnobirthing experienced less pain and therefore need less pain relief, including epidurals, and find childbirth more emotionally fulfilling.

The course is suitable for women who are at least 16 weeks pregnant and partners are welcome to classes, too.

Their partners will learn massage techniques and also breathing and relaxation techniques along with the women.

Because they are above and beyond the usual NHS service, there will be a charge.

Each course costs £250 per couple and participants will be expected to do homework.

Hypnobirthing was pioneered in the United States and is now practised in approximately 15 countries.

Mrs Gavin-Jones said as far as she was aware, Colchester would be the only NHS hospital, other than Barnsley Hospital, to offer hypnobirthing classes.

l Any parents-to-be wanting more information about the hypnobirthing classes should contact Teri Gavin-Jones on 01206 742424 or e-mail teri.gavin-jones@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk