MOTHERS-TO-BE are being offered the chance to learn self-hypnosis techniques to help them through labour.

The natal hypnotherapy workshops run by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust focus on relaxation techniques to help women feel calm, in control and fully prepared for the birth of their child.

Those opting to take part will be taught about natural ways to reduce pain during childbirth, self-hypnosis skills to overcome any fears or anxieties and effective breathing and relaxation techniques.

"It's about understanding how the body's working and how you can help it," said Sue Symonds, community midwife for the South Tees Trust.

"Fear and anxiety can have a negative impact on your body during birth but the self-hypnosis can help reduce this. It's about learning how to achieve that deeply relaxed state of mind."

Claire Marron of Marton was very sceptical about the techniques but decided to give them a go when she gave birth to her fourth child, Alfie, now 16 months.

"I was a very nervous pregnant lady but I had a calm, positive, empowering birth with no problems and no pain relief," said Claire. "I could not believe it.

I just managed the pain using the hypnosis skills.

"My husband could not believe the difference - he said it was like he was watching a different lady! I just wish I had found out about it with my first baby."

The six-hour workshops are held at James Cook and Friarage hospitals and cost 80 per couple.