A blog by Dany Griffiths- co founder of The Wise Hippo Programme.

Here at The Wise Hippo we have a very different approach to other programmes that use hypnosis. I am going to repeat different not better.

The Wise Hippo won’t be the right programme for everyone. Each birth programme that uses hypnosis and any other antenatal programme for that matter has its own unique philosophy and values. Having different programmes is good for pregnant women because it provides variety and keeps businesses on their toes and striving to improve.

But if everyone is lumped under the same umbrella how does this affect informed choice?

Let’s look at some different scenarios (please note these are generic examples and are not relating to any one programme, other than when The Wise Hippo is mentioned, or the approach of any individual ‘hypnobirthing’ instructors).

Here at The Wise Hippo we don’t focus on one type of birth. We want women to consider our classes whether they want a natural birth, are considering using pain relieving drugs, if they are having a cesarean section or anything else in between. This is different (remember different not better) to some other programmes.

If a Wise Hippo instructor is sharing our approach to a mum-to-be who is considering using pain relieving drugs, but wraps it in the term ‘hypnobirthing’, the mum-to-be will be thinking great I don’t have to give up my epidural if I prepare for my birth using ‘hypnobirthing’. She finds her local ‘hypnobirthing’ instructor but doesn’t realise they have a different approach to The Wise Hippo Instructor. Their main focus is a natural birth without drugs (I’m not saying they will send the mum wanting an epidural packing but their approach will not feel in sync with her needs). Not surprisingly she is going feel let down. It won’t be the fault of the instructor she’s booked with but the instructor who wasn’t clear about the fact that the approach she was talking about was The Wise Hippo Birthing programme, that happens to use hypnosis techniques, not ‘hypnobirthing’.

If the same Wise Hippo instructor was talking to a woman who was really focussed on a natural birth without drugs she wouldn’t notice if she turned up at the other instructors door….

…as long as it all went to plan.

What if it didn’t? She was told by The Wise Hippo Instructor that she would learn how to have ‘the right birth on the day’ using ‘hypnobirthing’ and she didn’t get the natural birth without drugs she was hoping for. She’s going to be mad, right? However, it’s not the fault of the person who taught her but the original instructor who allowed her to think that ‘the right birth on the day’ approach was something that ‘hypnobirthing’ would teach her rather than The Wise Hippo.

We need to take responsibility for the expectations we are laying on pregnant women. We need to make sure that when a woman chooses ‘hypnobirthing’ she knows what that means. That there is a great variety of courses out there that use hypnosis techniques each of which have their own unique approach to birth preparation.

This means that she can do her research, consider her options and find the right antenatal education for her.

This is ‘hypnobirthing’ – making an informed choice