Frequently Asked Questions


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Why should I choose a Wise Hippo course?

There are many providers of antenatal education, and each has their unique selling points.  It will be a very personal decision which course, if any, you choose to follow.  The Wise Hippo offers a complete antenatal package which aims to prepare you for 'the right birth on the day'. I hope the Course Information pages will give you a taster of what you can expect but if you want to know more, please get in touch.

Is this a hypnobirthing class?

Yes and No! While The Wise Hippo Ltd was started as a hyponobirthing course provider, it has grown to so much more than that.  The Birthing Programme does teach you modern hypnobirthing techniques, but also includes general antenatal preparation such as birth planning and physical preparations for labour.  Our aim is to embrace all possible birth outcomes, knowing that we will equip you with the tools you need to achieve the right birth for you on the day, whatever that means. There is no focus on 'pain free' or 'natural labour' although many of our clients achieve a more comfortable, more satisfying birth experience after completing a Wise Hippo course. We provide complete antenatal education solutions, not 'just' a hypnobirthing class.

What is hypnobirthing?

Birth hypnosis is always a source of scepticism, but fear not!  The Wise Hippo tools for birth simply help you to access a deep state of relaxation, so that your mind and body are more relaxed in labour.  Not only does this have a physical effect on the tension in your muscles, but it can also mean your birth hormones (and natural pain killers!) flow more easily.  The aim is for a calmer, more comfortable experience in which you feel in control of what happens to you.  Hypnosis can also be used to help release any fears or misconceptions about birth, by utilising a natural state of trance in which our subconscious mind is more susceptible to the planting of little positive-birth seeds!  Contrary to belief, hypnosis can't harm you, and I can't make you do anything you don't want to!  Class One of the Birthing Programme explains all the science and physiology, so keep an open mind and I will do my best to put you at ease.

Why can't I just take the drugs??

Short answer - you can!  As mentioned above, hypnobirthing is simply a technique to keep you calm and relaxed in labour.  While we hope that will help your body's natural pain killers to kick in more effectively, the main goal is to help you stay focused and be able to make rational decisions.  That can include accepting pain relief (although many of our mums do achieve a drug-free birth), or handing over to the experts if you encounter complications.  The main thing is that you feel informed, in control, and able to make the right decisions on the day.

Are these courses suitable for 'high risk' mums?

Of course. Every mum, every baby and every labour are different, but I aim to provide you with the tools to achieve the right birth on the day, whatever that means to you.  If you have particular special circumstances that you feel may affect your learning needs or preparations for birth, a 'Right Birth on the Day' package may suit you better, so feel free to email me through our Contact Us page.  Any information shared will be treated with the utmost confidence and professionalism.

What if this isn't my first baby?

You are more than welcome to attend no matter how many babies you have at home!  There is always more to learn about birth, especially if things didn't go the way you expected previously. Learn more about how the body works, and learn some tools for life.

Do I still need to attend NHS classes?

This is entirely your choice.  While Wise Hippo courses will provide you with all the information and tools you should need to achieve a positive birth experience, I understand that some couples like to soak up as much information as possible, from multiple sources, in order to feel fully prepared for birth.  If you are considering attending more than one class, contact me (link above) and I will happily run you through the content of the Birthing Programme so that you can make an informed decision.

Which areas do you cover?

I am currently providing antenatal courses across north and east Cumbria, although all areas of the county will be considered where I have availability/access.  I may make a small charge towards travel costs if you book a private course outside of my usual patch - this will be communicated prior to booking if relevant.

When should I attend a Bumps/Wise Hippo course?

Really, this is up to you.  The 'Bumps Beginnings' module is designed for earlier in your pregnancy, we suggest from 16 weeks. For the Birthing Programme, you may wish to get any major hospital/midwife appointments out of the way first, for example your Second Trimester (20 week) scan or any meetings with a consultant, just in case it might affect the way you plan your birth. That's not a necessity though, if you feel earlier classes would be beneficial you are welcome to come along any time. Ideally you will complete the four classes before 36-37 weeks of pregnancy, to give you time to practice before baby makes an appearance.  Beyond that, the exact timing is up to you.  Remember, if time is short you can choose to plan a private course where I may be able to 'fast-track' you through in two or three slightly longer sessions.  Although this isn't ideal for your learning, you will still get the main benefits and the full 10 hours of tuition. The amount you practice will make a big difference though, so be prepared for homework!

Does my partner need to attend?

I understand just how important your birth partner(s) can be to your birth experience.  That's why one birth partner is automatically included in the price of the course.  That is usually your significant other, but if you wish to bring another friend or family member instead that's fine.  I would strongly suggest that the same birth partner attends all four sessions with you so that they get the full benefit of theory and practice, but if you think that may be difficult, please let me know and I may be able to adapt the course slightly to help.  It's also important, but not necessarily essential, that the person you bring along is planning to be with you in labour.  They will be one of your anchors in the birth room, keeping you calm and relaxed and 'in the zone'.

Can I try before I buy?

I am always more than happy to answer any questions by email or over the phone, just send me a message and I will get back to you ASAP.  I also run shorter introductory sessions in Penrith and Carlisle called 'Bumps Basics' that can serve as a great taster class.  If you are interested in a one of these sessions, please visit my Upcoming Courses page for dates, or contact me above.