the wise hippo birthing programme


Working with the Midwives at the Royal Berkshire Hospital

Over the last few months I’ve been privileged enough to get to talk about the subject I’m most passionate about – The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme – to a room full of experts in the birth world!

I was invited by the Royal Berkshire Hospital to talk to their community, birth centre and delivery suite midwives about the techniques I teach and the benefits they have – as many of my mums have given birth there in a calm, confident and empowered way.

Although many midwives in the Reading area have been present at hypnobirths, and some have had hypnobirthing training, they didn’t all know exactly what the techniques involved. So, as well as explaining the principles of the Wise Hippo I wanted to teach them some of the breathing and relaxation techniques too. They all got to do the 5,4,3,2,1, relax breath and surge breaths (which they were, not surprisingly, amazing at).

I also wanted these amazing, caring and overworked women to get some time to chill out, put their feet up and enjoy some guided meditation and to show them just a glimpse of how relaxed a Wide Hippo mama can be in labour.

I’ve done 4 of these sessions now with between 15 & 40 midwives each time and have 3 more of these talks scheduled for January (after my maternity leave).

I have to admit that when I was first asked, after the initial excitement wore off I did think – eek!  I have to explain the way I teach the physiology of birth to rooms full of midwives!  But they were all extremely warm, welcoming and receptive, as you’d imagine they would be and loved the way the Wise Hippo course covers this subject.

I also had the chance to bring in the Birth Preferences (birth plan) sheet that I created and used for both my births and get their feedback and suggestions for wording and relevant points to include, which will really benefit all those I teach. Plus they all said how much they love being given a good birth preferences sheet – for them it helps set the tone of the birth and lets them know what is expected from them.

Plus- the feedback has been incredible! So many of them have said how helpful and useful they found it, especially in terms of experiencing and understanding how relaxed a Wise Hippo mum can be. One midwife left a comment on my Facebook page saying:

‘Thank you for the fabulous teaching session you gave at the Royal Berkshire Hospital today. I’m sure this will help us deliver even better care to the couples we support xx‘  This feedback completely made my day.

I also had the chance to learn a few pointers and tips that will improve my teaching and knowledge and to debunk some myths about hypnosis and hypnobirthing. I’ve put just some of my highlights below:

Take aways!

  • I did the Bond&Breathe (5,4,3,2,1, relax breath) track with them and it was amazing how over 30 women packed into a small room, with the sounds of traffic outside, completely and utterly relaxed! One or two even fell asleep.
  • Some of them now want to train to teach the Wise Hippo too, which is an amazing bonus!
  • They all said how much they love hypnobirths but that sometimes the hynpo-tracks on repeat get them too relaxed or annoy them. Or all the aromatherapy smells make them feel really chilled out!
  • I learned that the presence of lots of oxytocin in our bodies makes us want to move/sway in a rhythmical fashion, which is why we automatically rock when holding a baby! And why a lot of women want to dance, walk or rock through labour.
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