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5 Minutes with... Dany Griffiths, Co-Creator of The Wise Hippo Birthing Program

ATA: Tell us a bit about you, Dany?

Dany: I am the creator and co-founder of The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme, an antenatal course which encompasses hypnobirthing methods as well as preparing women emotionally to give birth. In 2017 I also set up the Freedom Fertility Formula to help couples who are trying to conceive.

ATA: What led you to create The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme?

Dany: I am passionate about the emotional health and well-being of couples as they move through their journey from fertility through to parenthood, and felt that traditional hypnobirthing had the potential to cause emotional harm. I found many examples of this whilst running a message board on the Baby Centre forum. I noticed that whilst a lot of women deemed hypnobirthing a success if they had a positive birth, if they had a difficult birth for any reason, they believed that hypnobirthing and worse themselves to a degree, had failed. I was surprised as I wasn’t getting this feedback from my clients, and they weren’t all having perfect births.

I realised it was because I was teaching from the perspective of women and their partners focusing on what was right for them when planning their birth, being fully involved in any discussions around changes to their birth plans if that arose, and most importantly being able to have the emotional flexibility to ‘handle it’ when their birth plans needed to change.

ATA: How did you use this realisation to shape The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme?

Dany: The Wise Hippo’s key message is “the right birth on the day”, which stems from the aforementioned feedback. When I wrote The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme, I knew I wouldn’t be setting some women up to fail like traditional hypnobirthing. Whilst hypnosis techniques are a key element of The Wise Hippo  Birthing Programme, I prefer to separate The Wise Hippo from the term and think of it as a more holistic approach.

We all know that things can go wrong, sometimes for no reason, and it certainly is not because a Mum-to-be hasn’t practiced enough, wasn’t positive enough, or was unable to stay calm and relaxed through birth. Sometimes, circumstances change what women and their partners are able to have, such as birth pools not being available, or staff shortages preventing them from having a home birth, or there being true special circumstances that need medical care.This is why The Wise Hippo mantra and approach of “the right birth on the day” is fundamental to our clients’ success.

ATA: So how does The Wise Hippo differ from other hypnobirthing courses?

Traditionally, hypnobirthing focuses on having a natural birth without drugs, with a strong emphasis on the possibility of birth being pain free if you can get into the right mindset through preparation and practice. As I mentioned above this isn’t always possible and it’s certainly nothing to do with mindset or the amount of practice a Woman has carried out.  

Therefore the key difference that The Wise Hippo has to offer is that it goes beyond just looking at removal of fear and enhancing relaxation, by including how to ‘handle it’ when birth plans need to change as well.

I also like to offer parents to be more than just tools for preparing for birth. Therefore the way I have written the tools and techniques for The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme is as ‘tools 4 life’. This means women can use them throughout their pregnancies, for birth, breastfeeding, parenting and life in general too. They are inclusive of partners, and from the feedback we get from clients we know that partners make good use of the tools as well.

I will go as far as to say that The Wise Hippo with ‘the right birth on the day’ approach has changed the face of hypnobirthing.

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