How to Prepare for Birth

When pregnant we will all ask ourselves the questions: ‘Should I prepare myself for birth?’ and ‘What should I do to prepare for birth?’. Norfolk’s leading birthing expert Jackie Heffer-Cooke fills in some of the blanks to help both mind and body feel ready for the most important job your body will ever do.

Pregnancy and birth classes

Preparation for birth is a wise thing to do. Most of us – including me first time around 12 years ago – are so unsure of what to expect we decide to just wait and see what happens, but it’s more difficult than you think to stay calm and relax into birth when you don’t know what’s coming, what to expect and what to do to help yourself. So, a good preparation for birth class is a really good thing to do. If you feel prepared, like you understand the processes and know what your body is doing and why – it can really help the mind to stay focused on calm control and birth your baby simply and relatively easily. This was my experience second time around when I was Hypnobirthing – hand on heart I would say learn some techniques to help and get some birthing tools!

Which birth class to go for

There are lots of childbirth preparation classes in Norwich.


The NCT are a good well-respected name that have been running for years, and there are some very good teachers in Norwich. With the NCT you will get great education, sound practical advice, support, and probably meet some new friends.

The NHS classes

The NHS classes are good for education about parenting, but they only spend two hours on birthing and most of that is spent on telling you which medical pain relief to try. They do not teach breathing, active birth, preparation, and, in my opinion, severely let mums and dads down in the ‘empowered birthing’ route. I would do these, but do something else too!


HypnobirthingHypnobirthing refresher, is all about putting the body and mind into a really ‘good place’ using many different tools from education for childbirth, deep relaxation exercises, breathing techniques to help combat pain, active birth techniques and loads of tools for birth partners too to really help them feel prepared and ready to help you birth your baby simply, in calm control. It’s all about positive thinking and recognising the body’s natural ability to birth, rather than walking in thinking ‘I can’t do this!’. When you feel anxious or fearful in labour the body releases stress hormones to cope with ‘the problem’ – these stress hormones over-ride the body’s natural pain killer which is called Endorphin – and therefore birth can feel more painful and challenging then it actually needs to be.

There are many Hypnobirthing practitioners now in Norwich, lots more than when I started 8 years ago when I was pretty much the first. A few of the newer hypnobirthing teachers are women whom I taught hypnobirthing to them for their own births – and I am really rather proud of this 🙂

When you are sourcing the right teacher ask questions about their practise, call them and ask questions like: how long have you been teaching, can I read some of your successful birth stories and what are your qualifications. Hypnobirthing is an expense of money and time. If you Hypnobirth beautifully on your birthing day then it is all more than worth it, if the skills you learn aren’t good enough your money and your time will have gone to waste and you will feel cheated on your labour day and thereafter. Of course, we recommend our Hypnobirthing classes through The Orange Grove Clinic. We have worked hard over the years to find out what really works for birthing mums and dads, so you can experience the best birth possible.

We based our Hypnobirthing on the original and best method, the internationally recognised course, which is the Marie Mongan HypnoBirthing, this is the training school I trained with. Some Hypnotherapists have come up with their own methods, I would be wary of this as though they may be excellent birth hypnotherapists, this is different to ‘childbirth education hypnobirthing’, it probably won’t be a tried and tested programme. The Hypnobirthing programme I and Dr Del Tubby, whom I trained myself, teach has been tried and tested on hundreds of successful Norwich Hypnobirthing parents and millions more around the world, and I am super proud of our reputation both in Norwich amongst couples whom have attended our courses and the midwives at the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital who often recommend us as they have seen the great results of our Hypnobirthing classes for themselves, another reason why some midwives have now become hypnobirthing practitioners themselves….

As a note, if you come to the HypnoBirthing course there is no need to do any other forms of birth preparation if you don’t want to, but Hypnobirthing does complement The NCT and YogaBumps, so feel free to get a holistic approach and go to all three if you like. Book your Hypnobirthing Course Here.

Pregnancy Yoga

Pregnancy Yoga Classes NorwichClasses depend on who you are and what you like. The YogaBumps pregnancy yoga is fabulous for an all-round experience to help yourself through pregnancy and birth. Pregnancy yoga websites should make clear what style the class is, how many qualifications the teacher has in childbirth education (if that is important to you), be aware of how long they have been teaching and if needed, call and have a chat to see if you ‘like them’ – this is very important if you are going to be seeing someone every week!  There are lots of different teachers and classes in Norwich, all with different strengths, it’s good to be focused on what it is you want from the class – is it yoga? is it exercise? do you like teachers who use visualisations and chakras? Or are you looking for something more mainstream?

YogaBumps pregnancy yoga uses safe Vinyasa flow, we occasionally use strong postures, but with plenty of movement too – as pregnancy yoga should never be about long strong holds. YogaBumps is a community of mums who get together every week to share information, share highs-and-lows of pregnancy, we learn how to protect ourselves from pelvic girdle pain, how to help pregnancy ailments, aches and pains like rib flare, we use deep breathing techniques to keep us stay content and calm and we learn birth breathing and active birth movements ready for ‘the big day’. My preggers mums who come like the fact that I am a ‘one-stop-shop’ in pregnancy and birthing advice as I am a pregnancy massage therapist, hypnobirthing teacher (and trainer too), a childbirth educator, a better birth campaigner and I also teach baby yoga and mums yoga for as long as you want to come. People often make ‘mummy friends’ for life at Yogabumps, and that makes me very happy indeed. Book your YogaBumps class Here.


The Birthing Tool Kit

The Birthing Tool KitBirthing Toolkit Birth Education Course is cool, if I do say so myself. I have taken the ‘best bits’, the ‘yummiest techniques’, the ‘most effective moments’ from all of my experience over the last 8 years of teaching birthing and I have created four hours of essential hints, tips and tricks, including: birth breathing, massage for labour, active birth movements – and very importantly – I will teach your partner how to be the BEST birth partner too!  Its super important to get your birth partner involved in your birth, it is his experience too after all, and if he is going to be present make him feel empowered, confident, useful, and thoroughly prepared for the whole day so the three of you can have a day you remember for all the right reasons. A fabulous way to start your life together as parents. Book The Birthing Toolkit Here.