Times have changed a great deal since men weren’t even allowed anywhere near their partners as they gave birth.

Nowadays there’s much more a father can do than simply offer a hand to hold – even to the point of hypnotising their partner during labour.

This is the idea behind Blackfen-based programme The Wise Hippo which aims to teach couples how to talk themselves into a state of relaxation to make the whole process a bit less terrifying.

Co-founder Dany Griffiths told News Shopper: "Dads often think ‘what the hell has she dragged me to?’ but they always come out feeling glad they did it.

"They can be left like a hopeless, frightened bystander because their partner, someone who they love greatly, is in a great amount of discomfort.

"There was never anyone saying that dads could be useful but who better to make a woman feel safe and relaxed than the person who loves them the most?"

Dany takes dads through a script to help their partners into a trance-like state which they can then adapt for themselves as they practise before the big day.

From her home in Blackfen Road, she takes clients through four two-and-a-half hour sessions costing £250 aiming to help mothers should there be any complications during the birth.

Dany said: "Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and nature needs a bit of assistance.

News Shopper:

Dany puts expectant parents Richard and Jo through their paces. 

"Animals are brilliant at giving birth so that’s why we chose an animal as our logo in the first place.

"We are trying to get women to go back to their natural birthing instincts and get their heads out of the way."

Biggin Hill couple Jo and Richard Ford are halfway through their four sessions with Dany.

Jo, 28, who is due a baby girl on June 3, said: "When you do it yourself you feel a bit silly at first.

"Afterwards you feel like when you’ve been driving home and you get there and suddenly think to yourself ‘I don’t know how I got here’.

"It puts your mind on autopilot and switches it off so you can do other things."

Husband Richard, 25, who lives with his wife in Stock Hill, said: "I was a bit sceptical beforehand not knowing about it which I guess is a typical man’s view.

"But it’s opened my eyes to pregnancy involves for a woman.

"I’m quite highly strung so learning the relaxation techniques has helped all round."

Visit thewisehippo.com