Tsippy Kraus was living in Israel when she became pregnant for the first time with twins. When she started researching about pregnancy and childbirth, she discovered the concept of the Swiss Method.The Swiss Method is a technique that was established around 35 years ago, by Esther Marilus who has worked closely with doctors in Switzerland to develop this technique which is now taught in the U.S.A., Israel and throughout Europe. Using breathing techniques, positions and exercises, it helps women throughout their pregnancy and childbirth, which is why it has become such a popular method worldwide. When Tsippy moved to London whilst still pregnant she had some issues and complications which lead to her to having a C-section and spending a month in hospital whilst her babies were in the Special Care Unit. After this stressful experience, she felt very alone and vulnerable, and promised herself that once she had recovered, she wanted to help other women so that they did not go through the same anxieties. Her second pregnancy resulted in her having an unplanned epidural, and after this experience, she contacted Esther Marilus directly to learn more about ‘The Swiss Method’. Tsippy studied under Esther Marilus and she was able learn the techniques herself, and gain a better understanding of pregnancy, labour and birth. By gaining information about ‘The Swiss Method’ she was able to put this into practice with her next pregnancy, which was a water birth and a much more relaxed experience, as well as develop her own business based on these teachings.

Tsippy has now been teaching ‘The Swiss Method’ for seven years developing her course through additional training in Spinning Babies, a programme to assist in optimum foetal positioning, Rebozo a method to help the pelvis align the baby using a tightly woven scarf, and Acupressure which uses different pressure points around the body for calmness, relieve sickness and alleviate pain. She is able to use her own personal experiences as well as her training to help pregnant women to feel empowered to make their own decisions, and feel safe and understood at this vulnerable time. “Birth is such a unique experience and so different for each woman. My goal is to empower woman through knowledge and relaxation skills to enable a positive experience.’’

She works closely with the ‘Labour Coach’ group, as well as midwives in various hospitals, private doulas and postnatal support groups, and has created her own unique antenatal course. Tsippy runs the course for groups of between 3 and 6 women. The courses run over six weeks, offering help, advice and support of all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, including an additional session with a trained breastfeeding coach who can give advice and information on this subject. An extra private session for couples to attend is also available. These courses, which she runs from her home in Golders Green, can be held either during the day or evening depending on the needs of the group. She is also able to offer Skype courses for those who are housebound or too far to attend, and offers private one-to-one sessions for those wanting private courses or to help with optimal foetal positioning which is used when a baby is breech or in suspected posterior lie.

Between sessions, Tsippy speaks to her clients often, and she is always happy to hear from them. There is a WhatsApp group which allows everyone on the course to communicate with each other and share their concerns and thoughts. ”By being part of a group, it allows women to feel that there are others going through similar experiences, and this makes them feel less alone.

Tsippy not only works with women and couples having their first child, but often those having additional children who may also need support and advice. “Sometimes women have a very traumatic experience during their first pregnancy, which they don’t want to repeat. I am able to give them the tools to be able to improve on this experience in the future”.

Through teaching women about the choices they will be offered in hospital and the physiology of labour and birth, as well as essential breathing techniques, exercises and positions, Tsippy believes that the Swiss Method allows women the chance to be able to make an informed decision on their own labour. “A woman recently contacted me to say that she had been in labour for 12 hours and ended up having a caesarean. Although that was not what she had planned, she was at peace with the outcome. We had gone through a similar scenario in the course and she recognised that although this was not her first choice it was ultimately for the safety of the baby. Having heard this all beforehand avoided her panicking and wondering whether it was really necessary”.

As well as running courses, she also works as a doula for women and couples, offering support and advice throughout labour.

For anyone looking to set up their own business in this area, Tsippy believes that it is important to have an active interest in the medical world and have a good understanding of the techniques and treatments available in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. It is also important to be empathetic and caring towards the women or couples that you are instructing. “It can be a scary time for some women, and you really need to be able to be there for them when they need it, and be able to offer them advice and help”.

Tsippy is of the opinion that when it comes to offering help and advice to pregnant women, on an emotional level it is very important to have no expectations regarding labour or childbirth, as this can sometimes lead to disappointment or resentment when things don’t work out, and from a more practical level to help minimise back pain, support the stomach muscles and allow the baby to obtain optimum position, investing in a good belly band or pelvic girdle can be extremely beneficial throughout pregnancy.

She really enjoys being able to do a job which can potentially allow women to have the most positive childbirth experience possible. Through Tsippy’s own past negative experiences, she has managed to overcome this to offer support, care and understanding to others. “Teaching women something new to help their childbirth experience become more special, and to feel empowered to make the choices that are right for them is really important to me. I love being able to do the job I do and feel really blessed that I have found something that helps others in this way”.

Tsippy will be starting her next course in October, and would like to offer Jewish Weekly readers the following offer – 15%. If you are interested in finding out more about her courses, or the Swiss Method, please contact her on 0208 731 7130 or 07530 758 887. Email tsippy@theswissmethod.co.uk or visit her website www.theswissmethod.co.uk
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