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Birth preparation workshop

Essential Oils in Pregnancy & Birth Workshop

Using essential oils in pregnancy, birth and beyond

I’m delighted to be hosting workshops around using essential oils for pregnancy and birth with Livia Maddison of Happy Baby, Happy Me. We are excited to share with expectant parents how essential oils can be used in pregnancy, birth and beyond. The workshop will allow you to prepare for the birth of your baby in a nurturing, relaxing and informative 2 hours. Our intention is for people to feel relaxed and leave the workshop feeling more knowledgeable about birth and the options available to them.

Essential oils can be used for all types of births. They are an holistic approach to help manage labour regardless if you’re hoping to achieve a natural birth, are having a cesarean, if your birth leads to induction or an unplanned cesarean. Essential oils can really help calm women in all types of birth scenarios.

Livia & I trained together through Aromatherapy for Childbirth – a course accredited by the Royal College of Midwives. Upon completing this course it’s fair to say we both left feeling really inspired and wanting to share our knowledge.

What will you learn about?

  • We will focus on 5 key oils – Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lavender, Mandarin & Peppermint
  • How you can use these oils – alternatives to placing oils directly on the skin
  • Massage techniques that can be used by birth partners incorporating the oils
  • How we can use these oils during pregnancy and post birth
  • How responsibly sourced organic oils can help with many elements of childbirth including:
  • Fear
  • Calming mental chatter
  • Nausea
  • Relief for strong surges (contractions)
  • Increase strength and frequency of surges
  • Creating a dream space
  • Relaxation
  • Helping a birthing mother to let go

My personal experience of essential oils during pregnancy

The use of essential oils in pregnancy and birth can be very beneficial to women when used correctly. I was lucky enough to experience this first hand with the use of aromatherapy treatment. This was offered to me through my hospital, West Middlesex Hospital when I was pregnant with my first son. When I reached 40 weeks i was offered aromatherapy and reflexology treatment to encourage spontaneous labour. This was the first thing suggested to me rather than a medical induction.

Oils are great to use during those early stages of birth and can help you manage labour at home for longer. I used essential oils during my pregnancy and home birth of my second son earlier this year. It was great to know I was able to use these as I needed to.

Essential oils & Hypnobirthing

As a hypnobirthing practictioner I understand how essential oils compliments the hypnobirthing courses I offer so well. It’s an holistic approach rather than using traditional pain relief options. Many couples I teach are looking for these alternatives to start with rather than reaching for the medical pain relief immediately. The massage techniques you’ll learn are simple techniques to give gentle relief to pressure a labouring woman may be experiencing. Alongside techniques that could help relax a woman in the first stages of labour.

The use of essential oils are a great alternative for women who may be allergic to pain relief options such as pethidine or other opioids, such as diamorphine and less frequently used Meptid. Oils can offer an alternative to these women who would like to have pain relief options available other than an epidural.

Purchasing essential oils

We will explain to you the importance of essential oils being sourced responsibly when being purchased. Using 100% organic oils a necessity for pregnant women. We shouldn’t be tempted to buy cheaper oils that aren’t organic or sourced responsibly. We will be able to recommend where you can purchase safe and organic oils.

How to book a space on one of the workshops

Our Essential Oils for Pregnancy & Birth workshops are hosted at The Heart in Twickenham and we welcome you to come along with your birthing partner or on your own.  The workshops are being held on:

Saturday 7th July – 09.30 – 11.30

Saturday 11th August – 10.00 – 12.00

A couples space is £30 – this is for one pregnant woman and a birthing partner. Individual spaces are priced at £20.

Bookings are being taken now for both workshops and spaces are limited so booking is essential. To book your your space get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course?

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Hampton, Kingston, Isleworth, Richmond, Teddington, Twickenham, St Margarets, Sunbury, Surbiton and surrounding areas.

I also offer group courses and I’m taking bookings for my upcomimg courses in Twickenham this June, August & October. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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Can Hypnobirthing Be Used For All Types of Births?

Find yourself wondering can hypnobirthing be used for all types of births?

Yes absolutely hypnobirthing can be used for all types of births. Unfortunately sometimes hypnobirthing can be stereotyped as a hippy type course. It’s only for a natural birth with absolutely no pain relief. This really isn’t the case. People have pre-conceptions about it saying oh no that’s not for me when they don’t realise the theory behind it. It’s about understanding the birthing body and the science behind it. If we know how it works the easier we can work with it rather than against it. Keeping our stress hormones down and allowing the Oyxtocin hormone to flow around a calm body. We all know being calm is the best way to be in any given situation.

Hypnobirthing can be used in all birth scenarios. I’ve taught a range of clients who have used their techniques for whatever route their birth takes. Sometimes birth does take a different route to how you’d thought it might. This is where hypnobirthing is fantastic. It allows a women to feel she had control over the birth and was part of the decision making process. The outcome of this? A Mother who was happy with the birth outcome because she consented and understood why birth took this route. Rather than being panicked and anxious therefore agreeing to whatever was offered. The birth stories below all have this outcome. Hopefully they help alleviate any preconceptions you may have around hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing for a cesarean

“We had the c-sec on Friday and had a little boy. Bub decided it was a lot more comfortable head up right up to the end 🙂 We went with it and although it was very clinical and my birth plan was sidelined we still had a positive experience and he arrived safe and sound. We had amazing care and bub latched early on which is fab. Feeding has been bit of a challenge but it’s going well and my milk has come in so all in all it’s going swimmingly.

I’m sure because of the hypnobirthing and our attempt to approach it all in a calm and pragmatic wave. Recovery is going well and we’re settling in at home. I’m really mobile which is great and bub is super chilled. Thanks so much for you help and support along the way. You’ve no doubt helped us get off to a good start!”

Hypnobirthing for a home birth

“So turns out I am one of those in the 4% …. Our son arrived last night at 10pm after a pretty speedy labour. He was born at home and my husband just managed to get the pool inflated and filled in time! Our daughter slept through the whole thing and was delighted to wake up and discover her baby brother had arrived! He weighed in at 7lbs 9ounces and we are both doing really well. I know it’s not for everyone, but I would thoroughly recommend a home birth and delighted it worked out so perfectly for us.”

“What an amazing experience already! Baby arrived at 20.53 on Thursday evening. At home – not in the pool but with the most amazing people around me. Having a glass of champagne with the midwives and getting into our own bed that night! We have had visits form the home birth team since. My hypnobirthing breath came in for the early stages the final head push was touch and go but you sure dig deep!! I feel good, mending so quickly.”

Hypnobirthing on a labour ward

“Thank you so much for your help and support throughout. As with most births, it didn’t go quite to script but we still did our best to deploy the hypnobirthing techniques we’d learned with you, I think in particular in helped my husband, which allowed him t help me!

I had a sweep midday Friday (they were inducing on Monday) and I got contractions and broken waters by early evening. I managed to get to 7cm at home on my own before arriving at UCL at 2.30pm desperate for the gas and air and the water pool. I’d found the contractions intense, so much so I’d not kept my fluids up and when I arrived was severely dehydrated and the baby was finding the contractions fast and intense. We were rushed into the labour ward, I got my gas and air, but that’s all I needed and ‘Biscuit’ was born unaided within 2 hours of us arriving! So not the birth plan, but a great result! Thank you so much.”

Hypnobirthing techniques for an ECV (external cephalic version)

“We had a successful ECV last Friday to turn the baby, which wasn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world, but I think was good preparation for going into labour. I used my breathing and visualisation techniques during it, and the doctor was impressed with my pain threshold, which is good confirmation for me that they do work! I found a couple of the other things you said really helpful too, like it is important to stay relaxed to keep the baby relaxed, and that a hospital is an unnatural and unfamiliar environment, which I realised partly explained why I was nervous beforehand.

We have since managed to have a natural birth at the natural birth centre. We were very lucky that the labour itself was relatively straightforward. My waters broke at 1:30am, we then went to hospital at 1:00pm and our son was born at 8:13pm. Attending your classes definitely helped me to feel properly prepared, and to be positive and relatively calm, so thanks again for all your help!”

Hypnobirthing for natural birth

“Our daughter was born at 7.30am on the 31st December with the first contraction at midnight. I had her in the birth centre but things moved pretty fast they didn’t have time to sort the pool for me! It was intense but so glad it went that way as recovery has been quick and we took her home at 3pm that day! We are besotted.”

“I am absolutely convinced that everything we’d learnt and practiced in the months leading up to my son’s birth was forefront in my mind and helped me to get through the whole experience.

My first surges about 10pm I wasn’t quite sure if they were real or not to start with! So I went to bed as normal and at around 2am, they were still going very consistently so I knew this was it! I woke up my husband and got myself in to the bath. At around 6am and a lot of bouncing around on my birthing ball, we phoned the hospital and they told us to come in. It’s amazing how quickly the time has flown by at home and how calm it all was.

At the hospital, I was examined and told I was 2cm dilated. I later found out I was actually 4cm but the midwives could see I’d done so well at home already, they wanted me to carry on being as calm as I was! A few hours later I was in the birthing suite and the pool was being filled ready for me. I suddenly felt the urge to push and turned out I was 9cm!

We had our hypnobirthing playlist on the iPod, I was in the pool with just gas and air and everything was just super chilled. Two amazing midwives (one was a student), my mum and husband. We just seemed to chat lots and I floated about in the pool! Now I’m not saying that I didn’t feel any sensations because I absolutely did, however there wasn’t a part of me at any point that needed to scream and shout and I didn’t ever feel that I needed any more pain relief than the gas and air.

After a good hour or so of pushing, my little boy still wasn’t quite ready to make his appearance so I has to get out of the pool and get back on to the bed. 15 minutes later he was born and the feeling was just incredible. The most surreal moment of my life.

After he was born, both the midwives said what a really lovely experience my birth had been for them because it was so calm, happy and relaxed from start to finish. Funnily enough, when I looked back at my hypnobirthing notes, Alison has asked us both to write a list of what we wanted our birthing experience to be and what we didn’t want it to be. It was pretty much exactly as we’d said we wanted it! Calm, chatting, relaxed, no intervention, water birth (almost!), laughter….My husband even got to tell me the sex of our baby, something else we’d both said we wanted to do.

Alison is still a good friend to us and I know she will be able to help so many more couples to have the positive birth experience that we had. My advice to everyone is to fully embrace it, stay positive and optimistic throughout and be open minded.”

Hypnobirthing for shoulder dystocia

“Labour had started at 6pm the previous day at after arriving at hospital at 6am. After being held in triage it was at this point I requested  an epidural. The gas and air they gave me helped but not enough. As soon as I got the epidural I felt so much better. From then on rested whilst I dilated to 10cm around midday.

The midwife then said I would need to start pushing. We started that but it wasn’t progressing quickly enough and they were worried about the babies heart rate. I then had an episiotomy and a bit of ventouse. Her shoulder was stuck (shoulder dystocia). I was very focused on my pushing and visualisations to notice the rush of people. This is where the hypnobirthing really paid off for me as I was not panicked in anyway at this point. I just really went into my zone of down breathing visualisations even though I was having to push. They managed to get the shoulder free and she was born safely! All was good!

So although it wasn’t what I had imagined and as I expected the epidural lead to more intervention. I still felt in control once I had the epidural. I’d done the safest thing for me and baby as I had felt I had lost control of my body. I still would use it for another birth and hope to be able to manage a labour with it if we have another baby! I had practised the breathing so much and the visualisations.”

Hypnobirthing for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)

“Thank you for the sessions. They really helped me prepare for the birth and made me feel much more positive and in control.

I had a gorgeous baby boy on 31st May and a successful VBAC birth that I wanted. I ended up being induced after 10 days using the cooks balloon method. After nothing happened they put me on the hormone drip. By this point I felt I lost my positive energy and fear took over again so I opted for the epidural. This was actually amazing for me as I only topped it up once. It calmed me down and allowed me to rest and get back into my hypnobirthing zone. I ended up in theatre at the end with vontuse delivery but this was fine. I felt in control through this. The main thing is that I had my VBAC birth and had a healthy baby. Your sessions really helped me to go through with having a natural birth. It kept me in my zone during the long induction process.”

Still wondering can Hypnobirthing can be used for all types of births?

I wanted to share the success stories of Clients I’ve worked with and the different birth scenarios. Hopefully it will help you make a decision to see how hypnobirthing could help you during pregnancy or your birth.

Hypnobirthing also works amazingly well for women who may have previously suffered a traumatic birth. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching many second time Mum’s. They wanted birth to be a different experience by feeling more in control. Allowing them to let go of the fear.

It works for Dad’s who may be very anxious having never experienced this before. I’ve had many Mum’s say to me how well hypnobirthing helped Dad to be calm and great birth partner.

For expectant parents who have been fertility treatment. With a medicalised approach to birth to begin with it allows them to have a calm approach throughout the pregnancy.

Want to know more about how Hypnobirthing can help you?

I teach private hypnobirthing courses around London and Surrey. Areas include Chertsey, Hampton, Hillingdon, Isleworth, Kingston, Richmond, Sheen, St Margarets, Sunbury, Surbiton, Teddington, Twickenham, Weybridge, Windsor.

For my group courses I’m taking bookings for April course in St Margarets. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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Is Hypnobirthing Worth It?

What price do we put on our birth experiences? Is hypnobirthing worth it?

As women we often put investment into our daily life routine. Be it our hair being cut and coloured, having regular blow drys, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing appointments. These appointments become part of our routine even though they are costly and take a chunk of our disposable income.

When it comes to weddings there’s often no expense spared. On average, a wedding in the UK now costs £27,000 with the figure in London reaching £38,000! But when it comes to what is said to be one of the most memorable days of your life we can become complacent about how much is being spent. We want to have the best experience on our wedding day.

I know as a bride to be I spent an eye watering amount on beauty treatments leading up to the big day. Changing my gym routine. Being more conscious of my diet. A lot of preparation went into my big day. My budget for my dress doubled when I saw ‘the dress’.

So why when it comes to our birth experience why aren’t we encouraged to treat it in the same way as any other memorable occasion in our life? Why are we put off investing in educating and preparing ourselves for birth? We can’t just hope for a good birth experience we have to prepare for one.

How can hypnobirthing prepare me for a better birth experience?

Some people are put off by the cost of a hypnobirthing course. I often have parents say to me i’d like to do it but there is so much more to pay out for when you’re having a baby. This of course is very true. They are weighing up is hypnobirthing worth it. Preparing for a new arrival can become very costly. But what we can’t put a price on is an woman’s birth experience. A bad birth experience can haunt women for life. It can lead to post natal depression and consequently put a woman off having another baby. Even women who had planned to have more than one child stop at one after a negative experience.

Hypnobirthing prepares expectant parents for a birth they can feel in control of and approach in a calm manner. Understanding how the body works during the birthing process is a vital part of a calm birth. The more we understand the birthing body the easier it is to work with it. The more educated we are on birth the better prepared we are. Knowledge is power after all.

A pain free birth?

Hypnobirthing doesn’t promise you a pain free birth but what it does do is allow you to reframe birth. Lets not talk about pain lets talk about sensations. Those sensations you will experience will be far more manageable if you’re calm and relaxed. The reason for this is because the body won’t be producing adrenaline – we don’t need this during birth. We need the body to be be producing oxytocin – the feel good hormone and endorphins as these will ensure your uterus works effectively and efficiently.

All this being said many hypnobirthing mums will say their birth was relatively ‘pain’ free. I for one describe my birth experience as and enjoyable experience and i’d had harder days at work. Some would say I was just ‘lucky’. I wouldn’t I would say my husband and I educated ourselves in the lead up. We prepared as best as we could so when that day arrived we would feel prepared and we did.

Own your birth experience

My advice to all expectant Mum’s would be to own your birth experience. Don’t expect anybody else to take control of it for you. At the end of the day a busy London hospital will see 1000’s of women come through their doors on a monthly basis. They are there to facilitate your birth but you need to have the voice and communicate with your caregivers. Don’t allow choices to be taken away from you by not educating yourself. Unfortunately many women will say about their birth experience ‘I wasn’t allowed to do that’. ‘The hospital said I had to do that’. As birthing women we always have a choice. We have to consent to anything that happens to us. Hypnobirthing educates us on this.

Hypnobirthing gave me a voice when I was in labour. Being transferred to the labour ward after having had a nice experience on the natural birthing centre. It was hospital protocol i’d be in second stage too long to remain there. I had a voice when they started to prep me for theatre for an epidural. Asking what the alternative was. What happened? The alternative meant my baby was delivered promptly without me having an epidural.

So is hypnobirthing worth it?

In my eyes its worth every penny. It was the best investment I made during my pregnancy. The course left me feeling prepared and confident. A feeling I now love hearing that my clients have experienced also when we finish a course together.

I’d advise any pregnant lady give up a couple of those things that we have in our monthly routines. Get your other half to forgo a few nights out with friends. Those sports or gig tickets. By the time you forgo a few you’ve paid for a hypnobirthing course. A course that will leave you feeling prepared. So what your nails and hair may not look as preened but having a birth experience that you look back on as a positive and happy day is worth it.

Every woman deserves a birth that she felt in control of. One that may have been textbook or one that took a different route. Regardless of that it needs to be one that you were in control of and was the best birth for you. It’s your birth – own your birth and your body.

So is hypnobirthing worth it? I strongly believe so. Treat your birth in the same way you’d treat buying a house, getting married. Let it be a memorable experience. Investing in it as you would any other significant life event.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Teddington, St Margarets, Richmond, Twickenham, Isleworth, Hampton, Kingston and surrounding areas. I also offer group courses in St Margarets. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.

I offer Twick Mum and YogaBellies Richmond ladies a 10% discount on all my courses.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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Hypnobirthing & Yoga Birth Preparation Workshop

Hypnobirthing courses in Richmond

Are you thinking about hypnobirthing or pregnancy yoga? Like the idea but aren’t convinced they’re for you? I work with Triona who runs YogaBellies, Richmond to offer ladies a birth preparation workshop that combines hypnobirthing and yoga.

We start with a one hour yoga class lead by Triona followed by a two hour hypnobirthing session by Hypnobirthing Mumma. I welcome birth partners to join in for they hypnobirthing session as hypnobirthing isn’t only beneficial for expectant Mums. It’s beneficial for birth partners and your baby. Expectant mums start the session after an hours wonderful yoga with Triona feeling nourished and relaxed. The best place to be for hypnobirthing. Although our workshops take place in Richmond and I offer private hypnobirthing courses in Richmond and surrounding areas. Get it touch to find out the areas that I cover.

The benefits of yoga in pregnancy

Research suggests that practising yoga while pregnancy can help improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth.
  •  Your body can feel more supported from yoga including helping ease any back pain you might be experiencing from carrying your baby bump around. Supporting the changes that are happening in a pregnant body.
  • Helps tone the physical body, especially the pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal core muscles, in preparation for the birthing process.
  • Works to connect with yoga methods around deep, mindful breathing which helps the body loosen and relax during labour.
  • Women find they connect more with their baby when they attend a yoga class. They have that sense of relaxation and being present in that moment. Disconnecting from anything else going on in the outside world.
  • Through stretching and toning your muscles yoga can help ease common pregnancy symptoms. These include back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga encourages healthy blood circulation throughout the body. Combined with the deep breathing it can bring much needed oxygen to your baby and to your own muscles.
  • It’s also a great way to meet other expectant Mums!

The benefits of Hypnobirthing

  • You are likely to experience a more comfortable and sometimes pain free birth.
  • Length of labour is often much shorter with hypnobirthing births.
  • Less drugs and medical intervention are used in hypnobirthing births allowing your baby to develop naturally and easily after they arrive.
  • Your baby will arrive to a serene and relaxed environment, alert and ready to bond with you as nature intended.
  • Mums often bounce back quicker after a hypnobirthing birth as the physical impact of giving birth is reduced.
  • Hypnobirthing babies tend to show less distress during birth, are often very alert after birth and calmer babies.
  • Your birth partner will learn how to support you and have a central and active role in the birth. A truly shared and loving experience.

How often are the Birth Preparation Workshops held?

We aim to hold Birth Preparation Workshops every 2 months. The next workshop is being held on Saturday 14 April from 10.00 – 14.00. Held in central Richmond at Hamptons International.

The intention with the birth preparation workshop is for expectant parents to feel nourished and informed. I always encourage parents that even if they don’t go on to book a full KG hypnobirthing course to take away simple snippets of info that can help them achieve a better birth.

Many expectant parents do leave feeling inspired and go on to book a full hypnobirthing course. From the last workshop half of the attendees went on to book a private course.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I offer hypnobirthing courses in Richmond, Twickenham, Isleworth, Hampton, Kingston and surrounding areas. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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Top Five Tips for Labour

Hypnobirthing Mumma’s top five tips for labour

As a hypnobirthing practitioner I truly believe in the benefits of hypnobirthing to give women the best birth for them. It empowers woman to make them feel in control and to trust their bodies. As a mother who had a hypnobirth these are my five tips that I always share with my clients in addition to hypnobirthing.

ONE · DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE

Breath is king! Breathe throughout your labour – from the initial first stage through to the moment you meet your baby. It is such a powerful part of labour but can be underrated and overlooked. Breathing is a natural pain relief for the body. It allows you to re-oxygenate your muscles and don’t forget your uterus is a muscle. It encourages oxytocin which is the vital hormone that needs to be flowing around the body to encourage labour. With the breathing technique I teach called ‘Up Breath’ it is on the out breath where the body produces the most oxytocin. Its a relaxing form of breath work to keep any stress or anxiety at a minimum.

TWO · KEEP HYDRATED

Keeping yourself hydrated is very important during pregnancy and it’s equally important when in labour. Keep the body fuelled with liquids to encourage your energy levels. I encourage women to drink water or coconut water if you’re looking for sweetness. Coconut water is low in calories, rich in potassium, fat and cholesterol free. Compared to an average sports drink too that many people drink for energy it has fewer calories, less sodium, but higher amounts of potassium.  It also has much less sugar than regular sodas or fruit juices.

For those expectant mothers during the summer months I encourage them to freeze bottles of water. That way you can take them to the hospital and they’ll begin to defrost leaving you with cool water.

Don’t forgot to keep emptying your bladder though with all this drinking! The baby needs to pass the bladder to come down the birth canal so a full bladder can prevent this.

THREE · RELAX YOUR JAW SHOULDERS & NECK

Keep your jaw, shoulders and neck relaxed and resist clenching them during labour.  Clenching in the jaw and neck is directly linked to tension in the stomach. Therefore focusing on letting go of your facial muscles will bring relaxation to your uterus and cervix. Conserve your energy don’t waste it on bringing tension into the body.

Look at a runner during a race and you’ll normally notice that their jaw is completely relaxed and obviously moves when they are sprinting. The principle is the same here for them they are trying to keep their abdominal muscles and pelvic region as relaxed as possible. The nerves in the body are intricately intertwined, and releasing tension in one area can relax muscles in another part of the body

FOUR · FEED YOUR BODY

Birthing is like running a marathon you need to fuel the body. Try to eat a meal during your first stage or labour. It doesn’t have to be a massive meal but a balanced plate of food will give you energy you need. If you can’t face a meal have small snacks regularly. Nuts, avocados, a piece of fruit are all great snacks that will give you an energy boost. Eating foods with a low GI means they have a low score on the glycaemic index and can keep blood sugar levels steady during labour. Low-GI foods provide natural, slowly released energy which is beneficial during labour. Foods such as:

  • Porridge
  • Natural muesli
  • Wholegrain bread, pasta and crackers
  • Hummus
  • Avocados
  • Dried apricots
  • Peanuts, walnuts, cashew nuts
  • Grapes, strawberries, kiwis
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Beans – kidney, black-eyed, butter beans

A homemade smoothie is also a great way to fuel the body as you can load it full of wonderful healthy and beneficial foods. Its quickly made and easy to digest.

FIVE · BE ACTIVE

I encourage expectant mums to be as active as they can be during pregnancy. Keeping up fitness that is safe for you and baby that you’ve always practised. Going to yoga and pilates. Swimming – anything that keeps you strong will help you during labour.

Being active then continues during labour and enhances comfort by stimulating the receptors in the brain that decrease the perception of discomfort. Any active movement in response to your contractions decreases pain and facilitates labour. Movement helps the baby move through the pelvis and there are many positions that enlarge pelvic diameters. I always try to discourage women from lying on their back as this narrows the pelvic diameter to birth the baby. If you need to rest I encourage women to lie on their side although this still prevents the effects of gravity.

Being upright really helps the body birth more effectively. There are many active birthing positions that can be used:

  • Walking around
  • Standing
  • Rocking back and forth on all fours
  • Supported standing squat
  • Squatting
  • Sitting on a toilet
  • Sitting astride a chair
  • Kneeling on one knee and the other leg at a 90 degrees angle

These five tips combined with hypnobirthing really helped me achieve a birth I look back on as an amazing experience. If you can just remember a couple during your labour i’m sure they will help you achieve a better birth.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I offer hypnobirthing classes across Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London. So to find out more about my five tips, hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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Is Labour Painful?

Is labour painful?

The question that so many women have around labour and birth. Is labour painful? We’re surrounded with many stories that allude to this. Most women have been surrounded by this belief from a very young age. TV, films, books, peoples birth stories contribute to this belief. Its such an awful notion to believe that to have a family women have to endure hours of pain whilst in labour. We need to reframe this belief. We can’t hang on to negative thoughts or comments they aren’t helpful whatsoever. Don’t underestimate that ‘where the mind leads, the body follows’. Positive thinking is what you need not a belief that it has to be the painful way or no way!

I’m here to share with you that it doesn’t have to be this way.

But we all have different pain thresholds I hear you say

I would tell you that i’m a wimp! Had you asked me many years ago before i became a Mum – is labour painful? I’d have said of course it is! Having not even experienced it I’d have confidently told you of course it would be. A paper cut hurts me, I’m often asked by beauticians does that hurt because my legs have gone bright red during waxing. Yes it does hurt even though I’ve been having it done for 18 years! But ask me is labour painful? I’ll tell you no. I had a great labour. I often say I’ve had harder days at work! The reason I strongly believe it was this way? Because i was relaxed. I was looking forward to birth and meeting my baby. I was never alarmed when labour started. You can read more about my birth story here.

By being relaxed it really helps you manage any sensations that you are experiencing. If you’re able to manage these sensations early on then you’re conserving your energy stores.

Don’t underestimate your body and don’t look to birth to be painful. Take any association of pain away from your believe of what labour is. Yes labour is a very different sensation to any you may have experience before. Although some women liken it to premenstrual cramp. Its a hard sensation to describe I find personally but its certainly not one I described as painful.

Managing labour effectively

As a hypnobirthing teacher and having experienced childbirth there are many ways that we can manage labour. Firstly understanding our bodies. Many women aren’t aware of how amazing their bodies are. They are designed to give birth. Of course, there are circumstances where women can’t give birth naturally due to medical reasons. For those women, who are in the majority, that can give birth naturally we need to understand our bodies.

Breath is King

To appreciate that breath is KING is a good start. Don’t ever underestimate how powerful breathing techniques are. Not only during labour but in all walks of life. When we’re stressed, taking deep breaths help to calm us down. I teach a breath work called the up breath which is used in the first stage of labour. This breath is used as a relaxing breath and it produces a hormone that the body needs on the out breath, Oxytocin.

Birthing hormones

Understanding the hormones we need to keep our bodies relaxed. By doing this the uterus which is the muscle that births our baby is relaxed. If this muscle is tense it won’t work effectively and like any other muscle will start to produce lactic acid. This is not effective during labour. We keep our uterus relaxed by our bodies producing oxytocin. Oxytocin is also know as the love hormone. The same hormone your body produces when we’re kissed, hugged, have sex.

If your body is producing oxytocin you’re going to be in a happy state not tense or anxious. It’s when the stress hormone adrenaline kicks in that labour will begin to stall. The body will be tense, stressed and anxious. This is not conducive for labour. This is when women can be branded with ‘failure to progress’. When actually if they were in the right environment they could begin to relax.

Oxytocin breeds. So if you’re producing it those around you will start to as well and vice-versa. So the more calm and relaxed anybody involved in the birth can be the better.

Oxytocin works in harmony with fellow hormones endorphins and melatonin. Melatonin is encouraged in dark and quiet settings and inhibited by interruption and observation. Endorphins are natures natural pain relief. Promoted by oxytocin, laughter, love and stimulated by light touch and massage.

It’s amazing how the body can naturally produce all of these things to naturally promote a manageable labour – if we work with it.

How can hypnobirthing help?

Hypnobirthing can help you achieve a better birth. One that you feel in control of by learning how the body works. Understanding how if we’re stressed where it can lead to and how it uses energy levels we should be conserving. Using techniques that help stimulate endorphins through gentle stroking and massage. Listening to relaxations and believing in the power of the mind.

We don’t want to hold on to negative thoughts and with hypnobirthing we encourage you to let go of those. Release any of the fear and tension you may hold on to in the subconscious mind.

Hypnobirthing isn’t pain relief but it teaches you to understand how you can be in control of your birth and remain calm. Being calm is key because as soon as you become stressed the adrenaline will kick in. This is then when we start to see intervention, women’s contractions slowing down.

Learning the tools of hypnobirthing will mean you’re not left asking is labour painful? You’ll feel confident that you will be able to have a birth that you feel in control of and can manage. This isn’t just for a natural birth but any route your birth takes.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I offer hypnobirthing classes across Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

FAQs is labour painful

My Favourite Baby Items For My Hypnobaby

What baby items should I buy? Where do I start?

As a Mum to be it can be completely overwhelming with all of the decisions that need to be made. What course do I do? What is hypnobirthing? Which hospital will I have my baby at? Do I want a homebirth? Do I need to go to NCT? Then there’s the amount of baby items to choose from! Many friends shared their recommendations with me. I bought many items that I barely used much to the frustration of my other half! What I did find out though were the baby items that served me well. So here are my favourite buys that I bought for my very own hypnobaby.

Medela Breast Pump

Unfortunately I really struggled with breastfeeding. Therefore the breastfeeding counsellor advised to get an electric breast pump to express. As although we struggled to feed I still wanted to give Oliver the chance to have breast milk. Expressing was the perfect solution for us. It was really easy to use and not uncomfortable. The electric pump made it so much easier and quicker than a hand pump. Women really give themselves a hard time with breastfeeding. I’m a strong believer in as long as baby is fed and happy then you are doing your best. You’ve created a miracle – don’t forget you’re amazing! So if you’re struggling to feed, or wanting to express so that Dad or those around you can help with the feeds i’d highly recommend Medela.

Doctor Brown’s Bottles

I had so many recommendations for these bottles and I understand why. They are fantastic bottles. Oliver fortunately never suffered with colic whilst we used them. They were long lasting and I never had to replace the bottles. Well I did but only the ones I lost when I left them in various places!! They come with various teat sizes so I was able to keep Oliver on them until he gave up the bottle when he turned 1. If you’re bottle feeding my tip with bottles is to buy the full size bottles to start with. They move up so quickly to needing more milk that the smaller bottles become redundant quickly.

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep

I bought this once I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to breast feed solely. This machine is brilliant! Especially at 3am allowing you to make an optimum temperature bottle in under 2 minutes. This made our lives so much easier. It’s really easy to use and maintain. Changing the filter is like changing any water filer and it alerts you when this is necessary. Considering the usage the filters last a good length of time – so don’t be put off by needing to change the filters.

Phil & Teds Travel Cot

This travel cot is fantastic! This baby item has gone on in to a toddler item as Oliver still sleeps in it now! It is more pricey than some others on the market but its well worth the money. It so compact it fits in a suitcase, is super light and the mattress is inflatable. An inflatable mattress might not sound that comfortable for your little bundle of joy but when the cover is on you’d know no different. Not bulky or heavy and very easy to put together. We have taken ours on many holidays and for overnight stays. Personally i’d always rather have my own travel cot than a hotel one but some may say i’m just being fussy. It doubles up as a play pen and they also sell a sun shade for it so it can be used outside. This was definitely money well spent.

Babyway Newborn Bath Seat

We had a flat folding bath seat we had never got used as I found the Babyway bath seat was so easy to use. Oliver was really secure and comfortable. It grips to the bath and allows the baby to sit in a comfortable position. Oliver never slipped in this seat he sat comfortably allowing us to play and wash him. The only downside its an awkward shape to store so ours took up residence in the bath!

Muslins

We went through so many muslins so I tried a fair few! Oliver still loves a muslin know to him as his ‘raggy’! I think raggy appears in our wedding pictures more than us! So as you can imagine they get washed copious amounts of time. 2.5 years on these are the ones I loved the most, kept their softness and wash up so well. Aden & Anais my heart still pangs every time i see a newborn with these – so sparkly white with the cute animal design. Given to us as a gift and because I know how well they have served us I now often buy them as a gift too.

Another excellent set that are great value are from Aldi by Kirkton House. These too were part of a newborn gift and I hunted them down once I realised how great they were. I signed up to the Aldi special buys emails so i knew when they were having a baby event and stocking them. 2.5 years on the original set are still going strong.

A couple of baby items I didn’t buy and in hindsight I would have…

So hindsight is a great thing and there are a couple of things I look back and think I would have bought that. Not that what I had didn’t serve me well but these would have been better buys.

Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair

At the time i looked at these highchairs and thought i’m not spending that much. Yes they are pricey but the lifespan of them is fantastic. Oliver now uses one with his childminder and they are the ideal size for dinner tables. Once they move out of the baby seat you can use this as a chair that a child can sit comfortably on. The height is adjustable and they come in a super range of modern and contemporary colours. This will definitely be one of my baby items purchase should we be lucky to have another baby in the future.

Uppababy Buggy

When we were looking at buggies I didn’t want to have a buggy with a carrycot. I wanted a buggy that could lie flat and also be a three wheeler. I was able to find a nice design that I liked and met these requirements. Unfortunately what I didn’t take into consideration was the amount of basket space. Why would I?! I wasn’t used to having to juggle shopping, a handbag, baby changing bag and a buggy! So this was a bug bearer for me that I had a pretty impractically sized, flimsy basket. The handle was adjustable but my back continued to ache as not being high enough. I often look at mothers with the Uppababy buggies and envy the basket space they have and how high the handles go. So if I was purchasing another buggy it would certainly be an Uppababy.

Hopefully these suggestions are helpful and don’t overwhelm or confuse you even further. They are just a few items that personally I think are good buys on the market. There are loads out there and it can becoming confusing. Just give yourself time to browse the stores and find the best items for you.

What I do when i’m not recommending baby items!

I’m busy helping expectant parents achieve the best birth for them. I offer hypnobirthing classes in Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.

Keep in touch

Follow me via my blog,  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep up to date with my courses and workshops taking place.

Ali x

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Birth Preparation Workshops

What is a Birth Preparation Workshop?

I host birth preparation workshops in conjunction with YogaBellies Richmond to help women and couples prepare for the birth of their baby. It is a nurturing, fun and informative 3 hours. We commence with an hours pregnancy yoga followed by two hour hypnobirthing workshop. Our intention is for people to feel relaxed and leave the workshop feeling more empowered and less anxious about birth.

A birth preparation workshop allows you to take time for relaxation. Allowing you to let go of any apprehensions and sharing your experiences with other new parents to be. It’s a nurturing workshop that allows you to relax, and take time for you and your baby. Allowing you the space to connect with the miracle growing inside you.

I enlighten attendees about the benefits of hypnobirthing. Educating on how if in the right environment we can encourage the birthing hormones. These hormones are so vital to encourage birth naturally and many of us are unaware of this. Inviting everybody to join in on relaxation and breathing techniques. We discuss any fears individuals may have and how hypnobirthing can help overcome those fears or anxieties.

Yoga compliments hypnobirthing as many of the beautiful poses are fantastic birthing positions. Opening up the pelvis so much more than lying on your back. They are open positions enabling a woman’s body to birth a baby more effectively and naturally. When a woman becomes more familiar with these positions during pregnancy hopefully they will come more naturally to take them up during labour.

Feedback received

The intention with the birth preparation workshop is for expectant parents to feel nourished and informed. I always encourage parents that even if they don’t go on to book a full KG hypnobirthing course to take away nuggets of info. Hopefully so that they are remembered when they go on to birth their baby. Be it how to encourage your birthing hormones, the breathing, keeping your jaw and face relaxed. If I can help somebody have the best birth for them then I’ve achieved what I set out to do.

A taste of the lovely feedback received from expectant Mum’s at the last workshop on the 10 June 2017 in Richmond, Surrey….

‘I thought the workshop was great and it has really inspired me not to be afraid or listen to negative stories!’

‘I really enjoyed it. Very informative.’

‘We’d both like to thank you for the workshop on Saturday – we both enjoyed it but more importantly found it positive and reassuring.’

‘Thanks again for such a great session.’

Many parents leave the session feeling inspired and do go on to book a full private or group course.

How often are the Birth Preparation Workshops held?

We aim to hold Birth Preparation Workshops every 2 months. We will be announcing a date very soon for a workshop for August 2017 in Richmond.

Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?

I offer hypnobirthing classes across Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London. So to find out more about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – i’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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What is hypnobirthing?

What is hypnobirthing?

Although hypnobirthing has become more widely known about in recent years ‘what is hypnobirthing‘ it is still a widely asked question.  People can be mislead by the hypno part and confuse it with being in a hypnotic state which it isn’t.  Hypnobirthing enables a woman to work with her body which is designed to give birth. It allows a woman to release any fear and negativity associated with birth. Many women have been programmed to believe birth is painful due to the negativity surrounding us from a young age. Negativity can come from birth stories, TV shows, films etc. Hypnobirthing replaces this with a calm confidence about birth.

Women who use hypnobirthing technique often go on to say what a wonderful experience birth was for them. They can’t wait to do it again. These are words been used by women who associated birth with being painful. I am one of these women!

How can Hypnobirthing Mumma help you?

I run workshops with Triona who runs YogaBellies Richmond to help women have the best birth for them. The workshop consists of a one hour relaxing pregnacy yoga session followed by a two hour hypnobirthing taster. The feedback we receive around these sessions is extremely positive. Often empowering women with the alternative options they do have around birth. It doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience and you can feel empowered to have the birth you want. It’s a great learning tool for Dad’s too who are often only aware of the birthing stories or options expectant Mum has told them.

The workshop allows people to ask all the questions around what is hypnobirthing? Which then allows them to feel more informed and as to whether they would then like to do the full hypnobirthing course.

When is the next workshop?

The next workshop is being held on Saturday 10 June from 10.00 – 14.00. We encourage Dad’s and birthing partners to join us too. Often Dads really enjoy both sessions especially if they’ve never experienced yoga or have no knowledge of hypnobirthing.

This workshop takes place at Hamptons International Richmond in a private room on the first floor. We provide refreshments, a light lunch and a goodie bag. The cost of the session is £75 per couple.

Hypnobirthing course discounts

As a thank you parents who go on to book a private hypnobirthing course having attended the workshop I give a 10% discount of the course price.

Ready to book a hypnobirthing course? I’d would love hear from you so please do get in touch.

Follow me via my blog,  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

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