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group hypnobirthing courses

My Babies First Year

Baby Jack’s first year

So in a flash my second baby, Jack, turned one. It has gone so much faster than I ever anticipated. He changes before my eyes on a daily basis. I find myself thinking how did he suddenly just start doing that? In this past week Jack has decided he will eat ‘proper’ food he’s moved on from purees – thank goodness I thought he was never going to get there! He is interested in feeding himself and so over bottles and milk. Oh and he’s decided that he wants to try and totter around.

Looking back what would I tell me pre Jack?

The laid back me might not be so laid back. I can quite confidently say first time round I wasn’t a stressed Mum. I’d describe myself as very chilled and didn’t worry – which I know is quite unusual first time round. I didn’t follow a guide as to what Oliver should be doing I just trusted my instinct and chatted to friends. Fast forward to second baby even though I was as laid back I was stressed not about Jack but about this new found life that was a juggling act.

Savour the moments. They go by so much faster than they do first time round. I put it down to not having as much time as I did as a first time Mum. I’ve not been able to savour them as much I find that quite sad.

It’s normal to feel out of control! For a normally pretty organised person I can honestly say I felt so unorganised for around 10 months. I’d get myself in a tizz over silly things but to me they were big deals. Like I couldn’t get on top of an ironing pile. To some this wouldn’t even be on the list of things to do but to me it was a big deal!

You can have as much love for more than one child. I can remember after having Oliver saying to my husband I can’t imagine loving another child as much as I love Oliver. Of course as soon as Jack was born I loved him as much as I do Oliver. They’re both amazing little boys.

Don’t lose your temper easily with your first child. I’m so guilty of this! It’s been a long day, you’re tired and have little patience. Poor Oliver bears the brunt of this. I had to have a word with myself. He was a 3 year old little boy who’s world imploded when this baby arrived. It’s okay that he probably doesn’t understand that you’re shattered when he used to have your undivided attention.

Accept that when you feel a bit stressed it affects your happy life. Don’t just accept that’s how life has to be now. It’s okay not to be okay but you have to ask for help. Share how you’re feeling I guarantee things will feel better immediately.

Feeling a little resentful

You can start to feel feelings you never have – it’s okay you’re not a monster for feeling like that. Finding yourself quite resentful that your other half gets to go to work everyday. I have said many times since having Jack that going to work full time five days a week would be easier. Admittedly not for all jobs working in the NHS, Emergency Services for example. But for my previous job in marketing that would be a walk in the park.

In a probably slightly aggressive tone I’ve been known to say at least you get a pay rise, you get a bonus, you get recognition! Motherhood can feel overwhelming and even more so when you’re having a bad day. You don’t get to close the front door behind you have some time on the commute to work, drink a hot drink, have breakfast and lunch. You can start to feel resentful for that even though they are going to work too. Cut them some slack.

Don’t wish the time away

I’ve found second time around that there’s not the element of surprise like first time round. You’ve never done it before. Suddenly your baby moves on to the next stage and you’re delighted. Its a whole new world.

Unlike second time around for me. Poor Baby Jack Jack I’m constantly preempting the next stage. I’m sure that’s why the time has gone even faster. I can’t believe that 6 months ago I’d started weaning him and now he’s tucking into a range of foods.

Even leading up to his first birthday it whizzed by and I was left thinking the night before. Have I done enough? Created enough memories? Of course I have but you can’t help but worry. I strongly believe it’s not about spending money on a child unnecessarily it’s about creating fun memories and capturing them.

Admittedly I can’t deny I can’t wait for the nappies to be done though!

Would I change anything?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I love my little family. Once I started to have some acceptance and things didn’t seem so foggy life became easier. Sleep, regular exercise, not rushing around every day has massively helped. I’m lucky I have a great husband who is definitely 50% of this team. He helps me see the light and get some perspective even in my meltdown moments!

I have some great friends and we are able to have very honest conversations. That helps when you’re having a bad day because guess what many Mums are going through the same thing.

I love the conversations at the school gate after I’ve dropped my 4 year old Oliver at nursery with some lovely Mums I’ve met there. Mums with one child, others with multiple. One Mum turned to me the other day and said I’m so happy you said that I thought I was the only one feeling like that with two children. Being honest can really help another Mum out.

The lovely conversations I have with one of my best friends Kelly when we’re wandering through the streets of Twickenham and Richmond. How we just both get where we’re coming from. A problem shared is a problem halved.

When I’m not being a Mum of 2 juggling life….

I’m busy helping expectant parents achieve the best birth for them. I offer group and private hypnobirthing classes in Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London, Surrey & Middlesex.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

My Babies First Year

I have to give birth again? To a Placenta?! What’s that?

What is the placenta?

I think we take it as a given that everybody knows what a placenta is. Its not true. I know many women who had no idea what it was until they were pregnant let alone that they they had to ‘birth’ it.

The placenta is an organ that is created when pregnant. It attaches itself to the uterus wall during your pregnancy. Its function is to keep mother and babies blood supply separate and to create a link between the two.

So exactly what does a placenta do?

For the functions that your unborn baby can’t do itself it does this for them passing oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The placenta passes waste back into the mother bloodstream to dispose of such as carbon dioxide.

Hormones are produced by the placenta that help your baby develop. It also helps baby be protected against most bacterias protecting against infection.

Any antibodies that a mother already has will be passed on to the baby towards the end of a pregnancy via the placenta. This gives baby immunity for around the first 3 months of their lives.

During pregnancy we are warned about the risks of drinking, taking drugs, not taking certain medication, avoiding too much caffeine. The reason for this is because these are all passed via the placenta to the baby.

So just how does the placenta make its entrance into the world?

During birth education you’ll often hear about the stages of labour. The third stage is when birthing the placenta takes place. Unlike birthing your baby the placenta tends to slide out in most cases but this doesn’t happened immediately. Being in an upright position should enable an easier delivery. Yep just like birth we don’t want to be lying flat on our back!

For a vaginal delivery the placenta can either be delivered physiological or managed (also known as active management). So of course if you haven’t birthed before this may mean nothing! So let me explain.

Physiological third stage

A physiological third stage is where we rely upon the body to birth our placenta. Just as it has the baby. The uterus contracts to birth the placenta when it has come away from the uterus wall. Like birth we need our oxytocin levels to be high for the uterus to work effectively to do this. So Mum & baby having lots of skin to skin & initiating feeding will really help.

The time a physiological third stage can take can vary but you can normally expect for it to take up to an hour. My personal experience with my second son was it took 50 minutes.

If a woman is low risk and has had a straightforward delivery with no intervention there wishes for this type of third stage should be supported.

Managed third stage

This is where your midwife will give you an injection in your thigh quite soon after birth. The drug administered will either be syntocinon or syntometrine. This encourages one big surge to encourage the placenta to come away quickly. With my first son I had this and it took 2 minutes after the injection was administered.

This type of delivery can be given even for the most straightforward birth if this is your wish. It is also encouraged if you’ve needed the hormone drip to speed up labour, have had a forceps or ventouse delivery. These types of interventions could mean your oxytocin levels aren’t as high as they need to be for the uterus to contract effectively.

How is the placenta delivered when you have a caesarean ?

Similar to a managed third stage for a vaginal delivery an injection will be administered to help the placenta come away. The Doctor performing the caesarean will gently tug on the umbilical cord to ensure its come away from the uterus wall before removing it.

What happens to the placenta after?

So once this amazing organ has been birthed the midwife will check that it is intact. This is to ensure it has all come out and the body hasn’t retained any.

If for any reason it has suffered any damage during the delivery or appears to have any abnormalities it will be send away for testing. This is to ensure that your baby isn’t at any risk. Its amazing what they can tell from the placenta.

If there are no concerns you can take your placenta away with you although you should refrigerate within 30 minutes of birth.

10 interesting facts about these amazing placentas…

  • They are an organ
  • The only organ created to be disposable
  • Identical twins may or may not share a placenta
  • Deliver the nutrition that babies need when in the womb
  • They are an unborn babies oxygen supply acting as their lungs
  • Made up of both Mum & Dad as the sperm is responsible for creating the placenta and umbilical cord
  • Develops and functions without being connected to the brain as not connected to the nervous system
  • Has its own endocrine system providing all the hormones for both Mum and baby throughout pregnancy.
  • When the placenta separates after birth it triggers the prolcatin hormone which is the hormone needed for milk production
  • They can be digested

Do you learn more about placentas with hypnobirthing?

Absolutely! As part of my hypnobirthing courses we talk about the third stage of labour. So that you can make an informed decision on how you birth your placenta. If how you choose to birth the placenta then has any affected on other choices you may wish to make such as delayed cord clamping.

Interested in Hypnobirthing and all that is included in a course?

I offer group courses in Twickenham and I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

I have to give birth again? To a Placenta?! What’s that??

A Traumatic Birth to a Triumphant Experience

Laura’s traumatic birth to triumphant birth

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching quite a few of my friends over the past 6 months. Out of my friendship group Laura, who I met through my husband back in 2010, was the first that I taught in summer 2018. Laura was expecting her second baby in August. After a traumatic birth first time round I was keen to help Laura as much as I could.

Laura is an amazing family & newborn photographer so we struck up a deal. I was pregnant with my second son Jack when Laura announced her pregnancy. So Laura offered to do my maternity shoot in return for the hypnobirthing course. Who was I to argue with that.

By the time I started teaching Laura my son Jack was then 4 months old. So each week Laura & I would try to time it with our little ones afternoon naps. At the time we lived about 100 yards from one another so I’d wait for Laura’s call that her daughter was sleeping. We didn’t do too bad on the whole. Admittedly Jack did gurgle through a few relaxations!

Reflecting on Laura’s first birth

I knew a lot about Laura’s first birth and it saddened me that she’d had such a traumatic birth experience. One that stuck with not only her but her husband, Jack and her Mum, Barbara too as they’d both been present. I wanted to help Laura work through this as much as I could. I asked to read her birth reflections notes. West Middlesex Hospital had set a birth reflections up for Laura to help her understand what had happened first time round.

Laura had suffered high blood loss first time round resulting in a blood transfusion. The main cause unknown but probably a combination of trauma and uterine. Ultimately this was a concern for her second birth.

Continuity of care

Laura had amazing support from West Middlesex Hospital. Understandably Laura was anxious so she was put under the Daisy Team. This meant she could have continuity of care also known as caseloading. This is shown to have a massive impact of a woman’s birth. Due to my planned home birth i’d be lucky enough to experience this with my second pregnancy so speaking from experience it’s fantastic.

Between the Daisy Team and the Consultant Midwife they worked with Laura to write a birth proposal. Laura had expressed her wish to have a home birth but after closely looking at Laura’s case they advised against this. They did work with Laura to try and have her on the Natural Birth centre but the risk was considered to high. This was due to the previous blood loss. It was advised the safest place to be was the Labour Delivery Suite.

Once Laura knew the reasons behind the teams advice she was happy with the decision. Laura and Jack were given the facts. Resulting in a feeling that they had been made part of the decision making process. They were aware she was going to use hypnobirthing techniques and were fully supportive of this. After suffering a traumatic birth first time round everybody wanted to work with Laura to avoid this happening again so plans were put in place.

The Main event

The day came when everything started for Laura. She’d had a midwife appointment at home that day but was asked to go to the hospital as there were concerns over the heart rate. Once at the hospital everything had returned to normal. Thankfully Laura and Jack were sent on their merry way but not before Jack had tucked into the hospital bag snacks to which Laura told him they weren’t there for a picnic!

Once Laura was back home that afternoon she started to experience tightenings that were becoming more regular. Her waters hadn’t broken which was the same as her previous birth. She took a lie down and used her diffuser with lavender oil. Laura had attended the Essential Oils for Pregnancy & Birth workshop that I host alongside Happy Baby, Happy Me so was putting into practice what she’d learnt. Using her association of the scent of lavender with relaxation.

Laura messaged me to say she didn’t know if it was really it but her surges had become more regular that afternoon. I was due to go to the Chiswick Positive Birth Meeting that evening and as fate would have it it got cancelled at the last minute. I let Laura know I was around if she needed me. Also asking if she had the frankincense oil ready to use in a jar as she wished. Laura had the oil but no jar so I offered to pop down with one and to keep her company whilst Jack briefly popped out.

A little chat sometimes helps

Laura was so relaxed when I saw her. We had a chat. I encouraged her and reminded her of her techniques to use. Unbeknown to me this pep talk – which wasn’t meant to be a pep talk was what she needed. To keep her calm and confident.

Laura spoke to her Mum, Barbara whilst I was there who was on their annual family holiday in Southwold. Laura wanted her Mum with her at the birth again. So Barbara jumped in the car to be with her daughter. It was roughly a 3 hour journey. I kept my finger crossed on this beautiful summers day the roads would be kind and she wouldn’t get held up. Laura’s words to her Mum were its nowhere near as painful as it was last time so I think I’ve got a while yet. To myself I thought it won’t get to that stage that it did before it’ll be different this time round. I could just tell my Laura’s demeanour.

When Jack came back Laura was leaning over supporting her weight against the fireplace working with her body through the surge. She looked really peaceful I was confident she had this. I said to Jack right before I go let me show you some massage techniques. There was laughter and smiles. Nobody in the room seemed afraid of birth. There appeared to be no demons from the previous birth hanging around the room. I left around 19.30 confident that this wouldn’t be another traumatic birth for them. We had a few more texts that evening but I didn’t hear from Laura again after 9pm when her contractions had been roughly 5 minutes apart.

I can’t sleep!

That night I slept so lightly. Every time I woke I’d look at my phone hoping my friend was okay. I got up the next morning and I was completely disheartened. Laura & Jack’s car had been parked outside our house and it hadn’t moved. I thought surely not. Laura’s gone through the night potentially still labouring after everything seemed to be going in the right direction.

At about 8am I heard voices outside – my husband, Jamie was chatting to Jack outside. I rushed outside to see Jack doing a thumbs up sign. In delight he said Laura’s had the baby. It’s another girl Al. I cried. I said but your car hadn’t moved. Jack said Laura had the baby early hours this morning so I’ve been home since then! I was so happy. Jack said he’ll never forget my face when I started crying.

To hear Jack, who had been affected by Laura’s traumatic birth tell me ‘I never knew birth could be so beautiful’ will stay with me forever. He thanked me for what I’d done and how the pep talk had helped Laura. I said it wasn’t me who did that Laura did it. They’d had the experience I’d wanted them to have. Jack told me how amazing Laura was. How she remained active the whole time. Not being phased by being in a more medicalised room but had used it to her advantage.

Welcome Home!

Laura gave birth at 01.31 and was discharged that same day. A completely different story to that previously traumatic birth. Laura messaged me to say.

“Thanks so much for your help, it went so well. Couldn’t have hoped for better. All the hypnobirthing work was amazing and helped so much. The last minute pep talk was just what I needed! I used the pot of frankincense throughout too and that really helped. Thank you so much for all your help and advice!”

Less than 48 hours after Laura had given birth I walked into her garden to see this radiant and glowing Mum. Laura wasn’t the only one beaming, Jack was too. There eldest daughter was running around playing on her scooter. It was such a lovely scene.

Laura’s Mum, Barbara commented about the atmosphere when she arrived at Laura’s house. The candles were going, the music was playing, the lights were dimmed. This was music to my ears. Just what Laura needed to feel relaxed, in her safe place being at home for as long as possible to encourage those high Oxytocin levels.

A women births at her best unobserved in a darkened safe space. Laura had a supportive birth partner ensuring all these things were in place for her. I often use this setting as an example when I’m teaching expectant parents.

Both Jack and Barbara couldn’t believe how different this birth had been. I felt like they had all healed from the trauma they’d experienced first time.

A perfect family of four

This really was a special birth as their baby girl had been born in the amniotic sac. This is so very rare it occurs in less than 1 in 80,000 births. In that birth room there were now 2 females who had been born in the sac as Barbara was too!

I’ve included a few pics of Laura and her great birth team shortly after birth and the days that followed. Laura looking amazing after just giving birth. Laura sent me so many gorgeous pictures i just couldn’t decide what ones to use so i used them all!

Laura’s midwife said ‘she could have birthed in a barn’. Less than a week after giving birth Laura headed down to Southwold to join in on the annual family holiday. So chilled and relaxed with another baby girl in tow to join in the fun that summer. I’m sure you’d agree a complete triumph after a traumatic first birth.

Have you previously suffered a traumatic birth? Or just want to hypnobirth?

I offer group courses in Twickenham and I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

 

A Traumatic Birth to a Triumphant Experience

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

An Empowering Hypnobirth

Welcome to the World Arthur – An Empowering Hypnobirth

I’ve wanted to share this empowering hypnobirth story that Emma sent me for weeks! Unfortunately a house move and a holiday got in the way. I did take the laptop to Portugal in hope that i’d get some work done. Who was I fooling with a 3.5 year old and 6 month old. The laptop didn’t even get open. So finally on this sunny Sunday morning I’ve got to share it with you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Teaching Emma & Tom was such a pleasure and i’m so pleased I got to meet Emma through hosting courses at Gymboree in St Margarets.

Emma & Tom’s Hypnobirth Story

I still can’t believe that Arthur is here, in my arms and feeding as I write this. 7th of August 2018 marked a turning point in my life as it took me from being a woman, to a woman with a birth story and the moment our family was complete. I have two wonderful children already from my partner’s previous relationship so I was no stranger to family life with young children but being able to experience pregnancy and birth is something I will never forget.

Happy New Year!

When Tom and I found out we were pregnant on New Year’s Day we embraced every moment of it. We shared the news with our children, Georgia and William straight away and with close friends and family. Although some found this to be taboo since we did not wait until the ‘12 week mark’, we wanted to share the news and chose to remain positive and enjoy every minute.

I was extremely lucky and had an amazing pregnancy. I loved everything about being pregnant. However, I was always concerned about how I would be during the birth.

I met Ali through my job and found her to be such an upbeat and genuine person. I had heard positive Hypnobirthing stories from others I knew and when I found out that Ali offered courses I jumped at the chance to join hers!

Tom and I only ended up attending two out of the three sessions since Arthur came a month early. This was enough to help me through my birthing experience. Turning a dreaded induction and c-section into a positive birthing story. One that I love sharing as to be honest I just feel like I never hear enough of them. So here’s mine.

35 Weeks Pregnant

My waters broke at 35 weeks and I was kept in hospital for three days before they decided to induce me as nothing had started on its own accord. Since my plan for birth was at the birthing centre and ideally with use of the birthing pool, I quickly came to realise that none of this was going to happen. Ordinarily this would have left me anxious, disappointed and stressed, but the techniques I learned during my Hypnobirthing course helped me stay calm and relaxed and let my body do what it had to.

Using hypnobirthing techniques for an induction

At 10am on the Monday they started the induction process with the gel, by 6pm still nothing had progressed. The whole time I kept using the relaxations I had learned. Tom encouraged me to use breathing techniques to stay calm and manage any discomfort I was having during examinations. The relaxations, breathing and staying active definitely helped me. The midwives could see surges showing on the monitor but I was not in any discomfort. I was finally induced by the drip at 9pm. The hours went by and the drip increased and still our little Arthur was showing no signs of making an appearance. However, understanding the miracle of birth in more detail through the Hypnobirthing sessions, kept me extremely positive and happy to do what I needed. My only requirement was that I did not want an epidural and I can happily say that I got my wish. At 3am I was stung by a wasp in the delivery room too, just to add to it all!

Making an informed decision

With nothing happening after being examined and the rest of my waters being broken, at fourteen hours and only 1cm dilated, Tom and I decided a c-section was the only way we were going to meet our son.

The thought of this during my pregnancy filled me with dread. How would I be able to cope after? Would I be left with an ugly scar? I wouldn’t have a natural birth! However, in the delivery room I felt empowered and nothing was going to phase me. Hypnobirthing gave me the strength to ask the right questions, make the right decisions for me and still feel in control, even though I didn’t deliver the natural way and the way I wanted.

The experience in theatre was like no other. An amazing, positive memory will always be with me as our son Arthur was finally born at 36 weeks. We are so lucky to have him here.

Three weeks later, I am up on my feet like normal, over the moon and enjoying everything about my amazing family.

Still wondering if hypnobirthing only works for a natural birth?

I hope this lovely birth story reconfirms that it’s a misconception that hypnobirthing can only be used for a natural pain relief free birth. This really isn’t the case. Hypnobirthing is about creating a positive birth experience. Asking questions, understanding what you’re consenting to as Emma & Tom did. Owning your birth is a fundemental part of the process. Trusting your body and being heard during pregnancy and birth. Having a caesarean or an induction doesn’t mean that you can’t use hypnobirthing and have an hypnobirth.

I’ve often heard women say ‘lucky we didn’t do that hypnobirthing course. It would have been a waste of money as I had a caesarean’. This really isn’t the case as hypnobirthing teaches you to be in control. If your birth did mean a caesarean was recommended as it was in this case you and your partner would feel calm and in control. Not stressed out by the being told that a caesarean was needed. Which again I’ve heard a lot of women and birth partners say that’s how they felt.

Want to hypnobirth? Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course?

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the £295 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

An empowering hypnobirth

A Magical C-Section Birth Story

A very magical c-section birth story

I recently blogged about using hypnobirthing techniques for a c-section births. How we can apply all we learn for all birth scenarios. Sharing how two clients had recently used their techniques for a c-section.

Louise, who I spoke about in this blog kindly shared her birth story with me to add to the blog. It was so beautiful it deserved its own post. So here it is in all is gorgeous glory.

I hope it empowers other women to believe they can also achieve a positive birth from a birth scenario they initially didn’t envisage.

The birth of Stanley

The arrival of our son Stanley marked the end of a very challenging five years for Edd and me. It took us 16 months to conceive, which sadly ended in miscarriage. I then needed a D&C operation which unfortunately caused Asherman’s Syndrome, a condition where the uterus walls stick together. It took two surgeries to repair. Due to the trauma to my uterus I then had four further miscarriages. The whole process was physically and emotionally draining, and took its toll on our lives for a long time.

So Stanley was extremely precious cargo. In the main the pregnancy was straightforward; we had more scans than I can remember. So while we were extremely nervous we had regular reassurance that all was well.

The birth we wanted vs the birth we needed

There were some additional risks around the birth associated with Asherman’s, and I also developed Gestational Diabetes, so we knew we would be delivering on labour ward. I made my peace with this early on: Stanley’s safety was the most important thing. However, he settled into breech position (bottom-down) from about 30 weeks and refused to budge, no matter how often I hung upside down off the sofa.

As the diabetes meant I was to be induced early, a breech birth meant a c-section was the safest option (or so we decided after looking at all the facts). This was something I had not considered. The medicalised environment of the operating theatre felt worlds away from the natural birth I had hoped for.

Hypnobirthing

I had done some Hypnobirthing with my sister when she was preparing for birth, and decided on a refresher with Ali from Hypnobirthing Mumma. Hypnobirthing is designed to empower parents to make their own decisions. This can seem to be entirely anti-intervention. I was reassured that Ali was prepared to apply the principles to our individual situation, accepting that it would not be a ‘natural’ birth. Ali made several suggestions for inclusions on my birth plan that would create the environment we wanted even in theatre. This was a real turning point for me as I felt I had some control, and could shape the experience to be as relaxed as possible.

Prep before birth

Edd read the Hypnobirthing scripts to me every night for the fortnight before our scheduled date. I listened to mp3s in the day when I had a nap. I also did yoga most days with a 10 minute mindfulness relaxation at the end. All from a pregnancy yoga DVD that I had followed throughout my pregnancy. My Gestational Diabetes meant I had to walk for 15-20 mins after lunch and dinner to help control my blood sugar, which also helped me physically and mentally. Over the two weeks I felt myself becoming so much calmer and more relaxed in myself, and in how I responded to the occasional challenges of everyday life.

Birth plan

I wanted to have skin to skin and to breastfeed immediately. So we chose to have ECG dots on my back and my gown open loosely at the top. We asked for chatter to be kept to a minimum so I could focus on my breathing and relaxation techniques. We made a playlist of meaningful songs to us and had that playing. They even dimmed the lights around my head. Our midwife was extremely supportive, and took the plan to brief the team. We were very lucky that the staff at West Middlesex Hospital were very respectful of our wishes.

Birth day

We arrived at hospital at 7am and were prepped for theatre. We were lucky enough to be first, and walked into theatre. I sat on the table as they inserted the spinal and then lay down. Feeling the warmth of the anaesthetic flood through my toes and legs. I always have cold feet so this was quite nice! I was even pretty relaxed during this due to doing Hypnobirthing scripts in advance and I was generally able to bring about a state of calm when I needed to.

Our baby was breech so they tried to turn him first. Had this been successful we would have gone for an induction instead of the c-section, but he was very comfortable where he was. I had been harbouring some hopes. This was my last chance for a vaginal delivery – but I was prepared for either eventuality and the thought of meeting our son in minutes rather than hours was suddenly very exciting.

Edd sat at my head and we listened to the beginning of our playlist, together getting very emotional that we were about to meet our baby after a five year journey. All the heartache of that time seemed at once so close, and yet about to come to an end in the most wonderful way. I barely felt anything, the occasional prickle but not much tugging and pulling as I had been prepared for. I saw our midwife preparing to lower the drapes so we could see our baby born, and felt even more like one of the most important moments of our lives was about to happen.

They birthed the legs and then lowered the drapes so we could see our baby born. I don’t clearly remember the moment he emerged but I do remember seeing his head and face for the first time, held aloft by the surgeon, elongated due to the breech position and covered in vernix, looking a bit like an alien (as I exclaimed at the time). They put him on my chest and I felt his hot, damp little body next to mine, skin to skin. I had spent so long imagining what he would look like. What combination of Edd and my features – but I hadn’t expected to be so overwhelmed by how beautiful he was. After a few moments they took him to one side to encourage his breathing as it was a little slow, and Edd kept an eye on what was happening to reassure me. After a minute or so we heard that first cry, and he was brought back to me. I fed him then and there, tucked into my hospital gown. The three of us spent the rest of the time in theatre together, his soppy parents unable to take our eyes off him.

There was only one time I felt anything during the c-section, when they delivered the placenta, but I was so focused on Stanley that it didn’t bother me. After what seemed like no time at all they had finished and I was taken to recovery.

My ideal birth would have been at home, in water. Due to all our complications I made my peace early on with a hospital birth, but there was a time when a c-section seemed furthest from the peaceful, active birth I had hoped for. Hypnobirthing helped me challenge the expectation that I would have no control. The supportive attitude of the staff at West Middlesex Hospital meant I was confident that our wishes would be honoured. The result was the most magical birth I could have hoped for. The end of one long journey in a place of peace and positivity for our new journey as a family.

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

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the £295 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

Can Hypnobirthing be used for a Caesarean? A Magical C-Section Birth Story

Lets Prepare for Birth the Way the England Team Prepare for the World Cup Matches

Preparing for Birth

The excitement and mood in the UK at the moment is amazing. Even if you’re not a football fan you can’t get away it. Why would you not want to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it? We’re all getting behind our country and have belief that they can win. My knowledge of football is close to nothing but I love the excitement at the moment. Oh and the video clip of Beckham doing the rounds sipping his wine saying ‘it’s coming home’! So what has this got to do with birth I hear you ask?

I always liken hypnobirthing to sports. It’s a great way for any women and birth partner to understand it. It’s even more useful for any sceptical birth partners. I know lots of men and women who when they think about birth as sport it makes complete sense. So how can we liken birth to how the England team would  prepare for this World Cup matches?

Self belief that they can win the match

The England team wouldn’t have entered this competition believing they couldn’t win. Surrounded by a Manager, Coach, Captain all supporting one another. Believing they can go all the way through the competition from that first match against Tunisia.

This is the self belief we need when we are pregnant. We can win the race that birth is especially with a supportive team around us. Most importantly we have to believe we can as the mind in a powerful tool. Where the mind leads the body follows so if we tell ourselves we can’t do it we probably won’t be able to. You’re mind has given up before you’ve even started. It’s like the England team attempting to play the semi-final believing they won’t win. Their mindset will be we can win this match.

Everybody who is part of our birth team needs to believe in you and be there to support you.

Visualisation of winning

Visualisation is such a powerful tool. Many sports men & women use visualisation to prepare themselves for a match, race, game. Visualising winning, scoring a goal. The England team will visualise the euphoric feeling of winning each match getting them closer to the final. Believing they can win the semi-final to get them to the final against France.

Visualisation in pregnancy works in the same way. Its scientifically proven how using this mindfulness technique can prepare the body and mind for a healthy labour. Using the power of imagination helps you reach a deep state of relaxation and calmness.

Again where the mind leads the body follows so visualisation alongside breathing techniques can work very effectively. When using the up breathing, the relaxing breath in the first stage of labour visualising a sunrise for example can encourage the uterus muscles to pull up more effectively. Where the mind leads the body follows. Visualising something rising upwards is what we’re encouraging the uterus muscles to do.

Preparing the body physically

To run around on a pitch for 90 minutes at pace is intense physical exertion. Players have to prepare themselves for this through training. To ensure they are physically fit enough to be picked to be in the team.

In pregnancy we need to prepare our body to be physically strong as giving birth is a very intense workout.

  • Having strong leg muscles to hold our weight. Our quads are really important to enable us to be as active as possible in birth. We don’t want to be laying on a bed during labour as laying down reduces the pelvic opening by 30% compared to being upright, forward and open. If we can practice squatting during pregnancy a squatting birthing position opens the pelvic outlet and extra quarter to half an inch.
  • Strong pelvic floor muscles to help labour, reducing the chance of tearing and aid our post birth recovery. Keeping pelvic joints flexible as this improves blood flow to the lower body helping to ease delivery.
  • Strengthening our abdominal and back muscles to help carry the weight of the baby and aid delivery. Stronger back muscles helps ease back ache during pregnancy and labour.

We can work these muscle groups through being active during pregnancy. Walking, prenatal yoga & pilates, swimming, recommended pregnancy swiss ball exercises, pelvic tilts, supported wall squats to name a few.

Having a healthy diet

Having a healthy diet is a fundamental part of being a sports player, an athlete. A well balanced nutritional diet is important to fuel the body especially before a match. Fuelling the body with low GI foods so you have a slow energy release. If a runner for example prepares well by eating complex carbs before a race it will give the body the energy it needs for that race to avoid hitting a wall and feeling you can’t complete it.

A healthy diet is extremely important for every day life and vital during pregnancy. Eating a variety of foods to get the right balance of minerals, vitamins and nutrients for both Mum and her unborn baby/babies. Don’t be lead to believe that you need to eat for two either!

Avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat or sugar opt for healthier options. Of course we’re all allowed treats and a balanced diet is the best approach but we don’t want our diet to be dominated by fat and sugar.

  • Around five portions of fruit and vegetables will help aid digestion and prevent constipation.
  • A third of the food you eat should be starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta. Opting for the wholemeal or high fibre variety avoiding the refined starchy foods (white).
  • We need protein in our diet which is found in nuts, poultry, fish, eggs, meat, beans and pulses. Eating lean meat and avoiding adding extra fat when cooking.
  • Dairy in pregnancy is important for the calcium content and other vital nutrients. Milk, cheese, yogurt, soya milk and yogurts.

Educate yourself on what pregnant women are recommended to avoid during pregnancy and how eating sensibly can aid pregnancy.

During labour we need to fuel our bodies. If you can face a meal snacking to keep your energy levels up is recommended. We want to be fuelled to help us win the birth race! Birth partners needs to encourage us to do this as there is so much to remember during labour we can easily forget the obvious things.

Keeping the body hydrated

Is vital for everybody to hydrate their body. Especially for a football player about to take to the pitch for potentially 45 minutes before half time. At half time players will be encouraged to rehydrate especially if the conditions have been very warm. Keeping a players energy levels up through them being hydrated.

Hydration is extremely important for any pregnant women especially during the summer they need to be even more mindful or keeping themselves hydrated. Being hydrated dilutes our urine which reduces the risk of bladder infections. Lessens constipation and can help swelling.

When labour commences naturally you can feel warmer similar to having a workout! If it’s during the summer months wherever your birthing could be warmer than normal. So its important for the team around us to keep us hydrated. Sipping on water, non fizzy drinks, coconut water is great as it has good levels of sodium and potassium to not only aid hydration but give the body energy. So even if a birthing woman doesn’t have an appetite being hydrated via a drink like coconut water can help give her the energy she needs.

Entering labour hydrated means your body is in a good place enabling it to work more efficiently and keeping baby hydrated. Like many muscles the uterus functions at its best when we’re hydrated. If we are dehydrated this could mean we are put on a drip which then can mean being less mobile which we don’t want in labour.

Of course keeping the body hydrated means we need to wee a lot too. This is so important as we don’t want a full bladder during birth as the baby needs as much room to come down the birth canal past our organs. So please ladies keep going for a wee. Our birth partners need to be mindful of this too reminding us frequently. A full bladder can otherwise lead to women needing a catheter to drain the bladder. We don’t want this do we!

Regular training

A lot of training goes into a team preparing themselves for a competition like the World Cup. Training together as a team as well as working out alone. Preparing themselves mentally and physically. It’s great they know the date their aiming for they can set out a training plan to work to.

With birth we don’t know when that birth date will be. Full term is between 37 – 42 weeks so as pregnant women that’s what we have as our match date. This doesn’t mean we can’t do regular hypnobirthing training we very much can. For example:

  • Practising the breath work
  • Incorporating visualisations
  • Listening to relaxations
  • Practising breath work, visualisations and relaxations with our birth partners
  • Being active
  • Daily pelvic floor exercises
  • Eating healthy and drinking lots of fluids
  • Being mindful of our seated position to encourage the baby into the best position. Yes birth partners might need to nag you to do this especially towards the end of pregnancy when we just want to slump on the sofa at the end of the day.

This is part of the training towards that labour day or your very own World Cup match day!

So go on ladies go into pregnancy and labour believing you can win as you can! Don’t underestimate how amazing women are. Surround yourself with positive vibes and a positive team around you.

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

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the regular group course price of £295 for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

p.s. It’s coming home!

Lets Prepare for Birth the Way the England Team Prepare for the World Cup Matches

Can Hypnobirthing be used for a Caesarean?

Wondering if your hypnobirthing course will only work for a natural birth?

Its a misconception that hypnobirthing can only be used for a natural pain relief free birth. This really isn’t the case. Hypnobirthing is about creating a positive birth experience. Asking questions, understanding what you’re consenting to. Owning your birth is a fundemental part of the process. Trusting your body and being heard during pregnancy and birth. Having a caesarean or an induction doesn’t mean that you can’t use hypnobirthing.

I’ve often heard women say ‘lucky we didn’t do that hypnobirthing course. It would have been a waste of money as I had a caesarean’. This really isn’t the case as hypnobirthing teaches you to be in control. So if your birth did mean a caesarean was recommended you and your partner would feel calm and in control. Not stressed out by the being told that a caesarean was needed. Which again I’ve heard a lot of women and birth partners say that’s how they felt.

Positive caesarean births

I recently had the pleasure of working with two ladies who’s births took them down a caesarean birth route. The outcome for both was positive births. Both expressing how much they felt hypnobirthing had supported that outcome. Coincidentally these women both gave birth on the same day.

As part of my teaching I will always encourage expectant parents to think about the unexpected within their birth proposals. So in the eventuality of a caesarean they have their wishes respected from their birth proposal. This way should their birth go down that route they feel they still had a positive birth outcome. Having what was important to them. For example – skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, the drip not in their dominant hand. Its often that clients say to me they wouldn’t have even considered what they would want if they had a caesarean.

Client testimonial – low risk to high risk

One of my clients, who I started working with in February of this year opted to do a hypnobirthing course due to her fear of birth. She’d been recommended to me by friends that I’d also taught. It’s always lovely to receive recommendations.

After our first session together Ali sent me a lovely message expressing how she felt so much more relaxed even after just one session. This was music to my ears. We had four successful sessions together ending in April. Our last session together felt very emotional for me as the change i’d seen in Ali was amazing. Gone from being fearful to excited about birth.

I had a call from Ali and her husband as she’d gone from a low risk women hoping to use the birth centre to developing a rare form of pre-eclampsia. A rare form develops in around 1-2% of women. It had been decided the next day she would be induced. We spoke about how the hypnobirthing would help keep her relaxed, trust her body. Reminding them both of the techniques to use that we had practised during the sessions.

I waited the next day in anticipation of hearing any news of babies arrival and it came that afternoon. Due to my Ali’s platelet levels continuing to drop after our call the evening before it had been decided a caesarean was required. She’d given birth to a beautiful baby girl. With permission to share these are her words about her birth.

‘Hi Ali, I am still in hospital as I developed a rare form of pre eclampsia last Tuesday resulting in the c section. Our baby is perfect and just lovely so I hope I can get well enough to get us both home soon! 

Although the c-section was stressful we actually found it all so calm – I’m sure due to hypno. Since then I’ve had a lot of hospital stuff happen which I would’ve usually been scared about but have taken in my stride. Again I’m sure due to feeling relaxed and in control. It’s a shame I can’t use it to treat my condition!

Thank you for your time and the course and, although a hypno water birth was furthest from what actually happened, I think having spent months visualling meeting my baby – it made the whole experience really positive.

Interestingly several midwives came to see me regarding the birth. They had all read my hypnobirthing birth plan and thought I may be very disappointed/get the baby blues as it wasn’t what I wanted. I actually feel really happy about Lexie’s birth and so proud of myself- regardless of the way she arrived. I think hypnobirthing has just made me believe that I grew a healthy baby, my body did the best it could and in the end there was no alternative.

Ali’s words in her final paragraph are so poignant as she feels proud of herself and happy with the birth outcome. This is what hypnobirthing teaching is all about positive birth experiences.

Client testimonial – breech position

I started working with Louise at 36 weeks. Louise was considered high risk throughout her pregnancy having gestational diabetes being one of the reasons. As she was high risk she was unable to use the natural birth centre at her local maternity unit West Middlesex Hospital.

Louise still wanted to have the most natural approach to her birth regardless of the interventions she knew she was highly likely to come up against due to medical reasons. She knew about hypnobirthing from her sister and wanted to incorporate it into her birth. We spoke at length about how hypnobirthing can be successfully used for induction and caesarean. I wanted Louise & Edd to feel as prepared as possible for either of these birth outcomes therefore tailoring the course for their needs.

Due to the baby being in breech presentation and Louise knowing due to her circumstances that it wasn’t advisable for her to go beyond 40 weeks in her pregnancy Louise had elected to have an ECV (external cephalic version) at 37 weeks. This is to try and turn the baby into a head down position. We spoke how the breath work, visualisations and relaxations could help Louise during this procedure.

Louise had also been trying all the recommended natural approaches too. Moxibustion, accupuncture, yoga, exercises, inversions and now her hypnobirthing techniques. Babies will choose the best position for them. So for some being in a breech position is the right position.

Thankfully West Middlesex were able to support Louise with their caseloading Daisy team midwifes. Caseloading means they aim to provide care with the same midwife throughout a woman’s pregnancy – pre and post natally. Evidence shows that women who have consistency of care during pregnancy have more positive birth experiences. Therefore this team were able to support Louise through her choices and reassure her.

After the ECV at 37 weeks didn’t work, Louise was booked in at 38.5 weeks to repeat the procedure. This time if the procedure worked she would then be induced or taken in for a caesarean. I had spoken to Louise before her ECV so i awaited her news. I was delighted when I received news of her beautiful baby boy arriving. With permission to share her words and wonderful photograph.

‘Introducing our baby boy, who arrived yesterday morning. Determined to enter the world bottom-first, he was born via elective c-section which was a very relaxed affair. He was born at 38.5 weeks and weighs in at 8lb 7oz so I think he is fully cooked. We’re all pretty tired but he seems quite chilled about life so far. He is amazing! Xx

This photo pretty much sums up the c-section vibe. Your support and advice was central to making it this way, thank you so much! Xx’

The imagine Louise sent me and is featured on this blog spoke a thousand words. This family looked completely relaxed having skin to skin. Not stressed, anxious or upset by the birth outcome. Such a positive birth experience even though it wasn’t they way Louise had originally imagined it to be. Given Louise and I met at 36 weeks she then had her baby at 38.5 weeks. Within 2.5 weeks her mindset had changed about how birth could be.

There is also another beautiful picture of Edd having skin to skin posted by the Daisy team.

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

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the regular group course price of £295 for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

Can Hypnobirthing be used for a Caesarean?

Summer Promotion for Group Hypnobirthing Course in Twickenham

Looking for a weekend group hypnobirthing course in Twickenham?

Hypnobirthing Mumma is delighted to offer a weekend group hypnobirthing course in Twickenham this summer. Held within the tranquil space that is The Heart. Regularly the cost of a group course is £295. As a summer promotion this course is priced at £200 per couple.

My reasons for using the Heart is that I’ve had the pleasure of spending time here myself whilst undertaking the British Wheel of Yoga Foundation Course at The Heart. I found it a truly relaxing space away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Course dates and times

August course – Sunday 5th & 19th August from 10.00 – 15.00 at The Heart

I don’t overfill courses as I want everybody to be able to ask questions and fully immerse themselves in hypnobirthing. To ensure this is the case I only teach a maximum of five couples per course. This group size allows me to get to know you all individually.

What would I get out of a group Hypnobirthing class?

This group hypnobirthing course in Twickenham is a 10 hour modern approach to antenatal education. A great way to learn all about hypnobirthing and also to meet other local expectant parents in the area. I often meet expectant parents who may be new to the area wanting to meet local parents in the area. A group course offers you the opportunity to meet friendly faces who share the same outlook on birth as you do.

An environment where I encourage you to share your thoughts around birth with like-minded people. Many of which have heard about the benefits of hypnobirthing for Mum, Dad and baby and want to learn as much as possible.

As a class I encourage us all to meet up once all the babies have arrived for a Postnatal Reunion.  This is held during the daytime in the week. An opportunity for mum, baby and of course Dad if he is free to meet and talk about your experiences of birth and early parenting.

The benefits of Hypnobirthing

  • You are likely to experience a more comfortable and sometimes women refer to their birth being pain free.
  • Length of labour is often much shorter with hypnobirthing births.
  • The need for drugs and intervention is reduced, which allows 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.
  • Hypnobirthing gives you a voice to ensure you are an active part of any decision that need to be made during labour.

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

I offer weekday group hypnobirthing course at Gymboree, St Margaret’s as well as weekend courses at The Heart, Twickenham.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the regular group course price of £295 for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

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

group hypnobirthing course in twickenham, group hypnobirthing course

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

FAQs is labour painful top five tips for labour Group hypnobirthing course in St Margarets Group Hypnobirthing Course in Hampton Hill 20% discount on hypnobirthing courses essential oils in pregnancy, birth & beyond

My Amazing Hypnobirthing Home Birth

My Home Birth Story

On Saturday 24 February 2018 @ 17.15 we welcomed Jack Ross Coleshill into the world. It was an amazing experience. Reinforcing to me why I’d been right to trust my instinct and have a home birth. I’d had amazing support from my midwife Kay. I’d been lucky enough to have Kay for all my appointments apart from one. Kay was so supportive about home birth this too made me confident in my decision.

I think i’m in labour…

I’d not slept amazingly well the night before but unlike my first pregnancy this time round I hadn’t been sleeping great. I suffer from terrible indigestion during pregnancy right from the word go but this time round it was even worse. Causing me to wake several times a night. I didn’t think too much of not sleeping great but I was a bit achy which made me think it could be the early stages of labour.

Even though I suspected labour I went off to my lovely pregnancy yoga class, held by the fabulous Muriel who runs MuMuYoga. Just perfect a yoga class to put me in a truly relaxed body if labour was imminent. It was a lovely class although I did notice a few of the positions I was finding uncomfortable reinforcing to me that something was going on. This didn’t stop me going to meet one of my best friends, Kelly for a coffee and pastry though after yoga! In hindsight I wish i’d had a full on lunch!! Kelly did look slightly alarmed when I turned up and said I think I might be in labour. Kelly was the first person I said to that I thought it was happening.

The drive home after my coffee was slightly uncomfortable. My breath work came into play for the tightenings. My son Oliver had stayed with his Grandparents the night before so I went to collect him as in my mind I wasn’t sure how many hours it would be before established labour. When I arrived he was fast asleep so I left him and drove home. I’d not said I thought I was in labour as didn’t want to panic them nor be told I shouldn’t drive home! As soon as I knew I was on my way home though it was amazing how the body responded. I just wanted to be home as the tightenings felt stronger and I labour was happening. I was excited to meet my baby and hopefully have my home birth.

The real deal

I got home just before 2pm and the moment my husband Jamie opened the front door my whole body relaxed and that feeling of ahhhhh I’m home came over me. My safe place. I said to Jamie I’m in labour. As you can imagine he looked slightly surprised seeing as I’d been out and about! Jamie got to work inflating the birth pool we’d hired and getting it filled. He called my parents to ask them to keep hold of Oliver as I was in labour. They must have been thinking we only saw her 20 minutes ago!

From the moment of getting home my surges came on very quickly. I was anticipating a build up and had been told to call the hospital when I was having 1 surge every 5 minutes. This never happened for me they came straight in at every 2 minutes lasting around 40 – 49 seconds. I had been recommended a TENS machine which worked as a great distraction tool. I used this as soon as I could as I’ve heard a lot of women say they tried to use it too late.

Call the midwife

Jamie put a call in to the labour ward and two midwifes, Komal and Lisa arrived at around 14.30. They explained they were in the area but due to go off duty at 4pm but wanted to make sure I was okay. I wanted to be examined and was around 5/6 cm dilated – music to my ears. As I was in established labour the midwifes said they would stay until my assigned midwife, George, came on duty at 4pm.

The midwifes, Komal & Lisa were amazing. Lisa was a trainee midwife and was fantastic. I was her first home birth. I’m an advocate of trainees so delighted she got to experience my home birth. When Komal & Lisa arrived they filled me with confidence immediately. They told me that Kay had briefed them on me as she thought I may go into labour that weekend when she wasn’t on duty. This filled me confidence in my team as I felt they knew me already. It also made me feel very cared for that Kay had taken the time to do that therefore further increasing those oxytocin levels.

Being at home allowed me to not seek permission. I trusted my body and being in my own environment was just amazing. I stood up through all of my surges and used my breath work as it gave me the most relief. I’d wanted to be as active as possible during labour but my body took over and didn’t allow me to be anything other than active.

Birthing in water

George arrived not long before I wanted to get in the water. Immediately I felt a connection with George which was great. At this point Komal & Lisa could have left. They decided to say as Lisa had never been present at a home birth. Lisa facilitated most of my birth and she was brilliant. Even though I had 3 midwifes present I never felt that I was being observed. They were totally respectful.

I couldn’t wait to get in the pool. It must have been for around the last hour I laboured in the pool. The warm water felt amazing. The water taking my weight. The feeling of buoyancy allowed me to be active and move around as needed. This part of my labour passed very quickly. I never had a steady transition phase. I went from breathing through surges to feeling like I had an overwhelming urge to push. In my head I knew I had to use my breath work rather than push and to go with my body. Through every surge I kept my body relaxed, not tensing my face and using my hypnobirthing down breath which gave me a great focus.

Jamie was a great support as were the midwifes. Personally I like interaction during labour and encouragement and was looking to them to know all was okay. I can remember asking them a couple of times was I doing okay. My midwifes were so respectful of hypnobirthing that it threw them slightly when I wanted to talk.

It got to a point when in my head I thought I can’t do this anymore. I knew this was a positive though and birth was imminent. I felt my waters go at a similar time which was a strange popping sensation! It was at this point that Jamie asked me if I wanted any gas and air. He must have sense the change in my demeanour. So for the last 10 minutes I used this along with my visualisation. Jack was born very quickly it almost felt like he was born in one go. My midwife did agree that there wasn’t much rest-bite between the head and the rest of his body!

My birth plan had requested that the midwife bring the baby out of the water. I know that it must be magical bringing your baby up but I felt happier that the midwife did this for me. We all forgot this was the plan though so after a few seconds Jack appeared. Jamie announced the sex of Jack and we were very pleased Oliver had a brother.

Jack was very calm when he was born and has continued to be since. Hypnobirthing babies tend to be calmer babies who sleep and feed well. Jack is a stereotypical hypno baby like his brother i’m pleased to say.

Post birth

Just after Jack was born the official second midwife arrived, Zoe. She too was lovely immediately making me feel at ease.

My midwifes set up my bedroom for me where we moved to once we were out of the pool. The beauty of a home birth climbing on to you own bed! I had requested delayed cord clamping which was done followed by a physiological third stage to deliver the placenta. This took 50 minutes. I had had a managed third stage with my first birth so I’m pleased I’ve got to experience both now. In enables me to give a well rounded view of both to clients.

Transfer to hospital

I did have to be transferred to hospital after birth as I had a tear that Zoe wanted assessed upon her examination. This didn’t upset me as I’d been lucky enough to have had my home birth. Its policy that women are transferred by ambulance but as I wasn’t high priority I had a lovely couple of hours in my bed with Jack. The paramedics were lovely when they arrived and transferred me. George came with me in the ambulance and was lovely to chat to on the way. She was amazing during my examinations at the hospital and stayed with me the entire time.

I wasn’t upset or disappointed that I had been transferred as after my tear was sutured I knew I could go home. Once I had been sutured I was given the choice to stay over night at hospital as I’d have to come in for Jack’s post birth checks the following day anyhow. I decided against this as i’d wanted a home birth to be in the comfort of my own home after birth. It was so amazing getting back into my own bed and waking up there.

Reflecting on my experience

It was an incredible feeling to have birthed in my own home. I’d recommend it to any low risk woman. Its wonderful to be able to describe my birth as amazing. A word that people are often surprised that I use to describe birth especially those who haven’t had a baby before. Birth truly is amazing and I wish every woman could achieve a positive birth experience. I’m lucky to have the pleasure of working with many women to help them achieve this.

My team from West Middlesex Hospital were beyond fantastic – midwifes truly are angels in disguise. I felt very lucky to have had a relationship throughout my pregnancy with one midwife. They then ensured that Kay did all my post natal visits too. I know Kay was disappointed to have not been on duty when I went into labour. It was a sad day when i had my last post natal appointment with Kay.

My tips

Don’t tell everybody you’re planning a home birth

Unfortunately there is still a lot of negativity around home birth even though the stats show for low risk women its a very safe way to birth. So I decided not to shout it from the roof tops that it was my plan. This way I put no pressure on myself nor have to listen to any negativity about why would you do that when we have hospitals. Normally the negative comments aren’t supported by fact either.

Ignore your due date!

I’d been very chilled during my first pregnancy – taking not much notice of my hospital due date. I worked with the dates I believed were more accurate which meant that 40 week milestone to me actually wasn’t 40 weeks. I continued this approach with my second pregnancy. Having this attitude I believe really does relax the body and calm the mind. I carry on my day to day life as normal as where the mind leads the body will follow. Being stressed about a due date isn’t going to encourage babies arrival – baby will arrive when baby is ready.

Trust your body

I wasn’t at all stressed during labour as it is a natural process. Being in a relaxed body keeps that uterus relaxed and the body not being stressed doesn’t cause it to produce adrenaline. Trust your birthing body.

Write an easy to read birth plan

I used The Positive Birth book to write my birth plan. My midwifes took the time to read my birth plan and respected my wishes throughout.

Ensure your birth partner either contributes to your birth plan or reads it. You want them to be on board with your wishes. My midwifes commented afterwards what an easy to read birth plan it was. I’d highly recommend using a visual birth plan.

Want to know more about how Hypnobirthing can help you through pregnancy and birth?

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 June 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

My amazing hypnobirthing home birthMy amazing hypnobirthing home birth

My amazing hypnobirthing home birth

 

 

 

 

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