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The Benefits of having Doula support

Doula support during labour and birth

The role of a Doulas is so important to a woman’s birth experience. A Doula is there to provide physical, emotional and informational support during labour and birth. Their role isn’t medical its a supportive role. To mother the Mother.

There are many benefits to a woman by having a Birth Doula. Lots of studies have taken place to look at the benefits and differences it can make to a woman’s birth.

The Doula Book written by Marshall H. Klaus, Phyllis H. Klaus & John H. Kennell is a fantastic insight into the importance of Doula support. The stats highlighted below reinforce this.

Having Doula support can shorten labour by 25%

A study took place at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, Texas showed that out of 416 women those 212 with Doula support had an labour length averaging 7.4 hours compared to 204 without Doula support lasting 9.4 hours. ⠀

Out of this same group those 212 supported by a Doula 55% gave birth naturally with no intervention or pain relief compared to only 12% in the non-doula supported group. A significant difference.*

Caesareans reduced by 45%

The Cleveland Couples Study found that out of 555 couples those in the Doula supported group had a caesarean rate of 14.2% compared to 22.5% for those labouring alone. ⠀

42 of these 555 couples were being induced for various reasons. Out of this group 20 were supported by a Doula & 20% (4) of these women had a caesarean compared with 22 who had no Doula support & 63.6% (14) had a caesarean. This is 3 times more for the non-Doula supported group.⠀

Strong evidence to suggest the significance of having a Doula supporting an induced labour to lower caesarean rates.*⠀

Pain medication reduced by 30%

Studies found that continuous labour support from a Doula reduced the odds of receiving pain relief by 30%.⠀

The reason for this is believed to be due to a Doula giving sole emotional, psychological & non-medical physical support. Of course this can’t be expected of midwifes as they have other duties & women to attend to therefore on some occasions maybe needing to leave a labouring woman.⠀

This study is also supported by a clinical observation of Dr. Kieran O’Driscoll who noted that if a midwife providing continuous emotional & physical support leaves for just 5 minutes upon return it takes nearly an hour to get a mother back to her earlier calm state.*

Synthetic oxytocin use reduced by 40%

Oxytocin is the hormone the birthing body produces. It’s needed for the uterus to contract during labour. Oxytocin is a hormone that needs to be respected, to be unobserved, in a dimly lit space. It’s also known as the love hormone as its what we produce when we have sex, kiss, cuddle.⠀

This hormone has been recreated in order to assist women during labour or for use as part of an induction. Often known as Syntocinon.⠀

It can be of valuable assistance during labour especially if labour has been long, a woman is tired & needs some assistance but it can also cause surges to become more forceful & painful. So mother’s who may have been managing labour well often find they then need an epidural or another form of pain relief to manage the sensations once syntocinon is administered.⠀

Studies found that women supported by a Doula affected the need for syntocinon.⠀

Study one found that 2% of Doula supported women needed syntocinon compared to 13% in the non-Doula group. ⠀

The Houston study found that out of 416 women 17% of Doula supported women needed syntocinon compared to 44% in the non-Doula group.*⠀

Forceps usage reduced by 34%

As a hypnobirthing teacher forceps are often a stress factor I find for expectant Mums that I teach. Something they’ve heard stories about. Not wanting to have them or the worry of what forceps can do to their baby. ⠀

The Houston Study found that out of 416 women those in the Doula group 8% had forceps used during labour compared to 26% in the non-Doula group. Isn’t that a significant reduction!⠀

This goes hand in hand with the reduction of epidurals used when a Doula is supporting birth as forceps are often used when anesthesia has been used.*

Increased number of breastfeeding mums

Studies found a significance difference in those woman who had a Doula with feeding behaviour at 6 weeks postpartum.⠀

For 63% of women from the no Doula group experienced feeding problems compared to 16% in the Doula group. ⠀

51% of the Doula group women were exclusively breastfeeding & 81% of those Mums feeding on demand compared to 29% of the no Doula group exclusively breastfeeding & 47% of those demand feeding.⠀

These results are significant. Could it be that women having Doula support reduces the anxiety of the mother during and after labour?*

Reduced anxiety in mothers

A study was undertaken where Doulas supporting first time Mums were asked to remain with the labouring women. Using touch and verbal communication focusing on 3 primary factors comfort, reassurance and praise. ⠀

This showed favourably the benefit of the Doula being present at birth for the psychological & emotional outcomes after birth. ⠀

Doula supported mothers showed a significant reduction in anxiety, self-esteem & depression. ⠀

28% of the Doula supported group showed signs of anxiety post birth compared to 40% of those in the no Doula group.⠀

A woman’s mental health after birth is so very important after birth. So for me this is a very significant stat as we often focus so much on birth & forget the mental state of mind after birth.*

Fewer signs of postnatal depression

Postnatal depression (PND) is not a to be taken lightly & it’s also so important that the signs are recognised & not confused with post traumatic stress or a more recent conversation peace around matrescence.
The Birth of a Mother having also born a new identity as a Mother can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby.

Becoming a mother is an identity shift. One of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.⠀

When this new identity is born it can affect a woman through PND which needs to be correctly diagnosed.⠀

Studies found that at 6 weeks 10% of women who had been supported by a doula developed PND compared to 23% of those in the no-Doula group. A significant difference. ⠀

If fewer mothers develop PND when supported by a Doula the benefits are great for the mother, baby, family members. Women need to feel safe & cared for pre and post natally.*

Reduced health issues with newborns

The findings from a study where Doulas were present at birth are astounding for the health issues of newborns at 6 weeks.⠀

Those women who had a Doula found that only 4% of their newborns were suffering from vomiting compared to the non-Doula group at 28%.⠀

39% of those supported by a Doula indicated their newborn had suffered from a cold or runny nose compared to 69% in the non-Doula group.⠀

Poor appetite from the infant was reported by 25% of the non-Doula group compared to 0% in the Doula group.⠀

Pretty incredible stats for the two groups where the hospital admission were no different & no reasons at birth to expect such differences in the infants. ⠀

Perhaps it could be argued that the presence of a Doula reduces a Mother’s anxiety sufficiently & boosts her self-esteem that she considers her baby healthier?*

*The Doula Book – Klaus, Kennell & Klaus

I’m sure you’d agree these are pretty impressive stats. Imagine if all women had access to a Doula? That it became the norm? So if you’re contemplating having a Doula I hope these stats reinforce the benefits.

‘If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’ – Dr. John H. Kennell

Interested in having a Birth Doula or just want to know more?

As a Birth Doula I cover most areas I can get to within an hour from Twickenham including Ascot, Barnes, Chelsea, Clapham, Cobham, Esher, Fulham, Guildford, Isleworth, Kingston, Putney, Richmond, St Margarets, Staines, Surbiton, Sunningdale, Teddington, Twickenham, Virginia Water, Wandsworth, Weybridge and Windsor.

I offer my Doula services on their own or coupled with my hypnobirthing courses.

To find out more about having a doula, learning about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing course 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 doula support

Can you have a positive birth with an Induction?

A positive induced birth story

I had the pleasure of teaching an old marketing colleague of mine back in April. It was so lovely to be contacted by Kate. Seeking my advice and for some help with her second pregnancy as she was potentially facing an induction.

Having developed gestational diabetes late on in her pregnancy – something that I see affect so many healthy and fit pregnant women. Kate decided she needed to help overcome the fear as she felt the panic setting it at 37 weeks. The talk of a big baby and induction was taking its toll. Kate said she was feeling a bit terrified.

Of course reading this I was keen to help Kate and Oli as much as I could. We found the time we needed and set upon the course. I felt confident with the teaching that it would help them both.

Can you use hypnobirthing techniques for an induction?

Hypnobirthing techniques can be used for all types of births. There’s not one birth where the tools and techniques of fear release, keeping calm can’t come in to play.

When I work with clients where we are focusing on a specific type of birth I tailor it completely. So in Kate & Oli’s instance as well as looking at the relaxations, understanding what the induction process looks like we spoke about how we could try and get the body to be as relaxed as possible to encourage spontaneous labour. What we can do to change our birth environment with an induction.

Induction Day

I knew when Kate was due to be induced. I’d been thinking about her leading up to it and we’d been in touch. So I can’t tell you how completely overjoyed I was when I received a gorgeous message 4 hours after Kate had given birth. Accompanied by some beautiful pictures.

24 hours later Kate had then sent me this beautiful birth story. With permission to share to hopefully ease the fear that other women facing an induction might be feeling.

The birth of a Nell

I just wanted to drop you a note to say a huge thank you for transforming my birthing experience.

Baby Nell was born naturally and in a calm environment on Friday. It was everything we could have wished for. I am certain this wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t tried hypnobirthing.

We decided to try hypnobirthing after a traumatic first birthing experience and a surprise diagnosis of gestational diabetes with our second baby. As my due date approached I was feeling really anxious and out of control. I was being told I would likely be induced. Not allowed on the midwife led unit and had a large baby – all of which terrified me!

Despite trying absolutely everything to get baby Nell to make an early appearance she was just too happy in my tum. So at 40 weeks I went in for an induction but thanks to our sessions I went in feeling excited to meet our baby and informed. I knew exactly what was going to happen and I knew my options.

Unfortunately with an induction you get placed on an antenatal ward and this one was particularly lively! I was induced at 1pm and started having contractions at 10pm.

The ward was a stressful place. I could hear mums in active labour delivering babies. Bed neighbours who weren’t courteous of noise. Emergency alarms and lots of crying newborn babies.

What I learnt from you is that once on the induction path, you don’t get off it. In order to labour naturally I needed peace and a calm environment. So amongst all the chaos – we created a nice environment in my bay. We had sound cancelling head phones and I spent the night contracting in peace cuddled up with Oli with a vile of clary sage. I felt calm and in control.

Around 7am I was moving in to active labour – but the timing coincided with builders outside drilling and the ward waking up! It was a very stressful environment and I could tell I was getting anxious as my contractions started to slow. 

Oli and I decided to leave my bay. We found a quiet corner in the maternity wing where I was alone and unobserved. I only went back when I started to feel the need to push, the matron immediately trusted me. She knew I was ready and moved me to a private room, examined me and offered me the birthing suite immediately in the natural birth centre. Something I didn’t think would be possible because of my GD). Two hours later, our gorgeous baby girl was born in the pool amongst two fabulous midwives, music, candles and a very calm mum!

Without having the awareness to create that early safe environment I am certain the pessary would not have worked. Before hypnobirthing I would have allowed the ward to stress me out. I am sure I would have probably ended up needing more drugs to get labour started.

The whole thing was over in 12 hours. I had the support and trust of the midwives because they knew I felt in control. As a result, they took me seriously.

I really hope this is a useful story for other Mums. What could have been another unpleasant experience was actually incredibly special. It was all due to a shifting mind set.

You’ll also be pleased to know that just like in our sessions, the relaxation techniques sent Oli straight off to sleep!

Thanks again for everything. We’re so over the moon to have our girl here with us (who coincidentally wasn’t big at all!).

Want to know more about how hypnobirthing can help you?

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

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.

To find out more about hypnobirthing, doula support or to book your hypnobirthing course 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 you have a positive birth with an Induction?

My Doula Journey

Becoming a Doula

I’d been thinking about being a Doula for quite a while. I’d had clients ask me if I was a doula. Told how they’d like to have had me at the birth. It felt like a very natural progression to the hypnobirthing teaching. I get to build lovely relationships with my clients. To then be present during one of the most wonderful moments of a woman’s excites me.

Since having had my first son birth has fascinated me. I’m far too squeamish to be a midwife. How could I ever take bloods at a woman’s booking in appointment?! But a Doula I could certainly do that.

What does a Doula do?

A doula isn’t medically trained. That’s not to say you don’t get midwifes, doctors, nurses training to be doulas. A Doula’s role is to give continuous support to a birthing woman. To Mother the Mother as women can get forgotten about during birth. Support physically and emotionally. Nurture, encourage but not to make decisions for. Not to give advice but to signpost so a woman can be as informed and knowledgeable about her birth. To be unbiased, listen, support.

A Doula doesn’t replace the birth partner, the midwife, obstetrician but there as part of that woman’s team.

It’s a big role for a birth partner sometimes being the only person in the room with a birthing mother. Some birth partners want support in that room as they worry will they be enough for that woman. Will they be able to cope with this new role that they will need to take on. For birth partners where a Doula is present they worry less about what they need to do which therefore relaxes the mother and birth partner.

My Doula Training

I undertook my doula training with Birth Bliss Academy and loved every moment of it. The long intense days don’t feel that way when its something you are so passionate about. Being in a room with 12 other women who all want to help women achieve the most positive and empowering birth experience.

Women from all different walks of lives. Some of us mothers others not but all with the same end goal to support pregnant women. It was a truly amazing environment to be in. It also shows how there is a doula for every woman you just have to find the right one for you.

Once completing the course and the post-module coursework this has allowed me to go on to find a doula mentor so that I can offer my services as a mentored doula to pregnant women under Doula UK.

Why have a doula?

Research supports that by having a doula at your birth it can:

  • Shorten labour by up to 25%
  • Reduce caesareans by 45%
  • Use of pain relief reduced by 30%
  • The use of forceps reduced by 34%
  • Fewer signs of postnatal depression
  • Reduce anxiety in new mothers
  • Improve the breastfeeding journey

‘If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’Dr. John H. Kennell

Looking at the stats above it really does reinforce this quote. To be able to potentially reduce many of the stress factors that often worry women during pregnancy surely seems sensible doesn’t it?

Interested in having a Birth Doula or just want to know more?

As a Birth Doula I cover most areas I can get to within an hour from Twickenham including Ascot, Barnes, Chelsea, Clapham, Cobham, Esher, Fulham, Guildford, Isleworth, Kingston, Putney, Richmond, St Margarets, Staines, Surbiton, Sunningdale, Teddington, Twickenham, Virginia Water, Wandsworth, Weybridge and Windsor.

I offer my Doula services on their own or coupled with my hypnobirthing courses.

To find out more about having a doula, learning about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing course 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 Doula Journey

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?