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

Group Hypnobirthing Course in Hampton Hill

Looking for a group hypnobirthing course in Hampton?

Hypnobirthing Mumma’s October course in St Margarets is now underway but I’m delighted to be offering the November group Hypnobirthing course in Hampton Hill. The course will be held in the heart of Hampton Hill at The Little Gym. A great environment for not only little ones to develop flexibility, strength, balance and coordination through varied physical activities but also a great teaching environment for my hypnobirthing courses. Allowing participants to feel comfortable and be in a relaxed environment.

Course dates and times

The course will be held over 7.5 hours from 19.00 – 21.30 on Monday 20th, 27th November and 4th December 2017.

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.

The cost is £295 per couple.

What would I get out of a group Hypnobirthing class?

Joining this group hypnobirthing course in Hampton is a great way to not only to learn all about hypnobirthing but also to meet other local expectant parents in the area. I often meet expectant parents who may be new to the area who want to meet other parents to be 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.

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

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

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

Ali x

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My Favourite Baby Items For My Hypnobaby

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

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

Medela Breast Pump

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

Doctor Brown’s Bottles

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

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep

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

Phil & Teds Travel Cot

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

Babyway Newborn Bath Seat

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


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

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

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

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

Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair

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

Uppababy Buggy

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

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

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

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

Keep in touch

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

Ali x

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Hypnobirthing Taster Sessions in Richmond

Want to know more about hypnobirthing before booking a course?

As a hypnobirthing practitioner I get asked lots of questions about hypnobirthing as you’d expect. When parents are expecting a baby there are a lot of things to consider financially. Parents can feel that to pay out for a hypnobirthing course is an additional unnecessary cost. For my partner and I it was money very well spent. It allowed us to have a relaxed birth that we felt in control of. I often reflect on it as an amazing experience. Hypnobirthing taster sessions can give you a flavour of hypnobirthing before paying out for a complete course.

The hypnobirthing course I offer is the Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing full antenatal package.  This is covered over 2 – 4 sessions with parents in the comfort of their own home. A one-to-one experience allowing you to ask questions and have my full support and attention. So although another expense to consider it gives you the time as parents to fully engage and not just rely on a book or an app you may purchase. Hypnobirthing is a lot more that just reading a book and hoping it will work.

Hypnobirthing taster sessions given expectant parents the opportunity to discover if hypnobirth is the birth they would like to experience. Of course it is what it says, a taster session. You won’t leave with all the tools and techniques we cover in a full course but with a good understanding.

Hypnobirthing taster sessions

I am delighted to work with YogaBellies Richmond offering hypnobirthing taster sessions as part of a pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing workshop. These workshops are inclusive of Dad or birthing partner and run for a duration of 4 hours in Richmond, Surrey.  Starting with an hour of pregnancy yoga followed by a two hour hypnobirthing taster session. Refreshments and goodie bags included too.

The feedback we got from our first workshop that was held at Hamptons International in Richmond was fantastic. Parents left feeling excited and relaxed. Some were already very aware of what hypnobirthing was for others it opened their eyes to other options around birth.

It’s really rewarding for me when I can help an expectant mother who is very afraid of birth to actually see it in a whole different light. To actually say at the end of a session I’ve given her something to think about. Realising birth doesn’t have to be flat on your back, being immobile and monitored if you’re not considered to be at any risk.

The taster sessions really help Dad to get a better understanding of birth too.  For some Dads they have no knowledge on what to expect and are led by Mum. If Mum is fearful and has only spoken about the negatives and her fear Dad often follows suit. Lots of Dads really engage with the idea of water births. Once I explain how they can work as natural pain relief and the relaxation element of the water. Dads don’t want to see Mums in any discomfort so wants to work with her to achieve a better birth.

How often are the taster sessions held?

We are looking to hold taster sessions every 2-3 months. We will be announcing a date very soon for a workshop around May/June 2017 in Richmond.

Follow me via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where I will be sharing the next workshop dates.

Hypnobirthing course discounts

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

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

Ali x


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