Category: Pregnancy

Welcoming baby Delphi- My Birth Story

Birth StoriesNew mumNewbornPregnancyThe Great British Birth Off

I don’t really know where to start with the labour. I could potentially say I was in early labour for a few days, contracting on and off throughout the days and evenings prior to the birth with it not amounting to anything. For the sake of time, I’m writing this whilst the baby is sleeping, and to save your boredom I’m going to fast forward to when it finally and thankfully stepped up a gear. This was Friday evening. The evening started like all the other evenings before, me bouncing on my ball in front of the TV. Rob had gone to football and I was contracting as I usually did in the evenings. It got to 11pm and the contractions were coming regularly. I said to Rob tonight is the night, he rolled is eyes and carried on watching 8 out of 10 cats does countdown, as I’d cried wolf every day already this week. From how ‘stop and start’ my contractions had been this week I had lost all faith in my ability in judging whether it was happening or not. I went upstairs to take a shower and to have a word with myself. I was probably not going into labour at all.

Half an hour in the shower I rang my friend to come over. The contractions were becoming stronger and staying regular, I was still not totally convinced though and prepped her that it may all stop. I rang the birth unit too and said the same to them, “I don’t think I’m in active labour, but I think I may be getting there.” Being a fourth baby, I knew that being in active labour (from 4cms and regular contractions) to having a baby wasn’t going to be long and I wanted to be in the hospital as I bled last time. They invited me in.

This is probably a good time to give you a bit of background. My 3rd baby was born prem at 34 weeks and I lost more blood than deemed normal. So the advice for me was to have my baby on a consultant led unit as I was “high-risk” of bleeding again. I looked at all my options though and chose to go against this advice after having a conversation with the lead midwife on the birth unit. My last birth, I had polyhydramnios, prematurity, a suspected infection and the cord snapped on the placenta all things that mean you’re more likely to lose more blood. This pregnancy, I had normal waters, a normal size baby and was full term so I didn’t have the same risk factors. With this in mind I chose to give birth on the midwifery led unit and I was supported in this choice.

So back to that Friday evening… I was in the shower. I had my birth ball in the shower too. It was on the bath so that I could lean onto it to have the water on the bottom of my back. I used my breathing here that I’d learnt from hypnobirthing. Counting my in breath and my out breath gave me something to concentrate on and kept me relaxed. Things were going great guns, I was calm, comfortable and getting into the swing of the contractions. My friend arrived and so I got out of the shower and myself and Rob made our way to the birth unit.

It was about 00.30 when we arrived to the birth unit. My midwife was Brenda, she showed us into our room Poppy. It was dimly lit and the pool was half full. I again said to a Brenda that I didn’t think I was quite in labour but knew my contractions were getting there. They were coming every few minutes at this point but they felt manageable. She brought me in some essential oils – Bergamot and Frankincense- on a taper and I got back into the shower leaning over onto the birthing ball. Chui my birth photographer arrived at this point. My only concern here I remember was what happens if this all stops, what happens if I’m just in early labour and I’ve got my friend at my house and Chui’s here. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time! Silly really looking back as it was obvious I was in labour!

I spent a good hour at least like this in the shower. The next thing that happened was at 02.30 when I had my first vaginal examination. I know it was 02.30 because Rob text Emily at this time who was home with the kids. I still wasn’t sure at this point that it was it… I remember saying to Brenda, what happens if I’m just 2cms. If this was going to be the case I didn’t want to know! Brenda thought that would be unlikely and she was right. It’s funny how much you lose your ability to rationalise in labour! As a midwife, I should’ve been able to recognise the signs but I still had in the back of my mind that I may not be dilating at all! I was 8cms. Happy days! I got gas and air at this point which is when all of the fun started.

Brenda filled the pool and I got in. The water was instantly comforting. It was here that I remember really wanting to take it all in. As pregnant mothers, we are so desperate for this moment, desperate to feel the contractions and to know that after 9 months we are finally going to meet our baby. The labour and the birth we prep for, go to classes, pack 3 suitcases for which is more than what we’d take on holiday, we play it out how we want it to be in our minds but the reality is that it’s all done and dusted in a day. That moment in the pool was a nice one, I really appreciated what was going on, that what I’d been waiting for was actually happening that very night. These thoughts were helped from the fact that I was high as a kite too! I actually told Brenda all of this between contractions. She probs thought I was cuckoo!

It wasn’t long after I’d got into the pool that I’d started to transition. I remember saying “I can’t do this anymore!” Whilst thinking that’s a textbook ‘You’re just about to have a baby comment’ whilst uncontrollably pushing. I can’t remember “mooing” here but Rob assures me it happened! This feeling was overwhelming, I had this full feeling, which would have been her head coming through my pelvis. The only thing that helped this feeling go away was to push. All the signs were telling me I was just about to meet my baby and a few pushes later she was born under the water at 03.31. I got to bring her up out of the water myself. Holding her in front of my face, seeing her scrunched up face, feeling her skin, hearing her little cry and knowing that she was here safe in my arms was the most incredible feeling ever.

All went well after – no bleeding!🙌🏼 and we were back home by 7.30 am for when the other 3 children woke up.

There’s a couple of things that I’m so glad that I did.

1. Getting a birth photographer– I felt like a bit of a diva doing this but now I wish that I did it for all of my births. For me, remembering the birth is so much more important than say a wedding day, yet a wedding photographer is something we see at every wedding! The photos that i have are priceless and Delphi is lucky that she gets to see her first moments in the world. Thank you Chui 🙂

2.Hypnobirthing– Through teaching hypnobirthing I have inadvertently been practising the techniques for a lot longer than my 9 month pregnancy and boy did it pay off. Reinforcing that everything in your birth is a choice, learning the importance of keeping your mind calm and how to control pesky negative thoughts like fear and doubt that always seem to enter our minds meant that this birth was by far my most empowering, calm and magical experience. I could live it with such clarity and for me that was I really wanted, I wanted to be able to remember every minute of it and enjoy it! I’ll write another blog on what techniques I used that were most helpful.

3. Writing it down- this little story completes it for me, it’s something else that means I’ll remember what happened that night.

For me sharing birth stories is important. I want pregnant mothers to know that birth isn’t always the fear-filled, ear- piercing shrieks and painful experiences that you see on TV. It can be empowering, calm and beautiful. My births are by far my biggest accomplishments in life. I look back on this birth especially, and it was everything I wanted it to be and I would happily do it all again in a heartbeat.

How to not expect when you’re expecting.

Pregnancy

When I first found out I was pregnant this time around, I thought to myself that being my last pregnancy I set my sights on being the stereotypical pregnant mama, drinking green juice, eating kale and chia seeds and cutting out all junk. I was going to do yoga and be zen. I wanted to be, or at least feel like the epitome of health.

So when the first trimester full on nausea and vomiting kicked in, anything resembling greens made my face turn green and the only food I could stomach was white carbs. My expectations of what I wanted this pregnancy started flaking just like my Janes Pantry sausage rolls and Cornish pasties.

Fast forward to 32 weeks pregnant…Brixton hicks contractions were in full swing. Walking up and down the corridors of delivery suite I was contracting just like I did with my last pregnancy where she was born at 34weeks. My previous baby before this was 37 weeks and my first was born at 2 days overdue. I was adamant I was going to be early, I had my hospital bag packed by 34 weeks, I went on maternity leave at 32 weeks (although having a Christmas off work played a part in this decision!) and any twinge or tightening just convinced me even more that baby was coming early. I was ready and waiting for my labour to start early to fill my expectation. An expectation that I put on myself. The difference though from my last births is that expectation of an early birth wasn’t there before. Labour just started and I went with it, which was so much nicer for my head. Waiting for a baby to arrive is a massive mind game. I teach to all couples that baby’s arrive when you’re feeling calm and relaxed. It’s natures way of letting your body know that you’re in a place of safety for birth. Oxytocin is highest when feeling calm and adrenaline (the stress hormone) can reduce oxytocin. Teaching this is one thing, living it is another!! It can be a real challenge!

I’m now nearly 39weeks, which will be my second longest pregnancy. It’s very easy to think that because it hasn’t been the same as my previous 2 that something is “wrong”. That there’s a reason that this baby won’t come out. Some days I’ve convinced myself this baby will need to be born via cesarean, maybe it’s head is too big, maybe it’s in a funny position. But the reality is that actually every pregnancy is different and that’s ok.

I wanted to share this with you so for anyone feeling the same you know that you’re not alone. I’m a midwife, this will be my fourth pregnancy and I still in my crazy, illogical, baby brain can convince myself that some days something is “wrong” or not going to be ok or that I’ve failed pregnancy because I’ve not been taking my multivitamins. These feelings generated purely due to my made up expectations.

Here’s what I’ve done to stop myself having expectations when I’m expecting, they can be used for whatever…

1. Birth affirmations- I remind myself daily that baby will come when the time is right. If your worried about size, remind yourself that baby will grow to a size that’s right for you. If it’s birth worries, tell yourself that birth is safe.

2. Switching off- I’ve given myself time in the day where I make sure that I’m not thinking of anything. Similar to meditation I suppose. For me this has been listening to my hypnobirthing audios and also starting a good book. I’ve downloaded Audible and am listening to Michelle Obama’s autobiography. It’s a great way to not be consumed with your own thoughts. I do this most days.

3. Tell someone- I’m lucky that I’m surrounded with great midwife friends who can shake some logical sense into me and rationalise my thoughts. My own community midwife has also been great at doing the same so don’t be afraid of saying what you’re feeling or thinking.

4. Do something that’s not baby related. Go get your nails done. Go for a coffee with a friend. Get a massage. Go outside for a walk.

5. Recognise what are your expectations versus what’s normal in pregnancy/birth/newborn. For me this is recognising that just because this baby hasn’t come early, doesn’t mean that he/she is never coming out or that something is wrong. It’s actually more normal that he/she hasn’t come out yet! For you this could be managing expectations on mode of birth, baby size, morning sickness, SPD, baby’s sleep patterns or like me baby’s arrival time.

What have you expected whilst you’ve been expecting… let me know in the comments on Facebook or Instagram.

Photo credits above Chui Photography

High Risk vs. Low Risk

Pregnancy

Keeping with the pregnancy labels theme I want to know what you all think of the terminology ‘High risk vs low risk’ and have you been labelled one of these in pregnancy?

I remember doing my midwifery training and a friend told me that her sister was having a baby and she was told that she was “high risk”. My friends words were… “High risk of what exactly… becoming ill? A cesarean? Having a Stillbirth??” And this really stuck with me. What are midwives or doctors actually saying when we say this term?

Because even though you may fall into a category that may increase your chances of an intervention happening, you still can’t really say that the risk of that intervention is HIGH. It may be higher than others but for lots of things it’s still more than likely going to be very low. Take a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) as an example, you’d fall into the high risk category and be advised to have your baby on a delivery suite where Drs are present. But your chance of having a cesarean is between 25 and 28% which is only slightly higher than the uk average and the main risk is the scar rupturing which is in fact a 0.5% risk. A risk that I’m not saying should be ignored but carefully considered when weighing up all of your options.

If you have a raised BMI you could be classed as high risk, “too” young or “too” old, existing medical conditions the list goes on. My point is not that these characteristics go unrecognised but the classification and terminology used is improved. I wonder if telling someone in their pregnancy they fit a certain risk category what effect that has on their decision making during birth and the anxieties that brings during the pregnancy. We’re saying that the one category is free from concerns and will lead in a healthy birth, where as the other category will be filled with problems, potential complications and managed medically, often without considering a holistic approach. The term “high risk” gives reason to worry and encourages choices to be made from a place of fear and risk adversion.

Risk is not just about statistics and numbers it’s about a women’s experiences, her perceptions, thoughts and beliefs. Risk is subjective. One woman’s risk of a cesarean is another woman’s first choice. The risk of a stillbirth will always feel higher to a pregnant mother who’s had someone close by experience the heartbreaking effects of this, should the mothers feelings of risks be ignored in this situation if she fits the “low-risk” pregnancy category?

Words are everything in pregnancy. It’s as much about what we think we say as to what’s actually interpreted.

Photo creds Little Cheltenham

‘Tis the season to have a baby… Fa La La La La La La

Birth StoriesPregnancy

Why December is actually a great month to have a baby…

Christmas is a crazy busy time for most, with all the food prepping, turkey stuffing, tree decorating and present wrapping there is just no time to have give birth to a baby in between. I’m speaking here from someone who’s own baby could be born any day and with Christmas just less than a week away, I’m really feeling the added pressure. Will the baby be born before, will I be home for Christmas Day? Or will the baby come after Christmas? This pressure is REAL… any expectant mamas currently feeling the same?

It took me one Merry Christmas evening to feel totally different about this.

I was cosy on the sofa..

Festive PJs on ✅

Love Actually on the TV ✅

Winter scent candle was burning ✅

Twinkly lights from the Christmas tree ✅

Presents wrapped ✅

I was feeling all the good Christmassy feels. Relaxed, calm and really excited for Christmas Day. I had inadvertently created THE perfect scene for birth, or at least early labour before going into the hospital.

Oxytocin is a hormone that we need to have contractions. It’s the love hormone so is high when we feel “in love” calm and relaxed. Having high levels of stress tells the body that we’re not in a safe place to give birth, which can effect if you go into labour or can slow down your contractions.

At Christmas time, the build up can be magical, often more so than the day itself.

Cleaning the house like a maniac, sorting out old toys, clearing out old clothes to make more room for what Santa will bring. It’s nesting at its best.

The Shopping, the retail therapy! Need I say anymore. The Amazon prime purchases gives you all the good feels with the added bonus of being a perfectly justified time of year to be spending.

The chocolate orange or 2 can be eaten guilt free.

The lighting is tip top birth environment conditions, the dim lights from dark, early evenings and the twinkly lights from the Christmas lights. Nothing screams calmness quite like it.

It’s always exciting hearing the Christmas songs on the radio. The Christmas piano playlist on Spotify has been my go to chill out songs for all of December. So will definitely be my birth playlist if the baby comes this month.

Partners/Husbands usually have time off anyway so it means extra days off at home with you and the baby.

The roads are quieter for the drive to hospital … ok I’m probably clutching at straws on this one. But you get the idea, good spirits and festive cheer. You have a pre-made perfect birth environment and some amazing coping strategies already built in to the festive season (birth environment and coping strategy are techniques for birth that are covered in hypnobirthing.) There’s nothing that brings a boost of oxytocin quite like it.

Photo creds Chui King Li Photography

Pregnancy Labels- Labour Nose

Pregnancy

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words can also hurt me. Sticks and stones break only skin, while words are ghosts that haunt me.”

Definition: Pregnancy Labels 

1. When you are pregnant your body becomes public property to be examined, scrutinised and judged. You are carrying all around so you must be having a girl. You’ve really got that pregnancy waddle going on.

2. Usually by someone with no medical knowledge or back ground at all. The lady at the Tesco counter says your bump looks big and she thinks you will go early. She also thinks you shouldn’t be carrying your toddler on your hip being pregnant. 

3. Your pregnancy labels then define who you are and what type of birth you are going to have. You are a geriatric mother so are high risk and will need to be induced at 40 weeks. You are a VBAC so are high risk and can’t have a water birth. 

Sound familiar? I wonder how many pregnant mothers out there have had a label thrown at them in pregnancy?  I have. I have actually had it quite a few times this pregnancy.

My big one (excuse the pun) for me in pregnancy is the ones that involve body image. Here are some little gems I’ve had said to me….

“Labour nose” – I won’t go into labour yet as I don’t have “labour nose” so my nose isn’t swollen enough. Apparently in my previous 3 pregnancies my nose looked massive a few days before I go into labour.

After being told I looked big, it was followed by… “But you looked pregnant before you were pregnant.” … Cheers!

“You can’t eat cake. I wouldn’t be eating cake if I had Gestational Diabetes”… I hadn’t even eaten the cake (yet!) I just said I wanted some!

Pregnancy labels to do with size of someones bump or body bothers me for two reasons…

The first one is that person has to get dressed and leave the house in the morning, choose from limited clothes that may or not fit her ever-changing pregnancy body and maybe even feel good about herself. She may be feeling sick or nauseous, worrying about the health of her baby, finances, suffering with pelvic pain and now also how she looks, as how she looks being pregnant is what everyone seems to comment on.  All these words repeating around in your head when all you should be doing is feeling good about the fact that your body is growing a tiny human. It’s not acceptable to comment on someones body when they aren’t pregnant, so why do we accept it when we are pregnant?

My second reason is what does it mean to carry a big or small baby for that woman’s birth. If someone is told enough times that they have a big baby growing in there then they will start to believe it. Recently an expectant mother told me that she no longer wanted a waterbirth because she thought she was having a big baby. She was going to opt for an epidural instead because then if any interventions were to happen in her birth due to the big baby then she would have her epidural ready. Even though scans showed a normal size baby, the words and stories of others had got in her head. With this example, the epidural would be more likely to cause intervention than the “big” baby. Another example is I have looked after women who have requested inductions of labour due to worries of a big baby, again due to other peoples words and stories making women fearful of birth.

What are your #PregnancyLabels that you have had thrown at you either in your current pregnancy or past pregnancy? It could be size, age, high risk, low risk, cesarean, overdue. I’d love to hear your stories and see your bump pics. Let’s start spreading some #BumpPositivity maybe to remind people that words are powerful and to use them wisely. We should be using our words to encourage pregnant mothers and making them feel beautiful so that these pregnancy moments can be treasured. Remember to tag @thebumptobabychapter in your photos.

You can see where others have got involved in Instagram here.

#BackOffTheBump

Big thanks to Kate from Little Cheltenham for these photos and to Sophie and Brittany

<3

I’m Beth and this is my blog about all things pregnancy and motherhood. I’m a mother of 3 soon to be 4 and a midwife. Me and the midwifery team at The Bump to Baby Chapter also run antenatal classes and hypnobirthing across Gloucestershire. You can see more from The Bump to Baby Chapter on Instagram, Facebook and  Twitter

Dads… in the Birth room or in the pub?

Birth StoriesDadsPregnancyTop 5 Tips

Let’s throw it back to the 1950s where only the aristocratic Dads may have made an appearance in the birth room to welcome a son. The majority of Dads would be waiting in the pub for the news of the arrival of the baby at a homebirth or sat in the hospital waiting room, only to see the baby when their wives would be clean and decent. It was deemed inappropriate for the wives to be seen by their husbands behaving the instinctive, primitive way that labour brings.

Fast forward 60 years to now and Dads are thrown into the birth rooms with often not a scooby doo to what to expect or to do. With the role models from one born every minute spotlighting Dads to be jokers and a spare part in the birth rooms, more concerned with whether they’re going to eat the pickled onion monster munch or the sour cream Pringles. It’s no wonder with the media portraying Dads this way that they find their comfy chair in the birth room, open up their snacks and load up the iPad with the latest football match and settle down for the next few hours, leaving their other halves and the midwives to it.

What would you think if I told you that as a Dad, you are the best asset to birth? You can reduce the want for pain relief and make birth run more smoothly. Oxytocin is the reason why. Dads are the biggest source of oxytocin, with this hormone being the love hormone. A high level of oxytocin means a high level of endorphins (your body’s own morphine supply) and stronger, more regular contractions (oxytocin directly acts on your uterus muscles.)

So to the Dads out there that want to be that difference to the birth (that’s all types of births), here’s my tips for you…

1. Touch- Holding a hand, massaging the lower back, popping a hand on your partners shoulder. Touch increases the oxytocin and let’s her know you’re there.

2. Have a good poker face- No matter how you’re feeling underneath, bring out your best poker face. If she sees fear in you, she’s either going to feel scared herself or feel like she has to reassure you. Either of these are not ideal for her oxytocin levels.

3. Encourage her to eat, drink and wee often. Eating and drinking because the uterus is a muscle that needs nutrients to work effectively. You wouldn’t run a marathon without fuel. Wee often because if the bladder is full then baby’s head can struggle to get past it- women in labour often don’t get the same urge to wee as they do in pregnancy so need reminding to go.

4. Help pack the hospital bag- during birth if she asks you for her flannel for her forehead, or her Vaseline as the gas and air is drying out her lips, you’re going to want to know where it is in that bag. If your partner has a cesarean then all the baby clothes/hats/nappies are going to be your responsibility to find afterwards.

5. Get involved in the birth prep too. Help make the playlist, help research the birth plan. Knowing what will be happening in all avenues of the birth will mean that you can be confident and provide reassurance. Antenatal class can help you with the knowledge that you’ll need. If you know the choices she’d like then you can work with the midwife to make this happen. In the thick of contractions it can be a challenge to make and voice decisions so you’ll be the main communicator.

6. Tell her she’s doing amazing, tell her everything is going well, rather than asking her if she’s ok. If she’s feeling uncomfortable with contractions then she’s probably not going to say she’s fine and dandy.

7. Be a leaning post. If your partner is upright and leaning forward her pelvis will be open an extra 28% meaning more room for baby to pass through. And again the closeness will increase the oxytocin.

8. Be present. Try and limit the use of phones or iPads. When you’re trying to birth a baby and your hubby is scrolling Facebook it can feel a tad isolating.

9. Get your dose of skin to skin after with baby. It can be great for your bonding with baby, helps regulate their temperature, heart rate and breathing. Plus it gives your partner the chance to rest after birth and have two hands to eat the well deserved tea and toast.

10. Look after yourself. There’s nothing worse than having a hangry Dad in the birth room. Pack yourself lots of snacks and drinks so you can stay well fuelled too. Pack yourself a change of clothes too and maybe a toothbrush as labour and birth can take a while.

12. Practise the techniques with her in pregnancy. This can be breathing techniques, counting, visualisations or relaxations from hypnobirthing. What ever coping techniques you are going to use, you’ll need to know what they are to be able to prompt them when the going gets tough- this can be in the car on the way to the hospital, in the waiting room or during transition when birthing mums tend to momentarily lose control.

13. Sort the practical stuff- know who to call, where to park, how to get there, how to get the car seat in the car for the ride home. This will take lots of the pressure off.

Remember YOU are the biggest source of oxytocin in the room. Don’t underestimate your role in the birth room.

The Cascade of Intervention- Just a Myth.

PregnancyTop 5 Tips

The cascade of intervention is a term thrown around in lots of pregnancy classes by lots of natural birth advocates, it means…

Having an intervention (an intervention being an induction, an epidural, cesarean etc.) in pregnancy or childbirth will increase your chances of having more interventions as birth progresses.

I myself am a mahoussive natural birth advocate. However, I’m more of a woman’s choice and safe birth advocate. The cascade of intervention is a phrase that I’ve recently begun to question. Let me tell you why…

Firstly, let’s ask ourselves does the phrase in itself do more harm than good? Let’s take induction as a starter. So many pregnant women fear the process of induction because of this cascade concept. If you’re scared of an induction then science tells us that fear makes things more painful anyway. Your body becomes tense so contractions feel worse. Often because of this fear mindset women are more likely to choose an epidural with an induction- this cascade of intervention is one that is supported by research. Let’s flip it on the other side though, if pregnant women weren’t aware of this phrase or the negative stories that surrounded induction and were prepped more on what to expect from an induction then would that cascade be less or non existent from a reduction in fear? I have seen so many women have amazing induction experiences, they’ve hypnobirthed there way through, had waterbirths, stayed active and mobile with the hormone drip. It’s these stories that pregnant women need to be hearing to reduce the fear of being induced. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.. if you tell a pregnant woman that they’re more likely to choose an epidural after induction then they are more likely to make that choice.

Sticking with the theme of induction, a new piece of research this year found that cesareans were less in the group of women who had uncomplicated pregnancies and chose to have an induction at 39 weeks compared to women who waited for labour to start naturally or had an induction using current guidelines (such as at 42weeks for being overdue). This bit of research suppports another theory of why the cascade of intervention isn’t necessarily true. For example, let’s look at pregnancy conditions like pre-eclampsia. If you’re offered an induction due to having this, then during labour have an emergency cesarean, it’s more likely that the cesarean was due to the pre- eclampsia than the induction itself. Similarly, if you’re offered an induction due to being overdue and a similar situation occurs then that’s not necessarily the induction that’s made that happen but placentas work less efficiently past 42weeks which may be the reason. So the cause of further intervention is not the first intervention, but the reason why the intervention was chosen in the first place. 

I feel like we need to change the press of interventions. When women choose not to have an induction because of the worry of the cascade of intervention then their choice they’ve made has been swayed by a concept that’s not entirely true.

My tips for all pregnant mothers when offered an intervention would be…

  1. Always know your options and ask why you’re being offered an intervention. Birth interventions get a lot of unnecessary bad press when actually they are a much needed part of the birth world.
  2. Keep your mindset strong. Choosing one intervention doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to cascade yourself to a negative birth experience. Keep reminding yourself that you’re making positive choices for you and your baby.
  3. You can use this acronym to help you make a choice when given an option of intervention.

E- Is this an Emergency?

B- What are the Benefits?

R- What are the Risks?

A- Are there Alternative options?

N- What happens if I do Nothing?

What are your thoughts on the cascade of intervention?

Photo credits- Instagram @benzalphotography

For more tips and info on anything covered in this blog come to antenatal classes or hypnobirthing!!

I had big plans…

Pregnancy

I had big plans for this pregnancy with it being my last. I was going to spend my days in flouncy dresses, drinking green juices and doing yoga 3 times a week. But, that was far from the reality. I couldn’t bare to cook, the smell of meat would make me vom. The kids lived off anything that could go in the oven for 12 weeks and I went through loaves and jars of buttery, marmite on toast. Nothing veg-like entered my mouth and the only shade of green I saw was the colour of my face after I tried yoga the once. Doing the sun salutation was like being on the worlds windiest rollercoaster (and I’ve never liked rollercoaster.)

It all kicked off about 8 weeks, the week before I booked a scan at Early Life Ultrasound as I felt NOTHING. Not a single pregnancy symptom. Not a tingley nipple, no nausea, no bloodhound nose… Zilch. 8 weeks from the moment you pee on the stick to the NHS scan is a looong ass time to wait to know that all is ok. So off I went to my scan, feeling all the sickness by this point. Nancy played with all the toys in the waiting room whilst I sat and flicked through pregnancy magazines. Moments later we got called in and there was my 4th little nugget on the screen. Heart rate flickering away. It was awesome. This grey little smudge on the screen that was in 9months time going to be part of the Kitt- Holden crew. I got my photos and then went off for lunch. I’m so glad I have these photos because the day of my NHS 12 week scan, turmoil broke out. Rob went to work with the car AND with my wallet in it. I scraped the house to get pennies for the bus then walked the rest of the way to the hospital with 3 kids in tow. Was so dehydrated because of the marathon walk in the heat that there was nothing in my bladder for the scan so had to wait for my bladder to fill drowning myself in water in the waiting room. I then didn’t have enough money for the scan photos either. Was one of those epic fail moments… no not moments, days. So no 12 week photos for this baby.

I’m the worst at keeping secrets, more so my own exciting ones. But the crazy intuition of midwives is second to none in guessing who’s pregnant. I remember telling one midwife at work that I’d managed to sleep all day before a night shift… she immediately thought, pregnant! Plus when you’re heard vomiting in the toilet no one suspects a bug. A baby is far more suspected amongst the midwives.

I would be sick whilst getting in the car, sick when getting out of bed, sick whilst entering the house from a day out. My fave place for those months was in the safety of my own home or better still, bed, where no one could see. It can be a pretty lonely place! I ate what made me feel better, I took a back seat at life and I did not feel guilty about it.

Being now 18weeks, I’m back to my coffee/tea drinking self and feeling a lot more normal. I’m still holding on to my green juice/yoga plans… watch this space. Although, I’m four pregnancies in and I’m still waiting for that glow. Second trimester you owe me…

Pregnancy- The happiest reason to feel like crap.

What you can do to reduce vaginal tears in birth?

Ask A MidwifePregnancyTop 5 Tips

Ok ok I get it.. it’s not the most nicest of subjects to talk about and I’m sure you’re all crossing your legs as you read this 😵. But rather than focusing on how horrid this may be or worse still sticking your head in the sand, start thinking about what YOU are going to do about it!!! Because there’s lots of things that have been shown to lessen the tear, and with around 90% of first time mums having a tear that needs sutures, the more you know the more you can do to help reduce them. Knowledge is power after all. One of the biggest fears expectant mamas have about birth is vaginal tears so I thought I’d do a post on a few things that can be done to lessen the tear (number 6. is one that you can do from 34weeks pregnant.)

1. A warm compress. Having a midwife support the area with a warm compress can reduce tears.

2. Position. Pushing on your left side, all fours or semi- recumbent have been shown to have the lesser tears.

3. Communication- Blow and don’t push when the midwife says. This is so baby’s head can be born SLOWLY.

4. Hands on approach. Having a midwife support your perineum again, especially with a warm compress.

5. Did I mention…

S-L-O-W-L-Y

6. Perineal massage- Massaging the perineum with your thumbs (or getting your partner to do it) from 34 weeks with some olive oil has been shown to lessen any tears in first time mums by 10%.

These tips are all evidence based guidelines from the RCM or from an a midwife Julie Frolich who made a care bundle which has been shown to reduce tears.

If we’re talking about tears then we need to talk about recovery and healing.

1. Change your pads regularly to reduce infection.

2. Stay hydrated. It’s concentrated urine that may sting your stitches.

3. A high fibre diet will help with that first post natal poo. That’s dates, prunes, bran, fruit and veg.

4. Tea tree in the bath can aid healing. Other than that you can wash as normal but don’t use soap on the area. And pat dry.

5. Arnica tablets can help with bruising in that area regardless of if you have a tear. Have a look in your local health shop for arnica tablets to take during labour and post birth.

Any questions…? Please comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

What I HATE about Hypnobirthing

Pregnancy

One thing I HATE about Hypnobirthing

 

“My body is made to give birth, naturally”
 
“My body is built to give birth”
 
“I trust my body and its ability to give birth.”
 
“My body is designed to grow a baby”
 
“My baby will arrive when the time is right”
All sounds pretty ideal, right? But what happens when this is not the case?
If you, or your baby for whatever reason needs to be born through cesarean. I wouldn’t call that natural. Normal, yes but not natural.
What happens to the many women who have had recurrent miscarriages? Are these women going to be able to “trust” their bodies.
If you have been advised an induction, are all your other useful birth affirmations about strength in labour going to go out the window?
These quotes alongside many others are what I find myself reading in my teachers guide to hypnobirthing and it grates on me big time. That I, as a midwife and hypnobirthing teacher are inadvertently setting these “goals” for mothers knowing that…
25% of women in the UK have a cesarean and 12% have an instrumental delivery. What if that 1 woman in 4 who has a cesarean has done hypnobirthing and told herself for the past 9 months  (or at least the 3-4 months prior) that “her body was built to give birth”. Not quite aligned with the affirmations that have been rehearsed.
and
28% of births in the UK start from induction. Thats nearly a third of all woman who have been advised an induction have been telling themselves, ‘my baby will arrive when the time is right.’  Does that mean now that this woman doesn’t feel like she’s hypnobirthing because her affirmations aren’t aligning with what is? We are setting women up for feelings of guilt or failings and their motherhood journey is only just beginning.
So why is it that in pregnancy and birth – a time or journey where we can not always plan exactly how it is going to go- we use affirmations that attempt to predict a result?
This right here is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!
There are many areas of life where affirmations can be really useful, such as smoking and weight loss. Only in these situations it is perfecly possible to make ‘perfect scenario’ affirmations, as you, as an individual are 100% accountable for the result. Whereas this isn’t the case in pregnancy. Perhaps, the reason why such unrealistic affirmations as ‘my body was born to do this’ exist is because it has evolved from the same concept of affirmations used for controllable things like weight loss and smoking. To use this in childbirth??? It just ain’t the same. I feel a good old brush and polish up of the birth affirmations are in order to embrace the unique and wonderful challenges childbirth involves.
If you read any good business book, have been to any inspirational speakers or had a go at mindfulness you may have noticed something they all have in common is MINDSET.. Instead of preaching how to get the results you want, they inspire how to be the best version of yourself. Wake up. Get up. Show up. Imagine the person you want to be and tell yourself you are that person every freaking day of you life.
So if we apply this to birth affirmations instead, look at the POWER that we can give to women. Imagine giving birth, regardless of birth and feeling like an absolute boss because your mindset was set to birth positive. Wake up everyday and say to yourself that YOU CAN DO THIS. Your birth journey- you can bloody do it and enjoy it and feel awesome about it. Whether baby comes from your vagina or cesarean YOU were calm through the process, you felt positive, made choices, in control.
Set your mindset to feel positive about birth as how you FEEL is totally and will always be in your reach and control…
I will birth without fear
I make informed decisions
I feel in control
I feel positive when birthing my baby
I do what is right for myself and my baby
I am strong
I feel confident about birthing my baby.
Switch your mindset to feel the best about birth and then throw any affirmation that resembles a result in the bin. If you feel like this, you are more likely to have a birth without intervention anyway. And if you do need intervention, you’re going to be feeling so confident and calm that you are going to OWN that CHOICE anyway.
#BirthPositive
You can write your own birth affirmations or you can find some great birth mantras here.

Newsletter

Social Media

The Bump to Baby Chapter

Winner of 🌟The Best Pregnancy Support Service in Gloucestershire 2017🌟, The Bump to Baby Chapter has something for everyone. 🌟For expectant couple wanting to know all you need to know about labour, baby and those early days we have midwife led antenatal courses. 🌟For a second or third time mother wanting to birth without fear after a negative birth experience. There’s hypnobirthing one day classes for the busy Mum. 🌟Free blogs with tips on birth and baby for all 🌟Buggy walks in Cheltenham for new mothers to bring the sisterhood in motherhood. So whatever stage of pregnancy and whatever number baby have a look at the page, website and get involved 🌟
The Bump to Baby Chapter
The Bump to Baby Chapter
#MyBumptoBabyChapter and an AWESOME review from Rachel and Alex who had their baby boy just over a week ago... isn’t he scrummy ❤️ Congratulations to you both!!!

“8 days in and finally got 5 minutes....

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Beth and her amazing @thebumptobabychapter classes! Both myself and Alex thoroughly enjoyed every session; for Beth’s never ending knowledge on everything labour and baby related, her total honesty that made the scary bits weirdly not seem so scary anymore; and her general funny and welcoming attitude 🥰 we were genuinely sad when our sessions came to an end as they had been the highlight of our week!

We learnt so much during our classes that really prepared us both for the birth and aftercare of our little Archie 😍 even during my brief moments of panic where I stopped using my breathing effectively, Alex was right by my side to remind me and to breath through it with me to get me back on track, honestly couldn’t have done it without his support and encouragement!!

Beth was also completely respectful of our decision not to post anything pregnancy related until after the safe arrival of our little boy, strategically putting us on the end of our group photo so we could be cropped out!! Might seem a daft thing to say, but for anyone that wishes to do the same, please don’t be put off attending these sessions as your wishes will absolutely be respected ☺️

It also gave us the opportunity to meet the loveliest couples, which has been great to share experiences both pre and post baby at all hours of the day.... and night 🕢😴!! So excited to get a date in the diary for a reunion with all our beautiful bundles 😍”

https://www.thebumptobabychapter.co.uk/antenatal-classes-hypnobirthing/
TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100