Category: Pregnancy

Reflexology- Pregnancy & Fertility

Complementary TherapiesPregnancy
Reflexology is a non intrusive complementary therapy based on the theory that all our organs, structures and glands in the body have a corresponding reflex in the feet. Pressure is applied to these area which encourages and triggers the body own healing mechanisms, boosting the immune system, improving circulation and stimulating the lymphatic system to release the bodies toxins. It also encourages homeostasis particularly in relation to the nervous and endocrine system.

The benefits of reflexology may also improve your sleep pattern, energy levels and sense of wellbeing. It gives you some “me time” which we all need in our hectic lives!


Reflexology in Pregnancy

Maternity reflexology is a specific form of reflexology aimed at women during any part of their pregnancy journey. It works by supporting the body (and its hormones) to maintain a state of balance, reducing stress levels and targeting any niggling symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea, muscular aches and pains, changes in posture or heartburn.

Studies completed in Denmark and UK have shown that reflexology can be associated with drastically speeding up labour and reducing pain.



Getting pregnant is not as easy for some couples as it is for others and they can find themselves in a very stressful and emotive situation which in turn may create a vicious cycle. Reproductive reflexology is very helpful in supporting fertility. It can be used as a stand alone treatment to enhance your natural fertility or alongside various IVF treatments.
Members of the Association of Reproductive Reflexology Association are specially trained to work alongside medicated cycles using treatment protocols that we believe works to enhance the medications efficacy.
Kathy is a member of the Association of Reproductive Reflexologist, Association of Reflexologists & CHNC. She has been a registered Reflexologist for 10 years, specialising in fertility. She works from the comfort of your own home. Kathy has two daughters, Emily and Charlotte. She likes cooking, going to the gym and holidays in Greece.
If you would like to know more about reflexology with Kathy then please contact her on 07731445394 or

Your Baby’s Kicks Count

In my third pregnancy with Nancy, I was so busy. I would work 12 hour shifts asking other pregnant mums, “Has your baby been moving well today?” only when I would get 5 minutes to drink tea and eat cake (so never), empty my bladder (also never!) or get home would I ask myself the same question. I would take myself to the bath, with some cold water, chocolate or ice cream and concentrate on her movements. She would start kicking her little legs when that freezing cold ice cream would run passed her little toes. It became a nice daily ritual. It would be an opportunity to have a bit of bonding time with baby bump and also have a little check in on her to see if she was all good in there.
With my first pregnancy I remember going in with reduced movements only for the midwife to put her hands on my tummy and be met with a kick. I felt like such a time waster. Now I have been the midwife, who puts my hands on a women’s bump to be met with a kick and never have I thought a second was wasted. As a midwife I feel relief, as I have also been the midwife to feel for baby’s position to be met with no kicks, to listen in to baby to hear no heartbeat, to be present at the scan to see no flicker of a heart.
Why do Kicks Count?
A baby that moves and kicks is a healthy baby. If a baby is under stress for whatever reason in the womb then the first thing a baby will do is to stop moving. Movement uses energy, so a baby under stress will stop or reduce movements to conserve its energy.
Shocking facts:
The UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world. Currently ranking 33 out of 35.
Two out of three women who had a stillbirth noticed their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped.
How to count your kicks…
There is lots of mixed messages about how to count your kicks, some mums to  be may count episodes of movement or numbers of kicks within a certain episode. Either way is fine as long as you remember one thing, baby’s are little human beings so bare in mind they are all different. There is not a one latex glove size to fit all. Your baby might be really active in the morning and in the evening, but you only feel little movements the rest of the day. Or your baby may make smaller movements but more regularly throughout the day. Whatever is normal for your baby is what should be your baseline for what is normal movements.
Our advice
Don’t assume that your baby will move less as you approach full term due to ‘less space’. Your baby’s movements will increase from your first kicks (between 16-24weeks) and then baby should be moving the same amount daily from about 32 weeks. The movements may be different. Instead of feeling a summersault feeling you may feel a wiggle or an elbow move but never settle for ‘your baby has no room’ as a reason to why he/she isn’t moving.
Don’t worry about phoning. As a midwife we would much rather you phoned every day than go days at home worrying about your baby’s health. It is important for us to know if your baby’s movements have stopped or slowed. Even if you are still worried about baby’s movements shortly after a check-up, you should still see your midwife straight away.
Don’t use hand held dopplers or any home device to listen to your baby’s heartbeat. Just because you can hear your baby’s heartbeat doesn’t mean that he or she is healthy. Midwives will use a continuous fetal heart monitoring machine to see a pattern of your baby’s heartbeat. The pattern of the baby’s heartbeat is what will be used to determine the health of your baby if you are worried about movements.
Kicks Count is a charity that provide information on baby movements but also they create an awareness to empower mothers to have the confidence to trust their instincts when they suspect something is wrong and to contact their maternity provider. The charity sell wristbands as a reminder to pregnant mums to ‘count your kicks’, plus to create an awareness to other expectant mums that Kicks Count.

Cesarean Section Recovery… Top 5 Tips

New mumPregnancyTop 5 Tips
  1. It’s ok I am wearing really big knickers.

If you have not already converted to the Bridget Jones style pants then now is the time to hop over. Larger pants that you can pull over your scar will stop the elastic rubbing across your scar. If you do find clothes are rubbing you can pop a sanitary pad across your scar.

2. Keep it dry

It is ok to bath and shower as normal just keep it to just water and ensure that the area is dry after (pat dry with a towel). Keeping the area dry will prevent any infection.

3. Watch out for signs of infection.

When you get discharged home contact your GP or tell your midwife if you feel feverish or fluey, if you notice your scar is red, smelly, really painful or is oozing as these can all be signs of infection

4. Family, friends & hospital staff

Accept peoples help while they are over. Let them make the cups of tea and don’t be afraid in asking someone to pass the baby up to you or to change a nappy as bending over may be painful. In the hospital your partner will go home whilst you stay the night on the ward. Your ward midwives and maternity care assistants will be happy to help you, you will have a call bell that we (as midwives) encourage you to use on your first night after a cesarean. You will need help changing the nappy and having baby passed up to you after your cesarean. It is there for YOU so make use of it. 

5. Move around

By the following day you should be able to get out of bed into the chair. Take it slow but getting out of bed will help get your blood circulating, even if it is just from the bed to the chair. Stay on top of your pain relief by taking it at regular intervals. 

For an honest story about one mamas cesarean section experience from Gloucestershire hospital see the birth story from local girl Kate. Too posh to push..? You can decide.

Sit like a queen- Optimum fetal positioning


Sit like a queen and scrub like a peasant. Optimum Fetal Positioning.

We have more than likely all heard the position ‘back to back’ baby, and the phrase is not usually one we jump for joy about. Back to back is more officially known as the Occiput Posterior position or OP. The occiput is the back of baby’s head, just above the nape of the neck. This is the heaviest part so depending on which way you are leaning to the most in your day to day life is usually (other factors do play a part) where the heaviest part will fall… Are you with me so far?

OP baby’s are more commonly seen in todays society because of our lifestyle. Take driving in the car as an example, the seats are very deep so our pelvis sinks backwards. Same as our amazingly comfortable, slouchy sofas. It is great after a days work when you can slump into it with your feet up. Yet putting your feet up, same as crossing your legs, encourages baby’s head to swing to your back instead of the optimum front. 

Why does it matter I hear you say? So when the baby is FACING your back (occiput anterior aka OA), so the occiput (heaviest part of baby’s head) has rolled to the front, due to our not quite rounded human heads this means that the smallest part of the head will be delivered first. So makes for an optimum position for childbirth. Now I only say OPTIMUM, as other positions of your baby, such as back to back, work too. Back to back is associated with longer labours as baby has to turn during labour to get into the optimum position. 

So my advice to you

  1. Sit like a Queen. Thrones are nice and straight so your pelvis doesn’t slouch back. You also sit with your legs lower than your pelvis giving your baby lots of room to be comfortably leaning to the front.
  2. Scrub like a poorper. Hands and knees and clean the floor. Perfect position to get baby’s occiput (heaviest part of head) to swing to the front.

With these images you should get the idea of ways to encourage your baby into the optimum fetal position. You can use the ‘scrubbing the floor’ position when you’re watching tv. Try and use a dining room chair to sit on or a birthing ball. However, if you do have a throne lying around the house, now is your time to work it.dreamstime_l_50676371

Hollie de Cruz a.k.a The Yesmummum and The Bump to Baby Chapter

Hi Hollie, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed by us here at The Bump to Baby Chapter. We love hypnobirthing but we also love how you have made it so relateable.
So first up…
Hollie de Cruz is the Founder of London Hypnobirthing and the creator of yesmum cards. She uses her Instagram platform @theyesmummum to inspire and promote education, equality and empowerment opportunities with a healthy sprinkling of positivity.
Beth: When did your hypnobirthing chapter begin? 
Hollie: Before having my son I was working in a very male-dominated environment at a big corporate design agency. I worked really long hours, juggled stress and fun in equal measure and lived for the weekend. My pregnancy was completely unplanned, and I found that all quite frightening. None of my friends had children, in fact I’d never even held a newborn baby, let alone looked after one. As such, I felt pretty scared and disempowered. Then I stumbled upon the concept of hypnobirthing about half way through my own pregnancy and even though I was cynical at first it became a real game changer. Oscar’s birth was such a positive experience that I knew from the moment I held him I wanted to be involved in spreading the word of such an empowering movement for women, and that’s what inspired me to quit my job, train to become a hypnobirthing teacher and start building a business that I could run more flexibly around motherhood.
 Thank you for capturing THIS feeling @carlaoxlade ❤️ This time six years ago London was covered in snow and I had just gone into early labour. Five days later (!) I would meet the love of my life.. ⭐️
Beth: I’m sure you have had people saying ‘hypno.. what’ when you describe what you do. How do you explain hypnobirthing to people who have never heard of the concept?
Hollie: Hypnobirthing is a complete antenatal education programme that teaches you what happens in your body during labour and birth, and how to work with it rather than against it.
Although a lot of people (myself included many years ago) are put off by the slightly bats name (I even had one person refer to it as psychobirthing which did make me laugh!), hypnobirthing is in fact the most logical, gentle and profound form of birth education I have come across.
Hypnobirthing doesn’t promise a perfect birth, but it will give you the best birth for you and your baby at the time, and if you commit to small amounts of daily practice, you will create a positive, joyful experience that will stay with you and your baby for the rest of your lives.
Beth: There was a great reception from your recent talk during Life Death Whatever about Hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing seems to be taking the pregnancy vortex by storm right now. What advice would you give to a mum when choosing a pregnancy class?
Hollie: Do a hypnobirthing course … obviously! It will be the best money you spend and it’s an amazing investment in not only your birth, but in your onwards journey as parents.
But seriously, I think it’s important to know the approach of the class you are choosing, many people go along with what others do/what’s considered to be the norm but it’s important to really look into your teacher and think about if their approach is right for you.
I work in a completely woman-centred way, which means me and my team get to know the families we work with and offer them bespoke and nurturing support. Our aim is to ensure the women we work with feel educated and completely held and supported on every step of their journey to motherhood and beyond. Understanding your labour, including any unexpected turns it may take, is what leads to a positive and empowering experience, and that is something every single woman deserves.
Beth: Why do you think hypnobirthing is becoming so popular?
Hollie: I think women are reverting to more natural birth options because we are becoming more empowered and educated in general. I think many women are beginning to question the over medicalisation of a normal physiological process, especially when they feel rushed or not listened to, and this is pushed forward when they hear their peers talking about positive birth experiences rather than horror stories. Our focus must be on normalising childbirth and putting the power back in women’s hands rather than dumping her in a conveyer belt system where she feels passive and out of control. When women are moving towards this in every other aspect of society, it seems appropriate that it should apply to birth – the most primal female experience – too. There’s also the very obvious concept of preparation as power. If you were running a marathon, taking a driving test or going for a job interview you’d put loads of time into preparing, and I think women are realising that “winging it” isn’t really the way to go for the most transformative moment in their life. Knowledge is power – every time.


MEGA LOVELY bunch of women at my Positive Birth Workshop this morning! It's amazing what 4 hours can do in equipping women with some tools and wisdom to feel confident and empowered going into the best adventure of their lives 🙋🏼🙋🏽🙋🏾 • what a massive privilege my job is! 🙌🏼 • if you'd like to book onto a woman-only or couples Hypnobirthing course with me, go and check out this year's remaining places (there aren't many!) at 👶🏼 #hypnobirthing #hypnobabies #hypnobirthingrocks #positivebirthmovement #birthissafe #womensupportingwomen #bethechange #birthwithoutfear #startsomethingthatmatters #yesmumcards #eastdulwich #peckham #southlondon #normalisebirth #childbirth

Beth: Your award- winning Yesmum cards have reached out to so many. What is it about birth affirmation that you thought would make a real difference to pregnant mums and their birthing experience?
Hollie: We use a lot of positive affirmations in hypnobirthing as a way of ditching the embedded fear we have around birth and reprogramming the subconscious mind with positive messages about the experience. When we change the way we think, the way we experience things changes and I see this every day in my work with women (and myself). I really wanted to apply this to the next stage of the journey, and create a tool that mums could take with them through to motherhood and help continue all the positive, mindful work they’d enjoyed in pregnancy. And that’s when the idea of the YESMUM cards was born. I thought I’d just make 50 packs and see if any of my clients wanted to buy them, as well as giving some to friends to try out. They were more well received than I ever could have imagined, and it just goes to show how much we need this kind of simple positive reinforcement in our lives. When I put them on Instagram I had loads of people tagging their friends and saying “we need these” and it kind of took off from there. I now have six ranges for mothers, pregnant women, kids, entrepreneurs and, people on a wellbeing/health journey and humans (in general), and ship to every continent on a daily basis.
Beth: Today, we seem to be part of a society where the women supporting women game is strong. So from one woman to the hopefully hundreds of women who are reading this… Give us your favourite affirmation that will make us feel like we have got this. Only one! 
Hollie: One of my favourite affirmations is “today is a new day”. It’s so tempting to haul around worry or guilt but actually every day brings a new opportunity to get in a good mindset and make small positive changes.
I adore seeing snaps of your yesmum® cards you know. It really makes me happy to do what I do. If turning over one card makes one difference in one day, that's enough. I created these cards because I have always found big wellbeing/mindfulness programmes or courses overwhelming, and I inevitably end up feeling guilty for not committing enough time to myself in those capacities. These simple affirmation cards are designed to be a positive change that you very easily make part of your daily routine, and that really do have the power to change the course of your day. Thank you as ever for continuing to support this little idea of mine, and to @finlay_fox for this lovely shot of her #yesmumcards 👆🏼❤️ #wellbeingwednesday #wednesdaywisdom #affirmationcards #affirmations #positiveaffirmations #motherhood #mindfulness #mindfulnessformums #mindfulnessformothers #slowfamilyliving #positiveparenting #peacefulparenting

Beth: For the stay at home mums, full time, part time & self employed mums we all seem to struggle with finding time for ourselves, our family our jobs, hubby’s etc. So I think the big million dollar question is how do you tackle the work/mum/Hollie life balance?
Hollie: I think when you run your own business, work-life balance is always pretty tricky to enforce because you don’t have those boundaries of an office or a boss. Combine that with being a mother and it goes all kinds of crazy right? I often find myself feeling guilty for not doing anything well enough, so stopping the weekend/evening work (as hard as it is) is a big deal for me in putting better boundaries on my time. Nowadays, I’m a business woman during the day and a mother on evenings and weekends. Inevitably there will be overlap but I think setting the intention and enjoying the positive changes it brings will be enough to sustain it.

Beth: I for one have been brooding over your puppy. Little Ruby is just the cutest. Other than a walk in the woods with your new pooch, what do you do to stay calm and relaxed?

Hollie: Most of my spare moments are spent soaking up my gorgeous son, as time together feels so precious now that Oscar’s at school. He’s such an outdoorsy kid so we can normally be found in the park or at the BMX track, or playing top trumps over a pizza. In rare pockets of me-time though, I’ll go to the cinema (by myself – the best!), go and get a massage, read a book in a café with a massive coffee and eggs or if I’m feeling truly decadent – go back to bed with Ruby!
Beth: What’s next for the yesmummum in her quest for world domination?
Hollie: The golden question! For me it’s all about growing the company in an organic way to meet the needs of the groups of women I get to know. I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but our next project is all about getting birth education to people who wouldn’t necessarily access it because of different circumstances or financial situations. I believe all women deserve access to basic birth and women’s health education, so getting the ball rolling on that makes me really excited.
Who's with me? 🙋🏻🙋🏼🙋🏾 #wordstoliveby #wecandoit #yesmumcards

Thank you to Hollie for her time for this interview. If you would like to know more about Hollie and her yesmum cards then follow her on instagram or visit her website. If you are local to Gloucestershire your Bump to Baby Chapter midwives also stock the yesmum cards and will have them available to purchase at The Introduction to Hypnobirthing event this December and all of their antenatal and hypnobirthing classes

1, 2, 3, 4….We like our pelvic floor!!!

New mumPregnancy
By Gaynor, Physiotherapist in Gloucestershire
Recently I met a woman who told me she used to be a runner. When I asked: Why don’t you still run? The answer: “Because 60 hours of labour with my first child and a forceps delivery ruined my desire to run anymore.”
To sum up for those who still may not relate to the problem: She pees her pants when she picks up the pace.
Ladies often joke about cough pee, sneeze pee, jumping jack pee, trampoline pee, and other bladder challenges. But full-blown incontinence is no laughing matter. I’m a firm believer that a strong pelvic floor is the answer to incontinence. A strong pelvic floor not only makes the difference between wet and dry running shorts, but can also keep high intensity exercises, such as running, pain free by reducing pregnancy related pain, such as hip and lower back pain.
Many women assume it’s childbirth that causes incontinence, but In fact pregnancy itself may put strain on the bladder, thus highlighting that a c-section won’t necessarily save you.
So firstly, what are your pelvic floor muscles?
The PF muscles run between the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the pubic bone (the bottom-front of the pelvis). Ideally you want the PF to be long, supple, and taut, to generate long-term forces that hold up your organs, as well as have enough motor skill to open and close your bathroom muscles as needed. When the PF is too tight, it can pull the sacrum out of alignment, bringing it forward, into the bowl of the pelvis (which tends to happen during pregnancy and child birth). Which means bye-bye strong PF muscles, Hello Pelvic Floor Hammock.  And the last time I checked hammocks are for vacation and have not promoted the notion of long-term force generation for some time. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong and healthy.
First things first…Finding your Pelvic floor!
  • Sit or lie down with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and stomach relaxed.
  • Squeeze the ring of muscle around the back passage as if you are trying to stop yourself from farting in front of your hunky crush. Now relax this muscle. Squeeze and let go a couple of times until you are sure you have found the right muscles. Try not to squeeze your buttocks.
  • When sitting on the toilet to have a wee, try to stop the stream of urine, then start it again. Do this to learn which muscles are the right ones to use – but only once a week. Your bladder may not empty the way it should if you stop and start your stream more often than that.
If you don’t feel a distinct “squeeze and lift” of your pelvic floor muscles, or if you can’t slow your stream of urine, ask for help from your doctor, physiotherapist, or continence nurse. They will help you to get your pelvic floor muscles working right.
Now that we’ve located our pelvic floor muscles… lets get squeezing!
1) Squeeze and draw in the muscles around your back passage and your vagina at the same time. Lift them UP inside. You should have a sense of “lift” each time you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Try to hold them strong and tight as you count to 10. Now, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of “letting go”.
  • Repeat “squeeze and lift” and let go. It is best to rest for about 4 seconds in between each lift up of the muscles. If you can’t hold for 10, just hold for as long as you can. Your endurance will improve over time and with practice holding for 10 seconds will get easier.
  • Repeat this “squeeze and lift” as many times as you can, up to a limit of 8 to 12 squeezes.
  • Try to do three sets of 8 to 12 squeezes each, with a rest in between.
2) Your pelvic floor muscles also need to react quickly to sudden stresses from coughing, laughing or exercise that puts pressure on the bladder. So practise some quick contractions, drawing in the pelvic floor and holding it for just one second before relaxing. Try to achieve a strong muscle tightening with up to ten quick contractions in succession.
  • Aim to do a set of slow contractions (exercise 1) followed by a set of quick contractions (exercise 2) 3-4 times each day. It takes time for exercise to make muscles stronger. You are unlikely to notice any improvement for several weeks – so stick at it! You will need to exercise regularly for at least 3 months before the muscles gain their full strength.
These pelvic floor exercises can be done while lying down, sitting or standing.
Top Tip: Remembering to do your pelvic floor exercises is harder than doing the actual exercises. The best thing to do is to get into a habit of doing your exercises and to incorporate them into your activities of daily living, for example, squeeze when you’re doing the dishes, squeeze when you’re changing your babies nappy, squeeze when the adverts are on the tele, squeeze when you’re brushing your teeth. These are activities that you engage in daily, so doing your squeezes whilst doing these activities will ensure you are doing your exercises regularly and daily. Remember: you can exercise your pelvic floor muscles wherever you are – nobody will know what you are doing!
So just some final words from me… EASY PEEZY DON’T FORGET TO SQUEEZY!!


Pregnant and over the limit


Going out for coffee has to be one of my favourite things to do. It feels like a little mid morning treat especially after a sleepless night with Noodle. It means I get to stock up on my daily caffeine fix, and as Noodle is still a baby, she is very portable and normally just sleeps the whole time whilst I get to catch up on the latest revelations from my care free, child free friends.


And now not being pregnant, I can enjoy a coffee guilt free without worrying about the effects it may be having on baby bump. So, according to the NHS website when your pregnant it is advisable to drink no more than 200mg of caffeine a day. But who knows what that means??!! When you go into your local coffee shop you can see how many calories are in your grande caramel latte but not how much caffeine your happily going to be sipping away.


But a coffee is a coffee I hear you say. No no sista. A lot of recommendations advise that 1 cup of filter coffee will keep you within your limits. Whilst this may be true, you can enjoy your smooth Flat White from Starbucks, comfortably staying within your limits with 150mg caffeine. If you ventured over the road for the same coffee drink and catch up at Costa, it would put you over your limit by 77mg, with a massive 277mg of caffeine.


Here are a rundown of the differences between other drinks (all medium sizes)…


CAPPUCCINO    277mg vs. 150mg 

LATTE  185mg vs. 150mg

MOCHA   287mg vs. 175mg 

For more info or to find out the caffeine content of your fave coffee then check out the sites below.

Here are some of our other caffeine containing comforts…

a mug of tea 75mg

a can of cola 40mg

most 50g bars of plain chocolate have less than 25mg

most 50g bar of milk chocolate have less than 10mg



There has been lots of research into caffeine and pregnancy. With the current research advising to avoid caffeine within the first trimester due to risk of miscarriage.


After this time, it is to stay within 200mg p/day. The risks being miscarriage and/or fetal growth restriction, resulting in low birth weight babies, which has been linked to higher risks of health problems later in life.


So, I’m not saying ditch your favourite drink and avoid all high street coffee shops. But if you are lucky enough to have coffees out regularly check the caffeine content with the supplier. And if in doubt decaf it out.




Barre, Pilates & Pregnancy Fusion

Sunday 20th November 3-5pm the Acorn Unit Wholefoods Cheltenham is having an all female takeover.
Join me, Lottie, (I’ll be 20 weeks pregnant at this stage eek!) for an hour of Barre and Pilates fusion specifically designed for us preggos to take part and enjoy. After an hour of exercise we will then be treated to a live Cooking demo from the fabulous foodie, trained chef, and barrister (!) Lottie Elvidge who will add a Christmas theme to proceedings with a Christmas canapé bake off. There will be lots to try and beautiful scents to fill the room. Please feel free to invite husbands and other hungry mouths along to join us at this point!
Next, Boston Tea Party have laid on a delectable feast of gluten free chocolate brownies, scrumble and flapjacks and Wholefoods will provide goody bags to die for.
So… if you fancy an afternoon of health and indulgence, meeting like minded women who are all going through the same thing as you then book your ticket now. Tickets are £22 and are strictly limited, so please book quick to avoid disappointment. Bring a friend or make new ones, it’s a very sociable and friendly afternoon of fun and feasting.
To book your space email Lottie Keble-Wyatt directly at or if you have any questions drop me a line or call me on 07771587053. I also provide personal training and group work to help strengthen ready for birth and to make you feel a little bit more like you again!
Do checkout my website to find out more.

Baby blues or something more


I have been mulling over how to tackle the topic of Postnatal depression for weeks, what seemed a straight forward request has raised my awareness to the fact that we seem to know what post natal depression is, but do we really understand it?

I think its fair to say every mother feels low at some point post birth. A minor injury of a stubbed toe prompts woes of discomfort, so surrendering your body to pregnancy to then have a tiny human removed vaginally or surgically, is going to have an impact both physically and emotionally.

To begin I think its useful to give a formal definition for Postnatal depression: depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue.

So what are the baby blues? Do they differ? The Baby Blues tend to start day three post birth with the sudden change in hormones making you feel teary and overwhelmed, it tends to peak at week one with feelings of weariness, fatigue, anxiety and isolation, but then as the hormones settle by week three the high emotions begin to taper and should subside. Does this mean those first few weeks of Baby Blues do not require emotional attention? The baby blues look less blue and more grey to me, a limbo land; not being ok but not being classified as depressed.



In this picture by Anna Lewis, @sketchymuma gracefully summarises the first week and its hardship, does any parent really know what’s going on? You have a new house guest, who isn’t leaving anytime soon, and you are on a crash course of getting to know each other combined with a rush of hormones, depleted vitamin and mineral reserves and little sleep.



Research shows a lack of sleep can create clinical depression in the healthiest of people, during a study it was discovered that healthy adults when woken continually over a period of a month, without the demands of a baby or birth, were almost all diagnosed with clinical depression. Without pregnancy or a baby?! So who is responsible for the first few weeks being deemed ‘blue’ ? Somewhere around the 1940’s the experiences post birth were coined as baby blues. In his best-selling baby book Expectant Motherhood, 1940, Nicholson J. Eastman wrote:

“Most common among such reactions, perhaps, is what is colloquially called the ‘Baby Blues’.” Does this term now undermine the experience? Thankfully we’ve outgrown Eastman’s other advice on how to reduce baby blues, he helpfully advised women to limit themselves to 10 cigarette daily during pregnancy. Jeez!



If the term Baby Blues can no longer suffice maybe Dr Oscar Serrallach a family practitioner in Australia has the answer. Dr Serrallach using modern methods identifies the demands on the body describing the process as postnatal depletion, which can develop into more severe forms of depression. To briefly summarise his work, he recognises the scientific demands to grow a baby highlighting the nutritional demands and consequences. He takes into consideration the reprogramming of the mothers brain for parenthood which shrinks by 5% to pass the enormous amounts of fats required to the baby; 7 grams of fat from the placenta travels to the baby daily, Mums zinc, iron, Vitamin B12 Vitamin B9, Iodine, omega 3 fats, and selenium stores are all tapped into (low selenium is linked to depression). Dr Oscar describes further demands beyond pregnancy each impacting how they will emotionally take a toll on the mother.


Perhaps this scientific approach educates society to accept EVERY woman will feel quite literally depleted after her birth. Perhaps through a universal responsibility to meet every mother’s needs she is free to meet the needs of her baby. Mothers are also then on the radar should moods escalate and need further attention.

OK so what can you do to help yourself? Because of course the experience of birth is not just the sorry state of affairs I have sold it as in the 600ish words above. What can we do as an expectant parent to maximise the joy it also brings?


  • Getting your support system in place is the first vital step! Know who you are going to utilise and make them aware
  • Learn key tools prior to the birth
  • Develop skills in how to protect your relationship
  • Learn to identify the six states of a baby
  • Explore the kind of parent you’ll be


Investing emotionally with a professional can help reduce symptoms of PND from 67 percent to 23 percent, explore beyond your traditional birthing classes to expand your emotional intelligence, which can be learnt unlike personality or IQ such an investment will not only prepare you for the realities but help you evolve as a conscious emotionally intelligent parent who exists in the moment making life more manageable and calmer.


Jerilee is the founder of My Baby Brain. She is a clinical psychotherapist and mother. She has a wonderful outlook on the uniqueness and delicacies of life. Her mindful approach and clarity seeps through in her work. You can find out more about Jerilee and My Baby Brain here or by checking out their facebook or instagram.


















Top 5 Tips- Hospital bag

PregnancyTop 5 Tips
  1. Start Packing

Start thinking about packing a hospital bag around 32 weeks, aiming to have everything sorted by around 36 weeks, just in case baby puts in an early appearance. Pop the bag (or bags) in your bedroom where it can be easily accessed, then as you think of items, they can be added easily without a last minute rush forgetting things.

  1. Size matters!

Choose a good sized holdall to take into hospital and an extra bag for all of baby’s things (or alternatively, one big bag or suitcase for everything). Don’t forget to have a section for partner’s stuff (or ask them to prepare their own little bag of goodies, e.g. clean underwear and clean t-shirt (labour can get hot and sweaty for partners too), snacks and drinks, toothbrush, pair of flip flops, a magazine/book, phone charger.

  1. What to pack for mum

There’s no strict rules as to what you should or shouldn’t pack. Take whatever you think you will need and most importantly, items make you feel comfortable and at ease. Some ideas include: lip balm or Vaseline, flip flops and/or slippers, a pillow, dressing gown, old nighties/t-shirts, socks, hairbands, music (on phone or CD), isotonic drinks, a big towel, toiletries, hairbrush, comfy bras, big old pants x5, maternity pads (lots), flannel or sponge.

  1. What will baby need?

There’s no need to pack the kitchen sink and the changing station too! Some essentials to pack for baby include: baby grows (long sleeves x5), baby vests (short sleeve x5), cardigan, pack of nappies, a couple of hats, blanket, going home outfit, cotton wool balls or wipes.

Don’t forget to pack a couple of plastic bags for dirty washing.


  1. Lastly . . .

As your due date approaches, ensure you always have your hospital notes to hand, should you need to grab them quickly. Double check the parking facilities at your local hospital and even do a ‘practice run’ with partner. It’s always a good idea to have some change in your bag for parking/vending machines.

Now put your feet up and wait until baby is ready to meet you!


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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
Hospital Bag Items.

Here is a few of my faves ....

💡Lip balm- Gas and air can make your lips really dry. So can hospitals with their dry air.
💡 Earplugs/Eye mask- This one is useful if you need to spend any time on the antenatal maternity ward eg. induction of labour. Ear plugs are definitely not for after you’ve had the baby!!
💡Flannel/water spray/mini fan - You can get HOT in labour. Also hospitals 🥵
💡Socks- if you have an epidural or spinal. When it wears off your feet can feel cold!

💡 Always pack an extra bag to keep at home for a relative to bring in if you unexpectedly need to stay in for longer

💡 Dads/Partners- Pack yourself a bag too. Think change of clothes, food, toothbrush, food, drinks, food. Paracetamol is also a good one for you to have, hospitals can’t dish out the drugs to Dads and lack of sleep and hospital air can mean headaches.

What were your most used items in labour/birth? Midwife buddy’s - what’s your tips?? Or any pregnant mothers have any hospital bag Qs...

📷 Little Cheltenham
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