fbpx
Creating An Ideal Birth Environment

Creating An Ideal Birth Environment

Your Birth Environment – Why is Birth Environment So Important?

Have you ever noticed how much you act from your environmental cues.

Your Mum pops over with a plate of cookies and she leaves them on your dining room table. You weren’t hungry, but now you’re eating a cookie.

You walk into a garden centre at Christmas time and smell the candles of cinnamon, frankincense & winter berry and it immediately gets you feeling excited for Christmas.

You see water by the tills at the cafe. You’ll feel thirsty looking at it. There’s juice in the fridge but you’ll choose the water as it’s right there. The next time you go there, there’s juice at the tills, you pick up the juice without giving it a second thought. You choose what’s in your environment.

If you see a chair you’ll sit on it. If there’s no chair you won’t even notice your legs are tired.

If you walk into your lounge do you pick up the TV remote? If you walk into the kitchen do you open a cupboard or wipe a side?

What do you do when you walk into work? How do you act in that environment… do you always put your bag in the same place, or automatically click the kettle on, warm up your computer or open your notebook. Do you bite your nails on the way there, call your partner on the drive home? What do you do as a result of walking into your work environment?

We are the products of our environments and respond to the cues that surround us. We respond either internally, like the feelings of excitement when we smell Christmas candles or externally by sitting on a chair that was placed in a room.

BOTH these reactions matter in a birth environment.

 

Just stay off the bed

If you see a bed, you’re more likely to get on it. If you see a floor mat, you’re more likely to sit or crouch or lean on that. If there’s a counter, you’re more likely to stand next to it to lean on it.

Why does this matter? If you’re upright in labour (or basically any other position other than your back) then the research shows that

– Your labour time is significantly shorter.

⁃ Your less likely to have an instrumental (forceps or ventouse) birth by 23%

⁃ Your 29% less likely to have a cesarean.

⁃ Your 21% less likely to have an episiotomy.

Your environment matters. The environment could be as subtle as a low bed or a high bed. A low bed- you’re more likely to get on to lie down. But, one of the hospital beds set to the highest setting you’re more likely to lean on it. Leaning on the bed compared to lying on the bed could make a massive positive difference to your birth.

 

Sight, smells & sound of a hospital.

If you walked into a room where there were bright lights, clinical smells and white coats. How would this make you feel? Often our bodies pick up on these environmental cues without us even being aware. Especially, when usually the only time we are surrounded by white coats & clinical environments are when we are ill and we visit the doctors, or visiting a poorly relative in hospital. It’s not usually associated with fun times.

Ever heard of white coat syndrome? It’s when your blood pressure rises only in a clinical setting. You don’t often know that you feel nervous, but your blood pressure is raised in the Drs. But if you do your blood pressure at home it’s normal. It’s thought that between 15-30% of all raised blood pressure at the Drs is because of white coat syndrome. This is your body picking up on environmental cues and saying “May Day! May Day! Someone’s sick” without you even being aware that it’s happening.

So why does this matter in birth?

⁃ If your body is feeling stressed then it’s signalling that it’s not in a safe place to have a baby. So labour can stall and intervention can be advised, plus it becomes more painful as pain is stronger when you feel stressed.

Some simple ways to make your body respond better to your birth environment- especially if it’s in a hospital or birth unit environment. This right here is nest building at its finest…

⁃ Turn off the lights. Dim lights are more relaxing than bright ones. Fairy lights and tea lights (although your hospital may only allow battery ones) are great for providing that magic.

⁃ Bring a familiar or relaxing smell. Think essential oils or nothing says familiar like your own pillow. Anything that doesn’t make you think you’re in a squeaky clean hospital.

⁃ Bring some things that make it feel more homely. Your pillow, comfy clothes, maybe a photo or picture or even a string of them like in the above photo. I’ve known women to bring bunting in made of photos or affirmations.

 

⁃ Music- having some music on will not only remind you of happy times and make you feel all zen, but it can also drown out the noise of a bustling hospital or other labouring women next door.

You can pack all this stuff in your hospital bag and let your birth partner know that this is the plan. He/she can then be in charge of dimming the lights and setting up your room to make it homely.

Lastly, knowing how important your environment is, really consider where you’d like to give birth. Your home is going going to give you all the relaxing cues as, it’s your home, it’s your familiar, and that’s a good thing to feel when you’re giving birth. If a midwife led unit or a consultant led unit is chosen/advised for you then think about ways that you can make your environment as comforting as possible. Also think about what’s on offer and whether that’s something you want. If you don’t want an epidural then don’t choose to birth somewhere where it’s on offer. It’s like the cookie analogy- if it’s on the menu where you’re giving birth then you’re more likely to choose it. If it’s not, then it won’t even enter your mind.

Your environment is so important for your birth. You can be a product of your birth environment, or it’s architect.

 

If you want to know about other ways to have a great birth then…

You can join our Hypnobirthing classes in Cheltenham. We do antenatal classes too in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

If you want all the information from our award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but from the convenience of your own home on your own time, then you can get this with our online course.

Check out our series of YouTube videos on how to make your birth better. 

 

Manage your expectations and not your baby

Manage your expectations and not your baby

THE most challenging thing that I find as a parent are the expectations. Every new mother expects the “feeds every 3-4 hours, long napping, 12 hour night time sleeping, loves the tummy time, happy in the buggy, will go to anyone, doesn’t really cry, good” baby. That is the dream ☁️ right?

But where do we get these expectations from? Why do we think that our baby is going to be born and just start ticking the boxes that we’ve created. Where are these baby’s that have read the How to be a Dream Baby Manual?

Here’s a few different expectations that may make your time as a new parent a little easier.

1. Expect your baby to want to be cuddled with you for lots of the time. They’ve been carried by you for 9months and they’d like it to stay that way! Think 4th trimester for the first 3 months.

2. Expect your baby to not want to sleep in the cot/crib. This world is massive to them.

3. Expect them to want to sleep on you and open their eyes wide EVERY time you put them down.

4. Expect your baby to feed irregularly. Sometimes they cluster feed. Sometimes they snack. Sometimes they have days where they want less.

5. Expect to bounce, rock, sway, walk, feed, cuddle your baby to sleep.

6. Expect your baby to wake lots in the night. Expect them to wake and not want to go back to sleep. 🦉

7. Expect them to cat nap in the day.

8. Expect to ask for help. That’s ok – family/friends like to help too!

9. Expect the unexpected when it comes to bed sharing. When you’re dealing with all the above, bed sharing is easily done. It’s better to plan for this safely than accidentally. (See Lullaby Trust for safe bed sharing tips)

10. Expect to do nothing but care for your baby in the first few months.

11. If your baby is currently the dream baby- expect it to change.

Instead of trying to manage your baby. Manage your expectations ✨

How are sleep deprived, over whelmed mothers able to distinguish between what’s actual, normal baby behaviour and what’s just society’s unrealistic, expectation of a good baby 🤷🏼‍♀️.

⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ This very reason is why I’ve pulled in the cavalry that is Helen, the sleep pro and Olivia, the colic and reflux pro- (titles I think they deserve!) to give all TBTBC couples free sessions on baby sleep and colic/reflux when their baby’s arrived to help with the good baby expectation vs. reality of baby behaviours.

You are so much more than your baby’s ability to sleep or be settled. You are so much more than your baby’s ability to “be a good baby.”

Expect little from them and give them lots of love ❤️

Photo creds Monet Nicole – Birthing Stories

Pregnancy and Birth Risks

We live in an extremely risk adverse society and lots of the advice you’ll be given in pregnancy is “to reduce the risk of….”

To reduce the risk of infection.

To reduce the risk of listeria.

To reduce the risk of bleeding.

To reduce the risk of uterine rupture.

To reduce the chance of cesarean etc. etc.

You can finish this sentence in many ways and if you’re pregnant, it’s a sentence you’ve more than likely heard once, if not more times, recently.

But what does it actually mean when you’re told that you’re at an increased risk of something?

Clever Megan over from Positively Birthing used the analogy of a black car and a risk of having an accident. I’m going to use the same example as it makes so much sense. Here goes…

You’re at an increased risk of having a car accident driving in a black car. You’re actually TWICE as likely to have an accident if you drive a black car.

Sounds a lot right? Makes you want to avoid driving a black car.

This is a relative risk and not the best way to understand the actual risk.

Try it this way…

0.5% of people have a car accident when driving a black car, compared to 0.25% of those driving any other colour.

This is an absolute risk and may make you reconsider buying the black car.
When you look at the actual facts and figures to the so called risk, it may not seem much of a risk at all.

Actual figures should be how all of your information is given to you when pregnant as it means that you can decide what is best for you with actual figures. Being told that your risk has increased always sounds a lot more scary than it usually is.

Another useful thing to know is who were those people driving the black car. Was it their first car accident? Did they have a raised BMI? Did they have drugs whilst driving the car? What was their age? If this description isn’t similar to you then your risk of driving the black car will be different again.

Lastly, it’s also good to know what were the outcomes of these car accidents and how would these outcomes effect YOU and your life? Risk is subjective from person to person. One persons risk of a caesarean is another persons first choice.

So 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 for you is HIGH. It may be higher than others but for lots of things it’s still more than likely going to be a very small risk.

Risk is not just about statistics and numbers it’s about a women’s experiences, her perceptions, thoughts and beliefs. Risk is subjective. Sticking to the car example. If someone has had a family member who has had a car accident in a black car. That risk is going to be perceived a lot higher than someone who has maybe never seen a black car before. One woman’s risk of a cesarean is another woman’s first choice.

 

So next time you are given a choice during your pregnancy to avoid a certain risk. This could be having a booked caesarean to avoid the risk of something. Ask why? Ask for your absolute risks so that you can make a fully informed choice.

Visualisations

Visualisations

Visualisation

I’m a big believer in that what you think about most you are more likely to get. Jim Carey famously did this to achieve greatness. When new to his career he wrote himself a cheque out for one million dollars with a 10 year date on it. He kept this cheque in his wallet and focused on it daily. Then 10years on he made this goal a reality and landed himself a role in Me, Myself and Irene and also landed himself a 10 million dollar pay cheque.

Visualisations work for anything in life, including pregnancy and birth. If you visualise how you want your birth to be you are more likely to get what you want.

If you have a specific focus then you are more likely to align yourself with this goal.

For example if you think positively about birth and think about yourself having a vaginal birth then you may…

Choose to be more active in labour

Think more about your positioning of baby

You’ll be less fearful of birth as you’d have “practised” what you’re going to do when getting contractions. You would ha e visualised your music, your coping strategies etc.

You’re more likely to have researched all your options, how to achieve a calm birth, booked onto an antenatal class or done hypnobirthing as a way to arm yourself with all the knowledge to get what you want.

You would have visualised the moment you meet your baby and how it makes you feel. This releases all the good hormones so when labour comes you know that the time has come to meet your baby and that this is an exciting time…

Compared to someone who has done no visualisations and thinks …. I don’t want to think about birth as, “I can’t control what happens” … “Whatever happens, will happen” … “It’s going to hurt no matter what”

When you go into labour it’s a new thing for your conscious mind to deal with. You may be feeling scared or fearful which releases adrenaline in your body. This can effect your birth in a negative way.

You may be more likely to choose things that might slow your labour down such as lying on the bed due to not knowing what else to do.

You may be more likely to choose stronger drugs from feeling scared of what’s happening.

(By the way it’s always ok to choose stronger drugs and/or lie on a bed but it’s just fairer to yourself if it’s done from a place of knowledge rather than fear)

This is a technique that’s used in hypnobirthing. You can come and prepare yourself for birth with TBTBC midwife Oli, with your partner on April 24th or by yourself on May 18th.

Start thinking about what you want your birth to look like… ❤️

My Bump to Baby Chapter

My Bump to Baby Chapter

So you know how over here we like to keep it social both on and off line… We love to see how much fun you have at antenatal classes and with your group after. We also love keeping tabs on your story, finding out how you’re getting on on your Bump to Baby Chapter. We thought that it would be nice to treat those who share these moments with us by running a little photo competition. Here are some ideas from photos that we’ve received from our Bump to Baby Chapter Family in the past.

So EVERY month we will be giving away an amazing gift box from the champion of gifts, Don’t Buy Her Flowers. (Contents of the box will vary)

All you have to do to enter is post your photo on Instagram or Facebook, tag us in it and #MyBumpToBabyChapter so that we can see that you’ve entered. If you’re entering on Instagram and your page is set to private you will need to message us your entry too as otherwise we won’t see it. You can also post the photo on our Facebook page or send it us via email to thebumptobabychapter@gmail.com

We will keep you posted with all the entries by posting all the photos below….

The only terms and conditions are that the competition is only open to those who have been or booked on to a Bump to Baby Chapter antenatal course or hypnobirthing. Anyone who’s been to a course of ours can enter, this can be past, present or even future (ie. when you’ve booked a course and are looking forward to starting it!) By entering the competition you are giving permission to us to share your photo and caption on our social media channels and website. Competition winners will be announced on the 1st of every month so keep an eye out on our Facebook and Instagram. This competition currently doesn’t have a closing date, and all photos will be considered every month. You can enter as many photos as you like to be in with a chance. This competition is not affiliated with Don’t Buy Her Flowers (we just think they’re awesome gifts!)

Here are your entries so far… #MyBumpToBabyChapter

From a 4lb tiny baby to this handsome strong chap 🥺

Surround yourself with people who reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel- Sam

Jez and Charlotte from November’s antenatal class. How life changes in a few months.

From bump to baby! Thrilled little Albert is here 🙂

At eight months pregnant, I (naturally) had a head full of questions, and not many answers. That’s where these guys stepped in… The Bump to Baby Chapter gave me practical advice for what to expect before, during and after labour. So, when they contacted me wanting some new visuals for their company, I jumped at the chance to help them create a new look for their brand. #mybumptobabychapter

 


 

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 😍 #mybumptobabychapter

“I’m loving our antenatal classes. We are learning so much! Such a fantastic team of midwives and a wonderful group of people to share this with.” 
Sports Psychology vs. Hypnobirthing. Why are they so similar?

Sports Psychology vs. Hypnobirthing. Why are they so similar?

Sports Psychology vs. Hypnobirthing.

Why they are so similar.

If I said to you names such as Wayne Rooney, Andy Murray, Johnny Wilkinson and Jessica Ennis. What would you say they have in common? They are all sportsmen/women, yes. All great achievers in their chosen sport, yes. But did you know they all attribute a lot of their super sports powers to visualisation? They basically HypnoSport. 

Wayne Rooney- Before a match he visualises his game right down to the colour of his socks and pants. Being specific in your visualisation – thinking of all your 5 senses- is associated with enhanced sport performance. Rooney has said to have visualised everything from the sound of the crowd to his full kit. 

Hypnobirthing- If you imagine yourself in birth and think about those 5 senses. Just like Wayne it will help with your visualisation, it will also mean that when you are in birth and you smell that lavender smell or are in that birth room that you’ve imagined- it’s not going to be an alien thing to you – your body has already learnt to associate those 5 senses with calmness and birth, reducing your anxiety.

Jonny Wilkinson – Renowned for visualising the perfect kick, from the line that the ball will follow to the feel of a great kick on his boot. The match before that perfect drop kick in the World Cup wouldn’t have been the first time he’d been in that situation. Having visualised that kick or others similar many a times that week before. This is positive visualisation. In Wilkinson’s words, “If you have realistically imagined situations, you feel better prepared and less fearful of the unexpected.”

Hypnobirthing- Again, putting yourself in lots of situations and feeling positive about it and in control means that if you have a cesarean you will feel confident during that birth. If you have an induction you would have imagined exactly what you will be doing whilst coping with those early, induction contractions. Prepare yourself by putting yourself in these situations so you feel less fearful of the unexpected, just like Jonny.

Jessica Ennis-Hill Olympic Gold medalist “I used visualisation to think about the perfect technique,” she says. “If I could get that perfect image in my head, it helped me channel my physical performance.” Researchers have shown that practising things in your head fires off the same neurons as if you were doing it in real life. Sort of like your mind doesn’t know the difference between practising in real life or imagined.

Hypnobirthing- You can’t practise birth, you can’t go training like the athletes do. But you can put yourself in the situation in your mind. This will increase your confidence in yourself and your body’s ability when the day comes. All of these tricks to reduce fear means that your body will have less adrenaline in your body. Adrenaline in birth is responsible for feeling tense, panicky and therefore pain. It can also reduce your contractions. Meaning that imagining things going positive in your birth means your channeling your physical reaction by controlling your hormones so that they’re not firing off the stressful adrenaline. 

I find it odd that visualisation in sports performance is so supported and recognised and massive in the media in such a positive way. Yet if you do this for birth it can still be seen as hippy and maybe even naive.  People are wary of visualising in birth due to worrying that their actual experience will differ from what they’ve imagined- as we know that birth has lots of other factors involved that are often beyond our control. Yet again this is the same for sports. Jonny and Wayne would have both relied heavily on their other team players and you can never control how well the opposing team are playing too. But they know that if you are feeling confident and prepared, you’re stacking the odds in your favour- that applies for both sports and birth. 

Maybe if we called it birth psychology these techniques would be more mainstream, maybe if we called sports psychology “Hypno sporting” the term hypnobirthing would be more acceptable! Either way the powerful technique of visualisations shouldn’t just be limited to use in sport. Exactly the same techniques can be used for business, organising your home life, an important presentation, your wedding or an important dinner party. And of course, as a technique to be able to birth like a boss.

 

photo creds Monet Nicole