Giving birth can be the most empowering moment in a woman’s life but it can also be the most traumatic too. My friend from uni had such a traumatic hospital birth she put me off having any of our children in hospital and thankfully all four of our children were born at home.
There is lot to be said about following your innate parent-knowledge. It’s easy to forget our bodies are designed to do this almost perfectly.
Of course some births don’t work out how you’d planned but exploring all the options so you feel the most at ease will have an impact on the kind of birth you have. We’re lucky in that the NHS is there if you need it but we don’t have to be reliant on it. A home birth costs the NHS a lot less than a hospital birth and a free birth costs nothing!
You have choices and options and should have complete respect throughout your pregnancy and afterwards. Did you know you can have a free birth or what that even means? I didn’t until I was half way through my last pregnancy! A free birth is one without a midwife being present. But there are other ways of achieving a more empowered birth – some women ask the midwife to sit in another room so they can birth the baby themselves but know there is someone to help if needed.
If you create the environment that you feel most relaxed you’ll enter this stage feeling relaxed and in control.
When push comes to shove – We educate all ages on childbirth physiology and birth rights as well as birth workshops, birth keep and doula services. We also run a birth rights advocacy service. Please contact Nickita for more information.
Hi I’m Alice, and I’m passionate about postnatal care. The period after having a baby is so precious and fleeting, although when you’re in the thick of it, it can seem never ending! Having someone around to take care of you while you care for your baby can be life changing. Here’s a bit more about me and why I became a postnatal doula…
Embrace your down days, they are like gold dust!
We’re human and biologically built to experience a huge range of emotions. This can be difficult for some to manage on the best of days – least of all when you’re growing a baby. Remind yourself this is all perfectly normal and just go with them – even on the down days. We need to experience the highs and the lows – they’re all part of growing as a fully rounded individual with compassion and empathy for others. For some reason we feel like failures if we are having down days – especially when we’re pregnant or have just had a baby. You wanted this – you should be happy. Right?
Yet bringing a new baby into the world is a massive adjustment – it’s exciting and terrifying in equal measures. When you add life into the mix – with relationship adjustments, break-ups, deaths, work stresses added into the mix it’s no wonder your emotions can be all over the place!
Remember your baby has been with you since the beginning of their journey to earth, every movement, sound, taste and emotion you have felt has influenced how they will be. No matter how crazy the outside world is have some down time to hold your growing tummy, breathe deeply and focus on the new life your body is miraculously creating. There will always be difficult outside influences but you and your baby are the most important things at this time. Plan to be fully present for your baby a number of times during the day – even if it’s only when you go to bed at night or wake up in the morning. Breathe deeply, put your hands on your stomach, listen to relaxing music and focus on the miraculous happenings occurring inside you.
For a bit of reading Dr Sara Wickham has lots of information on pretty much every topic you could imagine on pregnancy, birth and beyond!
It takes a village to raise a child
Everyone has heard this saying before – it’s not without good reason. Many hands make light work. We aren’t suggesting you go ahead and outsource a team of workers so you never see your baby but having a few good friends and family around can make the experience completely different. It gives you time to enjoy parenting without becoming overwhelmed.
From the moment of conception babies get everything they need from their mother. As they grow they suck their thumbs, yawn, dream and move about – utterly content in their safe bubble. Then labour occurs and suddenly they’re left without instant access to food, warmth and security.
Whether you have a C-section or vaginal birth is often out of your hands but if this is a choice then it’s important to do your research to make sure this is the right decision for you and your baby.
Babies born vaginally have different gut bacteria (their microbiome) than those delivered by caesarean, research has shown. Scientists discovered that whereas vaginally born babies got most of their gut bacteria from their mother, caesarean babies instead had more bacteria associated with hospital environments in their guts. An increased chance of allergies has been observed in C-section babies. This isn’t meant to scare you or make you feel guilty if you’ve had a c-section, merely to show you the research for you to make your own informed decision.
Once your baby is born everything feels very unfamiliar – brighter light, unusual smells, the feeling of being cold, all immediately become a reality.
Skin-to-skin contact should happen as soon as possible after your baby’s arrival. It’s a huge shock to them being born and they need the reassurance that their mums are still there for them. If, for some reason, the mother is not able to do this after the birth then the father or next closest care giver can step in.
Where possible mother and baby will ideally have at least 3–4 hours direct skin contact after birth. Your baby will regulate their temperature, breathing and heart rate all by themselves. If a baby is left on a mother’s chest spontaneous sucking and rooting behaviours begin as they find their way to the breast.
This can all be done before cutting the cord from the placenta – the longer you can delay cord clamping the better. In western cultures it is cut very soon after the birth whereas other cultures leave it attached for up to an hour. The WHO suggests keeping it attached between 1-3 minutes but the reality is the cord keeps pumping blood into the baby up to an hour after birth. It has one final, incredibly important job to do as the placenta stores a third of the baby’s blood supply! This is so that the baby is smaller and can travel down the birth canal easier. Nature really does have this all under control!
These methods have been used for thousands of years but have been forgotten about in our modern medicine model. Generally the placenta will come away naturally. It can take many hours but so long as you are fine with this there is no need to have a injection that will speed this process up. Herbs can be used if nothing is happening. Home birth or hospital birth your experience can be empowering and beautiful.
"Birth should not be a time in a women's life where she has to fight for anything"
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift"
“If you were on an island and you had no mothers-in-law around you, no psychologists, no doctors, this is what you would naturally and instinctively do to give your baby the best investment,” said leading Dr. William Sears in 2012
Despite what experts, books and adverts may tell you, your baby only has a few needs once born; cuddles, love, milk, warmth, skin to skin contact and security. Oh and more cuddles. They don’t need a top of the range pram or the latest bouncy chair that rocks and sings them to sleep. Nor do they need harmful products on their skin or chemicals in the house to keep it spotlessly clean.
Our capitalist societies have unrealistic expectations on how fast mothers can and should get back to “normal” – which basically means running a household single-handedly.
Post partum resting is not always easy. This is where your tribe comes in. Before your baby arrives ask a few trusted people to help you in the first few weeks. You can ask friends to help with cleaning, meals, shopping and cuddling the baby while you get a little time to yourself. Use this time to shower, rest, eat, meditate, read or take a walk. It is also a good time to do some post partum exercises as our bodies do often encounter issues through pregnancy, birth, postpartum.
Having a baby is such a beautiful time in your life but can be tainted by feeling utterly overwhelmed by everything you feel you are expected to do. Let go of all these expectations and be guided by your baby – they really do know best.
“This planet could be healed in one generation by healing birth” – Elena Tonneti.
To Vaccinate or Not? The Choice is Yours.
Whether you vaccinate your child or not is your decision – it is not compulsory. Many new mums aren’t aware of this. While we are not advising either way we urge you to do your own independent research and make your own informed choice as to whether this is the right thing for your baby. Your GP and NHS website will be able to give you all the pros. This page will show you the view point of doctors and medical professionals you may not have heard of.
Check out the links below and consult an independent midwife or GP for more information. Many people do not know that the UK has vaccine injury settlements. You can claim up to £120k if you’re seriously disabled after a vaccination. https://www.gov.uk/vaccine-damage-payment
To question whether to vaccinate your child or not isn’t being “anti-vax”. You’re simply taking time to do your own research into something that is going into your babies body, just as you would with food, lotions what they breathe and what goes into their minds.
Watching real births, instead of those on the TV, show you how beautiful birthing your baby can be. I’m always in awe of, and incredibly grateful to, women who are happy to share their births in this way. It helps to reassure women and show birth may not be as noisy and traumatic as you’d picture and in fact can be incredibly calm and beautiful. The home birth of twin breech babies had me in bits!
Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.
The Calm Birth Method is the book for modern mamas-to-be looking to create a calm and positive birth experience. Offering a direct and no-nonsense approach to birth preparation, this book is designed to give mothers, fathers, birth partners and everyone involved, confidence in the birth process.