Author: Janine Smith

Managing Anxiety

I just wanted to write a little something about anxiety, managing it and living with it. Many years ago, I never really understood anxiety, I knew about stress and I knew about depression but I didn’t appreciate what anxiety was, however it has been a companion since my son died 12 years ago, a shift that occurred with grief and trauma. But anxiety can strike anyone at any time, there doesn’t have to be a big event to cause it. Anxiety can be a huge part of being a mother – with juggling, with the responsibility, with the stress of sometimes doing everything – and it can be part of life as women get older because the perimenopause is the gift that just keeps on giving. My anxiety comes and goes, there isn’t usually a specific trigger, I just start to feel anxious and I have to manage it. I could probably take medication to manage it but I choose not to because most of the time I feel well and I can handle it. …

New VBAC guidelines

If you thinking about or planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) there is good news – the NICE guidelines have been updated and care for women in labour is no longer very restrictive. It has been a long time coming but this is brilliant and it means that women who have previously had a caesarean will be able to labour with more options. I am all about options and these new guidelines will hopefully provide women with more power to do what they need to do to work with their contractions and to manage their pain and their energy. I say hopefully because this guidance is not fixed, they are just recommendations but the more women know about their increased options, the more likely they are to ask for what they need.   The NICE VBAC guidance includes… Do not routinely insert an intravenous cannula for women in labour who have had a previous caesarean section. A cannula can be routinely used as part of the what-if management of a VBAC, so this is …

Confident Birthing

If you are pregnant, my aim is to inform and equip you with a brilliant range of knowledge and practical skills so you can be better prepared for the birth of your baby. Confident Birthing is about different perspectives and needs for labour and birth – we are all different and labour is a unique experience for every woman. This is about knowing what can help during labour and birth so you can work out what you might need, where your challenges might lie and how you can deal with those. It is about having more confidence in labour & birth so you know your options and so you can adapt if those options change. As expectant parents you are going to benefit from thorough antenatal classes – which run as small group and 1:1 sessions and which will be available as an online course this year. As a professionally-trained and experienced antenatal teacher, my sessions are about working with all parents so this includes getting you better prepared for induction, for a caesarean, as …

Vitamins for babies & children

A quick Facebook chat with new mums this week has confirmed what I thought – there is a lot of confusion, conflicting advice and lack of information about baby vitamins. So I have attempted to gather together the range of information and discussion to make more sense of baby and child vitamins… Babies The NHS recommends that breastfed babies are given a daily supplement of Vitamin D (8.5-10 micrograms). If your baby has more than 500ml of formula per day, then you do not need to supplement. UNICEF states that giving babies Vitamin D is just a precaution because there is very little evidence of significant deficiency in babies. From speaking to mums and having a google, there is also some confusion about their Vitamin D intake and whether that is enough for their breastfed baby. Kellymom has some brilliant information as well as a great article which refers to research which has found that breastfeeding women would need to take more than the recommended 10mcg: from 50-100mcg would provide enough vitamin D for mum …

Why giving birth might not be what you expect…

TV images have a lot to answer for and we have built up an expectation of a bed and stirrups and pushing until we are red in the face. Birth can be like this but it is certainly not the norm. I use images in my antenatal classes to provoke some discussion and a lot of parents are quite surprised at what real birth can look like – in pools, standing, kneeling, using upright positions on a bed. Even lying on your side after an epidural will probably be more effective than lying on your back. Labour and birth is often about going with what feels right and what is more comfortable for you. However, exhaustion after a long labour can affect how involved you are – by that point, birth could be about lying on a bed because you are struggling to find the physical and emotional energy to do anything else. But where there is energy and good support, there can be different positions and use of gravity and lying down really might …