All posts filed under: labour & birth

Labour & Birth: why does how you breathe matter?

We can all breathe right, so why do we need to know how to breathe for labour and birth? I have focused on Relax & Breathe for the past 10 years and I have seen how relaxed breathing has made a difference to how women feel in pregnancy, as well as how it can affect how they feel and work with their contractions during labour. My practice is all about keeping it simple – you don’t need to learn a new way to breathe, it is all about slowing down your breathing and learning to switch off and to focus on just breathing. So many of the pregnant women I work with comment that they didn’t realise how much tension they were carrying – but having a session to slow their breathing and to relax their body makes them aware of their tense jaw and stiff shoulders. Stress and tension isn’t that great for us – it can make us ache and it can make us tired and carrying this tension into labour isn’t helpful …

What do labouring women need?

Labour will always fascinate me – just how different it can be, how different each individual woman can feel and handle those contractions and the different support a woman might need. I have seen women roar during their labour – they have come to life with their contractions and can labour with very little hands-on support, just having the right people in the room has been enough. I have seen women need support with every contraction, from mild labour and right through to pushing out their baby. I have seen women need their partner by their side at all times. I have seen women need their partner to be far far away from them. I have seen women accept and embrace their contractions and I have seen women dread each one, only to feel relief with an epidural or a caesarean. I have seen women relax and feeling safe and less pain in water and I have seen women hate being in water, feeling too exposed. I have seen women who believe in their ability …

pregnancy newcastle tyneside

What can affect labour & birth?

For many of us, when we are pregnant and preparing for the birth of our baby, we are aiming for a ‘normal’ labour, we want as natural and as straightforward an experience as possible but we might be unaware of what can affect labour. With an unplanned caesarean rate of 14.8%, an assisted delivery rate of 12.5% (Birthchoice) and a growing epidural rate of 30% – information about what can affect labour, how it works and how we can manage our contractions can be beneficial. As a mother of three and an antenatal teacher, I passionately believe that good antenatal classes are an important part of pregnancy – to inform, provide practical information and skills, to support and to reassure. There is a lot to be said for knowing about and trusting the birth process – of believing we can do it and this does go a long way to deal with anxiety and fear but this is only part of the story, so what can affect how labour flows and our need for pain relief …

Birth at The QE Maternity Unit

  Queen Elizabeth Maternity Unit, Queen Elizabeth Ave, Gateshead NE9 6SX This maternity unit has… A  pregnancy assessment centre 6 labour rooms  – which are ensuite 2 Induction rooms and a family suite 1 birthing pool Gas & air Diamorphine Epidural Birth balls and birth equipment A Febromed birth system 16 postnatal beds, which includes ensuite single rooms where birthing partners can stay overnight Jungle Room – space for toddlers and other children to play while visiting in the postnatal ward Postnatal day room   My thoughts on the QE Maternity Unit… I used to teach antenatal classes at The QE and I have also attended births here as a birth doula – so it has been very familiar to me. I have always been impressed by the midwives as well as the layout of the unit. It has a birthing pool, as well as a Febromed system and birth aids such as birth balls and floor mats so it supports and encourages normal birth, movement and gravity. As a obstetric maternity unit, women can also access epidurals, …

Why realistic birth preparation is important…

I am an antenatal teacher who discusses caesareans, induction, epidurals, forceps and baby monitoring as well as using your breathing, positions, gravity, being assertive, being comfortable, saying what you need, knowing what can help labour and birth be more effective and knowing what can help you work with your contractions and to manage your energy. I aim to prepare you as thoroughly as I can for labour and birth so you know more and have had the time to think about and discuss some of the issues that could be part of your labour and birth, knowing what your options are and how you can manage them. I can’t just focus on natural birth because that isn’t going to be possible for everyone. To prepare well we also need to discuss the interventions and your options with working with them. My birth preparation and antenatal courses are not just about telling you about inductions and caesareans and epidurals so you know what they involve, we will discuss your options – so you have questions to …