All posts filed under: labour & birth

9 things I wish I had known about labour & birth

Now, it’s been a while since I have done the birth thing myself – 17 years, 14 years and 11 years ago – but I do love birth and I obssess about it somewhat! As part of my training to be an antenatal teacher, I had to debrief my birth experience to learn from it and to ensure any issues weren’t carried into my antenatal classes. I had a straightforward homebirth, which was an incredibly positive experience but it still a steep learning curve and there was plenty I didn’t expect… 1. my waters could break first, without strong & regular contractions… and that it could be hours before those contractions properly kicked in. My daughter was in a back-to-back position, which is why my waters went first and the hours of milder contractions were turning her. 2. I did not know how to breathe… I didn’t have the understanding or skills to use and control my breathing, so while I was pretty calm most of the time I didn’t have anything to use when my contractions …

How has birth changed you?

How has birth changed you? As I have said so many times before , I love birth and I love preparing women and their partners for birth – I don’t think there is one right way of doing it and I am always keen to know more about women’s needs, expectations and experiences. I am currently thinking about preparing for birth, doing birth and reflecting on birth when there are other issues going on – low self esteem, anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, lack of trust in our body. We know that birth is different for everyone, we know that it can be unpredictable, we know what can help labour along, we know what can get in the way and we know that it can be important to say what we need, to speak up but can we all do this? How do we prepare for this? Birth challenges us all in different ways. And how do we feel about ourselves and our bodies after we have given birth? I know this is a big issue but it’s because it is a …

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Essential Tips for Labour & Birth

So you are having a baby, you getting bigger and it is becoming clear that your baby will soon have to leave your body. People can talk about how awful, painful and exhausting it is to give birth and, thanks to a few tv shows, we expect to feel out of control, to be screaming and to be under constant instruction from a midwife. It can seem pretty daunting and it can seem scary but, once pregnant, you have no choice and birth stands between your pregnancy and you meeting your baby. But does birth have to be crap? Is birth just down to luck? Is there anything you can do to make it easier for you? I have worked with expectant parents across Tyneside since 2002 to provide good information and practical skills to provide better preparation for birth.   Here are some essential birth tips for you… be assertive – if you need something ask for it so you can be as comfortable, informed and secure as possible. Throughout labour you may have a need for more information, food and drink, …

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Early Labour

I am a long early-labourer – with two of my babies I niggled and contracted for days before labour finally kicked in. With my first it was for ‘just’ a day – it was exhausting, sometimes frightening and I felt like I was in this off no-mans land because I wasn’t officially in labour and so it was just me and my husband and my trusty Sheila Kitzinger book. Nothing much is written about early labour – and in pregnancy we might not seek this information because we mainly want to know about full-on labour and managing those big contractions. But it can be early labour that throws us the curve ball, that knocks our confidence and takes us by surprise by being hard to manage. Early labour can be brief and manageable but it can also last for 2-3 days with discomfort, pain, tiredness, frustration and that’s before labour properly kicks in. It can often be caused by the position of a baby in the womb – lying on the right, lying back-to-back or just not quite lined …

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Birth Assertiveness

When I talk to women about birth the stories are varied but there can be some very common themes and terms such as ‘wasn’t allowed’ can feature very strongly. Women can sometimes feel restricted but birth assertiveness is important to say what you need, to ask questions and to gather more information. I am passionate about women being able to move in labour, to get into positions to aid labour and to be more comfortable – being off the bed and able to rock, sway, sit, stand, lean and wander as you need to means that you can feel that you have more control, helping you to work with your contractions rather than battle with them, it means you can rest and conserve energy, it means you can be guided by your body to give your baby the space he needs do get into a better position and to ease his manoeuvre through the pelvis and down the birth canal. Keeping a labouring women on a bed when she doesn’t feel comfortable there can mean she ends up feeling like a patient, to be told …