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birth prep

Do antenatal classes really make a difference?

I was asked this question the other day. And, as an antenatal teacher, my answer is yes – if I didn’t think they made a difference, I wouldn’t be doing this job. I love what I do and I honestly believe it makes a difference – this will be different for everyone because some parents need more information and support than others and it also depends on the antenatal classes. I can only talk about mine which I have designed to provide information, practical skills, discussion and the opportunity to ask questions – and they are based on 15 years experience working with expectant and new parents. Parents book on to my antenatal courses to get better prepared, to gather information, to feel less anxious and to have more control over the unknown they are faced with. My antenatal classes can make a difference because they give you the opportunity to think about labour & birth so you know… more about the physiology of labour and birth, so you are not scared of your contractions …

Pregnancy: aches & pains

Pregnancy is so different for every woman – I have had three pregnancies and I had worked with hundreds of pregnant women and I have seen women blossom and I have seen women struggle. Our bodies grow, adapt and change throughout pregnancy so it is inevitable that there will be tiredness and a few aches. Pregnancy may not be a time of illness for many of us but it is a time of listening to our bodies, of taking it easy when it demands us to rest and when it hurts. Your back and your hips can ache as your body changes shape, your legs can become restless, your may develop carpal tunnel in your wrists and hands, your pubic bone can ache and hurt and you may experience headaches. This can start in your second trimester or you could be close to the end of your pregnancy – you still need to listen to your body. Rest is good and use as many pillows as it takes to be comfortable – under your bump, …

What’s Mother Cuppa all about?

MOTHER CUPPA is a weekly group with conversation, discussion, support and reassurance for mums with babies This is a small, friendly group for mums on maternity leave. It is about providing a comfortable and safe space for you to meet, to ease any isolation and to ask questions as you find your feet with your new baby, or as you adjust to different challenges. Discussions can include a range of issues… recovery from birth sleep & exhaustion feeding growth spurts what’s normal being a mum low mood & anxiety how tough it can be how bloody brilliant it can be how amazing you are! This little group is all about a warm welcome, a cosy and safe space with conversation and endless tea, cake and fresh coffee for parents from across Newcastle and Tyneside. It is a comfortable and relaxing group to come to if you are feeling overwhelmed or tired, if you are finding your feet with your new baby and if you would like some good support throughout the first year with your baby. Who am I? I am Janine …

Parent Voices: Enjoy Every Minute?

As my bump grew bigger and the start of maternity leave loomed, I began to hear it from acquaintances, friends and strangers: ‘Enjoy every minute’ It was as innocuous as all the other pregnancy small talk, and I didn’t think much of it as they waved me off towards motherhood with those three little words. I certainly wasn’t ‘enjoying every minute’ of pregnancy, but I was really looking forward to meeting the baby and enjoying every minute of this new adventure. Birth was swift and uncomplicated. Not something I enjoyed every minute of – but a positive experience nonetheless. Euphoria hit before the cord was even cut. This was amazing – I really was enjoying every minute, just like they promised. I was enjoying getting to know this new and mysterious creature; gazing at him; cuddling him; sharing the news. Despite the aches and pains and bleeding, I was even enjoying my post-partum body. I marvelled at what it had just done, and promised never to be critical about its wobbly bits and stretch marks. …

Understanding & managing anxiety

Feeling anxious can be a normal part of life – when we worry about something, when we are preparing for something major but ongoing anxiety – when we can be consumed by worry, tension and fear – can be crippling. For some women, anxiety can appear in pregnancy, or it can hit as they begin their life as a new mum. It can be in response to trauma or it can just appear because maybe we feel out of control, maybe the change we are experiencing is scary and stressful and we could be in a constant state of worry. Ongoing anxiety can be hideous, it can affect how people live, think and act and it can sometimes make us feel like we are going insane. So it can be important to get some support and to know how to handle it when it hits. signs of anxiety a rapid heartbeat feeling on edge, unable to relax stomach churning dizzy or light-headed restless, unable to sit still aches and pains including headache or backache fast, …