All posts filed under: Let’s talk about…

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 …

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 …

After birth – looking after you…

I saw this on social media yesterday and I love it, shared it and nicked it – I have received a few messages about it and there was an interesting thread on the original post which was a combination of agreement and a bit of criticism. I speak to a lot of new mums and the overwhelming conversation is: “I wish I had rested more at the beginning”. Mumming is relentless because we are always on duty so to rest in the beginning is vital – when we are recovering from birth, resting, feeding and bonding with our baby. Of course this isn’t prescriptive and it won’t be right for everyone but something that provokes conversation and encourages women to rest and for partners and families to support that rest can only be a good thing. Rest afterwards can be about bedding in for a few days – being looked after and cared for so you can rest and sleep and cuddle your baby. And for the next few days it can be about pottering …

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 …

surviving the death of your child

I have written lots of posts about Jamie, my boy who died when he was three days old. I have written about my pregnancy and his short life but I have never really written about living with babyloss – carrying on, coping strategies, mental health, triggers, just getting on without my third child. It is never something we just get over but living with it is something so many parents have to do after miscarriage, after stillbirth, after neonatal death, after cot death, after an accident or an illness. These posts may be helpful, even comforting, to other bereaved parents and I would like to share your stories of your life after the death of your child. I am now 11 years into life without my third child – it hasn’t always been easy, it isn’t always easy, he is constantly missed and his death changed me and our family, in ways I can’t adequately describe.   Jamie’s story… At my 20 week we discovered that something wasn’t quite right with his stomach – a …