All posts tagged: Janine Smith

Wondering about antenatal classes?

I have worked as a pregnancy and birth practitioner since 2002 – as an antenatal teacher and as a birth doula – so I have now worked with thousands of parents and I know pregnancy & birth, as well as the different needs of expectant parents very well. Labour and birth can be brilliant, it can be euphoric, it can straight-forward, it can become complicated and it can be overwhelming. Good birth preparation goes a long way – by gaining good information you know more about the childbirth process, what helps and what might not; practical skills to focus on being comfortable and staying calm; with discussion and a chance to ask questions so you know more about your options as well as benefiting from an experienced perspective. I passionately believe that when labour is straight-forward, the contractions are completely do-able with very little pain relief – good strategies, support and good dollop of realistic preparation is very effective and there is nothing to fear. But there are some common factors that can impact how …

A birth story…

A mum who has asked to stay anonymous sent me a message about the birth prep session we had years ago. It has made me beam and it sums up exactly why I do what I do – my birth prep is beyond just the information, it is about being assertive and saying what you need because that matters… “I’m not sure if I ever told you but I do talk about this still and I really appreciate the birth preparation session you provided for us.  I think people sometimes think these sessions are for first time but we came for our second pregnancy as we’d had quite a gap and I wanted to be prepared again. In a nutshell I had a super easy, super speedy first birth with my first son.  When I was pregnant with my 2nd son, one of my good friends (who has also had an easy first birth) had an induction and a terrible experience with her 2nd birth.  I was preoccupied with this when we came to the …

Tonight’s antenatal classes – strategies and options…

In my antenatal course I always include a session which pulls together everything the parents have looked at in previous sessions – early labour, established labour and birth – to catch any questions, to talk through any concerns, to focus on labour and birth again after learning information and thinking about what they may need. This is a challenging session because parents do open up about their fears and concerns – tonight’s were dealing with pain, what if they need to be assertive, what if labour is long, what if they panic? This session is about talking through all of this and taking the time to do it. It is also about straight-talking: labour and birth can be so varied, have some kind of plan for what you might need, say what you need and communicate this as often as you want to. I do think it is important to always refer to: what do I need? This is ever changing throughout labour – it can be physical needs such as warmth, food, water or …

Pregnancy & Birth Wellbeing

If you are pregnant and you are preparing for the birth of your baby, these sessions are for you. With professional antenatal classes, relax & breathe sessions and individual appointments you will benefit from good information, practical skills, discussion, the chance to speak and to ask questions. In pregnancy I can see you to talk through any anxiety, to have a birth debrief or to talk through pregnancy after babyloss. For birth I run small group antenatal classes for effective birth preparation, which can also take place as individual appointments. The aim is for me to listen, to prepare and to empower and that is all about your wellbeing in pregnancy, as well as your wellbeing during the birth of your baby. I see parents face-to-face and I am also in the process of developing on-line and phone sessions. You can read more about the range of antenatal classes here and if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to send me a message. Janine | Birth, Baby & Family A specialist in pregnancy, birth …

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 …