How and when to stop breast feeding – The Naked Midwives team up with Bare Biology.

Let’s not make any bones about it, breastfeeding can be hard. Whilst we all know it’s better for both mum and baby’s health, you still don’t widely see it on TV. When did you last see someone breastfeeding in the back of the Queen Vic whilst Phil Mitchell drinks his pint?

Not only can it be tricky getting it right to start with but it can be hard to stop too. We’re not just talking about physically stopping, but mentally preparing to stop breastfeeding your baby can lay on that mum guilt good and proper!

Current guidance suggests that babies are exclusively breastfed until they’re six months old. While you’re breastfeeding, having a good diet rich in oats and flaxseed, as well as drinking lots of water are important to maintain your milk supply and your own health. Sometimes you may find taking an Omega 3 supplement that benefits new mums and breastfeeding helps.

And the old “I’m breastfeeding so I need that piece of chocolate cake” won’t really benefit you and definitely won’t benefit your baby – although I bet it will be pretty tasty. It’s all about balance!

Decrease feeding by dropping one feed during the day. Gradually, as your baby takes more solids, you can offer a breastfeed for a drink rather than a meal.

When you’re ready to give up or reduce breastfeeding, be guided by your baby and your health visitor. We‘re all unique and there’s no one size fits all. It’s important to take things slowly. As you’ll already know, breastfeeding is all about supply and demand – the more you feed, the more milk you make.

Therefore it stands to reason that when you slow down and start missing feeds, your milk supply decreases too. Should you stop feeding too quickly, it can lead to engorgement and mastitis, two very unwelcome visitors. Should you become engorged there are a number of techniques you may find helpful;

  1. Using a soft toothed comb, gently but firmly ‘comb’ the red area on your breast, which will help break down the blocked duct.
  2. Use a warm flannel on your breast.
  3. Make sure you still feed from that side in order to empty the breast.

Now this one seems a little out there but cabbage leaves can be really soothing! Keep a Savoy or white cabbage in the fridge and peel off a leaf when needed (they’re handy as they’re boob shape) and stick it in your bra. Trust me, it works!


We would suggest you slowly start to decrease feeding by dropping one feed during the day. Gradually, as your baby takes more solids, you can offer a breastfeed for a drink rather than a meal. Most babies will continue to want a breastfeed at night. This is a source of comfort as well as food for your baby and will help you gradually wean off feeding.

When the time comes to return to work it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop giving your baby breast milk. Your place of work should provide a private and hopefully comfortable place where you can express and store your milk. This is a conversation definitely worth having before you finish your maternity leave and return to work.

It can be an emotional time when you stop breastfeeding but taking your time to stop can make the whole transition a little less emotional.

With breastfeeding and in fact all parenting, the one rule we would say is don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are breastfeeding for the first time you’ve never done it before and neither has your baby. It’s a learning curve, embrace it.  When the time comes and it’s not working for you anymore there are always other options. At the end of the day we are all aiming for fed babies.

The Naked Midwives provide you with a completely different type of antenatal course. Run by experienced, practicing midwives, the courses are great fun and cover everything you will need to know for your labour, birth and beyond.

The importance of creating the right birth environment


Your environment sets the tone for your birth experience. From home to hospital, every birth environment has challenges and benefits worth exploring.

In the early stages of labour (known as the latent phase) we understand through research; you are more likely to progress further whilst at home.

This is very true however; it is highly dependable on your environment and how confident and relaxed you are about the factors surrounding labour. Knowledge is the essence of power and you will benefit greatly if you have a realistic understanding of what the latent phase of labour is likely to entail.

When researching your options, it is vital your birth partner is on board too! Especially when deciding how you are going to manage the latent phase and where you decide to have your baby, whether that be home, birth centre or hospital.

There is no set timescale for the latent phase of labour and each woman labour’s differently.  This can be both a frustrating and daunting time, especially if you don’t know what to expect!

Oxytocin is a word you need to make yourselves familiar with! Oxytocin is the ‘hormone of love ‘and it’s important to understand, especially for first time parents, exactly how to stimulate this critical ‘life hormone’ as this is what keeps the uterus contracting.

When you hear the horror stories of women in labour for days and days it’s sometimes due to the imbalance of Oxytocin ‘V’ Adrenaline. This is the fight or flight mechanism as Adrenaline is the inhibitor of Oxytocin, so how do we increase Oxytocin and minimise Adrenaline?

Firstly, oxytocin is a lover of dark places so no bright lights! When you are at your calmest, feeling safe, secure and loved is when the oxytocin will flow at its most potential. This is where environment is key…

In the last few weeks of pregnancy create a safe place; some choose the comfort of a feeding chair in the nursery where the baby will be sleeping later down the line. This will already be a place filled with love in anticipation of the new arrival.

Spend some quiet time here each day to focus solely on your breathing and your unborn baby. Whilst doing this use an aromatherapy oil to either burn or place a couple of drops on a tissue and hold it near, creating a calming mood (lavender is a popular calming scent). At the same time play a music track that you find relaxing to distract you from any thoughts or anxieties. The use of candles to create low lighting can also be effective. Once you are comfortable close your eyes and take long steady breaths, in for a count of 4 through your nostrils and out for a count of 8 through your mouth. This type of breathing will encourage you to relax your shoulders and become heavy in your chair.

Get your partner to give you a gentle massage allowing you to feel completely safe under his protection. His role is to be the ‘guardian of the oxytocin’ by making you feel safe and secure in this environment.

By doing this regularly it will build up a memory of control and calmness that you can recall upon when the latent phase of labour begins to hot up! This will encourage balance and refocus allowing your body to continue with the build up to the more established phase of labour.

If you choose a birth environment other than your home, consider labouring at home as long as possible and explore ways in which you can make the transition to the birth centre or hospital as seamless as possible. Also consider replicating the same environment at the birth centre or hospital by taking your aromatherapy oils and chosen music with you.


The Naked Midwives Appear On Just Women, Brooklands Radio














For 25th June’s episode, Alexandra Williams and Samantha Pantlin from The Naked Midwives provide a completely different type of antenatal course.

Just Women is introduced by two of the following presenters – Jackie Mitchell, Amanda Weller, Penny Carter, Ivana O’Brien, Anne Twist, Mandy Dineley and Lynda Berger. Just Women is on at Tuesdays at 1pm and repeated on Thursdays 8pm.

Have a listen below!

TheBareMum tries Cloth Nappies

I am in no way a nappy expert. However, I have been cloth nappy-ing baby bums for several years now. So I thought I’d share my experience from my corner of the world…

I fell into cloth nappies with our first daughter, purely because I was wanting to keep costs down, living off one wage and all. We were using Naty disposables which were costing a LOT of money every month. I didn’t want to use non-eco nappies as I wasn’t happy with the chemicals/plastic sitting next to my babies bum 24/7. Nor did I like the idea that they weren’t biodegradable in any shape or form.

So when ‘i’ was 3-4 months old, we started to look into reusables.


I did (thankfully) come across The Nappy Lady . I saw that she had a questionnaire on her website that you could fill out to find the best nappy brand for you and your babies needs. BRILLIANT! …and this still exists by the way and I highly recommend, and even more so now as there are more and more brands coming on to the market.

The top recommendation for us was ‘Tot Bots Bamboozle’ Size 2s (Birth to Potty size) and ‘Motherease‘ Wraps. The whole kit of 25 odd nappies, bucket, wet bag, wipes & wraps came to around £300. Eeekkkkk, was this a good investment? Would they work? Would I have time to wash them? Will they leak? I hummed and hawed for a few weeks. But in the end I thought sod it, for the price it’s about 6 months worth of eco-disposables and I’ll need them for at least another 18 months.

So they arrived, I watched videos on YouTube on how to put them on properly. Once I got used to them, they were fab! There was no going back. There were no leaks, no poonamis, and it felt really good having no nappies to put into the black refuge bin, well only the one we use at night time.

I in 2016, E in 2019. Both in Tot Bots

There were a few glitches though. The ‘Motherease Rikki’ Wraps didn’t fit my daughter well, so I swapped them for ‘Nature Babies‘ which were much better. Also we didn’t get on with them at night, despite using gazillion boosters and liners…so we did you a disposable at night. But 1 is better than 6 per day, right!

Once the routine was in place: washing every other night & hanging them up on our indoor rack it really didn’t feel like any extra work. In reality it probably takes an extra 5-10 mins per day compared to disposables.

I use ‘Bio-D Non-Bio‘ and ‘Bio-D Nappy Fresh‘ laundry products, which don’t leave any horrid perfume smell but equally clean VERY well. A pre-wash and/or extra rinse is needed too. Weaning/semi-solid poos aren’t the best for cleaning, but I just rinse them in the loo flush. Also using a fleece liner can be helpful.

I hear you thinking “all that washing can’t be good for the environment”. Actually The Nappy Lady has a very good article about efficiency. Disposable nappies use a LOT of water and petrochemicals in the manufacturing of them…most washing machines nowadays are quite efficient anyway.

Then in 2018 a little E came along. So we planned to use the same – Tot Bots & Nature Babies Wraps. Easy. She got to around 6 months, and the nappies weren’t fitting her well, they were too small! Our little chunk had outgrown the nappies that our elder one wore until 2+!

Back to square one. This time I asked a cloth nappy group on Facebook for recommendations for long & chubby babies! Many were recommending Bambino Miosolos. So I bought one from eBay to see if it fit well and it did! I bought some new and some almost new and sold all my Tot Bots. It was pretty much a direct swap! Plus here in Bournemouth, they do a cloth nappy incentive so I received £30 off my purchases. So it is worth checking your local councils!

I LOVE the Bambino Miosolo. I wonder whether we should have bought them last time as they are much quicker to handle as they are all-in-ones (pocket nappy).

It may seem that cloth are the “in” thing at the moment and I am so glad, but it is NOT just a fad. Cloth is the original nappy. Disposables are very much a new thing, and they do have their place (we still use one at night time). But I believe mums and dads should aim to try and involve cloth. It’s much easier and cheaper than you may think. The bonus is it feels really good knowing you’re not adding to the 1+ billion nappies being put to landfill EVERYDAY.

**Definitely check out The Nappy Lady. There is a lot of info there from the questionnaire I mentioned, to the myths around nappies and how to care & clean them**

Our new Bambino Miosolos

Remaining active with an epidural

Epidurals certainly have their place in labour and there are two schools of thought on why there is a slightly increased risk of either an instrumental delivery or a caesarean section.

Firstly, are you in need of a higher form of pain relief because of the possibility your baby has got into a difficult position such as back to back. This is where the baby’s spine is resting upon yours and his face is looking towards your tummy.   In some cases, this can cause complications due to the baby being unable to tuck the head and chin down enabling easier passage through the birth canal.

It can also cause significant back pain and draw the labour out… So, If the baby is in an awkward position, would you have required assistance with the delivery in the first place?

Or, the second school of thought is, are you at an increased risk of an instrumental delivery or caesarean section because you have opted for an epidural and, due to lack of mobility and gravity, things have potentially slowed down.  You may hear this referred to as ‘slow progress’ and mum’s still get exhausted!

Pushing the baby out can also have its difficulties when an epidural is on board. On occasion, is may be necessary for your midwife to provide some ‘direct pushing’.   Directed pushing requires women to take a deep breath, hold it to the count of ten and push as hard as possible. Another breath is taken, held and the pushing begins again. The midwife may also place a finger in the opening of the vagina to check you are pushing in the right place.  Baby’s passage through the birth canal is one of negotiation and movement can sometimes be key!

So, the jury is out and unfortunately there is a lot of conflicting advice with little scientific evidence to suggest either to be correct or justifiable.

This is where here at The Naked Midwives we come in…

We are currently in the process of raising awareness of all of the above by starting the ….




We are very passionate about our teaching and creating positive birth for all regardless of the mode of delivery. It’s important to feel you remain in control of your labour and birth and make the right informed decisions at the right time.

Following an epidural, you will find you are comfortable and hopefully pain free. Your baby will continue to feel the effects of labour, however, don’t panic…although babies do get tired, they are developed to cope with labour and have plenty of reserves on board.   This is why if you do opt for an epidural you will be continuously monitored.

As stated before, the mechanics of labour and birth can be complex and unpredictable, especially if you haven’t had a baby before.   Epidurals certainly have their place in maternity care and it’s saddening as both a woman (who has had an epidural) and a midwife to hear women say they feel they have failed when they choose to have an epidural.

We highlight this because if your expectations of labour are idealistic then this is where the sense of failure can overcome you!

If you are well informed with a realistic outlook and an open mind then an epidural could work really well for you, as long as you remain active and in control of your labour; midwives don’t deliver babies…women do!

Throughout the years, epidurals have moved on greatly and are managed much more efficiently so from the perspective of the midwife………. why hasn’t our care of them?

Unfortunately, we still see women on labour ward, semi-recumbent in a bed when an epidural is in situ. This is what we at The Naked Midwives are trying to change.

The equipment that we use is much more technological now, for instance the beds on labour ward. In most units the beds are now more like transformers!    You can achieve a more upright position by simple adapting the bed. Gravity is really important so let’s facilitate that.

In addition, a narrowed pelvic outlet is another potential difficulty that we can overcome by the use of a ‘peanut birthing ball’. This is a tool we have introduced to maternity units within the area, in the hope that it encourages both women and midwives to keep active in labour especially in circumstances when an epidural is the chosen form of pain relief. The ‘peanut birthing ball’ is as you would think; and the shape of a peanut. It is used for many different things, from assisting baby into a good position in the last few weeks of pregnancy and throughout labour and birth.

Its shape is key and is able to keep the pelvic outlet open ensuring babies have the maximum amount of space to negotiate the pelvis and descend further into the birth canal.

We see time and time again, a woman comfortable with an epidural clock watching until the next vaginal examination to see what progress has been made.

Unfortunately, the majority of these women will have been semi-recumbent, with little movement and a narrowed pelvic outlet. All thing’s we know can hinder progress of the labour.

This is why both good education and keeping actively involved in your labour is so important! Ask the midwife to adapt the bed to aid with gravity, discuss your pelvic outlet, use a peanut ball, change position at regular intervals and then see what progress you have made.

Hopefully you will be seeing a lot more of our campaign to ‘keep active with an epidural’ in the near future.  Its something we are very passionate about and truly believe it could make a real difference to both women’s experiences and maternity care in the whole.

Look out for us and look into a ‘peanut birthing ball’!


The Cranny, 43 Queens Road, Mudeford, Dorset.  BH23 3HH

Men In Childbirth…

A guy called Micheal Odent, a French obstetrician and child birth specialist, once said men should ‘stay away from childbirth’. We are here to say this is the 21st Century and the said ‘men’ are the ones that helped put this miracle of new life in there in the first place!

His belief was that the presence of men during their partner’s labour produced adrenaline. . Odent stated “If she can’t release oxytocin, she can’t have effective contractions, and everything becomes more difficult. Labour becomes longer, more painful and more difficult because the hormonal balance in the woman is disturbed by the environment that’s not appropriate because of the presence of the man”.

As practicing midwives, there is a lot we can agree with in what Michale Odent suggests, however, the hormone oxytocin is produced first and foremost when women have an orgasm! It is known as the hormone of love or “the cuddle” hormone. Effective ways to increase oxytocin include reducing stress and anxiety by increasing feelings of calmness and security, improve mood and increase feelings of contentment and to have an orgasm…most women however wouldn’t consider sex during labour, but it’s not been unheard of…! All this is designed to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which prompts your adrenal glands to release adrenaline.

At the Naked Midwives we passionately believe that if men are educated and understand the birth process with realistic expectations then they are indeed the ‘guardians of oxytocin’. By gaining an understanding of how their loved one may react to contractions, the changes to her behaviour and body, how labour should progress and the coping techniques they can help instil, they will indeed help with the flow of oxytocin.

Michael Odent is correct in the sense that men can cause adrenaline levels to rise in labour if they panic. It can be really scary seeing your partner in pain and there’s usually an overwhelming sense of not being able to do anything…then labour can be longer and more painful. However, if men are well prepared, especially for the early stages of labour (the latent phase) then actually the loved shared between a labouring couple can only rocket those oxytocin levels…hence “the cuddle hormone”.

At the Naked Midwives we’re always overwhelmed by the positive feedback we get from the men attending our courses, and we are speedily gathering our own little herd of the ‘guardians of oxytocin’.


Realistic NOT Idealistic Education

7 Common Health Mistakes women make when pregnant

When pregnant many you want to the answer this question: How can I have the most fulfilling pregnancy, childbirth and give my baby the best start to life?  

Whilst each Women, pregnancy and birth journey is unique; We have seen mistakes which we want to share with you so you and your friends can experience a better pregnancy and birth.

TIP: Rather than trying to control everything you can instead focus on reconnecting with what’s important. Your preferences, body, baby space and breath.


TIP: Rather than fighting or listening to everything and everyone, work to empower your psychology and mind so you can build yourself up and trust in yourself.


TIP: If you have pain seek help, don’t suffer in silence. Check out the pelvic partnership to find recommendations and advice. All our chiropractors are highly recommended by the pelvic partnership.


TIP: Find a system that works for you and take some time to way up what you are not able to do because of what the pain is preventing you from doing with your family and work.


TIP: Find people and resources who can help you better understand the relationship of passage (pelvis) and passenger (baby) with your hips, pelvis and spinal alignment and how they interrelate may positively influence your birth experience.


TIP: Recruit the help of friends, yoga teachers, partners and health care professionals to help you better deal with the stresses and strains of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting.


TIP: Build a support network. The litmus test to know if you are stressed is ask your spouse. Don’t try to alter everything at once, realise slow and steady is fine and be prepared to cut yourself some slack and give yourself space to wing it. By listening to your body, you keep safe from the strain and enjoy this special time.

Pregnant or not, when was the last time you had your spine and nervous system checked?

Want to find out more ?

Our Chiropractors would be more than happy to help and all have post graduate training in providing solutions for pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain, symphysis pubis dysfunction and are all Webster technique trained.


Life Balance is a unique chiropractic system and process that helps families maximise engagement, quality of life and life balance. We house an award-winning & recommended family Chiropractors.

How can a Chiropractor help me and my baby while I’m pregnant?

Seeing a Chiropractor while your pregnant has many benefits.  Not to mention if you’re suffering with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Our principle chiropractor DC. Joshua Smith here at Life Balance is recommended by the pelvic partnership and is fully skilled in helping to ease pain, and help to increase mobility and strength in your joints and pelvis. By visiting a Chiropractor when you’re pregnant there are many benefits; Giving your baby room to grow, It helps promote a natural birth and it’ll also help you relieve any neck back and joint aches you may get. Download our free digital report to discover more

How can a Chiropractor help my baby?

Establishing successful sleeping and feeding routines can be helped by taking your baby to see a chiropractor. Gentle adjustments and specialist techniques that stimulate nerve flow to certain areas of your babies body helping it to work at its optimum and relieve any stiffness and discomfort your baby may have.

To book your Chiropractic Consultation visit

or alternatively call 01202 684859


Taking the fear out of childbirth…

I don’t know if you saw the recent feature in Saturday Times where Natasha Pearlman, editor of Grazia Magazine wrote a searingly honest account of her labour and birth 3 years ago.  As a practicing midwife it both saddened me and made me despair in equal measure.  It is apparent that what should have been a wonderful and memorable time for Natasha and her partner has affected her emotionally and left deep scars.    Now, obviously I cannot comment for her and on Natasha’s particular delivery but I am fortunate enough to work in a busy maternity hospital whereby I do not believe this would have happened.  However, having said that, antenatal classes and labour, birth and postnatal education is the Cinderella of maternity services – with many new parents choosing between classes provided by the hospital, which due to time constraints and staff availability are at best, a brief overview of what may happen, or choosing to join a local smaller group.

Antenatal education is not for everyone.   Some people are happy to choose to just go along with events as they happen.   Yet, when you are having a baby for the first time, there is no blue print and however much you may want a low risk, low intervention birth, sometimes circumstances can dictate that you end up in an obstetric unit with doctors making decisions – hopefully with you, as to the labour and birth of your baby.

However, with comprehensive and complete education,  education that allows you to get involved and ask questions, shows you the equipment used if you veer off the midwifery led pathway, tells you about all the types of pain relief available – (I mean, you’re not getting a medal at the end of this, take the pain relief if you need to), and the who, why and when it may be essential to go to theatre, you will feel more empowered and in control.  And not that you have failed.  Having any kind of an instrumental delivery or caesarean section is not a failure, it can happen for any number of reasons and by having this information beforehand will allow you to make informed decisions and feel more in control.   Using hypnobirthing or having a doula with you is no guarantee of an intervention free labour and birth – but what you learn from those classes will serve you well in every situation.  But, by gaining knowledge of all types of birth and possible intervention that may occur gives you the power  to make informed choices.

For example, if the classes mentioned in the Saturday Times article discussed how the latent phase of labour works – when contractions stop and start and there’s little or no rhythm or consistency to them, and explained that this very early stage of labour that is bringing your cervix forward and shortening it in length, should you find yourself in the maternity unit and they suggest you return home,  you will feel strong enough to do so, confident that things were happening and the fear and lack of confidence would will not be an issue.

I know  from experience that hospital antenatal classes spend little or no time focusing on the early days at home – when you go home with a new baby and feeling emotional, tired and perhaps a little out of your depth.   We feel it is important that once you have your baby, you know that Day 3 is going to be a weepy day, that your milk may come in and you’ll apparently cry at the smallest thing.  Gathering as much information as possible before you have your baby can make such a difference to how you feel and can help you make informed decisions about your body, your labour and your birth.  Ladies, you deliver the babies, as midwives we just facilitate this and act as your advocate.

Many hospital units offer a ‘birth afterthoughts’ service whereby, after having your baby,  you can have an appointment with a midwife who will go through all the notes and documentation from your birth.  This is often done when a woman falls pregnant again and lots of memories – sometimes not always positive ones, rise to the surface.  I hope Natasha Pearlman has access to such a facility.

Folic Acid in Pregnancy

So, you’ve decided to have a baby! Congratulations.

I know you will be getting advice from everyone but here is just a short piece that will hopefully help you make some very good decisions for you and your baby.

In the first trimester of pregnancy your baby’s nervous  system is developing fast. It is known that folic acid (aka vitamin B9) is a vitamin that is crucial in the healthy development of the nervous system and good levels of folic acid greatly reduce the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida. It is one of a few vitamins that are best taken as a supplement even if you are being extra, extra good and going for a super healthy diet.  Here is this extract from the NHS referring to folic acid in pregnancy. The link for the full article is below.

    “Dietary sources of folic acid include green, leafy vegetables, brown rice, granary bread, and breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid. Always check the food labels. However, it would be almost impossible to get enough folic acid just from food – the only way to be sure you are getting the right amount is by taking a supplement.”

At our health store, we offer folic acid as a separate supplement or as part of a pregnancy multi-nutrient supplement. However, we now promote methylfolate instead for folic acid. Methylfolate is what our bodies turn folic acid into in order for this vitamin to be absorbed.  About a third of us have a genetic impairment that means that this conversion is not so efficient. For these pregnant women methyfolate is the best option.  For the rest of us methylfolate still means better, easier absorption which is always a plus!

Many women don’t particularly like to take supplements and I can understand this.  However just a few supplements are too important to dismiss. Folic acid is one of them.

I will be talking about the rest in my next blog.

Anna Hanson

The Bay Tree

Saxon Square, Christchurch

15 Penny’s Walk, Ferndown Shopping Centre


6 Things women should definitely know before going into labour or hospital.


The poo conversation…

The poo conversation… and we’re not talking about the rotund fury friend of piglet. There’s no sugar coating this, it’s common for women to open their bowels during labour. However, during the latent phase of labour (the early stages) it is often the case that your body will naturally empty the bowel, as most women will experience an upset stomach and this is indeed a positive sign that you may be going into labour.

If this is not the case then please don’t let this worry you or cause anxiety. For the normal physiological mechanics of labour to take place, it’s helpful to have any possible obstructions out of the way. In our experience midwives are very discrete, we don’t jump up and down waving a red flag we are just reassured that the baby now has more room to make their entrance.

It’s also a good idea to pre-warn birth partners and maybe ask them to kindly remain at the talking end as we can’t predict some people’s reactions if they are ill prepared!


Men and massage…

In recent years’ massage has proven to be effective in reducing pain in labouring women. This is common knowledge to most expectant parents and will be discussed within their birth plan wishes. This is something we cover and practice within our classes, practice being the operative word! This is the key factor when considering massage as method of pain relief. Techniques can easily be taught to birth partners however, men have to feel comfortable with this practice especially if it’s not something a couple are used to doing. You ladies will be pleased to hear that we suggest men practice massage techniques at home within the last few weeks of pregnancy so it doesn’t feel alien to all involved at the time it’s needed! Men can also feel a little embarrassed when massaging their partners in front of the midwife but believe me we are grateful for the help.


Everything but the kitchen sink…

There are 101 different lists on the internet that make suggestions on what to pack in your hospital bag! This is very simple…midwives need room to provide a safe environment to facilitate the birth of your pride and joy. We aren’t saying you can’t pack your matching nightie, dressing gown and bath mat, by all means you can, but this can remain in the car. In our experience the main items you will need during and immediately after birth are as follows – 1. Face cloth to cool your forehead during labour (this is often forgotten and you end up with mushed up, wet, NHS paper towel that absorbs the heat and become just damp and warm within seconds, slapped across your forehead) 2. Big, thick, heavy duty sanitary towels (labour can be a messy business as I’m sure you can imagine! So, don’t go for the ultra slim kind, they just don’t cut it and make you sweat!) 3. Pack of XL cheap pants (please no paper pants, no explanation needed!) 4. Laundry bag (for your soiled labour wear/underwear and not forgetting babies maybe tiny but they sure make a lot of mess) 5. Small toiletry bag containing basics plus lip balm and hairband. 6. Nappies and a hat for baby – as midwives we are advocates of skin to skin following birth and would encourage this where possible. Although it’s tempting, there is no rush to put baby into the fabulous outfit you’ve had hanging in the wardrobe for the past 3 months! Enjoy the time…enjoy the bonding, the hat is just to keep the head warm.


Shake that bump….

We are all aware the wonderful effects of gravity assist greatly in the journey that is childbirth. This is something that is easily recognised however, movement goes hand in hand with this but is not as frequently discussed. Think of gravity helping baby descend but negotiating the pelvis and birth canal can be described as round hole…square peg! Movement helps us remember our natural instinctive creativity and taking the space to move and breathe can lead us into a sense of ease and security – it’s something to lean back into!


Choosing the right antenatal class and the Latent Phase of labour……

Labour can be long and unpredictable especially for first time mums. To quote the great Shakespeare himself… “to climb steep hills takes a slow pace at first” this is why we feel choosing the right antenatal class is paramount. A class that focuses heavily on what we call the latent phase of labour (the early stages) can really get you started off on the right foot. There are lots of techniques that you and your birth partner can be shown to help you conquer the fight of flight sense of imbalance at the beginning of labour.  Get this stage right and the rest will follow….


Choose your birth partner wisely …..

As practising midwives, we regularly meet women on labour ward whose ideal birth has faded into what is now a scene from the latest horror movie!  We believe that to have choice you need to be truly informed and be aware of all possible eventualities.   Giving birth can be unpredictable yet we do not believe it needs to be scary and negative (whilst these may make more interesting stories!).


One of the first things we would hope you would consider is choosing your birth partner wisely.  It is important to remember your birth partner does not necessarily need to be your loved one.   In certain cases, this can only cause confusion and self-doubt.  When loved ones see each other in discomfort it can be a really difficult scenario, people will act out of character as there is little they can do.  Sometimes it is more beneficial for women to have the support of someone close who can focus solely on the job in hand!   As the song goes….’we all need somebody to lean on’.  In fact, let’s not forget, the dad will also call out to the birth partner for support.


Every couple will be different and we fully understand that some people will prefer a more intimate setting with just the two of them but we feel it’s important to ensure you know – you always have the choice!   Let’s face it, would you want Robbie Williams in your birth room singing about ‘angels’ when you are 10cm dilated!