You are unique, and fantastic, and a perfect human being, as is your baby, your pregnancy and birth matter so much. I became an Independent midwife to ensure I could continue to support women through this amazing journey in the best way possible. Please take time to consider your choices in who attends you during this time. It is one of the most important times of your life.
As an Independent Midwife I work intensively during your pregnancy to maximize the chances of your wishes coming true. I am available for you between visits to answer any questions and help allay your anxieties. I offer you massage let you borrow books and DVDs, however most importantly I get to know you and your family and your unique qualities and needs. You will have the opportunity to discuss the things that trouble you and cause you anxiety and together we can formulate a birth plan.
A lot of people carry fear about birth, both men and women alike. Each of you will have a lot of preconceived ideas about birth long before you have your first baby .How you feel about the forth coming birth will depend on what you have watched on “You tube” or TV documentaries. May be reading birth guides listening to Women’s hour discussions or simply seeing babies being born in a Soap Opera these will have influenced your levels of anxiety.
Gaining control in a fearful situation means trusting those around you. The feeling that you have choices and that you hope you will be supported with your choices is at the heart of trust and once you feel you can trust your care givers then your fear will subside. Having a midwife that you get to know and trust who’s going to attend you during one of the most intimate acts of your life will help you build confidence about birth. This is the different from the NHS as you never know who will be at your birth. I on the other hand will get out of bed in the middle of the night to come to your birth whenever it happens and it won’t depend on if I am on duty or not as I am on call for you 24/7! I’ll hold your hand, or sit quietly offering words of encouragement to you and your partner because I will already know you. I will have taken your resting vital signs on many previous occasions and know your full medical history I will be familiar with your baby’s position and gestation. I am with you throughout you need not fear that my shift will end and someone else will take over.
If the birth journey encounters an obstruction I will arrange for your transfer to Hospital and accompany you to the Hospital I do not hand you over to the Hospital staff and then leave you. I will work hard in Hospital to be your “gate-keeper” to help protect your choices. In the case of a Hospital Transfer you will always know it was necessary due to my years of home birth experience.
Following the arrival of the baby I am on hand to help you welcome and feed your baby helping you to assimilate the birth outcome. I spend an intense amount of time visiting you at home in the early days and in this way breast feeding will have the best chance of success and you as a new Mum will be nurtured in the way you deserve.
I have been so privileged to have been invited on the birth journey of so many women and seen them transition into amazing new Mums!
Only 2% of births happen at home and this means that 98% of births are taking place in Hospital. Why are you all convinced that the Medical model of birth is best? This picture is of Agnes Gareb who is under house arrest for supporting Home birth in Hungary.What does it mean in Britain to give birth in Hospital? Once you go to the Consultant Unit to have your baby then you are exposing your selves to the following philosophy…..
The Medical model views pregnancy as high risk and only normal in retrospect.
Your labour needs constant measuring and vigilance which in turn disturbs the normal physiological progress of labour.
The medical model separates mind from body and yet it is the state of your emotions that lies at the very heart of labour progressing.
This philosophy believes that your body is a baby making machine which can’t “fix” itself but rather requires a “Mechanic” in the form of an Obstetrician.
You will become an object, yes really instead of being “Tina Smith” you will be referred to as “The trial in room 4”! Roughly translated to “Tina who wasn’t supported well with her 1st birth and ended up with an emergency caesarean and is optimistically hoping that she can survive this trial of labour and give birth naturally in room 4!”
You will be exposed to a hierarchical standardisation of care where the Consultant will sweep into your room and talk in terms of “allow you “ “We will give you “ “This is the plan”
The medical model has amazing faith in technology and despite 20 plus studies discrediting the use of CTG monitors it is still the technology that reigns supreme.
Finally the medical model is intolerant of other models of care. There is a brick wall! That intolerance leads to bullying and coercion and stamps out choice for women.
I however believe in a holistic model of care that sees that we are all individual and because of this deserve an individual approach to the way we are cared for .I believe whole heartedly that women should have the continued support of a midwife so that she gets to know her and trust her and as a result it builds confidence in women.
I had to leave the NHS and become an Independent midwife in order to work this way and that was 8 years ago. I have never once regretted making the change and I have now joined forces with UK Birth Centres Ltd to achieve full insurance and can continue to offer individualised birth support for women.
I have had a lot of experience looking after women who wish to have a normal delivery following a Cesarean. This is known as VBAC or HBAC for home birth after Cesarean. Some women choose to have the Hospital Consultation arranged at 20 weeks and they ask me to attend this meeting. The opinion of the Obstetrician is sort in an attempt that the women can make a fully informed choice about place of birth.
In one instance the meeting was going well , the Consultant could see the benefits to the client of receiving one to one care in labour from myself as he understood that I am an experienced midwife with positive outcomes working with VBAC clients.
He then said
‘With you being of abnormal stature you are more likely to need intervention on your delivery!’
She said it felt oppressive because he was a consultant who was accompanied by a medical student and the hospital midwife as well. He was saying that as she was both short and fat it would be a problem. When she challenged him to explain the studies and statistics on which his opinion was based he couldn’t…!
She was overweight but otherwise active fit and healthy. Normal blood pressure throughout, no signs of diabetes, able to run up and down the stairs not exactly the classic couch potato. But he offended her in his approach and words!
In one sense she didn’t care about his opinion at this point as she had already emotionally stepped out of that system and had chosen me as her lead midwife. They didn’t believe in her ability to give birth but I did!What if she had no option but to accept his negative sumary of her abilities to give birth!
She had suffered when the midwife at 16 weeks had failed to find the baby’s heartbeat and wouldn’t listen to her about where she thought he was positioned and sent her crying to the hospital for an emergency scan. Nobody ever phones up to see if she was ok, if the baby was ok. She had felt at that moment that she was merely a number and that nobody actually cared.
The next week she was booked into my care and says she certainly never looked back. The journey it took her on has affected her in many positive ways.She went on to have a fabulous water birth .Following her home birth she was overwhelmed by the thought that the Consultant was so negative about her ability to achieve a normal delivery based on her shape! Having given birth to her baby at home in the pool with her husband holding her hand she was empowered with a feeling that she can do anything that she puts her mind to.
She had sought the Consultants opinion about her options and then made her own informed choice. If she had listened to all the negative reactions to wanting a home birth and agreed to give birth in Hospital being hooked up to a CTG machine restricted from movement she may have had a different birth out come. How many women have been prevented from achieving their full birthing potential because no one had faith in them!
Taking part in your birth choices including where and with whom you give birth are the fundamental rights of all women.It is part of womens right to be listened to and have your choices up held and if you feel you are not being listened to contact me directly or UK Birth Centres Ltd . If women loose the right to say where and how they birth their children, then they will have lost something that is as dear to life as breathing. (Amy McKay The Birth House.)
Why you should not be tempted by induction of labour unless absolutely necessary!
There is a great web site www.GoTheFull40.com
This site is aimed at informing women about the implications of, social induction. A social induction is one where your Doctor may say
“You have done well and reached 37 weeks, you’re not sleeping and your hips are aching let’s call it a day I will induce tomorrow!”
Visit the web site to read “40 reasons to go the full 40”. I would even suggest it should say “40 reasons to go the full distance” Especially for 1st babies it is very common for you to be at least 41 weeks.
Here I have reproduced the first 10 reasons to consider turning down social induction.
1. End right by starting right—keeping all of your prenatal appointments helps ensure a healthier ending
2. Savour the journey—soon you will meet your baby
3. Let nature take over—there are fewer complications and risks for both you and baby through natural birth
4. Recover faster from a natural birth than caesarean, which is major abdominal surgery that causes more pain, requires a longer hospital stay and a longer recovery
5. Birth a brainier baby—at 35 weeks your baby’s brain is only 2/3rds the size it will be at term
6. Set her thermostat—baby will better regulate her temperature when born at term
7. Boost breastfeeding—term babies more effectively suck and swallow than babies born earlier
8. Delight in those kicks and flips—marvel at the miracle of the life inside
9. Enjoy your convenient excuse for every mood swing and crazy craving
10. Nourish your body—a healthy diet and breastfeeding will help you lose the baby weight
I urge you to be patient and go the distance .
If you are truely feeling that you are term and ready to meet your baby there are several natural remedies you my wish to consider.Having sex ,eating fresh pineapple,spicy food such as curry, having a membrane sweep, taking a soak in a clary sage bath , visiting an acupuncturist, a reflexologist, positive birth affirmations, rebozzo massage and consulting a homeopath .
Or my favourite is relax and wait !
I have been an Independent Midwife for 8 years and have had the priviledge of looking after women who have had a previous C-Section and wish to remain at home for the next birth. These photos were taken at a VBAC birth and they show the way birth is relaxed and includes the family.Enjoy.
Check out this amazingly easy to follow video showing you how to use the rebozzo to aid optimal fetal position. It also helps you to see how to use the rebozzo in labour as well.
I’m a huge fan of affirmations. I believe, quite simply, they help define your focus. And defining your focus is the best first step when you’re trying to accomplish any goal.
As we define what is, if only with our thoughts, our attention follows. Our creative mind begins to look for the reality that matches our thoughts, and we begin to naturally notice the opportunities that can help lead us to our goals. I would say it is similar to experiencing a slow puncture in your car, suddenly you’re looking for a garage and you notice one in your area, which you can’t remember seeing before even though you pass it every day. When you define your focus, you begin to notice solutions in response.
Affirmations refine your focus, help to generate creativity and, if you involve a spiritual element, they can even help to inspire real blessings. I mix my affirmations with prayer and I can literally begin to feel a shift into possibility!
• Our baby’s birth will occur at just the right time and just the right way.
• I trust my body to grow my baby and I trust my body to birth my baby.
• I am connected to myself. I am connected to my partner. We are connected to our baby.
• I am calm, I am safe, I am relaxed.
• My body is strong enough to birth this baby.
• I enjoy experiencing the power of my body as my birthing muscles bring my baby to me.
• With each amazing wave, I am letting go more easily.
• I am releasing to these sensations.
• I let these waves wash through me as I go deeper into relaxation.
• I welcome strong waves that are bringing my baby closer.
• Every contraction brings me closer to our baby.
• The stronger my contractions become, the sooner I meet my baby.
• I breathe slowly and easily and it helps my body to let go.
• I breathe to my baby and let my breath flow down and out my baby’s birth path to show my baby the way.
• My body is so open that my baby just slides right out and into my arms.
I have been privileged to support women who wish to prepare for a home birth following a previous caesarean and much of the preparation begins with UN picking the reason for the first caesarean. It is a recurring theme that for many of these women the C-Section was for their first baby and was after a very long labour probably induced , with the addition of a cascade of interventions.
Why do women choose to have the next baby at home when they have had a caesarean birth? The reason is often that they associate the interventions that they had as leading to the outcome. For this reason home birth is chosen to avoid common obstetric interventions such as drugs to induce, augment and accelerate birth as these are not used at home.
By choosing to have a home birth the women are going to have the midwife giving her un divided attention, that is to say not having to leave the woman un attended to answer a call bell or see to the computer as happens in Hospital. In contrast preparing for a home birth uses a non interventionist approach, focusing on building a strong relationship of trust between the midwife and the client.
Some women choose to have a meeting with the Obstetrician and ask me to attend the meeting. The opinion of the Obstetrician is sort in an attempt that the women can make a fully informed choice. In one instance the meeting was going well , the Dr could see the benefits to the client of receiving one to one care in labour from myself as he understood that I am an experienced midwife with positive outcomes working with VBAC clients.
“However you must realise that you are the wrong shape to have a normal delivery!”
Right there he was condemning her ability to give birth due to being over weight!.
This is not the first time this has been given as a reason for refusal for a homebirth because each Hospital will have a cut off point when your excess weight puts you into the High Risk category.
Despite the meeting the client made her decision and I was able to support her choice to give birth at home.By working as an Independent midwife with http://www.ukbirthcentres.com/ I am able to provide holistic individualised care for women.
As part of the preparation for birth I had introduced her to the idea of having a birth project.This is a task that you undertake during your birth that allows you to take your mind off your contractions and For this client she choose to bake a cake. I LOVE the idea that the labour and pain is not the main focus. That your body can and will cope. She was able to go through the familiar and physical processes of preparing the cake and each time she had a contraction she could lean against the work surfaces and this upright forward leaning position helped the birth progress well.
Then it was time to get into the pool that her husband had lovingly prepared with the room equally made ready for this amazing event. The lights were dimmed and the familiar ornaments acted as positive reminders that she was in her safe birthing space. Her baby was born in the warmth of the birth pool and was greeted by the loving embrace of its mother.
Following her homebirth she was overwhelmed by the thought that the Consultant was so negative about her ability to achieve a normal delivery based on her shape! Having given birth to her baby at home in the pool with her husband holding her hand she was empowered with a feeling that she can do anything that she puts her mind to. She had sought the Consultants opinion about her options and then made her own informed choice. If she had listened to all the negative reactions to wanting a homebirth and agreed to give birth in Hospital her birth would have been over shadowed by the belief that she was the “wrong shape to have a normal delivery”.
Taking part in your birth choices includes where and with whom you give birth, this should be the fundamental rights of all women. A midwife holds the space for the women to enable her to give birth . In the image above I see the midwife has handed over the keys to the door to the woman who is then able to unlock the power with in her and pass through the door with her own strength , emerging as a radiant and triumphant Mother.
Oxytocin is produced in the Posterior Pituitary gland and is one of the many hormones in the human body that affects how we act, think, and fell. It evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety levels and results in a feeling of calm and security.
The word oxytocin derives from two Greek words “Oxys” and “Tokos” meaning “quick birth”. It was a British Pharmacologist Sir Henry Hallett- Dale in 1906 who discovered the uterine contracting properties of oxytocin.
In 1953 the nine amino acid sequence of oxytocin was discovered which led shortly afterwards to the first synthesized biochemical oxytocin which is widely used today.
Dr Michel Odent is a retired French Obstetrician, famously good at being one step ahead of the game. He is a proper geeky scientist who loves a good statistic; he is the founder of The Primal Health Research Centre in London and in the 1970s was the first obstetrician to write about water-births in medical literature. He introduced the concept of ‘home-like’ birth centres in hospitals and birthing pools – which are now standard in maternity units throughout the world. He has built his reputation on an anthropological fascination (and adoration) of women and the way they have delivered babies since the beginning of time. YouTube may now be the home for clips of newborns crawling to find a breast, but it was Odent who first documented this ability in medical literature.
Through Childbirth and The Future of Homo Sapiens, Odent will start an important dialogue about the common use of synthetic Oxytocin to induce labour.
“Most women give birth now on a synthetic Oxytocin drip. It is the most common medical intervention in childbirth,” he explains. But with no long term studies on its side effects, he says: “We are playing with the Oxytocin systems of human beings without knowing what we are doing.”
Thanks to masses of recent research into its effects, medical science now accepts that natural Oxytocin is the ‘love’ hormone needed to initiate and maintain labour. Nicknamed the ‘shy’ hormone, it requires a dark, quiet, familiar and non-threatening environment in order to flow (the antithesis of noisy, brightly lit maternity wards with unknown faces coming and going). Its enemy is adrenalin – hence the increasing popularity of birthing mothers using hypnotherapy to stay calm and offset the negative effects of ‘fear, fight and flight.’
Odent is a fan of this type of Oxytocin (hence his claim that women should birth privately with a midwife who is so busy knitting that she doesn’t transmit her own adrenalin through the ‘mirror neurone complex’). The hormone ‘peaks’ moments after birth and causes the overwhelming sense of ‘love’ that some women report on seeing their baby.
But he is frankly terrified by the long term effects of synthetic Oxytocin (which suppresses the natural version) on babies, mothers and – controversially – their bond.
His book Childbirth and The Future of Homo Sapiens reads like a giant ‘I dare you’ to the medical world. He dares researchers to open the can of worms to ponder if ‘HOW’ we are born impacts on ‘WHO’ we become. And that in turn dares the obstetric world to treat women as sensitive yet capable mammalian beings rather than mere parts in a masculinised, medicalised production line of baby-makers pumped full of potentially harmful drugs.
Remember this fact.
5 minutes of rhythmic stroking releases oxytocin, and can lead to a three-hour reduction of blood pressure!
Haemorrhoids are listed as a minor ailment of pregnancy and occur because of hormones that soften and stretch the capillary system to enacle it to accomodate the increase in circulating blood volume.If they occur at the end of pregnancy be reassured that they are evidwnce that your ody is getting to the peak of hormonal preparation for your birth and in my experience will not cause any problems for the birth.
Visit your Dr and you will be prescribed cream based on a steroid and mild local anaesthetic which are effective, however here are some things to consider if you want to allieviate the discomfort of piles naturally.
Food and drink
Prevention is better than cure. Try to avoid constipation which can make mild piles become more severe as you strain to have your bowels open. High-fibre foods, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and drinking at least two litres of water daily will help. Don’t drink too much tea or milk, both of which can make constipation worse. Reduce your consumption of refined carbohydrate foods such as sweets, chocolate, white bread and white rice. Do not add bran to your diet unless you double your fluid intake.
When you are sitting on the toilet, try to breathe deeply, then exhale, allowing your pelvic floor muscles to relax, but try not to strain. Standing up to pass the stool can sometimes help – have one knee bent and put your foot on a stool or the edge of the bath, if nearby. This encourages relaxation of the pelvic floor and opens up the area more than when you sit on the toilet with your buttocks clenched.
Herbal remedies and essential oils
The herbal remedy, hammamelis or witch hazel, is a useful lotion to apply directly to piles that are visible, as it is anti-inflammatory and causes the veins to shrink slightly. As far as is known this is safe to use in pregnancy.
Essential oils such as cypress or frankincense, added to your bath, may also help to act as an astringent, causing a shrinking of the haemorrhoids. Use a maximum of four drops in total, added to a teaspoon of carrier oil and mixed well into the bath water, then sit in the bath for at least 15 minutes.
Rescue remedy cream, applied directly to the piles, may ease the discomfort, and adding crab apple, two drops to a bidet, if you have one, may also help.
A useful shiatsu point which you can press yourself – or ask someone to do it for you – is found on the very top of your head, in the middle (GV20 acupuncture point). Press firmly on this point for about ten seconds, repeat three times.
If the haemorrhoids become extremely distressing you could consult a practitioner for acupuncture, reflexology or osteopathy.
Use the 30C strength, one tablet three to four hourly. Select the remedy which most closely fits your particular symptoms; if you have had no response after about five days, it may be the wrong remedy and you should consider consulting a qualified practitioner.
Consider Homeopathic hamamelis virginalis cream you can get it from Helios. Some of my clients have said it is amazing.
Try PULSATILLA if you
• have large, congested piles which protrude
• have a lot of pain, itching and bleeding from them
• find them worse as pregnancy progresses and after delivery
• feel emotional, tearful & in need of reassurance and consolation
• Also have varicose veins in your legs and/or heartburn & indigestion
Try NUX VOMICA if you
• have large, grape-like, congested piles which protrude
• have a lot of pain and burning
• have constipation with large, hard stools
• have accompanying backache
• feel worse at night & when touched
• feel better if you bathe in cold water
• are irritable, sensitive & quarrelsome
Try SEPIA if you
• have hard large congested painful piles
• have piles that protrude when you strain to open your bowels
• have bleeding & continual oozing
• have a sensation of a hard mass in your rectum
• are sensitive to cold but perspire easily
• Feel exhausted & worn out
• don’t want sympathy
Try LYCOPODIUM if you
• have large blue-purplish piles
• have piles which are chronic & protrude during defaecation
• suffer profuse bleeding & have moist itchy skin around your anus
• have associated constipation
• feel better if you bathe in warm water
• crave sweet things
• put on a brave front but feel lacking in self-confidence
Try ARSENICUM if you
• have large congested bluish piles which protrude
• have a lot of pain, burning and bleeding
• feel completely debilitated & get tired easily
• feel restless & anxious
• fear being alone & want to be looked after
• are difficult & demanding
Try KALI CARB if you
• have large congested grape-like piles
• have piles which protrude when you have your bowels open or pass urine
• have pain, bleeding & a stitch-like pain in the rectum when you cough
• feel worse towards the end of pregnancy & after delivery
• feel chilly, weak & weary
• are touchy, angry, irritable & sluggish
Haemorrhoids can be very distressing and I hope that these suggestions for a natural approach may be of benefit.