Do you know how amazing you are?

You are amazing!

birthYes you most certainly are.

Did you know that when you are nearing the actual birth of your baby you’ll likely to start to feel a sensation and a need to bare down?  It feels a little bit like when you need a poop!

You’ll be the expert on how you should do this. It might be that you breathe your baby down, you might want to push or gently nudge your baby down.  Trust yourself and listen to your instincts.  Some midwifes like to give you guidance and suggest you push when you you feel the next contraction, its up to you if you follow the midwifes lead or that of your body.

This natural gentle nudging down of your baby from body is instinctive, your body will just do it.  There is no need for you to give it any thought.

You might be quiet through this process, you might hum or ROAR your baby down.

Its a powerful feeling, your expression will be personal to you.

Some mums like to lay on their side whilst their baby is being born, others stay upright and forward. Find and adopt the position that feels right for you.  Avoid if possible being laid flat out on your back.

Some mums sway, roll or gently rock their hips through this amazing moment in time.  This can help your baby down, bringing that moment you hold your baby in your arms closer.

And you baby, equally as amazing as you, whilst you are baring down, you baby does this amazing thing with its skull.  The bone in the skull of your baby head cross over, reducing the size of your baby’s head making it an easier transition in this big, bright, beautiful world and into your arms.

You can see now why I say you are amazing!

Perfectly designed for birth, you and your baby, a perfect fit.

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positive birth preparation

Here’s my top 5 positive birth preparation suggestions…

5 positive birth preparation suggestionsThis week I wanted to share with you my top 5 positive birth preparation suggestions to help you prepare for a positive birth experience. Follow each little suggestion and see how the changes mount up and give you more confidence in the run up to your baby birth day.

  1. Fill your day with positive affirmation! Put them on the fridge, on the mirror, in the bedroom, in the living room, at work, in the car and most importantly repeat them in your mind and visualise them, really imagine your baby’s birth that way.
  2. Relax your jaw, unclench it.  Rest your tongue behind your top set of teeth.  Notice how your facial muscle relax when you do this.  Ina May Gaskin suggests that when you relax your jaw your pelvic area relaxes too so practice, practice, practice!
  3. First, second or subsequent baby, you’ll only birth this baby once so inform yourself with all the pregnancy and birth information you possible can. Whether it be by book, online courses,  in person classes or workshops, gather up the information and make it work for you.
  4. Sit with your knees lower than your hips or lie on your side to help get baby in that optimal position for birth.  Avoid sitting back in the arm chair or laying back in the sofa.
  5. Bounce bounce bounce on your birth ball! This will open  up your pelvis, give you good posture and encourage your baby to turn into an optimal option for birth.  Smile whist you bounce and you’ll raise those oxytocin levels too.

Feel free to share in the comments how you get on with these and of course share your favourites that aren’t listed above.

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Ever wondered how you’ll know that labours really started?

Ever wondered how you’ll know that labours really started?

Ever wondered how you'll know that labours really started?This was me when I was waiting for my daughter to be born.  I feared I wouldn’t know if I was in ‘real’ labour or not. I had had an induction with my son 18 months earlier.  Inductions are basically artificial contractions that evict your baby before he thinks he’s ready!

It’s really important to remember that you are not past your date until 42 weeks.  Some pregnancy’s have been know to go to 43 weeks.  If this is the case with you and an induction has been suggested use you B.R.A.I.N.S ( a set of questions we recommend you and your birth partner use to decide if its the best option for you).  Once you’re past 42 weeks it’s important that you are monitored regularly and informed by your midwife of your options along the way.

Listen to how you feel, tune into your intuition, if you feel okay and want to wait before thinking about an induction that’s great, anything different then speak to your GP or midwife.

Here are 8 things you may feel or experience at the onset of labour:

  1. A burst of energy, that makes your want to clean or cook or some other nesting activity.
  2. The need for the toilet either displaying loose stools or a feeling of needing to go but can’t, constipation.
  3. The release of the membranes, this is otherwise know as your waters breaking, it can be either a gush or a slow flow of leaking amniotic fluids.  You should expect to see clear odorless fluid. Anything different, contact your GP or midwife for advice.
  4. A show, this is the release of the uterine seal, it can look like string discharge and can be anything from clear like egg whites or, pink or tinged with shades of red.
  5. Some pre- labour warm ups, these are in frequent and don’t increase in strength or length and often disappear with a change in activity, There are no other signs of labour with these practice contractions.
  6. Contractions or tightenings across your bump.
  7. Lower back cramping.
  8. You instinctively know its time.

Personally for me, when it came to it I just knew it was time. I knew she was coming. My contractions felt like an involuntary tightening of the muscles in the uterus across my bump. This feeling was constant and stayed with me until about 30 minutes before my daughter was born.

I always recommend to my clients that once labour has started they should inform their birth partner and midwife before switching on their hypnotherapy for birth MP3 and then just ‘relax & go with the flow’ because it won’t be long until you finally get to meet your baby.

Wondering if hypnobirthing is for you?  Have a hypnobirthing taster session delivered to your inbox.  Subscribe here for instant access.

7 top tips to stay cool this summer

Hello summer!

Hello summer!  At last that moment we've all been waiting for - summer!  When you're pregnant you feel the heat so much more than usual but I don't really need to tell you that do I?  I remember very well how I felt this time 10 years ago.  I was expecting my first my first baby (he's a September born).  I had swollen feet and got about with a slow, steady waddle avoiding the direct sun.  Up until that point I had been an avid sun worshiper.  2006 was one of the hottest summer on record.  With this in mind I've put together a few of my favourite tips to help you stay cool over the next few weeks.  7 top tips to stay cool this summer:  Drink plenty of fluids. You can dehydrate easily when you're pregnant, which can make you feel faint, tired and dizzy.  To help avoid this, carry a bottle of water and take regular sips throughout the day. Find a shady spot when sitting outside, its best to stay out of the direct sunlight.  This is especially important when the sun's at its highest, which is between 11am and 3pm for UK summers. To help to combat water retention minimise your salt intake, this will make you feel more comfortable. Remember it can take you longer than normal for your body to adjust to any temperature changes. When using air conditioning and fans reduce the heat gradually if possible, and give yourself time to adapt when moving from one environment to another. For an instant cool down, put your wrists under a running cold tap or pour a little water from your bottle on to your face or the back of your neck. It really does work and it feels lovely! Pace yourself.  Put your feet up whenever you can. You're growing a baby, your body is busy so give yourself plenty of rest where possible. And saving the best till last.....fill a washing up bowl (or similar) with lukewarm water take your shoes off your feet and pop them in it....instant relief from a busy hot day, heavenly! Give those top tips a go and let us know which one is your favourite or feel free to share yours over on the Facebook pageAt last that moment we’ve all been waiting for – summer!  When you’re pregnant you feel the heat so much more than usual but I don’t really need to tell you that do I?

I remember very well how I felt this time 10 years ago.  I was expecting my first my first baby (he’s a September born).  I had swollen feet and got about with a slow, steady waddle avoiding the direct sun.  Up until that point I had been an avid sun worshiper.  2006 was one of the hottest summer on record.

With this in mind I’ve put together a few of my favourite tips to help you stay cool over the next few weeks.

7 top tips to stay cool this summer:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. You can dehydrate easily when you’re pregnant, which can make you feel faint, tired and dizzy.  To help avoid this, carry a bottle of water and take regular sips throughout the day.
  2. Find a shady spot when sitting outside, its best to stay out of the direct sunlight.  This is especially important when the sun’s at its highest, which is between 11am and 3pm for UK summers.
  3. To help to combat water retention minimise your salt intake, this will make you feel more comfortable.
  4. Remember it can take you longer than normal for your body to adjust to any temperature changes. When using air conditioning and fans reduce the heat gradually if possible, and give yourself time to adapt when moving from one environment to another.
  5. For an instant cool down, put your wrists under a running cold tap or pour a little water from your bottle on to your face or the back of your neck. It really does work and it feels lovely!
  6. Pace yourself.  Put your feet up whenever you can. You’re growing a baby, your body is busy so give yourself plenty of rest where possible.
  7. And saving the best till last…..fill a washing up bowl (or similar) with lukewarm water take your shoes off your feet and pop them in it….instant relief from a busy hot day, heavenly!

Give those top tips a go and let us know which one is your favourite or feel free to share yours over on the Facebook page

Here’s some hypnobirthing HELP for dads-to-be

One for the Dads-to-be!  Here’s some hypnobirthing HELP for dads-to-be.

Many of my hypnobirthing Dads get the hypnobirthing philosophy straight off.  After all once you are passed the wacky name and you get the science behind hypnobirthing it all makes perfect sense.  Dads love the natural science of hypnobirthing, the biology, the sociology, the physiology and so on.  Dads-to-be soon become strong advocates for their partners during their baby birth.

hypnobirthing HELP

But some still have a little worry.  They worry they might not be able to help, even though they know there are plenty of supporting tools and techniques that they can use to support their partners.  They worry they might not be able offer the right support at the right time to the women they love during labour.

My advice to those worrying Dads is simple, start at the beginning.  If your partner looks like she might be needing your input, you will probably notice by seeing the tension on her brow.

Lets be honest you will know that look better than anyone!

The tension across the brow look is a sure sign somethings up so if your partner has that look about her, start with the basics and offer her some hypnobirthing HELP.

Here are a few suggestions for you Dads-to -be so you know you can HELP mum whenever she needs it.

Hypnobirthing HELP

Hydrate – She may need a drink, so offer her some fluids, it is important to stay hydrated.

Eat – light snacks throughout labour, little and often is good, its important to refuel.

Lavatory – she may need to visit the toilet to empty her bladder or bowels.

Position – move around, change positions stay comfortable and upright and active.

Regardless of where you are in hospital or at home its good to remind the birthing mum to attend to her basic needs and as her advocate this will become one of your roles in labour.

Remember to HELP and make sure her basic needs are met first!

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Is there a right way to sit in pregnancy?

It’s a good pregnancy question.

Yes in those latter weeks anyway!

Here’s my top tip for finding the right way to sit pregnancy.

It’s really simple…

Keep your knees lower than your hips!

Thats it, when you are sitting down just keep your knees lower than your hips!

WHY?

Well thats simple too…

When you sit with your knees lower than your hips, you will keep your back straight and be in an upright position.  Helping  your baby find that optimum position for birth.

And that optimum position for birth is of course, head down, with chin to chest, facing you.

Think for a minute about gravity.  Your baby’s head and back are its heaviest parts and if you sit upright and forward, gravity is going to help swing baby round into the optimal position for birth.

Obviously you don’t need to be like this all the time, but its a great habit for you to get into. Especially as you approach the 35+ weeks mark.

You can do this by sitting straddle across your dinning room chair or use your birth ball.  You can do this at any time during the day, or whilst you’re watching tv in the evening.

In fact most expectant mums say that this way of sitting especially on their ball is more comfortable than the regular chairs and sofas they have at home.  It’s a great position to be practicing all your hypnobirthing techniques in, the self hypnosis, the breathing and the visualising.  Making time in your day to sit in this way and practice hypnobirthing will make the ball/chair become an anchor for you to relax when you use it on  the day – perfect!

pregnancyAnd remember whist you’re in this position you can get your birth partner to pop on your relaxing music, practice that lovely light touch massage we learn in the course and bond away!

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How I came to be here…

Back in 2005 I fell pregnant with my first baby.  He was born in 2006. At 10 days over due I was full of anxiety about the impending delivery of my baby. I knew life was about to change beyond recognition. I was booked in for an induction at Southend hospital.

In we went, with our hospital bag and started what felt like a very long anxious waiting game. To cut a long story short our beautiful baby boy arrived rather purple looking, having fought the eviction process for about two and half days. I was in shock and totally stunned by some of the procedures I had been through and my husband, at the business end – well what can I say!

Due to the intervention we encountered, my baby and me stayed in Southend hospital for two nights.  Then we came home to recover and enjoy our new family life together.  I didn’t dwell much on what had happened at the hospital, no time with a new baby.  If I’m honest, I had had very little birth education and my social imprint of birth was, it’s medicalised.  The midwives look after you, you’re in their care and you just need to go with it.  That was pretty much what I thought from all I had read, heard and seen on TV.

The stitches healed, the baby grew.  So did my tummy, with baby number two.  We knew we wanted another child and we knew we wanted them close in age but neither of us wanted to go through ‘that’ again.  An old family friend had just had her 4th baby.  She had been in and out of Southend hospital within hours, “just popped her out” I had been told.  This was something that stayed with me.

Why was it some of us went through ‘that’ and some of us “popped them out”?

It was my husband that suggested hypnotherapy for birth.  At first I was the skeptic.  I just thought well nothing to loose and everything to gain if ‘it’ works.  So I started practicing daily at 32 weeks.  It was nice, relaxing, baby asleep in the afternoon and me just chilling.  It didn’t feel like anything was happening but I was calm and relaxed and in control of my emotions as the EDD came closer, unlike like the first time.

Two days after the estimated due date I had a chat with baby number one and bump and we agreed we was ready…my contractions started around tea time the next day.  I was always worried that I wouldn’t know that they were as I had had artificial ones the first time round.  I knew straight away.  It was like a little flutter and after everyone of them I smiled to myself.

I had about 3 flutters an hour for a few hours and kept them to myself.  My mum was having a sleep over that night so I knew I didn’t have to worry about childcare for our son.  I felt no need to mention baby was coming until bedtime.  I thought I ought to let mum know as we may need to go to the hospital during the night and of course my husband as I would need to wake him up too.  They were both surprised and excited, we all went to bed and slept, we’ll sort of!

I laid in bed resting, writing down the times of my surges, listening to my hypno recording and visualising my baby coming closer to meet me.  I couldn’t wait to hold her.  About 4.30am I got up.  My husband leapt out of bed and started the car up like it was an emergency drama but I said I felt like bath and some breakfast first.  No need to rush.  So I shut myself in the bathroom for a bit and chilled out a bit more.  We rang Southend hospital I suggested I might need to come soon as my surges were now strong and long, consistently 5mins apart.  The midwife on duty said I didn’t sound like a woman in labour but as they weren’t busy I could go down if I really wanted but to be prepared to be to sent away again.

It was 6am when we arrived there.  I skipped down the corridor with a bounce in my heal and spring in my step so excited.  I think the midwives thought I taking the micky.  They said “you don’t look like a woman in labour”.  I remember thinking what do want me to look like then? So I said well I am, I know I am, can we at least have a look as I’m here.

I was dilated to 8cm already (I knew I was right) my beautiful baby girl arrived two and a half hours later.  I did have a little bit of gas and air. It was during the last 10-15 minutes and I was able to regulate my breathing and then didn’t require it anymore.  I think my need for the gas and air was triggered by something that was said by a midwife.  I reacted to it with panic as it reminded me of my first experience, language has a habit of producing thoughts and thoughts create reactions, although at the time I didn’t realise it.

We had lovely relaxed birth experience, my daughter was pink and healthy unlike the first time round.  I was up and out and back home with both our babies just few hours later. The student midwife had experienced a great birth for her first delivery and we settled in to our beautiful family life.  I knew at that point I had done something amazing I remember saying I would do it again tomorrow, any day any time.  It was so…I can’t articulate it …bloody amazing! And I would definately do it again tomorrow.

Thank you staff at Southend hospital for supporting me through both my babies very different births.

Since then as well as being Mum to two beautiful children, wife to a Welsh man (we won’t hold that against him though). I’ve created Positively Blooming, an online hypnobirthing home study course that will help you birth your baby with a calmness and confidence that you wouldn’t believe is possible.  Since re-training as hypnotherapist/psychotherapist and birth coach I have had the pleasure of working with loads of mums and dads-to-be to and heard the birth stories of so many more beautiful babies being born in a positive, calm, relaxed way, the right way for their little families.
Southend hospital

Hypnobirthing isn’t wacky, it’s simple, straight forward, no nonsense, down to earth guide to birthing, the right way for you and your family.

If you’d like to give some hypnotherapy for childbirth a try, sign up for some freebies, relax and enjoy!  Sarah x