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Do you need a birth pool & fairy lights to have an positive birth? Inspiring preterm birth story using Hypnobirthing

I am not saying that these things are not wonderful and I more than many passionately believe in the positive power of the birth environment. I also think most people want a intervention free, natural and drug free water birth around our ‘due date’.  Whilst there are a number of things we can do antenatally to increase our chance of a natural birth, not everything goes to plan in life, and sometimes the unexpected happens. I tend to find birth stories come in extremes, either horrifically terrifying life and death tales or life-changing blissful home births. But what about if neither of them materialise, what if the unexpected happens, what if your birth plan miraculously doesn’t guarantee that your birth goes to plan?  Does that mean your labour and birth has to become the horrifically terrifying life and death tales? I say no, not with the right frame of mind and preparation! It seems even giving birth to a baby prematurely at 27 weeks in a  labour ward abroad were you dont speak the language can be positive! It was my absolute pleasure to have Marcela and Dimitris attend my Hypnobirthing workshop in Edinburgh a few weeks before Marcela prematurely gave birth whilst on holiday in Germany. We have a lot to learn from their story! As a midwife I often find that advice and beliefs around birth can come in extremes but with the right preparation you can have a positive birth regardless of how or where you give birth; even when things don’t go to plan. What I love about Hypnobirthing is that the benefits are more far reaching than just...

5 reasons to hire a birth photographer

This guest blog is from the lovely Karolina Anilorak who is a birth photographer in Edinburgh. I was lucky to have a truly enjoyable and fulfilling labour and birth, my only slight regret would be that I have no photographs to document the wonderful experience; I wish I had known Karolina when I was giving birth! Here she shares with us five benefits of hiring a birth photographer. The day your child is born will become one of the most important and amazing days of your life and you will probably want to have it documented in some way. In this digital age it is easy enough for your birth partner to snap a few pictures with their smart phone as soon as your baby is born, so why should you hire a Birth Photographer? According to The International Association of Birth Photographers (IAPBP), each year more and more parents invite professional photographers to witness and capture their birth experience. The documentary nature of this type of photography means that there is no posing, backgrounds or props – a birth photographer is not there to only take pictures of your private parts and they are not going to ask you to smile in the middle of an intense contraction. Birth photography is documentary photography at its core and birth photographers are flies on the walls who document your Birth Story as it unfolds, capturing every little detail of your birth experience. Birth Photography is still very new in the UK and especially Scotland. It is, however, completely normal and appropriate to hire a professional photographer for other once in a lifetime occasions like weddings or christenings – these are...

Group B strep in pregnancy

The treatment of Group B Strep in pregnancy continues to be a hot topic, and one that can understandably be very emotive. It is often hard to find both sides of the argument in one place, so here is a brief overview for those of you who have trolled the internet for information about this topic and come away confused. In most cases the pregnant mother is symptom free and unaware that she is carrying this common bacteria. It is estimated that approximately 15 – 40% of all pregnant women are colonised with Group B Streptococcus and between 40 – 70% of these mothers pass the bacteria onto their babies during the birthing process. Whilst most of these babies are not affected by this bacteria, an extremely small number, approximately 1- 2% will go on to develop a Group B Strep infection.   The treatment of Group B Strep in pregnancy continues to be a hot topic, and one that can understandably be very emotive. Group B Strep Support are currently campaigning in the UK for routine screening of GBS  to be offered to all women in pregnancy, however the NHS does not advocate this as there is limited evidence regarding the benefit of this. It is has now become routine in the UK for women who have Group B Strep in pregnancy to be offered antibiotic treatment in labour, however it now seems that evidence  regarding the effectiveness of this practise is lacking and furthermore no one method of screening or treatment will prevent all GBS infant deaths. In the rare cases when a baby does contracts Group B Strep the consequences can range from mild to in extreme cases even fatal, whilst...

The Elephant Midwives

Remember the Elephant Midwives By Gemma Nealon; Midwife and Natal Hypnotherapist Elephants have midwives too.  In the wild they have midwives who surround them in a circle during their labour & birth, protecting the pregnant mother, whilst swaying along with the labouring elephant. The elephant midwives may care for the pregnant elephants throughout their long gestation of over 21 months, during labour & birth, and throughout infancy. In labour, the elephant midwives may stroke the birthing mother and make sounds along with the labouring elephant. Within the circle of birth, the midwives protect the mother elephant and assist the newborn to be released from the amniotic sac, stand up &  take its first steps. The wisdom of the elephant midwives, demonstrates the power of birth attendants, be it birth partner, doula or midwife, supporting women during labour and birth, to protect the birthing mother from unnecessary disturbances, isolation, and...

The Hormones of Labour and Birth: Friend or Foe?

The Hormones of Labour & Birth: Friend or Foe? By Gemma Nealon Mother nature is kind. She has gifted the birthing woman with everything her body needs to give birth; a cocktail of hormones ready to serve and guide the labouring Mother’s body every step of the way. Although during labour and birth many hormones are involved, three of these hormones have a key role to play. These hormones are oxytocin, the hormone of love; endorphins, the natural pain and stress reliever; adrenaline, the famous flight or flight hormone. The important thing to recognise about these hormones is that a pregnant woman’s state of mind and the environment in which she births, can dramatically influence these hormones in labour and therefore the course of her labour. To understand this is a gift, as it means the labouring woman and her birth partner can make sure that the hormones of labour and birth became their friend, and not their foe. Michel Odent (1994), the famous Obstetrician and author states, “..the balanced secretion of hormones is a delicate matter, highly responsive to external conditions and psychological states” To elaborate on this, the labouring woman’s body, left undisturbed in labour, will produce a divine cocktail of the aforementioned hormones that work harmoniously together to facilitate a spontaneous, safe, natural and potentially transcendent labour and birth. Quite sensibly however, this cocktail of hormones can do quite the opposite if the labouring woman’s body is disturbed or under sustained stress in labour. First, let us look at the hormone oxytocin. We still do not know exactly what happens for a woman to go into...