What is a Doula?

So you might have googled ‘Doula Near Me’  or find my Doula.  A myriad of searches may have brought you here.  But what is a doula?  And Why do you need one!

The First time I heard the word Doula …

I can remember the first time I heard the word ‘Doula’ it was said in the same sentence that mentioned ‘Independent Midwives’.  I was well in my 30’s and had already had 3 children.  I was amazed that I could have had private independent care!  

I had visions of Middle Aged hippy women wearing flowing skirts, cardigans and beaded necklaces!  I couldn’t have been further from the truth!  Most of the doulas I have come into contact with since I started this journey have been younger women with a passion for birth that they just want to spread to other birthing people.  When you get the Birthing bug – you are caught!  You have no option but to share the love of physiological birth with whoever you meet.

So I have learned, over the last few weeks that I have been doing my Developing Doula training, that Doula’s are not just for hippies who want to chant their babies out with splashing water and scent sticks!

They are for all birthing people! THEY ARE FOR YOU!

So whether you are planning an Elective Caesarean, whether you are planning to have your baby on the Delivery Suite with Obstetric care nearby.  Or whether you are having a straightforward pregnancy and are after the safety of a Homebirth, or a Waterbirth at the Birthing Centre. I can support you whether you choose to birth at Medway Hospital’s The Birth Place.  Or at Maidstone’s Birth Centre.  I can support you at QEQM, Margate, or at the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford.  Pembury Hospital is also within my catchment area which covers all of Kent and into the London borough of Bexley.

It does not matter whether you plan a home, hospital, birthing centre or to give birth in your garden, As your Doula, I can help you navigate the system!

Doula’s come in all shapes and sizes, and there will be a doula that you instantly click with when you meet them.  We are a well trained, informed bunch of practitioners who can support all kinds of births in all sorts of settings. As a former Midwife, my expertise is translating the medical jargon and making the most complicated medical conditions seem manageable where possible.

You are the pregnant person, your vision for your birth is unique to you and as your Doula, I will support your vision wherever and however you choose to birth.

7 things to think about when being induced

There has been a lot written about induction of labour recently.  The new highly controversial NICE guidelines are due to be published in the coming weeks.  The guidelines are due to recommend routine induction at 39 weeks for all women, with a higher BMI, women who have had IVF or AFT’s, Women of Black, Brown, Asian, or other Ethnic family backgrounds.  It is also proposed that all women should be induced by 41 weeks gestation.  

You can read Dr Sara Wickham’s response here [www.drsarawickham.com/?s=10+reasons+induction+nice].  I am not a researcher and tend to go with my gut feelings about what is right and what is not.  These new guidelines do not feel right to me!  Sara Wickham’s response echoes the thoughts of the birth workers that I have been reading over the last few weeks and I would encourage you to have a look at some of the responses to the draft guidelines that have been written in the last few weeks.

So induction of labour.   It is not disputed that for some women whose pregnancies have run into difficulties Induction of Labour is a really good thing.  So what can we do to make the process more bearable?

Thinking about, and making a birth plan is a really good idea.

  • Think about who you will have supporting you during this time.  Do you want your partner with you, or your mum, or a trusted friend or Doula?  What are the arrangements on the ward for visitors and birth partners?  Do you want your partner to stay overnight or be at home resting?  
  • What will your plans be for keeping comfortable?  Will you want to mobilize or bounce on a birthing ball,  snuggle up in your pillow from home?  Have another thing about pain relief. In the earlier stages things like gas and air and epidurals are not available, but, Pethidine and other oral forms of pain relief, may be?  Will you want to have a shower, or bath?  Water can be a great help.  Think about bringing in a couple of your things from home.  Battery twinkle lights, aromatherapy sprays for your pillow.  Your partner’s t-shirt can be a comfort if you are on your own.  Little things like these can make a big difference to how you feel about the space you are in.
  • We know that listening to your birth affirmations and visualisations make a really big difference to how you cope with induction of labour.  Being peaceful and calm gives you the best chance of the drugs taking effect.
  • What about monitoring your baby’s heartbeat? Once labour gets going continuous monitoring will be recommended, however, this is your choice, would you prefer intermittent monitoring, or telemetry where there are no wires and you may be able to use the pool?
  • We know that mobilizing in labour is important, what strategies are you going to use for staying off of the bed?  Using upright, forward and open positions that are good for helping the baby rotate in the pelvis.  Upright positions for birth are also great to use, leaning over the back of the bed, or hands and knees.  Standing by the bed. Avoiding sitting on your tail bones allows the pelvis to open and the baby to descend.
  • After your baby is born, you will be able to spend time skin to skin.
  • Talking through your options with your antenatal team will help you understand how induction of labour works and how it progresses to the birth of your baby.  

Undergoing and induction of labour is a big decision to make and should not be taken lightly, but with a deep understanding of the risks (and benefits) that come with bringing a baby into the world before both you and your baby are ready.

Tegan’s Birth Story

This is the Story of Lilly’s Birth.  I have permission to post and names have not been changed at the clients request.

“All throughout my scans I was told that my baby was on the smaller side.  At my 36 week scan I was told that I had a small baby and that I would be induced at 38 weeks because she had fallen behind on the chart.  Gill had spoken to me about induction of labour in the hypnobirthing session and had told me how it worked.

I messaged Gill about what they wanted to do.  I was a little worried and she spoke it through with me again and she reassured me.

I went into the hospital on Thursday and they put 5 rods up me and ended up breaking my waters. It was really painful and I forgot to breathe and Levi had to remind me to do the hypnobirthing breathing – it really helped calm me down and focus on one thing! I was left to go into labour and spent the night trying to sleep, but was uncomfortable.  I listened to my tracks but was really worried about my waters having gone and being left.  The breathing really helped.

I spent most of Friday breathing and swaying and things started to feel like they were happening at about 2 on the Saturday morning.  Levi came back to the hospital and I was moved to the delivery suite.  I was doing really well swaying and leaning over the bed, but my phone kept going and my surges slowed down. Gill had explained that an epidural could be a good thing if I need to have the drip and so I ended up having an epidural in the afternoon.  My baby was born after about half an hour of pushing at half past 8 in the evening.

We had to stay in hospital for a few days as my baby had caught an infection, but we are home now all is good and she is breastfeeding well.    I was so glad that I had done the hypnobirthing classes as I knew what to expect and did not feel anxious.”

Author Note:

Tegan came to me when she was about 32 weeks pregnant, she was anxious and worried about her birth. It was such a pleasure to watch her grow and make decisions that were right for her. She has blossomed as a new mother and it has been a real pleasure getting to know her and baby Lily.

Early days and Infant Feeding

Looking after a baby is a hard 24hour around the clock affair.  It’s unpredictable.  So it’s important to rest and to try not to plan to go out in the first few weeks.  Disturbed nights take their toll and you will both be worn out for a while.  It is good to arrange for extra support with things like cooking and cleaning for at least the first month. 

A baby is born expecting to breastfeed and often the first feed goes really well.  The baby will use all its reflexes to find the way to the breast to feed.  The first milk we produce is called Colostrum,  It is very nutrient dense and is full of antibodies and stem cells.  It is the most important feed that any baby can have,  the colostrum lines the infant’s gut and is the first layer of protection.  During the golden hour following birth you will be encouraged to do lots of skin to skin with your baby.  Both parents can do Skin to skin as it is one of the best tools that you have in the early days and weeks of parenting.

Breastfeeding is a learned art, its a bit like learning to walk, you are going to fall on your backside a few times.  But you will get up and try again.  There is lots you can both do to get feeding off to a good start.  Watching other mothers feed their babies is the ideal way to learn, but failing that Medway Public Health’s We are beside you initiative has a fantastic resources section and I’d encourage you to watch the videos together.  

Around the 3rd or 4th day the supply will dramatically increase,so its really important to feed the baby often during this time to keep the breasts drained.  It is often accompanied by the ’Baby Blues’  when your partner will feel really emotional.  This is normal and it’s down to the hormones sorting themselves out.  Understanding that this is likely to happen means that the birth partner is in a better place to reassure the mother that all is well.

Bottle feeding

Now, some Parent will choose not to breastfeed, there are many reasons behind these decision and its although it is not a decision to be made lightly, it is a decision that many parents come to.  If you are planning to bottle feed from the start it is important to get your feeding equipment ready to take into the hospital with you.  You will need to take in a couple of bottles (pre sterilised) and small bottles of UHT first stage milk.  Sterilizing facilities are available whilst you are there and the MSWs at the hospital will help you with this.  You will be shown how to do paced feeding with your baby and how to encourage your baby to latch onto the bottle so that your baby is in control of how much milk that they drink.

There is more information about choosing formula milk at First Steps Nutrition.  This is really worth reading as there are a lot of options out there.  There are many sorts of milk for many different situations.  But generally you will need a first stage formula.  All first stage formula is regulated and must contain the same basic ingredients.  Each manufacturer will advertise their formula as containing the best this or that, but it doesnt change the fact that they are all basically the same.  If you are sold by the organic label, then do look at what percentage of the formula is actually organic, I understand that it can be very little.

All formula should be made up using the current government guidelines.  Formula powder is not sterile and ill prepared formula has been known to cause gastroenteritis and very sick babies.  Its really important that every bottle is made up with 70 degree boiled water and cooled to the right temperature for baby. You can find more information on the baby friendly unicef website.

Did you know that formula milk companies are not allowed to advertise to new parents?  That is the subject of a whole other blog post!

Avocating

There is so much more to a hypnobirthing course than just breathing and science!

One of the most important aspects of antenatal education is learning about informed choice and how to advocate for yourselves.  This is something to think about long before labour starts and understanding what is a ‘good’ source of information is also very helpful when you are making important decisions together. As part of the birth planning process we will look at the pros & cons of different situations and what, why and how different interventions might be offered to you. 

‘Offered’ it’s one of the key things to understand.  It means exactly that… Offered. We are suggesting this course of action. We are recommending this course of action.. The decision is yours as to whether you think it would be right for you at this time.

Using the BRAINS tool is a good way of working out whether the course of action is for you.

Benefits – What are the benefits of this test or procedure for me and my baby?

Risks – What are the risks of this test or procedure for me and my baby?

Alternatives – Are there any alternatives to this test or procedure?

Intuition/Instinct– What do I think about this test or procedure,  Does it worry me, make me happy, do I need to ask for another opinion?

Nothing – What would happen if I did nothing?

Smile! – Because it makes every difficult thing seem a little easier.

Here are a couple of scenarios to show how to use it.

Example one

Your partner is being offered an induction because an USS has said that there may be a Large Baby on board. And you have been told about the risk of your baby getting stuck.

Benefit – Your baby will be born soon. If your baby is compromised then an expedited delivery may be beneficial for the baby.

Risks – Your baby will be born before s/he is physically ready.  This may affect their well being and their ability to feed.  It will affect your mental health as your body is not ready yet to give birth.  

Induction of labour is a medicalised procedure that uses synthetic hormones to attempt to kick start your body into labour before it is ready. It is a painful process to go through when your body does not have the right hormonal balance in place to deal with the sensations. 

The artificial hormone drip will force the uterus to contract and the baby will move down through the pelvis in a forced manner.  The risk of dystocia (baby getting stuck) increases.

There is a much greater need for intervention, greater use of pain relief is often needed, Epidurals are commonplace when syntocinon hormones are in use.

This leads to a higher chance of needing a cesarean.

Alternatives – What alternatives are you being offered?  Has a sweep been suggested?  Has an Elective Cesarean been suggested.

Intuition – what is your instinct telling you to do?  Wait?  Proceed?  Do you need to take some time out to think about it and talk it through together? You know that ultrasound scans can be 2lbs out either way when measuring your baby. You are worried about having a syntocionon drip and forced surges. Failure to wait is often a significant reason why babies get stuck.  Pulling a baby with instruments, that has not turned fully in the pelvis is another reason for the baby getting stuck. 

Nothing – If you do nothing you will go into labour naturally when your body is ready.  Statistics show that mothers do not generally grow babies that do not pass through her pelvis.  Many 13lb babies are born at home physiologically with no intervention. If a baby is genuinely too large for your pelvis labour will often stall and an alternative delivery method may be required at that point.

Smile – Smile! Its a great stress reliever and will help you make your decision.

Example Two

Your partner’s labour has stalled, she is getting upset and is in pain.  An Epidural has been suggested along with a Syntocinon Drip to restart the surges to come more regularly.

Benefit – An epidural will go some way to relieving the pain that your partner is in and the syntocinon drip will help the labour progress to delivery of the baby.

Risks – Epidural Anesthesia is known to have many risks which will be explained to you by the Anaesthetist before the needle is sited in your Partner’s back.  These include, spinal cord injury, severe headaches, and paralysis.  

  • An Epidural main effect is making it very difficult for a birthing person to move freely around, this in turn makes it difficult for them to move into optimal birthing positions to help the baby move through the pelvis, thus making Instrumental and Surgical Delivery of the baby more likely.
  • Syntocinon Drips, increase the level of oxytocin in a mother’s blood stream and this in turn ramps up the contractions,  this can lead to the baby becoming distressed and an emergency surgical delivery may become necessary

Alternatives-  There are a few things that you can try to get the labour back on track.  First of all identifying what has caused the raising of the Adrenaline levels in the first place is so important.  Were the lights put on?  Was there a change of staffing?  Does she need her bladder emptying, food and fluid may seem obvious, but are often forgotten as labour progresses. What doesn’t she like? What is upsetting her?

Most important of all, is the need to reduce the amount of Adrenaline in the birthing person’s system.   Movement and gentle swaying in an upright position can help align the baby’s head more firmly on the cervix.  Using the visualisations, Affirmation and the Easy Breathing Techniques can all help align the hormone balance back in favour of birthing naturally. Privacy will help, lock yourselves in the bathroom for a little while to re-engage. These things may take a little while to help, so patience is key.  

Intuition-  Listen to your partner, what does she think is wrong, and what does she think needs to change.  Is the baby moving?  How have the surges changed for her.

Nothing –  What will happen if you do nothing?  Will the pain and fear resolve on its own?  Will the baby become distressed?  Is the baby distressed now?  These things should help you inform your decision making.

Smile – As before! Smile, you’ll feel so much better for it!

A hypnobirthing course with Medway Hypnobirth, will look at how birth happens and when you know how birth works, it makes it much easier to make decisions based on facts rather than fear of the unknown.  Trust your instincts and get yourselves informed for birth.

How to help on the day

Things dads/partners can do at the birth

The role of the birthing partner at a birth is that of support and encouragement.  This can range from being a quiet presence in the background to actively cheerleading and supporting as necessary

Birth partners are generally put in charge of the environmental things,  So setting up the birthing pool.  Sorting out the lighting, connecting the music and mp3s to the bluetooth speak.  Sorting out the floor covering and making their partners a nest to birth in.   Making sure that the camera is charged.  This is not the time to find out that there is no storage left on your phone or no petrol in the car!

When at the hospital you’ll need to be carrying the bags so make sure that they are not too heavy and that you have used wheeled bags if possible.  You might like to put some battery candles around and/or use room sprays to make the room smell more like at home.  These little touches  will help  to help make the environment feel like it is more personally yours.  This feeling of being comfortable really helps get the oxytocin hormone flowing.

Hypnobirthing classes provide will give you a set of tools that will help you support your partners in the birth room.  Just by being there, you will fulfil the role of  advocate, entertainer and chief support person.

Being a quiet presence is one of those things that is hard to teach, when there is oxytocin flowing it is easy but when there is adrenaline, then the fight, flight, freeze reaction can kick in. You know and love your partner and may be able to change the situation to put the birth journey back on track. A little light touch massage may really help her, but also she may wish you not to speak, not to touch, whilst at the same time still wanting you to be present.

Breathing techniques, if practiced regularly, will come naturally.  And a gentle reminder to your partner is all that is necessary.  Just breathing with her is often enough to remind her to slow down. Encouraging her to change position regularly and empty her bladder regularly.    Providing snacks that are easy to eat and digest can be useful.  Think Jelly babies and biscuits!  Oaty Snackbars are good for a more sustained effect.  

Reminding her to empty her bladder regularly is important as it can impede the baby’s journey through the pelvis.  I like to suggest an hourly reminder.

If you are going in for induction of labour or for elective surgery then take some things to amuse you.  If you are wound up, hot and irritated, then so will your partner and that is not what is needed for birth to happen.  There can be long expanses of time when not a lot is happening. Taking a good book or some films to watch can make all the difference.  Remember you need to be calm and have the love for your partner flowing for labour and birth to work effectively. 

Just being there is the most important thing.

Partners and birth

The role of the birthing partner at a birth is that of support and encouragement.  This can range from being a quiet presence in the background to actively cheerleading and supporting as necessary

Birth partners are generally put in charge of the environmental things,  So setting up the birthing pool.  Sorting out the lighting, connecting the music and mp3s to the bluetooth speak.  Sorting out the floor covering and making their partners a nest to birth in.   Making sure that the Camera is charged.  This is not the time to find out that there is no storage left on your phone or no petrol in the car!

When at the hospital you’ll need to be carrying the bags so make sure that they are not too heavy and that you have used wheeled bags if possible.  You might like to put some battery candles around and/or use room sprays to make the room smell more like at home.  These little touches  will help  to help make the environment feel like it is more personally yours.  This feeling of being comfortable really helps get the oxytocin hormone flowing.

Hypnobirthing tuition provides partners with a set of tools that will help them support their partners in the birth room.  Just by being there, the partner fulfils the role as  advocate, entertainer and chief support person.

Being a quiet presence is one of those things that is hard to teach, when there is oxytocin flowing it is easy but when there is adrenaline, then the fight, flight, freeze reaction can kick in.  A partner may be able to change the situation and put the birth journey back on track. A little light touch massage may really help her, but also she may wish you not to speak, not to touch, whilst at the same time still wanting you to be present.

Breathing techniques, if practiced regularly, will come naturally.  And a gentle reminder to your partner is all that is necessary.  Just breathing with her is often enough to remind her to slow down. Encouraging her to change position regularly and empty her bladder regularly.    Providing snacks that are easy to eat and digest can be useful.  Think Jelly babies and biscuits!  Oaty Snackbars are good for a more sustained effect.  

Reminding her to empty her bladder regularly is important as it can impede the baby’s journey through the pelvis.  I like to suggest an hourly reminder.

If you are going in for induction of labour or for elective surgery then take some things to amuse you.  A wound up, hot and irritated partner is not what is needed for birth to happen and as there can be long expanses of time when not a lot is happening taking a good book or some films to watch can make all the difference.  Remember you need to be calm and have the love for your partner flowing for labour and birth to work effectively. 

Just being there is the most important thing.

Book Review

Men, Love & Birth by Mark Harris, 2015

I was given a preview copy of this quite a few years ago for review, but I’m not sure that I ever got around to actually reviewing it!

This book has been written by Midwife Mark Harris and is aimed at Men who are supporting their Partners in the birth room. 

It looks at the history of men in the birth room and identifies that this is a relatively new thing (Last 50 or so years).  I was born in the late 60’s and can confirm that my Father was down the pub, when my mum had her homebirth with me!

Dads have taken on an unfamiliar role with no actual guidance over this time and this is the first book that I have come across that has unpicked this unique situation from a male partner’s point of view. The way it is written could be described as being a chat with a mate down the pub, which is ideal for those who do not want to wade through vast text books.  This is great to dip in and out of when the need arises.

This Book is full of practice guidance for Husbands, Partners and male Lovers.  His understanding of the male role at birth has led him to identify several helpful practices that partners can practice in the run up to the birth itself.  Many of which he can carry forward into life with a newborn.

Mark appears to have done a really good job, and the pointers that he comes up with support the hypnobirth teachings from the Dad’s perspective.  He uses the term ‘your pregnant lover’ quite freely, which at first I found a bit naff.  But soon started to identify the emotions that he was seeking to uncover with the insight he exudes.

This book has stood the test of time in that most women birthing their baby’s are in gender typical relationships. In the current situation where support networks are  restricted, this book provides a vital tool for men in the birth room.

NB, this book is written from the Male partner supporting his Female Lover, point of view.  These terms are used freely within.  If you can overlook the gender typical language, this book is great at looking at the birthing person/partner roles from any perspective. 

Some Useful Websites

This post contains a wealth of information from all over the web.  It has links to various useful sources of information that you will find useful in pregnancy and beyond. I am not affiliated with any of these websites and share them purely for information purposes only.   

Here is a list of useful apps and websites 

Pregnancy Apps

Best Beginnings – this  Baby Buddy app has been made by midwives to support women through pregnancy.  It is endorsed by many organisations including the Royal college of midwives.

https://www.babybuddyapp.co.uk/

When looking at different apps to download, be mindful of what the app is advertising.  

Eating well in pregnancy

www.firststepsnutrition.org/eating-well-in-pregnancy

www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy

We know that eating well in pregnancy is so important.  Making sure you are eating lots of fruit and vegetables will help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to grow your baby.  Frozen fruit and vegetables are a good way of buying them.

For your partner.

https://birthing4blokes.com/articles/

Mindfulness

I obviously would recommend that you book onto my hypnobirthing course to learn lots of techniques that will help you towards the end of your pregnancy, in labour and beyond.  However! … there are other sources of mindfulness work out there.  Headspace have a section that is dedicated to pregnancy and I believe that a free trial is available.

https://www.headspace.com/blog/?s=pregnancy

The Calm App is also very good, but does not have a pregnancy section.

Induction of Labour

Information about induction of labour can be found at www.nice.org.uk Induction of labour clinical guideline [CG70].  Nice guidelines are the government protocols that trust must follow when offering you interventions.

Sara Wickam is a midwife who writes about Birth from a woman’s perspective: 

www.sarawickham.com/articles-2/ten-things-i-wish-every-woman-knew-about-induction-of-labour-the-article

Dr Rachel Reed  is a midwife who campaigns for women’s rights.

www.midwifethinking.com/2016/07/13/induction-of-labour-balancing-risks/

These are both very interesting blogs covering lots of topics

Birth Plans

This is a link to the positive birth company’s wonderful resource. https://www.positivebirthmovement.org/visualbirthplanicons/

Safe Sleep

www.basisonline.org.uk  Durham university does a lot of research into safe infant sleep and is the best source of information out there.

www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/  Also has a lot of good information with regards to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Infant feeding

www.firststepsnutrition.org/parents-carers

First steps has really good information about formula milk

Here is some information about concerns with baby prep machines

www.wearebesideyou.co.uk  Is the Kent and Medway infant feeding support site.  They run one to one peer support sessions for pregnancy and the website has lots of videos on infant feeding on it.  It also links out to other really good support websites.

Medway Midwives will do all they can to support your feeding journey.  They are all Baby friendly trained.  Hayley Clinton RM is (at the time of writing)  the infant feeding lead and runs a drop in clinic together with the Health Visitors, once a week for infant feeding issues such as tongue tie and latching issues.

Sling Library

Mid Kent Babywearing have a sling library so that you can try out different slings and find out what will work for you and your baby.  This is their facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/MidKentBabywearing/

Cloth Nappies

There are many sources of information about cloth nappies.  This seems like a good starting point for information gathering.

https://www.thenappylady.co.uk/news/cloth-nappies.html

www.cheekywipes.com – for all your reusable cloth nappy and wipe needs.  There are other similar companies around.  This code will give you some money off. (I have not yet investigated how it works or whether it can be considered an affiliate link)

https://mention-me.com/m/ol/sv1kd-gill-marchant

Postnatal care

Housework! – www.theorganisedmum.blog/free-printables/ The organised mum has a simple but effective cleaning routine going on. It is basically around 10-15 mins of daily cleaning of the most used spaces. Plus around a 30 minuted clean and tidy of one room a day. I’ve personally followed this for a number of years and can say that it works well if you follow it! This is purely a suggestion and I am definitely not advocating that it is used in the immediate postnatal period!

Health Visitors – Medway

Here is a link to the local Health visiting service.  The health visitor will take over your care from the Midwife when your baby is around 10 days old.

https://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/our-services/a-z-services/child-health-service

Registering your baby

You have 6 weeks to register your baby after s/he is born.  You must make an appointment to do this and can use the weblink below.  A baby legally has its Mother’s surname until they are registered.  If you are married, either you or your partner can register the baby.  If you are not married then the mother must be present to register the birth.  There is more information about this on the Registry Office website below.

https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200155/births/14/register_a_birth

Virtual tour of Medway Maternity. 

Disclaimer,  I am not affiliated to any of these organisations nor do I receive any payments from them.  They are just websites that I feel offer a good service or good information.

I am an affiliated member of the Royal College of Midwives, who do endorse some of these companies.

Useful Websites and Information

This post contains a wealth of information from all over the web  It has links to various useful sources of information that you will find useful in pregnancy and beyond. I am not affiliated with any of these websites and share them purely for information purposes only.   

Here is a list of useful apps and websites 

Pregnancy Apps

Best Beginnings – this  Baby Buddy app has been made by midwives to support women through pregnancy.  It is endorsed by many organisations including the Royal college of midwives.

https://www.babybuddyapp.co.uk/

When looking at different apps to download, be mindful of what the app is advertising.  

Eating well in pregnancy

www.firststepsnutrition.org/eating-well-in-pregnancy

www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy

We know that eating well in pregnancy is so important.  Making sure you are eating lots of fruit and vegetables will help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to grow your baby.  Frozen fruit and vegetables are a good way of buying them.

For your partner.

https://birthing4blokes.com/articles/

Mindfulness

I obviously would recommend that you book onto my hypnobirthing course to learn lots of techniques that will help you towards the end of your pregnancy, in labour and beyond.  However! … there are other sources of mindfulness work out there.  Headspace have a section that is dedicated to pregnancy and I believe that a free trial is available.

https://www.headspace.com/blog/?s=pregnancy

The Calm App is also very good, but does not have a pregnancy section.

Induction of Labour

Information about induction of labour can be found at www.nice.org.uk Induction of labour clinical guideline [CG70].  Nice guidelines are the government protocols that trust must follow when offering you interventions.

Sara Wickam is a midwife who writes about Birth from a woman’s perspective: 

www.sarawickham.com/articles-2/ten-things-i-wish-every-woman-knew-about-induction-of-labour-the-article

Dr Rachel Reed  is a midwife who campaigns for women’s rights.

www.midwifethinking.com/2016/07/13/induction-of-labour-balancing-risks/

These are both very interesting blogs covering lots of topics

Birth Plans

Here is a link to https://thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk/birth-preferences

Placenta Remedies

Here is a link to a local placenta encapsulation company in Rochester. https://theplacentaconnection.co.uk/

Safe Sleep

www.basisonline.org.uk  Durham university does a lot of research into safe infant sleep and is the best source of information out there.

www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/  Also has a lot of good information with regards to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Infant feeding

www.firststepsnutrition.org/parents-carers

First steps has really good information about formula milk

Here is some information about concerns with baby prep machines

www.wearebesideyou.co.uk  Is the Kent and Medway infant feeding support site.  They run one to one peer support sessions for pregnancy and the website has lots of videos on infant feeding on it.  It also links out to other really good support websites.

Medway Midwives will do all they can to support your feeding journey.  They are all Baby friendly trained.  Hayley Clinton RM is (at the time of writing)  the infant feeding lead and runs a drop in clinic together with the Health Visitors, once a week for infant feeding issues such as tongue tie and latching issues.

Sling Library

Mid Kent Babywearing have a sling library so that you can try out different slings and find out what will work for you and your baby.  This is their facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/MidKentBabywearing/

Cloth Nappies

There are many sources of information about cloth nappies.  This seems like a good starting point for information gathering.

https://www.thenappylady.co.uk/news/cloth-nappies.html

www.cheekywipes.com – for all your reusable cloth nappy and wipe needs.  There are other similar companies around.  This code will give you some money off. (I have not yet investigated how it works or whether it can be considered an affiliate link)

https://mention-me.com/m/ol/sv1kd-gill-marchant

Health Visitors – Medway

Here is a link to the local Health visiting service.  The health visitor will take over your care from the Midwife when your baby is around 10 days old.

https://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/our-services/a-z-services/child-health-service

Registering your baby

You have 6 weeks to register your baby after s/he is born.  You must make an appointment to do this and can use the weblink below.  A baby legally has its Mother’s surname until they are registered.  If you are married, either you or your partner can register the baby.  If you are not married then the mother must be present to register the birth.  There is more information about this on the Registry Office website below.

https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200155/births/14/register_a_birth

Disclaimer,  I am not affiliated to any of these organisations nor do I receive any payments from them.  They are just websites that I feel offer a good service or good information.

I am an affiliated member of the Royal College of Midwives, who do endorse some of these companies.

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