Woody’s Unplanned Homebirth!

I was getting fed up as I neared a week overdue. I saw the midwife on Tuesday morning and politely declined a sweep or induction as deep down I knew that baby would come when ready and not when everyone else told me…I hated the pressure of being overdue again, but kept reminding myself that we weren’t quite ready.
I went for a long walk on Tuesday and bounced on the ball for hours practising my breathing. I was getting a few mild pains but I didn’t think much of it. By about 9pm that evening I was getting more discomfort and braxton hicks but nothing major so I watched a nice film and went to sleep listening to affirmations.

I woke at 1.30am with a definite surge but managed to breathe through it fine. More surges started soon after but I was managing them really well just using surge breathing and listening to the affirmations and I couldn’t believe how much it helped.
I really felt like I was breathing so much oxygen into my abdomen and that it completely changed the way I experienced the sensations (compared to my previous birth experience). Tony, my husband, was due to take Eva (our daughter) to the childminder at 8, but by about 7.20 I suggested maybe we ask the childminder to pick Eva up for us as I felt I couldn’t let Tony leave… She arrived to collect Eva at 7.45 and then after another two very big surges we decided it was definitely time to get to Solihull Hospital.

I took one step down the stairs and had the biggest surge I have ever experienced and my waters gushed everywhere and suddenly I had a huge and uncontrollable urge to push! I put my hand down my leggings and could feel his head starting to emerge!

Tony called an ambulance and somehow managed to carry me back up the stairs and into our bedroom where I got on all fours on the rug. Two paramedics (neither of which had ever delivered a baby!) arrived and said we needed to go to hospital.  I (not very politely at all) told them that there was no way I was moving!

Within 5 mins the head was out and then his body followed a few minutes after. Tony helped to deliver him and cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating. It was very intense at the end, and I definitely wasn’t quiet (our poor neighbours must have got a fright!) but I was so glad that I managed it and that everything was OK.

It took about 40 minutes for the placenta to come out, which was actually the worst bit because I was really struggling to hold him or do anything because the surges were still so strong. When it finally came out we were taken to Solihull Hospital where I had some stitches and we both got checked over. I was in a bit of shock (all a little too quick) and we ended up staying the night which was nice.
In retrospect, I should have really gone to the hospital at about 6am as I had started to really moan through the surges without being able to stop the noise and I sensed that something had changed, but as I was still coping so well I thought I would carry on for a bit longer.
My lovely cream John Lewis rug will never be the same again, but it was all worth it. Edward, (Woody to us) was born at 41+8 and 7lb15, exactly when he was ready!
The breathing techniques helped so much to keep me in control so thank you for everything!

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Screw the birth prep…I’m gonna wing it…

hypnobirthing solihull, pregnancy, antenatal classes“Screw the birth prep…I’m gonna wing it”….



This (or something similar) I hear quite regularly. From educated, intelligent women.

Women who revised for their GCSE’s, NVQ’s, A Levels, Degrees, Diploma’s so they had the knowledge and information that they needed.

Women who practised driving prior to their test so they could feel confident.

Women who researched for interviews.  Did practice questions and answers so that they were aware of the latest developments within their careers. And knew as much information about the prospective employer as possible.

Women who thought about what they were going to wear on a first date, considered what the atmosphere would be like, how to connect with their beau (lots of batting of eyelashes and fancy knickers etc!).

Yet, when it comes to what is ultimately THE most important moment of their lives…the moment when they they bring their precious baby into the world and begin the life changing process of becoming a parent, they opt for…winging it.

It just doesn’t make sense.

There must be a reason why women choose not to educate themselves about birth.

Why they choose not to practice breathing and relaxation techniques.

Why they don’t consider making an informed choice about where to birth their baby.

Why they don’t think about the environment in which their baby will born.

Could it be fear? Fear of standing out, being different to others. Fear of things not working out as they had planned.

Could it be tunnel vision? We are all so programmed to believe that birth is this horrible experience we have no control over…is it just too hard for people to think it could be better than that? If they think it’s going to be awful anyway perhaps there isn’t any point in doing any prep.

Could it be blind faith? Total and utter faith in your body, that it knows what to do…so why do anything?

I’m not sure what the reason is. Maybe there are many. What I do know is that women who spend time preparing for labour and birth using Hypnobirthing have the benefit of;

  • Increasing their knowledge about birth- knowledge is power
  • They find the best place to birth their baby and realise that a hospital birth surrounded by doctors isn’t always the best place for you to give birth (but also that sometimes it is)
  • They take time to connect and bond with their baby. Preparing themselves for parenthood.
  • They feel positive about their upcoming birth and empowered to make decisions.
  • They know their options
  • They know that not every labour sails by without a problem, but they feel confident that they can adapt to whatever may occur
  • Their partners know how to support them because they have been through the classes together.
  • Their partners can advocate and communicate well with care providers

Women who prepare for birth using Hypnobirthing make such massive changes to their mindset and the way they feel about birth, it transforms their pregnancy, birth experience and even impacts their whole lives for the better.

Why wing it? Why chance it? You only get one shot at each birth- so make it the best most positive experience it can possibly be.

Book onto one of my FREE taster sessions (run monthly) or try the  first session of Hypnobirthing for FREE in November. Email to find out more.

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Did Bridget Jones have a positive birth?

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Last night I went to see “Bridget Jones’ Baby” and I literally cried with laughter all the way through. I even found the birthy bit funny and actually saw some real benefits to the portrayal of birth within the film. I could bang on about the really negative reflections of birth that I saw and how damaging they can be to women and their birth experiences but I chose to see the positive instead.

It’s a real bug bear of mine to have to watch women in labour on the telly or in films and see what should be the most empowering moment of our lives shown in such a damaging light. We have OBEM inflicted on us every year and then every soap, boxset or film I watch, showing a women in labour, makes me eye roll, shake my head and tut.

So it came as surprise, just how funny and positive I found this film.

Ok, so there were times when Bridget was lying on her back and she did bite down on (one of) her partner’s hands causing him to bleed…

…and yes, she also did some suspect purple pushing…

…and there was some derogatory comments from the Obstetrician…

But other than that- she rocked it (or rather the film producers could have portrayed the birth in a much more negative light).

If this was a real birth I would be wanting to high five Bridget and tell her how incredible she is. No drugs, no intervention, all natural vaginal birth.

During her pregnancy, she and her birth partners attended antenatal classes and learnt massage techniques and how to breathe (the breathing Bridget ended up doing during labour was more likely to cause her to hyperventilate than actually help but still…). Seeing as a ridiculously low number of women don’t even attend the FREE antenatal classes that are available from the NHS and by private companies, it was nice to see that Bridget, and her 2 birth companions attended the classes, enjoyed them and learnt a thing or two as well.

In my classes I suggest to the Birth Companion that he/she does WHATEVER is needed by the birthing mother and that they need to be aware that their mind-set will have a massive impact on how Mum feels and responds in labour. So it was good to see Mr Darcy doing whatever he HAD to do to support Bridget which at one point involved carrying her through the streets of London to the hospital because she didn’t want to walk. It was also lovely to see their connection with one another during labour- that is something else I emphasise in my classes. Feeling connected, close and supported  by your partner really helps with the release and flow of the hormones which you need to feel as good as possible in labour and of course to keep your labour progressing.

We didn’t see the baby actually being born (and the birth companions weren’t there for that bit- which was disappointing…something about their favourite pub being burnt down???) but when we get to meet the baby, the empowering glow on Bridget’s face is awesome (you can’t help but smile too) and baby has a nice coat of vernix on it – high 5 to the researchers!!

Of course, there are many ways that this film could have improved upon its portrayal of birth but there were definitely some positives.

Whether you want a Bridget Jones style birth, something much more Zen or perhaps something more organised (!) come along to one of my FREE Hypnobirthing Taster sessions to find out how (oh and definitely check out the film!).

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An Interview with Paula Sims, Active Birth Pregnancy Yoga Teacher

Paula demonstrating one of the pregnancy yoga position she teaches

Paula demonstrating one of the pregnancy yoga positions she teaches

Hi Paula! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you!

I am Paula Sims, Active Birth Pregnancy Yoga Teacher, and mother of 3 boys, aged 12, 11 and 7.

Tell us a bit about your company and the inspiration behind setting up your business?

When my first 2 boys were born, 18 months apart, I was running my own Vehicle Finance Brokerage in Moseley. I had a home office, and was juggling my business with my boys. As they grew, I decided I wanted to arrange my working hours around them so that I could enjoy those precious, gone-in-a-flash early years. I had attended Active Birth Yoga Classes in Solihull through both pregnancies and felt that what I had learned in those classes helped my birth experiences to be as wonderful and positive as they were. All of my boys were born at home in a Birth Pool, and were truly amazing. I wanted to help other women to achieve such empowering births. So, I bought some Birth Pools to hire out, and spent the next 2.5 years training with the Active Birth Centre in London to become an Active Birth Pregnancy Yoga teacher. I have now been teaching for about 8 years, and I love it.

What do enjoy most about teaching Pregnancy Yoga?

I feel honoured to be able to share in these precious months of a woman’s pregnancy, to help her to prepare mentally and physically for her labour and gain confidence in her body’s ability to give birth.

In a class full of ladies at different stages of pregnancy and with different levels of ability, how do you manage to keep everyone engaged and motivated?

Yoga practice is very personal; each student has their own journey of development. It isn’t competitive. I encourage each of my students to push themselves within their own capabilities, without comparison to others. Sometimes, there may be variations that are suitable for some students, which I advise through the class. During the yoga practise, I also talk about how these yoga poses can help to encourage the baby into an optimal fetal position, which will help labour to be quicker and easier, and what positions are useful during labour. So, there’s always a lot to think about.

Why should a pregnant lady do yoga and when is the best time for her to start?

Active Birth Yoga is suitable for all women from 14 weeks up to the birth of your baby. The more classes you can come to, the more effective they are. Encouraging your baby into the Optimal Fetal Position will help your birth to be quicker and easier. As you become accustomed to the positions that will be useful for labour, these positions will become more instinctive so that when you are in labour, you don’t question what you need to do. You will be confident in your body’s own ability to give birth, and able to listen to your natural instincts. We focus on the pelvic floor muscles, making sure they stay strong through the pregnancy, and practice yoga to open the pelvis, strengthen the body and increase stamina. Relaxation forms an important part of the yoga class. Throughout your pregnancy this will bring some inner calmness to you and your baby, and is particularly important during labour. When you breath deeply and relax, it becomes much more manageable and less painful. You are less likely to need medical pain relief and more likely to have a natural birth. At the end of each session, we have some fruit tea, biscuits and fresh fruit and a chance for a good chat. This is a great opportunity to get to know the other mums-to-be and ask any questions. And we sometimes have a mum-and-baby come back to share their experience. So there are lots of different elements to the class, whether you are interested in the yoga, the birth preparation, the relaxation or social time, there will be something that will help you through your pregnancy and birth.

Are there any particular discomforts or conditions that a pregnant woman can alleviate by doing pregnancy yoga?

Many pregnant women experience back ache through pregnancy. Through strengthening these back muscles every week, coupled with awareness of posture, these aches will often be alleviated. Certain yoga postures are helpful in easing heartburn. Towards the end of pregnancy, women often feel as though there is no room left, and breathing becomes a little more difficult. Some of the yoga poses each week will work on bringing more space to the front of the body, encouraging deeper breathing. Incontinence is very common during pregnancy and postnatally. Regular and correct practice of pelvic floor exercises will help to strengthen this area. These exercises are incorporated into each class. Certain discomforts, eg. Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP, SPD or DSP) need to be managed by avoiding specific positions. If this is applicable to you, I can advise and will always offer alternatives to maintain the stability of the pelvis.

If you could recommend and suggest one yoga position to pregnant ladies, what would it be and why?

Squatting (not deep squatting) with the knees just below hip height. This improves strength and stamina, whilst opening the pelvis, and encouraging the baby to move down into the pelvis. If there is any discomfort with the pelvis, squatting can be done on a birth ball with feet hip distance apart.

Other than teaching pregnancy yoga, what other services, if any, do you offer pregnant women?

I teach Post Natal Pregnancy focusing particularly on strengthening core muscles (pelvic floor and stomach muscles), posture awareness, with time for relaxation and socialising with the other mums and babies. Once a month, I run an Active Birth Partners workshop for mums and their partners to come along to learn how they can work together to make the birth easier. I also have Birth Pools for hire – they are large (easily large enough for 2 people), sturdy, fibreglass, oval birth pools, which come with everything you need, apart from the water!

Besides teaching pregnancy yoga, what else do YOU do to take care of your body and your mind?

Apart from yoga, I enjoy swimming and riding my bike for general fitness, but my big passion is horse riding.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Please can we hear your top tip for a positive birth experience?

Get your baby into the Optimal Fetal Position before labour, be upright and active, focus on deepening the out-breath, stay relaxed, and remember each contraction brings you closer to meeting your baby. And enjoy it – it is a really unique experience!

Contact Paula on the below:
0121 449 9843

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An Interview with Natasha Abudarham Black, a Home Birth Hypnobirth Mama


Hi Natasha. Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you.
I’m mama to 2.5 yr old Ella-Rae and 4 month old Harrison. They brighten up my day every day! I also work with Women, many who are mama’s too, to help them combine all the roles that are important to them so they experience real happiness, deep fulfilment and ultimate success.

Why did you decide to have a home birth?

Before having my daughter I learned a lot about the body and the birthing experience through my work. It became evident that bringing your baby into the world at home was the most natural thing and more often than not leads to a more relaxed and easier labour and birth. I wanted to give my children the best entrance into the world possible, also without having any ‘pain’ relief. At the last minute I had to have Ella-Rae at the hospital but do believe that by preparing for a home birth, I was able to be more relaxed and have a natural birth.

How easy was it to organise a Home Birth? Who helped you with arranging it?

It was very easy to organise. I went to a homebirth workshop which gave me so much more information, even my Husband was a convert after hearing everything they shared. The midwives were also great and very supportive. First time round I had a Doula, who also gave us lots of help and support.

Did you encounter any resistance to your decision about having a home birth?

No resistance at all, just a few friends and family who were surprised it’s what we wanted to do but it was more down to lack of education than anything else.

Aside from the practical aspects of arranging a home birth, how did you personally prepare?

Hypnobirthing was one of the best things I ever did. It allowed me to be mentally prepared, which is really important and to be body prepared, as in knowing how to work with my body during labour. First time round, I worked a lot on my fears and worries from an emotional perspective. I also got as much information as I could with regards to understanding how as woman our bodies know exactly what to do.

What was your home birth experience like?

It was a wonderful experience. being at home in my own surroundings with my Husband and towards the end my Mum, made it a really special experience. Our boy has been such a calm, happy and content baby and I know that has been down to the hypnobirthing and home birth. He was born in the birth pool which was fantastic, it really helped with the surges and breathing him down and out. It’s something that I would highly recommend

How did it differ from your previous experience of giving birth?

I definitely felt more in control of the whole experience. We had specifically asked for very little monitoring and wanted to get on with it ourselves. The midwife was brilliant and really let us have the experience we wanted no matter how long it was going to take. It was only 7.5 hours from when my membranes released to holding our baby, with no gas or air. Being in hospital felt more of a rush, as in the baby has to come out now or we will need to get her out.

Finally, if someone reading this is considering a Home Birth, what advice would you give them?

Get as much information as you can. Find people who have done what you want to do and use their experience and positivity to empower you. Stay away from people’s traumatic stories. If you face resistance, be strong, stand in your power and know that you have done your research and you are happy to go ahead. Be prepared for things to not go as planned and be ok with that. Like I mentioned, we planned for a home birth first time round and whilst I was dissappointed at first, I know that it was the best thing to do and I was much more relaxed because of it.

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