Bristol, the best place to have a baby!

clifton-suspension-bridge-balloons-bristolIn 2013 Bristol was named best city in the UK to live in. This came as no surprise to us Bristolians, we know we’ve got it pretty good living here. Just one look online at right move will tell you that many are flocking to our city to grab a piece of the action, flippin’ house prices going through the roof – arghh!!! So why do people love Bristol? Well it’s not just the place itself but the people: Us Bristolians are a pretty chilled out, unassuming lot.

When the one born every minute cameras set up camp in one of Bristol’s large obstetric units in 2014 we could see for ourselves how easy going the midwives were. We watched as they supported many women birthing their babies in water, standing up, on all fours, surrounded by bean bags, pillows and mats etc. Even HYPNOBIRTHING got a mention! Fair play to those midwives, as any midwife will tell you keeping birth as natural as possible on a busy, highly medicalised labour ward can be a challenge, it takes a fair bit of encouragement from the midwives to make this happen.

Across the city at the other large obstetric unit things were even more easy going. Yes it’s true; a therapy dog did in fact accompany a woman in labour as she birthed her baby on labour ward, and what a cracking birth partner he was!! Sitting quietly in the corner, no demanding cups of tea every half hour, no questioning ‘how long is this all gonna take’. Maybe we should replace all the dads with a lovely Labrador and see how well the women birth then. I’m sure the famous French male obstetrician Michel Odent would be up for that cos he’s not too keen on dads at the birth!

Meanwhile, a few floors up on the induction of labour unit, a couple decided to use their initiative to induce labour naturally. An overdue pregnant lady and her chap were caught having jiggy by one of the cleaners. Brilliant!! What gets them babies in also gets ‘em out!  News of this reached America to the famous birth guru Ina May Gaskin who was also really impressed. She said on her facebook page “Good for St Michaels hospital in Bristol. The prostaglandins in semen can be most effective in starting labour. I hope it worked for this couple and thought the reporter should have found out!” Ha, her comment was liked by over 4k of her followers!

The daily mail got a hold of both of these stories and the readers were quick to leave their thoughts in the comments section no doubt thinking that us Bristolian midwives are completely bonkers. No we’re not bonkers, just open minded.

You’ve also got a great choice of where to give birth in Bristol. Over the last 3 years many babies have been born at the brand spanking new Cossham birth centre. The first baby girl born there in 2013 was a bumpsnbabies hypnobaby! Read Andrea’s birth story here.

And both the major obstetric units in the city have also opened new midwife led birth suites alongside their labour wards because research shows that a relaxing home from home environment with care from supportive midwives encourages the birth process. 4946776-large

This month the St Michael’s midwife led unit officially opened by the late Lynda Bellingham back in June 2013 was ranked top in the country for it’s maternity services!! How proud are we!!

Of course let’s not forget home birth too. I know of a few roads in Bristol that are ‘hot spots’ for home births, keeping those community midwives busy!!

Bristol is also a mum and baby friendly place to be, which is a good thing cos it’s a city literally full of bumps ‘n’ babies. As you walk down North street in Bedminster you feel like you’re on some sort of assault course negotiating all the pregnant women and buggies. The tobacco factory, bubbahub and the hungry caterpillar are just some of the many breastfeeding friendly cafes in the area; you’ll often see a babe on the boob as mumma sups a latte. No need to head off to the loo to breastfeed here. And no wonder the women here are happy to get their ‘Bristols’ out because did you know that in 2010 Bristol was the first city ever in the UK to receive the prestigious UNICEF baby friendly award for promoting and supporting breastfeeding mothers. Go Bristol!!!

And for those of you wondering why boobs are called Bristols, well here’s your answer, its good ol’ cockney rhyming slang for ‘titties’  ‘A fine pair of Bristols Cities’ = ‘titties’. What is that all about? How does a bloke manage to link the football team Bristol City with women’s boobs?

A few other Bristol things to rave about:

The fab free positive birth meet ups for expectant parents and anyone else interested in the world of birth.

Bristol’s street art, even that happens to be mum and baby friendly, this one by artist El Mac is obviously our fav! street art

So there you have it, just a few reasons why Bristol is the best city to have a baby, but shhhh don’t tell everyone, especially those from the big smoke thinking of relocating to a smaller city cos did I mention the housing market here? and for us midwives at bumpsnbabies trying to move house right now it’s a bloody nightmare!!

Sharon x


Midwives Made in Bristol

Bristol slang bookRecently Jade and I were approached by BBC Radio Bristol, they asked if we’d fancy being on Dr Phil Hammond’s Saturday morning show to talk about homebirth and hypnobirthing. As midwives we’ve always got plenty to say about birth, plus we thought it would be a good opportunity to plug the business so we thought why not, lets give it a bash!

After the show we headed back to Jade’s for a cuppa and a chance to listen back to the interview and rate ourselves.  Now I have to admit my first thought was –  Oh my god, do I really sound that Bristolian?? Cringe!  “Well of course you do”, said a fellow midwife colleague, “you’re a Bristol lass, be proud of your heritage!” (cheers Martha!)  She’s right I guess, and I find that the Bristol lass in me comes through really strong if I’m looking after a fellow Bristolian in labour! I just can’t help it.

Now I know we should avoid stereotyping people, but you know the ones I mean. The down to earth locals, from big families, all living within a few streets of each other and have done for generations. Often these women will rock up on labour ward in full blown labour with their mum, sister, nan, aunty, cousin, sister in law, all clambering at the door arguing over which two will be the birth partners. Loitering somewhere in the background is a bloke, the baby’s dad, looking a bit sheepish, knowing that now is the time to just do as he’s told, cos this giving birth malarkey is ‘women’s business’.

Once the baby has arrived after a straight forward, quick labour, I’ll hear myself say to the new mother – “Aww, well done, ease lush mind inny!” Now the translation for that would be – “Oh congratulations,  what a lovely baby boy you have!”  The woman seems chuffed, in floods the rest of the family to meet the baby and I find myself  in a room full of  ‘true, proper’ Bristolians – lovely people! Its great, no need for a translator cos we all understand each other.

So if any of you non Bristolians find yourself in the company of a pregnant Bristolian lass and you’re not familiar with the slang, here are a few phrases translated for you that might help –

Eye aint jew til chews dee – My baby is due on Tuesday

Armaugh add ate vus  – My mother had 8 children

Bleed nell urts, my loud sumut? –  These contractions are painful, can I have some gas and air now please?

Scummin!! – The baby is on its way!

Sharon x