The Latest Birth Fashions

jeans pic

Jeans – that one item of clothing that almost everyone owns. Yes they’ve stood the test of time and they never seem to go out of fashion. There are different styles and ways of wearing your jeans; this season it’s out with the skinny fit and in with the loose fit complete with turn ups for a more casual vibe. Versatile, hard wearing and comfy, what’s not to love about jeans?

So what’s all this got to do with birth? Well believe it or not although babies are all born pretty much the same way, there are fashions and trends that emerge from time to time that shape the experience of pregnancy and birth for mums and their babies.

Here’s just a few of the latest birth fashions, will they grow in popularity or fall by the wayside? Only time will tell…!

Umbilical cord ties

This is a relatively new trend – some women are wanting their baby’s umbilical cord to be tied following the birth with a cord tie rather than the usual plastic clamp. A quick internet search will bring up several companies selling these cord ties with different styles to choose from. Check out this letter style design, what a great idea for identical twins – a different letter or colour helps tell them apart!

Screenshot_20160507-201923_1            Screenshot_20160507-202021_1      plastic clamp

Women that have used these cord ties say they feel more confident changing nappies without having the clamp to deal with. They also feel that skin to skin cuddles are more comfortable for them and their babies without the cord clamp getting in the way.

Birth Photography

Thanks to the smart phone there seems to be more photos being taken of women during labour and birth these days, but some couples are choosing to take it to the next level and are hiring a birth photographer to capture amazing emotional scenes such as these –

birth photo    birth photography

Hypnobirthing

Yes of course hypnobirthing gets a mention! Back in 2009 when bumps ‘n’ babies came to be not many people had heard of hypnobirthing and midwives were baffled by the concept of women using self hypnosis for labour. In the last two years there’s been a hypnobirthing boom with more and more women raving about the benefits. Midwives are on board with it too. If a hypnobirthing mum arrives on labour ward smiling, reporting ‘just a bit of pressure in her bottom’ then its gloves at the ready – she might just be about to give birth! It’s true that some hypnobirthing mums can seem too calm to be in full blown labour, they surprise us by breathing out a 9lb baby with seemingly little effort, their calm demeanour can fool even the most experienced of midwives!!

Placental encapsulation

placenta encapsulation

Women eating their placenta following the birth is not exactly a new fad but placenta encapsulation is. With placenta encapsulation the placenta is steamed, dehydrated, ground and placed into pills for women to ingest post birth. This trend has recently grown in popularity thanks to the number of celebrities opting to do this, the latest being Coleen Rooney! It’s believed that these ‘magic pills’ can reduce post birth bleeding, ward off postnatal depression, improve the appearance of skin/hair/nails, and encourage a healthy milk supply. However there is little scientific research to prove these health benefits. Women choosing to have their placenta encapsulated are strongly advised to contact a trained specialist such as those registered with IPEN.

Vaginal seeding

bacteria

Some mums giving birth by caesarean section are choosing to smear their newborns mouth, face and body with a swab soaked in their vaginal secretions, a trend known as ‘vaginal seeding’. It’s all about the microbiome! There is evidence to suggest that babies born by caesarean section appear to be at increased risk of illnesses such as asthma, allergies and food intolerances in later life compared to babies born vaginally and it’s believed that the lack of exposure to the bacteria present in the mother’s vagina at birth may have a pivotal role to play.

How it works – a sterile gauze is folded into a fan, moistened with sterile water, then inserted into the vagina and left to ‘colonise’ for one hour. The gauze is then removed and put into a sealed bag until birth when the swab can be wiped over the baby’s face and body to mimic the passage through the birth canal.

Although scientists are understanding more about the impact that the microbiome plays in human health, there is currently no scientific evidence to prove that vaginal seeding at birth is effective and mums should be aware that some bacteria in the vagina can occasionally cause illness in newborns.  We’ll be hearing the word microbiome more in the future, it’s a case of watch this space….!

Natural caesarean

natural c section

A natural caesarean is similar to the ‘bog standard’ caesarean section but with a slight twist. The ‘twist’ involves a slower, more natural delivery of the baby through the abdomen. How it works – An incision is made to the mother’s abdomen for the doctors to ease the baby’s head out, the screen is then dropped to allow the parents to watch as their baby wriggles its way into the world. The baby can remain in the womb for up to 4 minutes after the head is born, it is then guided onto the mother’s chest for immediate skin to skin contact with the cord still intact to allow optimal cord clamping. Mother’s are able to feel more involved during this special moment of ‘giving birth’ and trials are currently under way to determine whether a natural caesarean would benefit mums and newborns compared to the standard procedure. Read this mum’s story of her natural cesarean.

When it comes to giving birth it’s not one size fits all. As with clothing fashions what appeals to one person might not be to another person’s taste, so it’s great that women have choices. It’s crucial that women are involved in making decisions about how they bring their babies into the world to shape their birth experience by the use of research findings and what’s right for them.

Sharon x

http://www.bumpsnbabies.org

10 things a midwife has heard many times

 

Phonto (1)
  • ‘Never again!’   The classic phrase muttered by many women usually in the throes of labour. Of course us midwives believe you, even though we know you’ll be back again for baby number 2, 3, 4, 5.
  • ‘We don’t care whether it’s a boy or a girl, as long as it’s not ginger!’  Said with true conviction by many a mum or dad-to-be, please remember though there are ginger midwives within ear shot!!
  • ‘I think the parking ticket has expired’   A popular phrase said by the dads . The parking, that one job he has to take care of as the woman has the momentous task of birthing a tiny human. No don’t leave her just as the baby’s crowning to sort it out, she won’t thank you for it!
  • ‘This stuff is frickin’ amazing!’  Said by the woman who has just been handed the gas and air, and yes she is right!! Who ever came up with this wonder drug is a hero, we salute you!
  • ‘Don’t put it on facebook …!!’  Said by both new parents to the mother-in-law as she takes it upon herself to announce the new arrival to the whole world via social media before the woman’s even had chance to birth her placenta and put her knickers back on.
  • ‘But what if I poo?’  Said by the mum-to-be in early labour. The midwife’s response – ‘You might, you might not, don’t worry about it, sometimes in life sh*t just happens….!’
  • ‘I’m not looking forward to having a poo!’  Said by many a new mum on the postnatal ward. Midwife’s response – It’ll be fine, trust us, once that first post birth poo is passed everything seems right with the world.
  • ‘When can I go home?’  Said by the excited first time mum with a newborn just a few hours old that hasn’t quite got the hang of breastfeeding yet. As opposed to ‘How long can I stay?’  Said by the mother of baby number 4 who has a pile of washing waiting for her at home, along with 3 other kids and a hubby that all want feeding.
  • ‘Pass me a nappy, no they’re not in that bag, they’re in the other bag, no not there, more towards the left under the sleep suits, no that’s a vest not a sleepsuit!’  Said by many a new mum to her hubby as she recovers in bed with a baby attached to her boob. Word of advice from us midwives – get the hubby to pack the birth bags, then he’ll know where everything is!
  • ‘God I’ve had such a great night sleep on this busy postnatal ward’ – Said no new mum EVER!!!

 

Sharon x

http://www.bumpsnbabies.org

Midwife approved list of what to pack in your hospital bag

hospital bag

Giving birth is an unpredictable event; usually you don’t know when it’ll happen, or how long it’ll take. You might get lucky and have a super speedy labour and not need much from the list we’ve compiled below, but our motto is that of the Girl Guides – ‘Always be prepared!’

For you

Your iPod/pad/phone AND CHARGER!!! With the hypnobirthing tracks on them of course!!! Also make your own playlist in case you fancy something a bit more energetic, something by the prodigy maybe??!!

Fresh water in a sports bottle Don’t bother faffing around with a plastic cup and straw or you’ll likely end up with the straw rammed up your nostril and a face full of water mid contraction!

Jelly babies The instant pick me up when your energy levels are flagging, midwives love a jelly baby on a night shift too! 🙂

Food for him You never know how long your labour will take and a hungry birth partner = a grumpy birth partner, so pack some of his favourite snacks to keep him going otherwise he’ll be ringing his mum to drop by with some sandwiches

Isotonic drinks Just in case the vending machine is out of order, pack a few bottles

Bikini for the birth pool Us midwives have seen it all before but this whole  ‘getting your kit off’ in front of strangers is probably a new thing for you (probably), so just wear whatever is most comfortable for you, bikini, bathing suit, birthday suit, whatever.

Yoga mat A tad controversial this one, it’s for the men to have a snooze on if they’re super tired and the only option is the floor.  No he won’t be snoozing at that crucial moment when you’re birthing his baby, but he might just need 40 winks before the drive home maybe?

Hair band The good ol’ 90’s scrunchy is the best otherwise your other half is rummaging around in your make bag looking for your hair bobble for an eternity.

Change for the car park  Yes you need to take out a small mortgage these days for hospital parking but if you ask nicely you might be entitled to a free pass, worth a go!

Your birth plan.  Laminated, with key points highlighted (only joking) make sure you give it to the midwife looking after you.

Lip balm Gas and air = dry lips, nuff said

Flannel Yes it’s not just something we midwives suggested in the good old days, women in labour these days still need their brows mopped with a cool damp flannel!

Warm socks We’ve lost count of the number of women we’ve looked after in labour that have stripped off completely bar their socks! Must be something to do with blood flow going to the uterus leaving the extremities cold maybe?

Hot water bottle Great to put on your lower back or under the bump to ease any cramping. Be warned the midwives might not be able to re-fill it (due to elf ‘n’ safety) but if that’s the case ask if they have any heat packs you can use instead.

Big pants and proper brick like sanitary pads. Panty liners just won’t cut it if your waters have gone nor will they just after you’ve had the bubba – think 9 months of periods all in one go, gross but true. You could also try the TENA lady incontinence pants (we won’t judge you honest!) Oh and leave those lacy thongs at home, only big, baggy dark pants will do, yes motherhood is sexy!

Tracky bottoms (dark ones obvs.) and a zip up hoody for after the birth. Much comfier than jeans and teamed with a zip up top = easy access for breastfeeding and you’ll be looking bang on trend on the postnatal ward!

Flip flops  There’s just something a bit grannyish about plodding around a hospital in your slippers don’t you think? Flip flops can also be worn in the shower.

Lansinoh nipple cream Pricey but so worth it, put a smidge on after every feed keeps ‘em super soft and keeps the cracks at bay

Pillows.  There’s either a tone of pillows on labour ward or none at all, so to be sure best to bring your own, maybe sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on them for added relaxation.

Nursing bras, and maybe a few breast pads too in case you’re ‘that woman’ with an abundance of breast milk and could easily nurse all the babies on the ward and still have some left over.

Toiletry bag with  shower gel, deodorant, shampoo & conditioner (do they still make wash and go??) and BB cream, well you wanna be looking glam for those post birth photos don’t you?!

 

For baby

Disposable nappies Even if you’ve invested in the washable ones, for infection control reasons just use disposable nappies whilst in hospital.

Cotton wool For cleaning baby’s bottom, wipes can be a tad harsh on their peachy cheeks initially, so best to save the wipes for a few days down the line if you can.

Vests, sleep suits, and a hat. Yes the pink frilly Dior dress is adorable but trust us, for those first few days it’s all about being practical and although the poppers will drive you a bit insane at 3am the sleep suit is the way to go for practicality.

 A nice warm blanket Yes the knitted ones are very classy but the warmest are those cheap fleece ones from Matalan, honest!

 

  • Top Tips – Make full use of the NHS linen, i.e. towels, cot sheets and baby blankets. It’ll save you the hassle of packing and washing your own!
  • Pack a little treat for yourself, maybe a mini bottle of prosecco??, or a scrumptious bar of chocolate?? after all you’re the one that’s done all the hard work, congratulations, you rock!!

Sharon , Katheryn & Jade xxx

Opinions are like arseholes – everyone’s got one!

bartMidwives have plenty opinions about the business of giving birth. In the same way that blokes seem to have plenty of opinions when it comes to football. Check out what’s trending on twitter on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll get the jist. Nothing like a penalty to get a man ranting on about their opinions of the refs opinion of that foul. And that’s the thing, when people feel passionate about something, something that matters a lot to them then queue the opinions. If you’re not arsed about something then you don’t tend to have an opinion to spout. Ask a bloke for his opinion on the dress you’ve just bought and they tend to mutter something like ‘yea whatever you think love’, they’re really not arsed, they have no opinion. Ask a midwife what she thinks about an episode of One Born Every Minute and stand back, here we go, here come those opinions!!!! Yea but no but, yea but no but……

And it’s not just midwives, anyone involved in the business of birth has an opinion, it seems we’re an opinionated lot! For example:

The fantastic French male obstetrician Michel Odent loves a water birth, he also has his opinions on fathers at the birth, something along the lines of – they’re a bloody nuisance, they interrupt the flow, keep ‘em out the birth room, send ‘em all down the pub.

The American sceptical OB Amy Tuteur loves a caesarean section and has her opinions on homebirths, something along the lines of – women that choose to give birth are playing Russian roulette with their lives.

Two very different people with very different opinions. I guess they’re entitled to their opinions.

And it seems these days that everyman and his dog reading the daily mail also has an opinion on childbirth judging from the comment section, here are  just a few examples of articles that recently got the juices flowing, along with a few comments from Joe Public :-

Should women be entitled to an elective caesarean section through choice?

‘No way it costs the NHS too much, they should get on and bloody well push it out!’ Dennis32, Ipswich

‘Well if a caesarean is good enough for Victoria Beckham, it’s good enough for me, it’s not that I’m too posh to push, I’ve paid my taxes, give me my caesarean, my body my choice !’ Ruth, P, Essex.

Giving birth under hypnosis, does it work?

 ‘I’ll believe hypnobirthing works when I see a man volunteering to use it during a vasectomy.’ Janey, London

‘Yes hypnobirthing works, I had an easy, enjoyable labour thanks to hypnosis, – hypnobirthing rocks!!’ Mummyyummy31, UK

And wait for it, here comes ‘the big one’ –

Breast is best or is bottle feeding just as good?  Like a hand grenade going off, seems everyone’s got an opinion on that subject, let’s not even go there!

And what do I think?  Well, If you ask me what I think about hypnobirthing I’ll tell you my opinion, don’t be offended though if you don’t like my answer, it’s nothing personal, it’s just my opinion. But please don’t bother asking me what I think about Arsenals latest signing, I’m no football fan, I’m clueless when it comes to the off side rule, so I’ve no opinion, I’m really not arsed. That’s Arsenal – not arsehole, no pun intended!

Oh and please feel free to post your opinions on this article; they are after all just your opinions 😉

Sharon x

http://www.bumpsnbabies.org

There’s an iguana at my homebirth wot am I gonna do?

iguanaA student midwife asked me the other day what’s the best thing about being a midwife? Now I think she was expecting me to say something like – ‘Oh the sheer joy and privilege of being part of such a magical time in a woman’s life when she makes that huge transition from a woman to a mother and witnessing another family bond being created’.

That was not my answer, this was my answer –  The best thing about being a midwife is the crack. In no other job would you get caught up in such hilarious moments. I’m talking proper belly laughing moments that remind you to work your pelvic floor muscles more often.

For instance, I remember a night shift on labour ward when a midwife colleague arrived on the unit having just attended a homebirth. She had a slightly weary look about her as she dropped off her safety equipment and restocked her birth bag.

“Nice home birth was it?” I asked. She gave me ‘the look’. “Oh, not all plain sailing then?” I asked

“Would have been alright if it weren’t for Dave*” she replied.

“Dave? The birth partner? Bit over protective was he? An Alpha male type?” I asked.

Turns out Dave* was in fact an iguana. (*please note, name has been changed to protect the iguana’s identity). Dave was a free range iguana, free to roam around the house as he pleased. No staying in the tank for Dave that night, oh no, Dave wanted to be right where the action was.

My colleague went on to set the scene – Dim lights, the aroma of essential oils wafting around the room, relaxing music playing, woman floating serenely in the birth pool, making deep mooing type noises during each contraction that got louder as her labour progressed. With her, by her side was her partner, attentively mopping her brow. And then of course there was Dave, the iguana, scuttling across the top of the book shelves and along the curtain rail.

My colleague confessed she wasn’t a huge fan of reptiles and may have lost her focus slightly at this birth as she kept her beady eye on Dave’s beady eye as he hovered over her shoulder, just above the birth pool. In fact she paid so much attention to Dave, convinced that he would leap in the pool at the crucial ‘birthing moment’ that she almost missed the arrival of the baby altogether. “To be fair the room was very dark.” she said.

“Was he interested in the whole birthing thing d’you think? cos animal are very intelligent.” I said.

“No”, she replied “ I’m convinced he just fancied a dip in the pool and then I guess I would have to fill in a clinical incident form if that had happened cos I guess that would be classed as a health and safety risk?!”  Then we both laughed, a lot, at the thought of management receiving the clinical incident form and deciding on what action should be taken in any future incidents involving a midwife, an iguana, a labouring woman and a birth pool.

Look out for future posts on animals at the birth, so many stories to tell…!

If you want your partner (or pet iguana) to be fully prepared and supportive for you in labour then why not sign up for our hypnobirthing classes, visit our website  www.bumpsnbabies.org

Sharon x

5 Things NOT To Say To A Pregnant Woman

pregnancy swag

As midwives we know that pregnant women can be sensitive beings. We know we should think before we speak and we should choose our words wisely as even the most innocent remark can be misinterpreted and leave the expectant mother in a rage or in tears, or both!

Pregnancy can be a walk in the park for some women but for others it can be an emotional roller coaster, so surely we should cut them some slack, after all they are growing the next generation inside them, and that’s a big deal!

Slightly tongue in cheek but here are our:

Top 5 things NOT to say to a pregnant woman

1. Oh God you’re massive, are you sure there’s not two in there?

2. You’re hypnobirthing??! Don’t be ridiculous, take all the drugs they offer you!

3. Don’t bother with a birth plan, cos it won’t go to plan, it never does.

4. Don’t have a home birth what about all the blood and other stuff you’ll have to clear up at the end?

5. Youre going to call him Dexter? How lovely that’s my dog’s name!!

Sharon x

Coconut soup for the soul

pregnancy food bumpAnother of my interests aside from mums, midwifery and hypnobirthing is good food and nutrition. Essential for wellness and a happy life. I love to cook and I love to eat even more.

Marie Mongan, founder of HypnoBirthing believes many common ailments of pregnancy can be alleviated by simple changes to ones diet. For example, anaemia in pregnancy may be reduced by introducing more red meat and fresh greens first as opposed to pharmacological methods.

I am now back at work as a community midwife three days a week which means I need a good lunch inside me to deal with our workload and the toddler nursery pick up at the end of the day. In our office at the moment we are all going crazy for homemade soups. Some of the girls have special gadgety soup makers, however I just use my blender to make mine. A new one I’m trialling is from a new book of mine – ‘Hemsley-Hemsley’. It’s a no cook recipe which I’ve just whipped up in about five minutes while the little one is napping. You just whack all the ingredients in a bowl and melch them up with a hand blender. This is a great recipe for busy mums on the go and for pregnancy. It contains good fats from avocado  and coconut milk. And immune boosting lime, garlic and ginger. Great for the chilly, headcold weather we’ve been having. Enjoy.

No cook coconut soup:

1 tin coconut milk

80g tomatoes

1 avocado

1 garlic clove

1 thumb size piece root ginger (I used ready chopped lazy ginger from a jar)

3tbsp miso paste (readily available in supermarkets)

juice of 1 lime

2 spring onions

Warm through once blended. Yummy. Though I’ve boxed mine up straight into the fridge. Three days worth of packed lunch for work sorted.

Jade x