Why do pregnant midwives seek out hypnobirthing?

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It’s true that more and more pregnant midwives are seeking out hypnobirthing, but why?? Right here goes…. pregnant midwives seek out hypnobirthing for their own births because…. IT WORKS.

Here at bumps ‘n’ babies we don’t often feel the need to bang the drum for hypnobirthing, cos there’s no need to really. Bookings are on the increase mainly due to word of mouth and the fact that hypnobirthing is becoming more recognized as a good birth preparation course, plus the research also shows – IT WORKS.

Now there’s some folk out there that feel hypnobirthing white washes over the truth about giving birth. They feel we set women up for failure by focusing on normal birth without giving much focus to ‘the other stuff’ that ‘might happen’. They think that we don’t truly prepare women for all eventualities.

But let’s go back to the pregnant midwives here…

When a midwife becomes pregnant everyone expects her to just get on with it, people think  she won’t need to attend a birth prep course cos she knows everything there is to know about birth. It’s her job. She sees babies coming out of women’s bodies on a daily basis. She knows her options on where she can give birth. She’s aware of the statistics, research and clinical guidelines that will impact on the care she receives. She knows what can go wrong. In the eyes of many she is ‘fully prepared for all eventualities’. She has witnessed the full range of birth experiences, she knows what ‘might happen’, so why does she seek out hypnobirthing?? Because she knows hypnobirthing will improve her overall  experience of pregnancy and birth and that even if she does need some help from the docs to give birth, hypnobirthing will make a huge difference!

Giving women just statistics, facts, and telling them what can go wrong does not necessarily ‘prepare’ a woman to give birth. Women aren’t stupid, they’ve heard the word stillbirth, they know a percentage of women will need a caesarean section and that nothing is set in stone as to how things will go on the day they give birth. They know there’s a ‘thing’ called an epidural – if they want one they can ask for one.

We teach hypnobirthing because of the hypnosis element, it’s what we love the most. Throughout the course not only do we look at the physical aspect of giving birth, we also focus on the power of the mind and how this can shape a woman’s birth experience both physically and mentally.

We’re not knocking other birth preparation courses out there, hypnobirthing won’t be to everyone’s taste, the fact that women have a choice of birth prep courses out there is a good thing. Women helping other women to give birth and have a positive experience is what it’s all about. But the reason that we don’t focus on ‘all that other stuff’ is cos it brings about the beast that is fear, and the physical responses within the body when the sympathetic nervous system is triggered by fear are not helpful to pregnant and labouring women. This is fact.

We’ve taught many doctors as well as midwives, the medical bunch seem to benefit the most from hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing gives them the confidence to believe they can give birth without assuming that they will almost certainly need some help, and we remind them of the findings of the birthplace study – that ‘giving birth is generally very safe.’

Someone asked me only the other day – How do you define that hypnobirthing ‘works’?

Good question. Onto the research…

Hypnobirthing is still a relatively new concept so there isn’t masses of research on it, however what research there is, is promising. Some of the research trials looked at birth outcomes, whilst others focused more on pain management.  The findings of several trials shows that although the normal birth rate remains roughly the same; there is a significant rise in the instrumental birth rate due to a significant drop in the caesarean section rate, basically more vaginal births happen with hypnobirthing!

What seems to be a recurrent theme is that the women that had attended a hypnosis for childbirth course such as hypnobirthing, regardless of whether or not they requested an epidural or needed some medical assistance to give birth, reported more positive birth experiences. In short – hypnobirthing rocks!

So (here comes the shameless plug in this blog post), just as we’ve embraced the power of hypnosis for birth we’ve also applied the same concept to our new breastfeeding workshops. We’ve given focus to the mind – body connection, which as most breastfeeding mothers will tell you cannot be underestimated. As well as teaching pregnant women about the principles of breastfeeding and addressing the technical hitches that MAY crop up along the way, such as sore nips, over inflated boobs etc.( you see we are keeping it real!)  we’ve also incorporated relaxation and breathing techniques, visualizations and affirmations, all to encourage the flow of the necessary hormones for a positive breastfeeding experience.

Our first breastfeeding workshop will be held at Cossham hospital, run by the lovely experienced midwife Katie, on the 22nd of November, 7-10pm.

So if you’re a pregnant midwife reading this and wondering whether you should seek out hypnobirthing, the answer is – hell yes!! As the saying goes – there’s more than one way to cook an egg and there’s more than one way to give birth, so why not hypnobirth!

 

Sharon xx

Top 5 Tips For The Aspiring Midwife

Screenshot_20160525-122450_1Hello future student Midwives! Just a little note to introduce myself –  My name is Kelly and I am a third year student midwife studying at UWE in Bristol.  I will be coming along to give a presentation at the bumps ‘n’ babies Aspiring Midwife Study Day on Saturday the 4th June at Cossham hospital. I’ll be talking about life as a student midwife to give you an insight to  – the academic side, clinical placements, expectations and realities etc. So jot down a list of any questions, concerns and queries that you might have and I will be more than happy to address them on the day.

There are just a few tickets left for this event that proved to be very popular last year, so join me, and midwives Sharon and Jade, to learn more about the journey to becoming a midwife.

Clink on this link for more info – Aspiring Midwife Study Day

Here are Kelly’s Top 5 Tips for the Aspiring Midwife

  • Looking after the public enables you to care for a variety of women and their families. During your placements expect the unexpected, and when situations arise always remain professional, treat everyone equally and most importantly keep yourself, your colleagues and your women and families safe.

 

  • Sexual health, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Loss and Parenthood are some of the most common, yet unique experiences women and families encounter in life. During your training and career as a midwife always remind yourself that although these experiences are common, normal and frequent to you, for the women this is their individualised, special and unique pregnancy so always be just as excited, enthusiastic and compassionate each time.

 

  • Prepare to be extremely tired – working shifts, meeting academic deadlines, social and family life are manageable but you have to be organised – you will get use to it over time!

 

  • Read, read and more reading –knowledge is power. Start with the simple things, NHS choices is a reliable source to get started on pregnancy pathways, terminology and the maternity services that are available. Familiarise yourself with the basics and then use midwifery textbooks such as Mayes and Myles midwifery for more in depth information.

 

  • As a student midwife always remember you are there to learn, to grow and to deliver a safe and professional service. Even if you have children of your own or have other midwifery experience – there is always something new and valuable to learn from each woman and from the midwives, be a sponge, and absorb it all!

Looking forward to meeting you all soon!

Kelly

xx

10 things a midwife has heard many times

 

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  • ‘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

For the student midwife who is thinking of quitting

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Third baby (of 40) caught as a student midwife

I qualified as a midwife ten years ago and I have never felt more passionate about my job. But it hasn’t always been like this. There have been several times that I have seriously thought about giving it all up.

When I was a student midwife I came really, really close to leaving the course.   Just so you don’t think I am a quitter; I am not alone in my feelings.  Midwifery training has never been more popular, in part thanks to ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘One Born Every Minute’,  but up to fifty percent of student midwives will drop out of their course.  The reasons for this are multitude.  Basically the academic side and going to placements and working shifts as well is tough.  Many students are doing this whilst looking after families.   People come into their midwifery training with a real passion and the reality of midwifery in the NHS today is often very different to what we hope it to be, see here, and here.

The first year of qualifying was tough.  The difference between being a student and the awesome responsibility I now had.  The peace I had to make with myself between what I knew was best for the woman and what the hospital guidelines and procedures dictated I do.  I like to call this ‘selling my soul’, something I still struggle with now at times.

I am really, really glad that when the going got tough I stuck it out and I wanted to offer some words of ‘wisdom’ to all the wonderful people who are going off to start their midwifery training now, who are just qualifying or who are struggling;

  • Write- Write down why you want to be a midwife and keep it somewhere-  when the going gets tough (and it will sometimes) it can really help to refer to this. Write down when you have a difficult day and want to offload or reflect.  (Bearing in mind confidentiality.)  Keep all the thank you cards you get- also really helpful to look at.
  • Read, read, read – not the just the stuff they tell you, but Ina May Gaskin, Michelle Odent etc.  My favourite birth books are here
  • Observe – The role of the midwife is really one of watching more than doing.  You can learn so much just by watching a woman in labour.  Notice the sounds, often this alone will give a really good indication of what stage of labour a woman is at.  The smells (yes really!)  The distinctive smell of amniotic fluid, so you can tell if waters have broken and notice the smell of birth.  Look at the woman’s skin; how her legs become more mottled, how her sacrum may move and lift up, the purple line in her bottom.  You don’t need to just rely on vaginal examinations to know what stage of labour a woman is at.  Watch what other midwives do (good and bad) Do you want to be like them?  Or not?
  • Give yourself time – you are not going to master all the skills straight away.  They take years to learn.  For example vaginal examinations (VE), where you asses progress in labour by how thin and open the cervix is, how many centimetres dilated, baby’s position etc.  When I first did them it felt like a lucky dip in a bowl of jelly! It honestly wasn’t until I qualified that I properly felt a cervix (god knows what I was feeling before!)  and couldn’t believe that it actually felt like a circle.  When doing a VE give yourself time and remember that the woman will have a cervix in there! She got pregnant after all.  Just finding a cervix is sufficient in the early days.  Remember that very experienced midwives sometimes get it wrong.  I know of a Band 7 (top dog) on Delivery Suite who told a woman she was fully dilated and she was only 1 cm!
  • Find like minded people – they are out there and can be a great support.  Other students, midwives, doulas.  In person or online.
  • Trust – trust yourself.  Time and time again I have found that a gut feeling was right; ignore those feelings at your peril. Even as a student, or newly qualified when more experienced people may tell you that you are wrong. And trust in women’s bodies and their ability to give birth.
  • Be kind – to the women, their partners, their babies.  Remember their names, hold their hand, make them a cup of tea.  You may not feel like you can do a lot to start with but these kindnesses matter more than anything and will be remembered.  (Unkindness likewise).  Be kind to yourself – it is hard doing the job you are doing.  You need some time and support for yourself in order to support other people well. Yoga, swimming, mindfulness, massage, good food.

There is an amazing quote by Aristotle that I love on the qualities a good midwife should have

“A ladies’ hand, a hawk’s eye and a lion’s heart.”

Best of luck on your path, I promise you it gets easier. Remember just as you say to the women “you can do it!”

Katheryn x

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on my blog the vintage midwife

Compu’er says no!

computer says no

I had a slight meltdown on labour ward the other day, a meltdown that resulted in an argument between me and….. a computer system. Yea we’ve all been there, I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

There seems to be more and more machines and computer systems on labour ward these days, all designed to ‘help’ us do our jobs more safely and more efficiently (that’s if you can remember all your passwords!) Number one is the maternity computer system, that holds all the patient details, and where we record everything about a woman’s labour. You need your username and password to use this system. Then you need a different username and password on a different computer system to request blood tests and check results. Another username and password to use the fetal blood sample machine, another to use the glucometer machine, another for the urinalysis machine… the list goes on and on. Hang on a minute, all this technology just to have a baby??!!! Really??

My meltdown with the computer began when I entered a request for a blood test on the computer system for a woman I was looking after, and the compu’er said no! So not only did I need to ask permission from the computer to do the blood test in the first place, it then told me NO! It told me I had already requested this test today on this patient and was I really sure that I wanted to repeat this test again. Now hang on a minute, I’ve got a computer questioning my decision to do a blood test, surely this can’t be right, what’s next? The computer telling me that the woman’s labour is taking too long and she should be given drugs to speed it up? This will probably happen in the future, I kid you not (shudders). So after muttering ‘bloody computers’ under my breath I stomped off to the staff room for a cuppa and a Jaffa cake and had a flick through my iPhone whilst continuing to moan about computers taking over the world (oh the irony!)

But let’s face it; women did manage years ago to give birth without all of this. Please take me back to ‘call the midwife days’ when all midwives needed were a pair of gloves, clamps and scissors to cut the cord and a pen and paper to jot down the crucial details – time of birth, weight, sex of the baby. Job done. I’m pretty sure that in the not too distant future, as well as carrying a pair of gloves in their pockets, all midwives will be carrying ipads to input everything they say and do as they go. Oh well, that’ll be one more thing that’ll get dropped in the birth pool no doubt (along with the pagers, drug cupboard keys, and the fetal heart monitors!)

Of course there’s no stopping progress and I know we need to embrace these changes, but we’re talking about birth here not a bank transaction. Birth is a spiritual moment that brings people together. Birth brings everyone in its presence into the ‘present’ and reminds you of what’s really important in life. The definition of the word midwife is ‘with woman’ not ‘with computer’. If the midwife is interacting with the computers and all the other machines around her then she’s not interacting with the woman, and us midwives know that a woman in labour needs continual emotional support more than anything else, and that’s something a machine cannot provide.

So is all this technology in the birth room actually more of a hindrance than a help? Well maybe one day there won’t be any need for us midwives at all cos maybe there will be another machine designed to catch all the babies too!

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

Guest Blog Post! The Life Of A Student Midwife

student midwifeGuest blog post from Jess a student midwife in her 2nd year of training giving us a little insight into the life of a ‘student baby catcher’.

Being asked what career pathway you want to follow when you are only 16 seems like a massive request, but for me I always knew that someday I wanted to become a midwife. I could see myself caring for women throughout their pregnancy, labour and postnatal period and having great honour in sharing these times with women. I have always been a people person (or so my mum says!) and love chatting to a variety of different individuals. Here I am following my dream! Half way through my second year of midwifery training and loving every single moment, each day I learn something new and life couldn’t be better! So I thought I would give you an insight on what it’s like to be a student midwife in 2015, with the three best and worst things about being a student midwife. Three not so great things:

1. As an undergraduate student midwife, you are required to attend for 45 weeks of each year for three years. Meaning that we aren’t your typical party animal university students (or so I think?) … placements, lectures and essays take up the majority of your time and balancing a social life can be difficult!

2. So each placement is 6 weeks, and in each placement you get allocated a mentor who is a fully qualified midwife. Each midwife practices slightly differently and by the time you’ve got used to how one midwife practices it’s time to move on! Just when you start to feel like you are getting into the swing of things.

3. After 6 weeks out on placement going back to university must be one of the hardest tasks (well for me anyway!) … It feels strange being sat in a lecture theatre for hours at a time when on placement you were normally non-stop for the majority of the shift. Saying that I do love catching up with the rest of my cohort’s midwifery journeys!

Three fabulous things:
1. When they say that midwifery is the best job in the world … they sure didn’t underestimate that one! As a student we are supernumerary which is great because it means that we get to spend more time with you, and that’s where we learn so much as believe it or not no two women are the same! It’s great knowing that just chatting to you can put you at ease and make such a difference to your experience.

2. As a student, we are made to feel a part of the team … before you ask that does mean partaking in drinking cups of tea and eating cake, which, of course, is a very important part of the job! Your mentor becomes your personal guru of midwifery knowledge and wisdom, and by the end of your 6 weeks you feel slightly sad about moving on.

3. ‘Catching’ or delivering a baby must be the greatest feeling in the world! It is such a magical and honourable experience to welcome a new life into the world, the pride and love that a mother and her partner have at that moment is something that can never be replicated. I am extremely thankful that as a student midwife I am able to share such an amazing moment with mothers from all walks of life.

There you have it, three of the best and worst things about being a student midwife. I wouldn’t change this career choice for the world and I am so thankful for all of the marvellous experiences that I have shared with women so far which have helped shape my midwifery pathway!

Jess x