Browsed by
Month: September 2017

Homebirth Hypnobirths … we are in ROYAL Tunbridge Wells, after all!

Homebirth Hypnobirths … we are in ROYAL Tunbridge Wells, after all!

The media’s reporting that The Duchess of Cambridge wants a home birth this time around. I’ve no idea whether this is actually the case or not, but it’s sounds quite probable given that she’s had (as far as we know) 2 straightforward births using hypnobirthing techniques already and this option is recommended by NICE and supported by evidence.


In this post I’m talking about birth and choices in a situation where the mum and baby are healthy and coping well… a situation that Kate has found herself in with her previous two births and which will obviously influence her decisions this time.

What I’d like to happen most of all is that Kate gets to birth her baby wherever she wants to – wherever she feels safest and not just where obstetricians or people in suits decide they will be most comfortable with.

It’ll come as no surprise though, that if she does birth her baby at home I’ll be doing a little celebratory dance!

Anyone who knows me will know that’s not because I think home birth is better than birth in a hospital, birth centre or via caesarean, but because I know for a fact that there’s a mistrust in our culture around normal birth that comes from fear and lack of understanding. The Duchess of Cambridge along with every other woman should be able to make an informed choice about where they have their babies that isn’t just based on fear.

We’ve all heard of ‘the Kate effect’ – it’s BIG! A survey published last year showed that she has a huge influence in driving women towards a fashion purchase – I have no doubt that if she decides to birth at home this ‘effect’ will sway opinion and considerations for women in this area too, in fact she has the power to influence generations.

We know that the Queen had 4 calm homebirths (ok, palacebirths 🙂 ) with a midwife she knew and trusted (Helen Rowe attended all her births) and that she also thanked an antenatal teacher, Betty Parsons (who also ‘taught’ Princess Diana) who talked about the main principles of Hypnobirthing … the effect of the subconscious mind on fear and anxiety, and the foundations of learning active relaxation, breathing and using visualisations.

When the hundreds of women I’ve supported give their reasons for their choice in place of birth, the ones (without medical reasons) who choose the hospital are almost always doing so because they are scared – they’re thinking ‘just in case something goes wrong’ and I get that, but it shows me that programmes like One Born Every Minute and the horror stories that they hear WAY more than positive birth stories are having more of an impact on them than actual evidence.

The issue here is that we tend to take on other people’s experiences as our own – we think ‘what if that happens to me?’ and so when highly regarded celebrities like Fearne Cotton and Davina McCall talk about their calm, positive, empowering birth experiences I do jump for joy a little bit because it gets people thinking.

I’m pretty certain that if The Duchess of Cambridge has her next baby at home, women will be thinking something along the lines of “Wow! She’s popping out actual heirs to the throne! If she was ‘allowed’ surely it must be a safe option! …. Perhaps I’ll look into it”


The Birth of Maya

The Birth of Maya


Anna shares her story of the cathartic birth of Maya at Crowborough Birth Centre this weekend …

“Having had a wobbly few days as the end of pregnancy drew near I felt a refreshed calm and stillness descending. Was relieved to identify unmistakable ‘show’ while in the toilets at a toddler distraction activity (trampoline park – his heaven) on Friday morning. Cramps were evident and increasing. So excited! After a trip to the birth centre confirmed my waters were in tact I was advised to crack on as normal until either waters went or contractions 3 in 10 mins. So crack on I did! Monty (toddler) and I got a bus to the Pantiles and wandered to the park. By 5pm a lady in the park enquired as to my wellbeing – I must have been pulling faces as the contractions ramped up! Should I go home potentially – she gently suggested. Toby came to pick us up in the car and I was getting a bit sore now. We put Monty to bed together and I felt quite emotional as I knew he wasn’t going to be my only baby for much longer. After a typically protracted bedtime and some deep breathing through increasingly intense contractions, shit started to get real once Monty was asleep. I focussed on breathing and we rang my parents. Soon realised we needed immediate respite in order to get to the birth centre as the contractions were coming thick and fast. By the time my sister in law arrived to babysit while my parents drove over I was ‘cracking on’ and having to focus fully. The drive to Crowborough was somewhat intense with every pothole and turn causing gasps and my poor husband coped well!

On arrival at Crowborough I practically fell on all fours through the doors, met by a midwife who didn’t leave me from that point on. Having initially directed me gently through to the assessment room, they diverted me straight to delivery as I was contracting so frequently. On inspection (with some gas and air – what a relief!) I was overjoyed to be told I was 7cm.

The midwife spotted my birth plan in with my notes and asked for it, I loved her instantly. She was a careful mix of hands off but gently guided me. I asked to get in the water and Toby set up our laptop with the labour affirmations track. We were in business!

The water was a blessed relief. Some gas and air plus another hour of contractions – pretty full on but not insurmountable, I felt a different sort of urge. I turned over in the pool so my back could arch under me – the midwife said my waters were bulging but they hadn’t broken
still. A strong visual image of my uterus contracting helped me as my body took over. One enormous sensation like doing a massive involuntary poo and her head came down followed by her body in one big whoosh! And there she was! In her membranes which burst as she came up. I was so so shocked in a very good way. It was done! Incredible out of body feeling and I felt strong! The music kept my mind anchored to the practise and rhythm we had rehearsed over and over.

A few stitches (more gas and air – a fun Friday night high) and the placenta, I had a shower and the best tea and toast EVER. Totally ecstatic and she is beautiful.

So many cathartic feelings following a much more difficult and traumatic delivery of my son nearly 3 years ago. This time I stayed fitter physically with help from Sam Rathmell at TWPT my awesome PT and I focussed on my mental fitness in equal measure with Louise Daniels – Hypnobirthing Tunbridge Wells. Team effort that helped Toby and I smash it, so grateful. The birth centre was the right choice for me too. All came together. Win! “