Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Babies remember their birth language.

Dr Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in Seoul led this research into how talking to a baby in any language during the first year of life can imprint on them the individual nuances of different languages. Dr. Choi advises all new parents to ''Try to talk to your babies as much as possible because they are absorbing and digesting what you are saying.''

The process of acquiring language starts extremely early, even while the child is still in the womb. Babies have learned their mother's voice by the time they are born.

If you have any friends or family members who speak a language taught at school then invite them over to talk to your baby so that when they are at high school, learning French or German, they will have a natural advantage.

One young lady I met in pregnancy had a toddler with her and she told me that she only spoke English to him even though she was from France. I advised her to speak both languages to him as this was the time that children picked up the flow of language and it would not in the long term confuse him. I do not know if she ever took this advice but turns out I am now backed up by science! Yay.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

It was like looking at midwifery care from the 1950's.

The article 'Where to now?' published in the Autumn 2016 issue of Midwives Magazine was a very interesting read on how to deliver continuity of care in today's cash crippled NHS. However, the illustrations to accompany this piece were draconian and outdated to say the least. All five of the pregnant women shown were lying submissive on hospital beds. It was like looking at midwifery care from the 1950's.

The care givers are all stood over the women in positions of authority and seem to be totally disempowering them. There are some token birth balls and birth pools scattered about but none of these are actually being used. If this is a reflection of how we view women today during birth then it is a very sad picture indeed.

I gave birth to my children in the 1980's when women were just a piece of meat to be put through the system. No thought was given to our physical or psychological needs at all. It took champions like Sheila Kitsinger, god rest her beautiful soul, and Sally Inch to fight for the rights of women during all aspects of pregnancy care.

The fact that such a demoralising illustration is being presented to us in our own Midwives Magazine is very disturbing. Society as a whole treats pregnant women with distain, constantly teaching them that labour WILL BE a very painful and traumatic event to be feared. Television programmes like One Born Every Minute do a great disservice to women by editing and highlighting births that appear very disturbing in order to win the rating wars. They often show midwifery practice at its worse. The hospitals who take part in these programmes should be ashamed of themselves and have set birth emancipation back decades.

It sometimes seems to me that pregnancy and birth is the last hurdle we have to overcome in a patriarchal society that takes every opportunity to treat women as 2nd class, keeping us in our place. Showing such illustrations does not help feminist aspirations concerning birth or any other aspect of pregnancy care. Has anything in the last 30 years really changed or do we just give the same old authoritative care, only now are we being taught to do it with a smile on our face to soften the insult?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Pain Free Labour web page.

At last, after months of work the Pain Free Web Page is now live at

It contains all the most relevant posts from this blog and more to help women find what they need.

Hoping that the new web page will help to spread the word about pain free labours and change how women approach labour so that the first stage can be pain free.

Let me know what you think. Thank you.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Clare's Home Birth After Caesarian

 I read an interesting article in Midwifery Matters magazine by Clare Caro who jumped through all the hoops put in her way to have a home birth after a previous caesarian section (CS). She was traumatised by her first birth where she says she was in labour for 3 days which ended in an emergency CS.

Women who are in labour for such a long time have mainly adrenalin to blame. As soon as women start to have contractions they become afraid and anxious. This is because society has taught them that labour WILL be painful and pain is to be feared, hence the fear. Watching One Born Every Minute should be banned for all women as it plants the seeds of fear that sprout and grow as labour approaches. Adrenalin, the natural result of anxiety, 'sticks' to the human cervix and makes it harder to open so labour goes on and on and on.

Just like me with my second, Clare lied about her due date from her last menstrual period so that she would have extra time to go into labour before the INDUCTION word would be mentioned. She justifies this by saying “I felt slightly bad for telling a lie, but if women are being told a date that has a 7% chance of being true, then who exactly are the ones being lied to here?

Clare says that home births are a natural choice when giving birth as you feel safer in a place “free from intruders, dark, warm and quiet. A place that harks back to the cave, where for thousands of years our ancestor's would have found safety from the world outside.” She goes on to explain how as soon as she reached hospital with her first they insisted on performing a vaginal examination (VE) and how this made her feel violated as she was put under pressure to have one. All women who present to a hospital in ? Labour are expected to undergo a VE, if you do not want one then you will not be allowed onto the labour ward. Some birth centers do not perform a regular VE, they use their experience of labour to assess the contractions and watch the woman's body language to decide if someone is in labour or not. A VE is very useful information for midwives and lets us plan your labour. However, if you decline then you should not be punished for it. Also lying down in labour is very uncomfortable and may make the contractions become painful so ask the midwife to be as quick as possible as you need to be upright for a pain free labour.

Clare explains that when you are at home you can relax and feel safe so that your brain can enter a theta frequency which is the deepest level of conciousness that we can experience in a waking state. This is what relaxation techniques taught in this blog and outlined in the books strive to achieve, a level of total relaxation whilst still being awake.
Eating Miso soup in labour was a new one on me. Apparently it contains all the 9 essential amino acids, is high in Vitamin K and minerals. This is the beauty of being at home in labour, you can eat and drink what takes your fancy and move around, adopting different positions to suit your own personal labour.

Clare had her home birth with no problems at all with a midwife she knew and her own doula in attendance. Whilst pushing her baby out in her bathroom after a nice warm bath she states “There was no time for thoughts right now, I was my body not my mind.” This is how women who are totally centered on their labour feel, no one shouting PUSH at them, just going with the flow of a fast moving stream delivering your baby to you.

hot flannel (on the perineum to help it stretch) and immense contractions, and with just one of those contractions out came a head and body – slipping right into my hands, I placed the baby gently on the towels in front of me. Nick and I got to know our girl, touching her, holding her and holding onto each other. Here she was, at the end of the journey.”

See the post VBAC AT HOME? ( ) for why a home birth could be the best way to avoid a second CS. However, an interesting fact that Clare brought up was to do with how hospitals in the USA sew back together a uterine opening, they do it differently to our surgeons in the UK rendering their CS scar weaker and more likely to rupture. Do they do this on purpose so that they can keep on getting more dollars for performing section after section and to hell with what the woman wants? Would not be surprised. 

Pain Free Labour Books available from Amazon. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Breast Feeding - giving baby more than you thought.

Human milk has been found to contain complex sugars known as oligosaccharides with far more variety than our fellow mammals. There are to date 200 human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) identified and they are the third most abundant ingredient after lactose and fats. However, it has been discovered that babies cannot digest HMOs, so what are they for?

It is known that HMOs pass through the stomach and small intestine without being digested and are destined for the large bowel where most of our useful bacteria are. Kuhn and Gyorgy et al determined that the HMOs in human milk are there to feed microbes in your baby's gut.

The microbe who benefits most from the HMOs is Bifidobacterium longum infantis (B. infantis), often the most prolific microbe found in the guts of breast fed babies.  In repayment for being fed such a plentiful diet the B. infantis releases short-chain fatty acids, a food for gut cells. This food allows the gut cells to make proteins that act as a glue, sealing any gaps between the cells that could allow harmful microbes into the blood stream causing infection. B. infantis when fed on cow milk does not perform this service and explains why breast fed babies are so much healthier.

Research shows that breast fed babies have higher IQs. HMOs could be responsible for this. B. infantis also releases, when fed on HMOs, a nutrient named Sialic Acid. The amazingly fast brain growth that humans experience is nurtured by Sialic Acid and so it is safe to say that human milk makes your baby clever. Cow milk does nothing for a baby's immune system or brain development.

 Scientist have put HMO fed B. infantis to the test and so far they are protecting your baby from:
  • Salmonella.
  • Listeria.
  • Vibrio cholerae (cholera).
  • Campylobacter jejuni (bacterial diarrhoea).
  • Entamoeba histolytica (dysentery).
  • E. coli.
  • HIV.
Research is now being done on premature babies who can develop a fatal gut condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). As the name suggests, the baby's gut is being eaten away by bacteria which commonly turns the gut tissue black. Premature babies are now being fed breast milk and B. infantis to try and prevent NEC. B. infantis is no use without the HMOs proliferate in breast milk. They will not protect the baby if fed cow milk alone. Premature babies are not good at sucking but maternal milk can be pumped and kept out of the fridge for 5 hours to ensure that the ingredients are still alive when given to baby, often via a feeding tube. This new research could revolutionise how we feed early babies and put a stop to the all too common condition of NEC.

 Pain Free Labour Books available from Amazon. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Active Birth Pools

The benefits of using water for labour and birth are well known…

Meadow Birth Centre Venus Birth Pool

Here are the facts…
  1. Relaxing in a deep pool of warm water can be a wonderful aid in labour. It’s worth having a pool mainly for this reason.
  2. Using a birth pool helps mothers to considerably reduces the need for medical pain relief.
  3. The buoyancy of the water supports the mothers body weight allowing her to relax more easily and deeply. They can cope better with contractions and also rest more comfortably in between them.
  4. It’s easier to use upright or squatting positions and move freely from one position to another, than it is on land.
  5. Being in a birth pool gives mothers an increased feeling of privacy and security. This enhances the secretion of hormones which stimulate uterine contractions and act as natural pain killers and relaxants.
  6. Studies show that labours tend to be shorter overall when a woman enters the pool at around 5cms. dilation.
  7. Fewer women need the help of obstetric interventions.
  8. I cannot get rid of this number 8 no matter how I try.
  9. Now there is a number 9 as well!!!
  10. Thank you Keith for your lovely information on pool births.
  11. Active Birth Pools


    Pain Free Labour books available from Amazon. Yay, the numbers have gone!!! xx


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Avoiding Induction of Labour - 2

In the last avoiding IOL post I reported on the use of date fruits, in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, to get you into labour before your due date. Well.

Just for you I have been eating date fruits to see what they did to a non pregnant woman with some interesting results.

Our guts are made up of smooth muscle as reported previously in this blog. The uterus is also made up of the very same smooth muscle. There is only one type of smooth muscle and it all works in the same way.

So. I started eating date fruits at the rate of one a day and there was no difference that I could detect. So I moved up to two a day and have noticed a big difference in the way the smooth muscle in my gut is working extra well.

This is really good news as my guts are not known for their regularity if you know what I mean.

Therefore, I can say with confidence that eating date fruits do have an influence on smooth muscle. The research that I reported on recommended that pregnant women eat SIX date fruits a day for the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy, they had some very impressive results.

Dare I try eating THREE date fruits a day?

For you I will do anything.

Please please please let me know if the date fruits work for you and how many you had to eat.

P.S. I cut mine up into a salad or my daily porridge. Yummy. xx