Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Will Catherine use HypnoBirthing?I really feel for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She’s obviously having a dreadful time of it with severe ‘morning sickness’ – a ridiculous euphemism if ever I heard one! She must have been really ill to go to hospital because the act of going to hospital has somewhat let the cat out of the bag – and that’s why I really feel for her; she hasn’t been able to keep her baby secret to herself.

Some people can’t wait to tell the world and are on the phone or social media as soon as the line appears in the window. Others, me included, decide to wait until it is ‘safe’ which is usually considered to be after the dating scan at around 12 weeks. Sources differ but at least 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and being a very practical person, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to cope with that if ‘everyone’ knew. Can you imagine what it must be like if ‘everyone’ literally is everyone in the street, in the papers, on the TV, on social media? Crikey.

Once we had had a positive scan we felt that we ought to start telling people but really neither of us wanted to. It was our little secret; it was our family sprouting into life and I wanted to hold it (the secret and our baby) close to me, to protect it. I felt that once the secret was out, that we wouldn’t own it any more, that we wouldn’t be in control of it.

So, I feel for Catherine, not just because she is feeling dreadful physically but because she knows that when she leaves the hospital, she must face a barrage of cameras flashing, she must smile and wave and she will know that we all know. I can but hope she will be given chance to enjoy her pregnancy away from the media, but that’s as likely as one of those blue moons!

How did you feel about telling people about your pregnancy – did you want to tell the world straight way or was it a secret you wanted to keep to yourself. Please write a comment on what was important to you.

Guest Blog: from Dadbloguk.com

We need a drum role for Birth & Baby’s first guest blogger. Putting his head above the parapet this week is John Adams, editor of Dadbloguk.com. John talks about a dad’s role during birth. Whilst John is not a HypnoBirthing dad, the central message of advocacy and the importance of agreeing birth preferences stands true however you plan your birth and however it plays out:

What is dad’s role in the delivery room?

The one piece of advice I would give any soon-to-be dad is that you have a very important role as an advocate for your partner’s wishes. Whether in the delivery room during the birth itself or the maternity ward afterwards, you should be prepared to leap in and speak up so that the medical team know how your partner wishes to be treated.

The starting point is the birth plan. You should discuss this with your partner and make sure you know it in detail. You’d be well advised to ensure the plan covers the main birthing possibilities; natural birth, forceps, ventouse and caesarean section. It should also be crystal clear about which pain relief options your partner is happy to consider.

Some people are very dismissive about birth plans and claim they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. I think that’s an unnecessarily negative view. As the labour progresses, events will probably dictate the birth plan can’t be adhered to entirely. The plan will, however, give the medical team a very good idea about your other half’s wishes. Having you on hand to remind them of what the plan says may be no bad thing.

When our first daughter was born, I had to speak up for my wife when it became clear a forceps delivery was required. As a first time mum she was nervous and told me she wanted the benefit of powerful pain relief if things got difficult as she didn’t want to be put off having further children.

The consultant had been planning to deliver our child in the delivery room with minimal anaesthesia. When I spoke up and relayed my wife’s wishes, he agreed to move to an operating theatre where other anaesthetics could be used. I also got a knowing wink from the midwife which suggested I had said all the right things!

Something else to keep in mind is that your partner’s memory and concentration will be affected by all that’s going on. On top of the fatigue caused by labour, she will probably have been puffing on gas and air for hours and may well be under the influence of pethidine or the epidural (if she’s had one). Do not expect her to remember the finer details of her birth plan and do not expect her to remember anything you say to her at this point. You are likely to be disappointed!

If you do find yourself having to speak up, be polite, clear and quick. Events in the delivery room can move very fast. You don’t want to get in the way or annoy the midwives and consultants who know a lot more about what’s going on than you.

You may also find there’s a lot of activity around your partner’s bed. Measurements need to be taken of the mother’s body, drips and cannulas need to be fitted, the gas and air pipe will be swinging around all over the place and there could be goodness knows how many people in the room. While you probably want to hold her hand and offer soothing words, be prepared to take four paces back and let the team get on with it.

Once the baby has been born, you may still have an advocacy role. If everything is straightforward and she is discharged from hospital within a day or so, this is likely to be minimal. If, however, your partner is kept in for a protracted period of time you may need to speak to the doctors and midwives.

Post-birth hormones will be running high and your partner may be more emotional than usual. This is perfectly normal but it may mean that you have to get involved and explain what your partner’s mood is really like and how you think any medication treatments are affecting her.

Another piece of advice is to expect the unexpected. I’ve been present at the birth of both my children and they were both radically different experiences. The first was a more complex birth but the second was so quick and easy even the medical team was taken by surprise.

I also wish you the very best of luck as a father. It’s not always an easy job but it is very rewarding.

John Adams is the editor of Dadbloguk.com. Follow him on Twitter @dadbloguk

Guest Blog – Who will be first?

I am hoping to welcome a series of Guest Blogs to my humble blog-site. I am looking for bloggers, parents, local therapists, and really anyone with an interest in pregnancy, birth and parenting to come and have their say here.

If you have anything you’d like to say, or you know someone else who might want to give some advice to expectant or new parents, please phone me on 020 8405 3499 or email me at helen_redfern@hotmail.com .

Later today, the first guest blogger will have their say – any guesses who it might be? Check back later to find out.

Be Prepared for the Christmas Rush

Are we in the middle of a Christmas Baby Boom?

Over the last month or so I have had a lot of enquiries for HypnoBirthing and BabyCalm courses, often from friends of mums and dads who have had calm births and now have calm babies, thanks to these courses. However, I can’t fit everyone in and it upsets me to have to turn down people who I know I could help to have easier births and a happier experience of early parenting. It hurts especially when I am unable to help people who have been referred to me by happy clients (who are like family).

So, I beseech you, do not be afraid to contact me earlier than you think is necessary. If you call me when you are 35 weeks pregnant, I may not be able to fit you into one of my classes, and if you contact me when your baby is 12 weeks old I may not be able to fit you into a BabyCalm Mother & Baby course.

Do feel free to contact me in your first or second trimester – if you’re the first to book a HypnoBirthing course of BabyCalm Antenatal Workshop I may even reschedule it to a day that suits you. By the same token, do feel free to book a BabyCalm post-natal course in the first few weeks of parenthood or even, as some do, before your baby is born. I keep my courses small so that you have chance to ask the questions you need answers to and so that you can get to know the other parents well, which has led to lots of groups of friends being made.

Alternatively, if you have a group of friends in a similar position as you i.e. pregnant or a new parent, I may be able to schedule a course for your group – you can but ask!

I hope this helps anyone considering booking a course. I am already taking bookings for 2013 courses so do contact me if you think you’d like to make a future booking.

BabyCalm Review

I am very lucky. I get to work with expectant and new parents at a really exciting time in their lives. Whether I am working with expectant parents teaching HypnoBirthing or with new mums running a BabyCalm parenting class, I first see people when they are a little nervous and unsure and then see their confidence grow. I see them learn to trust that their body can birth a baby, that they can help their partner give birth or that they are a great mum just the way they are.

Today I had some lovely feedback from a mum who has just completed  the 4 week BabyCalm Parenting Course:

Wendy, Baby Sophie and Big Brother Jamie’s story:

“Thank you for your time and the opportunity to learn so many useful techniques to help me bond with my daughter. The course was so much more than I expected and I would recommend it to others whether they have their first baby or second (or more). The small group, the amazing venue and your calm approach created an intimate atmosphere and allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings without feeling embarrassed or self-conscious.”

Aren’t I the lucky one working with such lovely people?

Michel Odent, Oxytocin, and an invitation to Hawaii

Happy Birthday Michel Odent – how apt to wish Michel Odent Happy Birthday when he has helped, directly and mostly indirectly, so many women to have calmer more natural birthing-days.

Michel is most famous as the obstetrician who introduced the concept of birthing pools and home-like birthing rooms in the 1960s and 1970s and founded the Primal Health Research Center in London which focuses on the long-term consequences of early experiences.

I recently met him at the BabyCalm Conference where he spoke about the importance of oxytocin and early bonding between mother and baby. It is deeply important that we value early bonding because early experience, literally those first hours, can have a great impact on the person a baby becomes.

As a Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner I help couples to explore how they can bond with their unborn baby and by having a relaxed and confident mindset during birth they are able to let the oxytocin flow for a great birth and bonding first moments with their baby.

As a BabyCalm Teacher, I help parents to work out why their baby might cry, how they can all get more sleep and how they can be confident in their parenting abilities. This all contributes to raised oxytocin and better bonding.

During the conference, Michel invited me to Hawaii. It sounded idyllic. Actually, if I am honest, he invited the whole room to the Mid Pacific Conference on Birth and Primal Health Research but I prefer my version of events!

Michel, you are an inspiration, Happy Birthday!

Have you met Michel Odent? If so, do let me know how he has inspired you.

BabyCalm comes to Croydon

Good News! BabyCalm comes to Croydon!!

BabyCalm is a unique concept, presented through classes and literature, which aims to empower new parents to raise their baby with confidence. BabyCalm helps new parents understand how to calm their baby’s crying, avoid colic and aid restful sleep. Turning crying babies and stressed parents into calmer babies and happier parents.

There is a vast amount of pregnancy and birth support available in the UK, but a real lack of support available to new parents with very young babies.  Many new parents are left to muddle through the trickiest time in early parenthood alone –  the time when babies cry lots and sleep little, the time of colic and tears (and not just the baby’s!), the time when most new mums are frantically searching prescriptive books written by childless so called ‘experts’ for the answer to their tiring and distressing days and nights.

BabyCalm feels these books and parenting experts disempower new parents who feel they lack the natural empathy and understanding of the author, feeling the need to look to others to advise them on how to care for their own baby, when in fact our best experts are our own instincts! BabyCalm strives to help parents to not only calm and understand their babies, but to help them to trust their instincts and confidently make their own parenting decisions without relying on somebody else’s routines or manuals.

BabyCalm offers 3 different Course formats, all reasonably priced, starting from just £40 for a group workshop:

1)    The Colic and Crying Workshop – an emergency 3hr workshop that can be taken from birth to 12 weeks with the sole aim of helping parents to calm their baby. Offered on a private basis, in your own home.

2)    The Antenatal Workshop – a 3hr workshop, taken during pregnancy to prepare parents to be to welcome their baby in a calm and confident way. Offered on a private or group basis.

3)    The 4 weeks BabyCalm course – An 8hr course (4 x 2hr), just for mums and babies, designed to soothe babies and fill new mums with confidence. Offered on a group basis.

Here is what previous BabyCalm-ers have to say:

“Samuel and I have really enjoyed the BabyCalm classes over the last few weeks and I feel it has made a real difference to us both – we’re much more calm and happier and colic free – thank you!” – Kerry and baby Samuel (12 wks)

“”Thank you so much for your help yesterday, it was absolutely invaluable – I’m pleased to report she stayed calm all afternoon, no more colic! And we got 6 hours straight sleep for the first time ever, I couldn’t believe it!” -Becky and baby Jessica (4 wks

If you would like to know more about BabyCalm or would like to book a course do contact me via:

If you want to get your own group together, e.g. the parents you met through NCT or your NHS birth preparation classes, do get in touch. If you wish to host a course yourself, I offer a discounted rate for the host!

HypnoBirthing: If Carlsberg did labours…

Last week one of my HypnoBirthing couples had their first baby. The mum recovered so well that she emailed me less than 90 minutes after to tell me that the birth was,

‘less than 8 hours labour, no drugs, natural placenta delivery, and no stitches’.

That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Today she sent me the full story:

Julia, Stuart and Baby Alexi’s birth story:

‘I decided to do HypnoBirthing after a recommendation from a friend who found it fantastic. Although I was a little sceptical and my husband was very sceptical I thought it would be worth giving anything a go for an easier labour.

Using HypnoBirthing I ended up having the dream labour. Contractions started at midnight. We arrived at hospital about 4 o’clock 5 cm dilated. I was in the birthing pool by 6 AM and to the surprise of my midwives gave birth at 7:23 AM with no drugs required not even gas and air. I would describe the pain as uncomfortable, but my birthing plan indicated that the midwives not offer me pain relief unless I asked, and the uncomfortable feeling was not significant enough for it to cross my mind to ask. Clearly HypnoBirthing had a big part to play in achieving this. Additionally I did not tear at all and have not been sore since. I put this down to the perineal massage suggested by HypnoBirthing.

Helen the Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner I chose to have the lessons with was superb. She had a great calm but no messing manner and handled my highly sceptical husband well. I would thoroughly recommend her.

My husband is saying to his mates “If Carlsberg did labours ….”

If you are reading this wondering if it is worth the money, with no guarantee you will have a labour like mine, I would say if it gives you a chance you could have a birth like mine, then it is worth every penny.’

Julia hasn’t mentioned in her testimonial that Alexi was born ‘in the caul’ i.e. in the amniotic sac. This is considered to be very lucky. It is also a sign that Julia was very relaxed and that her midwife allowed the birth to play out naturally.

If you are pregnant and like the sound of a HypnoBirth, contact me on 0208 405 3499 or at helen_redfern@hotmail.com

HypnoBirthing and Breech Babies

I had the best news today. I worked with a lovely couple before Christmas who were preparing for the birth of their February baby. It was their second baby and the first birth had not turned out as planned; it was supposed to be a home waterbirth but ended up being a hospital birth.

Last month the mum contacted me to say that the baby was in a breech position but she wasn’t overly worried because she knew that HypnoBirthing could help. I visited her at home a week later to use hypnosis to turn the baby. Less than a week later she was able to confirm that the baby had turned and a home waterbirth was still possible.

I have spent this week wondering when I would hear what happened – despite not being that old I do a great impression of an expectant grandmother! I was delighted today to hear that she did indeed have her home waterbirth and that HypnoBirthing had been a great support… and here is the little cutie himself:

When I say to parents that their course fee includes any support they need between the end of the course and the birth of their baby, I really do mean it. I want the parents I work with to have a great birth experience and I feel chuffed to bits to have been able to help in this small way.