What do you do again? What a doula is and isn’t…

Most people know I’m a doula and those that don’t do a very good job of hiding their surprise/total incomprehension. But sometimes I wonder how many people really know what a doula really is? What a doula isn’t: I don’t replace or make redundant the birth partner I don’t replace the midwife or doctor I’m not a ‘natural’ or ‘drug-free’ birth nut I don’t have a specific birth plan in... Read More

Express yourself

Somehow the words ‘breast pump’ have developed the most amazing resonant qualities. Try entering a party and saying them, just slightly above normal volume and I can guarantee heads will turn with a mixture of horror, fascination and incredulity. When pregnant I found that if someone (usually male) wanted to be really ‘hilarious’ and outrageous when discussing the baby experience, they’d eventually say something... Read More

Once more into the breech

You’ve bought your little dear the latest travel system, maxed out your cards on a luxurious bed nest and invested in a beautiful woven wrap to carry him in. How does he thank you? By deciding to turn the ‘wrong way round’ towards the end of your pregnancy. Brilliant! Never fear, all is far from lost. Take a deep breath and read on to find out more about what you can do to encourage your little one to perform a flip and your... Read More

Pencils at the ready

My artistic skills have always been fairly limited. Limited, that is, to slightly squiffy looking stick men and the odd collage of a long-forgotten boy band on my school ‘rough book’. I distinctly remember my art teacher sniggering gently when I, in a moment of madness, suggested that I might take GCSE art. Nevertheless, I’ve finally forgiven the artistic establishment for tossing me aside like a broken pencil and spent the... Read More

The natural caesarean

It may sound like a contradiction or even (should you have recently dusted off your GCSE English textbook, an oxymoron) but, if you are planning a caesarean for any reason, you may want to think about ways you can make it a more gentle entry in to the world for your baby. Smith, Plaat and Fisk (when not busy being characters in Dicken’s undiscovered masterpiece A Tale of Three Obstetricians) have been pioneering what they call a ‘woman-centred’... Read More

Jump around! Just what is active birth?

Giving birth is a bit like dieting. Everyone knows the basic theory (eat less, exercise more – have contractions, do some pushing) but there’s a huge industry, shrouded in mystique and an often devout following who will swear there’s only one way to do it (drink only kumquat juice – give birth standing on your head). Don’t listen to the gurus – you’re the expert in your body. Some people want to be in... Read More

Reading between the lines: baby books

Baby books…there’s nothing so guaranteed to cause an argument at baby group. Some are devote follows of one particular school of thought, others think another ‘method’ set out in a weighty tome is the ONLY way to raise a happy, healthy baby who sleeps through the night, never cries, feeds well and can complete a rubik’s cube aged two. There are of course many mothers who think baby books are the work of the devil... Read More

Birth in water: the hows and the whys

As I type this I’m looking wistfully at my rather lovely La Bassine birth pool, bought in anticipation of my own home water birth. Due to a labour that progressed rather faster than we realised (and an incident that will go unreported involving someone never to be named filling the pool with cold water) I never actually got in my pool and delivered my daughter on dry land. But, if I am ever lucky enough to have another go, I will be blowing... Read More

It ain’t over ’till it’s over

Hands up if, before you were pregnant/had a baby, you didn’t even realise there was a third stage of labour… You have some contractions, do a bit of pushing, you have a baby, you’re all finished, right? Well not quite. There is of course the matter of the placenta – that amazing organ that connects the umbilical cord to the wall of the uterus and sustains your baby until he’s ready to make a grand entrance. As... Read More

TENS: friend or foe

If you are worried about coping with the sensations of labour, adding electric shocks in to the mix may seem like torture rather than relief! Nevertheless many women find TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) very helpful – particularly in early labour. Little pads stuck on your back deliver small electric shocks on to your skin. You can control the strength of these by twiddling a dial (or pressing a button if you’ve... Read More

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The Hackney Doula

Doula UK Recognised