What is perineal massage and how does it help?

One of the things that our mums-to-be worry and ask us about in our MummyNatal classes is whether there’s anything they could do during pregnancy or labour to avoid tearing. Whilst every woman, baby and birth are unique, and there is no way of telling whether vaginal tearing will or won’t happen, it is a certainly a possibility. There are however factors that can play a part in helping a woman achieve a positive outcome in this sense (i.e. no vaginal tearing!)what is perineum massage and how does it help?

But first of all, let’s take it a step back.

What is vaginal tearing?

A vaginal tear is a spontaneous laceration to the perineum, which is the area between the vagina and the rectum. It can occur towards the final stages of the second phase of labour when the baby is being born. With the head being the biggest part of the baby’s body (and often the first one to come through the birth canal), the vagina has to stretch considerably to allow for the baby’s head to be born. Of course, that’s exactly how a woman’s body has been designed to work, so the tissue can and will stretch, but it is possible that tearing occurs in the process. And this isn’t just a possibility for first-time mothers – the birth of subsequent babies can cause tearing as well. Continue reading

Did anyone notice there are two parents to this baby?

You might have seen the blog post we published a few weeks ago about why we, at The Natal Family, believe that we should stop laughing at the videos of labour simulation for men. Judging by how popular that blog post was, and all the questions people raised on social media, we have decided to dig a little deeper into the implications of how dads are often portrayed in the media.

And if you read our previous post, you won’t be surprised to hear that we think there’s a much deeper message hidden behind their entertaining façade. So why do we think that ridiculing dads all the time is so unhelpful? We asked Steph Beaumont, co-founder of The Natal Family and BabyNatal programme and founder of the mindfulness-inspired MummyNatal programme. Continue reading

Why did you decide to join The Natal Family?

Here at The Natal Family we teach a variety of programmes that support parents and parents-to-be, and we are very lucky to have a fantastic team of BabyNatal and MummyNatal teachers helping us bring our classes all over the country.

It’s a growing family, and to help new members of the team settling in, we’ve asked some of our teachers why they decided to join us in the first place. We’re sure a lot of you can relate with some of the feelings or experiences that our lovely teachers shared with us, so we hope you’ll enjoy reading this post! Continue reading

Why we need to stop laughing at the videos of dads in labour

Have you seen some of the videos doing the rounds on social media of dads in labour? This is one from a while ago, but there are many others. These videos are obviously being created for entertainment purposes, but in a nutshell, they are trying to prove that men couldn’t possibly take the pain of labour and childbirth. And the way labour is simulated is by hooking these men to a bunch of electrodes that will send an uncomfortable amount of current through their abdominal muscles. Continue reading

So why write a birth plan?

“What’s the point in writing a birth plan? Everyone I know says that they aren’t worth the paper that they are written on and will go out the window.”

Sadly, this type of question and statement comes up in every MummyNatal class and Couples Birth Preparation workshop I have run, and that’s quite a number of times in almost two years of teaching!

In MummyNatal week 5, when we are discussing the birth environment, and in week 6, when we look at birth choices, this is a key topic. However, at The Natal Family (which created the MummyNatal and BabyNatal courses I teach), we like to use the term birth preferences’, rather than the term birth plan. Continue reading

Is labour painful?

We’ve all seen our fair share of movies where mum is on a hospital bed, in stirrups, sweating, screaming and crying, as her baby comes into the world, haven’t we?

No wonder we grow up expecting that birth is going to be just like that.labour painful

No wonder we expect it to be excruciatingly painful.

No wonder we think we’ll be the woman screaming in pain before her baby is delivered into her arms.

Expectations are set for us, but what’s the reality?

The reality is that labour and birth (wait for it) aren’t always painful. Not for everyone. While labour is most definitely perceived as painful to some, believe it or not, it isn’t by everyone. Continue reading

Your placenta. Your choices.

Did you know that the placenta is the only organ in our body that is made to be ‘disposable’? Yes, of course, there are organs that we can live without, but the placenta is the only one that our body ‘disposes of’ when it’s had its use. Created with fertilisation, just as the baby is, it has a lot of very important jobs during pregnancy.

Please note, this image is used for illustration purposes only. We are not suggesting that this is how placenta pills look like.

Please note, this image is for illustration purposes only. We are not suggesting that this is how placenta pills look like.

Did you happen to see any of our #FridayFact ‘Did you know…?’ quotes over on our Facebook MummyNatal page? We have been sharing a few fascinating facts about the placenta – what it does, and why it’s so important for the baby.

When the baby is born, so is the placenta. It’s no longer needed inside mum’s body.

But does this mean that it can no longer help? Should it just be discarded as the ‘disposable’ organ that it is? Continue reading

An interview with MummyNatal founder Steph Beaumont on children being present during labour and birth

Last week, we published a blog post about children being present during labour and birth, and we asked some of our fantastic Natal teachers to tell us about their experiences and stories.P1070594

This week we interview our amazing founder Steph Beaumont, who gave birth to her forth child at home with her third child watching TV in the same room!

But let’s hear the whole story from Steph directly, who now has 4 children and is expecting a fifth in the summer. Continue reading

Children present during labour and birth? Here’s what our Natal teachers say

Back in August last year, Jamie Oliver announced on Instagram the birth of his first child, a baby boy. In that announcement Jamie Oliver makes a reference about the fact that his oldest daughters, 14 and 12, were present during the latest stages of an Harrison baby 3“unbelievably composed” labour and birth and were the ones to cut their little brother’s umbilical cord.

Very sweet.

Except, that the whole internet was up in arms. “Should you let your children watch you giving birth”? According to an article that appeared in The Guardian back in August, the question was even asked to Jacque Gerard, the Royal College of Midwives’ director for England, who stated that “if [birth] happens in a prepared, loving, and supportive environment […] it’s really positive and healthy”. And apparently, she continued to say women requesting for their children to be present while they give birth is on the increase in the UK, and “given that we are trying to improve choice, if having children present is part of that choice, we should be supporting women. Birth is a family event, and it affects everyone. With the right support and preparation, why shouldn’t they be involved?” Continue reading

5 myths about meditation

MNpic1smThink meditation is not for you?

MummyNatal founder, Steph Beaumont, challenges your preconceptions of what meditation is and how you do it…

 

 

  1. Meditation is boring

13767476_1513009905380853_142237919_nThe point of mediation is to really tune into something, to really experience it. This means, for example, that if you are having a cup of coffee, you are really paying attention to the experience of having that cup of coffee. You are focusing on the warmth of the cup in your hands, the aroma, the texture, what it looks like, perhaps the sounds as it is being made, the taste, taking each individual moment – knowing the coffee is not going to be exactly the same from one moment to the next. You focus on each mouthful, just savouring each individual experience, and focusing only on that drink. You are NOT making mental to-do lists in your head, pulling on your coat/shoes as you gulp it down, watching the people at the next table, or checking your emails/social media while you are drinking it. Continue reading