Archive for Mum Stuff

How to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy

When you’re wracked with nausea and all you can stomach is peanut butter and Marmite (maybe that’s just us?!) eating healthily when you are pregnant can be a challenge.  However, there’s a growing number of studies which show the link between healthy eating and a healthy pregnancy and better health throughout your baby’s life, so we’ve teamed up with yummy mummies Meriel and Lucy from Claudi and Fin to guide you through the best way to eat for two!

healthy pregnancy

What do you need to eat more of?

Experts recommend that all pregnant women eat more calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin D and protein but what are they and what do they do?

Calcium is used to build your baby’s teeth and bones. If you don’t get enough during your pregnancy, your body will draw calcium from your own stores and give them to the baby, so keep your body topped up! The most obvious form of calcium is dairy,  but you can also get it from broccoli, dark leafy greens, figs and beans.eggs and milk

Folic Acid is a B vitamin found especially in leafy green vegetables. It is extremely important for the development of a healthy foetus, reducing the risk of spina bifida, heart defects and cleft palate. Experts recommend you get 600mg when you’re pregnant. It can be hard to get this from food alone and unless you are planning on eating nothing but cabbage soup for nine months, experts recommend a supplement!

Iron is crucial to our body’s blood production and you need twice as much when you’re pregnant (27mg) because you are making blood for two! As well as multivitamins, you can supplement your diet with iron-rich red meat, legumes, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens like spinach) and whole grains.

fruit and vegetables

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and is essential to help build your baby’s teeth and bones. Most of us get enough in Summer from the sun but come Winter, it’s easy to become deficient, leading to weak bones and even conditions like rickets in children. Good sources of vitamin D are fatty fish and foods fortified with vitamin D, like selected dairy products, cereals and Claudi & Fin Greek style Frozen Yoghurt lollies.

Protein helps to build important organs in the baby, such as the brain and heart. You should be eating protein all the way through your pregnancy, but the third trimester is when your baby’s brain will be developing. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like mackerel, salmon and sardines are great for helping your baby’s brain develop healthily. Meat fish, cheese, lentils, yogurt, eggs and nuts are also great sources of protein.

meat and fish

Here are some quick fixes to get you started!

  1. For a bit of everything start the day with a smoothie! Berries a brilliant because they are packed with carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, folate and fibre and you can add yoghurt for calcium, avocado for folic acid, spinach for iron and nuts for protein. Whizz this all up in a blender and hey presto – everything you need in one drink!
  2. For Folic acid and calcium eat avocados which are also packed full of omega 3’s! They’re great on toast for a breakfast with a difference.
  3. For calcium and protein bananas are brilliant. They also stabilise blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
  4. For protein have some chia seeds they’re a must-have superfood packed with omega-3 fats and fibre, which will help keep you regular!
  5. For Vitamin D get some sunlight and enjoy one of our delicious Claudi and Fin lollies, which contain 30% of your recommended vitamin D allowance and use 100% natural ingredients what more can you ask for!

But I need chips! What happens if I can’t eat like this every day?


Don’t stress if you don’t follow this to the letter! This is not about being perfect, it’s just a guideline to help you get an idea of what your body needs and why.  Nobody is going to judge you if you have a slice of cake, it is time to enjoy your pregnancy – your healthy pregnancy! You’re growing a small person inside of you and that’s pretty incredible, so don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon and stumble into a chocolate bar, you don’t have to be a green goddess each and every day of the week!

Read Healthy Snacking For Children

UK Child Maintenance Trends

UK child maintenance trends and why people aren’t claiming theirs ……

mum and baby

Raising a child is no easy feat, but you knew that already. There are no handbooks, no guided tutorials and when a separation occurs it can only make things harder, no matter how amicable the split. According to The Guardian, the cost of raising a child is ‘higher than ever’, with the average amount coming in at an eye watering £231,843 for those born in 2016.

As a single parent, this is where child maintenance comes in, to help alleviate the stress and worry associated with raising a little one singlehandedly, but many people do not take advantage of this support or feel they are unable to, due to issues with their child’s other parent.  A survey looking closely at UK child maintenance, conducted by debt management service PayPlan, discovered that out of the 500 people located throughout the UK who took part, a shocking 48.8% claim to not pay or receive child maintenance, which means many single parents could be struggling unnecessarily.

summer childHowever, the reasons for not claiming vary dramatically, as respondents cited ex-partners not being co-operative, that they didn’t know their whereabouts or they simply didn’t want any help from them. It’s obviously a sensitive subject and everyone’s situation varies.

Interestingly, those between the ages of 45-54 with a child under the age of 16 were the least likely to claim child maintenance, with 73% stating they do not pay or receive it compared to 42% in the 25-34 age bracket.

When it comes to child maintenance there are two ways to arrange a regular monthly payment – a family based arrangement or a statutory based arrangement. A Family Based Arrangement is an informal method, usually utilised by those who are on amicable terms with their ex partner. The survey confirmed that this is the most popular process, with 43.6% of those responding confirming they have a family based arrangement in place, while only 15.4% confirmed they had a statutory based arrangement.

twinsIt’s important to note that while this arrangement is a more positive way of ensuring your child receives the money they need, it is not legally enforceable.  This is where a statutory based agreement can help, as the CMS will deal with the negotiations for those claiming, so they do not have to concern themselves with chasing their ex-partner for payments.

However, the fees associated with a statutory agreement were cited as a main reason for this type of arrangement for child maintenance not being claimed. To process a claim a £20 fee is incurred, which for low income parents could prove difficult to pay on top of the child maintenance itself. It’s important to note though that this fee isn’t unnecessary, it allows the CMS to check the income of your ex-partner, accurately calculate the maintenance owed and set up a schedule.

It also offers advice on how to arrange the payments between yourselves, as well as setting up an online account to track payments and create an annual review. For those who struggle to maintain contact with their child’s other parent there is also a collection service available – however, there is an additional fee for this. Another concern was that the process was too complicated, with 31.8% citing this as their reason for not receiving statutory child maintenance. As well as this, concerns over legalities and the length of time to set everything up were other issues highlighted by those taking part in the survey.

However, on a regional level, London was the only area where more than half of respondents were working with a family based agreement, while Scotland and its cities have some of the lowest amounts – 61.4% stating they do not receive or pay child maintenance at all. If you are owed child maintenance it is important you find a way to state your claim and work to an arrangement that suits both partners and acts in the best interest for your child.

One of the biggest costs when raising a child is childcare. With the estimated average for part time care coming in at £115 per week and full time £212, it’s no wonder so many single parents struggle to go back to work if they have no support. In fact, the costs have risen significantly over the years – by 4.3% in 2015 compared to just 2% for the average wage. PayPlan have created an interactive graphic which looks at the costs associated with raising a child at various ages which you can take a look at here.

Child maintenance is of course a sensitive issue for many single parents but something that if obtained could greatly benefit a child’s life. It’s important you consider all options before admitting defeat when it comes to claiming maintenance and yes, there may be circumstances where you are unable to, but there is help available out there no matter what your situation. Here are just a few places you can go:


Child Maintenance Options

The Centre for Separated Families

Families need Fathers



Win AA Skincare Essentials Natural Skincare Bundle

New natural skincare brand, AA Skincare, has launched AA Skincare Essentials – a new, competitively priced, range of aromatherapy creams, gels, cleansers, moisturising lotions and skincare products formulated using pure essential oils and natural ingredients.
AA Skincare Essentials

From anti-ageing Frankincense and Rose face cream to hydrating Sandalwood & Palmarosa cleansing gel and refreshing Bergamot & Chamomile face lotion, the AA Skincare Essentials range is packed with antioxidants and vitamins and is a must for anyone who prefers naturally effective beauty products. A delicious mix of essential oils, natural extracts and traditional formulations, the AA Skincare Essentials range of carefully created blends is suitable for a host of skincare problems or simply to give your skin a daily treat – ideal for mature or sensitive complexions as well as young, teenage skin.  All products are free of parabens and artificial fragrances and subtly coloured packaging is fully recyclable.

Win AA Skincare Essentials Natural Skincare Bundle


If you’d like to Win the AA Skincare Essentials Natural Skincare Bundle worth over £57, simply:

Follow @TheBabyWebsite & @AASkincareUK on Twitter


The AA Skincare brand was created by Amphora Aromatics – one of the UK’s largest suppliers of pure essential oils and aromatherapy products.  The AA Skincare Essentials range is made from the best quality ingredients and prices start from just £4.95.  Visit www.aaskincare for more information.

The winner will be announced and notified on September 7th

The winner is @JennaKateKelly

What’s not to love about Pregnancy Pilates?

pregnancy pilates fittamammmaPregnancy fitness experts Fitta Mamma are keen to share the many benefits of Pilates for expectant Mammas.  They say:  ‘Even if your usual exercise routine is more about cardio fitness or gym-based workouts it’s worth including Pilates during pregnancy as the more precise, controlled movements are ideal to help you adapt to the changes in your body, the birth process and your postnatal A Walk in the Woods 2015 download

Pregnancy Pilates

‘Pilates has so many benefits, strengthening your deep abdominals, back and pelvic floor muscles without placing undue strain on your other joints.  It’s an ideal way to prepare your body for labour and will encourage a speedier recovery afterwards.  There’s no reason not to enjoy Pilates throughout your pregnancy, adapting your exercise routines as your body changes – indeed Pregnancy Pilatessome women continue right up until their baby is born!’

Joining a class with a certified pregnancy Pilates instructor is a good idea, as well as being a great way to meet other Mammas-to-be too – but if you’re not able to find a suitable class you can practise Pilates exercises at home with minimal equipment.

Why is Pilates so good for pregnant women? Experts agree that all healthy pregnant women should aim for 30 minutes exercise on a least five days a week – FittaMamma share their top ten reasons for adding pregnancy Pilates to your exercise routine.

  1. Pilates is a strong but low impact workout for your entire body
  2. Controlled movements improve your strength, posture and circulation
  3. Strengthening your core tummy muscles reduces the effects of diastasis rectis (abdominal separation)
  4. Pilates encourages you to work your pelvic floor muscles helping to avoid stress incontinence
  5. Keeping your core and pelvic floor muscles strong is hugely beneficial during labour
  6. The hormone relaxin, released during pregnancy makes it easy to over-stretch. The controlled movements of Pilates  improve your flexibility without damage to your ligaments
  7. Learning controlled breathing and relaxation techniques are a great benefit during the birth of your baby
  8. Exercises on your hands and knees take the strain off your back and pelvis and can encourage your baby into the correct birthing position
  9. Strengthening your deep abs will stabilise your back and pelvis, easing niggling backache and joint pain
  10. You can easily adapt your Pilates routine to carry on exercising right up until baby arrives

pregnancy pilates wall slidesIf you’re not sure where to start, then Fitta Mamma has a wealth of information about pregnancy Pilates as well as easy to follow Pilates exercises. And if you’re not sure what to wear, FiittaMamma offer a unique range of supportive maternity fitnesswear that is ideal to wear for Pilates and any other maternity exercise activity.   Their supportive leggings are designed to stretch when you stretch and their tops support your baby bump without riding up when you reach up!

Article supplied by

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Crabtree and Evelyn Gift SetWith Mother’s Day just a few weeks away, Laura Mason aka Laura Loves, has come up with some great Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for us and you…….

Mother’s Day is an opportune time to show just how much you appreciate the mother figures in your life.  While recognition doesn’t just need to be limited to the one special day, I personally take the occasion to make my mum feel special.  Take a look at some of the following gifts that I think would be lovely presents for mummies-to-be, mothers or girlfriends….

Mum's NotesThe Mum’s Notes journal is a stunning book available in a blackberry, raspberry, silver or peppermint shade with reptile-effect hardback cover.  This striking journal is carefully designed to record thoughts, daydreams, inspirations, words to remember, you name it.  A great keepsake for treasured memories.  Priced £12.95 from

Because mothers are the often the queen of hearts, the sentiment of Whittard’s Queen of Hearts biscuits is a genuinely adorable gift from one to another.  At just a fiver it’s a great gift for children to spend their pocket money.  Priced £5 from Whittards.

Protecting your phone is a key necessity whatever your kids or your age.  Proporta recently released the Ted Baker Audio SS15 Ted Baker iPhone Covercollection, meaning an iPad and iPhone can look stylish in a funky new case wile having the practicality of leaving it safe and protected from little hands.  Prices start from £24.95 from

Photobox has so many customisable gifts featuring images of your choice.  The personalised ‘Mum Book’ is an amazing gift that can bring to life the thanks for all the wonderful things they do.  It’s simple to do and can be treasured forever.  The books start from £16.99 with a range of finishes from

Foot SpaGive mum’s feet a break with the Elle Macpherson Aromatherapy Foot Spa.  Mood boosting LED lighting along with aromatherapy mist and oils make this the ultimate luxury when it comes to foot therapy. The innovative design allows for both integrated hydro and vibration massagers and acu-pressure nodes that stimulate reflexology points.  Priced £74.99 from

For a Mother’s Day gift with a difference the Lumie Bodyclock Starter could be the best gift a mum will ever receive!  It is a clever clock that helps sleep deprived mums to get back into a regular sleeping routine with the introduction to waking with light.  It’s a medical device clinically proven to promote a better sleep Photobox Photobookso once baby is in a routine it should improve mum’s sleep quality allowing her to wake brighter and feel more energised and productive throughout the day.  Priced £59.95 from

For time out for a new mum at home, the MamaBabyBliss Pamperng Gift Bag contains a few small essentials to help restore some inner peace.  The set comes with ‘Ooh…’ – a lush healing bath soak, ‘Bliss Stick…Uplifting Oil’ designed to give mums an instant boost, ‘Aaah…Soothing Mummy Baby Balm’, a natural rescue balm for mum and baby and a little book of hints and tips to help relax.  Priced £22.50 from

Many parents will be able to relate to the ever so popular Peppa Pig TV programme.   The good news is the merchandise doesn’t stop at little ones and with a wide range of Mummy Pig gifts you Best Mum Hamperare spoilt for choice.  The Mummy Pig ‘Mum in a Million’ Socks are a nice discreet nod to the pig family!  Priced a great value £2.50 from Asda.

For a thoughtful gift of the chocolate variety the Best Mum Chocolate Hamper from Bath chocolatiers, Choc on Choc, is a must. This decadent hamper features a selection of finest Belgium boxes of chocolate including a ‘Best Mum’ pack as well as a selection of strawberry champagne truffles and the brand’s best-selling flower, cupcake and vintage teacup designs.  Priced £24 from

The Rose Tree Organic Relaxing Gift Set is a beautifully presented gift in a stunning box containing an organic hand poured candle and a bath treatment oil.  The brand specialises in luxurious all natural skincare products jam-packed with nurturing vitamins.   The luxury candles are made from 100% pure vegetable Rose Tree Organic Gift Setwax and are scented with pure essential oils and the uber indulgent bath treatment oil leaves skin subtly scented and silky soft, made with 98% organic ingredients.   The set is priced £50 from

There’s something special about personalising a gift so for a wide range of jewellery Love Silver has a choice of silver and gold items including pendants, key rings, initials, bracelets that can be adapted by their tem of craftsmen with a name or special message.  Prices start from £9.99 from

For anyone that craves some organisation within their crazy lives, British designer Victoria Green has some fabulous bags bursting with compartments and practical features.  The Love Hearts Traveller bag features vibrant red hearts for mums to wear with pride and comes with two roomy compartments, one for mum’s stuff and another for their child’s.  Priced £14.99 from Debenhams.

Being a mother is a celebration every day so share a toast with a glass of the finest Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne.  This delicious rosé is produced under a meticulous process called maceration, whereby it is aged for at least four years in the LaLaurent Perrier Cuvee Roseurent-Perrier cellars, creating a mature and fine Champagne.  Priced £42 from

Sometime as a mum you struggle to get out the house for your weekly shop let alone your nails so a nice DIY pick me up is the Rokit Gel Polish Professional Kit.  The gel manicure kit provides a salon quality without the effort with a one step process to ensure shiny nails that last up to 14 days.  Priced £99.99 from Debenhams.

A really lovely gift is the new Crabtree and Evelyn Pear & Pink Magnolia Luxury Fragrance Gift Set.  This indulgent gift offers a selection of travel-sized fruity and floral fragrance Pear & Pink Magnolia treats, perfect for a pampering.  Priced 25 from Crabtree & Evelyn.

Mum to 2 Under 3 and just finished maternity leave, Laura is a journalist and Mum. She enjoys reviewing products with her children, exploring new trends and more importantly, life as a mummy. ‘Continuously trying to get a ‘grip’ of motherhood and back to a size 10!’

Returning To Work After Having A Baby

mother and babyReturning to work after having a baby brings with it an abundance of feelings.  An emotional cocktail of excitement, liberation and energy merged with feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, guilt and fear!  You still want a career but you need flexibility; everything has changed, someone new has entered your life and frankly, they come first.

The truth is, change can be scary; but it is vital to remind yourself that the physical, mental and emotional change your body has gone through doesn’t suddenly mean that you have lost your motivation, capability and career experience. Quite the reverse, your motivation as a working mother is arguably stronger than before because you have made the conscious choice to combine motherhood with a career.

Becoming a mother is the most natural and important job on the planet.  But mothers and employers need to appreciate that they have, and are gaining skills respectively, they have not lost them.  Becoming a mother means that you are now richer and more Mum drinking coffeefulfilled as an individual and many of the skills you have developed in becoming a mother and those you will gain as you continue in your motherhood journey, can be effectively translated to the work place which is great news for your employer too.

There is clearly a great deal of dedication and commitment from mothers who want to work, they have made a conscious decision to juggle a career with their home life (whether that means working part-time or more flexibly) and they will put their life and soul into making that work.Nocturnal Animals 2016 live streaming movie

But it does mean that you need to be really organised if you want to blend your home and work life together in a manageable way. Try breaking your day down into focused blocks of time.  Split these chunks of time into things you need to do for your career and those you need to focus your energies on as a ‘mother’.  It’s all about finding a way that works for you and your family.

What is fundamental when you are juggling work and motherhood is that your home is running smoothly.  So if you have taken time off to have a child don’t leave it to the last minute to sort out your childcare, instead make that investment and get those arrangements made at least two weeks before you return to work so that both you and your child are established in your new routine. That way you won’t return to work with a heavy heart but with one full of enthusiasm, safe in the knowledge that you are leaving behind a happy home.


Juliet Turnbull from


Hire Expectations – Maternity Wear Rental

Hire ExpectationsYou’re pregnant! Having a baby is a wonderful time in any woman’s life but it can also be a daunting time. Added to all the physical changes in your body is the problem what to wear for the last 6 months when the bump gets bigger! I absolutely understand that many of you don’t really want to spend a small fortune on specialised maternity clothes that only last for such a short time.

I would recommend a selection of items that are your ‘must haves’ for this time which you can easily pick up from any of our great high street stores. All the garments I have selected will keep you looking modern and fresh during your pregnancy;

How To Style Your Bump!

Remember one thing…..your body needs structure to give it shape, wearing baggy will only make the area appear larger than it is – it’s all about the shape & style.

  • Don’t shy away from bold colours & print when you are pregnant
  • Maxi dresses are super for any mum to be and will continue to work for you after the baby is born, use them for daytime and evening looks.
  • A longer length jacket will accommodate your bump. Any single breasted or boyfriend blazer jacket with a low cut neckline will give the illusion of a longer, slimmer body
  • The empire line will work brilliantly both in tops and dresses. It will be tight under the bust then drapes over your tummy
  • Do buy a couple of pieces with an elasticated waist – these will not only bring you comfort but will look super teamed with an empire line tunic

As an Award Winning Fashion stylist, I wanted to be able to take the worry away from pregnant ladies and offer them the opportunity to look amazing for occasions such as Birthdays, Christmas, Christenings and other major events……..Hire Expectations was born in May!

Hire Expectations is where you can rent both Maternity & Breastfeeding dresses perfect for special occasions! So why buy when you can rent?

  • Hire a dress for 5 or 10 days
  • Choose a back-up size for free
  • Dresses available in sizes 6 to 16
  • We take care of the cleaning

We stock fabulous brands such as Isabella Oliver, Keungzai, Crave, Butter by Nadia, Sweet Belly Couture and Picchu.


Lisa Talbot of film Sing Street 2016


Happy Birthday Prince George

Woah – time doesn’t half fly! Can you believe that Prince George is nearly a year old already?! Yup, the most famous toddler in the world will be celebrating his 1st Birthday on July 22nd. It really doesn’t seem five minutes since the world and his wife took up residence outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital ready to pap anyone and everyone who went in and out. Really they were there for the ‘big announcement’ but ‘cabin fever’ took hold and the reporters from around the world took to spouting all manner of royal pregnancy ‘trivia’ to fill airtime. And do you know what……… even the most cynical republicans amongst us rather enjoyed it.

When Prince George was born at a whopping 8lbs 6oz he was pronounced, one of the heaviest royal babies in history. Apparently there were more than 25,000 tweets per minute about the royal baby’s birth and then we waited with baited breath for the royal baby name announcement . When it came, we were a tad surprised by how traditional it was. Yes, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge sounds like a fine name for a future king but it would have been nice to have had a more modern name in there somewhere. Nothing way out, just something a bit more contemporary? Clarence House’s official tweet announcing George’s name was retweeted over 18,000 times. The infographic below has plenty of fun trivia facts about George’s birth!

Prince George infographic

Apparently, as you can see, William and Kate have given poor Prince George the nickname PG Tips because of his initials. Good to see they have a sense of humour! A quality which they needed when they took George on their recent royal visit to Australia. After throwing his wombat gift on the floor and snatching another child’s toy in a playgroup visit, George certainly tested his parents’ patience. Instead of stressing they took it all in their stride and laughed it off.

Prince George, Catherine and William have had a heck of a year with many significant milestones passing without comment. Has George started walking yet? We don’t know but we do know he’s well on the way.

The one question we’re all asking now, is when will Prince George have a baby brother or sister? Will 2015 be another royal summer? Oh and …… Happy Birthday Prince George!

The Benefits of Perinatal Yoga

Yoga Stretching WomanIt doesn’t matter whether you’re completely new to yoga or have been practicing for years, pregnancy is the perfect time to start.

Earlier this month academics from Newcastle and Manchester Universities found that pregnant women who attended a yoga class every week for eight weeks experienced less anxiety compared to those who received normal antenatal treatment, with a single yoga class during pregnancy having the potential to cut anxiety to mothers-to-be by a third! Perinatal yoga carries so many health benefits for both you and your child. It is so much more than your usual gym class… it’s a training in deep relaxation and preparation for birth and motherhood. Founder of YogaBellies, Cheryl MacDonald, tell us about the benefits of perinatal yoga.

Perinatal Yoga

– Yoga plays an important role in the actual birth of your child. After practicing for up to eight weeks your body is stronger and has more flexibility which helps you adapt to various positions when in labour. You will find that your ligaments are more elastic which can reduce labour pains.

Woman Yoga-When we practice yoga, the love hormone, Oxytocin is released. Oxytocin’s main functions include preparing the female body for childbirth, stimulating milk production so that the baby can nurse, and encouraging the bond between the mum and her new-born baby. Deep breathing and stretching warms the body and allows us to release further oxytocin. By taking the body through the practice of yoga, we warm the muscles and joints, making the physical body more comfortable and relaxed. By continuing the practice with savasana (deep relaxation) and meditation, we encourage the production of oxytocin even further.

-Yoga asana (stretching exercises) relieves aches and pains which are common in pregnancy as well as promoting the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body to relax the mother’s body and mind. Posture can be a problem during pregnancy as your pelvis shifts forward as a response to the increased weight of the growing bump but yoga postures will help your abdominal muscles strengthen and make you stand tall!

-Pregnancy and birth also shifts the position of the internal and digestive organs, causing problems with digestion such as indigestion, trapped wind and flatulence. Yoga can help to restore healthy digestion and ease any full The End of the Tour 2015 film online

Yoga Bellies logo– The pelvic floor muscles are there to support your baby during pregnancy and the vital reproductive organs. Practising yoga in pregnancy or at any other time can strengthen the pelvic muscles and help with supporting this extra weight. Even more important is continuing yoga after childbirth to help rebuild the pelvic floor and prevent from further health problems such as lower back pain or incontinence.

–  Breathing is not something we tend to think about day to day, it’s a natural function of the body. But during yoga it’s beneficial to focus on every single breath. By practicing deep breaths you learn to breathe to your belly, which effectively means you are using the abdominals to breathe and using your diaphragm and ribs to breathe. Learning to breathe properly and make effective use of breathing techniques can calm the mind, body and soul, even in frightening or high-stress situations such as childbirth.

by Cheryl MacDonald, who specialises in perinatal yoga and natural birth preparation classes with Yoga Bellies

Birth Trauma

baby being bornMy Birth Trauma Story by Jennie Harrison

There have been several articles published recently by midwives on the pressure that they are facing and what it means to the health of Mums and their Little Ones.

There is a huge staff shortage with no budget for more midwives and there is also a fear of litigation, which creates a system focused on reducing costs rather than the best outcome for Mum and her baby. Lots of women give birth with absolutely no complications and a straightforward, healthy birth is possible for most women. However for some this system will impact on both them and their baby as this defensive practice can lead to intervention after intervention and result in a traumatic birth.

When a birth becomes prolonged or more complicated, the stress on both Mum and Little One is increased and can affect sleep and anxiety levels. As a Mum you don’t have time to process this experience as you are thrust into the most amazingly exhausting time of your life, so the fear, guilt, sadness, newborn babyanxiety get tucked away only to come back and haunt us later. Little Ones are the same, they can’t process what they’ve just been through and this can cause anxiety and sleep issues, again for years to come.

I experienced a traumatic birth with my little boy, so I understand how it feels. I had a textbook pregnancy and felt very calm about the birth. I had planned a water birth with gentle music, dimmed lights and very few people there. Due to a cascade of intervention in hospital we ended up with an emergency forceps delivery in theatre, bright lights and 12 people. My stay in hospital was not a good experience and I was happy to get home. Although I was elated and being a mum came very naturally to me, I couldn’t ignore the underlying anxiety, flash backs and panic attacks that I experienced. I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although according to my doctor I was just an anxious Mum that needed to get out without my baby. I was lucky that I had trained as a Reiki Practitioner prior to becoming pregnant, as it was these treatments that eased my anxiety and helped my Little One sleep.

mother and babyI didn’t return to my full time job as I couldn’t leave my little boy and couldn’t have coped with the corporate world. I made the decision to help other mums who had experienced birth trauma and set up my own company. I have since worked with lots of Mums and Little Ones who have experienced a traumatic birth, although this is not the reason they come to me. The majority of Mums I work with approach me because their Little One is not sleeping. Whether they are babies or 6 years old, they are still affected by their birth, still struggle to sleep and normally have some sort of anxiety as well. I help both Mum and Little One to move on from the birth, to feel safe again and to sleep!

“The Mind of Your Newborn Baby” is a fascinating book by Dr David Chamberlain, a psychologist who uses hypnotherapy to resolve trauma. He has found that many adults are still affected by the birth trauma that they experienced and when under hypnosis can recount the whole event. I had read this book so had some understanding about how babies form memories about their birth, however I still felt shocked when 3 months ago my little boy started talking to me about his birth. He is nearly 3 and was toddlerable to tell me how scary it was as well as act out the process of being born. He said he was scared for me and I was scared for him. I used Reiki Treatments, gentle conversation and lots of cuddles to help him move forward from this so that the nightmares have stopped, he is sleeping again and his anxiety has reduced.

Childbirth can have a huge impact in shaping you as a Mum and your baby as a person, but you don’t need to suffer in silence. The anxiety, fear and guilt do not have to stay tucked away and you can feel ‘normal’ again. I know, I’ve lived it and I’ve come through the other side of it.

As for the system that can create this type of experience, I have decided it is time to speak up, to raise awareness and push to change it so that fewer Mums and Little Ones suffer. If you would like to share your experience please take part in my Birth Trauma survey . The more voices we have, the bigger impact can be made.   If you feel you need help to deal with your experience my website is

by Jennie Harrison