Rumi QuotationBuddha Bellies - back to the home page

Classes/Workshops etc January 2011

January 10th, 2011

Postnatal Classes - Monday mornings between 10 and 11.30 in the Woodstock Methodist Church Hall. Six week course starts this Monday though you are welcome to join us throughout the course. Intimate class of new mothers with babies up to 8 months old. Something for you though babies very much welcome. Still a couple of places so do email me asap if you’d like a place.Prenatal Class - Monday evenings 7-9 pm in the Woodstock Town Hall. Running every Monday night until Easter with a two week break in Feb. this class is usually very full so please email interest and I will let you know of there is a space or put you on the wait-list if there isnt. We have a lot of babies due this term so if you are wait-listed it shouldnt be too long until you get a place.Couples Workshop- the next couples workshop is Tuesday 15th March 7.15- 9.45. Places limited so early booking essential.Doula work- I have limited spaces this year so please let me know if you’d like to know more about the doula package I offer.

Yoga for Pregnancy- Find a class…..

January 10th, 2011

Contrary to what we are often led to believe, birth is not a pathology, pregnancy not some illness that you need rescued from, and labour not a disaster waiting to happen. Sure, every now and then nature turns it into such- a complication obviously means that medical care is both paramount and welcome- but for the vast majority of women, your birth can and should be an entirely positive experience, and one which – with the right environment and the right emotional support- you can do very much under your own steam.


But to think that you can fall pregnant, grow your baby and then waltz through labour  on little more than a wing and a prayer is entirely unrealistic. Like any other huge mental and physical endeavour, giving birth takes preparation. If you were going to climb a mountain or run a marathon, you wouldn’t dream of doing it unless you were well and truly prepared. In the same way, birth needs proper preparation.


If the birth process in the West was not so hidden behind closed doors, and instead was much more a part of life  as it si in other parts of the world; if we saw other women give birth, helped them through it, understood its peaks and troughs, then very explicit preparation might not be so necessary, though physical and mental strength would be required whatever the situation. But the truth is,most of us we have never seen a birth or even thought about what it entails before we first give birth ourselves.


The marathon or climbing a mountain analogies are good ones when it comes to birth, because like labour and birth these require not simply physical ability but crucially mental stamina and fight. To keep going in a long labour, to pass through the pain threshold, to not give up in the trickier bits is of course a physical endeavour but also in large part a mental endeavour too.


This is exactly why yoga- which focuses on physical strength and flexibility as well as mental stability and the breath is simply the perfect tool for birth preparation- a sort of one stop shopping if you like. Look around for a class near you or at a push rent yourself a yoga for pregnancy dvd to do on a regular basis at home. Mothers who prepare in this way tend to swear by it afterwards and preparation is without doubt one of the keys to a happy and healthy birth.

Home vs Hospital- the debate rages on

November 23rd, 2010

Despite the fact that home birth figures in this country barely make a dent in statistics, the validity of home birth vs hospital births is still hotly debated. Very sadly the debate is cast in quite black and white terms, with advocates of each quoting scientific studies which back up the point that they are trying to make.To be honest this entirely misses the point. I am by no means averse to debate. In fact I wholly welcome it. If we are talking about where best to give birth, it means that women are thinking about it and that can only be a good thing. Active choices are the foundation of any positive birth experience and the more women become informed and armed with true knowledge about birth, the more likely they are to take their boirth choices into their own hands.I do not believe there is one best place for a woman to give birth. It is why i do not sit on either sid eof the fence in the home vs hospital argument. I am genuinely of the belief that birth is hugely influenced by a woman’s mindset, and crucially her sense of security. The key to birth is to be able to switch off, and for that we need to be in an environment which makes us feel nurtured and secure, surrounded by people we trust that can give us the emotional as well as the medical nurture that we need.What the science shows us is that for low-risk births, home is at least as safe as hospital. There are of course risks to a home birth- unforeseen and rare complications can arise, and in the odd case it might well have been better to be in hospital. But all too often the debate about hospital vs home birth emphasises the minimal risks of being at home whilst entirely ignoring the risks of being in hospital, as though the latter is devoid of risk, because it is a hospital. Yet 1 in 4 women who birth in consultant led units have complications. It is scientifically proven that once birth is intervened with you are more likely to need further intervention- the so-called cascade of intervention. Women who are attended to by obstetricians are subject to much higher rates of c-sections, forceps, induction and augmentation - all of which can sometimes be life saving but which can sometimes also be risky. There are risks to everything we do, and I think any debate on place of birth needs to take this much more into consideration. I do not believe that everyone should give birth at home, but I do believe the debate is biased, entirely ignoring the fact that births are fundamentally affected by the environment a woman births in and the intervention she has.For women who are low-risk, the choice to birth at home or in a midwife led unit is an entirely valid one. Yes, they might be taking the risk that intensive medical care is not within spitting distance. But they are also ridding themselves of the risk that their birth will be intervened with unnecessarily and increasing their chances of getting the kind of emotional care that is conducive to good birth outcomes.It is okay to speak of risks, but only when we do so honestly, showing that on both sides of the coin there are riss- and then leaving it up to the mother to work out what is most importnat to her. For some women, giving birth without the knowledge that an epidural or high tech medical care is only a corridor or floor away would be inconceivable. In that case they need to  explore their hospital options, but with an awareness that they are increasing their chances of intervention. For other mothers, hospitals might well be a place they associate with the ill and the infirmed and not places they feel they could truly open up and feel secure. For them, one to one midwifery care might well be the deal breaker.There is no right or best place for every woman out there. The debate is not black and white. Different women need different things. The key is, we need to be able to choose- and for that not only do we need those in a position of power to assure us that options will always be there, but we need to look more healthily at what those options are and what they really mean for our birth.Ask yourself the question, where would I feel safe, and why?  Make your place of birth a real choice.

Birth on Woman’s Hour

November 23rd, 2010

For those of you who missed it there was a birth special on Woman’s hour on thursday of last week. Sheila Kitzinger was interviewed and it is well worth a listen- she is as inspiring and eloquent as ever.

Homeopathy for Birth, Before & Beyond

November 23rd, 2010

As promised the link to the Helio Birth kit- I highly recommend it. The remedies are all 200c potency ( rather than the 30c that you’ll get in health food shops). The guide book that goes with it is fantastic and truly self-explanatory and it is just as useful after the birth as during. Its £26.95 truly well spent.

No class tonight Monday October 4th

October 4th, 2010

A reminder that there is no class this evening because the fair is on in Woodstock, which makes parking impossible and provides a completely inappropriate soundtrack to yoga! See you all next week.


July 22nd, 2010

I am away until August 22nd. please email class interest then. DVD sales will be fulfilled from August 10th onwards.

Happy summer!

Delayed cord cutting

June 14th, 2010

On the back of Third Stage of Labour Class today, this research is especially interesting.

“Delaying clamping the umbilical cord for a slightly longer period of time allows more umbilical cord blood volume to transfer from mother to infant and, with that critical period extended, many good physiological “gifts” are transferred through ‘nature’s first stem cell transplant’ occurring at birth.”

suggest researchers at the University of South Florida’s Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair.

There is no reason, even in a managed third stage, why cord cutting cant be delayed until the cord has naturally stopped pulsating and the baby has got its full quota of nutritious placental blood. As increasingly women are routinely being given syntometrine, sometimes as quickly as after the delivery of the baby’s shoulders it is really important that your esearch the differneces between a physiological vs managed third stage and state clearly what you would prefer, all things being equal.

The imperative of choice

May 18th, 2010

I have been watching Mad Men recently, and quite apart from how fantastic and beautiful it is as a series, it is completely fascinating to see into the (admittedly fabricated) lives of women in the 1960s. It wasn’t that long ago really, and yet sexism was rife, women were only beginning to be liberated and generally you get the sense that their choices were, by design or default, significantly curtailed by the cultural norms of the day. Fast forward 50 years, and we are all superwomen, capable of choosing between motherhood and careers or having both, informed and educated and spoilt for choice. Or are we?

Because the women of New York have just had a huge choice taken away from them ( see article). Last week,  the closure of one of NYc’s most progressive St Vincent’s hospital spelt the end of legal backing for midwives who worked independently. As o that day, there is not a single midwife in New York who can legally attend a home birth. That is millions of women now deprioved of a very basic choice as to whether to birth at home or in hospital. In a country that honours freedom as much as the US does, that borders on the sacrilege.

Not everyone wants a home birth, and not everyone should have one. But for those that do, the lack of choice will feel stifling. The most important thing a woman needs to consider when she is planning her birth is what environment she will birth best in. Security and privacy are two complete essentials - if a woman feesl safe she will birth better. Fact.

For some women, that safety comes from being in hospital, with medical attention only a corridor or two away, and an epidural on hand should she cry out for one. But for other women, safety comes from the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. Research on home birth shows that for risk-free prgenancies birth at home is at least as safe a in hospital, and Holland, where the home birth rate is a whopping 30%, has some of the lowest maternal morbidity rates in the world. According to the science both places are safe for mothers in general, but certain places are better for mothers as individuals. And it is only the women themsleves that can decide what is right for them.

Except in New York they cant.

Birth is hormonally driven, and hormones function best in particular environments. When a woman is denied the right to choose that environment, she is effectively ebing denied the right to a good birth. There is, and should be public outcry about this.

Let us also hope that this particular little development is one that we dont decide in the UK to follow. Birth practice in the US seems to be exported, even when it is found to be faulty. I have never been one for protectionism, but there is a time and a place, and when it comes to choice for mothers, that time is now.

Being Good Enough

April 26th, 2010

On the same subject as ‘brining up babies’ that has been in the press recently, there was a fantastic half hour on Radio 4

Between Ourselves: Series 5 where Olivia O’Leary talks to Laverne Antrobus , and educational psychologist, and Oliver James, the now very successful author and child psychologist about what children actually need, and what we can do as parents to bring up happy, emotionally healthy children. I highly recommend a listen.