In my antenatal course I always include a session which pulls together everything the parents have looked at in previous sessions – early labour, established labour and birth – to catch any questions, to talk through any concerns, to focus on labour and birth again after learning information and thinking about what they may need.
This is a challenging session because parents do open up about their fears and concerns – tonight’s were dealing with pain, what if they need to be assertive, what if labour is long, what if they panic?
This session is about talking through all of this and taking the time to do it. It is also about straight-talking: labour and birth can be so varied, have some kind of plan for what you might need, say what you need and communicate this as often as you want to.
I do think it is important to always refer to: what do I need? This is ever changing throughout labour – it can be physical needs such as warmth, food, water or it can be emotional needs: needing to feel safe, having a cry, wanting a cuddle, needing to be heard. You can need information, to know what is going on, to know what your options are, to have your questions answered. Speak up and say what you need – this is how you work with your midwife, this is how you work towards getting the information, support and reassurance you need, this is how you get involved.
I love this session – and this course is special because I have second time parents who can share their first birth experience – because it is about the reality and the challenges that can be part of labour and birth.
As an experienced antenatal teacher, doula and mum of three, birth has been part of my life since 2001 and as a birth practitioner I feel passionately about talking through the challenges, decision-making, information gathering and changes to options that come with changes to birth plans – this is what birth is like and it is different for everyone because we are all different. Again, speak up and say what you need…
I run antenatal courses every month, along with Relax & Breathe Workshops and individual appointments for expectant parents to be better prepared and empowered for labour and birth. You can message me with any questions and for more information.
Janine Smith | A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting
I am a specialist practitioner in pregnancy, birth and early parenting – I have worked with expectant parents since 2002 and I have taught antenatal classes almost weekly since 2005. Due to being NCT-trained, my knowledge and experience, I provide good information, practical skills and discussion for all expectant parents. My sessions are friendly and informal – not like a classroom – with small groups and individual appointments so you can ask questions and gather all the information you need to be prepared and empowered for the unpredictability of labour and birth.
In addition to general birth preparation, I specialise in being parent-focused so I run sessions for specific issues such as birth anxiety, giving birth again, being induced, planned caesareans and arranging a homebirth. I am a mum of three and I have also worked as a birth doula, so I have attended a number of births.