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birth wellbeing

12 practical ways to boost your birth wellbeing

What do I mean by birth wellbeing? Well, it’s really easy to focus on contractions and to forget to think about what you might need to be physically and mentally well during labour and birth.

Labour and birth has it’s own pace, it can demand a lot from you and that is normal and to be expected. No-one knows what the pace of their labour will be before it starts so realistic preparation so you can look after you is important.

The thought of labour and birth can make expectant parents question things that they wouldn’t normally think about – can I eat, will I be allowed to move, what if I need the toilet? what if I don’t understand what’s happening? will I be allowed off the bed? So let’s run through the essentials of birth wellbeing so you feel less detached from your basic needs.

birth wellbeing

Ideas for your birth wellbeing…

Everyone’s labour and birth is different and you will have your own needs, which is why focusing on what you need is important for your wellbeing.

  1. eat – little and often and as you need to because you and your baby need fuel. Labour & birth can use the same amount of calories as running a marathon. Eat normally in early labour and top up in labour.
  2. drink – always have water with you, drink and sip regularly so you don’t become dehydrated.
  3. breathe – focus on your breathing so it stays calm and stable. It’s really easy for your breathing to become shallow and rapid if you are a bit overwhelmed or anxious and it’s also common for women to hold their breathe in labour. Let’s keep the oxygen flowing.
  4. move – go with what feels right so wander, sit, kneel, lean, stand, rock, sway and step as you need to to rest, feel comfortable and to work with contractions.
  5. wee – try to empty your bladder regularly, at least every hour. It’s really easy to forget to go when you are busy working with contractions but a full bladder can make you uncomfortable, it can slow labour and it can move your baby into an unhelpful position.
  6. relax – labour works best when there’s no tension so it’s important to be able to relax your muscles. Relax your jaw, your shoulders, your hands and your pelvic floor, calm any fidgety movements and slow your breathing.
  7. accept your contractions – you need them so it’s not helpful to battle with them. Work with them and if they are too challenging, look at your options for pain management. If you are greeting each one with a tense, closed body and maybe holding your breathe, feeling scared – see if working with them feels better. It has to be worth a try.
  8. rest – this can be overlooked as well because there can be a lot of focus on being active and having gravity. Listen to what your body needs – move and be upright with contractions but flop, rest and conserve energy in-between contractions.
  9. what do you need? quieter room, dimmed lights, to connect with someone, words of reassurance and encouragement
  10. how are you feeling? if you are anxious, worried, panicky or just can’t settle something needs to change – firstly slow your breathing to take control of feeling overwhelmed and then try to say what you need. Information, reassurance and encouragement can make all the difference, along with being listened to. Talk to your partner, doula and midwife about your pain relief options if you feel like you are struggling and feeling distressed.
  11. put yourself at the centre of your care – you don’t have to wait for permission to do anything so move as you need to, eat, drink, go to the loo, change the room around. It’s also okay if your birth is different than expected and you need to make different decisions around pain relief.
  12. gather information – so you know more about your options and what is available for you such as using a birth pool or is there a bath/shower as an alternative. As the contractions intensify you may not want to communicate so birth partners need to take over asking questions.

To enhance your birth preparation, you can complete my antenatal course, a birth workshop and book consultations with me. My job is to build you up, to give you the space to talk, discuss and ask questions so you have more knowledge and confidence for your labour and birth.

You can just message me below with any questions or queries.

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Working with parents since 2002

My face-to-face sessions are ideal for parents across Newcastle & Tyneside. With video sessions and digital courses, I also work with parents and families from across the UK as well as internationally.
How can I help you?

Ongoing Support & Reassurance For You
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ book a consultation with me
■ join a group
■ complete a digital course

Say hello…
Instagram | Facebook Group | Linkedin

Copyright: Janine Smith 2022

Postnatal Words: Lonely

Some days are lonely – you might be wandering the streets on your own to get your baby to sleep or sitting among a group of mums who are talking about how well their baby sleeps when yours doesn’t.

And it’s not about finding your tribe, it can be about accepting that feeling lonely is real and okay sometimes and getting some support to talk through any challenges or how you are feeling can make a huge difference.

Ongoing Support & Reassurance For You
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ book a consultation with me
■ join a group
■ complete a digital course

Through this website and my social media accounts you can read practical articles and posts along with different experiences and comment about all things pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

Further Reading
Pregnancy | Birth Preparation | Labour & Birth | New Baby Feeding  | Babyloss & Grief Breathing Space
In Your Words | Essential Posts

Say hello…
Instagram | Facebook Group | Linkedin

Copyright: Janine Smith 2022

challenges of birth

Do you know how to prepare well for the challenges of birth?

The challenges of birth will be unique to you – what one woman finds challenging, another woman is okay with.

Labour and birth preparation needs to be more than focusing on the straight-forward – challenges exist so there is power in acknowledging them and know more about how to work with them.

And I’m not talking about complications of birth, when medical intervention is needed, challenges are normal and can occur during a straight-forward birth.

What might the challenges of birth be?

  • the position of your baby, which can cause backache, tiredness and a long labour
  • the intensity of contractions
  • fear and feeling overwhelmed
  • a long labour which can be exhausting
  • a fast labour with powerful contractions which are close together
  • being induced, which can feel more medical than a spontaneous labour
  • having an epidural, monitoring and being on a bed

And how can you deal with the challenges of birth?

Having strategies to use, going with your instincts and knowing your options means you can make decisions, say what you need and keep putting yourself at the centre of your care.

Reading well, discussing it and having realistic expectations for labour and birth means you are better equipped for the challenges of birth.

How can you prepare well?

Challenges of Labour Workshop

Antenatal Course, which includes the Relax & Breathe Course

These digital courses can be available in minutes, they can be personalised to you and you can also include consultations with me to ask questions and discuss your labour and birth preparation.

Please remember that challenges are normal – labour and birth has it’s own pace, it can be unpredictable and we can’t control it but strength comes from having knowledge and knowing what you can do to make a difference to your labour and birth.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

Ongoing Support & Reassurance For You
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ book a consultation with me
■ join a group
■ complete a digital course

Further Reading
Pregnancy | Birth Preparation | Labour & Birth | New Baby Feeding  | Babyloss & Grief Breathing Space
In Your Words | Essential Posts

Say hello…
Instagram | Facebook Group | Linkedin

Copyright: Janine Smith 2022

pregnant woman sitting on bed and reading book

Pregnancy Wellbeing

Pregnancy wellbeing can feel like an indulgence because pregnancy is natural, so what’s the fuss?

While I don’t like a lot of fuss, pregnancy is just the time to start to focus on your wellbeing and what you need to feel as physically and mentally well as possible.

The simple steps of pregnancy wellbeing can help you to feel well:

  • rest when you need to and when you can
  • swim, walk or do pregnancy yoga to ease aches and boost your energy levels
  • breathe to de-stress, to be calm and to relax
  • eat well and often – this isn’t a time to restrict food so healthy options throughout the day can help to ease any tiredness or nausea
  • drink water throughout the day – it’s easy to become dehydrated
  • de-stress – especially if you are busy with work as well as family life
  • share how you feel if you are feeling low or isolated
  • what do you need? focus on putting you first

Finding what works and doing it will make a difference, so planning in these steps and making them a priority can give you a boost and it means you are looking after yourself as best you can.

Everyone’s pregnancy is different and everyone has their own needs.

  • what do you need to manage pregnancy symptoms?
  • do you feel like you are doing too much?
  • how can you rest more?
  • start to focus on your breathing, to be comfortable using it to relax
  • are you worried about anything, or feeling anxious? what would help you right now?

You can also arrange pregnancy consultations with me to talk through any challenges, worries or anxieties, as well as your needs and looking after you. Pregnancy is very personal and I tailor sessions to each parent.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

My face-to-face groups are ideal for parents across Newcastle & Tyneside. With video sessions and digital courses, I also work with parents and families from across the UK as well as internationally.
How can I help you?

Say hello…
Instagram | Facebook Group | Linkedin

Copyright: Janine Smith 2022

Pregnancy in your words: strong

Pregnancy can be such a positive time – feeling healthy and strong and in awe of your body as your baby grows and you experience changes.

For some women it is a time of health and fitness – focusing on eating well, focusing on moving more and prioritising self care.

Enjoy it, taking care of yourself is important and any new habits you develop now can continue to be part of your life when your baby is here.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

Further Reading
Pregnancy | Birth Preparation | Labour & Birth | New Baby Feeding  | Babyloss & Grief Breathing Space
In Your Words | Essential Posts

Ongoing Support & Reassurance For You
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ book a consultation with me
■ join a group
■ complete a digital course

Say hello…
Instagram | Facebook Group | Linkedin