All posts filed under: Janine Smith

A unique range courses and support for expectant and new parents across Tyneside

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. 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 …

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 …

young working mother cuddling baby and using laptop at home

Postnatal Conversations In April

Postnatal Conversations: “Your sessions are like therapy – we get to offload and talk openly.” All of my sessions – groups and consultations – are focused on you as a parent – in pregnancy, with a baby, with a young family, so you can be open. We’ve had so many postnatal conversations this month, so much of it about the different aspects of change and the challenges that come with being a parent, specifically being a mum. It’s important to stress that no-one is particularly unhappy, there can be plenty of chat and laughter during sessions, as well as pride and contentness. But there is also exhaustion, loneliness, moods, lack of confidence, adjusting and resentment. We have talked about friendship changes and challenges within relationships. For some people friends can shift when a baby comes along because your social life takes a hit and you don’t have the energy for going out or listening to other people’s problems. And relationships can change in couples – you are going from a couple to a family or …

the Ockenden Report

After the Ockenden Report

After reading the Ockenden Report and the experiences of the families involved, I have reflected a lot on the births of my own children, on the births I have attended as a doula and on my practice. I have experienced and witnessed amazing care which was compassionate, supportive and kind, which made a difference and I have experienced and seen overstretched student midwives, unsure of their role, along with rude staff who have been dismissive and who have made unnecessary comments. The system will never be perfect, its people will never be perfect but the catastrophic errors that have been highlighted in the Ockenden Report should never have happened and should never happen again. – after the Ockenden Report – If you experienced anything upsetting during your pregnancy, birth or as a new mum, feed it back. It’s not easy and none of us like to complain but nothing changes unless we speak up. It doesn’t have to be formal complaint, just feedback. Talk through the birth of your baby – you can talk to …

An overview of the Ockenden Report

There’s no doubt that the long awaited Ockenden Report – an independent review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust – is a hard read. The findings are damning and the stories from families are truly heart-breaking. As someone who has worked within the birthing/parenting world for 20 years, the failings highlighted by Donna Ockenden are inexcusable but the findings for immediate change could make a crucial difference for all families. Communication, listening to and learning from parents is essential to providing effective care. There is no excuse for dismissing and ignoring parents. Some of the main comments in the Ockenden Report: Donna Ockenden acknowledges the efforts and exhaustion of the NHS, especially throughout the pandemic before focusing on the NHS maternity unit that failed. “Even now there remains concerns that NHS maternity services are still failing to adequately address and learn lessons from serious maternity events occurring now.” “Workforce challenges that have existed for more than a decade cannot be put right overnight…the size and scale of this review is …