Pregnancy Yoga by Rosita Evans

Exercise can do wonders for you during pregnancy – it can boost your mood, improve sleep, and reduce aches and pains – to name but a few of the benefits!

Exercise in pregnancy may also help to prevent gestational diabetes, and also reduces your risk of Pre-eclampsia. Also, research has shown that those women who exercise throughout pregnancy find it much easier to get back into shape after the birth of their baby.

In addition, it is widely believed that babies born to women who have exercised and kept themselves fit during pregnancy are generally happier and more content.

Medical experts recommend that pregnant women should exercise for at least 20 minutes a day – but it doesn’t need to be anything too strenuous!
Fitness Expert and Yoga Therapist Rosita Evans, author of “Rosie’s Remedial Yoga”, takes you IMG_8310_pp-2through a few exercises below, to help prevent some common pregnancy-related problems, and help you prepare for your Happy Event!

Before you start:

  • If you do not exercise regularly, consult your GP before trying any new exercise regime.
  • Please leave at least two hours between your last meal and any exercise routine.
  • Make sure you are warm and dressed in loose comfortable clothing.

Morning Stretch

This simple stretch will ensure the right amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, feeding your brain and other vital organs, making you feel wide awake. It is the perfect antidote for when you are feeling tired and restless, and despite its name, this can be done at any time of the day, as and when needed!

Stand tall, with your feet apart, tail bone slightly tucked under, and your arms to your sides. Take a deep, slow breath in and as you do so, slowly raise both arms up to the ceiling. (Match your arm movement to your breath – they should both last the same length of time, the slower the better). Link your hands together and as you breathe out stretch up toward the ceiling with both hands as high as you can. Hold this stretch as you breathe in again and then as you breathe out, slowly return your arms to your sides. On your next breath in slowly raise just your right arm, and as you breathe out stretch your arm and your upper body over to your left-hand side. Breathe in as you slowly return to your upright position, and breathe out as you return your arm to the side. Repeat with your left arm, and then to complete the stretch, repeat the first stage again with both arms.

To help prevent swollen ankles and varicose veins:

During pregnancy, especially the latter stages, the added weight of your baby puts a lot of pressure onIMG_8339 the circulation of your legs. The lymphatic drainage system in your legs slows down, which can lead to fluid retention/swelling around your ankles. This simple exercise stimulates the circulation in your legs, which reduces your risk of varicose veins and helps to eliminate swollen ankles.

Lying on your back – on a bed, or on the floor – bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Raise your right leg
up into the air, as high as you can comfortably manage. If you need to, you can support your leg by holding behind IMG_8338your thigh with both hands. Now, point your toes (stretching the front of your foot) and then flex your foot (drawing your toes down towards you while pressing your heel up to the ceiling). Repeat this point-flex movement until you have done it 8 times. Then, keeping your leg still, draw a big circle with your toes (so just your foot moving, and not your leg). Draw 8 big circles in one direction, and then 8 circles in the other direction. To finish, repeat the point-flex movement again 8 times and relax your leg.
Repeat with your left leg.

To ease digestive problems, strengthen the spine and stimulate the production of Seratonin – your body’s own feel-good chemical – which will lift your spirits:

Bridge Pose – a wonderful, calming yoga pose with many proven medical benefits. It is particularly beneficial during pregnancy, as it reduces pressure on your vital organs and gives baby some space to stretch and move.

Lie on your back, with your arms down by your sides, palms facing down. Your knees should be bent, feet flat on theIMG_8341 floor. Feet and knees should be the same width as your hips.

Slowly, start to lift your bottom off the floor, gradually raising your back, aiming your hips towards the ceiling. Continue to raise your back, lifting only as high as comfortable. Your arms remain relaxed and resting on the floor to your sides.

When you have reached your comfortable height, hold your body still and focus on your breathing. Breathe slowly and gently, letting your abdomen rise on your breath in. Continue this slow breathing pattern for approximately 1-2 minutes. Try to keep your bridge at its original height throughout the exercise – it is very easy to start drifting down to the floor without realising!

When you are ready to come out of Bridge Pose, gently and slowly round your spine back down onto the floor. Sit up slowly when you are ready.

To ease backache:

It is very common to experience backache during pregnancy – your body is having to cope with a lot of extra weight, and because that extra weight is centred around your middle your spinal muscles are put under considerable strain.

Supine Spinal Twist – a very simple and very effective way of stretching your spinal muscles and reducing the pressure and tension placed on them during pregnancy:IMG_8461

Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your heels drawn quite close to your bottom. Your feet and knees should be touching together. Bring your arms out to your sides until they are level with your shoulders, palms facing the floor. (So your arms and body are in a “T” shape). Breathe in, and as you slowly breathe out take both your knees over to your right-hand side. You are trying to bring your knees as close to the floor as you can manage. When your legs have rested into position, slowly turn your head to face your left-hand side. Focus on slow, deep breaths, and just let yourself relax completely. Your spine is now being gently stretched – the vertebrae are being eased apart, taking the pressureIMG_8455 off the discs in between. After one minute, breathe in as you slowly return your knees to their starting position, and breathe out as you take both knees over to your left. When your legs are in position, turn your head to face your right-hand side, and again rest here for one minute.

In later pregnancy you may find it difficult to lie comfortably on your back. If this is the case, try this spinal twist exercise sitting down:

Sit on the floor, using a cushion if you wish. Your legs should be stretched straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee, and cross your right foot over your left leg. The sole of your foot should be flat on the floor. Hold onto your right knee with your left hand, and place your right hand on the floor next to you. Now turn your body to the right, using your right hand to support your position. Hold the stretch for one minute, and then repeat on the other side. While you are holding your stretch, try to keep your breathing deep and slow.

And finally: Walk this way …

Not every woman “glows” during pregnancy! You may feel drained of energy and motivation. You might feel your mood quickly changing and dropping. Most experts agree that one of the best forms of exercise is a good, brisk 20 minute walk, at least 4 times a week – and this is an extremely beneficial form of exercise during pregnancy. Walking is great exercise for your heart and lungs; it perks up the circulation and helps to eliminate stiffness in your hips and knees. And walking is well-known for stimulating the production of endorphins, leaving you feeling energised and wonderful!

The general rule of thumb is that you should walk fast enough to feel your heart beating a little quicker than normal, but not so fast that you cannot hold a conversation.

Happy Heart Month

Creative Healing Happy Heart Treatment

 

The creative healing heart treatment – as shown in our video is calming and therapeutic.happy heart
This nurturing treatment also acts as a physical cleansing treatment for the heart valves and the cardiac muscle. Gurgles can often be heard as the drainage channels of the heart are cleared.

The pregnant mother’s heart grows through out pregnancy works therefore heart treatments once a month are recommended throughout pregnancy. This keeps the heart circulation in good health. The heart is also our emotional centre and performing a heart treatment has a profound healing effect on our emotions and alleviates anxiety.

The heart treatment is valuable for the whole family. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, children over the age of 4 and all friends of the family!

Please follow our demo video and perform with lighter than light touch!
WIth deep thanks to Joseph B Stephenson who has taught us this technique.

To Watch the Happy Heart Video please click the following link

Introduction to Gentle Birth Method

Get to know the basics and understand the fundamentals of the method and how it applies to your body and soul throughout your exciting, transformational journey as a mom, parents. The aim of ‘The Jeyarani Way’ Gentle Birth Method Self-hypnosis and Visualisation programme is to increase confidence, deepen bonding between mother, father and baby removing fear of the birth process.

Date: Saturday 7th February 2015
Starts: 10am, Ends: 2pm

Venue: The Kailash Centre, Newcourt Street, St John’s Wood, London NW8 7AA

This session is for you if you are a new joiner to classes or for friends you’d like to introduce to the wonders of Gentle Birth Method. Hosted by Dr Gowri personally it will be a day of getting acquainted with the method, and learning how you can, as a couple, tap into its benefits to help you throughout your pregnancy.

The programme includes:

  • 10am: An overview of the method explaining the importance of each area including morning and evening teas
  • One Hour: Introduction to self-hypnosis
  • One Hour: Couples massage
  • 12:30 Refreshments: tea and a gluten free treat
  • 30 Mins: Explaining labour and use of homeopathy and oils for pelvic and vaginal preparation
  • 40 Mins Brief talks and Q&A on yoga (including demonstration of funny walks) and breast-feeding

Price: £60 per couple (£30 per person).

Please call 0208 530 1146 or click here to book your place.

http://www.gentlebirthmethod.com/shop/introduction-to-gentle-birth-method/

Jaspreet’s Birth Story

Having moved to the US from the UK I was unfamiliar with the medical system here, so it came as quite a shock that it is so image-5ad9ceff6223ce101267bc7c60420d1aab8937a54704c89294e3a38733632f0d-Vintrusive and doctor-led. I was told that as I had gestational diabetes I would have to be induced in the 39th week, regardless of the baby’s size or condition. As there were no indications of any problems with the baby or me in the twice-weekly ultrasounds I was made to have from 28 weeks onwards, I refused induction and went into labour naturally one day after my baby’s due date.

My labour was quite long at 26.5 hours, with 14.5 hours of active labour. When we arrived at the hospital after 4 hours of active labour I was 6cm dilated, and only dilated an additional 1cm in 6 hours. I was exhausted and decided to take an epidural. I delivered a healthy baby girl vaginally with only a minor laceration, delivered the placenta within 5 minutes and had no need for Pitocin to contract my uterus – something I was also told I must have!

We were amazed at how alert Isha was as soon as she was born. We did immediate skin-to-skin and she breastfed within a couple of minutes.

I cannot thank you enough for your advice over the course of my pregnancy. I have no doubt in my mind that following the Gentle Birth Method is the reason why I had such a wonderful and comfortable pregnancy, as well as a relatively easy delivery. I also image-eae486e9488f8d579a6c8eafd3f86ce30397a33a16b8a53871b347ceee5e8fbc-Vthink it is the reason why Isha is so alert and calm! She is only a week old but for the last couple of nights has only woken me once for a feed. She is breastfeeding really well and sleeps soundly in between. She also has amazing neck support! Our baby nurse is astonished at how much control she already has. She listens very intently when spoken to and already follows voices around the room!

I have already lost most of my pregnancy weight and am feeling almost back to normal. I will definitely be following the method for my future pregnancies, and have been telling all of my friends about it, pregnant or not!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I couldn’t have done it without you and Nida for support and guidance.

Sally van Kooten’s Birth Story

I was introduced to the Gentle Birth Method by a friend who passed on the book to me. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter 12 days ago having used the book and the accompanying reflexology DVD and yoga DVD throughout my pregnancy. My husband has become an expert in reflexology overe the past 9 months!

I am an expat living in Switzerland and decided to follow the Gentle Birth Method as my guide and birth preparation method. The local antinatal classes are all in French and as I don’t speak the language sufficiently opted with my husband to prepare for the birth of our daughter together using the Gentle Birth Method.flowers

I am really grateful for the Gentle Birth Method as I had a 3.5 hour labour and delivered my first born in a birthing pool with no medication and no tearing. I have also managed to have no stretch marks. The midwife even asked how I had managed such calm and beautiful birth. I truely believe that the visulisation, breathing and yoga allowed my daughter to be born so calmly. She is an extremely content little girl and is amazingly calm.

Unfortunately I had a retained placenta and had to have emergency surgery after the birth. However I am extremely happy to have brought Harriet safely into the world and now have lovely memories of her birth.

Thank you for making it possible to follow the Gentle Birth Method from your book. I cannot recommend this method high enough and now do so to my pregnant friends.

Best wishes from a very happy Mum.

Sally van Kooten

Astrid Camprubí ‘s Birth Story

An inspiring story sent by one of Gentle Birth Method Mom

Seven years ago when I was expecting my first boy, a good friend recommended me a “magical” book The Gentle Birth Method Book.

 Thanks God I followed her advised, I ordered the book by Internet and I followed all exercises from week 20. From Spain it is hard to follow some proposals due to lack of practitioners or believers of this kind of methods.

Moreover, it is impossible to find herbal tea, perineal oil or some basic ingredients of the diet. Despite all of this I deeply believed in your method and I managed my labor moment as I always dream. I had a nice and comfortable expecting period without any setback.

 I broke my waters at 5.30 am so I had to go to the hospital. Once I arrived the doctor told me to be prepared for a cesarean, she didn’t felt I was able to do it. My waters were broken but I wasn’t suffering any contraction. I asked for a calm room, some space to practice my exercises and I asked the doctor how much time I had to reach how many centimeters dilatation. She answered “in less than 4 hours you should bé 7cm at least”. I was completely convinced it was possible. After 4 hours of meditations exercises, of talking with my baby  and so on I reached the goal and they started believing me. They decided to give me more time without giving me any medical help (oxcitocine, drugs)

So after 8 hours Noah was born. It took me just 20 min of pushing and it was completely natural and gentle.

 After this amazing experience I bought this book for all my friends and started recommending to use this method. I  encourage my friends to bet for a natural and gentle birth.

Thank you very much for your time and your incredible experience. Step by step we all together hopefully will change the praxis of some health care institutions of european countries inspired by you.

 

Astrid Camprubi Hernández

Barcelona

Z’s Birth Story

ZitaNevile1I have been blessed to have two angels. The contrasting ways they arrived in our world does nothing to differentiate the love I have for them. They have set me on my life’s journey as a woman and mother. But the differing ways they arrived I think shows the brilliant effectiveness of the Gentle Birth Method.

Our son Wolfie was born on 1.1.11 by emergency C-section after a difficult 18-hour labor. The scan I had at 40 weeks + 4 showed that he was not fully engaged in my pelvis. In labor the midwife told me he was back-to-back with me and I “wouldn’t make it” without pain relief. After an epidural and a doomed attempt to drag Wolfie out using ventouse, he arrived by way of the ‘sunroof’. I received a letter explaining that this was necessary as Wolfie was OP. I was hot and shaking so ferociously I could not hold my newborn son for the first few hours after he arrived let alone feed him. I ran on co-dydramol for the first few days and adrenaline for the next few weeks. I battled demand-led breast-feeding and miraculously at 12 weeks he slept 7-7. Conversely, I became an insomniac for the subsequent months, reeling from the shocking change of life and the way it had come about. I did not revisit these emotions again until I became pregnant again 2 years later.
Isis was born on 7.7.13. Gowri extolls the virtues of (birth) preparation. I was determined to be physically and emotionally prepared for this birth. My obstetrician agreed that I had presented with “extremely favorable birthing condition” for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy. She felt that the cervix was soft and the baby’s head was engaged. Gowri and her team in the final 2 weeks had kept doing more. Working harder to keep improving my chances of a better birth. Gowri contested the idea that Isis was engaged at all and she could feel that Isis was turning OP like her brother. I had been eating the right foods, wearing the wrap, walking, going to micro-movement classes with Francoise for 6 months and seeing GBM team bi-monthly. In the days leading up to Isis’s arrival I had treatments almost every day. I walked, slept, oiled, stretched and took pills from every continent on earth. I had the most amazing cranio-sacral therapy in water with Gowri, I felt for those moments totally and utterly in tune with Isis in my womb. Francoise also took me into the pool. I know she showed me how to persuade Isis further down my pelvis. When I got out of the pool I was giddy with endorphins, Isis and I were in bliss. Perhaps so much so that in one sense we did not want to let each other go. Isis was 9 days over her due date when it was decided my waters should be broken.

Given Wolfie’s birth there was still part of me prepared to accept that all the preparation may have been in vain. Debbie and Gowri were with me in hospital with a skeptical Ferdy who I think was secretly hoping I would opt for an elective C-section this time around so as to avoid another trauma. After my waters were broken I was told by my obstetrician to go for a walk in the park and come back around 3pm to “review”. I never made it into the park but I would happily have given birth on the traffic island in the middle of the Marylebone road had it not been for Ferdy’s determination that I must at least have our daughter in hospital. I was oblivious to the traffic and almost to the tourists wishing to call me ambulances. I was in the zone. I did not think it possible but I genuinely willed every contraction, I was open to the pain, I was urging Isis out and she in turn was making a safe exit. The fetal heart monitors I was so concerned with during Wolfie’s birth were in the way rather than a reassurance, I knew we were ok. I felt safe. When I felt like the pain was almost over-powering I believed it was temporary and I wished Isis out further. I had been so well prepared by Gowri and her team. I think I remember Francoise saying that the mother needs to find their inner wave when they birth. I absolutely knew what she meant. I still remember the strength of the cranio Gowri gave me as I was pushing Isis out. She arrived at 3pm. In Ferdy’s words, it was “magical”. We watched Andy Murray win Wimbledon and went home that evening.
Gentle Birth Method is familiarised by mothers in the playground as the gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar free pregnancy lifestyle. I was 80% good at staying on that very straight and narrow diet. Wolfie was made out of sugar and all things nice. I gained more than 40kg’s eating the grand diet of Mars bar ice creams and treacle tarts. Isis is yet to taste these treats but I felt much better and more energetic as a result and did not crave nearly as much food while pregnant with Isis as my body seemed to be working so much better to formulate its own energy despite the fact that I was chasing after Wolfie around throughout Isis’s time inside.
Post-natally I was not bed ridden and able to return to spending time with Wolfie very quickly after Isis arrived which has undoubtedly helped reassure him during this time of change. Isis is a calm person, unfazed and unfussy. She has very little colic or digestive discomfort and no breast anxiety. From her birth she has been feeding and sleeping well and I believe this is due to her quick gentle arrival. My stomach shrunk in record time thanks to the wrap, the post-natal bars and the pre-pregnancy diet. I am still living off Gowri’s post-natal Indian takeaways. Gowri’s nut balls get me through the most tiring evening breast feed before supper and the diet suits me so it will probably be in the back of my mind informing my food choices forever even if I relax the rules. Sara and Debbie have been giving me the most amazing massages, which energise me in the day and help me sleep soundly in my (broken) sleep. To be looked after like I was looked after by Gowri and her GBM team was the best investment in our family that I have ever made. I had to dig deeply inside myself to put my unending faith in the method of another person. For it to have worked was, for me, life changing. From the bottom of my heart, I just want to say sincerely thank you.

Tips to reduce Heartburn

Tips to reduce Heartburn

 

Heartburn is when Gastric secretions travelling back up the esophagus from the stomach, An irritation that is caused by stomach acid. This can create a burning discomfort in the upper abdomen or below the breast bone. It is due to increased level of progesterone circulating around the body and causing the muscle to overly relax. this allows tiny drops of acid to escape from the stomach and travel backup.

 

  • Take lots of sips of still water throughout the day to constantly wash the lining of the oesophagus and stomach, and to dilute the acid. the water should be room temperature or ideally slightly warm.

    www.drhomeo.com

    www.drhomeo.com

  • Take light exercise such as walking to stimulate motility.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks and products such as lucozade and glucose tablets and anything with cane sugar
  • Add another pillow to your bed to help prop yourself up, avoid lying flat.
  • Sitting or standing after meals also help prevent heartburn

Homeopathic Remedies

  • For cramping indigestion with sour belches, Nux vom. 30c, one dose a day for 3 days
  • When it is worse at night there is metalic taste in the mouth Merc sol 30c, ne dose a day for 3 days
  • When it is accompanied b desire for salt, great thirst for water and burning eructations, Nat Mur 30c, one dose a day for 3 days.

 

Sareeta Pattni birth story

I followed the Gentle Birth Method for the nine months of my pregnancy.  It was hard at first to stick to the diet but I managed to stay gluten, sugar and dairy free.

I’m sure this is what really helped me stay healthy throughout and made childbirth peaceful as I had hoped.  We had decided to have a home birth and so being in optimal health was vital to me as going to hospital was not an option!

I visualised a morning birth and our daughter was born on a sunny Saturday morning – her due date!  It was a gentle and peaceful birth.  She came out with her hand on her head, sneezed, looked around and then seven minutes later the rest of her body was born.

 

June 2013

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How to get rid of Stretch Marks

How to reduce Stretch Marks


Stretch marks happen when the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching.

Although the skin is usually fairly elastic, when it’s stretchmarksoverstretched, the normal production of collagen (the major protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin) is disrupted. As a result, scars called stretch marks may form.

If you are pregnant we highly recommend to use our Aromatherapy Pregnancy Oil or Ayurvedic Pregnancy Oil, These oils prevents the development of stretch marks. It is absorbed and helps the elasticity of the underlying tissues.They are also anti-inflammatory and helps to relieve the aches and pains caused by the stretching of the lower back muscles and pelvic ligaments.
You can warm the oil slightly and apply over the specified areas. Wrap an old dressing gown around you and wait for 1 hour. Then shower off preferably without soap. Or apply a thin film of oil all over the specified areas and leave it on all night.

You can also use this homemade scrub after your you have given birth to accelerate the process
Olive Oil 1Tsp
Vitamin E Oil 1Tsp
Aloe Vera Gel 1Tsp
Castor Oil 1Tsp
Almond Oil 1Tsp
Vitamin C Tablets 2
Mix all the oils and crushed vitamin C tables (do not mix all of it, save some to use after shower), mix it with enough granulated sugar to make a paste. Before you apply add lemon juice and baking soda.
Apply on your stretch marks and massage for 15 minutes. After your shower apply the leftover oil mix to all over your stretch marks.

I highly recommend continue use of the Aromatherapy Pregnancy Oil or Ayurvedic Pregnancy Oil for maximum results.

Melissa’s Birth Story

I began using the Gentle Birth Method about 3 months into my pregnancy and I
believe I had the most amazing birth because of my dedication to this
method. I had a very peaceful water birth at The Family Birth Centre in
Subiaco, I was in labour for 8 hours, spending about 3 hours in the bath
pushing Owen out though it didn't seem that long to me, he weighed 9 pounds
1 ounce, which was a massive surprise as I didn't look that big and having
such a good diet didn't think my baby would be that large, even though he
still came out without any intervention (you have to do the pre
stretching!).

Dilek Birth Story – May 2013

Dear Debbie and Gowri and Françoise & the Gentle Birth Method team, dilek-23

I wanted to announce our baby, Noah Doga Shore’s gentle arrival to the world on 21st May at 7.24am, weight 2.89kg, at our home in water.

We had an amazing birth experience and would like to share it in detail with you.

My waters broke on Saturday, 18 May. I had a few start – stop contractions building up in strength from Saturday to early hours of Tuesday morning at 3.15am. It felt as I wasn’t labouring until Monday evening according to our Midwife.

We had a hospital appointment to have induction on Tuesday morning. It was very stressful few days for me as I was totally devastated with the idea of induction or c-section.

On tuesday morning at 3.15, after taking the second dose of castor oil, I woke up to very strong contractions. And it was it! It got really uncomfortable only in the last 2 hours. Richard only allowed me to go in the pool in the last half hour and the midwife arrived just about that time as well. Noah was born very gently in the pool and the third stage was very smooth.dilek-39

I had minimum bleeding, just a small internal tear that didn’t need any stitching. About 11am on the birthing day, at the second midwife visit for check ups, she said my uterus has already shrunk down to usual 10 days post natal level.  Our midwife was totally amazed with our experience.

After delivery she said to me if I was sure that I have never done this before! She also congratulated me for sticking to my grounds, believing in myself and said that it was a good decision that I decided not to go the hospital.  Following your program had a huge impact in my experience which I would like to tell everybody in detail how.

Thank you for caring..

Best wished from Dilek and Richard and Noah

How to have a better birth by Zest’s Lyndsey Heffernan

Leading childbirth expert Dr Gowri Motha reveals how to prepare your body – and mind – for the best experience possible

Posted: 10 April 2013
by Zest’s Lyndsey Heffernan

Despite spending the past few months trying not to think about giving birth, now I’m 33 weeks pregnant, it’s time to face facts: childbirth is probably going to hurt. A lot. But according to Dr Gowri Motha, Gentle Birth Method founder and childbirth expert to the stars, there are steps us mums-to-be can take in the weeks leading up to The Big Day to make the pain more manageable. Phew! I caught up with her to find out more…

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Posted in Press | Comments Off on How to have a better birth by Zest’s Lyndsey Heffernan

Wheat/Gluten

The book Gentle Birth Method is indeed a gentle reminder to mothers who wish that their birth process will feel gentle — while giving birth.

Of course I am asking for a lifestyle change ! I do hope that you can follow the instructions  to term.
It might be an idea to offer your system some support by taking a chromium supplement that reduces cravings for carbohydrates and this will enable you to give up food that contains gluten.

I also advice mothers to keep away from Muesli as these are compressed grains that are too difficult for mothers to digest! the intestines in pregnant mothers are like cotton wool and they need to be treated very very gently. Cereals scratch the inner lining of a pregnant mothers gut and cause inflammation, and this leads to poor absorption of essential nutrients from the intestine.

As a pregnant mother you know how important it is to keep up your energy levels throughout your pregnancy; and during your post-natal breast feeding phase. We need to keep you healthy and energetic for you and your baby.

I sometimes advice a mother who finds it difficult to give up wheat — to eat wheat at one meal at the weekends.
Often, I get a report back that the resultant bloating in the gut has resulted in her spontaneously giving up eating wheat!!

Bloating in pregnancy

Pregnant mothers often complain about abdominal distention commonly known as bloating.

In fact pregnant mothers often look as if they are further advanced in their pregnancy, because of abdominal distention.
In pregnancy the digestive system is influenced by pregnancy hormones especially progesterone. This causes the peristaltic movement of the gut to slow down causing fluid logging in the gut. Stagnation of intestinal contents is often associated with fermentation and gas formation in the gut! ( bloating!)

The best antidote is to eat less of the foods that ferment i.e. eat only three fruits a day. Avoid bananas, grapes, mangoes and very sugary fruits. Avoid foods with yeast and eat only a fistful of carbohydrates at every meal.
Also avoid raw vegetables as this does cause fermentation in the gut.

If possible take digestive enzymes and a good probiotic like acidophilus.

Some mothers are also lactose intolerant so if possible try eliminating milk from your intake for a week to see if this makes a difference.

Exercise can help! A brisk walk for 30 minutes every day does help in keeping your circulation in good order.
and lastly eat your food very slowly chewing your food till it is converted into a liquid before you swallow every mouthful. This reduces the work that has to be done by your intestines and leads to intestinal and abdominal comfort and better digestion.

Remedies for swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy

Ankle swellings in pregnancy could mean several things!

  • Rest! put your feet up for at least half an hour every 3 to 4 hours and perform ankle rotation exercises when you are at rest.
  • Crossing legs while siting compresses blood vessels and also increases fluid retention in the lower extremitiesAnna-46
  • Hot weather that causes your ankles to swell up and poor lymphatic circulation.
  • If you can bear it you could wear support tights that you put on in the morning and wear all day for at least 8 hours.
  • Opt for fresh foods and remove the salt shaker from the table.
  • Drink plenty of fluids at least 8 -10 glasses of water a day
  • Keep caffeine intake to minimum may also help
  • Its important to balance rest with some physical activity to keep fluid moving,30 – 45 minutes walk every day will do wonders

Of course! in extreme cases ankle swellings can indicate a more serious condition in pregnancy that needs you to get a urine test from your midwife or doctor who will check to see if you are loosing protein in your urine.In this case you will need to be monitored by your GP or Obstetrician.

Benefits of Self-Hypnosis and Visualisation

Credit: gentlebirthmethod.com

Benefits of Self-Hypnosis and Visualisation

1. More effective relaxation… less anxiety and fear.
2. Greater awareness and ability to re-interpret bodily sensations.
3. Increase or decrease speed of labour.
4. Enhanced belief in one’s expectations for control of discomfort.
5. Easily incorporated with other techniques (e.g., breathing techniques, imagery).
6. Greater control of the cervix opening.
7. Greater communication with baby before and during delivery.
8. Greater self-control over rapid increase in pain and the “unexpected.”
9. Improved sleep: means greater stamina and endurance
10. Greater focus, clarity, and ability to “detach” from the discomfort better.
11. Mentally prepared for painful sensations and ability to alter perception of them.
12. Greater confidence and trust in body functions and sensations during labor.

Top tips for managing morning sickness

Credit: iamagloworm (Flickr)

Photo Credit: iamagloworm (Flickr)

Morning sickness is one of the more uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing aspects of pregnancy. Most women suffer from it at some point, but knowing that you’re in good company isn’t much consolation when you’re rushing to the loo – yet again!

In most cases, morning sickness starts at around 6 weeks and ends in the 12th -16th week.

And in most cases, nausea and vomiting is not limited to the morning. Sorry!

Morning sickness usually begins around the 6th week of pregnancy and ends around the 12th or 16th week. But some women, suffer from a more extreme form, known as hyperemesis gravidarum. In such cases, women can even require hospitalization and need a drip or injections to boost lost fluids.

Here are some of my favourite remedies:

  • My favourite homeopathic remedy is Nux Vomica. This powerful remedy is commonly used to treat indigestion, heartburn, bloating, nausea and vomiting. I suggest taking 6c three times per day for 3 to 5 days
  • Morning sickness can be caused by liver’s inability to detox the sudden increase in serum levels of oestrogen. The liver is the organ that clears the body of toxins. It has to work very hard, especially during pregnancy. So, reduce the load on the liver by reducing your level of toxins by switching to organic food, eating vegetarian food, avoiding caffeine and drinking lots and lots of water
  • Eating little and often can help alleviate symptoms. Avoid eating big meals that can lead to increased discomfort and indigestion. And allowing your stomach to become empty can also lead to indigestion as the stomach acids have no food to digest
  • Walking in the fresh air is another good way of reducing symptoms – even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing, it will make you feel better
  • Ginger is well known to reduce symptoms of nausea. Try ginger tea, eating a gingerbread biscuit when sickness strikes (not the whole packet!) or even just adding some raw ginger to boiling water
  • A little known fact is that the spleen can become tense during early pregnancy. This is due to the increased levels of red blood cells and other blood cell elements. I offer my clients a special spleen decongestion treatment along with repositioning the nerve centre for the spleen. This is very effective for relieving symptoms of nausea

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. If however, symptoms persist and become unbearable, please do visit your GP.

Posted in Words of Wisdom | Comments Off on Top tips for managing morning sickness

Too Much Information?

Credit: Espen Klem (Flickr)

Photo Credit: Espen Klem (Flickr)

I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of information women are sharing about their pregnancies. It seems I’m not the only one.

According to a recent survey, expectant mothers may be divulging too much pregnancy information on social media. As reported by ITV.com. http://www.itv.com/news/story/2012-12-15/mothers-oversharing-pregnancy/ “2/5 people believe that pregnant women “overshare” details on websites like Facebook, according to a poll by Netmums and the Department of Health’s Start4Life campaign. 9/10 respondents said they had seen an image online of a friend’s scan and 22% said they had viewed a photo of a positive pregnancy test.”

Credit: leekelleher (Flickr)

Photo Credit: leekelleher (Flickr)

At first glance, this might seem to be a bit too much information. But, in a world where people share all kinds of things about their lives, particularly on social media, why should pregnant women hold back? After all, becoming a parent is one of the most life changing things that can happen to us. Why wouldn’t we want to tell the world?

I work with many pregnant women to help them achieve a gentle and happy birth experience. However, I also work with many women who are experiencing fertility problems. They often tell me how hard it is when everyone around them seems to be pregnant or new parents. They feel surrounded by bumps and babies. And logging onto Facebook or Twitter is no exception. Photo after photo, after amusing anecdote, there is literally no escape.

Considering too, the fact that according to a recent survey, “More than two thirds of the 2,000 Netmums members surveyed felt that mothers to be were more likely to try to show a “perfect” pregnancy than a realistic one” we are exposed to a rose tinted view of reality.

Spiritual Birthing

Image by By AlicePopkorn (Flickr)

Photo credit: AlicePopkorn (Flickr)

I was recently asked how to achieve a spiritual birth. Actually, I consider all births to be spiritual.

In my work as a birthing specialist, I like to create a sacred atmosphere throughout the entire labour and birth process. That means no unnecessary distractions, keeping the number of friends and family present to a minimum, and reducing general noise and hustle and bustle.

I believe that by world by creating a respectful and sacred place for the new born baby to enter the world, we are acknowledging the baby’s presence as a brand new human being.

Every birth, everywhere, ought to be recognised by doctors and midwives as the birth of a totally aware human being, with the heightened sense of awareness in the first few hours after birth equal to that of a much older child.  I would urge all people present at the birth to respect this.

For births to occur in a spiritual manner, the mother and the father need to be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally for a gentle birth experience. The mother needs to have a very healthy uterus and soft and clear birthing passages.  The vagina and pelvic muscles need to be stretchable and elastic (my Gentle Birth Method preparation prepares the mother to be able to enjoy this sort of natural birth as long as the principles and guidelines set out in the book are followed conscientiously). I am also against separating mother from the baby immediately after birth unless there is a serious medical condition that needs paediatric or surgical intervention.

I believe spiritual birthing is the result of conscious birth preparation. When the birthing process is proceeding normally the mother can relax and connect better with a force that is greater than ours. After all, giving birth is the most powerful thing a human being can experience.

The ability to enter a mental birthing zone that is meditative and spiritual is an art form that has to be cultured. It might sound complicated, but this is a process that can be learned by anyone.  In the classes which we run on a weekly basis for pregnant mothers and fathers we access this zone every week so that it becomes a familiar place for mothers and fathers to take their minds to when they are in the actual process of labour and birth.

Pregnant at Christmas – my top tips

  1. Photo credit: Melanie McDermott (pierrotsomepeople on flickr)

    Photo credit: Melanie McDermott (pierrotsomepeople on flickr)

    No Christmas boozing, no late night parties, difficulties squeezing into your 6 inch heels, but just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean feeling like a party pooper. Just follow these simple top tips and you’ll have a fabulous festive time!

  2. Don’t over eat, even if you’re tempted. I’m sure you know by now that indigestion and heartburn are very common in pregnancy. It’s not worth the pain! I suggest eating little and often instead of one big blow out binge.
  3. Certain foods are likely to cause bloating and wind. Think, sprouts, cabbage and sweet potatoes. These should definitely be avoided. You certainly don’t want your tummy to expand unduly! And those around you will thank you!!
  4. Go for a walk. You might not feel like getting outside, especially if it’s freezing cold, but a short walk in the fresh air, will do you and baby the world of good. Increasing your circulation, oxygenating the blood, helping keep your joints mobile and boosting your energy- wonderful! Just be extra careful if it’s icy.
  5. Ask for help. Women are notoriously bad at delegating. But, this Christmas is not the time to be a control freak. The additional stress of shopping, cooking, rushing around, cleaning up, washing up (the list goes on!) and generally being the hostess with the mostess is enough to send your blood pressure soaring. Remember, and remind those around you, that Christmas is a time for family- so get everyone to pitch in! It is not good for you or the baby to overdo it.
  6. Resist the urge to party all night. People will understand if you’re not the life and soul and need an early night. I suggest to my clients that they should be in bed by around half ten each night. If you do stay up late though, over the festive period, build in power naps and a lie in the next day. You are likely to feel more tired than usual during pregnancy, so make sure you get plenty of rest.
  7. Be extra careful when cooking turkey. Make sure it’s thawed out properly before cooking and that it’s cooked all the way through before serving. Food poisoning is extra serious for pregnant women.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask about food ingredients. Mayonnaise and homemade icing, meringues and mousses may contain raw eggs, and many puddings contain lots of alcohol!
  9. Avoid soft, blue our mouldy cheeses. Perhaps give the cheese and crackers a miss if you’re unsure.
  10. Put your feet up. Spending hours in your feet, especially if you’re wearing party shoes, can lead to swollen ankles. Not a good look! So, be sure to spend plenty of time with your legs elevated. Perhaps you could even ask your partner to give you a nice foot rub, after all it is Christmas!
  11. Get pampered. Ask Santa (and your family and friends) for pampering treats this Christmas. Luxury bath oils and body lotions will help you relax and unwind, as well as keep your skin supple. I suggest sticking to specially designed pregnancy ranges to ensure you avoid potentially harmful essential oils. You could also ask for a voucher for a pregnancy massage to help relieve tension or any aches and pains. The perfect treat!

Water all the way!

Water births are gaining in popularity, although some people still consider them to be rather unconventional! I personally believe water birthing gives the mother, baby and partner the best possible experience.

Far from being an “unconventional birthing method” according to OK! Magazine, water birthing has been around for many years.

In fact, I was the first doctor to do a water birth in a London hospital in the eighties.
It might sound like an odd idea; giving birth in a paddling pool or large bath, but there are actually many benefits.

Photo credit: cambiodefractal at flickr.com

Photo credit: cambiodefractal at flickr.com

  • Being in water allows the mother free range of movement, especially compared with lying on a hospital bed, with legs in stirrups!
  • The water is a great medium that provides muscle relaxation. This muscle relaxation helps the cervix to dilate rapidly.
  • The water also gives the mother the ability to relax better between contractions. The baby enjoys emerging into the warm water that is welcoming and gives the baby a sense of a soft welcome into the world.
  • Warm water can reduce the pain of contractions. Mothers who have a water birth are less likely to need pain relieving drugs. Water birthing is much safer than having an epidural, and it doesn’t harm the baby.
  • The water supports the mother, helping her to feel weightless, save energy and also to move around and change position during labour.
  • The pool is a calming, relaxing place away where the mother and her partner can relax and mothers who use a birthing pool tend to feel less stress. The more relaxed the mother, the more efficient labour is likely to be.
  • Partners may also bond better with the mother during labour, because the whole experience is less stressful. A happy birth experience enhances the ability of the mother and father to bond with the baby.
  • Women who have a water birth are also less likely to tear because the tissues are softer and more relaxed in water.
  • Baby emerges into water, happy, calm and relaxed!

It’s important to remember, however, that a successful water-birth requires preparation throughout the entire pregnancy. The mother’s pelvic tissues need to be clear, light and as soft as jelly so that the baby finds it easy to engage and descend down the birth passage easily. This kind of preparation is important for around 80% of women, with diet and lifestyle changes helping to soften the tissues.
If you’re pregnant, and looking for a gentle birth experience, why not ask your midwife about water birthing. I promise, you, your partner and your baby won’t regret it!

Motha the Mother

I grew up immersed in South Indian and Sri Lankan culture, where pregnant women are cared for and looked after by their families.

In India and in Sri Lanka our girls consider pregnancy and giving birth as a part of life and as a perfectly normal human function.

It’s usual for relatives on both sides of the family to visit a pregnant mother regularly bringing her easy to digest delicious food to eat.

This ritual of feeding a pregnant woman is considered to be one of the most meritorious good deeds and builds up good Karma- hence the motivation!

I love this tradition because it acknowledges the soon to be born baby and shows that the extended family are already taking care of him or her. I also like the fact that the family work together to help make life a little easier for the pregnant woman.

Here in London most of the pregnant mothers I meet are, rush, rush, rushing around – working hard, taking care of their partners and children and doing the housework and keeping everyone organised.

Perhaps this tradition should not be reserved for Indian women alone!

We can embrace these wise practices and give our mothers a bit of a break from their work routines. Perhaps lovely partners could give pregnant mothers a bit of time to put their feet up and feel pampered. This is usually much valued and effective.

Pregnancy is a time for calm. So take this opportunity to rally round your family and friends and ask for support. Asking for support is a sign of emotional honesty and not a sign of weakness. As being supported makes your baby in your womb feel emotionally more secure and happy.

You might even be lucky enough to encourage relatives or friends to pop over and cook for you once a week, or encourage your partner to be creative and cook for you a few meals. After all looking after you is helping to look after the newest addition to the family.

Gowri’s favourite things

Almond Milk
Blue Diamond almond milk and vanilla almond milk is delicious and a great alternative to dairy. It costs just £1.59 per carton and contains only 27 calories per 200 ml. You can buy it from supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose, but I suggest you go for home delivery as it flies off the shelves like hot cakes!

I recommend you eat three of the following each day:

Three Fruits
Please choose three from the following options:

  • 1 ripe pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 peach
  • 1 apricot
  • 1 small bowl of blueberries
  • 2 slices of ripe pineapple

Please avoid grapes, mangoes and dried fruits as they have too much concentrated fruit sugar. This can put an enormous strain on your liver which has to metabolise them, and during pregnancy your liver has lots to do already detoxing excessive pregnancy hormones.

Lots of Probiotics!
I recommend taking one capsule of probiotics (10 billion units of Lactobacillus Acidophilus +/- similar strains) ten minutes before breakfast with half a glass of water at room temperature. My favourites are Lamberts probiotics because you don’t need to keep them in the fridge so you can take them with you on holiday.

Sofia Bernardin’s Birth Experience from Paris – December 2012

Dear Dr Motha,

I would like to thank you for giving me the strength and confidence to have a beautiful and natural childbirth.

I am based in Paris and followed your method from afar via The Gentle Birth Method book. I thoroughly enjoyed following the birth method throughout my pregnancy, I was light on my feet, fit and incredibly active until the very last day. However, I felt incredibly insecure when I learned that the hospital in Paris where I was due to give birth (though extremely well-reputed) administered epidurals to 95% of its patients. I was certain that when the day arrived I would not find sufficient support for a natural birth and would eventually give-in to an epidural. Never-the-less, I followed your birth method with great enthusiasm because it made me feel great and because I had never felt so alive, alert, calm and prepared for something in my entire life.

I woke up on November 11th, 2012 knowing that this was the day. I spent my entire day calm and relaxed, even as the contractions strengthened by evening, coming every 3 minutes. At 2.30am I decided that it was time to leave to the hospital and when we arrived I was 7cm dialated. I checked-in and by the time I was installed in the labour room I was at 9cm. My midwife told me that there was still time to administer an epidural if I wanted one. I realised that I felt incredibly prepared and in remarkably little pain and if I made it this far, I was ready to see my baby.

The pushing stage of the labor process took longer than expected, as my contractions slowed down to five minutes apart thus making it very difficult to keep the momentum. I felt myself losing confidence as I saw the midwifes exchanging mildly concerned glances. At this point exhaustion took over; I was convinced that I would never make it and regretted not having taken the epidural. Just as this sense of defeat started to shadow over me, I thought of everything I had learned through the gentle birth method and re-focused my energy positively. Shortly there-after I delivered a beautiful baby boy weighing 3.3 kilos with no need for episiotomy or no tearing.
My son is incredibly zen and calm, reflecting how I feel as a mother and I would like to thank you immensely for this experience.

Best wishes,
Sofia Bernardin
4th December 2012, Paris, France

Ten top tips for a Gentle Birth experience

I’m often asked what women can do during pregnancy to enjoy a Gentle Birth experience. Actually, the biggest impact can be created by what you don’t do, and what you avoid. I’m not sure if that’s what people want to hear!

Following an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and diet is the key. To give birth naturally, with minimal discomfort, the woman’s pelvis needs to be healthy and the surrounding tissue needs to be calm.

Here are my top tips:

  1. “Gluten free and sugar free” is my motto for a healthy pregnancy and birth experience. This one change contributes 80% of your birth preparation. It takes more than 6 months for the tissues in your body to get rid of the inflammation caused by gluten in your gut and pelvic tissues. Rather than focusing on the fact that you’re going to miss toast and cake, instead think positively. All supermarkets stock gluten free bread, cake and even biscuits. It’s good to know that this one simple change will help you and your baby so much.
  2. Avoid cow’s milk products – unless it is pure Guernsey milk. Goat’s milk is allowed. Most breeds of cows except the Guernsey cows secrete A1 protein in their milk which can cause inflammation in our gut and muscles. This can interfere with normal gut function and the absorption of good nutrients. It can also cause mucous congestion in our sinuses and mucus accumulation in our pelvic tissues that make it difficult for your baby’s head to descend easily. Mucous congestion also causes the cervix to dilate more slowly during labour.
  3. Listen to my CD every day for 22 minutes. This is not just a commercial plug! Mental preparation is essential for a healthy pregnancy and birth. My CD teaches expectant mothers self hypnosis, visualisation and mental programming techniques that prepare the mother subconsciously to easily accept and float through the various stages of birthing.Self Hypnosis and Visualisation CD
  4. Forget about excessive physical training! Exercises like kick boxing, spinning, excessively strong yoga and running tighten the muscles of the pelvis and makes it difficult for the pelvis to open. Focus instead on gentle yoga with micro movements and aqua yoga. In fact, a daily walk of 40 minutes is all that you need.
  5. Eating for two is a myth! Your baby needs only 200 extra calories a day. The equivalent of a gluten free avocado sandwich plus a ripe pear. A reasonable number of calories for a pregnant mother who takes a brisk 40 minutes a day exercise walk is between 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day.
  6. Eat fruit with caution. Avoid fruit juices and only eat three fruits a day. Avoid grapes, bananas and mangoes- as they contain too much sugar. Please, please, please avoid dried fruit as it’s full of sugar!
  7. I advise the use of vaginal oils from 36 weeks of pregnancy until you give birth, with daily gentle self stretching technique. This will help minimise the risk of tearing during labour.
  8. Take my herbal morning and evening teas to help the tissues in your body eliminate wastes more easily and to strengthen your uterus for birth.
  9. Go to bed at 10:30 PM every night.
  10. Spend time with your partner every night for least 10 minutes and ask them to massage my tummy massage oil using the abdominal toning techniques prescribed in my book. This will stimulate the blood supply to your uterus and to your baby and encourages normal birthing hormones to flow on the birthing day. It also helps you and your baby to bond and helps build a loving relationship between you.

Why So Scared?

There has been a lot in the news recently about Tokophobia – that is, fear of childbirth to you and me. Take a look at these recent posts:

BBC News
Huffington Post

It’s no wonder more and more women are fearful of childbirth. If you believe everything you hear in the press, giving birth is a traumatic, painful and undignified experience that women are forced to suffer. We hear horror stories about tearing, episiotomy, emergency Caesareans and dangerous complications. Combine that with the constant updates on the shortage of midwives and the pressure on our maternity services. It’s no wonder mums to be are quaking in their boots.

During my experience as an obstetrician I delivered hundreds of babies and met hundreds of mums who were rigid with fear and some of whom were emotionally out of control. My work involved transforming their fears and apprehension to positive anticipation of a gentle birth.

Growing up in Sri Lanka and in India, I had the impression, that giving birth is what our bodies were created for. It’s natural with manageable levels of pain.

When I came to England I was struck by a whole new cultural attitude that women have developed here to childbirth and most of it was fearful and negative.

Most probably this fear stemmed from the fact that mothers feel very much on their own in our society.

From my own point of view, I cannot imagine being in labour with strangers who do not know who I am or who just treat me like “a case” with machines doing all the monitoring. I believe that for a mother to experience a gentle birth they need the appropriate right kind of support and advice. Stuff that works!

In my book, I teach mothers to be how to get over their fear and use self hypnosis and visualization techniques to help them stay calm and relaxed. Using these methods can help reduce the need for medical intervention, the risk of tearing and the need for Caesareans.

This calm and gentle method, might not make for TV viewing, but there is a lot to be said for a relaxed mother, a gentle birth experience and a happy baby.

Heather Barker’s Birth Story – November 2012

My baby was born at home in 4 hours thanks to The Gentle Birth Method. I walked round the garden and even managed to prick out some lettuces in the greenhouse until I was 9cm dilated and then came into the setting room and pushed Oscar out in 4 pushes in a birth pool. I did not tear or even have a stretch mark! I was helping my husband to cook supper 2 hours later.

My midwife (the senior midwife at Dorchester hospital) was amazed and wrote me a lovely letter saying how it had restored her belief in natural home birth and what a lovely experience it had been for her to help bring a healthy, drug free baby into the world.

I hate hospitals and was very nervous when I found out that I was pregnant. Reading Dr Motha’s book gave me control over the birth and took the fear away allowing me to concentrate on the end goal, my beautiful, wonderful little gift from God!

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Wanda’s Birth Story – December 2005

Dear Gowri,

It all went well and my midwife said that she could see how much my perineal massage had helped as I did last stage in 20 minutes which she said was very quick for a first timer! Nothing was traumatic and as a result I’m feeling very relaxed and we’ve got a very relaxed baby. Thank you for the wonderful treatments and moral support throughout. It made everything so much nicer. We’re now just holding up and have pulled the phone cord out of the wall which will annoy everyone!

I hope you’re well and will come and see you soon and show you my bundle. She has the biggest feet the midwife had ever seen so is probably going to be a six foot girl in time!

xx Wanda
Editor at Harper Collins

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Rebecca Malhotra’s Waterbirth Story – November 2008

Josh_Jai_MalhotraBirth of Josh Jai Malhotra

Vital Statistics
Born 26/11/2008 6.28 pm
3.66kg (8lbs 1 ounce)
Standard Vaginal Delivery (H20 – Yay!!!)

early labour started around midnight to 2.20 pm

1st stage 3hrs 30mins
2nd stage 18mins
3rd stage 52mins
Total labour 4 hrs 40 mins (yay)

Contractions started around midnight, I’m a little vague as I popped on Gowri’s relaxation and hypnosis CD and tried to hibernate like a bear through the night. Counting my breaths during the contractions helped me relax and also helped me track my progress – throughout the night the contractions were becoming more frequent, stronger and longer in length. With both CDs on repeat I was in and out of hypnosis all night and at 6 am I woke Sanj (husband and daddy!) so he could arrange childcare for our son. The midwives had told us to go to the hospital when we were having 3 contractions every 5-10 minutes as they were concerned that with baby no. 2 the labour would be much quicker, so we headed off to the hospital at 7.30 am – Sanj also wanted to avoid peak hour traffic. Whilst 12 pm – 7.30 am may sound long, I was drifting in and out of my safe place and was really rather relaxed, energised even though I hadn’t slept deeply. Once in the car things really slowed down, we went for a long walk around the nearby park after checking into the birth centre but not much happened until Lisa (Gentle Birth Method practitioner and lifesaver!) arrived just after 10 am. I was given a fab treatment, giving me a bit of timeout before refocusing. Lisa took control of the reflexology, creative healing massage and homeopathic treatment. Amazing the difference in strength with Lisa’s thumbs pressed on my toes (tenfold stronger, amazing).  Sanj took control of the refueling, feeding me bananas, health bars and water. He took me on the much needed second longer walk to speed things up again. He helped out with the Reflexology and provided constant support physical and emotional throughout the contractions.

Since arriving at the hospital, the contractions had gone from being consistent and building up to being irregular in both frequency and length, which I found hard to get over. I kept regretting our haste to get to the hospital. Lisa was fantastic in getting my mind off it and bringing me back to the task in hand. At one of my low points between 5- 6 pm; I was ready to give up on the birth centre and starting talking about having an epidural upstairs in the labour ward, I felt I had tried my best and hit a wall. Fortunately Lisa suggested we get the midwife to check the dilation and if ok, try the pool. With Sanj and Lisa being as positive as ever at this point I got the much needed boost to give it one last go. The midwife confirmed I was 6 cms but my hind waters had not broken. We decided to have the waters broken then jump in the pool for pain relief. The relief was instant. With the help of Lisa massaging my lower back and the midwife advising me to relax my buttocks, (genius), I felt the head physically move down, a sense of relief and with the next set of contractions, the urge to push. I had gone from 6 cms to 10 cms almost instantly! I had to tell Lisa to stop massaging as it just wasn’t doing it for me any more. So Sanj took over with the gas and air as the crucial tool and both Lisa and Sanj gushed encouragement. Within about 45 mins of my waters being broken baby Josh Jai was born.

I was taken out of the water after a fab long cuddle with Josh, Sanj and tears of  joy. I was awarded Josh after the 2 tiny stitches – meanwhile Josh was having a quick cuddle and skin on skin time with Dad. I was also granted some much awaited toast to have while breastfeeding, (having avoided wheat for so long I was craving just plain toast and butter, white toast too, how naughty!)

Having the baby in the water was magical for me and all those present.

We had used Reflexology, Self  Hypnosis, Creative Healing, gas and air, and a fraction of the time 17 hrs v 4hrs 40mins, largely thanks to the Gentle Birthing method and especially Lisa.

I had just 2 superficial stitches / grazes thanks to Gowri’s stretch technique and my diligent husband who performed this task religiously every evening.

The baby arrived 2 days before my due date; listening to the tape I was adamant this would be the case.

I am happy to say the our baby is very contented and we are very grateful for the amazing birthing experience, not to mention the little miracle that is our boy! Such a positive experience and such a positive start for our new little man. Thank you!!

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Ali Norell’s Home Birth Story – October 2008

ali_norell_littleMy waters started to break on a Thursday evening while out at dinner with some friends, once we got home, the waters had stopped leaking so I decided against calling our doula or midwife in favour of going to bed – I was convinced that nothing would happen for another 12 to 24 hours!

I woke refreshed after a really good night’s sleep and told my husband to go to work as I really didn’t think anything was happening – I didn’t even have any cramps. Wisely, he decided to stay! I decided to run a bath and the minute I got into it I started to feel the contractions, but the bath felt “wrong” at this stage so I got out. From the first until the last, the contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart with a good 3-4 minute break in between, so I told my husband that this couldn’t possibly be anything to get excited about as it would probably be like this for hours until the contractions were closer together.

We called our doula and she arrived within an hour. The contractions were fairly intense, and I was starting to feel like bearing down. I knew that I shouldn’t be doing this too early in case my perineum swelled up. However, our doula was pretty experienced and said we should call the midwife straight away. The contractions were not painful but intense at this point so I asked my husband to attach the TENS machine, which was set at 3.

The community midwife arrived and though she respected my wish to be left completely alone for the duration of my birthing, she asked to perform one vaginal examination. I agreed and to my amazement, I was already at 8 cm – hence my urge to start pushing! At this point I was able to get into the birthing pool, so the TENS machine came off and it felt fantastic to be in the water. Within half an hour I was fully dilated and able to start pushing. The pushing stage was a little longer than we all anticipated as I had foolishly not eaten all day and was getting a little tired by this point, but after some Caullophyllum and a drink of sugar water, I was ready to push for real.

The feeling when our son emerged was surreal and amazing – so empowering. The support of everyone around me had been wonderful, and above all I valued the fact that they had all respected my wishes to birth alone, until the last moment when my husband came to support me. The midwife and doula were quietly in the background.

It was only after I had given birth that I realised that it hadn’t even occurred to me to ask for gas and air – I had completed my birth without any further need for pain relief, I was so “in the zone”. I had simply focussed on the breathing techniques from my regular yoga practice.

Kasper Oliver Rohan weighed in at 8lbs 8oz and was 54cm long with loads of hair. We were left alone as a threesome for some time before my husband cut the cord and I birthed the placenta while he held Kasper skin to skin.

I can honestly say that giving birth was the most beautiful and peaceful experience, and one which I hope to use to help the many women with whom I work as a therapist, healer and birth doula.

Ali Norell MAR, MICHT
Reflexology and Complementary Therapy

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Sally Murray Birth Story

Sally found that being in “another place” was good for her during labour. She had a water-birth and found that the contractions felt entirely different in water.

I started pre-labour at 1 am on Thursday (16th) of August with diarrhoea and crampy pains. I didn’t know it was pre-labour; I really believed it was just diarrhoea, which seems ridiculous now after all that I had read before and there being specific notes written about diarrhoea as being a sign of pre-labour! Looking back I should have realised it was the beginning signs of labour, but I was sure at the time that it wasn’t. I slept until about 8 am after emptying my bowels during the night several times and I still had crampy feelings in the morning, like slight period pains, but continued the day as normal. I went shopping for things to take to the hospital to eat and drink and had lunch at a restaurant. By about 2 pm, the cramps were coming and going, but were still not uncomfortable, though by this time I had realised this probably the beginning of labour.

I went home and lied down at 3.30pm for half an hour and as I got up my waters broke, but it wasn’t a big gush as I had thought it would be, just about a cupful of water. I then saw that the mucous plug had come away when I went to the toilet and the water coming out had some white specks in it, which the midwives told me was vernix from the baby. At that point the contractions started properly, rather than just the earlier period type pain.

From the time the waters had broken, my contractions felt quite strong, coming and going at about 10 minute intervals, and feeling like an acute type of period crampy pain. This was now about 4 pm and I called the hospital and they told me to wait at home and have a bath and to call them at about 7 pm. I moved to some music during the time at home and had a bath, which I found comforting. I went into hospital at 7 pm, and the contractions felt very intense with a lot of pressure on my back passage almost from the beginning. It was this feeling that I was finding was taking the breath out of me, it was the most difficult part of the pain management. My contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and when I was first examined, they said I was 4 cms dilated. The time seemed to go by in a dream. I hardly spoke and my midwife did not talk to me, I hardly noticed her there, except to see her sitting in a dark corner writing notes, the lights were all dimmed in the room. I seemed to go to ‘another’ place once I had started the contractions back at home and it continued to be that way the whole way through the labour.  I took contraction by contraction without thinking about the next hour or next minute. That was something I did without thinking; it just seemed to be easiest way, to deal with one contraction at a time. My partner was with me during the whole labour, I used him to drape myself over him during the contractions, which was helpful. He was very supportive, he did not speak hardly at all either, except to gee me along a bit at the height of contractions. At one point though, while I was in the pool, I noticed what I thought was a change in the mood of the room and I thought it was because my partner was feeling impatient and a bit concerned. I asked him to leave for a while and to go for a walk; I needed to not be drawn to thinking about the ‘outside’ world because it made it all more difficult. When I asked him afterwards if he had been feeling concerned or impatient at that point, he said he had not, so I don’t know what the change in atmosphere was – maybe I just became more aware of his presence and needed to withdraw again. During the labour, I know that I thought to myself “this is brutal”, several times. That was the word that came to mind during it all. It was as if my body took over completely and I was just an observer to what my body was doing – an observer in a bit of a haze. The ‘brutal’ feeling came because the contractions felt like a racking of my body from inside. It was not so much a feeling of pain (although obviously it was painful!) but it was the physicality of it, actually feeling the body taking over during a contraction, other forces doing their most primal raw job of opening the body to give birth.

After hours of standing and walking and moving my hips in a figure of eight movement, which seemed to help, I asked if it would be a good time to get into the birth pool as I hadn’t thought of it before then.

The midwife said if that’s what I felt like doing then it was a good idea! This was about 10 pm. As soon as I got into the pool, the next contraction was totally different to the ones before and I felt like a fish flopping itself out onto dry land, I literally almost did. It took me completely by surprise – this must have been the beginning of the second stage but I was so taken aback, I called the midwife in and asked if it was normal! Again, after all that I had read before it should not have come as a surprise but it did. It was from this point that my body really seemed to take over. The feeling of the contractions pushing the uterus down from the top was very powerful, and it was amazing to be aware of the body completely taking over and doing its thing! I actually did not let go as much as I should have, I held on to a little bit of fear and surprise which meant that I was not breathing with the contractions very well, so I felt winded. Looking back, it was at this point that I could have really gone with it all and breathed with it and helped my body in its labour efforts but I did fight against it a little which made it a bit harder. I came out of the pool and I squatted to give birth to my daughter, Ella. At the last stages there was some concern because the monitor was showing that her heart rate was slowing down and not recovering properly after each contraction. I knew my midwife was concerned and she called the obstetrician to come and assist; there was an air of slight panic in the room. I couldn’t speak because I was on my ‘other planet’, but I, myself, was not worried because I saw that Ella’s heart rate recovered after each contraction if I breathed into each contraction and not fight it. I watched this happen on the monitor that was monitoring Ella’s heart rate. As I said earlier, I was aware that I was not breathing deeply enough and that I could have relaxed more into it and concentrated on my breathing, so I was not shocked to see it had an effect on the baby and was not worried at all by the concern in the labour room because I felt I knew it was to do with my breathing and it proved to be true as I watched the monitor and concentrated on my breath. Eventually, after a lot of pushing, she came out at 1.21 am. It was a wonderful relief. I was so tired that I could not pick her up and I have the feeling that this was also to do with my breathing not being deep enough in the last couple of hours. My partner held Ella on his chest until I brought her onto the bed to feed her after about 20 minutes.

It is amazing thinking about it again.

Sally Murray

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Rosemary Borthick’s Birth Story

rosemary_cRosemary developed gestational diabetes, which was treated with Creative healing. She worked hard for a good birth following “The Jeyarani Way” Gentle Birth Method and went on to have a home water birth that was a “positive experience”.

At 8.00am on the 19th March I thought I had a ‘show’. I woke up my partner and said I thought something was happening. At 9.00am I phoned the hospital and Gowri. I was getting contractions every 5 minutes. The hospital said that it could well be a false alarm as I was a first time mother and to let them know if there was any change. By 10 am the contractions were every 2 minutes and I also had a slight loss of blood. The pain was intense. I phoned the hospital and Gowri again. The hospital sent an ambulance, but luckily Gowri arrived at the same time and, after examination, confirmed that I was fully dilated. The choice was either to have the baby in the ambulance or at home. So home it was!

I had booked for a home water birth, which the hospital had been reluctant to agree to, because I developed gestational diabetes,(this was treated with Creative Healing on my pancreas from 30 weeks onwards and blood sugars rapidly returned to normal levels), and I was told that the baby could be hypoglycaemic. They also said they might not have enough staff to be able to guarantee a home birth. This was one of the reasons I wanted Gowri to be there as someone I knew and trusted. It became clear that we would not have time to fill up the water pool so I got in the bath. As soon as Gowri got there I felt safe and relaxed. She calmed me with her voice and anticipated my needs and explained what was happening, using visualisation and hypnosis. She also did some reflexology. I used the gas and air from the ambulance, but I mainly bit on the end.

The midwives arrived at 11.15, as did two supervisors, because on the phone they had been told there was blood loss so they were worried. Luckily in the bathroom there was only room for me, Gowri, one midwife and my partner so I had the privacy that I needed.

At 11.45 and a couple of pushes the baby was born. A beautiful healthy 71b 2oz little girl called Poppy. She was not hypoglycaemic and was born very alert, but relaxed. When the midwives left, Gowri performed cranio-sacral massage on the baby and she slept for a long time.

I am pleased that I maintained my desire for a home birth. I am also pleased that the baby was born in water, even if it was the bath, and that the experience was so positive. I am appalled when I listen to many women’s stories of birth.

I worked very hard to achieve a good birth. I had to stick strictly to Gowri’s diet and could have no sugar, (before being pregnant I was a giant bar of whole nut a night girl). I also swam and did yoga, (before being pregnant the most exercise I got was switching the TV channel). Gowri’s treatments including Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Massage, Reflexology, Hypnosis and Visualisation, and Creative Healing definitely helped. I had visualised my baby’s birth and apart from it being a bit quicker than anticipated and 2 days later than it was in my mind, the birth went pretty much as I had visualised.

I had such a positive experience that I am planning my second baby in a few years and I would definitely want Gowri to help me again.

Rosemary Borthick

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Claire Middleton Birth Story

Not all mother’s walk into the hospital backwards but this is what Claire did! This lovely story illustrates the importance of partners during labour – as a companion and support and shows how “distracting” the mother is not always what is required!
I was shopping at lunchtime when I had my show and made my way back to the pub by tube – smiling all the way knowing I was about to start my first labour!

I rang round to find Paul to make himself available to take me to the hospital – he was nowhere to be found. It was the first day of August and hot so I took a stroll up the market to buy a flask to fill with fruit juices to take with me. Now a couple of hours after the “show”, I had prepared myself for going into hospital and sat cross-legged on the carpet waiting to hear from Paul. Suddenly my waters broke and I was laughing my head off! What a mess…. I showered and changed and rang the hospital who said I should come in straight way. Fortunately Paul rang soon after and hot-footed it back to pick me up and the rest of my waters leaked all over his leather upholstery on the way!

We arrived both giggling and my dress saturated and I walked into hospital backwards so no one would see. My contractions were mild and about 10-15 minutes apart at around 5.30pm so they let me get on with it and I pottered about. When they got more intense I ran a bath and go in. Paul was still with me and fell asleep leaning against the door. I was practising my self-hypnosis. But I got so relaxed the contractions felt like they had stopped so I got out (of the bath).

After about 15 minutes they were back with a vengeance and Paul had to leave for a couple of hours so I was alone. I tried my hypnosis again but found it was easier to concentrate whilst I was in the bath and not lying on my back in bed as I was then. I’m ashamed to say I got a bit panicky being on my own and submitted to a pethidine injection. The next few hours were a blur, needless to say, but I came round again about 10pm when Paul was back with his sister. I was glad when he took her back about 11.30 pm when I was practically fully dilated. By now I was trying to cope with the contractions and concentrate on blanking everything else out each time. Paul had his own ideas, however! He thought it would be a good thing for me to try and take my mind off the contractions – apparently, so I wouldn’t feel the pain. A great help! What he didn’t realise was that if I could be allowed to concentrate there really wasn’t that much pain at all!

The midwives told me to push, but I ignored them and just pretended like you suggested. This pacified them for a while but in the end they threatened me with forceps, we said “no” and made them wait – luckily I got the “urge”. Lonàn was born at 1.25am with no cuts, tears or stitches – weighing 6 lb, just right!

Claire Middleton

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Rosie Bray – Birth Story

rosie_cRosie wants to highlight the importance of early conditioning using Self-hypnosis and Visualisation. Starting as early as possible in pregnancy gives you more of a chance to become an expert at the technique for labour. Rosie also feels that she did her homework, following the dietary guidelines, having treatments and so on, so that she was ready for labour.

I started seeing Gowri in my fourth month of pregnancy; I had had an easy first three months, not too much morning sickness and I felt pretty healthy but I lead a stressful life (work-wise) and I wanted to give something back to my baby and my body. Gowri had been recommended to me – by a friend who had had a fantastic birth experience using Self Hypnosis and Meditation. On hearing more about it I became more and more fascinated by it and felt it was something that was right for me and my husband. Too much in life is done without thought and giving birth is not something you do every day of the week so I really wanted to focus on it and give it my 100% and The Jeyarani Way seemed a good way to focus on birth and switch off from the worries and stress of work.

We attended a 4-week class in July – which was still three months away from my due date but it was the best thing I could have done, the longer you have to let the information settle into your brain the better.  This is a form of conditioning and the more time you give yourself the better it is for your confidence and your preparation. I firmly believe that you need to give yourself a good amount of time to understand that you are going to have a baby and that you are in control of your labour, and that it is something to look forward too, rather than fear. Too many people go into childbirth with their eyes closed, in some sort of denial. They fear the ‘pain’ that they believe is involved in labour and so before they have started they have already made it a negative rather than a positive experience and this can have a detrimental effect on your labour.

I found Gowri’s classes very beneficial, and went for top ups in September – I was also listening to her self-hypnosis tapes as often as I could. Plus I was having treatments every other week.

Three days before Louis was born I went to see Gowri; it was a Friday and a full moon. Gowri told me that the baby was ready to come out, and that he would be here in the next few days. I was excited and felt confident and ready for his arrival. I went home and my husband and I spent a really happy weekend preparing our home, we went to the supermarket, we saw friends, we went out for dinner and we lay in and enjoyed each other’s company as we knew our baby was coming soon. On the Sunday night my contractions started; faintly and gradually throughout the early hours of the morning; they were not uncomfortable and I managed eventually to sleep. Monday morning I woke, no more contractions and I wondered if I had imagined it, I got out of bed and noticed that I had my show, then I realised that things had definitely started and I was going to be on my way. I telephoned Gowri and told her and she suggested I come in that afternoon and that she could get things moving a little faster.

My husband and I got to Gowri’s about 4 pm; I still felt fine. Gowri examined me and thought I was 2 cms dilated, she then started working on me, she gave me reflexology, some cranial work and by the time she had finished with some Bowen Technique I was contracting lightly. Charlie drove us home and by the time we reached home I was contracting every 5 minutes for about 20 seconds. This was manageable and we packed our bags and made some dinner; things were moving very quickly by this time and I was definitely in full labour. I was on all fours by this stage, using techniques I had learnt in my yoga classes, I found them very useful, combining this with the breathing we had worked on in self-hypnosis. A couple of hours of contractions passed quickly but not pleasantly. There were moments I thought that it would be easier to go straight to hospital and have an epidural. My husband knew how much I wanted to have a natural birth but without his support and encouragement I would have been tempted to go for the easy option.

We arrived at the hospital at about 10 pm, the Birth Centre at Queen Charlotte’s. A male midwife, Willy, examined me and said that I was already 7-8 cms dilated, which was fantastic I had moved very quickly. Gowri had expected this and had said on leaving her practice, that I would probably be 5 cms by the end of the evening, she had also said the baby would be born at 4 am that morning and that the baby would weigh about 8 lbs 5 oz. The midwife hooked me up to some gas and air, unfortunately the birth pool was not available as it was already in use, so Willy, my midwife and my husband decided to run the bath in the en-suite bathroom so that I could get in that. The bath, the warm water was a great pain relief even though I kept getting out and threatening to go home. The contractions were over pretty quickly and the urge to push followed, I suppressed the urge to push for a while but it got stronger and stronger and within minutes the baby was on its way down the birth canal. The most amazing sensation was being able to feel the top of the baby’s head with my fingers, I could feel the amniotic sac he was in and the top of his head I knew he was so close to being born and it felt incredible. I think that after a maximum of six pushes, the baby’s head crowned and I knew that there was only a few left to go. This was probably the hardest part, I knew his head was bigger than the opening; I did fear tearing but the bodies natural instinct to birth the baby was far greater than my fear and with one more huge primal scream and push his head and shoulders were born. This was a tense moment, as I needed to keep my hips under the water so that the baby would not float to the top. I then had to wait for the next contraction for the rest of the baby to be born. He was born and before I knew it he was in my arms and screaming; he was the most amazing thing I had ever seen and I was overjoyed. I remember seeing the umbilical cord round his neck and panicking, but it was fine but the panic had stopped me from looking what sex he was until my husband told me. My husband cut the cord and held him while I then contracted the placenta.

He was born at 12.10 and weighed 8lbs.9ozs Gowri had got it right!

I feel incredibly lucky that I had a fantastic birth experience and that it is an honour to be a mother and to have given birth. I know that I did my homework and that I worked very hard at the diet, the meditation and the yoga. I re-conditioned myself and my way of thinking over the last 9 months, I believe that one needs to change the tape in our heads – childbirth is associated with pain in modern day and we need to change our way of thinking. To focus on pain is negative and childbirth is the most positive thing I have ever experienced.

Rosie Bray

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Uma Birth Story – July 2001

The empowering birth of Abhisheka using self-hypnosis. This story also illustrates the importance of feeling in control of your surroundings and being able to give your complete attention to the birth.

ABHISHEKA born 13 July 2001

It was three weeks before the due date for the arrival of my second baby. At the end of the self-hypnosis class, when Gowri made a comment about being as ‘relaxed and ready for the birth as Uma’, I was a little surprised, because I was about to start maternity leave and felt I needed another three weeks to chill out before the baby arrived, and I didn’t really feel too relaxed at all, because our household had been through a stressful period of conflict between myself and my mother in law.

But in fact Gowri was right about being ‘ready for the baby’ because I immediately felt rather weird on the journey back to Brixton, and the first contractions I pottered about, packing up the recycling and breathing low into my belly – just as we’d been doing in that evening’s class. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was still in the trance state that I had been in during the class, because as the contractions grew stronger I simply felt more relaxed and easeful. Everything was perfectly fine, and I was easily slipping into a quiet trance state with every contraction for a couple more hours.

At about 1 am my husband called our midwives, just to let them know things had been ticking along nicely since nine that evening, but that I was still relaxed enough to chat to them on the phone. They were soon round, and by about half past two it seemed as if the baby was ready to be born. But just at that time, our older son woke up with teething pain and cried out for his mummy – on reflection I think we should simply have brought him down, but at the time that’s not what we had planned, and so first of all his uncle went into comfort him, and then my husband went up to be with him for about two hours – and downstairs the whole labouring process magically seemed to slow right down. Until four am the contractions continued, but here was no sign of the baby arriving.

By the time my husband came back down and my brother had finally settled our older son, I was feeling tired and a bit bemused about what was going on. Our wonderful Brierly midwives (a team from King’s College Hospital who specialise in home births) were as bemused as we were about how things had slowed up completely. In retrospect, it seems clear that my concerns for my older son, and the residual stress and anxiety over the conflicts with my mother in law were hindering the progress of labour. In fact, although I didn’t speak at all through the labour, and just kept on with quiet yoga breathing and self-hypnosis, the only words I used at all were a single sentence expressing my vehement feelings about my husband’s mother!

I continued to use the self-hypnosis techniques throughout, and rested well between the contractions, always feeling peaceful and quiet. By six am it was clear that we needed a little more rest, and so we settled down quietly – relaxing with the self hypnosis through the contractions, which were still coming regularly.

After a couple of hour’s rest in this way, the midwives felt that labour had slowed so much that it probably was wise for them to leave, but whilst we still discussing this, my brother took my older son out to the park. The sound of the front door closing, together with the sight of the midwives with their jackets on, ready to leave seemed to re-start the labour immediately. I stood up to say goodbye to the midwives, my waters broke quite explosively and gushed out. So the midwives took their jackets off, sat down and I knelt forwards, holding onto my husband. From that point onwards there were only a few contractions as the baby moved down and out.

The birthing stage was rapid – Abhi’s head was born after only a couple of big contractions, and then his body followed straight out ten seconds later. He weighed eight pounds and four ounces and was in fine health. No tears or grazes – I felt completely comfortable afterwards, and still calm and focused as I had been throughout the labour.

So thank you Gowri for the self-hypnosis – the birthing experience was really empowering – a magical time of quiet and and gentle focus.

Uma

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Carol Johnston Birth Story

After an induction, epidural and forceps delivery of her first baby, Carol was amazed to find that she “enjoyed” giving birth to her second child. Although initially sceptical about self-hypnosis she found it invaluable during labour, and realised that her body and baby know what to do, and there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

EAU BABY!!

You probably won’t believe me, because after the induction – pethedine – epidural – forceps of my first baby two years ago I hadn’t thought it possible either, but I enjoyed giving birth to my second child.

Like every other woman, I’ve heard all the stories, read the books, seen the movies. Like them, I couldn’t believe there could be an alternative: of course childbirth hurts, they’re called labour pains, aren’t they? When I first heard about women in labour using a water pool the best I expected was that it might make the pain tolerable, but after the technological nightmare last time, it seemed worth looking into. The hospital put me in touch with Dr. Motha at the Jeyarani Health Centre and I went along for a consultation, expecting to find the doctor behind a desk and a list of technical specifications on temperature maintenance and sub-aqua monitoring. To my dismay,  I was seated on a cushion and told I was to be given a lesson in ‘self hypnosis’, which didn’t appeal to me at all. However, I soon found that this bore no relationship to my somewhat sinister idea of hypnotism, but is a way of teaching conscious relaxation. ‘Relaxation’ classes are held throughout the country, but there you’re taught to pant, grunt and strain every time the famous ‘urge to push’ comes. This is not only unnecessary but counter-productive, Dr Motha tells her (somewhat sceptical) classes. The uterus is a strong muscle specifically designed for this one job – let it work without tension, let the muscles relax, allow the baby to slip through easily, naturally; do not be afraid for fear leads to pain and pain to fear. We learnt to relax our bodies completely and at will, learnt to think positively and joyfully about the birth of our babies. All very well in theory, I thought, and I must admit all this relaxing has cured my bad back, but pain free labour? I still didn’t really believe it.

When my waters broke at four in the afternoon I was having no contractions but went to the hospital. An evening strapped to the monitoring devices hearing the woman in the other cubicle did nothing to help and by eleven o’clock the doctors decided to send me up to the ante-natal ward for the night and maybe induce me next morning – exactly what I’d been fearing all along.

On my own in the ward, I finally decided to stop fretting and do something positive. I sat in a dark corner and relaxed as we’d been taught, shutting off everything around me and concentrating on letting myself open up, welcoming my baby. By midnight I was being hustled back down the stairs by a nurse who refused to wait for the lift – ‘Hold on, dear, we don’t want you having it up here!’ I’d gone to 6cms dilation in less than an hour, and it was only when I realised that I should call a midwife and started trying to cope with the hospital scene again that it began to hurt. Once left on my own in a delivery room I stood leaning on the bed, which immediately helped – sitting or lying down were excruciating – and started to calm myself down again. My husband and Dr Motha arrived together and I relaxed still further, knowing that they would now deal with the outside world for me. Dr Motha turned down the lights and gave my husband directions on how to set up the pool and, I suspect, strict instructions to be a quiet, supportive but non-interfering presence. I was still a little frightened by the pain I’d felt and my body was trembling with the pressure of standing; the relief getting into the pool was immediate, as the warm water took my weight, soothed me and washed away the sweat. I soon found a rhythm, kneeling in the water, leaning my head on my arms on the side, breathing deeply as each contraction did its work. I concentrated on keeping my muscles soft and loose and opening to help my baby; I could feel each contraction and was aware of the effort my body was making and the effect it was having, but felt no pain.

Between contractions, I enjoyed the water, a smile, a drink; when the ‘urge to push’ came Dr Motha quietly reminded me to just breathe deeply. There was no need to set my teeth and strain; I could feel the baby’s head coming down a little further each time, gently opening his way into the world. If I’d tried to force him, I would have torn myself. At that moment I did feel a sudden sharp pain and thought ‘Ow, must be nearly there…’ I put my hand down to feel how much further I had to go and felt the baby’s head! The next contraction came, caught me unready, I yelled, the baby yelled, my husband yelled, ‘You’ve done it!’ and I was standing up turning round to take my baby from Dr Motha, feeling exulted and quite incredulous that it could all be over so soon, so beautifully. My baby nuzzled me, and smiled.

Later, my husband and Dr Motha left and the midwife went to fetch a wheelchair to take me to the postnatal ward – I could have taken the stairs two at a time but she insisted that I sit down; perhaps she felt that she had to do something other than check the heartbeat and write up the notes. That was when I heard the woman in the next room, shrieking and sobbing in the accepted, expected torture of childbirth.

And I wanted to tell her, there is another way, a way so old that after centuries of innovation, research and drugs testing we’re now having to rediscover it and tell each other a truth so simple is seems incredible – your baby knows what to do and there’s nothing to fear but fear itself Effortlessly, naturally, you gave your baby a body, eyes, a brain, life itself; the same way, you can give birth.

Carol Johnston

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Philippa Egertan Birth Story – July 2000

The positive magical birth of baby Otis during a lunar eclipse, using self-hypnosis and visualisation.

Baby Otis (weight 7lbs 15oz) was born on Sunday, 16th July 2000, at 1.14am during a lunar eclipse.

It was an amazing experience for me, a truly spiritual one. My pre-labour was long; it started at 3 am on Friday morning and then I went into full labour at 3 pm on Saturday afternoon. My contractions were painful early on so I couldn’t sleep, so my obstacle was being tired too early on. The birth unit was empty except for one mother and baby, so my partner and I were able to move around and change scene from time to time. I used a tens machine all along and then was in water for a long time. I actually gave birth squatting outside the pool. It was a very magical night and whilst I was lying in the pool the windows were open and I could seen the moon.

The reason that I got through my birth and it was such a positive magical experience is due, I think,  to your Self-Hypnosis and Visualisation techniques you taught me. All along I recalled my safe place and used by breath constantly and was conscious of everything,  but nothing could touch me or harm me. Your teaching helps every mother to reclaim a positive attitude towards birth, which is often fast disappearing in medical intervention. My baby is very lucky to have had such a good start and journey into the world.

Philippa Egertan

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Judith Shutler Birth Story – 1989

This story illustrates how the programme can help a pregnant mother who then goes on to have a caesarean delivery.

During my pregnancy I followed a programme including Self-hypnosis at the Jeyarani Health Centre.

As the birth approached it became more certain that the delivery would be by elective caesarean due to breech presentation. The hypnosis included dealing with this.

I used self-hypnosis to rehearse the delivery and it kept me calm and co-operative. The epidural was difficult (3 attempts) but I did not feel stressed – the same during the operation. The surgeon said later that she had never had a calmer patient.

Afterwards I was prescribed analgesia but needed none whatsoever and although uncomfortable I was in no pain. On the next day I was walking upright as soon as the drip etc, was removed….. The wound healed so well that the clips were removed earlier than expected and I went home on day 6.

Comments from hospital staff were made about how well I had recovered and that I was the “talk of the hospital”.

Judith Shutler,1989

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