Junior Pregnancy and Baby September 2005

What is your key piece of advice for pregnant women?

Cut out wheat and sugar for the duration of your pregnancy to give the tissues a clarity for normal physiological action. If possible, you should be gluten-free in the last four weeks of pregnancy, as this creates a totally comfortable birth experience. During pregnancy you only need an extra 200 calories per day, so portion control is crucial. I would also advise mothers to follow the guidelines in Gentle Birth Method - I receive thank you emails almost every day from mothers all over the world who have read the book and had wonderful birth experience.

What questions are you asked most frequently?

"How many children do you have?" In fact I have never been married or given birth - so why this preoccupation with birthing? Long ago as a student, I witnessed my first birth in Bangalore, India. The mother was on her back with her legs in stirrups and her entire body covered in sterile green towels except for her perineum and her face, while the doctor said "Push! Push!" a few times. The baby emerged quite easily as this was the mother's third child, but I grieved that her needs were not met or even acknowledged. I knew that if I had to give birth that was not the way I wanted it to be, so I blocked off all the desires of ever being a mother. My life's work is about making birth beautiful and natural for mothers, so they can enjoy giving birth in whatever medium or position they want.

One thing I wish all the pregnant women knew is...

That at the end of their pregnancy they will have a thinking, feeling, loving baby in their arms who will need their entire attention for quite a few months and years - which can be quite a shock for modern mothers. The first pregnancy is a transformational period, and mothers need time to tune into the baby from conception.

Over the last decade, what has changed for the better in your field (and for the worse)?

The vast majority of midwifery practice has recognised the need for choices in labour and birth. As an advocate for complementary therapies, I find it encouraging that midwives are now opting to train in complementary treatments like reflexology, homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, creative healing and hypnotherapy, which can be used as first-line treatments for common cold conditions. In my mind I see no changes for the worse - I see only opportunities for creative solutions to human needs. I pray that wisdom prevails in all quarters to let all of us work for the common good.

How do you think things will change in the next ten years?

Massively! All doctors, nurses and midwives will be adept at several forms of complementary therapies and integrated healthcare will combine the traditional and the complementary. We will have houses of healing that utilise colour, solar and lunar energy, and pyramid healing houses using sacred geometric sciences. We will also see the increased use of meditation and hypnotherapy-based treatments, with birthing centres in the tropical oceans in giant flotillas where we will learn to interact with dolphins and other cetaceans. Our babies will get ultrasonic waves from dolphins and have healing within the womb from our cetacean cousins.

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