a doula combining Science and spirituality, research and Intuition..

Posts tagged “Birth

Doulaing, kittens and wet-nursing

breastfeeding 1

I’m not able to do as much doula work as I’d like nowadays, as a full time working single mum, parenting a teenager and school child with #ADHD I’m pretty busy. I still do one to one sessions and teach workshops when I can. But doula work is in your bones, the doula mindset I now use in my everyday life all the time, approaching difficult people as if they were in labour can work wonders. If someone has unpredictable behaviours, extreme emotions, confusing needs- you can do well by loving presence, deep listening, going barefoot, breathing slowly, mirroring calm. Finding a transcendent part of you that sees the sacred in our everyday transactions. looking at the environment you are in- can it be changed to reduce peoples anxieties? Lights turned down, think about the acoustics, the smell. This week my son has been very anxious and worried, he has ADHD and probably ASD and the change from school to holidays combined with his birthday had led to him needing to be within touching distance of me at all times at home, this can be very tiring and stressful and he was worried about bedtime and sleeping too. A friend of mine called round whilst he was spiralling into panic and took him into the garden, they talked about the plants and he suggested my son chew and smell a few herbs, that it helped him if he was anxious. I took my son back to bed and he lay smelling his leaf while we read a story and until he calmed down and fell asleep.

Last year after our dog died of old age and I decided to get two sibling girl cats. They have been lovely to watch, very close. I thought about getting them neutered but decided to let them have one litter of kittens. As a child we had lots of pets and I witnessed two litters of puppies be born and grow up, this shaped my own interest in physiological birth and was one of the reasons I became a doula. I thought it was important for my children to see the normality of the life cycle.

My son watched in interest as local male cats started to frequent our garden after the cats went into heat, one male in particular seemed to have a close bond with my two sisters. We even witnessed them mating one morning so could introduce the birds and bees conversation with my son naturally. We then observed our cats behaviour start to change, to eat more, to become more solitary, not as close with her sister she would hiss if she came too close, she started eating more and I told our son we needed to be gentle with her, not pick her up too much or scare her. The male cat still showed regularly in the garden.

Eventually as I went away for a weekend, I thought the kittens would be due in about a week. I wondered how she would manage with her first litter. One dog I had as a young adult had a litter of puppies (she was a rescue dog and already pregnant otherwise I would have had her neutered) and coped well with the birth, until disturbed by my then partner returning with our other dog and friends, after which she left a puppy in its sac and did not care for it as she had the previous puppies and I had to intervene.

After the weekend I returned to find cats, neither of which looked pregnant. I quickly searched the garden and house for kittens, finally finding them in a cupboard in my bedroom, six kittens, all well and healthy, no mess, she’d done it fine all on her own.

She’s been a great mother, breastfeeding the babies on demand, purring loudly, but not let her sister too close. One early morning I found the daddy cat in the room too, chirruping at the cat and watching his kittens. A week later I found both sister cats in with the kittens. I was glad to see them friendly again, and when I looked at the kittens, I noticed one smaller all black kitten, her sister had had a kitten herself, just one. They are now co-feeding all the kittens, mostly found all together in a big heap of furry cats and loud purring. I was worried about the mother with six kittens who was struggling to keep weight on, so this should help her manage the load.

cats and kittens

My young experience of watching puppies feeding, I’m sure influenced my own determination to breastfeed, and helped give me determination when my first baby was sleepy after a long labour and diamorphine. Kept me going through the pain of a tongue tie for over a year when she self weaned. I always felt is was important to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere, not covering up, to normalise breastfeeding in society, as I’m sure hiding breastfeeding away means that people feel it is something to be ashamed of and also stops girls learning what it looks like to latch a baby on. You end up with attitudes like this (and this is a man whose wife did breastfeed!)

https://mongoliabound.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/adams-experience-with-breastfeeding-in-mongolia/

My son I fed till he also self weaned at nearly three and a half. Breastfeeding past a year is less common now in European countries, but historically was the norm and is usual in countries around the world today. In some countries breastmilk is also given to invalids and women commonly share breastfeeding with their sisters and friends like my cats

http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/02/breastfeeding-land-genghis-khan/

I personally have nursed a few other peoples babies, mainly when they have been having early breastfeeding difficulties and the baby was hungry and struggling to latch

https://themilkmeg.com/megs-experiences-with-wet-nursing-and-milk-sharing/

Mothering can be very hard in today’s society, without the ‘village’ community, women trying to learn all the skills on their own without prior experience and without support, levels of postnatal depression are high, but it is often  the bonds we make with other new mothers that are sustained friendships throughout our adult lives and get us through those sometimes dark early days, sleepless nights and the continued joys and sorrows of parenthood

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/14/my-friend-breastfed-my-baby-elisa-albert

breastfeeding 4

Just like other animals, we humans are primed through evolution to birth our babies, breastfeed and live in community, supporting each other

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Does baby’s position matter in labour and can we do anything about it?

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Reply to Catie Mehl of Columbus Birth & Parenting and Angela Horn from Tuscon doulas recently published blog posts about malposition.

http://tucsondoulas.com/does-babys-position-matter-pt2/

Prevalence of OP prior to labour

Up to approx. 30% of babies are OP before labour begins.[1]

Some studies have found that fetal position before labour does not affect birth outcome[2] but others have found the opposite, in one study occipital position was found to be a factor in predicting successful induction[3] with cervical length being longer in OP positions prior to induction.

Around 80% of babies that are OP before labour begins, will rotate in labour[1]

But the longer a baby stays OP in labour, the more likely they are to stay that way.[4]

The deflexion associated with OP may be more important than the fetal position.[3]

Malposition effects labour progress

Persistent OP is associated with prolonged first and second stages of labor and augmentation [5-7]

Malpositioned labours significantly more often cross the partogram action line[8]

Malposition effects maternal and fetal outcomes

Women whose babies that are malpositioned during labour and birth are more likely to have obstetric interventions, including assisted delivery and operative birth [6 9 10]

The incidence of persistent occiput posterior position was associated with significantly higher incidences of induction of labor, oxytocin augmentation of labor, epidural use, and prolonged labor[5]

Maternal movement in labour improves birth outcomes

Can maternal position changes in labour effect rotation from OP to OA?

Most intervention studies using maternal position to try to rotate babies from OP to OA have been unsuccessful[9 11]  although studies have tended to be for short durations (-10 minutes), and include participants that have an epidural (approx. 90%)

One study has been successful in effecting rotation from OP to OA using maternal movement. The authors conducted an observational cohort study of women in Padua, Italy having their first baby. They grouped women into Group-A when they spent more than 50% of their labour in recumbent position (supine or lateral) and in Group-B when they preferred an alternative position (upright, squatting, sitting on the ball, or “on all fours” position) the OP rate at the start of labour was comparable in two groups with 40.6% in Group-A and 36.5% in Group-B.

A strong significant difference was found in terms of delivery outcome.

CS was necessary in 27 patients: 46.4% in Group-A compared to the 12.3% in Group-B.

Significant differences in terms of OP persistence at delivery were also found in those delivering vaginally: in Group-A patients, OP persisted till birth in 39.6% of the cases while in Group-B only in 28% of the cases[12]

Other evidence for benefits of maternal movement in the first stage

Upright positions increase contraction strength. Women labouring in upright, non-recumbent positions have fewer POP deliveries, shorter labours and lower rates of assisted deliveries and CS[12]

Sims’ posture on the same side as the fetal spine has been recommended to enhance rotation from posterior to anterior[13]

Prince of Songkla University Cat (leaning over back of bed at 60 degree angle on knees)and upright positions together with music reduced the duration of active phase of labour and labour pain in primiparous women compared to oxytocin[14]

Cochrane review: Maternal positions and mobility during first stage labour-“Walking and upright positions in the first stage of labour reduces the duration of labour, the risk of caesarean birth, the need for epidural, and does not seem to be associated with increased intervention or negative effects on mothers’ and babies’ wellbeing.”[15]

Other evidence for benefits of maternal movement in the Second stage

Any upright or lateral birth positions compared with supine or lithotomy positions have been associated with reduced duration of second stage of labour, reduction in operative delivery, reduction in episiotomies, reduced reporting of severe pain in the second stage, fewer abnormal fetal heart patterns[16]

“Use of the supine position is associated with negative maternal, fetal, and neonatal hemodynamic outcomes. Despite the persistence of the use of recumbent positions for birth, the evidence supports the merit of upright positions. “

Kneeling squat position significantly increases the bony transverse and anteroposterior dimension in the mid pelvic plane and the pelvic outlet[17]

In a study using MR obstetric pelvimetry an upright birthing position significantly expands female pelvic bony dimensions, suggesting facilitation of labor and delivery[18]

Epidural use

Women with epidurals that change position[19] (every half hour from hands and knees, sitting etc in the passive part of second stage (giving time for the head to come down) and push in a lateral position with the upper hip abducted had greatly reduced assisted delivery rates (19.8% vs 42.1%) higher rates of intact perineum ( (40.3% vs 12.2%), lower episiotomy rate (s (21.0% in vs 51.4%) and time actively pushing, without incurring any other adverse maternal or fetal outcomes[20]. Peanut balls have also been found to improve outcomes for women with an epidural. [21]

Squatting

The use of the squatting position in managing the second stage of labor results in less instrumental delivery, extension of episiotomy and perineal tearing compared with the supine position[22 23]

Women prefer freedom to move in labour

Freedom to change positions in labour has been identified as integral to a feeling of control and the management of pain in labour, due to the physical and psychological benefits[24]

Women have described being in more control over their pushing in the second stage when they were in an upright position compared to a supine position[25]

 

Is operative birth necessary?

CPD

In a review of >225 thousand birth records in the United states (2002-08) half of Caesarean Deliveries for dystocia in induced labor were performed before 6 cm of cervical dilation. Among intrapartum CDs, approximately half were performed for ‘failure to progress’ or ‘cephalopelvic disproportion’.[26]

It has been reported that most cases of reported cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) result from malposition of the fetal head within the pelvis (asynclitism) or from ineffective uterine contractions. True disproportion is an unlikely diagnosis because two thirds or more of women undergoing cesarean delivery for this reason subsequently deliver even larger newborns vaginally[27]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roFVkDV45MM

Could we reduce intervention for dystocia and malposition with more time?

A review of the evidence relating to dystocia found that current understandings rest on outdated definitions of active first stage of labour, its progress and on treatments without a strong evidence base. These include the cervical dilatation threshold for active first stage, uncertainty over whether a reduced rate of dilatation and reduced strength of uterine contractions always represent pathology and the effectiveness of amniotomy/oxytocin for treating dystocia[28]

It has been suggested that one of the ways to safely prevent primary caesarean deliveries is to increase the active phase of labour start to 6cm and the safe duration of the second stage to at least 2 hours for women having a second or subsequent baby and 3 hours for women having their first baby.[29] or longer with an epidural although the safety of this is contested by some. [30]

International findings

Obstructed labour mostly caused by malposition (and often labelled as CPD) is common in lower income countries and has a high rate or maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity. More needs to be done to prevent and resolve malposition in situations where safe obstetric intervention may not be feasible to save mothers and babies lives and futures[31]

Women in Low and middle income countries (LMIC) are described as having three delay to obstetric care. (1) deciding to seek appropriate medical help for an obstetric emergency; (2) reaching an appropriate obstetric facility; and (3) receiving adequate care when a facility is reached[32]

http://blogs.msf.org/en/staff/blogs/may-the-forceps-be-with-you/one-foot-in

Maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality is often due to this delayed treatment.

Prolonged obstructed labor can result in fistulas. Because obstetric fistulas are caused by tissue compression, the time interval from obstruction to delivery is critical. Women may not deliver in health care facilities if they do not meet their needs. (this includes the need to move around in labour and use upright positions to birth in, which may be discouraged in the hospital setting) There may be transport and cost implications or Beliefs that problems in labor arise from disturbances in the social environment (and may be caused by actions of the mother) rather than as simple problems of obstetrical mechanics [33]

Even after arrival at a health facility mean waiting time for women admitted with complications was as much as 24 h before treatment.[34]

http://blogs.msf.org/en/staff/blogs/may-the-forceps-be-with-you/before-the-beginning

Barriers and facilitators maternal movement in labour

Barriers to maternal movement in labour include: (1) lack of space, (2) inadequate support, (3) use of unwarranted debilitating technology, and (4) movement restricting pain relief[35]

Difficulty in conducting research relating to maternal movement in labour, which is often dynamic and needs to be directed by the woman, means that amassing strong evidence of the efficacy of maternal movement to resolve malposition is complicated. Cultural influences and provider influences also effect choice of maternal position. [36 37]

Use of a pool in labour has been suggested to increase maternal ability to change position[38] and also mobile telemetry for high risk women to allow greater mobilisation and use of the pool.[39]

Fathers with a partner having an upright birth position were more likely to have had a positive birth experience, to have felt comfortable and powerful compared to spontaneous vaginal births where women adopting a horizontal birth position[40]

SUMMARY

Malposition’s are the root cause for much of the morbidity and mortality and unexpected intervention in labours worldwide. There is a body of evidence that maternal mobility in labour improves outcomes and may aid rotation. More research is needed that can adequately measure maternal mobility in labour and interventions that match the multifaceted practices that midwives and doulas use to support women with prolonged labour or suspected malposition.

Women may want to mobilise in labour but feel restricted by social/cultural expectations (for example the use of the bed in the maternity room[41]) or restricted by the technology being used (CFM, drip).

Doulas and midwives can help to facilitate women’s choices by:

  • Antenatal education that provide women and their partners practical experience of maternal positions that can facilitate labour and birth
  • Discussing the barriers and enablers of maternal movement
  • Practical support in labour if technology is needed (suggesting mobile telemetry as a possibility if available, holding monitors in place while women use birth balls or change position with CFM)
  • Suggesting movement changes in labour that might aid women’s comfort or rotation
  • Suggesting the use of a peanut ball if women have an epidural or need to rest in a recumbent position
  • Suggesting position changes in the second stage (particularly if there is a delay or little change in descent)
  • Rebozo can be a useful tool when women have difficulty moving (due to exhaustion, pain, pain relief or technology that restricts movement)42]

 

  1. Verhoeven CJ, Mulders LG, Oei SG, et al. Does ultrasonographic foetal head position prior to induction of labour predict the outcome of delivery? European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 2012;164(2):133-37
  2. Ahmad A, Webb S, Early B, et al. Association between fetal position at onset of labor and mode of delivery: a prospective cohort study. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2014;43(2):176-82
  3. Ashour ASA, ABDELLA RM, GHAREEB HO, et al. Preinduction ultrasonographic measurements as a predictor of successful induction of labor in prolonged pregnancy in primigravidas. 2013
  4. Vitner D, Paltieli Y, Haberman S, et al. Prospective multicenter study of ultrasound‐based measurements of fetal head station and position throughout labor. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2015;46(5):611-15
  5. Fitzpatrick M, McQuillan K, O’Herlihy C. Influence of persistent occiput posterior position on delivery outcome. Obstetrics & Gynecology 2001;98(6):1027-31
  6. Ponkey SE, Cohen AP, Heffner LJ, et al. Persistent fetal occiput posterior position: obstetric outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology 2003;101(5, Part 1):915-20
  7. Senécal J, Xiong X, Fraser WD, et al. Effect of fetal position on second-stage duration and labor outcome. Obstetrics & gynecology 2005;105(4):763-72
  8. Mathisen M, Olsen RV, Andreasen S, et al. Is it possible to detect malposition of the vertex at an early stage in labour? A case-control study. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare 2014;5(4):185-87
  9. Desbriere R, Blanc J, Le Dû R, et al. Is maternal posturing during labor efficient in preventing persistent occiput posterior position? A randomized controlled trial. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 2013;208(1):60. e1-60. e8
  10. Gardberg M, Leonova Y, Laakkonen E. Malpresentations–impact on mode of delivery. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica 2011;90(5):540-42
  11. Guittier M, Othenin‐Girard V, Gasquet B, et al. Maternal positioning to correct occiput posterior fetal position during the first stage of labour: a randomised controlled trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2016
  12. Gizzo S, Di Gangi S, Noventa M, et al. Women’s choice of positions during labour: return to the past or a modern way to give birth? A cohort study in Italy. BioMed research international 2014;2014
  13. Ridley RT. Diagnosis and intervention for occiput posterior malposition. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing 2007;36(2):135-43
  14. Phumdoung S, Youngwanichsetha S, Mahattanan S, et al. Prince of Songkla University Cat and upright positions together with music reduces the duration of active phase of labour and labour pain in primiparous women compared to oxytocin. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies 2014;19(2):70-77
  15. Lawrence A, Lewis L, Hofmeyr GJ, et al. Maternal positions and mobility during first stage labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013;8:Cd003934
  16. Gupta JK, Hofmeyr GJ, Shehmar M. Position in the second stage of labour for women without epidural anaesthesia. The Cochrane Library 2012
  17. Reitter A, Daviss B-A, Bisits A, et al. Does pregnancy and/or shifting positions create more room in a woman’s pelvis? American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 2014;211(6):662. e1-62. e9
  18. Michel SC, Rake A, Treiber K, et al. MR obstetric pelvimetry: effect of birthing position on pelvic bony dimensions. American Journal of Roentgenology 2002;179(4):1063-67
  19. Lape LA. The relationship between the incidence of occiput posterior fetal position at birth to maternal labor positions in patients with epidurals: Northern Kentucky University, 2011.
  20. Walker C, Rodríguez T, Herranz A, et al. Alternative model of birth to reduce the risk of assisted vaginal delivery and perineal trauma. International urogynecology journal 2012;23(9):1249-56
  21. Tussey CM, Botsios E, Gerkin RD, et al. Reducing length of labor and cesarean surgery rate using a peanut ball for women laboring with an epidural. The Journal of Perinatal Education 2015;24(1):16-24
  22. Ahmed MA-GS, Youssef M. Comparison between squatting versus supine (lithotomy) positions during the passive second stage of labor without epidural anesthesia in nulliparous women: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Evidence-Based Women’s Health Journal Society 2015;5(3):140-42
  23. Dani A, Badhwar V, Sawant G, et al. COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SQUATTING POSITION VS DORSAL RECUMBENT POSITION DURING SECOND STAGE OF LABOUR.
  24. Johansson M, Thies-Lagergren L. Swedish fathers’ experiences of childbirth in relation to maternal birth position: a mixed method study. Women and Birth 2015;28(4):e140-e47
  25. De Jonge A, Lagro-Janssen A. Birthing positions. A qualitative study into the views of women about various birthing positions. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology 2004;25(1):47-55
  26. Epidemiology of cesarean delivery: the scope of the problem. Seminars in perinatology; 2012. Elsevier.
  27. Horsager R, Roberts S, Rogers V, et al. Williams Obstetrics, Study Guide: McGraw Hill Professional, 2014.
  28. Karaçam Z, Walsh D, Bugg GJ. Evolving understanding and treatment of labour dystocia. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 2014;182:123-27
  29. Caughey AB, Cahill AG, Guise J-M, et al. Safe prevention of the primary cesarean delivery. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 2014;210(3):179-93
  30. Leveno KJ, Nelson DB, McIntire DD. Second-stage labor: how long is too long? American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 2015
  31. Higashi H, Barendregt J, Kassebaum N, et al. Surgically avertable burden of obstetric conditions in low‐and middle‐income regions: a modelled analysis. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2015;122(2):228-36
  32. Barnes-Josiah D, Myntti C, Augustin A. The “three delays” as a framework for examining maternal mortality in Haiti. Social science & medicine 1998;46(8):981-93
  33. Wall LL. Overcoming phase 1 delays: the critical component of obstetric fistula prevention programs in resource-poor countries. BMC pregnancy and childbirth 2012;12(1):68
  34. Cavallaro FL, Marchant TJ. Responsiveness of emergency obstetric care systems in low‐and middle‐income countries: a critical review of the “third delay”. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica 2013;92(5):496-507
  35. Hollins Martin CJ, Martin CR. A narrative review of maternal physical activity during labour and its effects upon length of first stage. Complementary therapies in clinical practice 2013;19(1):44-49
  36. Martin CJH, Kenney L, Pratt T, et al. The Development and Validation of An Activity Monitoring System for Use in Measurement of Posture of Childbearing Women During First Stage of Labor. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2015;60(2):182-86
  37. Nieuwenhuijze MJ, Low LK, Korstjens I, et al. The Role of Maternity Care Providers in Promoting Shared Decision Making Regarding Birthing Positions During the Second Stage of Labor. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2014;59(3):277-85
  38. Hall E. The use of water immersion in the facilitation of ‘normal labour’. Diffusion-The UCLan Journal of Undergraduate Research 2014;7(1)
  39. Jackson R. The use of water during the first stage of labour: Is this a safe choice for women undergoing VBAC? British Journal of Midwifery 2013;21(6)
  40. Hasman K, Kjaergaard H, Esbensen BA. Fathers’ experience of childbirth when non-progressive labour occurs and augmentation is established. A qualitative study. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare 2014;5(2):69-73
  41. Townsend B, Fenwick J, Thomson V, et al. The birth bed: A qualitative study on the views of midwives regarding the use of the bed in the birth space. Women and Birth 2015
  42. Cohen SR, Thomas CR. Rebozo technique for fetal malposition in labor. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2015;60(4):445-51

 


Mother blessings- What are they, and why I think every Mum-to-be (not just hippies!) should have one..

“If birth were a temple
my body is religion, and this small form
twisting out of me,
is
prayer
my cries
reach birth’s vaulted
ceilings,
arching like my back over holy
waters,
crystal clear salt of amniotic
my womb–a blessing bowl
releases
her treasure.

–Nane Ariadne Jordan”

What is a blessing way?

A ‘Blessing Way’, ‘Mother blessing’ or ‘Mother shower’ is an alternative to a baby shower. A gathering of a pregnant woman’s nearest and dearest (usually) women friends and family, that takes place as her impending baby’s birth draws near.

The term ‘Blessing way’ is derived from a Native American (Navajo) ceremony, during which a girl enacts the story of ‘Changing Woman’ (a creation story, describing how fertility entered the world). It has been used in the United States since the 1970’s by midwives like Jeannine Parvati Baker. I shall refer to them from here on as ‘Mother blessings’ out of respect for Native american culture.

A  mother blessing differs from a baby shower in its focus on the spiritual ‘rite of passage’ that a woman makes as she becomes a mother and building a ‘web’ of support and love to sustain her through her birth and the early days with her baby.

A mother blessing  is not based on any one religion or belief system and can be tailored to reflect each woman’s unique heritage, spirituality and desires.

Most mother blessings incorporate an element of ritual or ceremony, pampering and honouring the mother-to-be. It also usually includes, laughter, meaningful presents, the creation of a birth necklace, flowers, strengthening of a community to sustain you, wonderful memories, photographs and a feast!

Why have a mother blessing?

Many women have a baby shower, whilst this can be a fun event, many people feel uncomfortable with the commercial, gift giving aspects, they may want only particular products for their baby-to-be or feel thy would prefer to receive baby gifts after their baby has arrived.

A mother blessing  reminds us of the sacred nature of pregnancy, the miracle of bearing life within your body and the importance of a network of women to support you.

Through sharing, in a circle, your ancestry and connection to each other you gain confidence in your ability to be a mother, and in your community to nurture you.

When we pamper you, by adorning you with flowers, maybe brushing your hair, massaging your hands and feet or placing them in a bowl of hot scented water, applying a beautiful henna tattoo to your belly or making a cast to remind you of your fullness, we help you to overcome the fears our media obsessed culture may have permeated into your mind, about birth, or the early days of parenthood.

Often each woman that attends will bring a bead with a personal significance, these can be shared in a circle as the beads are strung into a birth necklace which can be worn as you labour and remind you of all the love and strength that surrounds you.

Some women like to craft a patchwork quilt for the baby-to-be or other keepsake.

Positive birth stories, poems and readings are also often shared, and a web of red yard weaved between the circle which are tied onto your guests wrists, these are usually kept until you have had your baby, to remind your guests to send you love and support.

The feast should be made up of your favourite dishes brought by all to share.

Presents should be heartfelt and home made if possible or useful promises to help with meals or other support after your baby is born.

A mother blessing can be organised by yourself, your family or friends, it can be for a first baby or a sixth or an adopted child. Whilst it us usually women that attend, Men and children can easily be accommodated.

4 Reasons why everyone should consider having a ‘Mother blessing’ in pregnancy

Sharing and releasing fears

1 Pregnancy is a time when you should feel pampered, adored and beautiful, although towards the end of pregnancy you may feel tired, uncomfortable and fed up. Historically women during pregnancy and motherhood have been revered as creators, nurturers and goddesses. A mother blessing can help you connect to this ancient tradition and relax and enjoy those last few weeks of pregnancy

2 Feeling safe, nurtured, held, releases the hormone oxytocin which reduces stress levels and contributes to an easier birth and successful breastfeeding

3 Research has shown that social support, especially from friends and families has a significant effect on a first time mother’s mental health and chances of developing post-natal depression. Hearing from your loved ones about their connection to you, how you met, what they love about you and the ways they feel you will make a wonderful mother will help you prepare for the days when early motherhood can be difficult, feeding problems, sleepless nights and your changing role as a woman

4 Henna belly tattoos look great in your birth photos!

Did you have a mother blessing? Please tell us about it?

If you didn’t have one, do you like the sound of them? Would you like to have one next time?

More information

Preparing for motherhood

http://birthpsychology.com/free-article/childbirth-ordinary-miracle

Hormones in labour

http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/ecstatic-birth-natures-hormonal-blueprint-for-labor

Motherhood Mythology

http://science.jrank.org/pages/10304/Motherhood-Maternity-History-Religion-Myth.html

A history of baby showers

http://www.randomhistory.com/2008/11/01_baby.html

Henna in pregnancy

http://www.beautifulbirth.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&Itemid=19

Blessing way

http://www.blessingwaybook.com/

Why I decided call this a mother blessing rather than a blessingway

http://bellisimama.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/blessingway-avenger.html

Mother blessing facilitation by Magical birth

http://www.magicalbirth.co.uk/5.html