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Birth Story: Katie shares the story of her Neo’s birth

Katie attended a class in Loughborough with Fernanda Salfity, here she share’s the story of her son’s birth.

“I would really like to share my birth story with other expectant mothers please as I feel that hypnobirthing allowed me to have the birth I never thought would be possible.”

“This time 3 weeks ago I was  searching for positive hypnobirthing induction birth stories trying to keep a positive frame of mind about my upcoming labour. I had agreed to be induced at 41+5. I am so pleased to now be able to share my own positive birth story!

In the build up to my induction date I tried to kick start my labour as naturally as possible with the usual attempts of eating spicy food, pineapple, clary Sage oil baths and massage, bouncing on my birthing ball, long walks, hypnotherapy, acupressure points- the list goes on. With no success I tried 2 sweeps over week 41 but again, no success.

I had initially started learning hypnobirthing techniques to reduce my fear and anxiety around birth, due to a spinal condition I had been told I was unable to have an epidural and that c-section may be the best method of delivery for me. My partner and I attended Fernanda’s mindful mama course in Loughborough and immediately felt the benefits of viewing pregnancy and birth in a more positive way. My partner and I both felt that Fernanda had a very calming influence on us and so, following the course I asked Fernanda to be my Doula during labour.

I went into hospital on Saturday night and had the first hormone pessary, I ended up having 2 of these over the next 24 hours because they kept on falling out. My body did respond to the hormones and surges built up and slowed back down repeatedly over 2-3 days. This was not the labour I had envisioned or planned. At one stage while being monitored my baby’s heart rate had increased and the midwives needed to find a clear baseline to establish whether or not he was distressed. Using the Mindful hypnobirthing MP3 I managed to calm the baby’s heart rate back to normal. This for me was clear evidence of how a calm mother can help to create a calm baby.

The hypnobirthing techniques I had learned helped me to stay relaxed and maintain an open mind throughout my birthing journey. Fernanda’s knowledge and experience helped us feel in control; she empowered us to make informed decisions during my time in hospital.

At 4pm on the Monday I was taken to the delivery suite and started on the hormone drip, things got intense pretty quickly. I used pregnancy and birth affirmations through headphones, a cooling eye mask to help block out my surroundings and any distractions. I also used a tens machine and gas and air to help manage the discomfort of surges. I listened to the Contraction Wave MP3 when surges became more intense. At 5.17am baby Neo made his arrival weighing 9lb 12oz, I had a natural delivery and extended skin-to-skin contact before my partner cut the cord and Neo was checked over and weighed. He is now 3 weeks old and people regularly comment on what an alert and chilled out baby he is.

As a family we cannot thank Fernanda enough for all her help and support, we now highly recommend hypnobirthing and having a Doula to anyone we know expecting a baby!”

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Shall I Have a Membrane Sweep?

Mindful Guide to  a membrane sweep
Membrane Sweep

Shall I have a Membrane Sweep?

A membrane sweep is a common form of intervention that is routinely offered in the UK. The NICE  (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines state that every woman should be offered a membrane sweep at 41 weeks. So it is likely that this will be offered to you around then or an appointment booked in at 40 weeks for your membrane sweep at around 41 weeks.

As far as hypnobirthing is concerned this is an intervention, because the philosophy of hypnobirthing is to do nothing as nature will take its course.  But there are some things to consider before making your decision. Understanding the benefits and the risks fully can help you make a choice as to whether you have one at 41 weeks or earlier, to delay it until you are nearer term at 42 weeks or to decline it. Importantly you do have a choice.

Research shows that women often go into labour within 2-3 days of having a membrane sweep, whether they were about to go into labour anyway is a possibility as women who are given a membrane sweep are expected to birth imminently. The intention of a membrane sweep is to stimulate the release of prostaglandins and oxytocin, both of which can trigger uterine contractions and labour.  Prostaglandins can be found in semen and oxytocin is a hormone associate with sex as well as labour, which is why sex is recommended to get things moving!

What happens during  a membrane sweep?

During a membrane sweep, your midwife will insert a finger into your vagina and feel for your cervix. She’ll then sweep the cervix to separate the membranes from your cervix. It can be very uncomfortable and you may bleed afterwards.

What are the benefits of a membrane sweep?

If you are nearing 42 weeks and under pressure for an induction, or just want to get things moving, a sweep can be a good way of getting things started. It can often prevent the need for other more aggressive pharmacological forms of induction, that are associated with something known as a cascade of intervention.

What are the risks of a membrane sweep?

There is the slight risk that the midwife could accidentally rupture you amniotic sac during a membrane sweep, which then means your labour may be actively managed and if you don’t go into labour after 48 – 72 hours (depending on your hospital policy) you may need to be induced.

There is also the sense of being disheartened if it doesn’t work. There is also some anecdotal evidence that women who have membrane sweeps have slightly more painful labours.

Natural Alternatives.

The aim of a membrane sweep is to trigger the release of prostaglandins and oxytocin, which stimulate contractions. Fortunately there are other ways of doing this that are more fun and much more comfortable!

  •  Sex (semen contains prostaglandins and sex triggers the release of oxytocin)
  • Eating spicy food (releases endorphins and oxytocin)
  • Light touch massage
  • Stand in a warm shower and teak your nipples until milk drips
  • Have a go at reflexology or acupuncture
  • Get your head in the right place, let go of the worry of labour starting in time and it probably will. Our Mp3s can help with that.
  • Take yourself out of your normal environment and go for a long walk
  • Clary sage and lavender baths (consult with a local aromatherapist or research the use of clary sage if this is an option for you)


A membrane sweep  may be better closer to 42 weeks than 41 –  most women are nearing labour at this point and it is more likely to be effective the closer to going into labour you are.

If you are under pressure for an induction it can be a way of compromising and getting things moving without the pressure of further interventions. Unlike pharmacological methods of intervention, it is unlikely to trigger the cascade of intervention that you so often hear of associated with an oxytocin drip.

However, if you are true to the hypnobirthing philosophy, remember that this is essentially a compromise and if you deeply trust your baby and your body to birth when they are ready then you can decline and choose to do nothing.  In this case you will be offered regular monitoring if you go over 42 weeks to check the function of your placenta and levels of amniotic fluid.

Whatever you choose, it’s your choice – make it an informed one.











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You pass your due date and it’s “have you had the baby yet?”.

Due date
Clock watching can slow labour down.

The due date countdown and friends who can’t help asking is the baby is here yet.

by Sophie Fletcher

“Have you had the baby yet?” is a question that you may here more and more as you approach your due date. As much as they love their friends and family this text or call can be one of the biggest irritants to mums-to-be as when they go past their due date.  Ironically, the worst culprits are often other women who, without thinking, feel they are being attentive to their friends and bombard them with texts, saying “just checking that you’re ok”, “oh so you haven’t had the baby yet”.   An acute example is my own mother, who phoned the hospital and was buzzed through by reception to the intercom in my room, during labour, at least twice to ask if I’d had my baby!

Most people automatically send a text round when baby is born; I’ve received numerous texts at 2, 3 or 4 am.  So the rule of thumb is if you haven’t received a text then baby hasn’t arrived into the world yet and if baby is on their way, and mum knows, she’s unlikely to want to text you back or chat to you.

Friends and family should fight the urge to call the mum when she is reaching her due date, she may be at the receiving end of dozens of texts from well meaning people.  At the same time mum-to-be may be under pressure for induction because she’s gone over her due date – the texts or phone calls  may become  a reminder that she’s over her due date and cause even more stress.

You may think, “I’ll switch my phone off” when I get close to my due date.  But the sound of an answer message  can just stir up the excitement even more, because if your phone is switched off everyone who calls assumes that you are in labour.

I know and you may know that you are not at term until you reach 42 weeks, and that the majority of women birth their babies before this date, but very often over their 40 week due date.  Only around 3-4% of babies come on their due date.

We also know that any stress or apprehension can stop labour from starting, as it releases stress hormones that can slow labour down, so it’s incredibly important that mum doesn’t have these reminders everywhere around her due date, and that she is able to go, stress free, into labour when she and her baby are ready.

Tips to help you minimise this disturbance as you approach your due date:

  1. Don’t tell people your due date.  Tell them an approximate time, eg. The end of August, middle of September.
  2. Tell your friends that you will message them straight away when baby is born.
  3. Ask them not to text you, to ask “how you are”, or “if baby has arrived” after your due date but maybe a “I’m nipping to the supermarket, do you want anything” text is fine.
  4. Get some lovely relaxation music to reduce stress after your due date when you may be getting anxious. Try the Mindful Mamma Mp3 on itunes.