Birth Plans

The birth plan has been given a bad name by people over thinking the plan. So don't over think it, have fun together making it. As a couple prepares for the big day it is important to remember what is it exactly you would like to communicate to your care provider. I like to call the plan "birthing preferences" so write with preferences, that is what you would like ?  

An introduction to the people that may be looking after you, try to begin this plan with a positive start. 

So what will be on the plan?

  • Who will be the support people with you?
  • If your baby is overdue, when you would like your baby's induction to begin.
  • If your "waters break" and the liquor is pink or clear, maybe you might pop on your plan wanting  time for you to go into labour on your own. (this will not be possible if you are GBS positive in some hospitals)
  • How would you like the room to feel and look, lighting candles, music, relaxation piece and visualisation items?
  • Do you want a female midwife or doctor?
  • Monitoring the baby, question if this is necessary?
  • Vaginal examinations - keep them to necessary ones?
  • Partner to announce the sex?
  • Delayed cord clamping for at least 3 minutes, then who is cutting the cord?
  • Skin to skin with no interruptions?
  • Let the baby find the breast for at least 45 minutes?
  • Vitamin K and Hepatitis B injections?
  • Going home, you may want to go home earlier than the scheduled time, maybe this is important to you.

Why I became a Calmbirth Practitioner ...

When I began my time working with couples in the Birth Centre, I was intrigued as to why some couples would arrive in the birth room so relaxed and amazingly prepared. On enquiring I discovered that all of the couples had attended a Calmbirth Workshop. My curiosity then led me to the Calmbirth Association and there began my journey to become a Calmbirth Practitioner.

The path to become a Calmbirth Practitioner is detailed, lengthy and of a very high standard.  Calmbirth began in NSW some 27 years by a dedicated male Midwife Peter.  Peter wanted couples to have great births without fear and wanted to  reduce medical intervention. I have been lucky enough to have hand many couples in my workshops who have had just that birth. I love at the end of my workshops when couples leave feeling really prepared, I can see how the 2 day workshops assist in the preparation. Teaching Calmbirth is so rewarding and I am passionate about helping couples having every opportunity to have the birth they really desire. My gallery of babies are just a few of the babies that are part of my Calmbirth family. So book a workshop today you are going to love Calmbirth.

 

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Where is my Calmbirth Studio ?

When I started looking for a studio to run my workshops there were a couple of important items that I looked for. Firstly I wanted the studio to have a great feel, be warm in winter and cool in summer. The Studio needed to be central to the city of Melbourne and have easy access to the freeway.  After  a very detailed search I found the perfect room in South Melbourne in a very unique building designed to accommodate a variety of “like- minded” people running small interesting companies. The building was designed based on a another building with a similar concept in Brooklyn, NYC. My room is warm and inviting for Calmbirth couples with free parking out the front of the building. We break for lunch and most couples wander around to the South Melbourne market or take the opportunity to have a walk along the nearby beach at Port Melbourne.  The workshops are run over two consecutive Sundays in the room filled with cosy comfortable cushions that are utilized during the relaxation. The intimate space allows for great interaction during the workshops and couples are able to spend two days having all their questions answered to prepare for the big day, the birth of their baby.

How to prepare for the birth of your baby...

When you discover you are pregnant, many things go through your mind….

Who do we tell first, who don't you tell ? When do we tell everyone …

After the morning sickness has subsided, the scans are booked everything settles down you adjust to the bump and basically the pregnancy just continues.

Most couples don't think about the end result, the labour and birth early on. As the bump grows and it really pops in the 3rd trimester every couple starts to get it, this is real, we had better prepare, how are we going do this labour and birth thing

so here are a few helpful tips……

Investigate different models of care, there are many choices. There has been great research done in the past decade about models of care and how this can directly impact on the reducing intervention and reducing Caesarean rates. The continuity of care model (this model of care is where you consistently see the same group of health professionals throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period) has proven to give women a greater sense of satisfaction during their birth experience. ( www.3centres.com.au models of care June 2014). 

You must have a great support person for labour. Have that discussion with your partner, do you need back up ? It is not a crime to ask for help to support you in labour. On average first labours are around 24 hours from start to finish. Look into the option of having a Student Midwife there or hire a birth support person.

Apps aregreat, but not always, Apps are not the real thing, they might tell you how big your baby is during your pregnancy, they are not going to prepare you for the big day. 

Drop the book, do any information night or coursewith a expert in birth that will help you understand exactly what labor and birth is really all about.  A knowledge of the phases and stages of labour will help you to have frank discussions with your care provider if you need to during the birth. Calmbirth is a great example of a type of Childbirth Education course. Calmbirth Workshops are pragmatic and informative, where all facets of labour and birth are discussed. A Calmbirth Practitioner like myself will teach breathing and relaxation techniques to couples to prepare them for the labour. As recently published by Professor Dahlen and Dr Kate Levette, an Adjunct Fellow at Western Sydney University's National Institute of Complementary Medicine, a study shows that antenatal classes help reduce intervention rates, therefore improving the rates of normal births.

Ask the hospital where you are birthing if you can book a tour. Check out the labour rooms, ask the hospital where you should go on the big day when you arrive. Enquire about parking, trust me every couple has asked me about parking. There should be no surprises on the day. 

Discuss as a couple the mode of transport to the hospital, how are you planning to get there ? If you plan to drive to the hospital have planned route, the day of labour is not the day to have a argument about which way to go. Drive really carefully, if you drive fast your Adrenaline levels are going to be through the roof, adrenaline can be an antagonist to Oxytocin the hormone needed for labour, drive fast and your labour could stop. There is plenty of time to get there, babies are so rarely born on the side of the road these stories make the news. If you think the baby is coming pull over and call an Ambulance, much safer and all Paramedics are training in labour and birth.

Pack 3 bags, one for the mum, one for the baby and one for the labour. The labour bag can have times that you and your support person willneed on the day, drinks, snacks, flameless candles, essential oils,etc…..

 Find a Lactation Consultant or do a breastfeeding course. Breastfeeding is the next hurdle couples face when a baby arrives. Having an understanding of breastfeeding and how it works will prepare you and your partner. 

Establishing breastfeeding takes time and patience and requires great support from the people around you. A newborn will feed 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. The old saying “it takes a village” is so true with breastfeeding, you will need lots of support. 

Keep active. Swimming walking and any other low impact activity will help your fitness during the pregnancy. Don’t start any activity that you haven't done prior to the pregnancy keep it very easy. Work on those pelvic floor muscles, increase the frequency and amount of pelvic floor exercises you do through the pregnancy, good pelvic floor muscles help during labour.

Remember to enjoy your pregnancy, it will be over before you know it. Take time to prepare with your partner and last piece of advice don't listen to other peoples “horror stories” most births are nothing like what people want to think. Think positive and book a Calmbirth Workshop with Kath.

 

 

 

 

Where I run my workshops

MY WORKSHOPS IN SOUTH MELBOURNE

When I started looking for a studio to run my workshops there were a couple of important items that I looked for. Firstly I wanted the studio to have a great feel, be warm in winter and cool in summer. The Studio needed to be central to the city of Melbourne and have easy access to the freeway.  After  a very detailed search I found the perfect room in South Melbourne in a very unique building designed to accommodate a variety of “like- minded” people running small interesting companies. The building was designed based on a another building with a similar concept in Brooklyn, NYC. My room is warm and inviting for Calmbirth couples with free parking out the front of the building. We break for lunch and most couples wander around to the South Melbourne market or take the opportunity to have a walk along the nearby beach at Port Melbourne.  The workshops are run over two consecutive Sundays in the room filled with cosy comfortable cushions that are utilized during the relaxation. The intimate space allows for great interaction during the workshops and couples are able to spend two days having all their questions answered to prepare for the big day, the birth of their baby.

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When should you book your workshop with Kath

Most couples start to begin to think about how they are going to prepare for the birth of their baby quite early after they discover the good news. My Calmbirth Workshop is best booked as soon as possible after your discovery, so that you don't leave it to the last minute and miss out.  The optimum time to attend the workshop is anytime between 26-36 weeks. The workshop is generally run over two consecutive Sundays from 9.30am to 4pm. When you attend the Workshop between 26-36 weeks this gives you sufficient time to practice the relaxations and breathing techniques before the big day. Any questions about the workshops just send me an email to kathscalmbirth@gmail.com

How to prepare for your baby's birth

When you discover you are pregnant, many things go through your mind….

Who do we tell first, who don't you tell ? When do we tell everyone …

After the morning sickness has subsided, the scans are booked everything settles down you adjust to the bump and basically the pregnancy just continues.

Most couples don't think about the end result, the labour and birth early on. As the bump grows and it really pops in the 3rd trimester every couple starts to get it, this is real, we had better prepare, how are we going do this labour and birth thing

so here are a few helpful tips……

Investigate different models of care, there are many choices. There has been great research done in the past decade about models of care and how this can directly impact on the reducing intervention and reducing Caesarean rates. The continuity of care model (this model of care is where you consistently see the same group of health professionals throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period) has proven to give women a greater sense of satisfaction during their birth experience. ( www.3centres.com.au models of care June 2014). 

You must have a great support person for labour. Have that discussion with your partner, do you need back up ? It is not a crime to ask for help to support you in labour. On average first labours are around 24 hours from start to finish. Look into the option of having a Student Midwife there or hire a birth support person.

Apps aregreat, but not always, Apps are not the real thing, they might tell you how big your baby is during your pregnancy, they are not going to prepare you for the big day. 

Drop the book, do any information night or coursewith a expert in birth that will help you understand exactly what labor and birth is really all about.  A knowledge of the phases and stages of labour will help you to have frank discussions with your care provider if you need to during the birth. Calmbirth is a great example of a type of Childbirth Education course. Calmbirth Workshops are pragmatic and informative, where all facets of labour and birth are discussed. A Calmbirth Practitioner like myself will teach breathing and relaxation techniques to couples to prepare them for the labour. As recently published by Professor Dahlen and Dr Kate Levette, an Adjunct Fellow at Western Sydney University's National Institute of Complementary Medicine, a study shows that antenatal classes help reduce intervention rates, therefore improving the rates of normal births.

Ask the hospital where you are birthing if you can book a tour. Check out the labour rooms, ask the hospital where you should go on the big day when you arrive. Enquire about parking, trust me every couple has asked me about parking. There should be no surprises on the day. 

Discuss as a couple the mode of transport to the hospital, how are you planning to get there ? If you plan to drive to the hospital have planned route, the day of labour is not the day to have a argument about which way to go. Drive really carefully, if you drive fast your Adrenaline levels are going to be through the roof, adrenaline can be an antagonist to Oxytocin the hormone needed for labour, drive fast and your labour could stop. There is plenty of time to get there, babies are so rarely born on the side of the road these stories make the news. If you think the baby is coming pull over and call an Ambulance, much safer and all Paramedics are training in labour and birth.

Pack 3 bags, one for the mum, one for the baby and one for the labour. The labour bag can have times that you and your support person willneed on the day, drinks, snacks, flameless candles, essential oils,etc…..

 Find a Lactation Consultant or do a breastfeeding course. Breastfeeding is the next hurdle couples face when a baby arrives. Having an understanding of breastfeeding and how it works will prepare you and your partner. 

Establishing breastfeeding takes time and patience and requires great support from the people around you. A newborn will feed 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. The old saying “it takes a village” is so true with breastfeeding, you will need lots of support. 

Keep active. Swimming walking and any other low impact activity will help your fitness during the pregnancy. Don’t start any activity that you haven't done prior to the pregnancy keep it very easy. Work on those pelvic floor muscles, increase the frequency and amount of pelvic floor exercises you do through the pregnancy, good pelvic floor muscles help during labour.

Remember to enjoy your pregnancy, it will be over before you know it. Take time to prepare with your partner and last piece of advice don't listen to other peoples “horror stories” most births are nothing like what people want to think. Think positive and book a Calmbirth Workshop with Kath.

 

 

GBS to test or not to test

GBS is an abbreviation for Group B Streptococcus, a common benign bacteria found in the genital track of women. Some care providers will ask for your consent to test for this bacteria by taking a swab at approximately 36 weeks pregnant to see if the bacteria is there. The bacteria is present in around 15-30 percent of all women, it is not sexually transmitted nor does the bacteria cause the women to have any signs or symptoms. The bacteria may cause issues with the baby if the bacteria is passed on to the baby during a vaginal birth. If you tests positive for GBS your care provider will suggest an  antibiotic be given  intravenously during labour. The GBS test is not routinely performed by all care providers so this is best discussed at an appointment towards the end of your pregnancy. Some women will declinenthe test and ask that their baby be monitored closely when born, this too is an option. For further information please go to the link: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au>streptococcus

How do you know when you are in labour ?

This is the big question, how do you know when it’s the real deal?

Labour is different for everyone, some people have no signs before the contractions begin and others have some hints that things are heating up.

Signs include:

Backache, any pain that comes and goes could be a sign labour is begin, time the backache and if it regular and there is a rhythm to the discomfort this could be the beginning of labour.

Diarrhoea, sometimes our bodies prepare for the birth this way.

A “show” this is the mucus plug that has fallen away. Some women will notice this show whilst others will completely miss it. The mucus plug coming away does not necessarily mean labour will begin however this is a very good sign.

Contractions may begin slowly like a period like cramping feel.  The contractions maybe irregular at first not lasting very long then as they slowly build up there is a definite pattern to the contractions. It may feel like a ban dis being tightening around your belly with a peak like feeling then that feeling fades away.

If your waters break contractions may begin soon after. However this may not be the case with some women.  Most care providers allow you some time to go into labour by yourself without intervention. This period is different with every provider, so it is best to call your care provider when your waters break.  If the contractions do not heat up at all and labour doesn’t begin most hospitals will require your labour to be induced within 36 hours of the water breaking. Please always check with your carer.

The key to the early labour (Latent Phase) is to rest if it’s night time, get on with your normal life if it’s daytime, eat well and hydrate often.  Remember this is the very early stage of labour and you may have a long way to go before your baby arrives. Call the hospital to receive advice and keep positive.

 

 

Bringing a new baby home

So you have had the pregnancy, the birth and the first few days with this little person and now they want you to take the baby home. ? Is this a day of happiness or just sheer terror ? When we left the hospital with our first baby, I remember thinking how fast everyone was driving. I think we stopped a few times on the way home just to see if our new baby girl was ok, I may have even jumped in the backseat. It all was such a blur.....

When the time comes to take the baby home things begin to become serious, sore boobs, sore bottom maybe or your suture line form the C/section may be uncomfortable, this all seems to be part of the new baby territory. The next hurdle is to feed the little person and to recover, sleep (yes you will eventually sleep) and just settle in to the next big ride of your life. 

I don't think anyone can truly explain nor prepare you for the first week of life with a new baby, all you can do is take each day as it comes, accept help and try to enjoy this precious time of your life, it goes so quickly.

Some handy hints :

  • Sleep is sleep , take any offer of any chance you get to sleep, this is like you are going to the best music festival of your lives, but this music festival goes for 8 weeks none stop.
  • Keep your visitors down to a minimum, and do them in shifts, don't let them stay too long, everyone understands, you have such a great excuse when you have a new baby , so use the baby card whenever you like and as much a you like.
  • Forget the house work, don"t beat yourself up if everything is not in perfect order, there is new order now.
  • Feeding is going to take up a big part of the day so find your special place, one for night and one for day, if you feel awkward feeding in front of the visitors or visa versa, feed the baby, the visitors should find somewhere else to go and if they offer to help with something around the house, let them. 
  • Shop online, get the everything or some items delivered. The fresh veggies/ fruit boxes are so fantastic, and get your groceries delivered, remember babies don't know night and day for quite a while so ordering can be done at night, so convenient.
  • Take time to have some quiet time to yourself. Have a long shower or walk when your partner comes home, just 10 minutes away from the baby will feel like an hour. If you have had a bad night get up get dressed and get going for the day. Being in your PJs is ok, but if you find yourself in your PJs everyday at 3pm this will do you head in. Babies can wait 10 minutes whilst you have a shower and you will feel better for it.
  • Don't over think this baby of yours, don't over read or have every App or over analyses everything, trust your instincts, if you think your baby is  hungry chances are they are so just feed the baby. Sometimes they just want to be held so give the baby to your your partner. 
  • Enjoy every minute, take loads of photos and be kind to your self.