I have 35-year-old twins (one of each), who were delivered prematurely at 34 weeks at the Royal Free Hospital by C. Section after my waters burst. They weighed under 9lbs between them. It was a frightening experience as no-one had the time to explain what was going on, and I still feel grateful to the nursing sister who took the time, when they were able to breast-feed (they were tube fed for the first fortnight) to show me what to do.
My next baby was born completely naturally two years later. This time I was better prepared: I used breathing techniques I had been taught by Active Birth Centre founder, Janet Balaskas, and positions ideal for labour and birth, which sustained me and gave me the confidence I needed. The most important factor was the approach of the obstetrician I consulted early on in my second pregnancy who simply said: “You’re healthy: why shouldn’t you have a vaginal delivery?”
I strongly recommend pregnancy yoga classes, and Pilates for pregnancy is also a good idea. Practising pelvic floor exercises regularly is said to help not only with bladder control but can give more control during the final moments of the birth stage: I am able to recommend excellent classes locally. Many women also achieve smoother births with significantly less discomfort after attending hypnobirthing classes. I can lend you a very effective self-relaxation CD which clients have found very helpful.
Seven years after number three, my number four came along, again thankfully without the need for heavy drug relief. This was my choice but I value and respect the choices made by others depending on their wishes and circumstances. I will talk over the pros and cons of different pain-relieving drugs eg Epidural and Pethidine so that you are well informed, and explain how I can support you through a natural labour and birth if that is your choice. Being flexible about events is important as babies seem to have their own ideas about how they arrive! Inducing a baby before it is ready often leads to further intervention.
Doulaing is a privilege, as it allows me to share with you that most precious event, the birth of your much-loved, long-awaited baby. Each safe arrival brings with it a sense of wonder, gratitude and deep joy.