Last week we were joined LIVE on our Facebook Page by the amazing, and very knowledgeable, Louise Brennan of Louise’s Antenatal Classes.
Louise is a qualified Midwife, registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and a member of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). As a practising midwife, Louise is able to demonstrate evidence-based knowledge on all aspects of Midwifery Care and has been running private antenatal classes since 2006.
We had a great chat with Louise and a mix of questions that were sent in prior to going live and then answered lots of questions that were posted by the many viewers throughout the talk.
Below we set out some of the questions and responses, but if you want to catch up with the video CLICK HERE!
Louise’s contact details are below should you have any other questions, please do get in touch with her, she is very helpful and knowledgeable.
So for the questions and the all important answers (I have paraphrased some of this ;))…
What is involved in the one-to-one Antenatal Classes that you provide and how long do they last?
The sessions last around 4-5 hours, taken at the pace of those involved including lots of breaks and the Refresher classes last 2-3 hours as they are the experts by this point but they do want refreshers on certain areas such pain relief.
It varies between couples and what they want, I have done classes that last a lot longer depending on what is needed and what they want, it is important to give them the time that they need.
Things change between births in policies and procedures and so between babies things can change and refreshers are needed and important.
What should you be doing when you first find out that you pregnant?
BE REALLY HAPPY, IT IS AMAZING TO BE PREGNANT!
Book in with your midwife as soon as possible as this can now be done online so that you do not need to wait for your GP to refer you and things will happen a lot quicker. Midwives like to be booked in by around 9 weeks so that everything can be done early and ready for your scan at about 11 weeks.
“I treat a lot of pregnant ladies as a physio and I tell my patients if they don’t feel the baby moving as much as usual they must get checked out but they worry about using up midwives time! I tell them midwives WANT them to get checked out and I’d like to know how Lou feels about this too please”
ABSOLUTELY, we want to see ladies and their babies! The only real way we know how the baby is doing is by their movements.
A baby that is happy and healthy will move lots, a baby that may not be as happy will conserve its energy and may stop moving.
So, what we look out for is a DECREASE in movement, an INCREASE in movement or a CHANGE in the pattern and if this is experienced then GET IN TOUCH with your hospital or Triage straight away, don’t just wait until your next appointment.
What are some of the common fears and worries?
Most people are worried about the labour and what to expect as well as the options of pain relief and I like to go through all of this in my classes and give them the knowledge on all of the different options that are available.
However, nothing can prepare you for the next 18 years!
Where would you go for good sources of information?
I would recommend:
- Individual Hospital Websites
Leah’s book (BabySteps: A Guide to Maternity Leave & Maternity Pay) was also recommended for legal rights on Maternity Leave and Maternity Pay.
Important things to remember:
- Keep your Antenatal appointments
- This will check everything is okay
- Reassure you
- Antenatal Classes
- Can go through any additional questions
- Looks at Birth Plans
- Talk about exactly what you want and get prepared
Are you seeing an increase in women Hypnobirthing?
Yes, hypnobirthing can be used in different circumstances, not just labour. I have also seen it used by people who have used hypnobirthing in elective cesarean sections.
It is all about mindset and keeping you focussed and relaxed during labour.
What happens once you have had the baby?
You should get automatically transferred to the Community Midwife, even if you don’t have your baby at your catchment hospital.
If you haven’t heard from the Community Midwife then you can chase this up by calling the ward.
My top tips are:
- Try and sleep when the baby does and the baby will want to feed at night time – due to hormones – and so you need to try and sleep when the baby does as you will be up at night time doing the feeds.
- Ask your visitors for help. Ask for help with you too, preparing food, cleaning etc.
Let people help! People will want to help and cook for you, wash and clean, so let them do that.
- Don’t be worried about using pain relief!
Depending on your procedure you may well be given pain relief by the hospital.
You can take paracetamol after pregnancy and during.
You cannot take ibuprofen during pregnancy but you can after pregnancy.
What do Birth Reflections entail?
Birth reflections are useful when there are complications in the birth or feel upset or traumatised by the birth. It may also be to look at what happened and why the complications happened. Sometimes this only comes back to the forefront when a second pregnancy happens or when they think about having another child.
We can have access to the hospital notes although it is not always necessary as sometimes we can go through the procedure and how they felt.
We go through some of the reasons why the complications may have happened and what can be done to change this next time.
If there is something very specific to a hospital or staff members then I recommend going back to that hospital as they may offer some support that will be much more specific.
What do you enjoy most about the one-to-one classes?
I enjoy the one-to-one time rather than having to share the attention amongst everyone. You can really get to know the couple and spending time to find things out and work through their concerns and see them grow throughout the class.
The best bit about all of it is hearing back from them after the birth and seeing the photos!
Where can people go to find groups that may be in similar circumstances?
People may use Facebook groups or already have family and friends around them at a similar stage in their life.
There may well be local groups and classes that advertise.
I am also hoping to start some classes in the next few weeks, in St Albans, to get mums meeting up together. I will be starting this with the mums that I have done classes with but then open this up to everyone – mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents, anyone with babies and toddlers.
“Are there any benefits going for a VBAC after a c-section?”
If you have a cesarean then it does not mean that you will have to the next time round, it will completely depend on the circumstances.
It may well be that next time you want to have a natural birth, if possible.
A natural delivery usually has a quicker recovery time as compared to a cesarean.
A VBAC class can talk through your options for a further delivery.
“Is there support out there for mums that have been through a traumatic labour? I had a bad time with my first and it really petrified me when I had my 2nd”
This is where I would definitely recommend a Birth Reflection as it is so important to talk it through and this can sometimes take two sessions as it is hard to talk about.
Often a first labour is the hardest and so talking about this can definitely help with a second.
What is the best part of your job?
It is so nice getting to know a couple throughout their pregnancy and then if you get to help deliver that baby, it is magical!
It never gets old, seeing a baby being born.
I really enjoy postnatal care and spending time with them and helping with any issues that they may have.
Thank you so much Louise!
Louise also prepared a great article for us on her:
Top Tips for preparing for the arrival of your Baby.