Friday, 31 May 2013

Mobility in labour


There is evidence that movement throughout labour can reduce your need for pain relief. 

First stage of Labour 

Hopefully, you are encouraged by the midwife to move around a lot during the first stage. Keeping upright can help alignment of your baby, and of course gravity is on your side! Also, movement such as rocking can help with pain management, as well as walking around.  Don't panic, try and remember the positions you have learnt in your antenatal classes. 

Do what comes what comes naturally to you, your body will know even if you don't! 

Second stage of Labour

Again, upright positions are encouraged during this part of labour, such as sitting, kneeling, squatting, or on your hands and knees.  If you're tired, you can have your birthing partner help support you whilst in certain positions, or having a birthing cushion so you can be semi-recumbent (partly reclining).

If you're having a water birth, you may find movement a little easier as you're a lot lighter in the water. Remember, you can remain in the pool, or get out to give birth. Do what feels best for you at the time.

Once again, movement helps during second stage of labour and it's best to keep changing positions until you find one that works for you and allows you to be the most relaxed so you can have a positive birthing experience. 

Nurture Antenatal run Antenatal classes in the Winchester/Hampshire area. Go to to book your place.
Nurture Antenatal x

Thursday, 30 May 2013


What is labour? 

Labour is the process of expelling the baby and the placenta with it’s membranes through the birth canal. 

Normal labour is spontaneous, occurs at more than 37 weeks with a baby in the head down position. The whole process is usually complete in 18 hours with no complications. 

2-3 weeks before labour, the fetal head will sink lower into the pelvis and the head will engage. In first time mums, this may not happen until labour starts.  Engagement with the pelvis provides relief under the lungs and also allows space for easier breathing, sleeping and digestion, although congestion in the pelvis will mean more frequent trips to the bathroom!  

Braxton Hicks – Practice contractions particularly towards the end of pregnancy, can be painful are irregular and will last longer than a minute. 

Early labour can start with backache – place a hand on your abdomen and you will feel the muscle tightening. 

When to contact your midwife

Contact your midwife when contractions are becoming regular, lasting around 60 seconds, are 10 minutes apart and becoming uncomfortable. 
A Show is a good sign that changes are happening to the cervix.  The show is a bloodstained, mucoid plug of jelly like substance which is passed as the cervix starts to ripen, soften and dilate slightly. This can be passed days before labour commences or during the early stages of labour. 
Waters may rupture at this stage but more often go during active labour. Fluid should be clear. Contact your midwife as soon as waters rupture. 

Nurture Antenatal x

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Your Birthing Partner(s)

Who to take and who to leave at home!

Your birth partner should be a person whose judgement you trust and who will be with you throughout your labour and be your voice and advocate when you are too busy birthing your baby to think straight. Your birth partner can be your baby’s father, a partner, a close friend, your mum, sister or a doula. If you feel you would need to be supporting them through the labour, choose someone else.
Some hospitals will allow two birth partners, although do check the policy before planning, to avoid disappointment.
Labour is a special time where a couple in love can use their love to release natural oxytocin to support and progress the labour. Come along to one of our Antenatal Classes to learn more about this natural, power releasing chemical.
It may seem obvious, but do not invite anyone to support you who you do not trust or cannot completely relax with. As a midwife, so often women would bring with them birth partners out of some misplaced duty rather than the person who they would trust with their life. If you’re planning on two birth partners, make sure, both are in tune with each other and your wishes; warring birth partners are the quickest way to a disrupted labour with bad outcomes.
As a quick test, imagine your prospective birth partners in a room together for 8 hours – could you, in the middle of them, fall into a fully relaxed sleep knowing they would both equally and in collaboration, look out for you in the most positive, supportive manner and have your best interests at heart. If yes – they’re the ones for you! If not, cross them off the list. One good birth partner is better than two bad ones.
Let your midwife know who you are planning to bring with you to support you in labour.

Tomorrow we will be looking at the signs of early labour – how to spot the signs and get ready for your Baby’s Birthday – this is one party you definitely won’t be missing!

Nurture Antenatal x

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Where to Birth?

Pregnancy comes with a lot of decision making. From what you can and can't eat to which nappy is most suitable for your newborn.

Some of you may already know exactly how you want to have your baby, some perhaps are a little worried and are trying not to think about it. (Do not panic!)

It's best to be aware of what choices you have, what's available and what is the best decision to make for you and your baby.

Water Birth

Having a water birth has it's benefits, being within the water makes moving around a lot easier, it helps relieve pain, you're still able to have gas and air should you wish and it can help prevent stress and panic. 

Water birthing pools are available within hospitals but it's not a guarantee one will be free when you go into labour. You can have a waterbirth at home, and hire a pool (or buy one) - make sure you have enough space where it can be set up safely. 

Not everyone can have a water birth, so double check with your midwife if you wish to explore this option further.

Birth Centre

Birthing centres are ran my midwives, they offer you a much more relaxed, less hospitalised birthing experience. Birth centres are for women who have a low risk birth rate, so it's best to have a chat with your midwife before you look into booking in. 

The benefits of being in a birth centre include - receiving one to one care throughout your labour, private rooms with en suites, birthing pools, massage and comfortable birthing rooms. You would be in a very calming envrionment with the less chance of tearing. 

However, you must be aware that epidurals, Cesarean sections or forceps and ventouse delivery are not performed in a birthing centre and you would have to be taken to hospitial if there happened to be any complications. 

Home Birth

Having a home birth can be a very calming birthing experience because of you're in comfortable surroundings. If you are healthy, and low risk (much like the birth centre) then you are able to have a home birth. (but once again, double check with your midwife) 

Two midwives would come to your home, and if there are any complications you will be taken to hospital in an ambulance. This may sound daunting but, it's best to know what can happen and be prepared than to panic and risk yours and the babies health.

For more information about birth planning please email and our professional midwives will answer any of your questions.

The more you know about your options the better.

Nurture Antenatal x

Friday, 24 May 2013

What not to eat

During pregnancy there are question marks over what foods are safe and foods that aren't. It  can be confusing and very daunting- so here is a list of what you should be concerned about and how to avoid it. Do. Not. Panic.


Contaminants eg mercury


Shark, Marlin and sword fish 

Extra care

Limit your tuna steak intakes to two a week, tuna cans to 4 a week. Eat oily fish eg salmon, mackerel, sardines but no more than twice a week. 




Raw shellfish, under-cooked meats and chicken, raw and partially cooked eggs and make sure to avoid homemade mayo, mousses and ice-cream.

Extra Care

Make sure, as I am positive most of you do, to always wash your hands after touching raw meats and poultry 


Vitamin A 


As mentioned in a previous blog avoid multi-vits containing vitamin A. Fish liver oils containing more than 750 mg and also liver and liver products- pate and faggots etc. 




Blue veined cheeses, soft ripened cheeses such as brie, Camembert and goats cheeses.

Extra care

Make sure ready meals (although, try to avoid these anyway, get some healthy homemade stuff in you!) are heated properly, chilled foods to be stored at below 5 degrees. Also, foods should be eaten by their 'use by'date.

Another question mark - caffeine.

If you can avoid it as much as possible. Have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day, that's roughly two mugs of coffee and three cups of tea. Be careful of the sneaky crafty fizzy drinks too eg cola and energy.

Happy Eating and be wise.

Nurture Antenatal x

Thursday, 23 May 2013


What is Colic? 

In the medical terminology colic means, ‘the excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed’. 

How can you tell if your baby has colic?

Although it isn’t scientific a paediatrician name Dr Russell Wessell came up with ‘the rule of 3’s’ which states that if your kid:-
  •       Cries for more than 3 hours a day
  •       Or more than 3 days a week
  •       For 3 weeks

Then your kid is classed as a colicky baby. 
Although studies have shown that colicky babies don’t cry anymore than babies that don’t colic, when they do cry it is often:-
  •       Longer in duration and they are just inconsolable (which, can be distressing for parents!) 
  •       Their crying is sudden, very high pitched and they often tense their fists, legs and muscles 

Do not worry!

Colic isn’t harmful to babies (as much as it's hard to see your little thing this way) and they will grow and feed normally, however make sure that you seek medical advice to rule out anything else.

How to help prevent colic

Colic and Breast feeding, what you should do.

·      Correct attachment- make sure your baby has attached correctly so that they can drain the milk properly
·      Use one breast- avoid switching breasts, this is because the milk from the first breast is low in fat and calories when switching the second breast the baby does not take the milk filled with high fat and high calories causing the baby to have more milk than is required.

For symptoms caused by an allergy - Use hypoallergenic infant formula
For symptoms caused by cow’s milk intolerance - Use hypoallergenic or soy formula

Colic is a big subject and if you would like to read more in depth on this topic we have a published page that covers colic in much more detail so please take a look at:-

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


In the news today it has been reported that Iodine deficiency during pregnancy could be lowering the IQ of your unborn child. It was reported that iodine deficiency is common, affecting two-thirds of women.This just emphasises how important nutrition really is during pregnancy, remember, what you eat your baby eats! 

What is it, and why is it so important?

Iodine is a non metallic chemical. When consumed (not in it's pure form) into your body it helps to make thyroid hormones. These hormones help to keep your metabolic rate healthy. 

During pregnancy, it helps develop your baby's mental development. (You could be having the next Einstein. So eat wisely!) 

Adults need 0.14mg of iodine a day, If you think you're not getting the required amount the safest way to up your intake is by changing your diet.

Here are some examples of yummy food that contains iodine- 

  • white fish
  • oily fish
  • cows milk
  • nuts 
  • bread
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • yogurt

You can buy iodine supplements, but we advise against this. According to 
Dr Mark Vanderpump "If you take a supplement during pregnancy, the thyroid gets stunned and goes down. Taking a supplement during pregnancy may not be the best thing to do." (the rest of this interview can be found on

Please feel free to email if you have any questions. 

Nurture Antenatal x

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

On a more serious note today..

In the news this morning it is reported that sharing your bed with a newborn can increase the chance of cot-death by five.
Research came to light today and has caused huge outcry amongst professionals, families and mothers. The BBC reports that- 

 "Even in very low-risk breastfed babies, where there were no risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) other than that they had slept in their parents' bed, 81% of cot deaths in infants under three months of age could have been prevented by not bed sharing" - (taken from

Although, some suggest there are flaws within this study, people should be aware of the risks they take. As every individual is different and so is every circumstance. Information is power and here are some important facts from the NHS to remember  - 

What can I do to help prevent SIDS?
  • Place your child on their back to sleep. The safest place for them to sleep is in a cot in a room with you for the first six months.
  • Do not smoke while you are pregnant or after your baby is born, and do not let anyone else smoke in the same room as your baby 
  • Do not share a bed with your baby, particularly if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
  • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or an armchair.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot.
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.
  • If possible, breastfeed your baby. 

Nurture Antenatal x

Monday, 20 May 2013

Fertility Myths

Did you hear that orgasms can cause a woman to release eggs? Uh, no. This is false ladies and gentlemen. The release of eggs (ovulation) is the gradual increase of estrogen, not a sudden explosion of pleasure!

Nurture Antenatal are becoming myth-busters this week. Particularly surrounding fertility. Please feel free to comment on any other myths you have come across. 

Sperm can only live for 3 days or less. 

His little swimmers can survive up to five days inside. Even though a woman's egg lives for 12-24 hours, she is potentially fertile for about one week per cycle. That would be five days for sperm viability, then another two days for the possibility of two eggs being released within the cycle.

Menopause occurs because a woman has ran out of eggs

Nope! Women are born with over 400,000 eggs, we (thank the lord) do not have that many periods in our life time. During menopause, hormone balances change, this causes the eggs to stop maturing in the ovary and being released at ovulation.

Women are the main cause for fertility issues within couples

False. False. False! The issues are generally split- 40% men, 40% women and the other 20% are combined issues, or issues that are unknown. 

Worrying about a late period may only delay it.

A lot of us have been there. The period is late, we panic, then we tell ourselves it's late because we are panicking. A vicious circle. But in fact stress alters/delays our ovulation. Not our period.  Once ovulation has occurred, our period is already determined. 

So be careful what you read!

Nurture Antenatal x

These myths were found on -

Friday, 17 May 2013


Oh Mighty Zinc. 

Zinc is an essential mineral.  Our body does not store zinc, so just like folic acid it should be digested on a daily basis by either taking zinc supplements or eating foods high in zinc.

 Zinc has so many beneficial factors for the human body and mind such as-

  • It can help prevent  Cancer and boost our immune system.
  • Improves our cardio-vascular Health
  • Boosts your Brain power and helps to treat ADHD
  • It can help decrease your chances of Alzheimer's
  • It helps lift your mood and decreases depression 
Did you also know that..
  • It helps a woman's and mans's reproductive system?
Zinc plays a role in the growth of a woman's eggs. If the egg doesn't grow properly this is usually due to a zinc deficiency and can be linked to infertility. The right amount of zinc enhances the use of estrogen and progesterone within the body and aids fertility.  

Zinc is just as important to men as it is to women. Low zinc levels in men leads to poor testosterone production and put them at risk to develop prostate cancer and infertility. So an adequate amount is needed on a daily basis.

It has also been said that can increase your libido, what is not to love about Zinc? 

Now go get some in your body. 

You can do this by taking zinc supplements or via your diet. Here are some food suggestions that contain high levels of zinc-

  • pumpkin/squash seeds
  • Bananas
  • Garlic
  • wheat germ 
  • chick peas
  • oysters

Nurture Antenatal x

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Mighty Vitamin C

What exactly is Vit C? 

Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid), is an essential water-soluble nutrient which helps create collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein (a tissue that holds the body together, not just the lip implants boys and girls).

It is found throughout the body and actually makes up to one third of our body weight! Vitamin C is also important as an antioxidant defence.  Antioxidants are nutrients that help the body mop up free radicals. The build up of free radicals significantly contributes to the aging process.

Your body is unable to make or store Vitamin C, therefore it is necessary to ensure adequate amounts are your diet.

Fruits with the highest sources of vitamin C –
  • Cantaloupe
  • Guava
  • Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Blackcurrants
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
  • Watermelon

Vegetables with the highest sources of vitamin C –
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Green and red peppers
  • Potatoes – sweet and white
  • Spinach, cabbage, other leafy greens
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Winter squash

During Pregnancy 

The current adult recommended dietary intake for vitamin C is 40mg per day . During pregnancy, vitamin C requirements are increased as vitamin C is sent across the placenta to the growing baby.  As a result, mums circulating vitamin C levels fall during pregnancy and 60 mg per day is required. During breastfeeding the amount of vitamin C needed is around 75 mg per day due to loss through breast milk.

1 medium orange contains around 69.7mg of vitamin C.

 So get munching. Nom nom.

Nurture Antenatal x

The Importance of Nutrition

What you eat, your baby eats. It is as simple as that. 

Imagine your baby as a tiny plant. The embryo is the seed. This seed is constantly growing and developing, it can not to this without the right amount water/light and attention. Your little baby is exactly the same. It needs all those good nutrients to help it develop beautifully.

It also works the other way around- when you put bad things in your body the baby will eat those too. It may sound obvious but lay off the booze and fags and do not drink copious amounts of caffeine.  

There is a theory, that the days within the womb are far greater than we imagined. Diseases that develop as an adult could be due to what nutrition we ate whilst developing within our mothers.  To read/hear more check this out from BBC radio 4.

Nurture Antenatal x

To read more about how important nutrition is- take a look at our website 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Omega-3 and all its goodness

What is Omega-3?

In short, Omega-3 are essential fatty acids  (there are 3 of them, with really long unpronounceable names) they cannot be made within the human body, so they must be sourced from our diet. 

Why is Omega-3 so blooming brilliant?

Well, research shows that Omega-3 can help the development of your baby. This includes-
  • Cardiac and respiratory systems as well as neurological development 
  • Visual Centres, which is the brain and those baby's big eyes
  • It also has postnatal benefits, it can in fact enhance your baby's attention span. 
Omega-3's health benefits are not just for your baby. They work wonders for you too-
  • It can decrease the risk of postpartum depression
  • Decrease your chances of having a premature delivery
  • It can also decrease your risk of complications such as pre-eclampsia. 

How to get Omega-3 in your diet 

The best source is sea food. Fresh tuna, salmon, halibut, trout and so on. 
Another yummy healthy source is greenery, such as brussels sprouts, watercress, spinach and Kale. Other foods include eggs, fortified cereals, bread, and walnuts.

There are plenty out there to choose from!

Nurture Antenatal x

Monday, 13 May 2013

Vitamin Fact

Sneaky Multi-Vitamins.

Ladies, everyday, off the shelf  multi-vits are not suitable during pregnancy. You may think you're doing your baby a favour by taking vitamin supplements but you could be doing a lot more harm than good.

Did you know that taking vitamin supplements containing high doses of vitamin A (greater than 10,000 international units per day (1 IU = 0.3 mcg ) has been shown in studies to be harmful to the developing fetus and should be avoided.

So always check the label. To avoid any mishaps it is best to take vitamins designed especially for pregnancy, which are easily accessible.

Also, I'm sorry to all you offal fans but high vitamin A intake from eating liver should also be avoided during pregnancy.

Nurture Antenatal x

Find out more here at 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Eating for Two?

Most of you will have heard, or had it said to you, "you're pregnant now, you have to eat for two".

But it's less about scoffing your face for you and your baby and more about what it is you're putting in your mouth.

Quality vs Quantity. During pregnancy quality should always win. 

Here are some lovely, nutritious, tasty foods that are great to eat during pregnancy.
  • The Green stuff. Yes, now's the time to get all those healthy vitamins via cabbage, broccoli, spinach, legumes etc. 
  • Salmon. It is high in Omega-3 but is low in methylmercury (which can harm your baby's development). Please note not to have more than 12 ounces of fish a week as not to digest too much mercury. 
  • Walnuts. Not a huge fish fan? Omega-3 can be found in these beauties.
  • Eggs. Hard boiled, omelette, or scrambled. (Avoid having them runny). Eggs are a great source of protein, low in calories and have Omega-3 in them. All round win. 
  • Fruit and Vegetables. Different types of fruit and veg are full of goodness in different ways, so keep everything nice and colourful. 
  • Whole grains- i.e brown rice, bread, pasta and cereals that are fortified with folic acid. 

Get munching! 

Nurture Antenatal Team x

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Folic Acid

Hello and welcome back to Nurture Antenatal's blog.

Time for some Nurture Nutritional Knowledge on Folic Acid. 

You should be taking a 400 micro-gram Folic Acid tablet everyday whilst trying to conceive right up until you're 12 weeks pregnant. 

Folic Acid is Vitamin B9. It is water soluble so it is is never stored properly within the body which is why a supplement is often needed. It is important as Folic Acid is essential for all types of development. Here are just a few-

Brain function, DNA creation, the nervous system as well as healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver. 

You can pick up Folic Acid tablets pretty much anywhere these days, most well known supermarkets and chemists should stock them.

You can also boost your Folic Acid by having certain types of food within your diet. e.g broccoli, brussel sprouts, peas, lettuce, cauliflower, beans and brown rice. 

So remember to take Folic Acid ladies. And spread the word.

The Nurture Antenatal team x

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Hello all,

Welcome to Nurture Antenatal's blog. This will be a place where everyone can discuss and advise one another on positive experiences, worries and interesting topics in relation to pregnancy.  I will keep you updated on the latest evidence based information from our website. Simple and easy to read.

Knowledge is power ladies and gentlemen.

Nurture Antenatal Team x