Muddies To Be: The first hour, the first day

You’ve finally got your baby in your arms – time to rest and enjoy bonding with your newborn right?  Yes, absolutely.  But there is also quite a lot that happens in the first hour, and indeed the first day after the baby is born. That is what session four of Muddies To Be – our unique outdoor antenatal classes – will be about. It will be a golden hour (and a half) in the woods, discussing the golden hour after birth.

We’ll start by talking about skin-to-skin contact with your new baby, and the host of benefits it has for your little one and you.  In terms of acclimatising the baby to life outside the womb, there is no better place for a newborn than snuggled up on the chest of his or her parent.  You can enjoy the rush of oxytocin skin-to-skin brings as the last stage of labour occurs.

Skin-to-skin the golden hour brings benefits for mother and baby.
Skin-to-skin after birth is great for both mums and babies.

The placenta is no longer needed to protect and nourish the baby, and your body will want it out.  We’ll discuss the options you have for delivering this amazing organ, and what happens with it afterwards. (I will almost certainly tell a mildly amusing anecdote about a friend’s placenta). 

Following on from that, we’ll cover what happens when the midwife checks the perineum for tears and what to expect if you have stitches.  How to look after those stitches and the pelvic floor in general will most definitely be discussed. I am a big an of pelvic floor exercises for helping tears to heal, and muscles regain their strength after nine months of supporting the weight of a baby.  So that section may well be given lots of time!

There is a whole host of brand new baby stuff to talk about. We’ll start with cutting the cord (and probably an anecdote from my student days). There are the initial baby checks, including measuring his head and weighing him. There is the top-to-toe check, the question of vitamin K and the first feed. We will cover what the purpose of these things are, when they might happen and what your options are.

What about going home after a hospital birth? To make sure you and the baby are fit and well, there will be check for you both. For mothers, making sure your bladder is working well is important. (If you thought the days of giving a midwife a wee sample were now over, think again!) You’ll have a general check to make sure your body is recovering normally from childbirth. Midwives at a home birth will make similar checks.

We’ll talk about the role of the birth partner in all this. From baby bonding, to hospital visiting, Muddies To Be wants to make sure you have all the information you need.

There will also be more checks for the baby in the first day or so. The newborn hearing screening can be carried out anytime in the first four weeks, but can be done from when the baby is a few hours old. There is also the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination and this happens in the first 72 hours of life. We’ll talk about what this looks at and the options for having it done at home or in hospital.

As you can see, this is a jam-packed session, but it won’t just be us talking at you for a golden hour (or golden 90 minutes).  There is always time for tea and a chat at Muddies to Be (and the all-important toasted marshmallow), a woodland craft or two, and a stroll about the woods to stretch the legs and pick up some interesting facts along the way.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments please get in touch via the website or the Facebook page.

Muddies To Be: Giving birth (the intervention edition)

In our third session of Muddies To Be, we will talk about medical interventions in childbirth. This can range from induction of labour to instrumental delivery to caesarean section, and our unique antenatal classes in Nottingham will cover the lot.  If you are planning a homebirth, we will also talk about reasons for transfer into hospital.  But we will also include a bit of light relief – we will start with the history of birth, crammed full of outlandish facts (it is thought 200 people attended the labour of Marie Antoinette, for instance). And we will finish with a section on mindfulness and breathing.  We think the benefits of having a mindful few minutes, focused on breathing and relaxation, are only enhanced by the soundtrack of our resident robin chirping!

Have a mindful moment with our resident robin at our new outdoor antenatal classes in Nottingham.

We know that the prospect of intervention in pregnancy and childbirth can be daunting. The aim of this session is to give you the facts around these interventions, what your options are, and ways in which your care can remain tailored to you.

The possible reasons for induction can be quite varied, and there are different paths an induction can take.  We will talk about the different methods used to get labour going, such as placing a hormone-releasing pessary behind the cervix or breaking the waters in front of the baby’s head. (The latter has been used to bring on contractions since the second century.  You will be relieved to know that other methods from the time – such as amulets inscribed with magical formulas designed to ‘open’ the uterus – are no longer in widespread use!)

Sometimes the baby needs a bit of extra help to make her or his way into the world, and so we’ll discuss why delivery by forceps, suction cup or caesarean section might be recommended.  We’ll look at what will be happening and who will be in the room. (Rest assured it is a whole lot less people than were present for Marie Antoinette’s delivery!)  Elective caesareans will also be a topic of conversation – we’ll make sure you know what to expect on the day, and how to prepare beforehand.

After all that delivery chat, we will undoubtedly be ready for a marshmallow or two and a walk round the field.  But there will always be time for questions, both as part of the group or in private if you would prefer.

Session four of our antenatal classes is all about the time you have been waiting for: your baby is in your arms but what happens next?  ‘The first hour, the first day’ post will be here soon.  In the meantime, feel free to get in touch via the contact form or our Facebook page with comments or questions.

Muddies To Be: Session One

Muddies To Be will cover a variety of topics over the course, and the next few blog posts will talk a bit more about what to expect from each class.

You may also have seen that we are going to run whole day courses as well as the six-week courses – the full day will have similar content, but will not cover quite as much because we just won’t have as much time!

In this post, we’ll cover the first session – the end of pregnancy and the beginning of labour – in which we look at physical and mental health and ways in which you can help yourself, and get help from others. 

Boosting your iron levels before birth, for instance, can be really beneficial when it comes to labour and also your recovery postnatally.  But did you know that despite being rich in iron, spinach does not contain the type of iron that is easily absorbed by the body, and so most of it will likely pass right through your digestive system?

We will talk about the ways in which you can look after your baby’s health in pregnancy, such as bonding.  Activities that promote bonding in pregnancy have benefits while the baby is still in the womb and once he or she has been born.  And not just for the baby – it is good for the parents and siblings too!

We’ll cover reasons to give the hospital a call, such as if you think the pattern of the baby’s movements have changed, and why those things warrant getting checked over by a midwife or doctor.

What to pack in your bag for hospital is a hot topic for any antenatal class, and Muddies To Be is no different!  Equally, if you are planning a home birth, we will discuss things to have in the house. 

And we’ll also look at things you can do before the baby arrives to make life easier at home once the baby has arrived (a freezer full of batch cooking anyone?!)

Finally, we’ll cover early labour – what to look out for, how to cope and when to call the midwife. 

And if your due date has past and you are keen to get labour going, we will talk about the various theories out there for bringing on contractions, and the evidence behind them.  (It may not be evidence-based, but we know a few people who swear by booking a really expensive activity around your due date – sod’s law dictates that your contractions will start in time to disrupt those plans entirely!)

At every session, there will be time for questions, drinks and snacks and to enjoy our woodland craft.  We will also talk about how Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines might affect your pregnancy and interactions with the midwifery and hospital staff.

If you’re ready to book your first Muddies To Be session, you can get in touch on our Facebook page or use the contact us here.