• World Breastfeeding Week: The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mum and Baby

    23 August 2017

    The focus of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is breastfeeding support.  This week aims to create a better awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding, as well as increase public acceptance of breastfeeding and promote support for mothers across the UK.

    With many celebrities endorsing breastfeeding, it is becoming more talked about in public.  We know that not everyone has the option to breastfeed and that others choose not to, but for those that do, there are a number of benefits for both you and your baby.

    Benefits of Breastfeeding for You and Your Baby

    The psychological bond between mother and baby is hugely rewarding and breastfeeding can be an easy way to cement this bond.  Once you’ve mastered breastfeeding, you will be able to enjoy a quiet moment with your new bundle of joy without any distractions!

    Breastfeeding is great for mums as well! Breastfeeding is a great way to encourage new mothers to eat healthily, as they know their baby needs as many good nutrients as possible.

    Another benefit of breastfeeding is that it will increase the immunity of your new baby.  This is particularly important as it will help your child later on in life with fighting off illnesses.

    Breastfeeding is also far better for the environment.  Choosing to breastfeed will limit the number of plastic bottles being used and produced.  Plus, there is less wastage as breast milk is free.

    Birkenshaw Midwifery Clinic’s Infant Feeding Workshop

    It’s important not to be disheartened if you find breastfeeding difficult at first. It’s important to be persistent as the first few weeks tend to be the most difficult.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members as breastfeeding will often dominate most of your day.  If you’re unsure about breastfeeding, our Infant Feeding workshop will give you all the important information you need to ensure your baby is happy and healthy.

    This workshop will give you a better understanding of the benefits associated with breastfeeding.  The main focus is on how this can help your relationship with your newborn baby.  This workshop is a great option for any first-time mothers who are feeling a little overwhelmed.

    If you think this workshop would help you, get in touch to see when the next workshop is running.

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  • What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: The Complete Checklist

    9 August 2017

    Getting your labour bag ready can be a particularly tricky task.  You’re packing for several eventualities, as we all know labour and birth can go many ways.  You also need to pick out clothes and essentials for your new baby – who you haven’t actually met yet.  As if preparing for life with a newborn wasn’t difficult enough, when you throw this task into the mix it can quickly become overwhelming.  We thought it would be useful to put together a useful checklist for any mums-to-be, to help you decide what to pack in your hospital bag.

    When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag?

    It’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to get all the essentials for your labour bag together to ensure that nothing is forgotten on the big day.  You should aim to have your maternity bag packed four to six weeks before your due date.

    Your Hospital Bag Checklist

    If you’re worried about the long list of things you still need to purchase, it’s often helpful to break down your packing list into different categories.  Make a list of purchases for labour a birth, a list of purchases for after the birth and a list of items for the baby.

    What Should I Pack for Labour and Birth?

    • Your birth plan and any maternity notes.
    • Dressing Gown: This is particularly useful if you end up pacing the hospital corridors when you are in early labour. Hospitals are often warm, so a lightweight dressing gown may be a better option.
    • Slip-on slippers or flip-flops, that are easy to get on and off.
    • Old T-shirt or nightdress: This may get a bit messy, so don’t buy anything special to wear for your hospital stay.
    • Lip Balm: Your lips can dry out quickly when you are on a warm labour ward.
    • Hairbands or clips: If you have long hair, you may want to tie it up during labour.
    • Music: Take headphones to listen to music. This will help you to relax and will also help pass the time.  You can also bring books or magazines also.

    What Should I Pack for After the Birth?

    • A going-home outfit: Make sure to bring loose comfortable clothes that will be easy to put on. It will take a little while for your tummy to go down, so you will probably still need your maternity clothes.
    • Nursing Bras
    • Maternity pads
    • Toiletries

    What Should I Pack for My Baby?

    • Sleepsuits and vests
    • A baby blanket: While hospitals are often very warm, your baby may need a blanket if it is cold when you leave the hospital to go home.
    • Nappies: Newborn babies can go through as many as 12 nappies in a day, so it’s important to bring a good supply.
    • Muslin cloths
    • An outfit for the journey home: All-in-one outfits are the easiest to get on.
    • Baby car seat: This is super important to remember as some hospitals won’t let you leave by car without one.
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  • Pregnancy Myths: From Eating Salty Food if You Want a Boy to Pineapple Bringing on Labour

    31 July 2017

    These days, there are a number of pregnancy myths that are widely believed. We’re taking
    a look at some of the most popular pregnancy myths and whether there is any truth in these
    common misconceptions.

    Pregnant Women Are Eating for Two

    The myth that pregnant women are ‘eating for two’ endures mainly because it gives you an
    excuse to eat more tasty and sugary snacks. In reality, pregnant women only require an
    extra 200 calories, and only in the third trimester. Being overweight during pregnancy
    carries increased risks for both mother and baby.

    Eat Salty Food If You want a Boy; Eat Sweet Treats If You Want a Girl

    This myth assumes that there are boy foods (meaty, strong) and girl foods (sugary, light).
    This is a sexist concept, however, research has indicated that women who eat a high-calorie
    diet are slightly more likely to give birth to a boy.

    Your Bump Shape Will Help You Tell the Sex of Your Baby

    The only thing a bump may tell you is whether it’s a woman’s first pregnancy or not. In
    subsequent pregnancies, your stomach muscles are often weaker, which means the baby
    may be carried lower.

    Your Cravings Can Help You Tell the Sex of Your Baby

    Again, if a woman is expecting a girl you are supposed to crave sweet things, and savoury
    foods if it is a boy. There is no evidence to support this pregnancy myth, so you may have to
    look elsewhere for a way to tell the sex of your baby.

    Eating Curry/Pineapple Will Help Induce Labour

    A lot of women believe that hit, spicy food will help bring on labour. Other believe that eating
    pineapple can help speed up the labour process. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain
    which can help soften the cervix. No one is quite sure how much pineapple you would need
    to eat for it to have any effect.

    As you can see, there are a lot of pregnancy myths out there, however, the majority are just
    tales. If you have questions about your pregnancy or the birth of your child, don’t hesitate to
    get in touch with us at Birkenshaw Midwifery Clinic.

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  • Good Sport and Pregnancy Exercises

    26 June 2017

    Earlier this year, Serena Williams made waves in news circles when she revealed that she had been pregnant when she won the Australian Open back in January.  But, is exercise and sport safe to do whilst pregnant?  We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about exercising while you are pregnant including which exercises to avoid.  We’ll also talk you through safe low-impact pregnancy exercises you can complete.

    Exercising during pregnancy is important for your health.  But for many women, it can be difficult to tell which exercises are best when you are pregnant and whether there are some exercises that should be avoided.

    Cardio Exercise During Pregnancy

    Cardiovascular exercises can include activities such as swimming or walking.  These exercises will increase your heart rate and will benefit both you and your baby.  This type of exercise is great to do when you are pregnant as it will improve blood flow to the placenta.  It will also reduce the risk of you developing circulatory problems.  Cardio exercise can also reduce the risk of you developing gestational diabetes.

    Running and Aerobic Pregnancy Exercises

    If you were a big runner before your pregnancy, you should be fine to continue running while you’re pregnant.  This may not be the best time to start if you weren’t a runner before you became pregnant.

    If you decide to go to any kind of aerobics class including running or cycling, it’s important that you tell the instructor you are pregnant.  The instructor can then make any necessary changes to the work-out to make it safe throughout your pregnancy.

    Swimming During Pregnancy

    One of the best pregnancy exercises you can do is swimming.  Exercising in water will help to support your bump and is great for improving your circulation.  If you’re suffering from any swelling, swimming will help as the pressure of the water on your blood vessels will stimulate blood flow.  Make sure to avoid butterfly stroke, as this can encourage large spinal movements and can cause complications.

    Yoga and Pilates in Pregnancy

    Pregnancy offers you the perfect opportunity to get in touch with your body and yoga or pilates offers the perfect mind/body workout.  The deep breathing and relaxation techniques used in these exercise classes will help you to destress and will help during the labour process.

    Our partners Yoga Bellies offer a number of different classes for you during pregnancy and after you have your baby.  If you have any more questions about safe exercises you can do whilst pregnant, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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  • Getting to Know Your Newborn Baby

    20 June 2017

    From the moment your baby is born, they are able to see in black, white and grey.  Your baby will find it difficult to focus on anything further than 25cm away but will be able to hold your gaze for a few touching moments.  Immediately, your newborn baby will be able to recognise your voice.  Most of all, your baby will love cuddles!  As your baby has been confined for the last nine months in the womb, this will make her feel safe.

    As you get to know your newborn baby, you will likely experience a spectrum of emotions.  Here, we’re taking a close look at how you may feel with the arrival of your baby and how to bond with your baby.

    How You May Feel

    Don’t worry if you are feeling a little different to what you expected after the birth of your baby.  New parents can react in a number of different ways.  Some will immediately fall ‘head-over-heel in love’, whereas for others it may take a little longer.  After the birth, you will likely feel both elated and exhausted and it may take you a little while to figure out what your baby wants.

    How Your Newborn Baby Looks

    At first, your newborn baby may look a bit odd!  After birth, your baby may look wrinkly, squashed and even bruised.  Not to worry!  Within the next few days, your babies skin will smooth and their head will become rounder.

    Bonding with Your Baby

    After your baby is born, you will begin to bond with your baby and develop intense feelings of attachment.  Bonding is a very personal experience and it shouldn’t worry you if this takes a little time to happen.  Remember, your baby is a completely new person and it may take you a little while to get to know her.

    We hope this has put your mind at ease if you were a little worried about getting to know your new baby.  If you’re still a little unsure about life as a new parent, why not book a spot on our helpful ‘Care of a Newborn Infant’ class today!

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  • What to Expect in Your First Trimester

    5 June 2017

    If you’re a newly expectant mum and the infamous pregnancy fatigue has already started to set in, you’re probably eager to cosy up on the sofa and learn all about everything you are experiencing.  For some expectant mums, this can be a daunting time, full of questions.  We’re here to offer you some helpful advice on what to expect in the first trimester of your pregnancy.

    You May Not Gain a Lot of Weight

    As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you may quickly envision yourself with a burgeoning round bump.  In reality, you’ll likely only gain a couple of pounds during the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy.  Morning sickness is mainly to blame for this as it will be hard to keep your calorie intake up when you’re having trouble keeping food down.

    Your Due Date May Be Wrong

    Figuring out your due date often requires a little bit of maths magic, which doctors can sometimes get wrong!  Even if you’re completely sure of the day you conceived, adding 40 weeks to this won’t create your due date.  Instead, you will need to add 40 weeks to the day of your last period.  However, keep in mind that your baby will most likely arrive in their own time.

    Some Foods Are Off the Menu

    It’s pretty safe to assume that you already know to avoid alcohol throughout your pregnancy, but there are some foods that become off-limits as well.  Unpasteurised dairy products can contain unfriendly-pregnancy bacteria like Listeria.  Foods that can contain these bacteria include soft cheese like goat’s cheese, feta and brie.  You’re probably better off avoiding all foods with the word ‘raw’.

    Super Sense of Smell

    In your first trimester, many expectant mums will begin to notice changes in their sense of smell.  Some mums-to-be may not be able to enjoy their favourite foods because the smell becomes so off-putting.  A typical smell that becomes difficult to stomach is coffee.

    Your Morning Sickness Will Pass

    If morning sickness is seriously making you miserable, don’t fret!  There is a light at the end of the toilet.  Once you hit your second-trimester mark, you may begin to feel less nauseous.  Any aversions to your favourite foods also tend to disappear when you enter your second trimester as well.

    It’s important for expectant mums to remember that no pregnancy is the same.  If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed with your pregnancy and new life as a mum don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Here at Birkenshaw Midwifery Clinic, we offer a wide range of workshops tailor-made to prepare you for what to expect when you’re expecting.

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  • Top Tips for Surviving a Summer Pregnancy

    31 May 2017

    Whether you’re set to jet off on holiday or enjoying those elusive days of British summer, you may be finding it more difficult to deal with the hotter weather.  Pregnancy naturally raises your body temperature, and the energy it takes for you to move around with a bump can leave you feeling exhausted.

    It’s super important to keep yourself cool during pregnancy.  Not only will overheating make you feel really miserable, it can also lead to tiredness and dehydration.  In some extreme cases, it can even lead to heat stroke.  Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of top tips to help you cope with the rising summer temperatures.

    Preventing Dehydration

    Making sure to drink enough in the hot summer moths can become an after-thought for some women during pregnancy.  Since you’ll constantly be sipping, why not make your drink a fun one!  Get creative with fun fruity concoctions or why not make some homemade ice lollies.  These are the perfect sweet snack and they’re loaded with H2O!

    Tackling Swelling

    Pregnancy swelling can become painful and uncomfortable in summer, causing your feet, ankles and calves to become one swollen mass.  To help reduce any swelling, make sure to keep your legs elevated when possible.  Natural diuretics like celery, citrus fruits and watercress could also help with persistent swelling.

    Coping with Extreme Heat

    While it may be obvious, when you’re far along in your pregnancy during summer months, tackling extreme heat can become a mammoth task.  One of the quickest ways to combat rising temperatures is to take a dip at your nearest pool.  Not only will this help lower your body temperature, it also provides a great low-impact workout for you.  If you’re worried about overheating why not eat some ice cubes for an immediate cooling effect.  If you don’t have access to any ice cubes try running your wrists under a cold tap.  Running cold water on your pulse points is also a great way to help lower your core body temperature.

    Dealing with Soaring Temperatures

    The summer months may leave you feeling uncomfortable as temperatures begin to rise.  One of the best things about a summer pregnancy is the lightweight and comfortable maternity clothes you can wear.  Loose and light-coloured clothing will help to prevent overheating.  Adding a wide brimmed hat is also another great way to keep cool.


    It’s important that you stay happy and healthy during your pregnancy.  These top tips should help ease any discomfort you may be feeling in the warmer weather.  If you have any questions about the different workshops we offer here at Birkenshaw Midwifery Clinic, contact us today!




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  • Getting Ready to Welcome Your Baby: Your Pregnancy To-Do List

    10 May 2017

    If you’re a planner at heart and wondering how to fill your time as you wait for your new baby to arrive, it’ important to get organised for life as a new mum.  While you may have already picked out your very first baby grow, there’s still a whole host of things you’ll need to get sorted before your baby arrives.  This is actually easy to do – particularly if you spread getting ready for your baby over the months.  We’ve put together some of the essentials you’ll need to tick off while you’re transitioning into parent mode.  This will help to avoid any last-minute worries and will give you an easy-to-follow pregnancy to-do list.

    1. Maternity Leave – Get Clued Up

    Regardless of whether you’re self-employed or planning a return to work after your pregnancy, it’s important to find out exactly where you stand when it comes to maternity pay and benefits.  You’ll want to enjoy every moment you have with your new bundle of joy, so it’s important to get this all worked out in plenty of time.  If your partner is looking at sharing some of the leave you’re entitled to, it’s important you figure out where his workplace stands on this.

    1. What Baby Kit Do You Need?

    The long list of what you need to buy after your pregnancy can definitely seem overwhelming for many expectant parents.  Not only is the list long, it can also seem extremely expensive.  However, we’re happy to tell you that when you break it down, it won’t break the bank if you’re savvy.  If you make a list and stick to purchasing the essentials at first, you’ll be able to see if you can afford to splurge on the designer changing bag you’ve been eyeing up.

    1. Don’t Forget the Car Seat!

    If you’re planning on bringing your new baby home from the hospital, you’ll need to buy a properly fitted car seat.  It’s important that you take the time to find the design and style you’re comfortable with.

    1. Your New Parenting Skill Set

    While no new mum-to-be has ever felt completely prepared to welcome their new baby, there are some things that you can do to ensure you are confident in your parenting skills.  Attending workshops that cover the newborn basics will help to put your mind at ease.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the wide range of workshops offered at Birkenshaw Midwifery Clinic then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!


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  • Debunking Pregnancy Myths

    3 May 2017

    If you’re pregnant, you’re probably getting lots of advice from friends and family members.  You’re also likely to hear some amusing old wives’ tales such as, if you’re carrying high, it’s a girl and if you’re carrying low, it’s a boy.  While some pregnancy myths are just a bit of fun, not all pregnancy myths are as entertaining.  Some myths can prompt undue worry and stress for expectant mothers, so we thought we’d reveal which ones are true and which pregnancy myths are false.

    Pregnancy Myths: True Or False?


    Myth 1: Using Cocoa butter will help to prevent stretch marks.  False.  This common pregnancy myth can actually cause sensitivity and irritation for some women.  In severe cases, some women can have allergic reactions.

    Myth 2: Flying in Your Third Trimester.  False.  This is, in fact, false.  You can actually fly whenever you want, however, some airlines won’t allow you to fly during your last trimester as they are concerned about you going into labour whilst on the flight.

    Myth 3: Keep Fish off your Plate.  False.  A lot of expectant mothers believe they can’t eat salmon.  In fact, salmon is good for mother-to-be as it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which has a variety of benefits for both mum and baby.  As salmon is a freshwater fish, the likelihood of mercury poisoning is very low.

    Myth 4: No More Hot Baths.  True.  While pregnant you should avoid Jacuzzis, saunas or anything that will quickly raise your body temperature.

    Myth 5: Caffeine Is a No-Go.  False.  Many expectant mothers will be happy to hear that a cup a day won’t do any harm.  But don’t go nuts on the caffeine intake!

    Myth 6: You Should Be Eating for Two.  False.  A lot of expectant mothers will be surprised to hear that carrying a baby only requires you to eat an extra 300 calories a day.

    Myth 7: Avoid Hair Dyes.  False.  There’s no need to sport darker roots with your maternity wardrobe as any chemicals will be absorbed in minimal amounts, which aren’t harmful to the baby.

    We hope we’ve managed to debunk some of the classic pregnancy myths that could cause any expectant mothers worry or stress.  If you’re still unsure about your pregnancy or have questions about what to expect as a new parent, here at the Birkenshaw Clinic we offer a number of useful workshops that provide you with all the necessary information to ensure you and your baby are happy and healthy.

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  • The Benefits of Acupuncture for Pregnancy

    17 March 2017

    We all know that pregnancy involves a lot of poking and prodding and getting stuck with a number of needles voluntarily is probably the last thing you want to do.  But when it comes to relieving and banishing your pregnancy woes, many moms-to-be who took the plunge and tried out acupuncture for pregnancy have been singing its praises.  A large body of scientific research supports the use of acupuncture in relieving the common aches and discomforts associated with pregnancy.

    Many moms-to-be who tried acupuncture for pregnancy credit this for easing a wide range of pregnancy symptoms including sciatica, heartburn, morning sickness, high/low blood pressure, anxiety, back ache, migraines and more.  Some studies have shown that using traditional acupuncture techniques that target the wrist can reduce nausea associated with morning sickness.  We all know that getting to sleep – and staying asleep – is even trickier when you are pregnant and acupuncture for pregnancy has been known to help with sleep concerns.  Research has also shown that pregnancy-induced headaches can also be reduced through acupuncture

    With newly published data showing that nearly one in four women are now affected with depression during pregnancy, a new study has shown that a targeted form of acupuncture for pregnancy could help.  Depression-specific acupuncture helps to decrease the severity of depression symptoms by creating biochemical changes that help to promote physical and emotional wellbeing.

    It has also been found that acupuncture can help you to tackle the pain associated with childbirth and can promote a natural and worry-free delivery.  Here at Birkenshaw Midwifery Clinic, we offer acupuncture for pregnancy.  If you’d like extra information on the acupuncture for pregnancy services we offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.  You can contact us today by phone at 01698 818091 or you can also email us with any of your queries at susie@birkenshawmidwiferyclinic.com.

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