So why write a birth plan?

“What’s the point in writing a birth plan? Everyone I know says that they aren’t worth the paper that they are written on and will go out the window.”

Sadly, this type of question and statement comes up in every workshop I have run, and that’s quite a number of times!

In MummyNatal week 5, when we are discussing the birth environment, and in week 6, when we look at birth choices, this is a key topic. However, at The Natal Family (which created the MummyNatal and BabyNatal courses I teach), we like to use the term birth preferences’, rather than the term birth plan.

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What are the risks of a hospital birth?

You may have seen our recent blog post that talked about the benefits of home births. As promised, this post is a follow-up from our previous one, and this time we’ll be discussing the risks of a hospital birth.

Please remember that the aim of these posts isn’t to encourage or discourage parents from looking at particular options – we are not pushing one choice over the other! As always, our aim is to empower parents and parents-to-be with unbiased information, so they can make the right choices for their circumstances and their families. Continue reading

Is mindfulness selfish?

As Christmas approaches, it is a time which we associate with good-will, giving and thinking of others, and some recent conversations and questions have got me thinking about how this all relates to mindfulness.

Over the last few years, I’ve been privileged to introduce the practice of mindfulness to many people who I have supported and worked alongside, and many of them have reflected upon how it has made such a difference for themselves personally. I have always been careful to say that mindfulness is a complex philosophy, and a life-long practice. No-one can attend a few classes, read a book, and ‘know it’ never mind, ‘do it.’

One thing I have noticed especially, is how liberating many have found it to embrace what they interpret to be one of the key messages, saying mindfulness has helped them be more aware of their feelings, and it has given them permission acknowledge those and stop putting themselves last. To focus on how they feel about things and taking actions in line with this. To put their own, and their family’s needs, first above other things in day-to-day life.

Indeed, many of the books, classes and practices of mindfulness focus on what the benefits are to the individual who has chosen to learn and practise it. Promises of helping with anxiety, managing pain, minimising stress, promoting relaxation, etc.

Which raises an interesting question – especially at this time of year – is mindfulness basically a selfish practice? Continue reading

The language of birth sensations





What name for that normal labour sensation do you prefer to use?

One of these? Something else entirely?

Many antenatal programmes advocate not using the term ‘contraction’ as they suggest it is a harsh word, with medical associations, which often holds negative connotations.

However, at The Natal Family, we know that language is individual to all, and so we suggest YOU use the word which you feel is most relevant to how you experience the sensations of birth.

Why is that important? Continue reading

To push, or not to push?

In many antenatal programmes, special techniques for the ‘second stage’ of labour, or the part where your baby is being birthed, are often taught.

Some programmes teach breathing your baby out, and have their own individual techniques of breathing to achieve this.

Some teach bearing down techniques, which might involve making specific movements or noises.

Some may be a combination of the above.

Some may discuss coached pushing.

In our MummyNatal birth preparation classes, and Natal Birth Workshops for mums & birth partners, we don’t teach ANY second stage techniques. Why? Continue reading

Planning a water birth at home: all you need to know about birth pools

Following our recent blog post on the benefits of home births, a lot of expectant parents have been in touch to ask whether you can have a water birth at home. In order to shed some light on the options that are available to families who choose to birth at home and in water, we have collected some information on birth pools that we hope you’ll find useful when making your choices.


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Did anyone notice there are two parents to this baby?

You might have seen the blog post we published a few weeks ago about why we, at The Natal Family, believe that we should stop laughing at the videos of labour simulation for men. Judging by how popular that blog post was, and all the questions people raised on social media, we have decided to dig a little deeper into the implications of how dads are often portrayed in the media.

And if you read our previous post, you won’t be surprised to hear that we think there’s a much deeper message hidden behind their entertaining façade. So why do we think that ridiculing dads all the time is so unhelpful? We asked Steph Beaumont, co-founder of The Natal Family and BabyNatal programme and founder of the mindfulness-inspired MummyNatal programme. Continue reading

Happy Father’s Day to the dads of today!

5611_134319185158_508110158_3261532_2726408_n“Stereotyping fathers potentially sets up self-fulfilling prophecies and limits the potential of men as birth partners and fathers, to the detriment of mum and baby” – Dean Beaumont, “The Roar behind the Silence”.

Stereotyping is never very helpful, and when it comes to fatherhood, the stereotypes are usually quite insulting – you know the ones… Dad holds a baby like a football, puts a nappy on upside down, can’t work out how to get baby dressed etc… Dad-shaming is rife on social media, and still seen as acceptable! Continue reading