Why massage during pregnancy and early postpartum?

Pregnancy is never static. Every day your baby and body grow, organs shift position and ligaments stretch to accommodate the changes. Aches and pains can come hand in hand with pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to ‘put up with it’. Seeing someone who specialises in pregnancy massage can help reduce those discomforts, can increase your capacity to cope with the changes, and help you connect with your growing baby and body.

It also provides an opportunity for ‘me’ time, when so much of the focus can shift to your baby, or is already on existing children.

The top four potential benefits of massage in pregnancy include:

  • Improvement in sleep
  • Boosted immune system
  • Lowered stress levels
  • Reduction in pain and discomfort

Other potential benefits may include:

  • Increased connection with baby
  • Improved posture & reduced postural tension
  • Reduction in oedema
  • Improved circulation
  • Stimulation of cell nutrition
  • Increased acceptance of your changing body
  • Improved mood
  • Boosts to your immune system
  • Boosts of feel-good hormones, which boosts your mood and reduces anxiety

Postpartum massage can also be hugely beneficial as you recover from pregnancy and birth, and shift into this exciting but often exhausting phase of parenting a newborn. A postpartum massage can achieve all the same benefits as listed above, as well as giving you a boost of oxycontin – the feel-good love hormone that’s vital for bonding and milk production.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

Why should you keep using my services, despite COVID 19

*Edited to add: Due to Government restrictions, my massage service is on hold from late March to further notice. Doula services are classed as ‘care giving services’ and are still available.*

There’s much discussion about close personal contact at the moment. Two thirds of the services I offer rely on this type of interaction. So, should you keep engaging in these services?

Short answer, is yes.


Massage has many benefits, for any person. I exclusively offer pregnancy and postpartum massage. The main two that will be relevant at this time are:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Boosting feel good hormones, which boosts your mood and reduces anxiety

The following are the measures that mean you’re as safe as possible in having me come to you to provide a beautiful relaxation massage:

  • I only do a max of 2 massages a day, and never back to back.
  • Every piece of linen I or a client touches during my time at their house goes in the washing machine as soon as I get home, washed on the hottest, longest cycle with sufficient detergent.
  • Linen is dried in the sun when possible, or in a dryer. Not left on clothes wracks for days to dry.
  • I wash my hands thoroughly when I arrive, and of course when I’m finished because I have oil all over my hands!
  • My massage table gets wiped down at the end of each massage with disinfectant wipes, and again when I get it out of the case at the next appointment.
  • I would never come to an appointment if I felt unwell, or had had contact with a person who is positive for Covid 19.
  • I contact all clients on the morning of their massage to check they’re feeling well. I’ve temporarily suspended my $30 cancellation fee.

Postpartum doula services

This virus may have seriously disrupted the support plans you had in place for your first few weeks home with bub. You may have had planned to have family come in from overseas or interstate – plans which may now be in disarray. Postpartum doulas can help restore a calm confidence to your postpartum care plans. Please get in contact if you have any questions about this service.

When it comes to hygiene when visiting for postpartum support, again, the upmost care is taken.  

I would never come to an appointment if I felt unwell in any way, or knowingly had contact with a person who is positive for COVID 19. I have a back-up doula so that you will still receive the support you need if I am unable to attend.

I wash my hands thoroughly when I arrive, follow the most stringent personal hygiene for coughing and sneezing at all times, and have an existing policy of only supporting one family at a time.

Online sessions now available: Childbirth education classes, & Birth and/or Postpartum planning sessions.

These services I am able to move to a virtual format to reduce face-to-face interactions.

I’ve tweaked my content and delivery to be suitable for conducting sessions via Zoom.

Pricing for the virtual services sessions will also be reduced, because I wouldn’t incur car petrol/servicing costs:

  • Face to face Childbirth education (7 hours-min 2 sessions): $350
  • Virtual Childbirth education (7 hours-min 2 sessions): $275
  • Face to face Birth and/or postpartum planning sessions (minimum 3 hours): $50/hour
  • Virtual Birth and/or postpartum planning sessions (minimum 3 hours): $40/hour

If you have any questions about any of my services, or any of the measures I’m taking in order to protect clients, please get in contact via the Contact Me page. I’d love to chat to you.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

The mine-field of the Due Date

Due date: estimate of when a baby will probably not arrive.

Due dates. Family, friends and strangers alike will all be asking during your pregnancy: ‘what’s your due date?’ But did you know that only about 4% of babies are born on their due date? Some babies come a little earlier, some come a little later, but they all eventually come out!

Did you know that a 19th century ‘rule’ is used to estimate your due date?

It’s called Naegele’s rule: Take the first day of an expectant person’s last menstrual period, add a year, subtract three months, and add seven days. Crazy huh? But there is one massive assumption made when using this rule; that the birthing person has a 28-day menstrual cycle, with ovulation on day 14. But in reality, cycles range anywhere between 21 and 35 days. Add on top of this that babies don’t know about months and days, and ultimately, it’s a very inaccurate way of estimating when a baby will arrive.

On a related note, do you know the difference between pre-term, term and post-term gestational ages?

Pre-term: Born on or before 36+6 weeks
Term: Born anytime from 37+0 weeks to 41+6 (that’s a 5 week swing!)
Post term: Born after 42+0 weeks

But, due to the inaccuracy of the due date estimation, you can have a baby born at 37 weeks who looks skinny and premature, and another baby born at 36 weeks could looks fat, healthy and full term.

When it comes to inductions, if you do not have a medical reason to be induced, it’s best for your baby’s development that you wait for labour to being spontaneously until you are 42+0 weeks (and even then, you can choose to decline). If your care provider is pushing to induce you earlier without a medical indication, ask the BRAIN questions, ask for a second opinion, and be confident enough in your body to say ‘no’ if needed. You can say no to any procedure or intervention offered to you at any time if it doesn’t feel right for you. It’s called informed consent/refusal. 

If you’d like to know more about your rights as a birthing person, understand more about where the pros and cons start with and end with any labour option, and so much more, consider doing a Lamaze Childbirth Education class. I hold mine privately with each couple/family, at a time and location that suits. Contact me to find out more.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

How to Take Care of Your Gums During Pregnancy and Why It’s Important

This month I’ve got another guest blog for you – Dr Amanda Tavoularis has written a post on oral health during pregnancy, and why it’s important not to neglect this area of your body!

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)

When you become pregnant, it can be a very special time as your body changes and prepares to bring a new life into the world. While it’s important that you remain as healthy as possible for yourself and for your baby, many women can develop inflammation of their gums, or gingivitis during their pregnancy. This is often referred to as pregnancy gingivitis and happens because of the changes in hormone levels.

Gum disease can result in premature births, so it’s important to be aware of this disease and take care of your gums to help prevent this disease. In a study conducted in the postnatal ward at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, most women were aware of dental disease, but over 80% of women surveyed were not aware of periodontal disease!

I have been practicing dentistry for nearly 20 years and have worked with women on prioritizing their dental health during pregnancy so they can carry their baby to term. Oral health issues can worsen quickly, especially if women are unaware so, it’s important to take proper measures in preventing and treating them for the safety of you and your baby.

1. Dental Visits Are Vital for Gum Health

It’s important to continue regularly visiting your dentist during pregnancy to try and prevent gum disease. Professional dental cleanings are more important during your pregnancy and are essential to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist can also evaluate your periodontal health so you both can work together to decrease the chance of adverse pregnancy complications. Let your dentist know that you are expecting, and they will be able to accommodate to your needs.

2. Seek Treatment Immediately

If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease or believe that you may have it, it’s important to seek treatment quickly to prevent potential preterm labour. Research has shown that there is an association between gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight and premature births. According to the Australian Dental Journal, a recent study found that, “Women with prenatal loss due to extreme prematurity were more than four times as likely to have periodontal disease, compared to women with full term, live born infant.”

The cause is most likely because the bacteria from gum disease can attack the ligaments, gums, and bones surrounding your teeth to create infected pockets similar to large infected wounds in the oral cavity. These pockets can provide access to your bloodstream and allow bacteria to travel throughout your body, down to the uterus and placenta.

Visiting your regular dentist is the best way to treat your gingivitis or gum disease. Most doctors recommend waiting until your second trimester before receiving dental procedures. Your dentist will give you a deep cleaning to get rid of plaque and build-up that’s contributing to the disease. If your gum disease is severe your dentist or doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help combat the infection. Your doctor will know which medications are safe for you during your pregnancy but be sure to let them know of any allergies that you have.

3. Maintain a Healthy Dental Care Routine

Finally, be sure to continue an effective dental care routine during your pregnancy to help prevent gum disease and gingivitis. Good dental hygiene consists of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Another great way to keep your mouth healthy during this special time is to avoid sugary foods. Excessively eating foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so try incorporating more vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts and seeds into your diet to help prevent any disease. 

It’s important that you take precautionary measures to make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible for you and your baby because premature births are more common in mothers with poor dental health. Regular dental visits, seeking treatment, and continuing a good dental care routine the best ways to help prevent gum disease. Remember to enjoy this time in your life and embrace the changes happening to your body.

Vicky Palmieri – My ‘WHY’

From Rachel: I’m honored to have teamed up with a fellow birth-space professional Vicky Palmieri to do some guest posting. If you’re in Melbourne and wanting to find a passionate, talented photographer for your maternity, newborn or family portraits, look no further than Vicky. Read on to get a feel for what makes her tick! 🙂

Hey there, I’m Vicky, a wholehearted Lifestyle Photographer for families and business, located in Melbourne’s inner west. I’m the kind of photographer that loves keeping it real and honest. When it comes to maternity, newborn and family photography, I love to create emotionally evocative images that can be felt, right here in the heart.

Vicky Palmieri Photography

Working with women in business is such a rewarding experience for me also. Helping women show up for their brand by taking a bold stand in their business; making them shine to anyone and everyone though their socials and website.

I’m so drawn to photographing people, because quite simply, I adore human connection. No matter who is in front of my lens, I love drawing out their best personality features, quirks and uniqueness.

This stems from my childhood albums, that contain pictures that lack the very thing I love – human connection. The photos seem quite stagnant and sometimes awkward. For example; me standing behind my birthday cake waiting to blow out my candles or my Dad holding me while posing in front of the family car. Don’t get me wrong, I love these photos to bits, but when my kids were born, I wanted something more for them and me. I wanted to be teleported back to that very moment when we looked at a photo, and feel all the feels.

This is what I want for my clients. I want to take them on an experiential journey from the beginning right through to the delivery of their photos. My emotive photographic storytelling and playfulness capture those truly authentic in-between moments. The kind of moments that make you remember and feel.

The sessions I offer are:

Maternity – Empowering women to embrace the now of their femininity and celebrating their body.

Newborn – Finding the beautiful in simple everyday moments, as parents get to know their brand new bub. Relaxed, natural and intimate.

Family – Embracing the chaos of family life is what makes my family sessions truely unique. It’s a crazy, cuddle love fest and we have an absolute ball.

Motherhood – Mum getting in the frame and spending some chill time with her wee ones, to receive some seriously beautiful images that tug (hard) at her mumma heart strings.

Vicky Palmieri Photography

Women in Biz – Not your run of the mill headshot. Uh uh, women is biz looking for authentic and real. Something that screams personality to showcase their service and/or products on their website, socials, or anything that promotes what they do.

I’m located in West Footscray, but service all of Melbourne (and beyond) as I’m a mobile photographer. If any of these sessions sound like something you need in your life right now, please head to my website for more information.

Want to get in touch? Too easy, head to my enquiry form. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram (quite regularly hehehe)

Much love to you



The toughest thing.

The toughest thing you’ve ever been through, is the TOUGHEST thing you’ve ever been through.

I remember hearing this in high school. It clearly stuck with me, as things that seem so obviously true often do, and I’ve thought of it often since then.

There is no point in comparing your own struggles with someone else’s. We all have different cards to play in life, and we all have different perspectives on those cards. But if the hardest thing you’ve ever faced is the not getting into the university you had your heart set on, and someone else’s is cancer, that doesn’t make your struggle less relevant, or less important. It’s the toughest thing YOU have ever faced. It’s your measuring stick. That’s not something to be embarrassed about or shamed for.

It may sound like what I’m saying is the old ‘don’t compare your life to others’, ‘the grass isn’t always greener on the other side’ etc. All that is true, but really what I’m really trying to get at is to not diminish your own experience just because it’s not as ‘big’ as someone else’s. If it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever faced, then it’s no small thing for you. And if anyone makes you feel like it is a small thing, you might want to consider pointing this out to them.

To bring all this back to pregnancy, babies and parenting, it doesn’t matter what ‘type’ of baby you have, what your birth experience was like, whether this is your first or third or sixth baby, it’s all hard. Just because someone’s baby doesn’t have silent reflux, or a tongue tie, or whatever, doesn’t mean a new parent has it easy. All babies are hard work. Learning new skills like parenting and breastfeeding are hard work. There are tough days. Some days might be the toughest you’ve ever experienced, and that’s ok. You don’t have to pretend to love every minute. You’re still a good parent.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your birth Your baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and Postpartum Doula based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

Click here subscribe to my email list, and receive my free download ‘How to check you’re compatible with your care provider’.

The problem with recommendations…

Photo by Martin Brosy on Unsplash…when it comes to choosing a care provider for your pregnancy and birth.

I see it all the time. Pregnant women in Facebook groups with question after question: ‘does anyone recommend an OB/GYN or hospital in X area’.

I cringe and don’t know where to start answering them. Most of the time I just read the other comments.

Because there are so many variables when asking for a recommendation of this kind.

Emotional questions like: What’s your philosophy on birth? What sort of birth do you envision? How do you want to feel during your birth?

And then more practical ones regarding whether this is your first pregnancy, whether you have any pre-existing health concerns, what hospital catchment you’re in for public hospitals.

But the emotional questions are where I want to sit for a minute.

Choosing a doctor based on the rave reviews of a few people, or one, whether they’re other members of your family, friends, or complete strangers, is generally not the best way to go about choosing your provider. They may have had a totally satisfying experience with them, but are you after the same type of birth experience? Did they have a very natural, low intervention birth and you’re wanting an epidural from the first contraction, or vice versa?

A better way to go about choosing a provider, particularly a private Obstetrician or Midwife, is to really nut out what it is that you want to achieve from your birth, beyond ‘healthy baby and intact mother’. Do you want to feel supported, understood, listened to, heard, treated with respect and dignity? Most people, regardless of their philosophy on birth in general, would say yes here.

So, first you need to do some thinking about yourself. As well as feeling supported and respected, what else do you want to feel? How would you envision your ideal birth going in terms of medical interventions, or lack of? Allow for practical considerations like whether you have an underlying health condition, you’re trying for a VBAC, or anything else that may affect your pregnancy and labour, your own or baby’s health.

Now start researching providers. Google them, read their websites, check which hospitals they’re affiliated with. Then find statistics about their intervention rates and compare that to what your preferences are.

In Victoria, an annual report called the Victorian Perinatal Services Performance Indicators is released. This provides extensive information about hospitals’ performances in key areas, like their caesarean section rates, additional care rates for babies without congenital abnormalities, breastfeeding rates, and rates of VBACs planned vs achieved. This information will help you form a picture of the hospital you’re considering attending for you birth.

The next step is to set up meetings with your preferred providers. Hopefully you’ll have at least 2 that are on your ‘wish list’. At this meeting, act like your interviewing them for the job of being your care provider. Don’t choose which one to ‘employ’ until you’ve met with all your shortlisted providers.

Once you’ve done the self-reflection, the research and the interviews, now finally it’s time to go with your gut. It’s very important that you and your care provider have a similar philosophy on birth, whether that’s a medical view or a natural one. If you’re philosophies don’t match, eventually you’ll run into conflict in some way. You also need to feel as comfortable with them as possible.

If you’re past this point and have already been with a provider for several months, know that it is never too late to change if you’re not happy. If you’re reading this and re-thinking your choice, know that I have heard of families changing providers at 37, 39, even 41 weeks because they didn’t feel their current provider was the right fit.

My above suggestions may seem like a lot of work, and they’re just one part of the process of preparing for and becoming fully informed about birth and postpartum. BUT I promise it will be worth it when you take this one step towards planning for a satisfying and empowering birth, no matter how your birth actually unfolds.

If you’d like to know the other steps I’ve come up with to help you plan for a satisfying and empowering birth and postpartum period, please get in contact.


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Top 6 non-birth videos to watch before baby arrives

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

If you’re wanting a satisfying and empowering birth, but for whatever reason, you can’t get to an independent childbirth education class and you can’t hire and birth and postpartum doula, there are still plenty you can do to prepare for childbirth.

The internet is a treasure-trove of great information with regards to childbirth and parenting – you just need to know where to look. To that end, I’ve compiled my top six FAVOURITE videos to recommend during pregnancy, to help you gain understanding, confidence, and real expectations. This isn’t a ranking, and I’ve included the video length to help you out, but most are pretty short.  Also, NONE of these are actual birth videos.


1 The Performance (7 mins 30)

This is an Italian video, with Italian actors, Italian birth statistics and English subtitles. But it’s SO perfect for demonstrating how our current hospital system sabotages women in labour and prevents our perfect orchestration of hormones from doing their best work. Oxytocin is the love hormone – it’s front and centre during sex and also labour. If you wouldn’t be able to have sex in a certain environment, you won’t be able to labour smoothly. Keep that in mind when planning the spaces you’ll labour in, whether that be at home before you go to hospital, as well as once you get there. It’s also a good example of why you should stay at home for as long as you feel comfortable during early labour.


2 The balloon and ping pong ball demo (3 mins 30 seconds)

This one went viral a few years ago, and is a great visual for what happens to your cervix during effacement and dilation. This helps you to understand that labour is more than just the 1-10cm of your cervix. Most women assume internal vaginal exams (VE’s) are just a part of having a baby that they need to submit to. In reality, a hospital or provider that has a policy of doing VE’s every 4 (or any) hours during labour are not practicing evidence-based care. As well as being invasive and uncomfortable, these procedures increase the risk of infection for you and your baby, and don’t actually provide much useful information on the progress of your labour. Your body is doing more than just dilating in labour, and your cervix can be at 9cm and you labour for another four hours, or you can be at 4cm and have your baby in your arms 45 minutes later. An experienced midwife will be able to tell what your cervix is up to just by watching you and your behaviours.


3 The Essence of coping in labour (the first 4 mins 30 seconds)

The video is one of American Childbirth Education/Birth Doula legend Penny Simkin. She’s an author and researcher and has done so much to advance the low intervention childbirth movement over the last 50 years. This is one to watch with your labour support partner/s, as it’s as much for their information as yours. Penny describes the 3 R’s of coping in labour. It’ll be a reassurance for both you and your partner/s that if you’re displaying these three R’s, you’re coping with labour and should be left as undisturbed as possible.


4 90 Second to change the world – TEDx talk (18 minutes 40)

This is the full 18 minutes of allowable time for a TED talk, but I promise it’s worth it. It goes through the simplest and most cost-effective procedure we have available to us today that could improve infant health; optimal (aka delayed) cord clamping.

Now a little explainer. In the 1910’s, as mentioned in the video, immediate cord clamping became a thing. It spread around the world and has been the default procedure at birth in a majority of hospitals in a majority of countries ever since. But why? Because it was thought to prevent or reduce the severity of jaundice. I have heard current, Melbourne based obstetricians advise their clients that they don’t practice Optimal Cord Clamping (OCC) for this very reason, and studies do show that there is a slight increase in jaundice rates in babies receiving OCC. BUT, in our modern medical world, and in full term and otherwise healthy babies, jaundice is a minor, easily treated inconvenience which lasts for a few days or so. The benefits of OCC last the individual a lifetime. When enough babies are born and OCC is practices, the benefits to society are almost unquantifiable.


5 Why it’s so hard to take a shower with a newborn (5 minutes 45)

This one is a bit of fun but will also help you build realistic expectations of the first few weeks with a newborn in the house. You will struggle to get time to take a shower. You will be very tired – potentially exhausted. Even if you have an angel of a baby, it just comes with the territory. It might give you a hint as to why hiring a Postpartum Doula can be so beneficial for your own care as well as your baby’s.


6 The period of P.U.R.P.L.E crying (9 minutes)

Some babies just cry. A lot. This video explains that this can be a normal part of infant development. Frustrating and stressful, but normal. To accompany this video, I strongly recommend you get familiar with the concept called The Fourth Trimester. These  articles are very helpful in explaining this season of life, and helping you establish realistic expectations. The top one in particular is a must-read.

9 Strategies for an empowered 4th trimester – MUST READ

Juggling advice from health professionals with your own parenting instincts 

Let’s stick together: How to survive life with your velcro baby

The “fourth trimester” is real and here’s what it means for mums and babies

Why infants stop crying when you stand up, according to science

Why newborns hate being put down


Do you have any videos you tell all your pregnant friends about? I’d love to hear what you’d add to the list.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and Postpartum Doula based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

Have you got your BRAIN?

Do you know that you should always use your BRAIN when making medical decisions? This includes all the decisions you make regarding medical procedures and interventions during pregnancy, labour and birth. The BRAIN questions will help you get all the information you need to make informed decisions, whether that be consent or refusal. So, what does BRAIN stand for?

Benefits – How will this benefit

  • my baby
  • me
  • my labour?

Risks – How will this affect

  • my baby
  • me
  • my labour?

Alternatives – What are the alternatives available to us?
Intuition – *internal question* What is your gut saying?

No/Nothing/Not yet/Need time – What would happen if we did nothing? What would happen if we waited a week/day/hour? I need a moment to speak with my partner/think about this decision.

Use your BRAIN

Completing independent childbirth education is SO important. It will provide your with up-to-date, evidence-based information about all the options you’ll be presented with during pregnancy, labour and birth BEFORE you come across them, and will empower you to make the decisions that are best for you, your baby and your family.

Know your options. Be independently educated.

City slickers vs country bumkins in the birth games

I’ve lived in two capital cities, several large country cities and a capital city satellite town in my 30 years on this earth. I have friends with a variety of backgrounds, some only from the city, some only from the country, some who have lived in both.


I find there’s a massive difference in attitudes towards birth depending on a person’s background. Of course this is a no-brainer; our background and life experiences shape almost everything about us. But it’s still an interesting topic to explore.


As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve lived and worked on a commercial horse stud. I’ve seen mammalian birth first hand many times, and noticed that animals can’t doubt their ability to give birth. There’s no fear, no anticipation. The process just starts and usually goes off without a hitch.


People who have grown up in or had a lot of exposure to the country, and in particular animal farming communities, usually have a more innate understanding of the process of birth. They may not know the science behind it, but they know if they go and watch a cow in labour and make her feel observed, she’s probably not going to calve very well. It has everything to do with hormones and the need for animals to feel safe in order for their birth to progress.


We like to think that humans are different from other mammals, but the truth is, when it comes to modern medical birth, we’re a bit dumb. We are the only mammalian species who routinely travels away from our ‘nest’ to give birth. In the West we typically travel to busy hospitals, where there are strange noises, strange people, and we’re the only ones there that are not sick or injured. It’s the opposite of what our hormones want us to do. For proper hormone choreography, mammals need to have privacy, feel unobserved and safe. If any of those needs aren’t met, our brain releases too much adrenaline, which inhibits the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin, in increasing amounts, is needed for labour to start and progress.


People who have always lived in the city, and don’t have close relatives or friends with a more country background, have a harder time connecting with these ideas. They’re so removed from a world where birth happens every day. Their own pregnancy may be the most exposure they’ve ever had to growing a human, their own baby may be the only one they’ve ever had more than 10 minutes contact with.


Regardless of whether you’ve grown up in the country or the city, you should invest in independent childbirth education, a birth doula and a postpartum doula. These three professionals (or one super-human) will assist you in making empowered, informed decisions, and in feeling calm and confident through your last weeks of pregnancy, your labour, and your first weeks of parenthood.


Contact me today to chat about how I can support you through this massive life event.