Pregnancy Education

Sonya Murray is an independent Midwife and the founder and co director of The Baby Gurus, a specialist education company who’s goal is to improve education and support for expectant and new parents within the UK by offering practical advice and skills in fertility through to pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

With a career spanning almost 20 years, she has extensive training and experience in the fields of nursing, midwifery and teaching. Her practical and sensible approach reassures mothers and allows them to make informed choices with absolute confidence. And as a mother of three she brings a wealth of personal experience in addition to her professional knowledge.
For individual advice you can contact Eleanor direct at:
Speak to her direct on 0906 207 1133
£1/min from a BT landline; calls from mobiles and other networks may vary.

As adults we have the ability to make decisions which are right for ourselves. When it comes to having a baby this should not change. Many parents find making decisions about pregnancy, birth and parenting difficult. Often even simple decisions are wound up in emotion – my advise is always paractical and sensible. Here are some of the questions i am often asked about choosing the right birth.

Q1. I have no idea about what i need to know about birth. Help?

Firstly this is normal and very common, there is so much information and advice its difficult to see what is essential and whats not. Having a baby can often be seen as frightening and its really a bit of the “unknown”. It doesnt help that the births we observe on TV are often very dramatic – if they werent it wouldnt be good TV and less people would watch……we dont often see the thousands of babies who are born in a quiet and calm enviroment.
I cannot say enough about getting good quality antenatal education as this will provide you with lots of information from which you can make lots of decisions. Antenatal education will flag up subjects that perhaps you havent thought of (or dont want to think of) and help you to create opinions. Its worth attending with your partner if you have one and if you dont its time to recruit a relative or a friend. Getting support during pregnancy is the foundation of good support for birth and early parenting.
There are core subject i would suggest you explore e.g what happens during birth, good birth positions,how to relax in labour, options for pain releif both medical and natural. Its difficult to narrow it down to a few essential but these are a start. As you explore each subject and become more familiar with the subject of birth you will become more relaxed, prepared and positive.
Consider attending some of the following courses – NHS, NCT, The Baby Gurus, Hypnosis for birth (natal therapy or hypnobirthing), prenatal yoga, active birth. You can combine these too – say NHS and yoga or The Baby Gurus with Hypnosis. I would recommend you collect information from each provider and see which is most suited to your circumstances. Some are group classes and some for individual, again bear this in mind prior to booking.
For a positive approach to emotional wellebing as a parent you may wish to download our free booklet available on greatvine.

Q2. I thought i might write a birth plan. Would you recommend doing one?

Yes! One of the most important aspects of a birth plan is that you have to explore each subject and make a decision on what you beleif is best for you and your baby. See you birth plan as a wish list….it provides you with the opportunity to share your thoughts.
I would recommend that you find a template – these are often within your case notes provided by your midwife. You can add to the document or retype it – i wouldnt recommend handwriting it just incase your midwife has difficulty  reading your scribbles – after all its her that you need to understand your wishes. You are aiming for a one page document perhaps two….you dont want it to long as the midwife will have limited time to read it. So make it easy. I would suggest you split the document into three – labour, birth then afterwards. For each choose perhaps 10 things that are important to you within each catagory.
Labour – within this section consider how you wish to labour. Where do you want to have your baby? Hospital, home, waterbirth…you have the right to choose. Do you want to be offered pain relief or would you prefer to ask? Are you using hypnosis…then you really dont want to be disturbed. Do you wish the room to be quiet or music playing. Consider how you can be upright and active – this helps labour move along.
Birth – Think about the position you wish to birth in – being on your hands and knees lets gravity do a lot of work (remember to practice these positions in pregnancy). When do you want to hold your baby? Straight away or wrapped first? Are you planning to breastfeed then do you want to put the baby straight to your breast? Do you want a managed or natural third stage?
Afterwards – You will need a little time to adjust to the fact you have just had a baby. Do you want quiet time with your partner and your baby? Consider how you let people know about the babies arrival – consider telling one person….say granny who can let other know….allowing you time to be together with your baby.
There are so many things to consider however it is important you explore these and consider all the options available to you. Your midwife will be able to discuss any aspect with you.

Q3. I want more information on birth but dont know where to look?

We recently undertook an online research survey with Healthy Working Lives, The Grange group and Scottish Asociation for mental health (SAMH). We looked at lots of different aspects of pregnancy to parenting and how that realated to being a working parent. One interesting aspect that we looked at was where do people go for information for pregnancy, birth and parenting.
We found that most people get the information they are looking for specifically on birth from education courses, online resources, books then their midwife in that order. We also found that friends and family are very supportive and that health professionals provide lots of information.
So taking all this into consideration – what do you have access too? If you have lots of friends and family spend time with them and ask lots of questions. If you ask lots of questions to lots of people you will get different answers but from those you can work out what “fits” with you.
Its worth visiting a libarary and search their parenting section – you will be able to then choose books which are suitable for your curcumstances. Its worth asking around for book recommendations or reading book reviews. I review one book a month and this is availbale on our newsletter at – I would love to do more but just dont have the time.
If you are looking online, its worth consider who owns the site and the information they provide may be biast to their products.  It is common for companies to create website which look like forums and infomration sites but are totally full of adverts for thier products. The NHS sites are great and provide a good research based approach to birth and parenting.