Founded in 2011. BSc (Hons) Psychology&Biology
Qualified teacher trainer for KG Hypnobirt Hypnobirthing gives you the knowledge and confidence to have the natural birth you want.
We are bombarded with negative images and stories of birth and labour, which leads many of us to fear the experience. Fear leads to tension, and tension leads to pain. Nature has designed the human body to give birth naturally and comfortably. If you remove fear then you remove tension and, in turn, pain. Hypnobirthing, as the name suggests, uses hypnotherapy and self hypnosis to eliminate fear.
Operating as usual
These are some of the things that people have said about my book, Group B Strep Explained.
I wrote it to help women and families to better understand the evidence around group B strep so that they could make the decision that are right for them.
Because it's not clear cut.
There are pros and cons to having screening and/or antibiotic treatment.
It's important to know that this is your decision.
Worryingly, some women aren't told the implications of having a GBS test.
Sometimes, they weren’t even told the test was being done.
Some say that, if they had known how it would impact their care and experience, they might have made a different decision about having GBS screening and/or treatment.
But even if it wouldn’t affect your decision, it’s important to understand the full picture before deciding whether or not ANY screening test is right for you.
Before you are offered it.
If you’d like more information about GBS, there are several free articles and blog posts on www.sarawickham.com
I have also written a book called Group B Strep Explained to help parents, professionals and others to understand the issues and the evidence relating to the screening and prophylactic (or preventative) measures that are offered to pregnant and labouring women in the hope of preventing early-onset group B strep (EOGBS) disease.
My aim isn’t to try to direct anyone down a particular path.
It’s about trying to share all the information that might be relevant to those who need to make decisions about this.
The second edition (red cover with signpost) is the up-to-date one.
You can get more info about GBS and find out about the book at www.sarawickham.com/gbse
I hope it helps you make the decisions that are right for you.
Looking past headlines is so important ....
Last year, a study was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.
It was called, ‘Associations between consumption of coffee and caffeinated soft drinks and late stillbirth—Findings from the Midland and North of England stillbirth case-control study.’
The media were quick to jump in with headlines such as ‘Just one cup of coffee a day during pregnancy may raise the risk of stillbirth’.
Really? Is coffee that dangerous?
Not on an individual level, no.
After seeing this article, muttering a lot and sending several exasperated emails about the way this study was publicised and the anxiety it could cause pregnant women, we – this is Amy Brown @prof_amybrown and Sara Wickham @DrSaraWickham – thought we’d point out the differences between the headlines and what the study actually looked like. And hopefully put minds at rest.
This is such an important topic that I am re-sharing the blog post we wrote today.
You can read our thoughts on this at https://www.sarawickham.com/articles-2/dont-steal-our-coffee/
Source of funding for this post: Sadly none. Though Amy would probably cave if @LavazzaUK would like to sponsor her. Sara was sent a box of champagne truffles by @boojabooja in 2004 for mentioning that their chocolates had fuelled the writing of one of her books, but they have run out now. Luckily, she recently won a giveaway and is excitedly waiting for some more to arrive.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room Research findings linking poor outcomes with abnormal CTG patterns reinforce the message that CTG monitoring isn’t effective. Why aren’t we talking about it?
In 2021, another study confirmed that induction is associated with more interventions and adverse outcomes.
"Worryingly, although the induction rate had tripled in some groups in the 16 years spanned by the study, Dahlen et al (2021) found that there had been no reduction in stillbirth.
This is of huge concern, as possible reduction in the chance of stillbirth is the reason often given to support a recommendation of induction, especially when there are no medical indications for induction."
That's a quote from my book, In Your Own Time: how western medicine controls the start of labour and why this needs to stop.
I shared the finding of a group of researchers who, "compared intrapartum interventions and outcomes for mothers, neonates and children up to 16 years, for induction of labour (IOL) versus spontaneous labour onset in uncomplicated term pregnancies with live births." (Dahlen et al 2021).
I discussed this research in a blog post, which you can see at https://www.sarawickham.com/research-updates/induction-adverse-outcomes/ as well as in my book.
As always, it's important to remember that there are pros and cons to everything.
If there are genuine medical reasons for induction, then the benefits can outweigh the risks and possible downsides.
Induction of labour is absolutely the right decision for some women and families, regardless of these risks.
But many people think it is being offered too often at the moment, and that women and families aren't being given enough information about the downsides.
The key is in getting informed, and figuring out what's right for you.
Loads more info at www.sarawickham.com/time
Did you have a waterbirth?
Are you planning a water birth?
There are many research studies demonstrating the benefits of water for labour and birth.
We have evidence from research involving thousands of women and babies that using water for labour and birth is safe and leads to good outcomes.
Using water also brings advantages for some women, including less need for other kinds of pain relief and increased maternal satisfaction.
But, as with many things in obstetrics, practice doesn’t always follow evidence.
Some organisations, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, do not recommend waterbirth.
They sometimes cite anecdotal stories and hypothetical risks, while ignoring large studies which evidence that waterbirth is safe for women and babies.
This means that researchers need to keep doing more studies in order to demonstrate that woman-centred options are safe and effective.
And those who want to support the use of water for labour and birth need to have access to good evidence.
This is why I have a page on my website which details the key water birth studies that I have come across and shared over the past decade or so.
I have recently updated it, and also added links to a few blog posts relating to this topic.
You can see my waterbirth page at https://www.sarawickham.com/research-updates/more-benefits-of-water-for-birth/
I hope you'll find it useful.
Some feedback from the course happened over the weekend! I know I say it a lot, but I LOVE teaching so much!
Your excitement makes me so excited!!
If you have a passion to share KGH or if you're a midwife and you're curious to know more.....get in touch!
One paragraph from my "Inducing Labour: making informed decisions" always gets comments and receives positive attention.
It’s the one in which I point out that that the Cochrane review on induction for suspected large babies showed that there was very little difference in the weight of babies born after induction or waiting.
The average difference was 178g.
Which was, I wrote, after spending a fun few minutes on a maths website, the weight of a hamster.
(OK, or a medium sized pear, which I added at the suggestion of one of my lovely editors. But I still left the hamster in 😆).
Several years later, I’m still hearing from women, midwives and birth workers about how the suspected big babies stuff affects them.
In fact, this is such a big (no pun intended) issue that I devoted a whole chapter of “In Your Own Time” to big babies.
It’s called, “Does my baby look big in this?”
So I'm posting this as a reminder of the importance of getting lots of good information before making any birth-related decision.
No matter whether that's about induction of labour, whether or not to be in a research trial or who's going to look after the hamster on the big day.
If you'd like to know more, you can find out about induction of labour and both of my books on this topic at www.sarawickham.com/iol
And huge thanks to @prof_amybrown who lets me use this pic of Little Bear who is now scampering around the hamster wheel in the sky 💜
There is no wonder we instinctively rub our bumps. Research shows babies have an awareness while inside. They respond…so love em up.
How about this for an oxytocin high?!?! :D
As Metallica played ‘Enter Sandman,’ a concertgoer gave birth Joice Figueiró and her husband had held on to Metallica concert tickets for three years. But as the band took the stage in Curitiba, Brazil, the woman started having contractions.
We need to be clearer about actual risk when it comes to the screening and preventative measures offered to pregnant and labouring women.
For instance, data show that the actual chance of mortality from early-onset GBS disease (EOGBS) in the baby of a healthy woman who has reached full-term (37 weeks or beyond) is 1 in 39,682 (Bevan et al 2019).
To save anyone asking, these data are based on a U.K. mapping exercise. If you have questions, the reference is below and in my stories so you can read for yourself.
We use risk-based screening in the U.K. rather than routine bacteriological screening so these figures include all women, not just those who are known to be carrying GBS bacteria. It is likely that around a quarter to a third of the women in this data set will have had GBS bacteria.
But if we switched to routine culture-based screening, we would need to give antibiotics to between 24,065 and 32,087 women in order to prevent one death from early onset GBS disease.
As these figures show, although GBS disease can occasionally be fatal, it is also rare.
Some babies are far more at risk than others, which is why the U.K. takes a risk-based approach.
The risks of antibiotics include antibiotic resistance, interference with the baby's microbiome, gut problems and allergic reactions.
According to NHS Choices, severe allergic reactions to antibiotics are estimated to occur in between 1 in 2000 and 1 in 10000 cases.
And women who are found to have GBS bacteria often find that their choices are limited by this.
The key is to get better information out there, and to help everyone understand the issues and the evidence relating to the screening and prophylactic measures that are offered to pregnant and labouring women in the hope of preventing early-onset group B strep (EOGBS) disease.
Then everyone can make the decisions that are right for them.
For more information, see http://www.sarawickham.com/gbse
See the study at https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e024324
It's your journey, and you can always say no.
In recent times (and sadly still in some places), i️f you want to enter a facility to give birth, you might not be able to have companions of your choice with you at all times.
That's often the case if you decide to have your labour induced.
Or you might be told that, because you have a risk factor (maybe your size, age, GBS status or blood sugar), your options in a particular facility are limited.
But don't forget that you don't have to enter a facility until/unless you want to.
And even if some of your decisions are affected by what local facilities offer, you still retain the right to make decisions about your own body.
If you go into a hospital setting (or any other setting) to give birth, you always have the right to decline procedures, tests or medication that you don't want.
It's so important to get informed.
If you'd like to know more, there's loads of information at www.sarawickham.com
You also might like to read my book, "What's Right For Me? Making decisions in pregnancy and childbirth."
More info on that at www.sarawickham.com/wrfm
It's your journey.
You don't have to agree to anything that isn't right for you.
Such fantastic illustrations. . .
I love this artist. Do you know your cervix? Do you understand the mucous? So much confusion exists about the mucous…it’s role and the “indication”
For labor starting. Our bodies are safe havens for our babies. One part of that safe barrier is the mucous. It protects a little one from infections. We can begin to lose that plug in bits far before labor begins (weeks) or the day of. Both are okay. It can be clear to pink streaked.
In most countries of the world, parents will be asked whether they want their baby to have vitamin K, usually within the first hour of birth.
It’s your decision whether or not your baby has vitamin K.
If you decide that you want your baby to have it, it’s also up to you to decide which kind of vitamin K (oral or injection) you want your baby to have.
So you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons, as with every decision you’ll make for your child.
I have been researching vitamin K for more than twenty years, and I have written several books and information leaflets on this subject for a number of organisations around the world.
I also have several blog posts that might help you better understand the issues.
In ‘seven things every parent needs to know about vitamin K, I summarise some of the key facts that you might want to consider when making your decision.
You can read it at https://www.sarawickham.com/articles-2/information-about-vitamin-k
I hope you’ll find it useful.
What a great visual :D.
Great image showing where your placenta might be. Placentas usually set up camp towards the back (posterior), but all the rest of these are variations of normal. The outlier is a previa. This is when the placenta covers the cervix. In this situation, you would not want a vaginal birth.
Such a helpful post for those of you who are waiting to meet your baby!
This time 8 year ago, I had gone past my “due date” and was impatiently waiting for my baby to arrive.
If I knew then, what I know now, I would of done things differently.
I wouldn’t of gone on hours and hours of walk to try and get my baby to come, I wouldn’t of spent my time googling ways to get labour started.
I would of rested, and then rested some more. I would of spent time with my new friends. I would of pottered around the house, gently arranging things with excitement, I would of cherished those extra few days of pregnancy I had been gifted, knowing that one day, I would miss that bump, those wriggles and kicks, the feeling of my baby growing inside me.
I would of thanked my brilliant body for growing my baby, and put my trust in it and my baby, that he would be born exactly when he was ready ✨
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