Our Mind–Body–Baby Programme aims to help
you to make the vital connections between your mind – your body – and your
baby. All three can be strongly affected by one another and so what goes on in
your head – whether you are stressed and anxious or calm and relaxed then
affects the way that your body functions, and of course, when you are pregnant,
this in turn affects your growing baby. So negative emotions, lack of sleep and
poor nutrition can dramatically affect not just you, but your baby too.
However, the Mind–Body–Baby Programme
is not designed to simply highlight the hazards of pregnancy but to help you
make the very best of it, to maximize the opportunities that you have to give
your baby the very best start in life – and to help you enjoy the incredible
experience of creating and nurturing a new life.
of women often had the benefit of having older female relatives around them to
give advice and reassurance during their pregnancies. In our busy 21st
century though, women have far less time and opportunity to absorb their
mothers’ and grandmothers’ wisdom, and ironically, although the medical
profession knows far more about the mechanics of pregnancy and birth it can
sometimes seem as if a pregnant woman is just a set of symptoms to be dealt
with, rather than an individual whose condition is to be celebrated. My
approach to fertility, pregnancy and birth is a holistic one so I firmly
believe in treating every woman as an individual and during my 30 years or so
of experience as a midwife my interest in integrated medicine has steadily
grown. I have studied the use of Chinese Traditional Medicine, which views
physical, mental and emotional health as being inextricably linked and aims to
achieve balance and harmony in such things along with the preservation of
strong vital energy known as “qi”. I have also helped women through their
pregnancies and delivered their babies not just in Britain, but in very
different parts of the world such as the Middle East where the “low tech” reality
of pregnancy and birth reminded me that having a baby is a very natural process
where instead of doctors and medical staff, the woman (if she is well-informed
and prepared) can be very much in control. Of course, conventional medicine is
a vital tool and with more complicated pregnancies, it saves lives, but I
believe it works even more effectively when conventional medicine is used
alongside complementary therapies such as Acupuncture, hypnotherapy and
tailored nutrition. So, as an experienced acupuncturist and nutritional advisor
I am able to offer women treatments that can both enhance their pregnancies and
help them with common ailments for which they are reluctant to take
pharmaceutical remedies or drugs.
commitment to good nutrition partly began as a result of my interest in the
work of David Barker, Professor of Epidemiology at Southampton University, who
has spent more than 20 years studying the link between a baby’s birth weight
and the lifetime risk of serious disease. Professor Barker has formulated a
theory known as the “Fetal Origins Hypothesis” which argues that any variations
in the transfer of nutrients from the mother to her baby can have significant
long-term implications for the baby’s health and for the offspring of that baby
once it in turn has become an adult too. This miraculous transfer of nutrients
from you to your baby is not just affected by what you eat, but by other
factors too, such as stress, which can make it more difficult for your body to
absorb what it needs and therefore makes it more difficult for your baby to
receive what he or she needs to build bones, organs, brain and healthy tissue.
But this theory is not just about what can go wrong, we can use it in a
positive way: by having a really well-balanced, nutritionally rich diet and a
less stressful pregnancy you can provide dividends not just for yourself and
your baby but for generations to come. Professor Barker’s research evidence
shows what I have long believed: that diet and nutrition lay down the
foundations for a healthy pregnancy, baby, and that baby’s life ahead. The
medical profession is finally starting to understand that the physical,
emotional and mental health of a pregnant woman affects not just the progress of
her pregnancy and her unborn baby, but will go on affecting her baby right into
So, the way that you
(and your partner) feel during your pregnancy – whether for example, you are
tired, stressed or anxious – can have a
real impact not just on you and your relationship, but on your baby too. At the
Zita West Clinic we have years of experience of working with pregnant women and
their partners – and often with those who have become pregnant in difficult circumstances,
so we know that pregnancy can bring with it a whole host of worries and fears
alongside all those feelings of joy and elation. With this in mind, we have
assembled a team of highly experienced midwives and health professionals and
put together our Mind–Body–Baby
Programme that covers the five key areas of pregnancy birth and beyond.
The Mind–Body–Baby Programme (MBB) is
designed to bring together all the strands of knowledge and experience that we
have at our disposal to give you peace of mind, support and reassurance all the
way through your pregnancy. Being pregnant and giving birth can be one of the
most physically and emotionally demanding events in a woman’s life. To help you
make sure your baby gets the best possible start in life, we have expanded our
services to offer pregnant women this concentrated support package. We believe
that a combined holistic and medical approach will help to ground you
emotionally and mentally, as well as give you confidence in your physical
readiness for birth and beyond. Bonding with your baby doesn’t just start at
birth. You can have a positive influence on your baby right from the start of
You are your baby’s
world and you can shape that world even prior to conception. What your baby
experiences in the womb may affect his or her future health outlook,
experiences and who he or she ultimately becomes. From the food you eat, the
connections and bonds you form with him or her in utero, to how you cope with
your emotions and react to stress, you have an amazing opportunity to make a
difference. There is now a whole body of evidence that shows that preparation for
pregnancy, childbirth and beyond pays real dividends and the Mind–Body–Baby Programme can help to do
this in a number of ways.
At the start of your programme, you will complete a detailed questionnaire that will help us to identify your personal and specific needs by looking at five key areas:
• Your medical history and circumstances
• Your nutrition
• Your lifestyle
• Your emotional well-being
psychological needs and circumstances
The Mind–Body–Baby Programme is ideally
followed all the way through pregnancy, but you can also choose the modules
that you feel apply to you, when you want to do them. The MBB Programme is made
up of five modules, each one focused on the different stages of pregnancy, from
early pregnancy right through to post-natal baby care. You are not under any
obligation to take up all the modules and you can choose whichever combination
is right for you.
Early pregnancy support: Preparation £128
The first trimester of
pregnancy can often be an anxious time for mothers-to-be, and it’s also when
many of the hugely dramatic changes of pregnancy occur in a woman’s body.
Pregnancy hormones will be surging through your system and may throw you
somewhat “off-balance” for a while. Our Consultant Midwife, Sarah Beardman will
be on hand to ensure that your pregnancy is developing exactly as it should be,
giving you the expert reassurance you need that both you and baby are healthy.
Sarah will help to prepare you for each step of the way by reviewing your
medical history and discussing in detail your plans for pregnancy and birth.
You will be given advice on coping with the tiredness and morning sickness so
common in early pregnancy and provided with essential advice on nutrition and
the dos and don’ts of pregnancy. The first twelve weeks of pregnancy are when
your developing baby is at its most vulnerable, so you need to know what to
avoid doing, eating, taking, or being exposed to through environmental hazards.
You will also learn ways to manage stress and create a tranquil environment for
your baby through simple techniques such as using visualization to calm you and
help you begin bonding with your baby even at this early stage. – You can
continue to learn more of these techniques with Modules 3 and 4.
Laying down the foundations to a healthy pregnancy: Nutrition £125
We will look at your
diet, including vitamin and mineral intake and how you can improve it to
maximize you and your baby’s potential, not just at the start of pregnancy but
as you and your baby’s needs change, trimester by trimester. The 1st
Trimester is when your baby will develop most rapidly and all his or her organs
and body systems will form, so really good nutrition is absolutely crucial at
this stage. Most expectant parents know about the importance of taking Folic
Acid to prevent neural tube defects in babies such as spina bifida, but how
many know of the vital need for the right balance of Essential Fatty Acids
(EFAs), Choline, or Protein? In the 2nd Trimester you will need to
help your baby to build really strong bones and teeth, so you need a proper
balance of Calcium, Vitamin D and minerals such as Magnesium, Phosphorus and
Manganese. In the 3rd Trimester you have a great window of
opportunity to boost your baby’s brain by stimulation (which you can learn more
about in Module 4) and by ensuring a good supply of “smart” fats. We can advise
you on the best ways to eat a nutrition-packed diet that is perfectly suited to
your baby at every stage of your pregnancy. We will also help you to build up
your energy stores to prepare for the physical rigours of birth and advise you
on the best nutrition in the immediate period after your baby’s arrival when
you will need to regain your strength and boost your body’s resources for
Open discussion: “Gas & Air” Group Sessions, 2.5 hours, Tuesday £40
What we are offering
in this module is a novel approach to antenatal care from the start. You have
the opportunity to talk about and air any concerns that you have. “Gas &
Air” is a new and exciting approach to antenatal education that invites women
at different stages of their pregnancy to learn through structured discussions
and share their thoughts, fears, laughter and experiences around the table with
“Gas & Air” sessions cover all the same topics as other antenatal classes, and are run by Karen and Sarah, highly experienced, practicing midwives, who have developed this innovative, more flexible approach because it encourages valuable, open discussion rather than the more prescriptive classroom teaching style of many antenatal classes.
Unlike most other
antenatal classes too, the focus in these sessions is not purely on the birth
and postnatal period but on supporting women throughout their pregnancies, and
is an integral part of the new Mind–Body–Baby
Programme at the Zita West Clinic.
Because we have smaller groups and a more personal approach, “Gas &
Air” sessions are great for women having assisted reproduction or who have
experienced previous loss in pregnancy – we can provide these women with the
extra support they need along the journey. Many other women can benefit too,
especially those who have an existing medical condition, or who choose to have
obstetric care and so may miss out on the normal, regular conversations with a
midwife, so again, “Gas & Air” can help fill the gaps for them.
All in all, we aim to provide a holistic approach to supporting women in pregnancy and preparing for labour, birth and beyond. We hope to inform and inspire and above all, enable women and their partners to enjoy the magical journey to becoming parents.
The “Gas & Air”
approach starts early in pregnancy, and then offers group sessions throughout
the journey. Each session is geared towards the specific stage of pregnancy and
ends with some breathing and relaxation techniques.
Each session will be 2.5 hours long. Ideally a group forming at the
beginning of pregnancy would stay together along the journey, but equally,
women can choose to drop-in to a group as they wish. Groups will be limited to
Typical topics for discussion at each stage may include:
The developing baby ( maximising windows of opportunity eg. key nutrients at key stages to feed the growing organs )
Diet and essential nutrients
Body changes, hormones and feeling fit
Emotions and relationships
Connecting and bonding with baby
Breathing and relaxation
The developing baby and what your baby senses
What affects your baby ( eg. stress and how to deal with it )
Exercise, yoga poses and posture
Work and life balance
Breathing and relaxation
Weeks 28- 34
Optimal fetal positioning
Emotional and mental preparation for motherhood
Body changes and preparation ( perineal massage / Acupuncture" class="tooltip glossary_term" title="A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, Acupuncture works on the principle that our individual health is maintained by an internal energy flow along specific channels, or meridians, within th... <br/><br/><strong>Click the word to view more</strong>">Acupuncture / reflexology / yoga )
The developing baby, connecting and bonding
Me time and relationships
Breathing and relaxation
Concerns and when to contact your midwife
Vital nutrients and the developing baby
Diet and exercise
Preparing for labour, what signs to look out for
Your hospital bag
Your baby's position and gentle yoga stretches
Breathing and relaxation
Being overdue – what can you do
Where these topics are not discussed in detail during the session, detailed information sheets would be available.
Other groups that may be available:
• Fathers only
• Twins and multiples
• Birthday Workshops
Bonding with your baby: Essential techniques - Group Sessions £40 - One to One £115
There is so much
evidence now to support our belief that your mental and emotional state can
influence your growing baby. We will teach you how to connect with your baby on
a deep level and understand how to tune in with what he or she (or they!) is experiencing.
Hypnotherapy is a very powerful way of doing this and we recommend five group
sessions, each lasting one and a half hours. You will be able to share your
experiences with other expectant mothers as you learn essential techniques to
help you not only to relax through self-hypnosis but to also release feel-good
endorphins (sometimes called “love hormones”) that are passed on to your baby.
We have also found these techniques to be very useful for pain relief in
labour, so you will be taught how to use them for that stage too.
Your sessions with our hypnotherapist, Maureen Kiely, will cover the following:
• Baby talk
• What your baby senses
• Countdown to labour
• Pain relief for labour
20 Weeks: “Baby Talk”
This is a guided
visualization session to help you to bond with your baby. You will also be
taught self-hypnosis to encourage a deeper connection and this will also offer
you a useful tool to manage sleep, stress and relaxation during your pregnancy.
24 Weeks: Foundation Level Hypnosis for Birth
Beginning your journey
towards a confident birth experience, this session teaches you self-hypnosis.
Through hypnosis you can gain confidence and feel more in control of the
birthing environment. You will learn how to manage aspects of your labour such
as your breathing through the use of trance states.
28 Weeks: Primary Level Hypnosis for Birth
We will teach you how to manage and maintain your Mind–Body connection through trance and how you can understand and assimilate a birth experience through trance states. You will learn further anchoring and visualization of breathing techniques during labour and learn about “Team birthing” – where you, your baby and partner work together to achieve the best outcome.
Hypnosis for birth is rapidly becoming one of the most popular
methods for reducing childbirth pain and making birth a natural peaceful
experience. The mind and body are
inextricably linked and pain is usually caused by fear and tension. During a three part course we will teach both
partners self hypnosis techniques to promote relaxation which in turn will
release any tension. The result will be
that your labour and birth will be a more comfortable, calm and positive
What are the benefits of Hypnosis for birth?
What does self hypnosis feel like?
The experience of hypnosis feels as if you are neither fully awake nor completely asleep. It is a state of being deeply relaxed yet having focused concentration where you are able to communicate suggestions to your subconscious mind. This part of your mind influences how we think, how we feel, and the choices we make. It can actually control pain. When you are having your baby using Hypnosis for birth techniques it feels a bit like daydreaming or staring at a fire. You will be able to chat and you will be in good spirits. You will be aware of your body’s contractions and you will release endorphins (the body’s natural anaesthesia) which will replace the stress hormones that create pain.
32 Weeks: Secondary Level Hypnosis for birth
You will learn how to
connect to deeper trance levels for better management of contractions. Your
Mind–Body connection will be enhanced to help you to flatten your pelvic bones
to create a more flexible pathway for birth. At this stage you will also learn
how to set up the projection of the birthday of your baby and visualize the
reality of your baby’s arrival.
36 Weeks: Further Hypnosis for birth
You can learn specific hypnosis instruction for Caesarean Births to help you to connect with your baby before and after the procedure. You will also set up the projection for your baby’s birthday and visualize your personal reality.
Moving ahead: Confident parenting - Monthly Group Sessions £50
Parenting workshops that I run teach a range of techniques and strategies to
parents for building self-esteem, self-discipline, confidence and independence
for children of all ages (the age range of children in my recent group were 3
months to 16 years). The emphasis is on helping parents to regain their
confidence in being an assertive parent – setting clear rules and boundaries
and ensuring they are kept to, allowing children to learn through consequences
rather than punishments, getting children to take responsibility for themselves
at a pace to match their age and developmental stage.
1. Getting Started - looking at how we
were parented; making change possible; labels.
2. Self-Esteem - praise; congruency;
reflective listening; naming feelings; describing.
3. Discipline - styles of parenting; house
rules; choices; consequences; saying "no" and meaning it; agreements;
self-discipline; fury; the myth about consistency.
4. Tantrums and Emotional Blow-outs -
what it is all about; strategies and tactics.
5. Habits (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!) - our habits; whose problem is it?; plans of action; instilling independence.
6. Sibling Rivalry & Conflict
Resolution - favouritism; comparisons; squabbles; simple conflicts; telling
tales; tricky conflicts; enabling children to deal with their own conflicts.
Acupuncture - £87.50 per session
We find many women want to have Acupuncture during their pregnancies. Many ailments during pregnancy are considered par for the course, and many women worry about taking medication. Our Acupuncture program begins at the beginning of pregnancy and many of our women carry on with treatment throughout their pregnancies, and experience a greater sense of well being.
Acupuncture in Pregnancy:
· Morning Sickness
· Pelvic Pain
· Carpal Tunnel
· Preparation for
Our team of acupuncturists treat many
women during pregnancy and are very experienced in the use of Acupuncture.
Antenatal Feeding Workshop - £40 per group session
By the time you reach the 36th week of pregnancy, you may well have started imagining holding and feeding your baby. Scientific evidence has consistently shown that women who attend an antenatal feeding workshop encounter fewer problems when feeding their babies and, as a midwife and infant feeding expert of over twenty years experience (including feeding four sons), I can help you make a really relaxed and confident start to your feeding relationship. You and your partner will be able to meet with a new mother and baby, see her feeding and get a chance to chat to her about the realities of having a new baby. I will be able to give you really practical, easy tips on feeding day and night as well as at home and out. I can help you to see just how rewarding and pleasurable it can be to cuddle and nourish your baby.
My approach is widely renowned for being entirely gimmick-free, easy to remember and, most importantly, workable.
Postnatal feeding support package - £300 (3 x two hour sessions)
The postnatal feeding support package aims to give you the expert guidance and continuity of care that will help maximize your chances of having a trouble-free start to feeding your baby. Each two-hour session will take place in your home or hospital, depending on where you are and will be on a one-to-one basis. The first session will take place as soon as is practical after birth and cover feeding cues, understanding baby behaviour when feeding and how best to snuggle with baby whilst he or she gets themselves on to feed. You will discover how to feed lying down so that you can rest in the early days of recovery from pregnancy and birth. Common problems, their causes and how to avoid them will also be covered.
The second session will take place when your milk “comes in” and you will learn how to reduce engorgement and to hand-express. I can show you how to use a breast pump if you like, although their use is not recommended in the first six weeks unless clinically indicated. I will ensure that you are confident feeding your baby and that any early problems are quickly nipped in the bud.
The third session will take place when
engorgement has settled and you are feeling ready to look at feeding in
different positions and in all the various scenarios in which a busy mum might
find herself. You will gain more confidence in feeding during the night and in
settling your baby after a feed. By now you will be more able to understand
your baby’s behaviour and we can talk about particular challenges you might be
worried about. Finally, we can discuss how to integrate feeding and nurturing
your baby into your current lifestyle.
Postnatal baby-care - £80
This is a single home visit lasting two hours. You will be learning, “mum-to-mum”, in a very supportive, easy-going and hands-on way how to bath, change and dress your baby in your own home environment. We will also look at cord care, hair washing, layette and soothing techniques. Any other aspects of baby-care that you’d like to cover can be incorporated so that you can feel more confident in the day-to-day handling of your baby. This session can be scheduled for a day and a time to suit you and your family.
Breastfeeding Crisis Support - £50 per hour
For those days when you find yourself
facing a particular feeding challenge, I can come to your home to do some
troubleshooting and to offer solutions/coping strategies. If you have been told
that your baby has a particular problem e.g. tongue-tie, I can offer specialist
advice (and referral if needed).
Pregnancy counselling provides time and space for you to explore
your feelings and emotions around your pregnancy and how this
may be impacting on you and your relationships. The counsellor acts as a
knowledgeable sounding-board, helping you to test out ways to manage your
situation. Counselling can help you to cope with issues such as:-
• Anxiety and stress in the early stages of pregnancy
• The impact of pregnancy after previous miscarriages, pregnancy loss or previous traumatic birth experiences.
• Ante-natal depression
• Relationship difficulties
• The pressures of work, friends or family