Where is the best place for me to give birth if I live Leeds?

As soon as you fall pregnant and you make that first appointment with the midwife, its often a bit of a surprise to be asked where you would like to give birth to your baby! You’ve only just found out you’re pregnant and particularly if its your first baby, it might not have been something you’ve even considered yet.

Many of the hospital trusts are now offering a self referral option so do take a look at individual hospital websites for ways to do this too. Rest assured – you can always change your mind later. In order for the NHS teams to be able to work out how many babies are being born around the same time in their area, they like to be able to work this out in advance! It’s also good for them to be able to direct you to the right area when it comes to you care.

If you’re having a baby in Leeds there are a lot of options available when it comes to different labour wards and birthing centres.

Hospitals and Labour Wards in Leeds

Hospitals are where labour wards or obstetric wards are based within hospitals and are where the vast majority of babies are born in the UK. There is access to all methods of pain relief, obstetric teams and this is were all assisted births and caesareans take place.

LGI – Leeds General Infirmary (Leeds City Centre)

LGI is one of the biggest hospitals in the Yorkshire area and is often the recommended hospital for specialised maternity care should you or your baby need additional support from a variety of specialists (your midwife will discuss this with you during your antenatal appointments).

St James / Jimmys (Leeds City Centre)

This is a smaller unit further towards the top of Leeds City Centre.

Hospitals and Labour Wards in Harrogate

If you live you live in Leeds, you may also be able to use facilities outside of a Leeds postcode.

Harrogate District Hospital (Harrogate town centre)

A smaller recently refurbished labour ward or delivery suite.

Hospitals and Labour Wards in Bradford

You may also be able to use facilities in Bradford.

Bradford Royal Infirmary (Bradford City Centre)

Airedale General Hospital (based in Steeton which is in-between Keighley and Skipton)

Birth Centres / Midwifery Led Centres

Birth centres are exclusively ran by midwives, in some areas of the UK we have freestanding midwifery units – however, in Leeds and West Yorkshire area – all birth centres are attached midwifery centres (attached to a labour ward / obstetric unit).

Whilst women and birthing people may be asked to meet a certain criteria for birthing in a birth centre – you are fully within your rights to challenge and negotiate with those supporting you during pregnancy.

Bradford Royal Infirmary – The Bradford Birth Centre – attached to the labour ward

Leeds General Hospital / LGI – The Lotus Midwifery Unit – attached to the labour ward

Homebirth

If you are considering a homebirth in Leeds there is a homebirth team and home birth midwives who are able to provide support for you and your baby from around 37 weeks of pregnancy.

When it comes to picking a place to give birth to your baby, you are able to change your mind – this is your baby and your birth!

How can I use hypnobirthing techniques during antenatal appointments?

When it comes to hypnobirthing techniques, they are sooo adaptable that when it comes to teaching my clients – I’m forever suggesting different ways that they can use their hypnobirthing toolkit outside of wherever they are choosing to give birth!

During antenatal appointments, its great to practice with any relaxation techniques that your planning on using for the birth of your baby as it helps you to put them into practice whilst creating an association with the techniques and birthy sort of environments (e.g. midwives, the hospital etc).

What sorts of techniques and tools can I use during my appointments?

Calm breathing – Breathing well during labour can be an absolute gamechanger, not only does it provide us with a focus, it helps us to stay within the rest and digest nervous system and contributes towards creating the powerful birthing hormones that fuel birth.

Breathing well during any moment, can help us to think more clearly and that’s why its great to use during any type of antenatal appointment.

Simply take a long deep breath in through your nose and a longer one back out through your mouth (during my hypnobirthing classes, we learn about a variety of other tools that you can use whilst using your breathing too)

This will help your mind to become clearer and for your body to feel safe.

Ask for time – This is such a good tip! We often feel like we need to make decisions quite quickly during our antenatal appointments, a lot of us suffer from that fear of taking up someone’s time or that dreaded white coat syndrome.

In the vast majority of circumstances, there is always time before making a decision… when it comes to your body, your baby and your care.. its important that you feel like your able to make choices based on what really feels best for you so ask for time to think about it.

Tell them you’ll call them once you’ve made a choice, ask them if its that urgent that you need to make a decision straight away (this way you can really gage whether or not you do have that time consider things for longer).

You can then do your own research, speak about it with your partner or doula and really listen to your gut before making your choice. Never feel pressurised to make a choice – this is your antenatal appointment, it has to work best for you.

Use positive affirmations – These were a biggie for me with both of my children, having pregnancy anxiety in my first pregnancy meant that I was keen to find different methods that increased my confidence during antenatal appointments from the word go.

Affirmations are a really great way of bigging yourself up – a bit like preparing for a job interview, they can be used to tell yourself certain statements (even if you don’t always believe them at first).

They can almost trick your mind into thinking in a more positive way so have a think of a few simple ones that you can use for your appointments – ‘I can do this’ was a big one for me as well as ‘This is my baby, its always my choice’ was another.

Chant them in your head.. out loud if you prefer, write them down and stick it on the car dashboard, make it a screensaver on your phone or even ask your birth partner or a friend to remind you of it too.

Bring your birth partner or another supporting person – It can often be tricky based on peoples work schedules etc to attend antenatal appointments, however, it can be really great to have an advocate with you.

Doulas can be a really great support during appointments!

There is so much information being flung at us in every direction during pregnancy and often.. it can feel a tad overwhelming so having that extra person with us who is advocating for us can really help build our confidence and they can also be great taking in the information too.

When it comes to conversations during your appointments, its always your choice if you want someone to be able to support you – having that familiar person really can make all the difference.

Hopefully you’ve found some of these tips useful – feel free to share this blog with your pregnant friends or if your looking for a hypnobirthing class or doula support in Leeds – feel free to get in touch about how my services can support you during your pregnancy.

Always remember, your baby, your birth, your choice!

Stay tuned for my future blog post – How can I use hypnobirthing techniques after my baby has been born?

What is a doula and how can they support me prepare for my new baby?

When it comes to pregnancy, birth and the fourth trimester – a doula is an incredible resource.

Their role is support a family throughout pregnancy and postnatally, being their supporter – their carer. Someone who has got their back – no matter what.

So what does that actually mean?

It a nutshell, a doula can support you in a variety of different ways – traditionally, there may be specific roles that a doula may support with (every doula will provide you with information to do with where they can offer support).

During pregnancy, a doula is able to provide you with support by attending appointments such as scans or midwife appointments – they can be there as an advocate, supporting you during conversations about your choices when it comes to your baby and birth.

Doulas are very knowledgeable about pregnancy, birth and the 4th trimester and therefore they can be incredibly useful at providing you with additional information, resources such as books and can signpost you to a variety of different services and professionals too.

When it comes to a birth doula, they can provide emotional to support not only to you but any birth partners that you may have – they can support you getting into different birth positions, provide gentle massage, advocate for you when it comes to your birth preferences (they don’t provide medical advice, they are there in a supporting role). Many people think that a doula is just for a home birth that’s simply not the case, they can support during all types of birth including a caesarean birth.

Postnatally, doulas can be a great support when it comes to helping with your baby – whether that’s looking after them whilst you nap or shower, provide you with emotional support, do errands such as walking the dog, taking older children to school, cooking nutritious meals or tidying up around the house.

Pregnancy, birth and the early days with your baby are incredibly special, having the support of someone who you and your family can rely on to provide you with nurturing and care is just the best.. you are only going to birth your baby once!

If you are looking for an antenatal doula or postnatal doula in Leeds, Harrogate or Bradford – feel free to get in touch and we can arrange an interview to see how I can best support you and your family prepare for your new arrival!

What can I do to support early labour?

When it’s clear that labour is about to begin, many of us tend to think it’s time to make arrangements to go to the hospital or stop everything we are doing and focus on the labour.

  • It’s estimated that for many spontaneous labours (ones that start without any form of intervention) we can spend up to 70% of our time at home.
  • Heading to the hospital or having your midwife come over soon can actually slow down the labour process so listening to your body and tuning in with what’s happening is important to time it right! Here are some tips on what to do during early labour, as part of my full hypnobirthing class 
  • We talk through how labour tends to work during my full hypnobirthing classes and it’s a great opportunity for you to have a think about what you might want to do, what support you might want and what you might need too! 

Here are some tips, let me know what you think and whether you used any of these in your labour!

  • Continue as normal for as long as you feel that you can. Distract yourself with things that you enjoy doing, go for a walk or make some delicious food.
  • Eat a good meal and get hydrated!
  • Get into a rhythm of using calm breathing during your surges or contractions
  • Don’t get too hung up on the pattern of your surges or contractions, ask your partner to support with this so that you can focus on raising your oxytocin!
  • Stay in your own environment or private space as long as you can – this will help the oxytocin flow!
  • Listen to your instincts, you know your baby and your body better than anyone
  • Listen to your body, rest when you need to and move your body intuitively