Birth Partners can be a game changer when it comes to your birth… want to know why?

I’m a firm believer that birth partners can make a huge impact on our birth experiences and I often say that birth is about team work with there being so many ways that they can support.

Its one of my favourite parts of being a birth coach because I know that through doing a hypnobirthing course, it can significantly increase everyone’s confidence and there really is no better feeling than getting feedback from a family saying that their partner was their rock during birth.

Why do birth partners make such a big difference during birth?

With the mother or parent focusing on labouring or birthing their baby a birth partner is often in the best position to be able to advocate, guide and a support during the birth process.

During birth preparation classes, it gives you and your birth support team the dedicated time and space to chat through anything that your considering for your birth – and honestly, I think its on of the most valuable parts of pregnancy planning!

So many people that I’ve chatted with often think that their birth partner wont enjoy doing a hypnobirthing course but I’m yet to come across one who didn’t… and I’ve taught over 300!

It gives them a really clear role, helps them to see and understand ways that they can really support you and whilst everyone is different – there are a few key things that I’ve noticed people say time and time again when it comes to how their birth partner supported them through hypnobirthing.

Here are some tips for birth partners to confidently prepare for birth

Tip 1 – Learn about the birth journey and what tends to happen during labour

When asking birth partners what they find most useful about our hypnobirthing sessions – its often chatting about the birth process and how they can support.

We often see a change in body language as we get closer to birthing our babies and birth partners being able to spot the changes can be really helpful in terms of the way that birth partner support might change throughout labour.

Often just being there, in the space is enough for the mother or parent to focus on their birth, feeling safe and secure.

Tip 2 – Really invest in understanding what your partners birth preferences are

A birth plan or birth preferences are for everyone involved in the birth, yet the real purpose is for you to explore your options and what feels right for you and your baby.

A birth partner can advocate for you so that you can focus on staying in your birthing zone and through working through the birth preferences together, it can really help your birth partner to understand the reasons for your choices.

Often, parents to be might discuss different scenarios such as induction and caesarean birth and this can really help to build your confidence not only in the fact that hypnobirthing is great for all types of birth but in the fact that it can help you to feel protected and in control in what you want.

Often when speaking with couples, I say have a think about what your givens are regardless of the type of birth. For example, skin to skin with your baby as soon as possible.

Tip 3 – Understand the importance of environment and how our birthing h

Our environment is actually one of the biggest contributing factors to consider when it comes to birth as it can have a significant impact on how the labour or birth happens.

There’s loads of things we can do to change our environment and again, birth partners are often in the best place to set this up or have conversations with others to ensure the space feels calm and right for you.

During The Happy Little Nest hypnobirthing and antenatal classes, we also explore how the maternity care system tends to work as it gives us a really good understanding of why things are in place.

Many procedures are created on a one size fits all basis and during hypnobirthing sessions, we explore how to advocate and do what feels right for you and often its our birth team that supports us with this throughout birth.

Tip 4 – Feel confident around asking questions so that you can relay important information back to your partner

This is often a big one, having some tools to feel confident about asking questions which you might want answering to make an informed choice is so important to birthing parents.

It might be but that you never need to ask questions, but having the tools ready can often help birth partners to feel confident and therefore helps us to feel more in control to let go.

Tip 5 – Trust your partner, trust their intuition during birth

This is a big one. In our society, we’ve often relied a lot on hearing stories, watching tv or have the impression that birth is an urgent medical even when in fact, birth is a very safe event.

A mothers instinct, a fathers instinct or a parents instinct in labour is strong and its important that we learn to listen and support because ultimately – its always the person whose giving births choice in what to do.

Were these tips useful?

I really hope that you find this information useful, feel free to send the link to your birth partner or share with someone who is pregnant.

If your looking for birth preparation courses in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate or online, I’d really recommend that you have a bit of a read about how The Happy Little Nest hypnobirthing courses can support you.

I’m really passionate not only about supporting families to prepare for a vaginal birth but for a caesarean birth and have created a variety of courses to support you.

Hypnobirthing covers many areas of antenatal preparation which will help you and your birth partner to prepare confidently for the birth of your baby!

Pregnant over Christmas? Here are some great tips for the Festive season for you and your baby bump!

Whilst pregnant, I found the Christmas period so different than I had to another year, people automatically assumed I would be happy to be designated driver, everyone would give me extra portions of food (not a bad perk!) and I didn’t have to help out with the turkey at my parent’s house.. another bonus if your like me and want to get your feet up and watch all the Christmas Day movies.

So here, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for Christmas especially for when you are pregnant.

Enjoy it!

Christmas should be no different to any other year. Do things that make you happy, if you love all the Christmassy food – find some pregnancy friendly alternatives so that don’t feel like your missing out (I’m thinking cheese boards all the way)!

Take time out for yourself

Don’t try and push yourself if you feel like your wanting some space, leave the Christmas party early if you need to. It can be quite exhausting growing a human, socialising and standing on your feet for an evening – Don’t feel bad about leaving the party early, people get it. Your growing a human!

Get out in the fresh air

The crisp air and short walks are perfect over Christmas, are brilliant for helping your baby to get into optimal position and give you all the lovely endorphins from exercise.

Have a pyjama day

Have a day at home watching your favourite films, lots of snuggles and get the oxytocin flowing!

Plan ahead

Make plenty of time for yourself and plan out what self-care goals you are going to do over the next few months whilst you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

Practice hypnobirthing techniques

This is such a brilliant time to start a hypnobirthing practice, darker colder nights and often a little bit more time off work can really help you to get into a brilliant routine.

Remember how incredible next Christmas will be!

Having a baby at Christmas has always been one of the most special moments as a parent. Being able to pop a carrot on a plate and a glass of milk for Santa for the very first time.. oh its just so magical!

Something about early labour that every parent needs to know..

I don’t know about you, but I always imagined that as soon as I went into labour, I’d need to quickly make that trip to the hospital to birth my baby.

Relying on things like one of my favourite TV shows Friends or other programmes, hearing other peoples stories – I just assumed that this is how it worked during labour. Get yourself to a hospital quick.

Even whilst teaching, a lot of the families that I work with are really keen to understand their timings – possibly think about when to make that phone call either to ask their midwives to come to their homebirth or head over to the labour ward or birth centre.

Whilst this is important – it really is impossible to say how long your labour will be.. everyone can be so different.

One of the most important things I share with the families that I work with is when it comes to spontaneous labour (this is labour which starts without any form of intervention such as an induction) one of the biggest secrets is to continue doing things that you would do in day to day life for as long as possible.

Make a plan for early labour

Just having a few ideas of things that you can do to keep yourself busy in early labour can really help you to focus your mind on something that you enjoy instead of… woahhh What do we do now? Here are just a few ideas of things that you can do –

  • Bake a cake to enjoy for once your baby has arrived!
  • Go for a walk
  • Grab a coffee… and even more cake!
  • Write a love note to your baby about how excited you are to meet them
  • Yoga
  • A hobby – so many of my clients have done knitting or crochet during early labour
What about using hypnobirthing techniques up in early labour?

When it comes to using your techniques in early labour – its entirely up to you what you do, however, I do tend to say that its best keeping most of your techniques for when labour becomes more established so that you can continue in day to day activities until you no longer feel like you can.

That’s the biggest secret to early labour – keep going until you feel the need to slow down, close the curtains and really let go and focus on birthing your baby.

How can hypnobirthing help me in labour and birth? Here’s 10 ways..

One of the things that I absolutely love about hypnobirthing is that there really is something for everyone when it comes to looking for tools to prepare for your baby’s birth.

When your considering different forms of antenatal preparation for the birth of your baby – hypnobirthing can help both physically and mentally.

So here are just a few of the ways it can play a huge roll during labour and birth.

1 – It helps you to understand that your mind has a lot more influence over your body

Its true, our mind and our body are essentially the same thing and when it comes to pregnancy and birth – having an understanding of the way that our body can be impacted during birth can really help us to see why a relaxation toolkit… aka.. a hypnobirthing toolkit can be a great idea.

If you think about it, our mind controls so many reactions within our body – like when you find something funny, you laugh. You don’t stop and then think to laugh!

Well its the same in labour, if we feel safe we can let go in order to birth our babies.

2 – Hypnobirthing provides you with a variety of tools that help you to feel calm in a variety of different birthing scenarios

Home birth, induced birth, caesarean birth, hospital birth, freebirth… the list goes on – regardless of the type of birth you are planning for – there are loads of different tools that you can try to help you to prepare for birth.

That’s what I love about hypnobirthing – everyone will use the tools different.

In my hypnobirthing sessions, I break the toolkit down into 3 sections – mind tools such as visualisation, physical tools such as items that can change your environment and breathing techniques

3 – It helps you to understand your body and therefore helps you to work with it instead of against it

I don’t know about you but I didn’t have a clue how my body worked in labour before I had Charlotte. Having an understanding of the purpose of contractions, how our uterus works in labour and how we change in our behaviour as labour progresses can help build your trust in the process.

Birth is a biological requirement and just like with so many other bodily functions.. it just happens.

Also understanding a bit around birth positions, particularly ones that help you work with gravity and support yourself and your baby to birth can give you the confidence that you were designed to do this!

4- Hypnobirthing helps your birth partner to gain confidence in how to support you during birth

Hypnobirthing can be just as useful for your birth partner, after working with hundreds of families – its been really great to see how it can make all the difference to your birth partner.

It can help them see that they do have a really important role during birth and opens up conversations about the different ways that they can support whether that’s through setting up your birth environment or advocating for you during labour.

5 – It can help you tune into your instincts

Often, having an understanding of our bodies along with relaxation techniques helps us to tune into our instincts easier during labour – its often said that hypnobirthing mamas or parents stay at home longer before going to the hospital as they know its not yet time.

It can also help with choosing birthing positions, making decisions in labour and tuning into your baby.

One of the most important things I talk about in my sessions is instinct – for many years, we have almost learnt to not trust our instincts during birth and this doesn’t need to be the case.

6 – It can help you feel confident about advocating for yourself not only in pregnancy but during birth too

A really key part of a hypnobirthing course is understanding how to advocate for yourself during labour and birth.

Sadly, our maternity care system is currently quite stretched with many policies and procedures in place that don’t always work on an individualised basis and this can mean that some parents want further information or a different care pathway.

Whilst hypnobirthing isn’t about giving you advice, a key element is educating you on how to feel confident on knowing your rights.

7 – It can help you to write birth preferences based on what really matters to you

Completing a hypnobirthing course often provides you with most of the information you’d like to write in your birth plans as a hypnobirthing course can really help to highlight ways that you want your birth to look and feel.

This can also be useful for both your birth partner as a tool they can use to advocate for you as well as your caregivers such as a midwife or doctor.

8 – It can help you to feel more comfortable as your labour progresses

During a hypnobirthing course, we will go through loads of techniques that can help you to feel more comfortable as your labour progresses – whether that’s through learning massage techniques that can help ease any discomfort , breathing techniques to help your muscles to relax and active birth positions that you can use for resting or however you feel during labour.

9 – It helps you to understand the different stages of labour and how best to prepare your environment

Often birth partners I work with say that this has been one of the most useful parts of the course as it helps them to understand what to look for in terms of a change in your body language.

We will talk about things like setting up your environment, how to adapt it in different locations if your choosing to birth outside of the home and also things like what to expect when your placenta is born.

10 – It can provide you with confidence and excitement

And of course, last but certainly not least!

This is the whole reason why hypnobirthing exists – to help you to feel more in control of your birth!

Many parents that I’ve worked with often say that our hypnobirthing course has helped them to feel empowered about their choices and for me – this is the ultimate goal as a hypnobirthing teacher!

Different ways to create a positive birth mindset in pregnancy

When I first started preparing for Charlottes birth.. I never really understood why this mattered.

Until I understood what a difference our mind has on the rest of our body.

Our mind is an incredibly powerful thing and when I started to unpick a lot of my fears about birth – they had come from a place of watching too much rubbish tv or other people talking about birth in a negative way around me as a kid.

So when I fell pregnant.. I knew I had work to do.

To overcome a lot of these deeply imbedded anxieties that I’d built up for as long as I could remember.

Creating a positive mindset for birth is very individual… some people already might have some great foundations in place (this is how it absolutely should be!) and some people like me need to explore and find a variety of tools to help build up confidence (you are not alone if this is the way you feel).

As part of my hypnobirthing and antenatal courses, we explore a variety of topics which help you to start to build up that positive mindset.

That might be through understanding how birth works. Or connecting with your birth partner. Or in the case of hypnobirthing, it might be developing a variety of tools that help you to feel calm and in control.

Connecting all of these dots together for many people can make a HUGE difference in their mindset, because it proves to them that they do have more control than what they originally thought.

Here are just a few ways that you can start to build up that positive mindset ready to give birth to your baby –

Working with a birth partner – Chat with your birth partner about what’s important to you when it comes to preparing for birth, tell them how they can best support you to start to build up your birth toolkit

Affirmations – Affirmations are a really quick and easy way to start to build up a positive mindset. Writing a statement in the present tense about pregnancy or birth and reading it every day will start to have a positive impact on your subconscious . Even if you don’t believe the statement to begin with, its a really great way to start to build up a practice.

Reading positive birth stories – This might be one that you want to do straight away or leave until your later on in your pregnancy, reading about different types of birth in a positive way will prove to you that you too can absolutely do it!

Visualisation – Thinking about birth in a positive way, visualising what it might look like can help you to reframe your mind. It’s a bit like playing out what it might be like to walk into an interview, its helping your mind to mentally prepare (there are loads of ways to use visualisation, this tends to be a favourite amongst my clients).

Protecting your space – Out of all of them, I’d probably say that this is the most important. Being mindful of other people in your space and what they are talking about when it comes to your birth can be really important (and hard). I often had people coming up to me trying to tell me their horror stories about birth or trying to tell me what I needed to do during labour and eventually I learned to either switch off from it ask people to change the subject. This way, I could protect my space and focus on birth preparation that made me happy!

What’s it like to have a caesarean after a vaginal birth? 

This is probably one of the questions I get asked the most, not only by clients but from other birth workers and even my family and friends! 

I guess for many people, they might experience one or the other (don’t forget that vaginal birth is absolutely possible after an abdominal birth!). 

So what did I find from both of my birth experiences? 

Before the birth 

In terms of preparation, both of my children were born prematurely so I hadn’t really fully gotten things ready at home and it also meant that I did end up having conversations with obstetrics (only as my waters broke with Charlotte but of course at length with Williams birth due to my diagnosis of ICP / requesting a caesarean. 

I had been incredibly focused on my hypnobirthing techniques and had written my birth plans and I was incredibly focused on staying within my zone when it came to both of my babies – their labours started in exactly the same way and whilst Charlotte’s labour progressed, I became quite unwell with a gallstone attack (this was undiagnosed at the time) and therefore I found that I really needed to prepare for Williams birth in a completely different way.

With a vaginal birth, it almost felt like completely letting go whereas with a caesarean – the build up felt the opposite. I was wanting to chat through my options and whilst I felt it important to stay in my zone – I almost wanted the distraction of talking to friends, family and my doula whilst I waited to go down to the theatre. 

The Birth 

I loved labour, I felt incredibly in tune with my body and I very much felt the same during William’s birth too – I felt incredibly connected to my babies and really tuned into my instincts to help lead me to do what I felt was right. 

Charlotte was born in a hospital and whilst the room had quite a medicalised look and feel – I was able to switch my mind off and stay focused on being in my birthing zone and this was still so important for me when it came to Williams birth – I’d never been in a theatre before and I was determined that whilst having a spinal block I stay focused, whilst preparing for the caesarean to start, there was a moment where I felt a little out of control and my breathing and visualisation helped me just as powerfully as it had done during Charlotte’s vaginal birth. 

Craig, my husband, played a huge role in the births of both of our children – he was my primary focus just as both of our babies were born. We worked as a team and whilst there were more checks done on William after his birth – we were very quickly able to create our little nook. 

The one thing I would say about having a caesarean was that I did feel quite frustrated that I just wanted to move my arms and hold my baby easily – I totally got and understood why it was harder.. I’d just say it probably was one of the things that I found the hardest having experienced so much freedom to move about when Charlotte was born. Again, just focusing on cuddling William and being with Craig really made all the difference. 

The Postpartum Period 

This is the area that I get asked about the most – what’s it like to recover from a caesarean compared to a vaginal birth. 

One thing I need to say is that the circumstances around my second birth were very different compared to my first, I was suffering with undiagnosed gallstones which had resulted in multiple organ issues so I did end up having 2 surgeries within 6 weeks of William’s birth which did mean my recovery probably felt quite different…

This might sound weird but there were elements I felt so much happier with when it came to caesarean birth recovery – life was slower, I spent more time resting and relaxing in skin to skin with William in bed. I felt nurtured and held by my midwives, doula, Craig and family and friends – I genuinely believe that this slower period helped me to recover both physically and mentally from a very challenging 2 months. 

The recovery from the caesarean birth wasn’t actually as scary as what I thought it would be. At first standing up and walking around felty quite daunting, yet I very quickly gained my confidence – I get why people said it was important to walk about as soon as I was able, it really helped me build my confidence up straight away. 

Charlotte’s birth was a physiological vaginal birth with a few small stitches, I’ve got to admit, being a first time mum it was more the anxiety of not knowing what was normal which I found quite difficult (again, this did impact me a little bit after a caesarean with my 2nd birth as it was my first experience!).

Overall, both of my experiences were really positive with my taking care of my stitches, listening to my body and seeking out advice from my GP and midwives if I needed reassurance.

My biggest tips from experiencing both types of birth 

Have an action plan on how you can use your hypnobirthing anchors for different birthing scenarios.

Chat with your birth partner and midwife about your birth preferences and the ways you want them to support you. 

Have a bit of a plan for the postpartum period and consider what your recovery might look like and how to reach out to others.

Remember that your breathing techniques really are the best tool in all types of birth

You are very much in the driver’s seat regardless of the type of birth – everything is always your choice.

What are my top 5 tips for birth partners in pregnancy and birth?

Being a birth partner is such an exciting time, supporting your partner, family member or friend during pregnancy and birth feels like a huge deal!

So what are the best things to support someone as a birth partner? Whether its through using hypnobirthing to support or being that person who helps with a variety of things in labour – there’s loads that you can do!

Here are my top 5 –

Understand what an impact our environment can have on us during labour

Hypnobirthing is a great place to really understand how our environment can play a significant impact on us during labour, as a birth partner – you are able to support by protecting the environment, helping it to feel calm and safe.

This is really important to help fuel the birthing hormones!

Eye contact, gentle touch and words of encouragement

Just being there for your partner, stroking their arm, holding their shoulders or even using a lot of eye contact can really help your partner to feel safe – particularly during active labour and transition (the part of labour where we often see mums start to doubt themselves in labour).

Learn all the birth preferences and what they actually mean

Birth preferences are a really tool, during labour its really difficult to chat and focus on anything apart from birthing your baby. That’s why as a birth partner – these are a really great way for you to be your partners advocate – so really get clued up on your partner’s wishes and what they want both from you, medical professionals and the birth itself!

If your partner is using hypnobirthing techniques to prepare for birth – really understand what they are

I’ve worked with a lot of people over the last 4.5 years and often birth partners are a little bit sceptical about hypnobirthing to start with.. within the first 10 minutes of a course, I’m able to help birth partners to really see that actually.. hypnobirthing is very logical and science based.

The reason why hypnobirthing techniques exist is to help people to take control and protect their mental health and body autonomy so being able to get on board with them can really make a huge difference to your partner being able to let go and feel safe throughout the birth of your baby.

Stay calm and trust your partners birthing instincts

Birthing instincts are incredibly strong and your partner is able to listen to their body and really understand what is needed in that particular moment – absolutely on the odd occasion, we may be needed to help take control (especially when women / birthers are getting tired in labour) yet most of the time its really important that we remember that they know what is right for them and your baby.

Let go, have faith and trust in them completely.

I’d love to hear how you put these tips into practice, why not share on social media and tag The Happy Little Nest or alternatively, if you’d like to learn more – have a look at my hypnobirthing and antenatal courses in and around Leeds and online.

Oxytocin vibes,

Laura

What are the best things for me to do in early labour?

When it comes to early labour – so many people that I work with are really keen to understand ways to speed their labour up. But the truth is – there’s only so much that we can do.

The most important thing to consider is ways to help the labour to continue as undisturbed!

Here I share a few things that you might want to consider, you might want to spend some time talking with your birth partner about how they can support you incorporate them into your birth plan.

Share them with your doula if your choosing to have one or even let family members know the ways that they can support you when it comes to that start of your baby’s birth.

Continue as normal for as long as possible – probably the most important one.

One of the most best things you can do during latent labour or early labour is to continue in your day as best as you can.

That might be suggesting to your birth partner continues to go to work, continuing in your plans with your friends or preparing for your baby

Rest, eat well and hydrate – take the opportunity to conserve a little bit of energy. Often when I’ve spoken to people in labour – they’ve spent loads of time bouncing on their birth ball or exhausting themselves trying to progress the labour before its really become established.

Eat a really good meals – once labour really progresses, just like when doing vigorous exercise – many women and birthing people will loose their appetite for food.

So have a good think about the sorts of meals that you might enjoy – meals that will give you loads of slow release energy once it becomes closer to meeting your baby.

Drink plenty of water, energy drinks or coconut water – our uterus (or womb muscles) have to work really hard during labour, they open up in order for your baby to be born and they need fuel to work effectively.

Come up with an action plan in advance different things you might want to do – Often when we start to feel the first contractions in labour or we start to feel differently within our bodies, we almost freeze up and wonder what to do next.

Right down a couple ideas of things that you can do in case this happens, make a cake, ring a friend, have a task to do in your baby’s nursery which can help you to really focus your mind into something else besides what’s going on in your body.

Write them down and share with your birth partner who can almost guide you with it if needed.

Save some of your hypnobirthing anchors for later on – When it comes to things like birth breathing, I often to suggest to clients to get into a rhythm of using this pretty early on in labour to help you create an association in-between your surges / contractions against the calm breathing techniques. Its entirely up to you.

When it comes to other anchors – like setting up your environment, music playlists or massage save them until your labour really progresses and they will be so welcomed at the time!

If your looking for a hypnobirthing or antenatal course – why not explore the options available, with face to face birth preparation courses in Leeds and online for families further afield – there’s plenty of ways to prepare for the birth of your baby!

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!

When’s the best time to go on maternity leave?

People often laugh when I talk about when the best time to go on maternity leave is because with both of my babies.. I never actually got on mine before my babies were born (hello early babies!).

Interestingly, when I talk to people – the vast majority of people tend to leave it as late into the pregnancy as they can before going on maternity leave as it means that they have a bit more time with their baby before returning to work / more maternity pay when their baby arrives.

Currently in the UK, you are able to go on maternity leave up to 11 weeks before your babies due date.. so there is quite a lot of flexibility in terms of when you choose to go.

Whilst I completely understand the benefit of taking late maternity leave, I always say to my clients – don’t forget the benefit of just having a little bit of time to be able to rest, do some cooking or catch up with friends (without having to focus on a small human!) as that can really help prepare you for parenthood too.

In Germany, there is a time just before the baby arrives where you take some time to reflect and just nurture yourself – we spend so much time running around getting things prepared (don’t get me wrong, I know some people who do prefer that!) and we never really stop and consider what a massive transition we are about to go through.

Here’s your permission to slow down if you want to.. if you are feeling tired towards the end of your pregnancy, its okay to ask to bring things forward – work will continue without you, I promise! I’ve been there.

So the real answer to the question is, do what works best for you.. if you feel you want to take some time before your baby arrives, that’s okay. And if you want to work right until the end, that’s okay to do – just get those feet up where you can!