/ The Daisy Foundation with Ellie Schurer-Lewis

A Labour of Love – Local Birth Stories

A  L A B O U R  O F  L O  V  E

A weekly series of local birth stories to provide insight to expectant parents of labour and birth in the local area.

No birth is the same as another but understanding the choices we may need to make and beginning to visualise our birth with confidence can start with understanding your local birth services.

This first story is a lovely positive experience where Mum knew what she wanted and how she facilitated those choices.

D & R

Despite choosing not to have a home birth I spent a lot of time whilst pregnant convincing myself that when the time came (I was in labour) I wanted to stay at home as long as possible. This was important to me and as such I knew I needed to prepare myself and find the education to support this.

My best friend had actually attended daisy birthing classes when pregnant with another educator and had said how much she gained from them. Upon her recommendation I booked in with Ellie on her active antenatal classes.

When labour finally arrived I was 8 days overdue. I began experiencing back ache early in the morning and small waves of pain that was infrequent. Later that morning I attended a post dates clinic appointment for aromatherapy only to be told I was 2cms dilated.
Sure enough from there onwards the contractions grew in frequency and intensity.
I spent the rest of the day at home putting into practice what I had learnt with Ellie. I can say whole heartedly that the visuals, breathing and education I had learnt in active birthing supported me in achieving my aim. In our classes together Ellie had spoke about understanding your body and knowing when labour was progressing – something I was very conscious to know as this was my first pregnancy. On that day I truly felt like I really knew when the time was right for us to leave home for hospital.

When we arrived at hospital and we’re checked in I was examined by a midwife and at that stage was 8cms dilated! Myself and partner were in shock but I vividly remember the emotion – relief to know my baby and I had got to that point in the journey by ourselves in the environment I had wished for.

I went on to give birth a few hours later… that time flew by and throughout the whole process I felt like I was in control. Ellie gave me that control by preparing me with such important education. I made vital choices about my labour because I knew in advance what my options were and what was important to me.



/ The Daisy Foundation with Ellie Schurer-Lewis

What to Pack? Packing for Labour and Birth.

It’s finally here! The third trimester of pregnancy! And typically when expectant parents begin to think about the practicalities of giving birth, the main one being ‘What do I take to hospital?’. Now whether you’re a procrastinator like me or supper organised, the list below is an ideal tick list of what you may need in your birthing bag.

This list is useful whether you are planning a hospital birth, midwife led Centre birth, caesarean section or even a home birth. Having these items prepared and ready to go regardless of where they are used, will help you feel prepared and ready to take on your birthing day ❤

  1. For Mum:
    – Comfy clothes
    Those first post partum days expect that you will still look pregnant just with a much softer belly as your uterus contracts back down to its pre pregnancy state. Therefore clothes that are gentle on your stomach is something you will thank past you for! Similarly for Caesarean sections – post recovery can be uncomfortable and so you will want to aim for clothes that won’t rub against your scarring. So think loose, lightweight and breathable materials such as cotton.
    Easy access tops with buttons etc for those who are breastfeeding or pumping are also a good idea.
    – Slippers
    Whilst the wards are kept warm, you will need slippers for your feet for any trips to the bathroom etc.
    – Breast Pads
    Even if you choose not to breastfeed, your body will initially still produce colostrum and milk. There are disposable and reusable versions available from Boots, Pharmacies and online.
    – Post Partum Pads/ Underwear
    Similarly here, whether you’ve had a vaginal birth or caesarean section you will experience some blood loss. So stock up on your post partum pads (these are more likely nappies, in most cases your standard period pads will not be enough initially). There are disposable and reusable versions available from Boots, Pharmacies and online. Large comfy underwear is a MUST.
    – Snacks and Drinks
    Anything you feel may be useful during labour or afterwards. Typically packaged food works better as you don’t need to worry about it going ‘off’.
    – Wash Bag
    Toothbrush, flannel, tooth paste, hairbrush etc.
    – Small Pillow
    Especially for those who have planned a caesarean section. A small pillow to place over your scar when you are attempting to get out of bed, it will help with any discomfort.
    Similarly a cushion or pillow that you can lean against you to keep baby off your scar will be supremely beneficial. And also for the ride home, following birth this can be an uncomfortable experience with bumps and stops etc, so the extra padding will help soften the impact.
    – Birthing Aids
    Any aids you wish to use in labour, visual affirmations, music speakers etc.

For Baby:
– Clothing
Pack clothes appropriate for the season of babies birth. But typically you may want to include
2-3 vests
2-3 sleep suits
Pram suit to leave hospital
Mittens (if not already on sleepsuits)
Nappies (Newborn size 1)
Wipes or cotton balls
Bottles and formula if formula feeding
Car seat

For Birthing Partner:
– Snacks
-Phone Charger
– Copy of Birth Preferences
– Comfy Clothes
-Pillow (You may have the joy of sleeping in one of the hospital visitor chairs, you know the ones next to the bed – ouch).

Packing for hospital can feel overwhelming and all of a sudden make your labour become real. But it also means you’re one step closer to meeting your baby. However you are choosing to birth or what your preferences are -we’ve got you!



/ The Daisy Foundation with Ellie Schurer-Lewis

Oxytocin – The Love Hormone!

Following on from valentines day, let’s talk about Oxytocin and the power this hormone has in your labour and birth.

Oxytocin is often referred to as the love hormone as one of it’s roles is to help us feel good. The number of oxytocin receptors increases substantially late in pregnancy. (www.aims.org.uk/journal/item/undisturbed-birth). It helps you to relax and therefore bring on contractions that move baby down which in turn stimulates dilation of the cervix and moving baby down to birth. Oxytocin is the hormone that creates the final contractions that release baby quickly and easily. So all in all it holds an important role in birthing your baby!

We tend to be brought up to believe that birth is painful and scary so how are you supposed to produce oxytocin on labour?!

Low levels of oxytocin in labour and birth can cause problems such as:

– Contractions stopping or slowing and therefore lengthening labour.
– Result in excessive bleeding at the placenta site after birth.
– The above leading to care providers responding with interventions

There are many ways you can help produce oxytocin. One way is to learn breathing techniques that ensure enough oxygen is working its way into the muscles and fibres that are working to bring baby into the world this also helps to reduce the body’s fight or flight response and therefore minimise adrenaline that can inhibit progression of labour.

Your birth partner can also help raise your oxytocin levels with labour massage techniques and sometimes verbal affirmations if that works for you!

If you check out your local maternity ward/midwife led Centre or even for a home birth you can create your own playlist on and bring in home comforts such as cushions, battery powered candles to help create a relaxed environment to stimulate the production of oxytocin. You can also include these in your birth preferences if you are planning for a caesarean section and talking to your care provider about what can be accommodated as this may change depending on your location. But more widely a ‘gentle caesarean section’ is being accommodated due to its links in helping parent and baby form a positive connection following birth.

By increasing our Oxytocin levels in labour we can help our body to increase it’s pain thresholds, reduce anxiety and adrenaline and arouse positive feelings in our body to aid a confident birth.

We all want to do our best to bring our baby into the world in a positive and safe manner, and what better way to do that than focussing on love to bring them into our arms!

For further reading I would suggest checking out the www.aims.org.uk site and also the blogs on our website!

/ The Daisy Foundation with Ellie Schurer-Lewis

Why I became a Daisy Teacher

I thought the best way to start off would be to introduce myself and offer a little insight as to why I became a Daisy Teacher.

Following the birth of my second baby I decided to train as a Perinatal Educator to support expectant parents during their journey through pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. Knowing first hand the challenges that can come with pregnancy and beyond but also that it can be an incredibly exciting time, creates a minefield of questions and information across several areas. This can be from social media, google searches and surrounding friends and parents. I wanted to create a space that offered the chance for you to access education that will empower your decisions and make informed choices for you and your baby.

Being completely clueless when I was pregnant with my first baby and through the recommendation of a good friend, I attended Daisy birthing classes and subsequently baby classes. They gave me information of what to expect from birth and all the information I would need to make informed choices when the time came to bring my little ones into the world. It gave me the confidence to vocalise what I wanted and trust what my body was telling me.

Attending the Daisy baby classes gave me my ‘village’ of local mums, some of whom have become life long friends through this journey of motherhood. It gave me a safe space to ask questions and gain support form peers going through similar experiences and gain other perspectives.

Having had such a positive introduction to motherhood because of my own journey with Daisy, I wanted to create that space and become a teacher myself to build a community full of informed and supported parents.

I look forward to sharing this experience with other parents and meeting you soon!

Ellie x