My next contributor is someone who is very dear to my heart – Natalie Meddings, Doula and Active Birth yoga teacher. Natalie is the founder of the website Tell Me A Good Birth Story, and is immensely passionate about birth and supporting women through their pregnancies and labour. I first contacted Natalie to get some advice for my second pregnancy, and she supported me with such care that I now sing her praises to anyone who will listen. I asked Natalie to tell me Just One Thing that could help women during labour:

‘One thing that’ll give you a hugely increased chance of a smooth, straightforward birth, is having a very clear idea of what labour is – as in established (active) labour. This is when your body really starts to open – with momentum – when your body starts to let the baby down and through. Try not to over-focus on anything before this point and you’ll save yourself a tonne of energy (mental and emotional as well as physical) and be able to pace yourself. People have come to see contractions as labour, hence the trend to time them etc. But a far more reliable guide to labour is to wait for when you can actually feel the baby start to do something inside of you.

Up until that point, it’s best to relax, to distract yourself – to keep your day as close to normal as possible and finding comfort how and where you can. But when that big shift comes, you can’t miss it – everything accelerates and there’s now pressure in your hips, on your public bone and in due course, growing weight in your lower back and bottom. A pressure that grows, and grows, and keeps growing.This is the baby starting to ‘burrow’ as one of my mums put it.  You’re likely to feel hot, feel a need to moan and sing through the waves (it’ll bring big relief)  and it can be very exciting, because you’re baby’s on its way.  From this point, your body will take over and that’s a great feeling – a feeling to trust. Now all you have to do is follow it – breathe and move in step with it’s rhythm and just listen to what your body is telling you to do.’

Natalie Meddings, Doula

Natalie is the founder of and  the author of How to Have a Baby available  here