Frances was due on 3rd March 2020. I was adamant that my baby would come fast once they’d decided to make an appearance, but as each day came and went and I gradually went further over my ‘due date’, I become more and more dejected.
It was hard to avoid the texts, messages and conversations from people who genuinely were wishing the best but also made me feel so much worse. As a yoga teacher, I spend lots of time tuning into how my body feels and I knew that although I felt impatient and a bit uncomfortable, I hadn’t had any signs of labour starting.
I was very lucky to have a midwife who understood my birth preferences and was extremely supportive of me wanting to keep everything as natural as possible. I 100% believed that my baby would come when ready and that I didn’t want to rush. I trusted my body and my baby.
As I approached 41weeks pregnant, one option that was suggested to me was to go for aromatherapy and a membrane sweep at the beautiful Blackburn Birth Centre (BBC). I trusted my midwife and had lots of positive experiences at BBC, not only attending appointments there but previously teaching pregnancy yoga there too.
Once I’d booked in, I naturally asked people about their experiences of sweeps - the responses were... varied. Like anything in pregnancy and birth, everyone’s opinions are their own and every person’s journey is different. I decided to go to the appointment with an open mind, knowing that the more relaxed I was the more relaxed baby would be and the more likely it would be to work.
I needn’t have worried. As I arrived the room had dimmed lighting (see photo), it was lovely and calm and although I was a little bit nervous, everyone put me at ease and made me feel really positive.
I lay on the bed and my midwife pressed some points on my body linked to acupressure and then massaged some essential oils into my feet (you can have a hand massage if you prefer). The oils were a mixture of Jasmin, Lavender and Clary Sage and not only smelled gorgeous but I was given the bottle to take home (I later used some in the bath too). After that I had the sweep and it was one of many experiences in pregnancy and birth where I thought ’well that wasn’t as bad as I’d heard’. One positive was that I was also told that my cervix was starting to get ready for birth and this really encouraged me and boosted my mood. I later felt some aches and baby moving low, I continued to massage the oil into my feet every night and put it in my bath. I absolutely think this had an impact on my birth, and definitely had a positive impact on my experience of pregnancy as a whole. It was so reassuring and warming to know that natural techniques are still used, trusted and offered to mummies to be.
Frances was born 5 days later. As predicted she came fast, and was born into the water at Blackburn Birth Centre. As a pregnancy yoga teacher I am often asked about my own experiences and I try to encourage as many mummies as possible to connect with their babies and listen to and trust their bodies. The aromatherapy and membrane sweep can be done together or separately and for me felt like a way to gently encourage baby.
Over 50% of midwives at the Birth Centre are trained in aromatherapy and the clinics are offered on a Friday to ladies who are booked for BBC and near to 40+7 gestation.
I would and do recommend BBC to every mummy I meet. Everyone deserves to experience pregnancy and birth in such a supportive, calming and empowering environment. We are very lucky to have such fabulous facilities available and it’s important that people know what is available and how pregnancy and birth can be. Lots of places offer aromatherapy, if you are interested make sure you ask your midwife all of your options 💛