Online Birth Preparation Session

Online Birth Preparation Session


Birth Preparation Session  are now Online.

Before the current restrictions came into play, the Birth Preparation Session was usually 2 hours, face to face, in the comfort of your own home and we would have used that time to cover topics specific to your birth choices. So really, all that is changing is that I will be joining you and your birth partner (if you choose to have him/her there) via zoom, skype, whatsapp. Which ever platform works well for us both.

The investment is €60, and sessions will take between 1.5 hours to 2 hours.

How it works: If you are interested contact me on 087-1917907 and we can have an initial chat, discuss any fears, questions, areas of concerns and what topics you would like to cover in detail. From there we will set a time and date and continue the birth preparation session ten.

Hopefully the 1.5 – 2 hours will give us enough time to cover the topics, time for questions, digest the content etc.

A follow up session can be organised if needs be.

To give an example of common topics that I have covered with clients in the past:

  • Switching from hospital to homebirth system
  • How to stay at home for longer
  • What comfort techniques to use during the different stages of labour
  • The importance of staying upright and mobile during labour and birth
  • Comfort measures available in the hospital
  • Writing a birth preference
  • Tips on how to get focused on labour and birth
  • How to get my partner involved
  • Preparing for a VBAC
  • Preparing for a planned Cesarean

For more information contact Anita on 087-1917907 or

GentleBirth -helping you prepare for birth

GentleBirth -helping you prepare for birth

Preparing for birth can be pretty daunting, especially if the image you have of birth is coming from movies or T.V. shows, where the focus is on drama and captivating an audience with an edge of the seat story line or if all your hearing are the horror stories from Mary down the road. Just breath let them pass and know that you can have a positive experience. Regardless of what others may think.

We know that birth comes in all different shapes and sizes and we know that birth by it’s very nature is unpredictable. We also know that you can prepare for birth and things may not go the way you hoped for and that is ok. A positive birth doesn’t mean a natural vaginal birth with no pain medication. A positive birth is how you define it.

It would be much easier for us to prepare for birth if we knew exactly what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. But we don’t. As our famous quote from GentleBirth Workshops go, we really can only “control the controllables”.

control the controllables

What does this really mean? Have a think about what you really have control over…………. Your breath, your thoughts, your actions, your focus, your response and how you prepare for labour and birth.

Taking a GentleBirth Workshop helps you and your birth partner to prepare for birth and stack the odds in your favour of a positive birth experience. A positive birth experience is one that is defined by you not by me or GentleBirth or poor Mary down the road.

Have a think about what does a positive birth experience mean for you? It goes without saying that all moms will respond with having a healthy baby, but what else means positive for you? How you were spoken to? knowing your options? The environment? The staff? Were you consulted? Was consent given? What else can affect your experience?

You will be confident in knowing that the information provided at a GentleBirth workshop is evidence based and has a science edge to it and it’s not uncommon to hear birth partners get excited and looking forward to birth as they leave the workshop.

GentleBirth effectively uses:

  • Hypnosis for birth
  • Mindfulness – which helps to build your focus and resilience
  • Sport psychology to really get your head in the game
  • Cognative Behavioural Therapy to help challenge those thoughts and gain a greater understanding of where they are stemming from
  • Brain science – understanding that our brain pathways changes all thanks to those lovely pregnancy hormones.

During a workshop we will also go through;

  • Your labour bag and what you can use
  • Using the GentleBirth App for mom and birth partner!!
  • Acupressure points
  • Upright positions for mom during labour and birth
  • Pain relief options – medical and non medical
  • The important role of the birth partner
  • Key questions to ask your care provider
  • Breathing techniques
  • Visualisation

As a mom and a doula I will also share with you other tips and information that may be relative to the workshop.



Your birthing experience will stay with you forever, if you want to do what you can to make it a positive experience and prepare as best you can, you can book into one of my monthly workshops by following this link  P.S. ( Mary from down the road won’t be there 🙂 !!

If the dates I have scheduled don’t suit, please contact me and I would be happy to arrange a private workshop at a more suitable time.


Requesting your Hospital Birth Notes

Requesting your Hospital Birth Notes

A topic that comes up all too frequent and when I say “you do know you can get your hospital notes” it is usually met with “I never knew that, how do I get them”. So here it is, my guide on how you can request your hospital birth notes under the Freedom on Information Act AND it is free AND you don’t have to give a reason to why you want them!!!

Many women apply for their birth notes, it can be for a number of reasons; from helping them to get a timeline and understanding of events, to have as a keepsake for baby,  or you may not have been happy with your experience and would like to gain more information.

You can apply in writing to the Freedom of Information Officer at your maternity hospital. The information that you need to give them is; Your Name, Address, Contact number, your date of birth, your baby’s name and date of birth and a photocopy of your driving licence or passport. It’s also really important that you state “You are applying under the Freedom of Information Act 1997” AND you do not need to give a reason to why you are looking for your records.

AIMS IRELAND have also written further information on this topic, the link to their page is here

I requested my hospital birth notes after the birth of my first baby. For me I found it very much an important step in understanding her birth so that I could mentally prepare myself for my next birth. My notes arrived on our wedding day, just before Christmas!! and it honestly took me a few weeks to have the confidence or maybe courage to read them. from personal experience reading your hospital notes, especially if your experience was not what you had hoped for, traumatic for you or baby can bring up alot of emotions for both you and your birth partner. If this is where you are at, be gentle with yourself and don’t be afraid to seek further help or guidance. Nurture Health – Counselling Service  is worth checking out if you think you need more support.

Don’t forget that the HSE also provides a service called Your Service Your Say. I would encourage all mom’s to use it, for either feedback, praise or complaints.

I hope the information provided here will be of benefit to you. Don’t forget, if there is a topic that you would like discussed let me know and I will do my best to cover it.

Anita x

Can Reflexology Induce Labour?

Can Reflexology Induce Labour?

As a reflexologist I get asked this alot!!! The following scenario or something similar is not uncommon for me to experience. I receive a phone call from a stressed out and anxious mom to be who is in the final weeks of pregnancy 39/40 weeks, she has just had a hospital appointment and pressure is put on to book in for induction or to get a sweep by the medical staff to see if “we can move things along”.

expectant lady holding pen marking calendar
Photo by on

Stressed and unsure mom turns to me to see if I can help bring labour on, she heard her friend went into labour the day/night after a reflexology session, She will do anything to avoid medical induction, she heard it’s awful!!! Straight away with this scenario you can sense anxiety, fear, uncertainty, doubt. All the things that can increase mom’s fight or flight response in the body, creating high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which we know inhibits the feel good, oxytocin hormones (these are the hormones needed for labour to start).

So, to answer the question “Can Reflexology induce labour?”. Believe it or not Reflexology CANNOT BRING LABOUR ON!!! Sorry moma, BUT what I can offer mom at this stage is a beautifully relaxing and balancing reflexology treatment in a warm, softly lit treatment room that can encourage mom’s own body and mind to relax, let go of the stress put upon her and give her that all important time and space to just be and breath. I would encourage mom to use her GentleBirth app during a treatment and to listen to tracks like ‘fear release’ ‘birth rehearsal’ ‘confident pregnancy’ or some breathing exercises or positive affirmations, what ever feels good for her.

If the body has high levels of stress hormones, your body is essentially in fight or flight mode and saying don’t go into labour but run somewhere that is safeReflexology can be that bridging gap to help you find that calm, nurturing space to encourage the feel good oxytocin hormones to increase and quieten the stress hormones.

As your guess date approaches you may find it more beneficial to have more frequent sessions. Reflexology cannot induce labour, however, the general view is that it will help support the body to prepare for labour and birth and promote relaxation at a time when anxiety levels are often high.

field grass mom mother

What else can you do to help your body maintain a relaxed, balanced, happy state? The simplest answer is do what feels good for you, what makes you smile? laugh?

Having a baby, whether it is your first or not, will bring lots of wonderful experiences and challenges. Using reflexology  as part of your health and self care may just be what you need on this journey towards motherhood. If you are feeling in need of a boost or just some me time, contact me on 087-1917907 to book your appointment.



Anita is a registered reflexologist with the NRRI. You may be able to claim part of your treatment costs from your health insurance. Please check with them for further details.

Packing your hospital bag

Packing your hospital bag

Here is the ultimate list and tips on what to pack in your hospital bag. Anita is a GentleBirth Instructor and Doula in Ballydesmond, Co. Cork and this topic ALWAYS comes up with couples. What should I put into my hospital bags?? The guessing is no more, have a read of the suggested items and tips and adapted it to suit you.

Even if your planning a homebirth, it is always a good idea to have a small bag packed incase you or baby need to go to the hospital unexpectedly. Some of the stuff you will need regardless of where you are having your baby.

Tip #1: From around 30 weeks I would recommend to start picking up bits and pieces that you need, you don’t have to pack them just yet, but keep them all together in a basket/bag/box and tell your birth partner where they are. 

If like me you like to have a system in place when packing, I would advise having separate bags with you for each section of labour and postpartum time, try and keep your bags small as space is pretty tight in hospitals. I have broken down the list into 5 bags, don’t be alarmed it makes sense when you read through.

  1. Labour ward bag
  2. ** Birth partner bag
  3. Post birth bag
  4. Baby bag
  5. Going home bag


Labour Ward Bag: 

This is the bag you will take into the hospital with you when you are in labour. This is essential your Labour Toolkit bag. Have a read of last weeks blog post on your labour toolkit and take from it what you need. Think, what are the comfort measures you want in this bag? along with the necessary items that you will need.

  • A copy of your Birth Preference. Here is a blog post I wrote previously on the importance of having your birth preference
  • Hospital file (if you have yours, some hospitals are gone digital so you may not have one)
  • Clothes to labour in – How do you want to feel during labour? maybe a sports bra and yoga pants or shorts? Your super hero t-shirt? Loose button down shirt?
  • Swimsuit / bikini top and bottoms. If you are planning on using the pool / shower / bath, what do you want to wear? or do you prefer going natural?
  • Flip flops / slippers/ slip on sandles
  • Glasses – if you normally wear contacts it might be handy to have your glasses with you.
  • Phone with GentleBirth App and headphones. Tip #2 don’t forget to download the app on your birth partners phone so you have back up just incase you need it, you can log in using your own log in details
  • TENS machine and spare batteries and pads
  • Rescue remedy spray or dropper
  • Essential oils and carrier oil – consult a qualified aromatherapist if you plan on using essential oils
  • Positive affirmation signs/notes
  • Cold Compress
  • Warm compress Tip #3 Have some heat packs from the pharmacy in your bag, these heat up really fast and you don’t have to worry about getting hot water. 
  • Facial spray
  • lip balm
  • Hair tie and clips
  • Food and snacks, mints, chewing gum, lollipop
  • Water, fruit juice, energy drink, smoothie
  • Baby’s outfit (nappy, vest, babygro) Tip #4 Have these in a ziplock bag so it is easy to get them. Remember if your doing skin to skin, you might not need them straight away. 
  • Clean clothes or PJ’s for mom, underware and a few maternity pads

** Birth Partners Bag

This only needs to be a small little backpack or even a large ziplock bag in moms bag. It is just some of the essentials for the birth partner to have on the day.

  • A copy of your birth preference
  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Change for the carpark
  • Food and snacks
  • Water and drinks
  • Change of clothes and wash bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodrant etc. Tip #5 These can be left in the car if needed, but handy to have as hospitals can be warm regardless of the time of year and it’s nice to freshen up. 


Post Birth Bag

The post birth bag is what you will need for the remainder of your stay in the hospital. You might be in for 1-2 nights, but its no harm to have a few extra bits put aside and leave at home so if your stay is extended for whatever reason your birth partner can bring it in.

Tip #6 the post birth bag can be left in the car and your birth partner can grab it when you need it. The hospital labour rooms can be small so you don’t want too much clutter around the place. 

  • Dark coloured Pj’s x2, if your planning on breastfeeding or wanting to do skin to skin opt for button down or nursing style. Remember the heat in hospitals!! so nice loose comfortable pj’s instead of fleecy pj’s.
  • Leggings – I had a pair of leggings that I wore under a shirt style Pj top and it worked really well. My daughter was in NICU for 5 days so it was great to have this option as I didn’t feel like I was in Pj’s.
  • Nightgown – dark coloured. Honestly, I didn’t use this, I don’t normal use a night gown but if you do it might be handy to have.
  • Underwear – high waist and dark colour underwear are more comfortable, especially if you have opted for or had to have a cesarean as the high waist go above the scar.
  • Nursing bras
  • Medication (if your on medication already e.g. asthma / thyroid / diabetes etcs)
  • 2 packets of maternity pads Tip #7 Have more maternity pads or regular pads at home, I had to send my poor hubby out every day for more pads, all the hospital list said 2 packets and that is what I got, nobody mentioned about having some at home!!
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Nipple compress – I like the multimam brand, keep some at home and have in the fridge!!
  • Nipple shields – hospital usually have them
  • Phone charger
  • Arnica to help with recovery
  • Sports cap bottle for when you need to go to the loo, spraying water while weeing helps with the sting.
  • Witch hazel
  • Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, cleanser, face cream, toothbrush , toothpaste, handcream, hairbrush, hair ties and clips, make up. Tip #8 Treat yourself to some nice travel size products, you deserve it and smelling good will make you feel good. 
  • Face cloth x2
  • Bath towel and hand towel or hair turban (opt for dark colours)
  • Flip flops or slip on sandles for the shower (you might have these packed in your labour bag!)
  • Money for snacks
  • Notepad and pen, just handy to have
  • A large A4 envelop for all the information sheets you get about post pregnancy care etc.
  • Plastic Bag for dirty clothes, somehow you accumulate stuff in the hospital too so its just handy to have a spare bag.

The baby bag

I like to pack the baby stuff separate, or if you have a suitcase with 2 separate compartments you could use one side for you and one side for baby.

  • 8 vests
  • 8 babygros
  • 1-2 cardigans
  • Mittens-  we didn’t use mittens as baby’s bare hands are their first comfort and they use them to help find their way breastfeeding and as comfort. Tip #9 If you do decide to use them check if the babygro’s have mittens built into them. 
  • Baby hat – we didn’t use them, but opt for a bigger size as they tend to be small fitting
  • muslin cloths
  • Bibs
  • Soothers – be careful of using them in the early days of breastfeeding as they can lead to nipple confusion. Remember baby will want to be fed on demand and while a soother serves a purpose you want baby to be suckling to stimulate milk supply.
  • Nappies – If your opting for cloth nappies in the hospital, have a wet bag for them to go into separately and your family and friends can always take them home each day.
  • Nappy bags
  • hand sanitiser
  • Water wipes or cotton wool and water
  • Vaseline – Tip #10 we had packed sudocrem for when I was expecting my first, however the midwives in CUMH said vaseline was better as newborns poo can be quite sticky. 
  • Baby towel with hood if your opting to wash baby – we choose to not wash baby, except for top and tail.


Going Home Bag

These can all be left at home and bought in the day you get to go home

For Baby:

  • Carseat
  • Cellular blanket
  • Going home outfit

For Mom:

  • Going home outfit, pick something loose and comfortable, I like yoga pants, nursing t-shirt, flip flops or runners and zip up cardigan or a maxi dress and cardigan. Remember you will still have a little bump and you want to be comfortable
  • 2 rolled up towels that mom can sit on (The towels are placed under each butt check and thigh) to keep pressure off perineum especially if you had stitches.


I hope you found this list informative and helpful as you get your hospital bag ready. Is there anything else you packed that you found helpful? or anything you packed and didn’t need or use?

If you would like further information on the GentleBirth Workshops (group and private workshops available) or the Birth Doula service and packages that are available, you can read the links for more information or contact Anita on 087-1917907

GentleBirth FAQ

Doula Packages and Doula FAQ’s