Katy Attwood & Jo Watson discuss the Six Pillars of Birthing Wisdom to help you on the way to getting the best birth possible…
Birthing Blueprint brings together the experience of mother-of-five Katy Attwood and expert midwife of over 25 years experience, Jo Watson.
Katy has had every birth going, from an emergency cesearian section through a traumatic VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian), a natural home water birth and a natural twin birth in hospital with zero intervention. Jo has overseen the delivery of over 1000 births in her career and is passionate about women-centered care.
In the first video of the series, birthing experts Katy Attwood, mother of five, and Jo Watson, a midwife for over twenty five years, introduce us to their six pillars of birthing wisdom. Through the course of the videos, these pillars are broken down and we find out exactly what happens during pregnancy and birth, and how we can optimise our chances of having the best birth possible.
Birthing Blueprint came about from the belief that every woman deserves a positive birth experience. By dispelling popular birth myths, Katy and Jo demonstrate that for the majority of women, our bodies are perfectly equipped for birth.
This first video introduces us to how and why the woman should be at the centre of the decision-making process of what happens to her body and her baby during pregnancy and birth.
Katy and Jo discuss the importance of women-centred care. With Jo’s experience as a independent midwife, she describes how continuity of care is key for making the woman feel in control. Women-centred care gives her the power and confidence in her own ability to give birth.
The section also focuses on the West’s over-medicalised approach to the natural process of giving birth. While in some cases, medical intervention is necessary, Katy and Jo explain how for the majority of women, default practices such as monitoring can hinder, and in some cases, harm the natural progression of labour.
QUESTION: What is the monitoring called used on women in labour?
In this video, we look at the risk assessment and lack of holistic care in most modern hospitals. The standardised “one size fits all” approach means that the complete and unique needs of the woman are not taken in to account throughout the entire process.
The pair discuss the importance of promoting the idea of positive birth, and the mounting evidence that suggests how a birth that takes place in a non-medical setting is far more likely to be more straightforward and require less intervention than a hospital birth.
QUESTION: What emotion is discussed as being the most harmful to labour?
Wisdom, knowledge and intuition are all things that are not normally encouraged in pregnancy and birth. However, by doing as much research as possible and combining this with the mother’s instinctual voice, we learn how it allows you to make the best informed decisions for you and your baby.
Katy and Jo also discuss the huge role of oxytocin in labour as well the importance of an undisturbed birth.
QUESTION: What is the name given for an old caesarean scar tissue rupturing?
The whole process of becoming a mother can be overwhelming. What your attitudes are to birth dictate how your birth transpires. Not only are your thoughts, feelings and emotions pivotal to the outcome of the birth, but also those of the partner’s and the midwife’s. We also hear how patience is hugely important in having a natural, positive birth.
QUESTION: Which child birth specialist is controversially against the idea of men in the delivery room?
Being in control is at the epicentre of having a positive birthing experience. By being confident in your ability to birth, you enable yourself and your body to perform what it is built to do. The role of the midwife is also explored by looking at how their relationship with the woman can be strengthened if she enables the woman to carry out the birth that she has planned. Katy and Jo also discuss how intuition and listening to your inner voice when it comes to making a decision regarding your body should not be overlooked.
QUESTION: What is the attempt to deliver a birth vaginally after a previous caesarean birth called?
This section looks at the more esoteric practices that can aid a positive birthing experience. Hypnosis, birth art, affirmations and massage are all explored in their ability to help women relax and allow their bodies to take over the process of giving birth. The outcome of the birth can be dramatically affected by changing the language used, focusing on positive thoughts and the power of touch.
QUESTION: In this video, Jo demonstrates a pressure point which when pressed helps you feel calmer. Where is the pressure point?
The third pillar observes how the body operates during pregnancy and labour. By understanding what happens within your body, you gain the knowledge you need in order to make the best decisions for you and your birth. Katy and Jo highlight the unbelievable changes and tricks the human body performs in order to grow and house a baby. We look at the need for nutrition during pregnancy, the importance of patience and rest during the latent stage of labour and the super hormones that the body produces which help make birth possible - and if managed correctly - blissful.
QUESTION: What mineral is mentioned as vital in cell building in pregnancy?
There are a lot of things happening within the body whilst giving birth. Primal birth relates to the primeval instincts that take place when you let go and allow your body to take over. Katy and Jo also discuss the importance of optimal foetal position and how you can assist the safe delivery of the baby by movement, changing your position and the use of accessories like birthing balls.
Whilst you can easily manage your own body, the position of the baby can become an issue for a lot of medical professionals. This video shows how having a breech baby shouldn’t necessarily result in an caesarean section. Katy and Jo explain the various methods of moving the baby in to a head-first position.
QUESTION: What is another name given for the amniotic fluid?
Following your instincts is the number one rule for having an active birth. Thinking how you yourself can assist the baby’s journey through the positioning of your body can have a powerful effect on the progression of labour. Katy and Jo also highlight the miraculous work of the placenta, and its many functions within the womb. Finally, the last topic within the physiology section looks at the pelvis, and the problems that pelvic girdle pain can cause. The pair share some valuable tips on how to minimise the discomfort which affects a lot of women.
QUESTION: A caesarean section is necessary if the placenta is in a certain position in the womb. What position is that?
Birth is powerful - but it can also be empowering. Here Katy and Jo go through the various ways of achieving the birth you deserve. We look at how relaxation, which may be very difficult at times during pregnancy, is an essential part of looking after your body and baby and can be easily incorporated in to the busiest of lifestyles. This video also looks at how therapies like reflexology and massage can be a great way of allowing the right hormones to flow through the body. Water birth is also discussed as a soothing, calming and peaceful way to birth your baby.
QUESTION: What are the hormones released during massage?
Jo guides us through rebozo - a massaging technique which ‘jiggles’ the abdomen to ease tight ligaments, rotates the baby in to a good position and also soothes the woman. Katy also describes her experience of an ecstatic birth and how it is a very real possibility for the majority of women.
QUESTION: Where does the technique of rebozo come from?
The Birthing Blueprint team discuss the role of children at a home birth. Jo explains the benefits of the TENS machine as a non-invasive and non-medical form of pain relief during the latent stage of labour. We also learn about the practice of lotus births, the importance of delayed cord clamping and skin to skin after birth as well as the wonderful concept of a natural caesarean.
QUESTION: What does TENS machine stand for?
While the main aim of Birthing Blueprint is to minimise risks, problems during pregnancy and labour can occur. Katy and Jo discuss the pros and cons of diagnostic tests which set out to see if there are any underlying risks which could effect the health of the unborn child. We explore the potential problems of multiple births and Katy talks about her powerfully positive experience of a natural twin birth.
QUESTION: If a diagnostic tests picks up that you carry a high risk of having a baby with Downs Syndrome, is an amniocentesis (the procedure that gives a more precise diagnosis) mandatory?
More and more women are being tested positive for gestational diabetes - we look at what risk it poses to the unborn child, and how it can be controlled naturally. We look at how older mothers can be unfairly classed as high risk by their age alone. Obesity is discussed as another factor which is being automatically categorised as high-risk, to the detriment of a lot of women who are very able to safely carry and give birth to a healthy baby. We look at why HBAC is discouraged by most hospitals, the truth behind the scare stories and why it should not be treated with such fear.
QUESTION: What does HBAC stand for?
In this video we learn how occipito posterior can cause problems in labour and how we can remedy it with easy-to-do techniques like movement, changes in positions and birthing balls. Obstetricians can be invaluable in difficult births, however, many births should not require them. Katy and Jo discuss how women can manage their births to avoid obstetric intervention. Many women can find monitoring a hindrance to the progression of labour so Jo gives some tips to how women and midwives can find a happy medium.
QUESTION: What does occipito posterior mean?
One of the many birth horror stories is the umbilical chord wrapped around the baby’s neck - otherwise known as nuchal cord. In this video, Jo dispels the myth and explains that the only time nuchal cord should present a danger is when birth is sped up through synthetic hormones during induction - and should certainly never be feared during home births. The team also discuss the practice of putting a woman’s legs in to stirrups - also known as a lithotomy - during birth, and how it should never be an option unless a forceps delivery is planned.
QUESTION: What is syntocin?
After birth, reality hits - you are now a mother. This section of the course aims to help the woman through this bizarre, wonderful and often overwhelming stage of her life. We look at how practices that can be undertaken early on can help increase the health and happiness of both mother and baby. One of these things, delayed cord clamping, is a simple procedure which carries huge benefits for the baby. Placental encapsulation is also covered as an option undertaken by some who believe it can help stave off any hormone crashes that can trigger post natal depression in the mother.
QUESTION: What can cause problems with bonding with your baby?
We continue looking at vernix breast feeding in this section and learn of the valuable properties it holds for the newborn baby. Breast feeding can be a major issue in the days and weeks after birth, and Katy and Jo look at the difficulties women can encounter and how they can overcome these initial problems to establish a good, enjoyable breastfeeding relationship between themselves and baby. Attachment parenting is another option explored which can benefit the mother-baby relationship.
QUESTION: What is vernix?
While the joys of being a mother continue as the baby grows, looking after a little one can be lonely and isolating. We look at how meeting up with other new mothers can be vital in sharing problems, feeling yourself again, and establishing a new social circle where you share a common bond. Post natal depression is experienced by a lot of mothers, and this video explores the problem and how its symptoms can be helped and managed by not only the mother, but the people surrounding her. Finally, we look at the importance of post natal exercises for the body.
QUESTION: What is the exercise which strengthens the pelvic floor called?
My name is Katy Attwood. I am a mother of five and I have had every birth going. From induction, failed ventouse, complete epesiotomy and traumatic emergency c-section, to lithotomy vbac birth, to home water birth and finally to ecstatic, natural birth of twins - I've been there and got the t-shirt. I have also spent my motherhood researching this incredible process and together with my independent mid-wife, Jo Watson, I have created this course to educate future mothers out there on what birth is really all about. Come and join me on an entertaining and exceedingly informative journey of discovery about pregnancy, birth and beyond. Knowledge is power.
I was born at home, spent my childhood in Malawi Central Africa and as a small girl wanted to help people when I grew up! That translated in later years to me becoming a paediatric nurse caring for babies in intensive care. Nursing newborn children with complex health needs meant I had a close relationship with the parents who were very anxious and needed a lot of emotional support. I worked at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Liverpool UK and the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow Scotland where I was awarded my silver wings in recognition for my volunteer work with the Scottish Air Ambulance service.
It was following my time working with sick children and their families that I decided to become a midwife allowing me to support women throughout their pregnancies ahead of the birth of their baby. I’ve been a midwife for over 25 years and I am passionate about woman centred care, encouraging women to believe in themselves, and their body’s ability to give birth safely and naturally.
I have worked in a wealth of different settings as a midwife, NHS Consultant Delivery Units a standalone Birth Centre a Women’s prison and in the Community attending home births.
I currently work for UK Birth Centres Ltd and provide continuity of care to my own caseload of women. I have concluded that women give birth better when they know their midwife so by working this way I am able to provide the Gold Standard of Midwifery Care.