The majority of labour is pain free.

The majority of labour is pain free.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I was lying if I was to tell you that you won’t experience any pain at all for the majority of your labour….77% of your labour in fact. Well I’m not lying and its a stat that literally lights up my client’s eyes and certainly put everything into perspective during the birth of my son.

This mathematical masterpiece comes courtesy of Milli Hill, author of The Positive Birth Book, an absolute must read for anyone preparing to give birth.

As Milli explains, the average surge lasts for one minute and the first stage of labour, when our cervix is dilating, lasts on average, eight hours.

During your first hour, you may experience three surges. That’s three minutes.

Things may increase during the second hour and you may experience a surge every 10 minutes. That’s six minutes.

During the third hour, your surges may increase to five minutes apart. That’s 12 minutes.

Throughout the final five hours you’re likely to experience the ultimate, ‘3 in 10’, three surges, every ten minutes which equates to 18 surges in an hour. That’s 90 minutes over the five hour period.

So we have a total of 111 minutes of an eight hour labour where you are experiencing any kind of pain or sensation. The other 369 minutes (77%) is completely and utterly pain free.

Milli also reminds us that in fact its only really the 20 seconds at the peak of the surge that is the actual painful bit. The first 20 seconds of the surge is the build up and the last 20 seconds is the come down. So out of 480 minutes of labour we’re now looking at just 37 minutes of discomfort. Pretty impressive huh? 

Louisa McDonald


Did Kate Middleton have ‘The perfect birth?’

Did Kate Middleton have ‘The perfect birth?’

When the Duchess of Cambridge emerged on the hospital steps just four hours after giving birth to Prince Louis, jaws dropped around the world.

How is it possible to look that good a matter of hours after having a baby? She certainly proved that she was not too posh to push, there’s no way she would have been standing there, waving at the world’s media, if she had undergone a C-section earlier that day.

Kate Middleton has now confirmed that she used hypnobirthing techniques for all of her babies and while I’m sure we will never find out exactly what went on in that birth suite, I’ve heard many people say she must have had ‘the perfect birth.’ But what does that actually mean?

Some think that to achieve the perfect birth it has to be quick, natural, drug free and set to a backdrop of relaxing music and battery powered candlelight. And of course many people achieve exactly that.

However while this may be the dream, if it doesn’t work out that way it does it mean you have failed? Does it mean you did not achieve ‘the perfect birth?’ Not at all.

There is a staggering amount of evidence suggesting that by visualising exactly what you want will help you to achieve your goals and therefore it’s hugely beneficial to focus on your perfect birth experience throughout your pregnancy. However it is more important to remember that in fact, the perfect birth is simply the birth that was right for you and your baby on the day. Not what was right for me, or your sister, or the future Queen of England, but for you.

I literally can not emphasise enough that it doesn’t have to be painless, easy and involve Tibetan chanting for it to be perfect.

The perfect birth is where you are able to look back and know that you were calling the shots.

The perfect birth is being able to reflect on your experience positively and cherish the memory of the first time you met your baby.

The perfect birth is where you know you were in the driving seat, completely in control, even if that meant making the decision to hand over to the experts due to special circumstances.

The perfect birth can be raw, powerful, exhilarating and breathtaking.

The techniques included in The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme will not only enable you to let go of any fears you may be holding onto around childbirth, it will teach you how to stay calm and relaxed while empowering you to take control of your birth experience. In other words, this means failing to achieve the perfect birth is simply not an option. 

And let’s be honest, if it’s good enough for a Princess, it’s good enough for you.

Louisa McDonald.



ESTIMATED due date

ESTIMATED due date

After the news sinks in that the little blue line on the white stick means you are in fact pregnant, your next thought instantly turns to when is my little bundle of joy going to make an appearance. Obviously, Google will know the answer so we get out our phones, answer a few simple questions and are presented with a date. A date that we have no control over. A date when our lives will change forever. A date that we will be counting down to over the coming months.

Everyone asks about the due date, our nearest and dearest set reminders on their calendars, its written on all our medical notes, highlighted and underlined twice, at 12 weeks we are even invited to a dating scan to check the date. The date is important, there’s no doubt about that but if it’s being referred to as an ‘Estimated Due Date’ (EDD) how accurate is it?

Well, the truth is, not very. We still use Dr Franz Naegele’s method of calculation that he publicised all the way back in 1812. A theory based on information found in the bible, that a pregnancy lasts 10 lunar months. More specifically, Naegele’s rule calculates the estimated due date by adding one year, subtracting three months, then adding seven days to the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. Obviously, the rule doesn’t take into account differing lengths of menstrual cycles, actual conception dates or how long it took for the sperm to reach the egg, which believe it or not can take up to four days!

The Royal College of Midwives states that the average pregnancy lasts anywhere between 37-42 weeks. This means less than 5% of babies are actually born on their due date. For the vast majority of pregnant mums, they either never make it that far, or the date just comes and goes like any other day, except they feel that little bit heavier and they have replied to over a dozen messages with the words, ‘no sign of any movement yet’!

If your Estimated Due Date changes as the result of your dating scan, hospitals will consider the scan date to be the most accurate. It’s important to remember however, that not only are scans not 100% accurate, women are all different and our babies grow at different rates.

The number of days hospitals will be happy for you to go over your due date before they are keen to induce varies from trust to trust, a further indication that there are no hard and fast rules about Estimated Due Dates.

As I approached two weeks overdue with my first child, I was under pressure from my midwives to be induced. Thankfully by 40 weeks + 12 days, I went into labour naturally and my daughter was born at a tiny but perfect 6lbs, 6oz. She clearly was nowhere near ready to make an appearance on my ESTIMATED due date.

If you find yourself going past that all-important due date and you are starting to face pressure from your midwife to schedule an induction, here’s a few things to consider when making your decision:

  • How accurate do you think your estimated due date really is? A few days could make all the difference.
  • What is the hospital policy and how does this compare to the national NICE guidelines?
  • What are the risks of being induced vs. the risks of waiting for labour to start naturally?
  • What are the alternatives to being induced? Generally, hospitals will want to regularly monitor you when you pass a particular date.
  • What is your intuition telling you? Remember, only you know how you really feel.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget that you are in charge of all decisions when it comes to birthing your baby. It is absolutely ok to decline an induction if it is not what you want so work with your midwives to find an alternative instead.

And while you’re waiting, get drinking that raspberry leaf tea, go for a hike and start walking up the stairs sideways. You never know, it might just do the trick!

For more information check out the Born 2 Birth website,

Louisa McDonald, Born 2 Birth.



Ten reasons why hypnobirthing is right for you and your baby

Ten reasons why hypnobirthing is right for you and your baby

If you’re anything like me, finding out your pregnant can be both exciting and daunting in equal measures. Half of you sticks your bump out proudly wherever you go, while the other half is quietly panicking inside…..what will labour be like? How will I cope with the pain? How on earth am I going to prepare for this massive life-changing event?

Well, the good news is, you don’t have to worry about any of those things, or the other hundred issues swirling about your mind. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all you had to think about is the excitement of meeting your beautiful baby for the very first time? This is how I felt after doing The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme. Not only did it prepare me for two amazing births, but it changed my perspective so much I have now trained to become an instructor myself.

The vast amount of pregnant women attend some form of antenatal education during their pregnancy. Of course these sessions are packed with interesting and relevant information to guide you through your pregnancy and birth but do they really give you EVERYTHING you need when you’re preparing for the most important day of your life?

Unlike traditional antenatal courses, Born 2 Birth’s Wise Hippo Birthing Programme focusses on providing you with the tools you and your birthing partner need to make sure you have the right birth on the day.

1. You will learn about the physiology of birth and how our mind impacts our body.
2. You will learn valuable tools to enable you to become an expert in deep relaxation.
3. You will learn how to look at birth as a positive, exciting experience.
4. You will release any fears you may have about birthing your baby so that you can become relaxed and confident.
5. You will learn how to make informed decisions that will support you through your pregnancy and birth to ensure you have the right birth on the day.
6. You are more likely to birth naturally and are less likely to need pain relief.
7. You will be able to remain calm and in control no matter what path your birthing takes.
8. You will feel more prepared for your babies arrival on both a practical and emotional level.
9. Your birthing partner will learn about their role and how they can best support you on the day.
10. You can make sure that the birth of your baby becomes a memory you will always cherish.

For more information check out the Born 2 Birth website,

Louisa McDonald, Born 2 Birth.