HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Thinking of having a home birth?

Posted on 17 March 2015 by faguet

If you like the idea of having that first cuddle in your own home, new guidance was published last year by NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) that might help: statistics show that home birth is just as safe as hospital birth for low risk women having their second child or more. So if your pregnancy is going well, you are in good health and your first delivery was straightforward, then you could think about planning a home birth.  But even if this is your first baby, it could be right for you too - your midwife will help you decide.  And don't worry, you can change your mind at any time and have your baby in a birth centre or labour ward.

On the day, two midwifes are usually present, one arriving earlier during labour and one just before delivery.  This means that, in an emergency, one midwife can care for you and one for your baby. 

A few weeks prior to your due date, you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate equipment at home as well as your normal maternity bag.  Here are some of the things you might need:

·         plastic sheet to protect floor, sofa or bed

·         old towels or sheet to put onto of the plastic sheet

·         containers in case you feel sick during labour

·         a warm blanket - bin liner

·         a desk light for your midwife

·         clean warm towels for the baby or baby blanket.


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Managing your stress during your pregnancy

Posted on 16 March 2015 by Amber



Managing stress during pregnancy

For most mums-to-be, pregnancy is a happy and exciting time.  However, for some, pregnancy can be a source of stress and anxiety.  We all know about the importance of physical health during pregnancy, but we can be less likely to consider the effects of emotional health.

Experiencing occasional stress and anxiety during pregnancy is very normal, and for many women, these feelings will come and go.  However, for around 15% or pregnant women, it can be more serious, and potentially harmful.

Rest assured that most women will go onto have a healthy pregnancy and baby even if they’re stressed. 

But if you’re feeling stressed and anxious all the time, don’t struggle on alone, ask your doctor or midwife for help.  There’s some evidence that continuous high levels of stress may have adverse effects on your baby.  It’s thought that the stress hormone, cortisol, can cross the placenta and impact the baby’s brain development.  High levels of chronic stress can also increase your chance of premature labour or a low birth weight baby.

Whist you mustn’t feel guilty or be hard on yourself, trying to overcome your stress or seeking help if you need to, will be beneficial for both you and your baby.

Here are some positive steps you can take to reduce your stress during pregnancy:

Talk about it
Sharing your concerns and feelings with your partner, friends, or family will help relieve some of your anxiety.  Don’t bottle things up.  Turning to others for support and sharing your concerns can really help you feel better. 

If you have worries about your baby’s wellbeing, or a personal matter, you can always turn to your caregiver.  There are many resources out there, so if you are honest about how you feel, you are more likely to get the support you need.

Talking to other mums-to-be can be another excellent source of support, as they’re probably experiencing the same anxieties as you are.  There are plenty of antenatal, exercises or mum-to-be classes available, where you can meet others in the same position as you.

Rest and relaxation
Make slowing down a priority.  You need to be kind to yourself and allow time to rest without feeling guilty.  Treat yourself to some ‘you’ time and put your feet up, have a long bath, or read a good book.  If you feel exhausted, go to bed early or take a nap if you can.  Growing a baby is tiring work and it’s important to listen to your body and get all the rest you need.

Complementary therapies are another great way to unwind.  Reflexology or massage in particular can be a wonderful way to de-stress.  Many spa and beauty salons provide pregnancy treatments, but if you don’t want to put money aside, you can always ask your partner or a close friend or family member to give you a back, neck or foot massage.

Deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or stretching are wonderful to relieve built up stress and tension.  You can teach yourself meditation, breathing exercises and visualisation techniques, they’re free, and you can do them anywhere.  These are ways of relaxing by concentrating your mind on one thing and they’re often used in yoga.

Try to find a pregnancy yoga class near you.  However, if you can’t join a class for whatever reason, there are many pregnancy yoga DVDs available, allowing you to practice in the comfort of your own home.

Look after yourself
If you’re used to caring for others, give your all at work, or find it hard to say “no”, making yourself a priority may seem unnatural, or even selfish.  But looking after yourself is an essential part of looking after your baby.  Now’s as good a time as any to get rid of the notion that you can do it all.  Practice saying “no” and get used to the idea of asking your friends and family for help. 

Take good care of your body and your mental health will improve too.  Do your best to eat healthy food, drink plenty of water and take regular gentle exercise such as walking or swimming. 

Laughter is one of the body’s best ways of relaxing, so meet up with friends, go out for a meal or watch a film at the cinema.

Pregnancy is also a great time to treat yourself to all the treatments you don’t normally splash out on or have time for.  If your bump gets too big to paint your toe nails, have a pedicure, or create your own pampering session at home if you’re saving money.

Prepare for the birth
If the prospect of giving birth is worrying you, learning more about what happens during labour can make you feel more in control and less anxious.  Understanding the process, stages of labour and most importantly, your choices, can put your mind at rest.

Being prepared can really help relieve stress.  Antenatal classes are a great way of being well informed, and if you’re having your baby at a hospital or birth centre, you may be able to have a tour of the delivery suite, or an online tour should be available.  Having a birth plan written up is also one less thing to worry about. 

Speak to your midwife about your worries.  Most likely they are completely normal and you won’t be the only woman having had the same anxieties.  If your fear of birth is so overwhelming, the right support may help you overcome your doubts.  Hypnobirthing is also a great way of feeling positive about the birth.

Money worries
Times are financially difficult for many people at the moment, and with a baby on the way, it can cause considerable stress for some.  But try not to worry; a baby doesn’t actually need that much in the early stages.  Try and write a list of the essential things you really need and stick to it.  You’ll also probably be pleasantly surprised by how much you can borrow, or get things in great condition second hand.

Make sure you know about your entitlements regarding maternity pay, and you may also be entitled to other supplementary benefits too.  Speak to your midwife as they may be able to help you with equipment grants or pointing you in the direction of Charities that will give you good quality cots and prams for example.

What if your stress continues?
If you’re extremely anxious, feel unable to cope or manage your stress, or have a specific reason to be concerned about your baby’s health, consult with your care giver.  They may be able to recommend some professional counselling.  Some women can also experience depression during pregnancy, and this can be treated, so talking to your doctor or midwife can really help.




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Weight management before and during pregnancy

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Helen

Hello again,

The statistics are quite alarming - half of the UK population is now either overweight or obese. This has a huge impact on the health of the individuals involved, and on the NHS and UK economy. Women of childbearing age are very much at risk of the adverse effects of obesity. Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is associated with increased pregnancy complications (e.g. pre-eclampsia, diabetes, high blood pressure) and adverse outcomes for both mothers and babies, and is a major risk factor for childhood obesity.

In May 2012 the British Medical Journal* published an article by a team of medical researchers which challenges the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines from 2010 which state that dieting during pregnancy is not recommended and may harm the unborn child. These researchers undertook a review of 44 previous studies involving more than 7000 obese or overweight pregnant women to establish the effects of dietary and lifestyle interventions on pregnancy outcomes. They concluded from these studies that following a healthy diet and limiting calorie intake during pregnancy to manage excessive weight and pregnancy weight gain can significantly reduce the risk of complications for you and your baby and did not affect babies’ birth weights.

If you are overweight or obese and you are thinking of having a baby, it makes sense to try to lose some weight before you conceive. If you are already pregnant then you shouldn’t be aiming to lose weight during your pregnancy, but you should manage any weight gain carefully and not gain more than has been recommended to you by your doctor or midwife. You should be eating sensibly – have a look at our advice on a balanced pregnancy diet.

If you'd like to share your experiences with us we'd love to hear how you've got on; were you able to lose weight before you conceived or how much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?

Bye for now.

* http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/585053/field_highwire_article_pdf/0.pdf


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Ideal foods for your hospital bag

Posted on 22 February 2012 by Helen

Hi Everyone!

So are you nearly there? After what may have seemed an eternity, is your pregnancy nearing the end? 

For those of you at this stage, you may well be thinking about packing your bag that you take with you to the hospital and wondering what snacks or drinks to put in it. Of course what you take will depend on your favourites and what you think you might fancy, but some suggestions that I can recommend to help keep your energy levels up and to keep you well hydrated during your labour might be dried fruit, dry biscuits, cereal bars, glucose tablets and bottles of water or isotonic sports drinks. Of course these are all things that you can pack in advance, but on the day you might think of adding some extras, such as some fresh fruit, a sandwich or a yogurt. Don’t worry about whether these foods are healthy or not, but I suggest you keep away from any foods high in fats as these can make you feel very uncomfortable and may make you be sick!

Often mums in labour aren’t really thinking about food at all or may not be able to face eating anything. But if your labour is dragging on a bit, or if you do feel like eating something, then I suggest you stick to nibbling on snacks. A big meal will probably not be an option and you really won’t feel like it anyway. It’s a good idea to keep any eating or drinking during labour to ‘little and often’ and probably only in the early stages of labour.

Depending on how long your labour lasts, you may or may not need the glucose tablets to keep you going and the isotonic sports drinks may or may not be necessary, but best to go prepared.

And as for foods that might bring on your labour and therefore your hospital trip? - we did a survey of nearly 1800 new mums and perhaps not surprisingly of the mums that responded to the question “If you ate a particular food to try and bring on labour, what was it and did it work?”, eating ‘spicy food’ including curries came out as top favourite choice, followed by drinking red raspberry leaf tea and eating pineapple. In many cases these didn’t work, but many would argue they were worth a try!

Good luck with your preparations.

Best wishes,


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Not eating for two, staying healthy for two!

Posted on 8 February 2012 by Helen

Hello again,

Looking after yourself during your pregnancy is important for you and will also give your baby the best start in life. I believe, and I hope you will all agree, that making sure your diet is as good as it can be makes good sense at this special time, to optimise your own health and also that of your growing baby. 

During pregnancy, you should eat as wide a variety of different foods as possible to make sure you get all the nourishment you both need. Where there might be concerns that dietary intake might not be enough to meet requirements then supplements are recommended. This is considered to be the case with folic acid which is so important in the early stages of pregnancy, and vitamin D supplements are recommended nowadays too. Speak to your doctor if you want more information on vitamin supplements, or if it’s easier then the NHS website is really helpful. 

For advice on healthy eating during pregnancy, rather than me listing it all out here, can I ask you to visit the HiPP website.

Here you will find lots of valuable information about your pregnancy diet, foods to avoid, recipes to try and what to do if you have concerns about food allergies. And if you have any questions that you can’t find answers for, you can always ask either me or one of my colleagues and we will be more than happy to help if we can.

Good luck with your pregnancy.

Until next time...



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