Tag Archive: Pregnancy

  1. What is hypnobirthing? 

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    It was World Hypnobirthing Day on March 21st 2022. So what is hypnobirthing, and is hypnobirthing safe? If you’re expecting a baby, read on to find out all about hypnobirthing and our new parent advice around the method.  If you’re entering your third trimester, it’s perfect timing. 

    First, what is hypnobirthing? It’s about using hypnosis and related techniques to prepare yourself for labour and the delivery of your child. It’s a reliable way to ease your fears and manage pain better naturally. Hypnosis during birth, as it does at any other time, also happens to feel absolutely lovely, leaving you feeling calm, positive, renewed, and rejuvenated. 


    How does hypnobirthing help mums to be?

    The word hypnosis describes when someone experiences changes in sensation, perception, thought or behaviour as suggested either by the hypnotist, or during self-hypnosis. It’s an idea that does back a long way but it was formalised in 1989 thanks to a book by the hypnotherapist Marie Mongan, influenced by other believers in natural birth including Drs Jonathan Dye and Grantly Dick-Read.

    Hypnobirthing involves a number of relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques designed to help mums-to-be to relax their bodies before and during labour and birth. Once your body and mind are in the completely relaxed state that hypnotism brings, the labour and birth are less painful and faster, simply because you’re not fighting it. You’re achieving the natural process of birth in a calm, positive state of mind rather than being tense and afraid. 

    The zen-like mental place you find yourself in when in a hypnotic state helps you to empty your mind and breathe your way through the birth, relaxing your body, reducing pain and letting you respond the way nature intended. A powerful blend of breathing techniques, positive thoughts, positive words and guided visualisation sits at the heart of it all. 

    When should you start hypnobirthing?

    So hypnobirthing can make your labour shorter, result in fewer interventions, and help you manage the pain naturally. You feel more in control, your baby may have a higher Apgar score as a result, and if you’ve experienced trauma during the birth process before, it’ll calm the bad memories and allow you to cope a lot better. But when is the best time to start hypnobirthing? 

    To achieve the most beneficial state of altered conscious awareness, no time is too early. Any time after your first trimester is fine. 

    How long does it take to learn hypnobirthing?

    How long does it take to learn the hypnobirthing technique? It depends, simply because everyone is different. If you’ve experienced hypnotherapy before, or you already practice self-hypnosis, it might take less time than average because you understand what it feels like, making the state of mind a little easier to achieve. It can take as little as two weeks, but it can also take longer. 6-8 weeks is perfectly normal.  As a rule the more you practice, the easier it’ll be to find and stay in that lovely state of mind before and during the birth. 

    How do I access hypnobirthing?

    As the word spreads, more companies and individual therapists are offering hypnobirthing classes, courses, and training. You can also learn online. If you have any fears or worries about labour and birth, treat yourself to hypnobirthing and feel the tension drain away. It’s a technique you can also use throughout your life whenever you start to feel stress or worry, whatever the reason. We wish you a wonderfully happy pregnancy and a super-chilled birth!  


  2. What are the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy?

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    There’s plenty of evidence to prove exercising and staying active through pregnancy and postnatally is great for your mental and physical health. Regular activity improves your emotional wellbeing, too. It reduces depression, helps with hypertensive disorders, and cuts the risk of developing gestational diabetes. But how do women balance exercise and pregnancy wisely? How much should a woman exercise when pregnant? What are the best pregnancy exercises? And are there any exercises to avoid when pregnant? Read on to find out. 

    What type of physical activity should I do while pregnant? 

    The idea is to exercise gently during pregnancy. It’s really good for you and your baby, helping you stick to a healthy weight and preparing your body for labour. The stronger and fitter you are at the stage you give birth, the better. 

    Walking is perfect. Running is fine for experienced runners, obviously not so wise if you’re pregnant and haven’t gone running before. Yoga, aerobics and pelvic floor/abdominal exercises are also ideal. 

    How much physical activity should I do while pregnant? 

    Basically, any amount of physical exercise is better than nothing. It makes sense to avoid anything too strenuous, especially in hot weather, and keep your fluid levels up. Always warm up first and down afterwards, exactly as you would when not pregnant. And make a plan to get active every single day.

    It’s interesting to know that just two and a half hours of exercise a week should be enough when you’re pregnant. And there’s no need to do it all in one go. Break it up into ten minute chunks if you like, spreading your activities throughout the day. 

    If you were exercising regularly before you became pregnant, keep it up as long as you feel comfortable. Just bear in mind it doesn’t have to be a strain to do you good. If not, start now! Kick off with 10 minutes a day, maybe a brisk walk. Then build it up steadily to your 150 minutes a week. 

    Whatever you do, listen carefully to your body. It knows best. As long as you can comfortably chat while exercising, all is well. If you’re getting out of breath, calm things down. 

    Is physical activity during pregnancy safe for all women? 

    Unless there’s a medical reason why you shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy, moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity will do you a lot of good. But there are some exercises that all pregnant women should avoid. 

    Never lie on your back for longer than a few minutes, especially after the 16 week mark. Your bump could press on blood vessels to make you feel faint and you may even pass out. Avoid any exercise where your bump might get hit, or where you risk falling. Scuba diving is not a good idea, to be avoided completely when pregnant unless you want decompression sickness and gas embolisms. And avoid exercising at more than 2500m above sea level unless that’s where you live and your body is used to the altitude. 

    About This Mum Moves 

    Are you ready to move? Need inspiration? The This Mum Moves app from Baby Buddy App provides some great general pregnancy workouts to follow.

    Maintaining a physical lifestyle will provide plenty of benefits to mum and, as a consequence, baby. Another way to help your baby is to store their precious life-saving stem cells with Biovault Family. You can find out more by downloading our brochure or talking to our team on 01752 753723.


  3. Biovault is a brilliant run company with compassion and heart

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    Portia Jett is married to British television, radio presenter and actor Ore Oduba and in October the couple had their second baby Genie, a brother to Roman. They chose to bank her precious umbilical cord blood with Biovault Family.

    Here they talk about their experience with Biovault Family.

    What was your experience like of umbilical cord blood banking with Biovault Family?

    From the moment we started the process to store Genie’s umbilical cord blood it has been so straightforward and really easy. The team, especially Jo, was on hand if we had any questions and had all the information we needed.

    How did you feel when your cord blood banking kit arrived? 

    We were both so excited! We had wanted to look into umbilical cord blood banking with Roman but never got round to it which we regret, so having the opportunity to do it this time around with Genie was brilliant. Also, the kit comes in a really beautiful, decorative box which is a bonus!

    Did it all go smoothly with the phlebotomist?

    It did, yes. The information and details supplied by Biovault make it very easy to follow especially when you are in labour and you have A LOT to think about. You are given your phlebotomist number in advance as well as a backup number just in case. So, everything is very well thought through. 

    The stem cells in cord blood can currently be used to treat more than 80 diseases. How important do you think it is to spread the word about the importance of cord blood banking?

    For us as a family, it was the right decision. If the unthinkable were ever to happen and we could save/help our children/family members with the use of the stem cells why wouldn’t you? With them being able to treat over 80 diseases it was a no brainer for us and we just hope more families look into this whilst pregnant.

    What would you say to anyone who has never heard about stem cell banking?

    Check it out! The team at Biovault are always on the other end of the phone to help talk you through the process and for you to find out more.

    What can we do to help more people become aware of the importance of banking cord blood?

    It needs to be talked about more within parenting groups maybe including NCT classes. It does come at an additional cost and we understand this, but if you can, we do believe parents should be made aware of the benefits of storing the cord before it is disposed of.

    What has your experience been like with Biovault Family?

    It’s been such a positive experience and one I would recommend to anyone. Biovault is a brilliantly run company with compassion and heart at the forefront of everything they do and they just want to help expecting parents in any way they can.

    What would be your advice for any parent’s looking to bank their baby’s cord blood?

    Definitely have a look into this if it is something that is right for you both. Ask those questions that you need answering – the team are there to always help and put your mind at ease on anything. 

    Did the process work as you expected it to? 

    As we had a very quick birth with our first we let the Biovault family and phlebotomist know this in advance so that they could get to the hospital in time. As predicted we had another quick birth and the team were great, they had our notes and when we made the call in the evening she was there at the hospital ready to store the umbilical cord blood and tissue.

    Was it easy?

    It is super easy as you are given a step by step guide for you and your birthing partner to follow, so you know exactly what to do and who to call on the day, it couldn’t be simpler. 

    What does it mean to you that you’ve chosen to bank your baby’s cord blood?

    It means a lot. Its puts our minds at rest knowing that we have those precious stem cells stored away safely for many years to come.

    Since we’ve stored the cells we’ve been telling all our friends and family about it and everyone has been so surprised how brilliant it is and how it’s not widely known about. So we are happy to be spreading the word.

    Interested? Find out more

    If you’d like to know more about cord blood banking for your little one, you can download our brochure to find out more or you can chat with our lovely team who can explain the amazing benefits of saving the precious stem cells found in cord blood and cord tissue.

  4. I’m pregnant. How do I prepare for my unborn baby?

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    How lovely. What great news. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    If this is your first child, you’ll be keen to get yourself organised in good time and stay organised throughout the pregnancy, so when the big day arrives you’re ready to welcome your new baby. Here are some handy tips to help you get a grip, get your act together, and get properly prepared for the biggest, most exciting experience of your life!  

    How do I prepare for my unborn baby?

    There’s a lot to do to prepare for your new baby. This involves buying equipment and supplies, preparing your home, ensuring dad is on board and happy, and taking good care of your own mind, body and spirit. 

    It’s a good idea to get busy early, giving yourself the time you need to prepare before you’re too big and clumsy to do it comfortably.  Get it right and the last couple of months of your pregnancy will be nice and relaxing rather than one big rush. 

    Lists are a life-saver! A checklist really helps. Here are some of the essentials around preparing for a new baby. 

    • Find out about maternity leave paternity leave and any maternity-related benefits you might be able to claim, both at work and from the government
    • Stock up on bubble bath and fragrant oils to soothe your sore bits and help you relax during the pregnancy and after giving birth 
    • Create a pregnancy exercise plan and get going early so you’re in the swing of it 
    • Take the right supplements and eat the right foods – maybe collect together a list of recipes that give you all the nutrition you and the baby need 
    • Stop smoking and drinking 
    • Make the appointments you need to make with your doctor, midwife, dentist, and maternity unit – and visit the unit so you know where to go on the big day
    • Find a great antenatal class 
    • Ask your friends and family for their best tips for coping with a new baby
    • Read baby development books and websites   
    • Have the right screens and tests done, including one where you hear the baby’s heart beating
    • Create your birth plan
    • Understand the signs of labour and false labour
    • Pack your hospital bag, keep it somewhere convenient 
    • Talk everything through with your birth partner so they know what their responsibilities will be and how to support you 
    • Buy baby equipment – a carrycot or pram, bed, toys, clothing, medicines and more
    • Create a cosy, attractive nursery decorated ready for the baby
    • Prepare and brief your parents, cousins, nephews, nieces and everyone else on your babysitting team 😉 
    • Make sure you have at least a week’s worth of meals in the freezer so you don’t have to think about cooking for a while
    • Know that your sleep will be disrupted, know you’ll be utterly exhausted, but prepare for the biggest, most fundamental, most powerful rush of love you’re ever likely to feel! 

    Where can I find good pregnancy information?

    The internet is your best friend, providing a massive choice of websites created especially to support new parents every step of the way. It can be helpful to read about other parents’ experiences, issues and problems, to get an idea of the sheer variety of different things to expect. Sites like Mumsnet, with their own talk forums, are hugely popular with new parents, and the NHS website contains a wealth of useful and inspiring information about every aspect of pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing.    

    Is there pregnancy support from the NHS?

    The NHS website contains  advice about domestic abuse in pregnancy, feelings and relationships in pregnancy, and what you can expect when you give birth to a child who has a medical condition. They offer supporting information around teen pregnancy and termination for foetal anomaly, knowledge about what to do when pregnancy goes wrong, and more.  

    When should I start preparing baby stuff?

    ‘The earlier the better’ is the answer to this common question!  The bigger your lump gets, the heavier and more cumbersome you’ll feel, and the harder it is to nimbly achieve the many things you need to get sorted before the birth.  

    Your first step? To write the mother of all lists. Your second step – to work your way steadily, logically through the list until you’ve covered everything. 

    Think about umbilical cord blood collection and storage

    One last thing. Have you thought about saving your baby’s umbilical cord blood? Collect it, keep it in our vaults and you’ll enjoy an increasingly powerful way to ensure your child and wider family’s health in the future. 

    Stem cells from cord blood can treat immune system disorders, genetic disorders, neurological disorders, and some kinds of cancer. They can treat some metabolic diseases, sickle-cell anaemia, diseases of the blood, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and there’s great potential for easing spinal cord injuries. Particularly potent stem cells, they regenerate the blood and immune system in people whose genetics match, making umbilical stem cells a potential gold mine for healthcare. Cord blood includes 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow and rarely contains infectious diseases, so they’re 50% or so less likely to be rejected compared with stem cells taken from grown-ups. 

    If that sounds good, why not explore the potential for yourself? Download our brochure or book a consultation with our friendly team of experts.


    No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


  5. What to expect in the third trimester?

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    Only a few weeks to go… how exciting! If you’re wondering what’s going to happen to your body and your fast-growing baby during the last segment of your pregnancy, here’s what to expect in the third trimester. 

    What to expect in the third trimester 

    Let’s go through the basics first. When does your third trimester actually begin? It starts around the 28 week mark and lasts until the birth itself, so in total it’s about 13 weeks. Plenty of babies stay inside past the 40 week mark. If you haven’t given birth by week 41 or 42 you will probably be overdue and your doctor might recommend inducing labour. 

    What symptoms will I get in my third trimester? 

    Look out for lots more activity from your baby as they grow and change, and as your body responds to the changes.  

    • Nausea or morning sickness often goes away after the first trimester but if you’re having twins – or more! – it can stick around until you give birth
    • Headaches can be triggered by a lack of sleep, smells, stress, being too hot and more. Regular meals, exercise and sleep routine should help, along with time to chill and smell the coffee

    What happens to the baby in the third trimester?

    • In the third trimester your baby’s brain grows even faster 
    • Your baby grows a lot, from around 2.5 pounds and 16 inches long in week 28 to 6-9 pounds and as long as 22 inches in week 40 
    • Baby cartilage turns into bone in months 7-8, so eat lots of calcium-rich foods 
    • By week 32 their skin becomes opaque 
    • Week 36 sees fat continuing to accumulate as your baby sheds vernix, the waxy covering that protects their skin from your amniotic fluid
    • They also shed their lanugo, a warm furry coat  
    • In the last few weeks the baby’s first poo, called meconium, starts to build up inside them 
    • By week 29-30 their touch receptors are fully developed and they can get signals from all their five senses 
    • Sometime around the 34th week they take the pre-birth heads-down, bottom-up position. If they’re in the breech position your doctor will probably turn them around at week 37

    What should I worry about during the third trimester?

    If you have any of these symptoms, get medical help: 

    • Heavy vaginal bleeding
    • Severe vaginal pain
    • Severe pain in the lower abdomen
    • A high fever over 101.5 Fahrenheit 
    • Sudden mysterious weight gain

    Things to avoid in the third trimester 

    It makes sense not to venture too far from home during the third trimester. Here are some other things to be wary of.  

    • Avoid lying on your back, which forces the baby and bump down so it compresses the vein carrying blood to your heart 
    • Steer clear of hot tubs and saunas to avoid getting too hot
    • Make your baths a maximum of 37C
    • Don’t exercise in hot weather 
    • Avoid alcohol completely 
    • Don’t eat raw or undercooked foods, which can contain infectious bacteria 
    • Don’t drink unpasteurised milk or juice 
    • Avoid soft cheeses like Brie and feta unless they’re pasteurised 

    What are the signs labour is going to happen?    

    • By around the 36th week you start to waddle as your baby drops into position 
    • Bloody show is a mucus tinged pink or brown with blood, a sign labour is underway 
    • You’ll feel pelvic pressure and cramps in the groin as the cervix starts to dilate 
    • Your waters can break at this time, but might not break until later
    • You’ll get Braxton Hicks contractions, which tend to ease as you move around 
    • You’ll eventually get labour contractions, which get worse the more you move

    What are the signs of labour? 

    Backaches are very common pre-labour thanks to the pregnancy hormone Relaxin, which loosens the joints ready for the birth. Backache also happens when your growing bump pulls your centre of gravity forward. It helps to put your feet up. You might also feel a very sharp pain in your back down your legs, which could be sciatica.

    Varicose veins in the lower body are common simply because of all the extra blood you’re pumping around. These should disappear once you’ve given birth. Stretch marks are mostly down to your genes – simply moisturise and hope for the best. 

    Prelabour diarrhoea can turn up when the muscles in your rectum and elsewhere loosen in preparation for the birth. And the large ligaments that support your abdomen can start to ache as they struggle to hold up your bump. You might feel cramps or sharp pains. There’s nothing you can do about it except relax. 

    Your body and your baby are working hard in the background, and all that hard work leaves you feeling very tired. Eat well and often, stay active, and get as much sleep as you can. When your uterus pushes your stomach upwards you might end up with acid reflux.

    Lightning crotch is quite dramatic, as you can tell by the name! No one knows for sure what causes it but it feels like a sharp shock to the crotch area. Some say it’s the baby pressing on a nerve. Whatever the cause, it helps to change positions and it should only last for seconds. 

    Cramped legs, peeing every five minutes and general aches are the norm in the third trimester, which often means insomnia. If it becomes too much to handle, talk to your doctor. When you sleep, you might get all sorts of strange dreams. And because you’re off-balance thanks to your belly you might find you’re a lot clumsier than usual. 

    Bladder control can become tricky with the extra weight on your pelvic floor. Your boobs will grow like mad. You can easily put on 8 to 10 pounds in the third trimester, but you can just as easily shed a few pounds at the end of month nine.

    Things to do during the third trimester 

    Here are some essentials to add to your third trimester checklist. 

    • Count your baby’s kicks from week 28 and watch out for changes in month 9 
    • Watch the weight gain. If you haven’t put enough on or have gained too much, your doctor can help you get back on track 
    • Keep exercising right up to your due date 
    • Have all the relevant third trimester checkups: glucose screening by week 28 or early in month 7. An anaemia test at about month 7, a group B strep test in month 9, and your month 9 cervical examination 
    • Familiarise yourself with the hospital
    • Pick a paediatrician
    • Buy baby clothing and equipment  
    • Enjoy your childbirth classes and learn all you can 
    • Prepare either for breastfeeding or bottle feeding 
    • Know what to expect from labour – including how you want to manage the pain 
    • Make a birth plan
    • Set up the nursery
    • Do a big supermarket shop so you’re well stocked at home 
    • Pack your hospital bag
    • Learn what to expect after the birth

    Now you know what to expert in the third trimester. Have you thought about collecting cord blood? 

    Will you collect your baby’s cord blood?

    It makes sense to consider collecting your baby’s cord blood immediately after the birth, to store for the future. It could save their life one day. Make the decision in good time and have your collection kit ready in your hospital bag. You can find out all about umbilical cord blood collection here

    This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the Biovault Family website.

  6. Covid 19? What it means for mums-to-be

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    None of us has seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic before. We are facing the worst public health crisis in a generation, and the virus is quickly affecting just about every aspect of people’s lives, including the birth of our children.

    Understandably, many mums-to-be are asking if the Covid19 can be passed to the baby in utero. The virus and protocols are so new that limited information is available but there has been some encouraging news for pregnant women who may be exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease.

    According to a new observational study on women with COVID-19 in their third trimester of pregnancy, the virus does not appear to travel across the placenta from mother to cause infection of the fetus.

    In China, where the outbreak began, 38 documented cases of pregnant women in China diagnosed with COVID-19 were observed.

     All women, between the ages of 26 and 40, were in their third trimester when they developed the infection. All women affected delivered via C-section. Thirty hours after birth, a newborn from a coronavirus-infected mother also tested positive for the virus.

    To confirm if the virus was transmitted before, during or after birth, physicians and researchers looked at samples of amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, breast milk and samples from the newborn’s throat. It was concluded a mother does not pass the virus to the baby in utero. Physicians suspect the baby was infected after touching the mother.

    Significantly, as of the observational study’s publication date, there were no confirmed cases of prenatal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from mother to infant. 

    In those cases where amniotic fluid, placentas, umbilical cord blood and throat swabs of newborns were tested, all were negative for the virus despite some cases of pre- and post-birth complications. Fortunately, in the 38 women evaluated in this article, COVID-19 does not appear to cause maternal death which is reassuring at this moment in time for mums-to-be.

    These practical tips are very important to follow in order to reduce risk of infection:

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    • Vaccinations – Stay up to date on vaccinations, including the influenza vaccine.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Maintain at least six feet of distance from anyone exhibiting obvious symptoms.

    • Stay home when you are sick.


    References https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30365-2/fulltext

    stem cell preservation

    BSc (Hons) Microbiology

    Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

    Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.