Despite the petition, it’s not looking hopeful that the Men B vaccine will be routine

Catching up on the Meningitis B stories that have been in the news recently, I came across this on the Guardian website:

Following recent publicity of older children affected by meningococcal disease, a petition calling for MenB vaccine to be offered to all children up to 11 years old has been signed by more individuals than any other in UK parliamentary history in the space of only a few days. Seeing the graphic images of desperately sick children in the news, it is no surprise that so many signatures have been gathered. No one would wish to deny any child protection against such a dreadful illness, which can not only kill a previously healthy child in a matter of hours, but can result in life-changing complications such as limb amputations. But according to these articles on the Guardian website…it looks like it all comes down to money (no surprise there!).

Men B vaccine not cost-effective

Why is the meningitis vaccine funded only for babies and are there any risks?

What do you think?


Read about the vision of the National Maternity Review 2016

Maternity services in England must become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family-friendly. That’s the vision of the National Maternity Review, which earlier this week (23 February) published its recommendations for how services should change over the next five years.

In her opening statement of the Review Baroness Julia Cumberlege, Independent Chair, National Maternity Review, says: “The birth of a child should be a wonderful, life-changing time for a mother and her whole family. It is a time of new beginnings, of fresh hopes and new dreams, of change and opportunity. It is a time when the experiences we have can shape our lives and those of our babies and families forever. These moments are so precious, and so important. It is the privilege of the NHS and healthcare professionals to care for women, babies and their families at these formative times.”

Sadly too many births in recent years have not been positive experiences and the NHS, and this review, sets out steps in which to change that.

Read more on the NHS site or read the National Maternity Review directly here.

Magical Baby Moments

This article was written by Magical Baby Moments. Magical Baby Moments offers group hypnobirthing classes in Romford, and one-to-one classes across Essex and London.

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Hypnobirthing Essentials Course

If you are late into your preganacy and feel you don’t have the time to do the full Hypnobirthing Course, there is a short course of one evening that teaches you the essential tools for breathing, relaxation and visualisation.

Also known at the Hypnobirthing Refresher course, you will learn and practice several realxation scripts and breathing techniques to help you quickly relax and focus during labour. We will also cover the power of the mind and how by using visualisations during labour, can assist you in your progression.

If you prefer to have a full understanding of what hypnobirthing is; knowing the physiological changes that happen during labour, what the role of the birthing partner is and much more, then the full hypnobirthing course would better suit your needs.

To find out more, go to or call on 07764 680 215

Magical Baby Moments

Magical Baby Moments offers group hypnobirthing classes in Romford, and one-to-one classes across Essex and London.

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Group B Strep – it’s good to know

You may have heard of Group B Strep (AKA GBS or Strep B) before, but what exactly is it?

Group B Strep (GBS) is common bacterium which is normally quite harmless. Around one in five of us naturally carry GBS in our bodies, and it has no symptoms.

In relatively rare cases, GBS can cause serious infection in newborn babies – typically sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies (about 1 in 1,000 births), and of meningitis in babies under 3 months.

The good news is that most GBS infections in newborn babies can be prevented with the careful use of antibiotics in labour.

So how do I know I’m carrying GBS? Will I be tested for it?
Not as a matter of routine. Many developed countries, such as the USA, France and Switzerland, run antenatal screening programmes for GBS (usually at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy). But in the UK, we don’t specifically test for GBS, although GBS may show up in tests that are done for other reasons, such as swabs taken to check out vaginal discharge. The NHS test done in this situation isn’t specifically looking for GBS and will often miss it even when it’s present.

There is a much better, more reliable test available called the ECM (Enriched Culture Medium) test which, although available privately for around £35, is rarely available in the NHS.  One of the things national charity Group B Strep Support is pressing for through the ‘Why Guess when you can test? campaign is making the ECM test widely available through the NHS.

Some NHS trusts do use the ECM test, so it’s worth asking – and listed here are the places which offer the ECM test, both NHS and privately (including a home-testing pack).

Prevention better than cure
There are certain situations that increase the chance of a newborn baby developing GBS infection. These are known as ‘risk factors’, and include: GBS being detected during the current pregnancy, Mum having a raised temperature during labour, labour starting before 37 weeks of pregnancy and waters breaking 18 or more hours before your baby is born.

UK guidelines recommend that that a pregnant Mum should be offered antibiotics in labour if GBS has been detected during the current pregnancy, if she’s previously had a baby with GBS infection, and if she has a fever in labour. These antibiotics massively reduce the risk of the newborn baby developing a group B Strep infection.

Most GBS infections in babies show within their first two days, though more rarely, these can develop up to around 3 months of age (after which, they are very rare indeed).

Researchers around the world are working on developing a vaccine that will one day prevent almost all GBS infection in babies, but it’s early days. The vaccine won’t be available for at least the next 10-15 years, if not longer.

While many pregnant Mums who have GBS detected during their pregnancies will want antibiotics in labour, not all will – others may decide not to have them unless there are additional risk factors. Whatever a Mum chooses, knowing about group B Strep when you’re pregnant means you can, working with your health professionals, make an informed decision about what is right for you, and your baby.


The Group B Strep Support website has a wealth of information and frequently asked questions for parents to be, as well as links to professional guidelines, research papers, and free informative leaflets/posters.

This post has been written by Group B Strep Support, they’re very friendly and love to chat about group B Strep (no surprise there) – do email or call them with your questions and concerns | 01444 416176


What if you needed a c-section? Make it more personal to you

No one knows what birth is going to be like. However it is good for all parents-to-be to know that hospitals are now offering the parents choices about how they can have their c-section operation.

  • Would you like to still listen to your play list?
  • Would you like to see your baby being brought from the womb?
  • Would you like immediate skin-to-skin contact?

All of this and more can be made available if you let your medical team know…

Watch this video to see how one couple did it…

The Natural Caesarean

Magical Baby Moments

This article was written by Magical Baby Moments. Magical Baby Moments offers group hypnobirthing classes in Romford, and one-to-one classes across Essex and London.

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Understanding the different stages of labour

Labour is different for every woman, and therefore the different stages of labour can last longer in some mums than they can in others, but here is a little bit of information about each stage to help you understand better.

Contractions are the tightening of the uterus muscles. In many medical books, these are described and painful – for first time mums, this can create a fearful image. I would prefer that you think of them as intense rather than painful – think of them as extreme period pains.

The early phase of labour, also known as the latent phase, can last for over a day or so, in a first labour. During this early stage, your contractions gradually become more uncomfortable, but still relatively mild, and occur more frequently, though they may be irregular. During this phase, your cervix gradually shortens, (effaces) and begins to dilate. When the cervix has dilated to 3-4cm and you’re having regular contractions, the active – or established labour has begun.

Established labour – as just noted is when you are beyond 3-4cms dilated and you are having regular contractions. However, pin-pointing this exact change from early to established labour is not easy – even for a midwife, without being examined. Regular contractions will now be happening at least every 5 minutes and lasting between 45-60 seconds. Again, while each woman is different, active labour can last for around 10-12 hours, although this might be considerably shorter, even for first time mums.

In established labour you will notice that the intensity will be less concentrated in the lower abdomen, instead starting higher in the abdomen and moving down towards the pelvis and lower back, as your baby is now being pushed down.

When to go to hospital?
Check with your hospital as to when they will admit you, but a general rule of thumb for low-risk pregnancies would be when contractions are regularly occurring every 5 minutes. High-risks mothers may want to go before this, so that they and baby can be monitored.

Transition usually occurs when your cervix is dilating between 7-10cm; on average this lasts between 10-30 minutes, though for some this can be quicker and others much longer. During this period, contractions can happen between 30-90 seconds apart and last up to 90 seconds in length – this can feel quite challenging. It is now that you will feel more intensity in your lower back and rectum (many describe the sensation like wanting to do a poo). Unless your cervix is fully dilated (10cm), you will not be ready to push.

It is not uncommon for you to be sick during this period, or experience hot flushes. Work with your body to find the most comfortable position for you.

The second stage is when the cervix is 10cm dilated and the baby is ready to be born.

Contractions in the second stage are usually shorter than in transition with a longer space in between them to allow the mother time to rest.

Your body usually knows instinctively when to ‘push’. During this time, try not to hold your breath and try instead to breathe out through your nose, this will focus your breath within and creates a downward movement with your organs. Follow your body; it instinctively knows what to do.

Your baby will negotiate your pelvis and the pelvic floor. The sensation of baby’s head touching the pelvic floor gives a surge of oxytocin, which makes the contractions more expulsive. This is nature’s way of giving you a helping hand.

As the head presses on the vaginal tissues and perineum, you will feel a burning and stinging sensation – this is normal. This sends another surge of the happy hormone oxytocin to the brain. This burning sensation means the head is crowning and the baby is about to be born very soon.

Once the baby’s head is out it will turn to the side, to make it easier for the shoulders to pass through, once they are, the body will slip through. Welcome bubba!

Once the baby is born, the cord is usually cut once it has stopped pulsating (this can take several minutes). The cord still pulsates as it is transferring the blood from the placenta to the baby. After your baby is born there will be further contractions to help deliver the placenta and also help your womb contract. This is the golden hour, where skin-to-skin contact is recommended and encouraging the baby to breast-feed. During this time you will deliver your placenta and your baby will be administered with Vitamin K.

Magical Baby Moments

This article was written by Magical Baby Moments. Magical Baby Moments offers group hypnobirthing classes in Romford, and one-to-one classes across Essex and London.

Follow Magical Baby Moments on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at