Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘bedford’ Category

Where to start?  Every day is different, so I’m going to give you a flavour of the sort of things I get up to.

Of course I have antenatal appointments; from the first tentative telephone enquiry I then arrange to meet up with a potential client (usually for an hour or so) so that we can discuss their past experiences, their hopes for this pregnancy, their concerns and most importantly so that they can get a “feel” as to whether they actually like and trust me.  Once a couple have decided to book me as their midwife I then usually give all their antenatal care in their own home (although I have done antenatal visits in The Bank of England medical room!).  The format of visits is that I carry out all the usual blood tests, urine and blood pressure checks, but also leave a lot of time for discussion so that over the course of the pregnancy we cover issues such as waterbirth, Vitamin K, when to call me and so on.

My clients come from a wide area – I am happy to take clients who live within approximately an hour’s radius of my home in Leighton Buzzard – so I do spend a fair bit of time driving, as well as liaising with G.P.’s and hospitals where necessary.

Four times a year I jointly organise an Antenatal Exhibition, this is an opportunity for pregnant couples to gather information about breastfeeding, pregnancy yoga, cloth nappies and the like.  We also organise Birth Preparation Workshops and am often to be found at the Community Desk in Central Milton Keynes on hand to speak to expectant parents and also regularly attend Study Day’s and midwifery meetings to ensure that I keep myself up-to-date with current research.

Obviously I spend much of my time being “on-call” for births.  My own family are now pretty much grown-up and the commitment isn’t as big as one might imagine as I rarely have more than two births during a month – it is important that I don’t over-commit myself as the whole point of what I do is that I guarantee to be there for the birth.  Babies don’t always read the text books though!  I have had three births in one week, as of course some babies do come early and some come late!  As you will appreciate, the birth is the big event, and it can on occasion go on for some time.

Baby being here doesn’t mean that my job ends!  In fact, postnatal visiting is often one of the busiest times as the family may need quite a lot of support in the early days.  The majority of my clients choose to give birth at home; however some either need to, or choose to give birth in hospital.

I visit my clients for up to four weeks postnatally and it is a joy to see the baby thriving and although discharging clients is always tinged with sadness it is also great to know that I have played a part in helping the family on to the next stage of their life.  (I do usually keep in touch, perhaps not as often as I would like, but I often get e-mails and photographs and usually pop in when I’m passing!).

So, in summary I guess the main differences between me and an NHS midwife are that you are buying my time; antenatal visits usually take around an hour and a half (instead of perhaps 10 – 15 minutes at your local surgery), are arranged more frequently and take place at a time and place to suit you. Most importantly you will receive full continuity of care – I will see you at each visit to build our relationship and plan your care and you will know that (barring exceptional circumstances) I will be with you in labour and available 24/7 for urgent help.

I am always happy to discuss anything that you are concerned about; please do feel free to call.

Written by Valerie Gommon, BA (Hons), RM, Independent Midwife 01525 385153

I am excited to tell you that I have a new promotional video which details the work I do at

I also have several other videos hosted on YouTube and plan to add more as soon as possible; I should tell you that some of the content is explicit and shows graphic scenes of childbirth.

I have just “appeared” on 3 Counties Radio to discuss a local news item.  A Sainsbury’s employee refused to sell local woman, Janet Lehain, unpasteuried cheddar because she was pregnant!

Whilst applauding the employee for pointing out the recommendation that pregnant women do not consume unpasteurised products I have to say that I believe they overstepped the mark by refusing to sell her the cheese!  The woman could have been buying the cheese for her husband and whatever happened to freedom of choice? 

I am a firm believer in Informed Choice, we are very cautious where pregnancy is concerned because although the risks are very low there could be serious implications for the baby SHOULD the mother contract food poisoning.

The Department of Health guidance in early pregnancy is to be extra careful with hygiene; food poisoning is bad news for your baby. They suggest that women don’t eat any unpasteurised foods – most food is pasteurised, but some speciality milks, cheeses/diary are not.

The recommendation is to avoid moulded or veined cheeses and pate/salami. Eggs should be well cooked not runny. Fruit and vegetables should be washed prior to eating. It is suggested that you don’t eat swordfish or marlin and limit the consumption of “oily” fish to twice weekly. Sea food should be cooked not raw. Liver is not recommended for pregnant women.

Whilst pregnant the current recommendation is not to drink alcohol at all, and it is better to limit the amount of caffeine you take (tea, coffee, cola and fizzy drinks), and obviously it would be wise to stop smoking and avoid any “recreational” drugs prior to getting pregnant.

We are still evaluating the evidence regarding eating peanuts in pregnancy – the best current advice is that if you have nut allergies in the family it may well be best to avoid eating nuts in pregnancy; it there are no nut allergies then use your own instinct and judgement as to whether you feel safe to eat nuts (bearing in mind they are a good source of protein, particularly if you are vegetarian or vegan).

Having made a huge list of foods to avoid, you are encouraged to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (aim for at least five a day), plenty of protein (at every meal if you possibly can) and plenty of iron rich foods (red meat, pulses, green vegetables).

You can read articles I have written at: and!.pdf or

This item has been written by Hypnotherapist Emily Heale who practices in Milton Keynes.  Emily has worked with some of my clients to teach them self-hypnosis techniques which are hugely beneficial during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Having a baby dramatically changes a parent’s life in many positive ways.  Often relatives and friends are there for support whether it is for advice or just for babysitting!  But there are other people who you don’t know personally who are eager to support parents through these special although sometimes stressful times.

As a Hypnotherapist Emily Heale works with expectant mums who want that extra support – she builds up strong, albeit temporary, rapport and trust with them and help them discover how powerful they and their minds truly are.  Along with treating children, working with mums-to-be gives her an enormous amount of satisfaction because you know at the end of it all there will be beautiful bundle of joy to look forward to.

She will of course not be there to support the mum at the actual moment of childbirth so her job is to make sure they can support themselves with the help of self-hypnosis.  Self-hypnosis is very easy to learn and the techniques she teaches can be used at any time in the future to help with situations other than childbirth.  Incorporated into the sessions with this is Suggestion Therapy – positively phrased suggestions which take root in the subconscious mind.  Being out of control is often the biggest fear a pregnant woman has – possibly with regards to the sensations in her own body or not being able to make their own choices when they need to.  Other less obvious concerns can be doubts about how they will cope.

Fears often have 9 months to build (from previous experiences, media stories etc) so by helping expectant mums overcome their fears it helps them feel so much more in control and reassured.  Prior to or during childbirth often a woman will expect pain on a subconscious level so their body produces certain hormones during labour and the outcome is a restricted flow of blood and oxygen to her uterus and tightening of muscles in the cervix – the areas which needs the most help at this stage!  On the other hand if a woman is relaxed and looking forward to the birth, there will be more synergy between her mind and her body.  When a woman feels no fear during childbirth there is little or no discomfort – the contractions come regularly and rhythmically and the baby is born more easily (and often faster).

It is important not to forget that partners often need support.  They can sometimes feel a bit left out or useless when it comes to helping support the mother and they may even have their own fears or doubts.  By being able to assess and deal with the likely weaknesses of the other person present at the birth, we can ensure the mother has the greatest possible support and that the partner feels both a part of the process and able to enjoy the experience.

So if you would like extra support from someone like Emily, all you have to do is ASK for it!

Written by Emily Heale IAPH Professional Hypnotherapist

The Hypnotherapy Practice in Milton Keynes. Free consultations available.

Phone: 07990 521266





Celebrating our first year as a vibrant holistic community!

Monday 18 May 2009

Entertainment Shed, 118 Castle Road, Bedford, MK40 3QY (Next to the Gordon Arms)

Doors open: 7 PM for refreshments, networking, displays, music

Programme: 7.30 – 9.30 PM

Entry £4 at the door. FREE to GWC members.

In honour of this special occasion, the theme for the event is:

“Birth, Childhood and Growth”

• WAKE UP! Lynn Serafinn, your host introduces Lyn Bradshaw, shiatsu practitioner, to guide you through a shiatsu exercise to wake up your “Ki.”

• BIRTH: Val Gommon, Independent Midwife. The Miracle of Birth. Inspiring stories of heroism, collaboration & joy of new life in the world.

• CHILDHOOD: Kate Parker, Tatty Bumpkin. Bendy, Giggly, Clever & Strong.  Get ready to move your body, get laughing, and release your inner child.

• GROWTH: Vince Walker, Woodmagic Crafts. Circles and Weaving the Web of Life. Transformative exercise based on traditional Native American culture to discover your inner patterns and allow new patterns for growth.

• SHARING AND ABUNDANCE: A selection of extra special raffle prizes by local holistic practitioners! Be sure to bring a few extra ££’s to buy your raffle tickets.

• COMMUNITY SPIRIT: This is NOT just a Bedford event! Meet other members of GWC from Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire & Cambridgeshire

• FUN: Music, dance and overall celebration. Come join us!

The Global Wellness Circle… the HOLISTIC HEART of planet earth!



Tel: 0845 880 25 28

Again, I have been quiet, there is so much that I could comment about, but I think it will have to wait until tomorrow!  There has been the thirteen year old who has fathered a baby to his fifteen year old girlfriend; there is the story of Salma Hayek the Mexican actress who breastfed a baby in Sierra Leone (there is lots I’d like to write about that).

Briefly, I haven’t much changed my opinions of Teenage Pregnancy since my posting “Baby abandoned in Bedford – Teenage Pregnancy” on 11th January 2009.  I honestly believe that many young people make excellent parents, indeed I saw a very responsible couple on television whose baby was born when they were just sixteen, but equally I am very aware of the cycle of deprivation that often exists, and this young father is only a child himself … I hope they get the support they will need.

The reason for my absence from The Blog is because I am involved in the “Tots to Teens Exhibition” which is currently taking place in Middleton Hall, The Centre: MK, Milton Keynes.  Tomorrow (Sunday) is the final day of this Exhibition – it has been quite successful, with stalls as diverse as St John’s Ambulance who are promoting first aid training, to photography by Kate Everall (and others), bedroom murals by Charlotte Designs to baby swimming classes and much more besides.  We have been busily speaking to couples who are considering a family, pregnant or who have small children.  It was particularly pleasing to have a couple come up to me today who I had met a few months ago at a similar Exhibition – we had discussed the options for their birth and talked about homebirth and the couple had gone on to have a lovely homebirth (their first baby) and had come to thank me for the information.  That really makes me feel good about what I do, and makes me realise how important it is to be visible as a midwife, and available for couples to speak to.

If you hurry, you can still catch the Exhibition which closes at 5pm tomorrow, Sunday 15th February.  If you miss this one, I am co-hosting another Antenatal Exhibition on Sunday 8th March at The Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone, Central Milton Keynes (opposite Marks and Spencer) between 2pm – 4.30pm – see for more details.

Well I should be going to visit clients, but may have to cancel again as it is snowing pretty hard.  Fortunately I don’t have any clients whose babies are imminently due.

Yesterday I saw that Bedford hospital were appealing for any local staff to go in as many staff had been unable to get to the hospital.  I know that Milton Keynes was in a similar position, indeed a relative had an operation cancelled for this reason.

There was a great story in yesterdays Independent newspaper, Peter Cartwright, a radiographer from Ashford in Kent walked 18 miles to get to work at Guy’s Hospital in Central London on Monday – now that is dedication (or madness) for you!