Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘Preconception’ Category

Fertility issues or preconceptual guidance is part of the midwife’s role and is something I am often asked about.  Apart from the usual information for someone planning a baby, actually getting pregnant can sometimes be an issue.  The medical profession often do not consider it a potential problem unless you have been trying for a baby for around 18 months, and indeed it can often take longer – this must seem like forever when you aren’t getting pregnant.  I do know that stress (including trying for a baby) and sub-optimal health can lead to difficulty in conceiving, so bear this in mind.

To get yourself into optimal health obviously you need to eat well, be rested.  There are some very good websites, particularly the Foresight website and I suggest you work through this list.

Also, complementary therapists may help and I have listed some that I am aware of in the Milton Keynes area:

Acupuncture –

Sandra Ah-Peng – Acupuncturist
Milton Keynes 01908 505883

Gabi Stutz – Acupuncturist
Milton Keynes 01908 225051

Homoeopathy –

Gwynne Grayson – Homeopath
Milton Keynes 01908 520546

Jacky Swanepoel – Homeopath
Milton Keynes 01908 585385

Reflexology –

Kelly Holman – Reflexology
Milton Keynes 01908 54266

Kinesiology –

Lesley Stephenson – Kinesiologist
Northampton 01604 871225

Hypnotherapy –

Denise Marleyn
Leighton Buzzard 01525 850334

Emotional Freedom Techniques

Sejual Shah


Kim Crundall

How aware you are of your fertile period?  It is usually 14 days before a period, so if you have a 28 day cycle it is day 14, but on a longer cycle it may well be later, and just to confuse things women do not always ovulate on day 14!  There are various things you can use, like predictor and charting your temperature etc, but also by looking at your normal vaginal discharge (!) at your fertile period the discharge will change from a thicker creamier discharge moving towards a clear, stretch discharge like egg white.  To help with conception it is best if you have sex on alternate days around this period.   

Hope that something here will be helpful to you.

I don’t usually watch that much TV, that is except the odd trashy programme that I relax to, but I watched a couple of really interesting programmes last night that would be well worth trying to catch if you can.

The first is very relevant to my recent blog about the Stafford hospital investigation, it was a Dispatches programme entitled “Confessions of a Nurse” and was on Channel 4 at 8pm last night.

The programme was based around a You Gov survey which questioned nurses and midwives on their experiences.  The programme made uncomfortable viewing and called into question the conduct of some nursing staff, but also clearly showed the stressful conditions that staff are routinely expected to work under – for example no meal breaks, no toilet breaks and so on and the appalling conditions that some patients have to tolerate.  In my opinion, once again it showed a health service at breaking point.

This programme was followed on Channel 4 at 9pm by “The Great Sperm Race” which discussed the process of conception, but from an interesting angle – the programme makers magnified the size of a sperm to be the size of an adult person and depicted the journey of the sperm through to conception – really informative.

A listing of events that I am hosting or involved with over the next few months, please feel free to pass on these details to anyone appropriate.

I can be contacted on 01908 511247 if you need any further information.

Antenatal Exhibition – FREE entry
Sunday 8th March 2009
2pm – 4.30pm
The Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone,
300 Saxon Gate West,
Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2ES

Love Your Body Exhibition – FREE entry
Saturday 21st March 2009
10 am – 4 pm
Midsummer Place,
Central Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Real Nappy Show – FREE entry
Thursday 2nd April 2009
11am onwards
Chrysalis Theatre, Camphill Community,
Japonica Lane, Willen Park South,
Milton Keynes, MK15 9JY

Wedding Fair – FREE entry
Sunday 5th April 2009
11am – 4 pm
Holiday Inn, London Road,
Newport Pagnell MK16 0JA

International Week of Midwife – FREE entry
Part of John Lewis Nursery Event
Saturday 9th May 2009
10 am – 4 pm
Nursery Department
John Lewis, Central Milton Keynes

National Breastfeeding Week – FREE entry
Saturday 16th May 2009
10 am – 4 pm
In store at Boots Baby Department,
Central Milton Keynes

Love Your Body Exhibition – FREE entry
Saturday 13th June 2009
10 am – 4 pm
Excape, Central Milton Keynes

Antenatal Exhibition – FREE entry
Sunday 28th June 2009
2pm – 4.30pm
The Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone,
300 Saxon Gate West,
Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2ES

MK Baby and Toddler Show
Sunday 6th September 2009
The Stadium, Denbigh,
Milton Keynes

Antenatal Exhibition – FREE entry
Sunday 4th October 2009
2pm – 4.30pm
The Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone,
300 Saxon Gate West,
Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2ES

As an Independent Midwife I am often asked by clients whether I know about pregnancy yoga classes, or baby swimming classes or even about complementary therapists and nurseries.

Over the years I have worked hard to collate databases of useful information, and often would hand out piles of flyers to my clients, but I began to see the need to put this information into one central place and thus the idea of BirthIndex was born. is a LOCAL on-line Directory for all things Pregnancy, Birth and Baby and currently covers the Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton areas.  There are sections for Fertility, where one might find anything to prepare of assist with actually getting pregnant; a Pregnancy and Birth section listing everything from pregnancy ultrasound, complementary therapists who work with pregnancy to a specialist pathology laboratory; the postnatal section includes pilates or physiotherapy for Mum and baby signing whilst the Other section includes photographers and caterers who make christening cakes!  There are also useful Baby Equipment, Complementary Therapists and Childcare sections as well as an Events section listing relevant local events (if you are hosting events please do list them with us as it makes the site more useful – there is no charge for this).  There is a comprehensive Links section and a Useful Articles section which is set to expand over time and finally an opportunity to sign up for our BirthIndex newsletters.

Please do visit the site and let me know what you think, I would welcome any ideas you may have for improving the site, equally if you know of businesses that should be listed please do invite them to look at the site, as they can be listed free of charge.

A woman in America has given birth to eight babies, and although born nine weeks prematurely, at present doctors say all of them are doing well.  The babies weighed between 1lb 8 ounces (820g) and 3lb 4oz (1.47kg) and will need to stay in Neonatal Intensive Care for some time.  It’s only the second time in the world that someone has given birth to eight babies at once, and doctors were only expecting her to have seven!

Also in the news is the story of surrogate mother Carol Horlock who has had eleven babies for other couples and also has two children of her own. I am sure surrogacy takes place in most cultures, often with the surrogate mother being a family member, of course this raises huge ethical issues not to mention the emotional issues for all concerned, but wow … this is something that I personally could never have considered, I couldn’t even have parted with my eggs, but I know many couples are eternally grateful for those that are able to help them have a family.

Today I was twice invited to speak on BBC 3 Counties Radio, partly in response to this news story and also to speak about my work as an Independent Midwife –

I had hoped to have the opportunity to discuss my new website but the interviewer was keen to discuss my blog. was launched only three months ago has already proved popular.  The site currently covers Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton and aims to be THE information site for all things Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.  For example on the site you can find therapists who specialise in Pre-conceptual support, pregnancy ultrasound, swimming classes for babies and even photographers to photograph your little one!  The site has a comprehensive Links section and an interesting selection of articles and the opportunity to sign up for a regular newsletter.

When you are planning a pregnancy it is important that you are in optimum health, firstly to help your body to conceive, and secondly to maintain the pregnancy and grow a healthy baby. It is true that the baby will take what it needs from your body, but your body needs to be healthy and strong to nurture the growing baby, to give birth and to enable you to feed and care for the baby.

When planning a pregnancy it is advisable to first see your midwife or GP to discuss your plans, this would be particularly important if you have a preexisting medical condition. It is worth having a rubella (German measles) blood test even if you have had German measles or had the immunisation in the past; for certain population groups further blood testing may also be suggested to exclude sickle cell, thalassaemia or Tay-Sachs disease. Your midwife or GP will check your physical wellbeing, perhaps offer you a cervical smear, check your blood pressure and ensure that there are no hazards to pregnancy in the workplace of both you and your partner.

The current Department of Health (DoH) recommendation is that it is
advisable to take a folic acid supplement in the months prior to getting
pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy – if you don’t want to take a supplement it would be worth ensuring that you get additional folic acid in your diet from green vegetables, brown rice and walnuts. Folic acid supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida).

A recent DoH recommendation is that pregnant women take Vitamin D
supplements, this may be especially important if your religion requires you to cover a significant amount of your body (Vitamin D is absorbed into our skin by exposure to sunlight).
Be aware of toxoplasmosis – a bacterial infection that can be picked up in cat and dog faeces – not good news for a growing baby. Either get someone else to clear up after animals, or just be extra careful of hygiene – this also applies to gardening as the bacteria lives in soil. So if you garden, consider wearing gloves and again wash hands, nails very carefully.

Food advice in early pregnancy is to be extra careful with hygiene; food
poisoning is bad news for your baby. Don’t eat any unpasteurised foods – most food is pasteurised, but some speciality milks, cheeses/diary are not. 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).

It can sometimes take many months to conceive and this can be a stressful time. I would encourage you to consider seeing complementary therapists as they may well be able to help you. It is worth considering acupuncturists, reflexologists, nutritionalists, homoeopaths or hypnotherapists – talk to different therapists and go to the one that you feel most comfortable with. The following websites also have lots of useful information:

Today I am going to write about my latest project, is an on-line Listings Directory for all things related to Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.  As a Registered Midwife I saw the need to produce this on-line Directory to give clients and families comprehensive information about what is available in their LOCAL area. 

At the moment we have sites up and running in the Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton areas but hope to expand this shortly.

The site contains listings relating to pre-conception or fertility advice; pregnancy and birth; postnatal issues; baby equipment; complimentary therapists; childcare and other services for example photographers, activities to do with your baby/toddler.  We are also building a reference library of useful articles and currently have articles on the following subjects:

A Day In The Life Of An Independent Midwife

Alternatives To Hospital Induction

Blood Tests And Scans

Blood Tests For Your Baby

Breech Birth

Foods Rich In Iron

Heartburn Relief

Homebirth List Of Useful Items

Independent Midwives – Endangered Species

Planning A Baby

So You Are Pregnant!

The Big Day!

Top Tips For Labour

Vitamin K

Local events will happily be promoted on the site, and a periodic newsletter will be produced to keep families up-to-date.

I am inviting all related businesses to take a FREE listing on this site.  Additionally there are also other advertising opportunities available at half price for limited period; for example “Enhanced Listings” or “Box” and “Banner” advertisements.

Please do go and have a look around my new site  


Valerie Gommon