On this page, there is some general information about the ante-natal care system and further down links to classes and more.
General thoughts about pregnancy
Where to start? What to do? What to look for? There were so many thoughts that went through my head when I first found out I was pregnant. Since I had my daughter in 2009, there are more things happening in and around St John’s Wood. When I was pregnant, there were no yoga classes, no ante-natal class groups and so on in the area. Since then though, a lot has changed and there is a lot locally now from the meet-ups that I organise, to classes in various venues and other things.
Below you will some general information and if you scroll down even further you will find various exercise information which includes yoga, pilates and much more.
The first thing to do is to go to your GP and tell them your news. They will talk to you about your closest hospitals, and should you like to go through the NHS, which depending on where you live, are UCLH, St Mary’s Hospital or The Royal Free Hospital. There are of course a number of private hospitals nearby and the most well-known ones are The Portland Hospital and The Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital.
Not everyone will feel great when pregnant, and for those of you who have severe nausea and vomiting, you may in fact suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). If you would like to read my story about it, please click HERE.
If you are under NHS care, your hospital usually has a tour of the labour ward and midwife led unit (if it exists) at your chosen hospital. They will usually also offer a birthing class and breast feeding class. The good thing about doing a course at your hospital (other than it being free of charge) is that you learn more about labour.
However, one big reason to do a class is to meet other expectant parents. When do you a hospital class, the other people there taking it with you on the day could be from quite far away. The truth is, when you have a newborn, you are not likely to travel half way across London to meet someone you don’t know very well; at least not when your baby is very young and you are still getting the hang of things.
This is where the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) comes in. They offer a lot of classes for parents-to-be and probably the main reason why their classes are so popular (apart from learning about childbirth, breastfeeding and more) is that you get to meet others expecting children in your area around the same time as you. The NCT run classes at Huggle in Swiss Cottage and also at The Kailash Centre in St John’s Wood.
Please note, the NCT classes book up very early, so it is worth booking as soon as possible. I waited till I was around 20 weeks and it was too late (and in 2009 at the time that I had my first baby, there were no classes nearby anyway). The NCT don’t just offer these classes, but much much more, so it is worth having a look at their website.
There is also Bel & Mums who offer labour and maternity prep course and includes preparation for labour, postnatal recovery and newborn care. Bel provides participants with her phone number to contact her should they need any support. She also offers breastfeeding classes. The groups are very small in size and they are held locally in St John’s Wood. Bel is also available to help postnatally.
Ultrasound and Health Screening
Dr Fred Ushakov (in action in the photo below) is a highly renowned sonographer not just in the UK, but worldwide. He took care of me (at his NHS post at UCLH) during the pregnancy with my son. He now has a private clinic City Ultrasound and I am delighted that other women can be under his care privately.
Dr Fred Ushahov at his clinic above.
Bill Smith at Clinical Diagnostic Services offers various ultrasound services.
The Fetal Medicine Centre on Harley Street and various other places also offer ultrasounds.
Anxiety & Perinatal Depression
This is a lot more common than many people think, because it is rarely talked about. So many of my friends have suffered from it and sometimes for no specific reason. I suffered from terribly from pregnancy depression and for me it was very much related to suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
For a link to a page dedicated to this, please click HERE.
Group B Streptococcus Testing (GBS)
GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies in the UK. Most GBS infections can be prevented by giving antibiotics through IV during labour.
GBS carriers won’t know they have it unless they have been tested. During labour GBS can be passed on to the baby and there can be serious and life-threatening results. Testing for GBS is not standard practice in the UK, but it can be done very easily by yourself at home between 35-37 (or later) weeks of pregnancy.
The Doctors Laboratory offers a home swab test and the cost is only £35. N.B. This was the price during summer 2014. You get sent all you need, do the swab and then get the result usually within three working days. To order your test kit here are all the details, either visit theirwebsite or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7307 7373
Breast Feeding/Lactation Consultant
Ruth Tamir is a local NCT Practitioner & IBCLC Lactation Consultant and has been in the area for 24 years. She offers private visits in women’s homes in NW8. She can also be contacted on 07932 066377
Sarah Das, midwife, reflexologist and lactation consultant, has helped many of the mums in the group.
ANTE-NATAL CLASSES & HELP FROM A-Z
I have the most amazing acupuncturist whom I saw before, during and after the pregnancy with my son. Dr Ping Li only does home visits. She is my go-to person for anything health related. I have been a patient of hers since 2013. Ping can be contacted on 020 8269 2862 or on her mobile 07783 385 727.
Dr Allison Hyman is another mum in NW8-mums who is a much loved and highly recommended chiropractor in the community. She has helped many mums-to-be in the group with various pregnancy related issues and also with turning their babies using the Webster technique. I have also had sessions with her and found her not just a lovely and calming person, but also highly skilled.
Dr Harriet Holme is a local nutritionist whose work is evidence based. She is very knowledgable and being a mum of two young children, she also understands the challenges that parents go through. She can help with all aspects of nutrition including weaning help for babies.
Her company is called Healthy Eating Dr.
The lovely nutritional therapist Laura Mitzman specialises in ante-natal and post-natal nutrition. As a mother of two, Laura can really help you with anything including how to increase the amount of breast milk and much more.
Carla Pozner who is one of our mums is an osteopath. She can also help postnatally as well as with paediatric cranial osteopathy. She has helped many mums and babies in the group. Click HERE for a link to her website.
Sarah Liebelt works with everyone including pregnant women and those who are in a postnatal phase. You can learn more about Sarah by clicking HERE.
Alvaro Castano also works with pregnant women as well as those who have given birth.
Barbara Viragh can be reached on email@example.com or 07889 613 433. She loves working with pregnant women.
Vivian Da Fonseca who a highly qualified personal trainer with a wealth of experience across prenatal and postnatal functional training, weight-loss, performance training and rehabilitation. As one of Brazil’s best known fitness instructors, her work has taken her to Canada, the USA and the UK. She is the recipient of Tatler magazine’s prize for “Best Bottom Class”.
One of our mums, Emma Sharav, is another great PT and she has her studio here in St John’s Wood. I have also had sessions with her and can recommend her. Click HERE to check out her website.
My amazing teacher Gemma Shaw comes to your house and she can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Restoratvie Movement, previously Pilates with Paulette has a great reputation amongst local mums for helping them recover after pregnancy, but did you know Paulette is also a Franklin Method® Pelvic Power Instructor. This is a movement technique that helps people of all ages, abilities and genders develop mind-body techniques to not only improve movement but also change the way they feel in their body, forever.
The pelvis is the bridge between our torso and legs. When correctly aligned, our pelvic floor muscles function optimally and movement improves. The six-week course will also help improve posture, balance, coordination and flexibility.
Find out more at facebook.com/pilateswithpaulette/events
Petra of Solace Mobile Massage is amazing. She does ante-natal and postnatal massage. She is also getting quite well known for her C-section scar massage which I am told by many of the mums has helped not just with discomfort, but also with the scarring looking much better. You can enjoy Petra’s massages in the comfort of your own home.
Abi England is a local mother and reflexologist. Abi only does home-visits in St John’s Wood/Maida Vale. She specialises in pregnancy and labour induction reflexology, but also sees clients for all manner of things from stress, insomnia, back pain, IBS, arthritis and more. I can vouch for Abi’s treatments being just amazing!
I has had shiatsu many times – it is amazing! She even did a Shiatsu training course. I have also had sessions with Doris at Violet Hill Studios in St John’s Wood and she is a very special lady with magic hands!
For those of you who are either pregnant, the Kailash Centre in St John’s Wood offers pregnancy yoga classes. Other than yoga being great to do whilst pregnant, it is also a good way of meeting other expectant mothers.
Netta Imber – Netta is one of our NW8-mums
Paula Lopez de Mollein – Paula is one of our NW8-mums
Westnine Yoga – Dani runs ante-natal yoga classes as well as birth preparation workshops.