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.
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 mothers. 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.
Please note, their 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 there were no classes nearby anyway). They 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
A friend of mine has recommended Bill Smith at Clinical Diagnostic Services. She tells me he is the most amazing ultrasound specialist. He helps women conceive naturally through monitored cycles. They offer all sorts of other services at the facility, including prenatal yoga and health screening so definitely worth looking into.
From 2nd September 2013, they will be based at both: BMI The Garden Hospital, 46/50 Sunny Gardens Road, Hendon, London NW4 1RP and at 104 Harley Street, London W1G 7JD
They will offer improved facilities enabling them to provide a better and more convenient service for patients. All the CDS team are available to see patients at both these locations. Flexible appointment times remain in place to include early mornings, early evenings and weekends for the benefit of patients. CDS aims to maintain the same levels of patient care within a reassuring, professional environment at both centres.
Out of hours emergency numbers (Patient Mobile: 07967 712892; Bleep: 07623 911684) will remain unchanged. Please feel free to contact their office either by email: email@example.com or by telephone if you have any queries.
Below is a link to another very interesting article from the NY Times about a breakthrough in prenatal screening. The test is usually referred to as the harmony test. I have done some research and found that some NHS Trusts are trialling this which means that most likely it will be available on the NHS in a few years. It is currently only available privately in the UK and prices vary greatly, so it is worth shopping around.
The Portland Hospital offers it for £600 which includes the blood test and a scan, but the best offer I have come across is from The Fetal Medicine Centre on Harley Street who offers this for £400. That includes a scan, the blood test and a follow-up scan two weeks later. You can just call them up and book an appointment, but you must not be more than 11 weeks pregnant.
N.B. These were the prices during autumn 2013.
For anyone who has had to undergo either a CVS or an amniocentesis you know how horrible a procedure it is. I had to have one in August 2012 already knowing the bad news beforehand, but wanted more information. For me, it was such a traumatic experience I know I wouldn’t be able to undergo it again unless I was under general surgery. I can’t even have acupuncture anywhere near my tummy since then without having a panic attack. Being able to have a simple non-invasive test consisting of a blood test and a scan to give you an accurate result, I know I would choose in a heart beat.
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
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.
3 House Club also offers pregnancy yoga.
Breathing to Birth with Yoga – Birth Preparation Workshop with Dani at Westnine Yoga
Pregnancy yoga and breathing techniques can make a big difference to labour and childbirth. They release fear and tension, build confidence, and give you tools to help you manage and enjoy your labour and delivery. Bring your birth partner (husband, partner, friend, relative), as they will provide you with vital physical and emotional support during labour, and will help you to remember the information you both learn at the workshop. Info & booking: email@example.com, 07719 730 583.
Prenatal and Postnatal Pilates
My amazing teacher Gemma Shaw comes to your house! Gemma can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Ante-natal Nutritional Therapist
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.
From one of our NW8-mums: I wanted to pass this along to you since a friend sent it to me. It’s a list of pregnancy-friendly massage places around London! My friend went to the K-West Spa because they have a special massage table where you can lie on your tummy (!) as there is a sort of hole/cushioned area for the bump. She went on Saturday and loved it. She said that the only thing she wished they would have done differently was keep her on her back the whole time, and not have her flip and have her front massaged. I’m considering booking one as well!
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 (she currently can’t access her voice mail, so please don’t leave any on her mobile phone) 07783 385 727.
Abi England is a local mother and reflexologist. Abi is very happy to offer NW8 mums members who actually live in St Johns Wood/Maida Vale an ongoing discount of 10% on top of any other offers at the time of booking. 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!
A maternity and post natal haven on Abbey Gardens here in St John’s Wood. They offer a wide range of classes, workshops, coffee mornings and more. One of the founders, Elisa, is a ballerina and she has created a highly unique pregancy exercise class called PregDance. I have recommended it to so many NW8-mums and they love it!