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Childbirth Education

Marthie Beumer Childbirth Educator

Preparing for the birth of your baby is one of the key life defining experiences.

Mothers and Fathers who are emotionally and physically prepared and informed are empowered to make so much more of this key life defining experience.

What are the desired Outcomes of Childbirth Education for You?

Make Informed Choices:

The most important Choice: your Caregiver and the Place of Birth.

Know ‘How to’ and build trust with your Caregiver.

Establish your Birth Preferences:

Know what to expect from your Caregiver and at the Place of Birth

Voice your personal preferences and know ‘What to do’/’How to’.

Engage positively with your Caregiver around your personal preferences.

Know how your Birth Partner can support you.

Establish your Support Preferences after baby is born.

Babymoon to prioritise bonding with baby.

Enjoy your relationship whilst adjusting into parenthood.

Voice how your family and friends can support you.

Most important: Self care

Feel confident to make informed choices which will support you and your baby.

Feel confident to use the skills and techniques learned.

Feel confident that you have addressed your specific needs to know and empower yourselves to a positive experience however it unfolds.


Marthie Beumer Workshops

Birth Reflection

Sharing your birth story in a compassionate and safe space with other mothers, helps you to recognise your empowerment and growth. This can be done in a small group of mothers who have experienced childbirth in any setting. Or in a private session with someone who you trust to provide listening and compassion. In a small group, typically a facilitator like a doula or midwife creates a safe listening space and no space for judgement.  It is a precious space for compassion and encouragement.

Therapeutic Reflexology


What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is based on the principle that every part of your body is reflected on specific areas or reflexes of the feet, hands and ears. A Therapeutic Reflexologist will use various finger, thumb and hand techniques and systematically apply pressure on these reflexes. This promotes the body’s natural healing processes and assists to maintain the body in a state of balance. Maternity reflexology focuses on the conditions of infertility, in-vitro fertility support, pregnancy, childbirth and even supports the rest of the family in these stages of life.

Is Reflexology safe for Mother and Baby?

It is a gentle, relaxing, non-invasive and health promoting treatment. It is generally considered safe during pregnancy. ‘A miscarriage is a reaction of the body, NOT to the reflexology. Under no circumstances has reflexology ever been shown to have caused the body to do something it didn’t want to do.’ Taken from ‘A complete guide to Foot Reflexology’ by Kevin & Barbara Kunz.

Therapeutic Reflexology is not contra-indicated for any condition although caution is to be taken under the following circumstances: deep vein thrombosis and pre-eclampsia.

Benefits during Labour and Birth

Reflexology can ease the childbirth process. It can shorten the length of labour and promote an easier delivery.  It can help stimulate the body to produce the hormones needed for birth. It can promote dilation, relieve the pain of labour and shorten the duration of each of the stages of labour and birth.

‘There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that reflexology can help to bring on labour providing both mother and baby are ready. It is always recommended that those clients who wish to use reflexology for this purpose, begin their reflexology sessions at least 6 weeks prior to their predicted term date i.e. by 34 weeks pregnant.’ Recommendation from the Association of Reflexologists in England and Wales.

Baby Reflexology

Babies can also benefit from reflexology to help with:

calming • sleeping disturbances • colic • teething • earache • boosting the immune system • pain relief (immunization) • constipation/diarrhoea • coughs and colds

Benefits during Pregnancy

Reflexology during maternity can prevent or substantially aid recovery from the ailments pregnancy can bring.  Common ailments that occur and relate to pregnancy include:

Nausea / morning sickness • Water retention in feet and legs • Headaches  • Fatigue, disturbed sleep • Loss of bladder control •  Leg cramps • Backache • Sorry breasts • Worry and depression • Heartburn  •  Hemorrhoids and piles • Pain and discomfort •  Varicose veins •  Constipation and diarrhoea •  Bladder and vaginal infections • Poor circulation

No doubt the baby in the womb will also feel the healthy effects of reflexology.  Foetal development and growth are supported by regular reflexology treatments.

After the birth

Reflexology helps the body recover physically, emotionally and hormonally, restoring the body to its natural balance. The physical benefits of post natal reflexology include:

  • help the mother to more efficiently expel the placenta;
  • a uterus which returns more quickly to its non pregnant size;
  • energy levels can be increased;
  • supports the body as the menstrual cycle returns to normal;
  • and it can aid lactation.

Emotionally it helps to relax and calm and, post natal depression may be less likely to occur.  This is helpful to a mother adjusting to coping with a new baby.

Case studies have shown that babies born from mothers who received regular reflexology treatments are healthy, and start breastfeeding quicker.


Reflexology helps to reduce stress and promote hormonal balance in order that the body can obtain optimum health. Reflexology during a course of In-Vitro Fertility treatment can be supportive in helping to relieve the stress.  By creating the best environment possible in body mind and spirit conception is more likely to occur.  Both women and men are encouraged to receive reflexology treatments, for regulation of menstrual and stimulation of sperm, respectively.

What can you expect from a reflexology treatment?

The first consultation would include a general assessment of medical history and lifestyle. A treatment plan and objective will be discussed.

Reflexology is offered to you sitting in a fairly upright position to ensure good circulation to your baby.  It is advisable not to lie on your back during the treatment from 5th month of pregnancy, or earlier if it causes discomfort.

Reflexology will provide a treatment between 45 – 60 minutes that will make you feel very relaxed.  If you want to sleep or even sleep, this will be respected.    Some reflex areas will be sensitive during pregnancy.

As the treatments progress, you should notice an improvement in your health.

Reflexology does not tickle. Reflexology does not claim to treat specific complaints or illness, although it certainly can aid the body in its own healing process. No diagnosis will be made.


When to commence treatments – 12 – 16 weeks pregnant. It may be appropriate to commence treatment earlier depending on individual situations.
Frequency of treatment – varies depending on the pregnancy, however, a total of 5 to 10+ treatments would be recommended to gain the most benefit.

In conclusion, Reflexology will certainly promote a sense of well-being during pregnancy.

Marthie Beumer Professional Birth Doula

Birth Doula

Even though I am not currently practicing as a Birth Doula, this section is for information and guidance only.

The Role of a Birth Doula

Source a Doula who can support you and with whom you feel comfortable with.

A doula is a knowledgeable resource for mothers and fathers-to-be who needs to birth.  In a professional, respectful way, she honours your specific needs and preferences, with confidentiality, helping you to make informed choices as to the birth care model you believe will serve you.

She helps prepare you as a mother and father-to-be for the birthing experience, so that you can feel confident, calm and relaxed as much as possible for this new and unknown life defining experience in your life.  This can be done in one-on-one sessions, or in a workshop to educate you on bodily functioning in the labour and birth process and to help you practise labouring positions, movements, breathing, visualisations, relaxation, and know how you can support each other.

She facilitates ways to build trust on all levels, trust in your own body’s ability to birth, to trust the care model and caregivers you have chosen, and that the circumstances or the uniqueness surrounding your birth experience can be supportive.

She contributes to and encourage a safe, protected and comfortable birthing space, as much as possible, for you as a mother and father-to-be to embrace the birthing experience as your own, unique experience where you were cared for emotionally and physically, with as much dignity as possible.

Benefits of Labour Support

The Cochrane review – Continuous support for women during childbirth, 2011:

  • 28% less likely to have a ceasarian section
  • 31% less likely to use induction
  • 12 % increase in the likelihood of a vaginal birth
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
  • 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively.

Birth Doula Services

Before labor

She will meet with you and your partner during pregnancy to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears and concerns, to discuss your birth plan and to plan how we might best work together.  She may also want to know your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together.  She needs to inform you of times when she is unavailable for labour support. To cover those times, she needs to arrange for a back-up doula whom you may also meet.  They may also decide on other meetings and will certainly want to remain in touch by telephone and/or email.

When you are in labour

She might want you to call her when you think you are in labour, even if you do not need her.  She can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone.  Then you both can decide if she should come right then or wait for further change.  She normally specifies the time needed for e.g. 1 hour to get to you from the time you ask her to come.  Then you both can also decide where to meet – at your home, the hospital or birth centre.  Except for extraordinary circumstances, she will remain with you throughout labour and birth.

After birth

She usually remains with you for one or two hours after birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together.  She can also help with initial breastfeeding, if necessary.  She is available to answer questions about the birth of your baby and would like to get together with you within a few weeks after the birth of your baby to see how you and your baby are doing, to review the birth and to get feedback from you about her role.

Early days of Parenthood

Home visits are offered to provide the emotional, physical or informational support including basic breastfeeding support you may need.  The early days of parenthood is such a big adjustment, and the aim is to support and empower you to nurture yourselves as young parents, but also settle and enjoy your maternity leave as much as possible.

What Birth doulas do NOT do

As a doula, she does not:

  • Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, foetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. She is there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support
  • Make decisions for you. She will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision.  She will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
  • Speak to the staff on your behalf. She will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak directly to the clinical staff.