29 Nov

60 second with Dawn Saunders

We grabbed 60 seconds with Dawn, a MaMa (Mother and Midwife Assistant) who has worked for One to One Midwives in Essex since 2015.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

One minute a day in your diary looks fairly empty and by the end of the day it's full! (If only these babies would book in their birthday!)

What is your favourite thing about One to One?

That collectively we are all signed up to the same result and share passion and commitment to provide our families with the service they deserve and one we would all want for ourselves.

Why did you want to become a MaMA?

I’ve worked with families all my life, but I just wanted to get into homes of new parents as early as possible to offer my warmth and time to give support and reassurance to parents on their journey through birth and into parenthood. I love my job.

What is your proudest MaMA moment?

I get that feeling almost every day I visit a home so too tough to pin point - sorry!

What have you gained from working for One to One?

It's okay to think 'outside the box'.

If you were not a MaMA, what career would you have?

My early careers advisor suggested zoo keeper! So maybe baby animals and their mummy's??...

What is one thing you can’t live without?

Happiness

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Probably Dory the fish from the animated 'Finding Nemo' film. Because I'm always busy with my thoughts and life (colourful and crazy) and always saying 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming' to stay on top of my 'to do' lists.

People would be surprised to know….

I like the smell of bacon (I'm vegetarian!)

05 May

Just keep swimming!

I started writing this article about 6 years ago (had a different title then!), when I was an independent midwife, and I never finished it – it seemed a good time to finish it now and share it with you all, but due to the time lapse between beginning it and finishing it, I felt I needed to revisit my initial inspiration to make it fresh in my mind again.

The inspiration had come from a lazy Sunday afternoon, flicking through the television channels and settling on watching the film ‘Shark Tale’

So, I sat down again, cup of tea and pen and paper for notes in hand and began watching….”Finding Nemo”!

As the film began I started to scribble notes, and smile, excited to finish the article and share it with my peers, but as the plot progressed it didn’t seem the same as my first inspirational light bulb moment!

I carried on, and as I got to the last half an hour of the film I realized I was watching the wrong film! I thought about changing the article and pretending it was always based on “Finding Nemo” instead of “Shark Tale’, but telling the story of my mistake felt more honest. I made a mistake; I was trying to finish a few tasks at once and got it wrong. Sometimes we hide from mistakes, and sometimes we can find a way though and be adaptable. I chose the latter today!

As midwives, we often have to deal with challenging situations when caring for women, both as a professional and also as an advocate for the women. Just recently, I tried to deal with lots of challenges and difficulties at the same time, which left me tired, drained, and wondering whether I actually make a difference or not? This is not unique to me, my midwifery colleagues across the country encounter these times frequently and I wanted to share my thoughts with you all.

It made me think about how we keep going when times are tough. Who do we lean on? Who do we confide in? Who do we team up with? How do we get through and come out smiling?

So, back to the film- “Finding Nemo” is an animated film, based on a fish that loses his mother and is looked after by his father. His Father is worried about Nemo taking risks and tried to stifle his desires to spread his wings (or gills) and explore and follow his heart and his dreams. Nemo does take the plunge though, and goes off into the ocean against the advice of his father, and gets caught by a fisherman!

The film branches off :-

The father sets out in search of his son, makes unusual friends along the way in his quest, and searches against all odds and adversity. He receives support from an unlikely source – a group of sharks, takes some risks of his own and has to learn to trust and let go when swallowed by a whale to achieve his goal and move forward. He is kept motivated, by his unlikely friend Dory who tells him “…When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep Swimming!”

On the other side of the ocean, Nemo is trapped in a fish tank in a dentist surgery – he comes together with many other fish, with many different characters and backgrounds. He learns to adapt, and be brave, he finds a mentor and they make a plan to escape, and not conform to the restrictions around them. He tackles adversity and overcomes it, but not alone. He has support, and some fun along the way.

The film ends with father and son reunited and status quo resumes – as a result of hard work, friendship, mentorship, teamwork, sharing knowledge accompanied by sheer determination and blind faith.

This reminds me so much of being a midwife. There are good days, bad days, ups, downs, grief, loss, ecstasy and joy.

Sometimes we all get off track, midwifery can be a whirlwind of emotions, chaos, and joy. We get overwhelmed, we get swept along with others and sometimes we lose our way. We need to be kind to ourselves, and each other, and just keep swimming!

Find the strength to carry on, sometimes you have to look outside of your comfort zone, as the most unlikely people can be the greatest of support, talk to each other, carry each other and stand together and you can get through.

Sharing knowledge amongst midwives is an age-old tool that we have used for eons. The benefits are plethoric – aspiring, student, or new midwives learn from experienced midwives; midwives learn from each other, and from women.

We tell stories, debrief on trauma, recollect humour and console grief - Women supporting women, professionally and personally. We recall families that touched our hearts and changed our practice, and we share our intuitive knowledge to strengthen our own, and others practice. We learn, grow and change, and embed evidence-based practice into our work, whilst respecting the huge social element to a midwives role.

Midwifery sharing of knowledge is akin to a large family meal – something for everyone to enjoy, coming together as a family to just ‘be’ and gain knowledge and quench our thirst for learning and our passion and drive for women centered care.

Just Like Nemo, and his dad, you can do anything you set your mind to – with a little help from friends, support from sometimes the most unexpected of places, and a mentor to keep you going and guide you along the way. Sometimes our faith is blind, and you have to swim against the current, sometimes you have to swim down stream, and sometimes you have to swim full force in the direction of your dreams accompanied by your support network to overcome your problems.

Never look back and regret, never give up and you will be rewarded for all you have done and continue to for the women and babies of this world.

And, remember – when life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming!

Katie Wainwright
One to One Northwest Ltd
18 Mar

One to One Safeguarding Team fundraising for the NSPCC!

Did you know that over 57,000 children are identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK? (Child protection register and plan statistics for all UK Nations 2015)

The NSPCC estimate that for every child identified as needing protection from abuse, another 8 are suffering abuse. (NSPCC – How safe are our children, 2013)

These short videos give more information and statistics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBp3QYZXG0Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWdICYHS7q4

These are scary statistics but we can’t ignore them. The NSPCC work tirelessly to keep our children safe.

One to One midwives are in a privileged position to work closely with families, and get to know them. To support them when things aren’t quite as they should be and ensure the children get the support and protection they require.

The One to One Safeguarding Team have decided to raise some funds for the NSPCC this year. Two members of the team, Katie Wainwright and Jennifer Morrison are going to complete a 100-mile bike ride on the 24th September 2017 around the city of Birmingham.

To be able to do this, and support the wonderful work of the NSPCC they need to raise £800.

They have already raised £170, which is 21% of the target, but they are still a long way off.

This is a massive challenge for them both – Jennifer currently doesn’t have a bike, and Katie gets out of breath making a cup of tea!

They are up for the challenge and have got their training plans through and are ready to get going!

Please consider supporting us to raise the rest of the money needed. There is a just giving page set up to collect donations:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OnetoOneSafeguardingteam

Thank you to everyone who has already sponsored the team, and to those of you that go on to sponsor us.

The One to One Safeguarding Team


02 Jan

Changes to Midwifery Supervision – Piloting the new model

The 31st March 2017 looms the end of the statutory supervision of midwifery. Many midwives, women and indeed supervisors of midwives will be wondering what’s next? What does this mean for me?!

NHS England have set up an LSA national supervision taskforce who are leading on a pilot for the proposed new model of supervision – the A-EQUIP model –“Advocating and Educating for Quality Improvement”.

There are seven pilot sites for the model across England, with One to One being successful in our bid to become a pilot site. We have been warmly welcomed by Coventry NHS trust to complete the bridging course for the pilot and it has been wonderful to meet lots of new people. We all have the same goal of being involved in this groundbreaking change to midwifery supervision.

One to One are excited for the pilot, which officially starts in January 2017 and will run until March 31st 2017, where evaluation of the pilot will be collated and published, along with next steps for organisations.

For the A-EQUIP pilot, the Supervisors of Midwives trained to deliver the content will be known as Professional Midwifery Advocates (PMAs).

There are three main elements to the pilot:

1. Education and Development - aiming to develop and support practitioners with the knowledge and skills they require, and prepare them for appraisal, revalidation and develop leadership skills.

2. Personal Action for Quality Improvement – enabling practioners to make changes that make them more proactive at work, and ensure a safe proactive workforce, therefore enhancing safety.

3. Restorative Clinical Supervision (RCS) – This is a confidential space for practitioners slow down, take time, and restore. It is a space for reflection, thought processing and wind down, facilitated by the PMA. This is a fantastic tool, which is evidence based, showing a reduction in staff leaving, increase in staff morale, less sick leave and helping practitioners to recognise, prevent and alleviate stress. As part of the A-EQUIP training, the PMAs undergo sessions of RCS themselves, and it is a very valuable tool that I look forward to using with the staff.

There is a strong focus on midwives being advocates for women, and much of the role supervisors of midwives played in care planning and supporting complex care will be supported by the midwives within this model. One to One already operate in this way, and the new model will continue to support this advocating and empowering women to achieve their birth wishes.

The pilot sites will be evaluated and the details and further guidance will be sent out following March 31st 2017.

Keep your eye out for further updates and follow #midwiferysupervision on twitter.

Find out more at NHS ENGLAND: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/futurenhs/mat-transformation/midwifery-task-force/

Katie Wainwright, PMA for the Q-EQUIP pilot One to One.

22 Dec

One to One – Early help achievement

Sometimes, families can require support from one or more agencies to ensure that they live their lives to their full potential. Sometimes, this need only comes to light at such times in their lives as the journey to become parents or to expand their family begins.

Without early help and intervention, families can at times become overwhelmed and require a more formal assessment or support, which can often lead to referrals being made to social care.

Early help services, can offer support and guidance to help families get back on track, and stay on track with ongoing support, ensuring that all the family needs are met, without further intervention.

Midwives working with families are in an opportune position to identify and react to early help needs and work with the families they care for to become the best they can be. They can use tools such as the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) to help them work with families to ensure the right services and support is available to them.

One to One Midwives have always been committed to support the effective delivery of Early Help and universal services and have embraced the opportunity of being involved in the common assessment Framework (CAF) in its various formats e.g. Team Around the Family (TAF).

One to One Midwives are proud to announce that Moira Ferguson, a member of the safeguarding team has completed an intense training programme and has recently graduated as a CAF champion. Her role will involve offering support to the midwives from One to One and be available for partner agencies, to assume the role of Lead Professional, when identified as the most relevant agency. This role will also support the midwives when they are involved in an open CAF/TAF, thus ensuring that the families that are under the care of One to One Midwives have the support and guidance, to be the best that they can be.

14 Dec

Personal Maternity Care Budget to be piloted in Liverpool

The 12th December 2016 saw the launch of the first pilot of the implementation of Personal Maternity Care Budgets by the Cheshire and Merseyside Pioneer. This is the first step in fulfilling one of the recommendations for the transformation of maternity services in the Better Births Report 2016. Better Births recommends that all women should have personalised care, centred on the woman, her baby and her family, based around their needs and their decisions, where they have genuine choice. Better Births also set out a vision that women should be able to choose the provider of their antenatal, birth and postnatal care and be in control of exercising those choices through their own NHS Personal Maternity Care Budget.

Initially the pilot is being rolled out by Liverpool Women’s Hospital with a handful of selected GP surgeries but the press launch has stated that other providers in the Pioneer will roll out PMCBs early in 2017. One to One Midwives, as a commissioned provider in Cheshire and Merseyside will be offered as a choice to women to use their PMCB but for One to One Midwives this will be ‘business as usual”.

One to One are already a choice option for women and their families – but what do One to One offer?

Quite simply One to One provides a service that is centred on the needs and choices of women and their families. We do this through our model of Continuity of Carer – every woman who books with One to One will be contacted by her named midwife and see her midwife for the vast majority of her antenatal visits.

One to One midwives see their women for 88% of their antenatal visits. 
One to One midwives attend 75% of the births of women that they know
One to One midwives see their women and babies for 80% of their postnatal visits.

This is what continuity of carer means to us.

What else can you expect from the One to One service?

As all care is based on your needs and choices, the number of visits is unlimited, both antenatally and postnatally and as well as face-to-face visits, you will also have access to your midwife 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, text or email to discuss any concerns or advice that you may need.

The majority of visits take place in your own home, with the option to have your appointments in the evenings or at the weekend, which ensures that your partners can also participate in your care. One to One have three Pregnancy Advice Centres open in Cheshire and Merseyside and run local clinics and scan appointments out in the local community to ensure you have an additional choice of where to receive care, which will be as close to your home as possible.

One to One offers numerous social networking opportunities in our local community hubs and we also provide hypnobirthing and parent education and courses as standard.

We employ MaMAs (Mother and Midwife Assistants) to offer additional support in the antenatal as well as the postnatal period. Our MaMAs can support you with becoming more confident parents as well as providing you with practical advice and support regarding infant feeding and baby care.

Our midwives are trained to recognise and deal with any complications that occur and if necessary we can refer you to an obstetrician within a local hospital of your choice to ensure that you receive safe and appropriate care when needed.

If everything goes well with your pregnancy and you choose a homebirth, your One to One midwife will ensure that you have access to a pool (if you choose a waterbirth) and access to our KG Hynobirthing course, which can be booked directly via our One to One website.

After the birth your One to One midwife, with the support of your MaMA, will visit you at home as often as you need until at least 6 weeks after your baby has been born.

One to One Midwives are delivering what the pioneer is aiming to deliver across the rest of Cheshire and Merseyside in the future. If you want to know more about the One to One service or how you can access our care you can contact us via the following options:

o Send an enquiry via our website at: http://www.onetoonemidwives.org/enquiries 
o By telephone: 0330 3309 121
o Via your GP

To find out if One to One is available in your area, contact us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OnetoOneMidwives or using any of the above contact methods.

08 Dec

A week in the life of a One to One Midwife

Have you ever wondered what its like to be part of a team at One to One Midwives?

Have you thought of applying for a job with One to One but not sure what a typical day is like?

You’re in luck!

One to One Wirral midwife, Michelle Ryan, has shared a week in the life of a One to One midwife.

Monday:

At 8:50AM I do the school run. 
At 9:00AM I take ‘divert’ off my phone ready for my working day. 
Between 9:15 – 1:00PM I saw 5 of my postnatal women. 
At 1:00PM I conducted a new antenatal home booking and then 2 postnatal/NIPES. 
At 3:30PM I did the school run then at 6:00PM started my on call commitment.
I completed my paper work between 8:00 - 10:00PM. I didn’t receive any call outs.

Tuesday:

8:30AM School run then straight to clinic to attend a scan. I had a natter with some colleagues before heading to 5 antenatal home visits. 
3:30PM School run. 
6:00PM diverted my phone to the on call midwife and completed my daily paper work (I prefer to do paperwork at night so I can do school run)

Wednesday:

Protected day off

Thursday:

At 8:50AM I took my sons to school. 
At 9:00AM I took off my phone ‘divert’ but went to the gym between 9:00 – 10:00AM. 
Between 10:30-12:00 I went to 2 routine antenatal visits, then between 12:00 -3:00PM I saw 3 postnatal women. 
Between 3:00 – 5:00PM I did 2 antenatal home visits then I was called as a second to attend a lovely home birth. 
I was home at 6:45PM and diverted to the on-call midwife.

Friday:

Took my boys to school as usual and soon after took the divert off my phone. 
At 9:00AM I got a call from one of my women needing support in labour. At 11:00AM baby was born and after all checks completed I left at 1:00PM. 
I saw 4 other women for antenatal checks then home at 5:00PM. 
6:00PM diverted phone.

Saturday:

Conducted a Hypnobirthing course then went to 2 primary postnatal home visits.

Sunday:

Protected day off

So how does that sound?

No two days are the same at One to One. No two days are the same in midwifery!

The One to One Wirral Team are recruiting for passionate midwives to join them! Could this be for you?

Still not sure? Join us on the 19th December at 17:00hrs for a free webinar on what it is like to work as part of the team – see what we can offer you and see if this way of working fits for you.

One to One Wirral Lead Midwife Naomi Poole and One to One Wirral midwife Michelle Ryan will be conducting the Webinar – Join us and listen to the midwives working in the team. Ask questions you’ve always wanted the answers to.

Details of the Webinar will be published on our Facebook page shortly – save the date! Looking forward to seeing you there.

https://www.facebook.com/OnetoOneMidwives

14 Jun

One to One Midwives: June is breastfeeding awareness month

June is breastfeeding awareness month and we are celebrating the great benefits of breast milk for you and your baby.

As well as being convenient and perfectly designed for your baby, breast milk also protects your baby from infections and diseases. Breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby and also provides health benefits for you too.

Here at One to One we have dedicated midwife and mothers assistants (MaMAs) on hand to offer advice on breastfeeding before your baby arrives and for six weeks after as part of our unique post-natal care, as well as your dedicated midwife who is with you throughout your pregnancy.

Two of our MaMAs, Julie and Sarah, have given us their top tips for breastfeeding:

Research and speak to a MaMa before you have your baby – ask your midwife
Understand how small your baby’s tummy is: http://www.ameda.com/breastfeeding/the-first-12-months
Get off to a good start, eat well and keep hydrated
Take a vitamin supplement that contains vitamin D
Understand when growth spurts stages are and why your baby is doing them: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/growth-spurts/
Good positioning and attachment
Sleep when baby sleeps
Know about feeding cues and being baby lead
Effective sucking/supply and demand: http://youtu.be/Zln0LTkejIs
Ask for support: One to One Mama support/breastfeeding groups.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of:

• Infections, with fewer visits to hospital as a result 
• Diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result 
• Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 
• Childhood leukaemia 
• Type 2 diabetes 
• Obesity 
• Cardiovascular disease in adulthood

For mums breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:

• Breast cancer 
• Ovarian cancer 
• Osteoporosis (weak bones) 
• Cardiovascular disease 
• Obesity

One to One breastfeeding facts and figures:

Initiation rate for all women: One to One: 79% England: 73.9% 
Initiation rate for homebirth: One to One: 91% 
Still breastfeeding at 14 days: One to One (All Women): 69% England: NA 
Still breastfeeding at 14 days home birth: One to One: 81% 
Still breastfeeding on discharge (6weeks): One to One: 57% England: 47.2%
Still breastfeeding for home birth: One to One: 67%

* Figures taken from One to One’s Quality Report 2014/2015
** Breastfeeding information taken from www.NHS.uk

The Liverpool One to One Team will be joining the Breastfeeding Celebration Parade on Monday, June 20, to celebrate Breastfeeding Feeding Awareness Week. The Parade will assemble at St Georges Hall at 11:30AM and will officially start at 12:00PM. It will end at Chavasse Park close to 12:30pm. There will then be a picnic in Chavasse Park (weather permitting) and if it rains we would love to see you at John Lewis Café for cake and coffee! Midwife Lorna and Mama Michelle will be there.

To find details of Wirral breastfeeding events please visit: http://www.wirralct.nhs.uk/news-campaigns/news/latest-news/celebrate-breastfeeding-awareness-month-with-us

07 Apr

How important is the pregnancy journey?

Pregnant with my second child I didn't hesitate to return to One to One and was excited about getting my antenatal journey underway. Talking to pregnant women and mums I've met since having my first child, I have been shocked that 'The Birth' seems to be all people talk about; where, how long, how traumatic etc. I actually felt a bit shy about saying mine was a wholly positive experience which even straight afterwards I had no anxiety over the thought of repeating.

I feel that it’s the pregnancy journey that gets really overlooked by mums talking about their experiences. You carry your child (some breeze through it and some really struggle) every day and night for 9-10 months. They remind you of their presence with their little nudges and turns for over half of the length of your pregnancy and yet all the attention is focused upon the relatively tiny period of time it takes for baby to be born. I get it, I know it’s the main event and what every mum to be is waiting for but it still shocks me that the care you receive in the year leading up to it is forgotten. For me this was one of the highlights of being with One to One.

Granted, I have nothing to compare it to. I have been pregnant twice and used One to One as my maternity provider from booking at 8 weeks both times and so I haven't sampled the antenatal care provided by my local NHS trust. However I have been shocked when friends tell me of their experience (which they have also found positive). They sit in clinics waiting for their 15-minute appointment and if they're very lucky they see the same midwife a few times - sadly though they know that this person is unlikely to be present at their baby's birth. All the necessary checks and tests on mum and baby are done and they are sent away until next time. There is nothing wrong with the care they get at all. In fact it is the national model we feel lucky to have, free and accessible to all.

However my experience could not be further from this. I wait at home for my lovely midwife who I see at all my appointments to come. She is so flexible with her availability so that my husband is able to be there at every appointment and that he, in his hugely important role as Dad-to-be, is also included and involved. We are treated as a family unit from booking. His role is valued even if that means that appointments take place of an evening or weekend. I am shocked by how many fathers are excluded from hearing the tiny heartbeat for the first time as it happens at a pre-allocated time in the middle of a weekday where their employer doesn't have any legal obligation to allow them to attend.

When I ask my friends how on earth they manage to get through all the information and their questions within the 15 minute appointment, they say that it is a bit of a rush. My appointments with One to One are always a minimum of an hour over a cuppa where I am able to ask all my (sometimes stupid) questions and where more importantly I get told lots more info than I could ever get off parenting websites about what is happening with the tiny life inside of me. Also as my midwife gets to know me, she knows what type of things I'd like to know, what my own concerns are and how I cope with those strange pregnancy related things that happen to us all. This is one of the key things of being with One to One which you just sadly don't get with the local community midwife team. My midwife knows ME. Not as a pregnancy statistic. Not as a 'risk factor', but as a pregnant woman. She knows what is normal for me.

When you've had your baby you get advice (wanted or not) every way you turn, all conflicting and all ultimately pointing to the fact that every baby is different. If this is the case then every human is different. Every pregnant woman is different. So why oh why are we all expected to fit into the same structured version of maternity care and labour? Having a professional clinician who knows my ‘normal’ and me seems like the most logical, natural thing in the world. We build that relationship over the whole pregnancy with more frequent visits and checks as the pregnancy advances. As 'The Birth' approaches unlike so many of my friends, I feel calm and collected about what will happen, the fact that I am in control and have the right and confidence to question everything that may happen wherever I choose to give birth. For me because of the fantastic antenatal care, birth is something to look forward to and embrace as I am fully informed about what happens and how to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible. It is one of the most powerful things a woman can ever go through and yet sadly for so many women it is one of the situations where they feel most powerless and out of control as a stranger takes the control of their birth. Being with One to One empowers you as a parent, both as a mother and a father.

This is the reason I chose One to One.

So many people think that One to One is just about the Home Birth. Home Birth happens because you feel confident, in-control and empowered to make your own decisions and be in your most safe and comfortable environment to bring your child into the world. Ultimately though, I know my One to One Midwife will support me in whatever decision I make about where and how to give birth with no judgement or negativity. It really doesn't matter what your birth plan is or how you intend to deliver. The care you get throughout your entire pregnancy and in those first 6 weeks postnatally is what makes One to One such a fantastic option.

People often ask 'what’s the catch? It sounds too good to be true'. I’m almost at the end of my second One to One pregnancy and I've not yet found it.

Post by Louise, One to One service user.

10 Oct

Baby Showers

Oh Baby... Showers.

We all love the arrival of a new squishy, is it a pink or blue baby? It's cause to celebrate and a baby shower is the perfect way to do it, but what are the 'do's and don’ts' of a baby shower and how can you keep it 'tasteful' whilst still having fun?

Baby showers are traditionally an opportunity for friends and family to impart their mummy wisdom, love and advice (whether wanted or not) onto the new mum-to-be.

In America the ritual of a highly commercial baby shower has been a well-established rite of passage for every pregnant woman for decades. Although baby showers have been in existence in the UK since the 1800's, we have only more recently embraced this culture to become a main staple of our pregnancy journey.

Many of us have experienced a baby shower as a guest, host or the mum-to-be and may have our own opinions on the custom. As a 34 year old mum of two boys and now expecting a girl, I have seen my fair share of showers. Some have been a veritable feast for the eyes, straight out of a dreamy Pinterest shot, whilst others have been my worst nightmare, pretty distasteful with vagina cakes and poop tasting contests (yes this is a real baby shower game, with chocolate thankfully taking the guise of the poop!)

 .

Showers are normally planned and organised by a close friend and as hostess, you would have the responsibility of planning the surprise and making the experience memorable (for the right reasons). This in my opinion is a huge responsibility for the hostess; there's the guest list to compile, theme to decide, invites to create, cakes to make, games to plan and organise and all this for a budget that will mostly come out of your pocket.

So what are the baby shower trends and traditions? How can you make sure you leave your mum-to-be and guests saying 'Awww' and not 'Ewww'.

1. Theme.

This can be related to the baby gender e.g. pink or blue. But be aware that some mums (like me) may have an aversion to all things pink! You may want to plan with the mum-to-be and have the shower also as a 'gender reveal' party, using the cakes or balloons to reveal the sex of the baby. Alternatively the theme may be neutral, yellows and greys being a key trend at the moment.

2. The Guest List.

Traditionally both friends and family must be there and baby showers are a female only zone. Most people stick to this, as discussion topics about late pregnancy may arise (such as perineal massage, google if you don't know!) and so it is thought best to keep dads out. That said, you may want to have a more relaxed affair, perhaps a summer BBQ or just a friendly get together to celebrate. Whatever you do don't forget to invite the Dad’s side of the family (the mother in law would never forgive you).

3. Games.

Now this is where it could all get messy (quite literally). There are thousands of game ideas out there and it is a flood of tacky and cheesy experience that you need to wade through before you can find what is right for your shower. You will know the mum-to-be and guests and should use your judgement as to what will be an acceptable level of ' 'cheese' as it is mostly unavoidable. We all accept that showers have an element of 'tongue in cheek' and so a few games that make us laugh are the norm. But try to balance this out with more personal games with the 'Awww' factor, you could do a quiz about the mum-to-be or use old baby photos from the guests. It is a balance of fun and sentimentality that you are trying to achieve.

4. Food.

As mentioned earlier, the cake you choose is largely dictated by the shower theme. You may want a large cake with a stork or baby on the top but these are normally quite messy to cut up and distribute and also quite expensive. An easier and less messy approach would be cupcakes, either DIY, ordered or shop bought. Your guests can then help themselves. Additional to this you will need the customary cucumber sandwiches and few nibbles. But choose your timing of the shower so that you are not obliged to feed the guests as the focus should be on the mum-to-be and gifts.

5. Enjoy it.

Being the host is a large responsibility so you may be stressed and forget to enjoy the shower yourself. Take the pressure off and ask others to help. You may even pay for someone else to organise it all or ask for donations from friends and family in the form of food or decorations. The aim is for everyone to celebrate the forthcoming birth and the passage from woman to mother. The mum-to-be should feel special and excited when she leaves.

With the above suggestions in mind, you can create a great experience for all to remember.

One to One Pregnancy Advice Centres will soon be opening their doors for you to book your baby showers. For a small cost (non-profit making) you will be able to host your shower in our relaxing environment. We will organise the tasteful decoration, cakes and entertaining games (with the right level of cheesiness).

To launch this fantastic service we are giving our first shower at our Crewe advice centre for free. To enter the competition you need to share this post and tag a pregnant friend via Facebook. You will then need to complete the following information and send it to info@121midwives.co.uk:

Booking form details required:

Forename:
Surname:
Contact No. 
Postcode:
Email:
No. of weeks pregnant Mum-to-be is: