Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Gone are the days of ba­bies be­ing de­liv­ered by doc­tors in stiff white coats while fathers pace ner­vously in hall­ways.

Nowa­days there are a raft of al­ter­na­tive and com­ple­men­tary op­tions for ex­pec­tant moth­ers who want to make the most of the ex­pe­ri­ence of bring­ing life into the world.

Sa­man­tha Thurlby-Brooks is a spe­cial­ist preg­nancy masseuse and child­birth ed­u­ca­tor.

She nurse.

Miss Thurlby-Brooks started her mas­sage ca­reer in 2001. She’d re­cently grad­u­ated from Ox­ford Univer­sity with a phi­los­o­phy de­gree but was more in­ter­ested in work­ing with the Ja­panese spir­i­tual prac­tice of Reiki.

After five years of treat­ing mainly de­pressed pa­tients she was keen to try some­thing else.

‘‘I just wanted some­thing a bit more light hearted and fun,’’ she says.

Mas­sage dur­ing preg­nancy

is not a mid­wife or is im­por­tant for a lot of rea­sons, Miss Thurlby-Brooks says.

‘‘It’s great to re­lax be­cause stress can af­fect the growth of a baby and the health of a mum.

‘‘I am ac­tu­ally treat­ing the aches and pains, its not just a fluffy mas­sage,’’ she says.

Mas­sage can also be used dur­ing labour to ease pain and help with the de­liv­ery.

In 2007 Miss Thurl­byBrooks moved from the UK to New Zealand.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of mas­sag­ing thou­sands of woman gave her the in­spi­ra­tion for her new ven­ture the Mu­manu Pil­low.

The pil­low helps preg­nant woman to sleep in the cor­rect po­si­tion and avoid back and hip pain.

It’s been en­dorsed by the The Os­teo­pathic So­ci­ety of New Zealand and is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in the ma­ter­nity care in­dus­try.

Miss Thurlby-Brooks also of­fers child­birth ed­u­ca­tion classes from her busi­ness Joy­ful Child­birth. The classes pro­mote a nat­u­ral birth process.

‘‘We be­lieve that ev­ery woman is born know­ing how to give birth. It’s in­nate and doesn’t need to be taught so the classes are about learn­ing to be con­fi­dent and com­fort­able with what they al­ready know.

‘‘Its not done in a weird hippy way, it’s a very well grounded course.’’

Miss Thurlby-Brooks isn’t a mother and says it’s the ‘‘ac­tivist’’ in her that’s mo­ti­vated the ca­reer choice.

‘‘I’ve al­ways stood up for those who need stand­ing up for,’’ she says.

‘‘If moth­ers are not fully in­formed about child­birth then it falls to the mid­wife to fol­low stan­dard pro­ce­dure. If the stan­dard pro­ce­dure is in­ter­ven­tion there may be higher risks.

‘‘Birth is where women are their most vul­ner­a­ble, but it’s where we’ve had our con­fi­dence knocked and told we can’t do it.

‘‘I feel that ed­u­cat­ing women about how pow­er­ful they are and that they can do it is much bet­ter than say­ing ‘oh you’ll need some help’,’’ she says.

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