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.
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.