10 questions: with Julie Whitehead


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Originally a registered Nurse from the Isle of Man, Julie moved to the South Coast in 1995 to become a midwife. Her passions as a midwife are ante natal education, breast feeding and the new parent-baby relationship. Julie has two grown up sons and lives in Southsea.

I caught up with Julie to ask her a few questions about the amazing support service she offers mothers and babies in Portsmouth

Hi Julie, your support service for mums and babies is just amazing! It seems you are expanding and adding in more groups, classes and courses all the time. What is the most rewarding thing about running the You And Your Baby Hub? Julie: The most rewarding thing about being in the mother and baby hub is that I get the opportunity to spend good amouts of time with pregnant and new mothers in a relaxing environment. I like to feel all the mums who come to see me feel cared for and supported. Getting good advice and knowing you have somewhere to go to ask questions about your pregnancy or new baby helps with the transition from pregnancy to parenthood

When did you make the move down to Hampshire from the Isle Of Man?

J: I came to Portsmouth University over 20 years ago to train as a midwife. I worked in London for 7 years on an active birth unit and also trained as a lactation consultant. Since then i have enjoyed working in Southsea doing various pregnancy and new mother classes, from aquanatal to baby massage and pilates

What made you decide to become an independent midwife?

J: I became an independant midwife 3 years ago, when i realised that i wanted to create a place for women to come to for help and support - as becoming a new mother is a massive step in a woman's life and I wanted to create a haven of relaxation and support, to help them feel empowered for birth and confident with their new baby.

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How many babies have you delivered?

Lots! I cannot imagine what the number would be...

after 20 years of being a midwife I wouldn't like to guess!

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It must be wonderful meeting these ladies when they are pregnant, then continuing to support them through those first months with their new baby

J. It's wonderful, i meet amzing women and then have the joy of seeing them in the early days with their new babies. I get great satisfaction, too, when i see the mums making friends at the hub, sometimes these friendships become lifetime. Women supporting women. Fathers-to-be are also welcome with open arms. I do ante natal workshops, but also dads baby massage so he can learn how to soothe his baby and have a lovely morning of relaxation with their baby

Respond Portsmouth

J: Pregnancy and post natal depression is an area I'm passionate about. Mums need to get support as soon as they can: They can always contact me and I will ensure some help is organised for them. PND often is characterised by anxiety or unwanted thoughts, it might be that a mum is worried about meeting other mums at groups or excessivly worrying about her baby. Help is available, even just attending our free coffee mornings might be enough to help the mum. All info is on our website www.respondportsmouth.co.uk

You have many guest-run classes at the hub, from baby signing to sleep courses

J: Jo Ryder from Twilight Nanny is a sleep specialist and visits the hub regularly to advise mums whos babies are difficult to settle or in a bad habit.many parents have been helped by Jo. Sarah Zaki the cranial osteopath also comes to speak at the hub. Water babies pops in now and again to chat about water safety with your baby.

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Did you know...

You are entitled to time off work to attend ante natal

midwife checks, parent education , aqua natal

and relaxation classes whilst pregnant

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Your “New Parent To Be” course looks just incredible! Please tell us more about this course

J: The New Parent To Be course will really help new parents prepare for labour, birth and parenthood. I wanted to offer a package that ensured the parents-to-be had all of the knowledge and skills to feel ready for the next step in their lives. The package has everything in, so the mother will also feel supported in those special weeks after birth

Baby photographer Portsmouth

J: The mother and baby photographes you did are wonderful and all of the parents comment on them, not only the photos but the great care you give the family whilst using your services. You can find out more about the Baby & Toddler First Aid course [here]. The session is aimed at parents, parents-to-be, grandparent and child carers. It is a 2 hour course done in a relaxed setting and covers everything from the Principles of First Aid, Safety at home, Sudden infant death syndrome, Basic life support (including the use of a mannequin), choking, Illness recognition, Meningitis, Febrile Convulsions and Breaks & Bleeds. To book your place, please click here

Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to add?

J: Yes, I'd like to add a little more on the Symptoms of postnatal depression:

Postnatal depression can affect women in different ways. Symptoms can start soon after giving birth and last for months or, in severe cases, they can persist for more than a year. The main symptoms of postnatal depression are: a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give pleasure lack of energy and feeling tired all the time (fatigue) Other symptoms can include: disturbed sleep, such as having trouble sleeping during the night and then being sleepy during the day difficulties with concentration and making decisions low self-confidence poor appetite or an increase in appetite ("comfort eating") feeling very agitated or, alternatively, very apathetic (you can’t be bothered) feelings of guilt and self-blame thinking about suicide and self-harming Postnatal depression can interfere with your day-to-day life and can be associated with increased anxiety. Some women feel they're unable to look after their baby, or they feel too anxious to leave the house or keep in touch with friends.

Thank you Julie so much for taking the time to chat with us.

For more information about the services offered by Julie in Portsmouth, please visi t http://www.youandyourbaby.co.uk/

Useful links:

facebook groups:

  • Southsea mummies and babies http://www.facebook.com/groups/152055498184709/

  • Fareham mummies and babies http://www.facebook.com/groups/115330608563512/

  • Gosport mummies and babies http://www.facebook.com/groups/115081168587998/

  • Chichester mummies and babies http://www.facebook.com/groups/481726291842515/

  • Dad Chat http://www.facebook.com/groups/411828722162164/

  • Hypnobirthing Portsmouth https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hypnobirthing-Portsmouth/1383237725313316

Lauren x

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