A lady who needs no introduction, Clemmie Hooper is an author, a mum of four and the midwife we all want (or wish we had) by our side when we give birth.
Inspired by the women she helped every day, Clemmie began her crusade to educate modern women on all things pregnancy and birth five years ago, with her blog Gas and Air.
These days, her and her husband Simon (also known as FOD) have over 780,000 Instagram followers between them, sharing the highs and lows of being a parent with the world. Her book ‘How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out’ covers everything from the pregnancy test, to the ‘forth trimester’ – your first few months as a mum.
We were thrilled when Clemmie agreed to take over our Facebook page for an evening and answer your questions (scroll down for the full video). Here’s our favourite answers:
I’m planning on a homebirth but don’t want a pool where would be the best place to give birth? I’m thinking my living room, but would the bedroom be better?
Good question! Loads of people deliver at home without using a pool – a pool isn’t for everyone. The great thing about having your baby at home is that it’s your space and you can do whatever you want; if you’re in labour and want to move from your bedroom to your living room that’s fine. In terms of actually delivering, think about where you’d feel more comfortable – lots of women like to deliver on all fours or on their knees leaning over the bed. When it comes to home births, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you’ve got a waterproof sheet so your carpet or bedding don’t get ruined.
How important is a birth plan?
Let’s start by calling it your birth preferences – birth preferences all the way. I like the word preference because, for example, I would have liked it to be sunny on my wedding day, but rain wouldn’t have ruined it. This is the kind of analogy I go on – you can’t plan everything in life – you can plan your wedding day but it might rain. It’s the same with birth. You can plan everything, but it might not go the way it planned. The most important thing is you feel really well supported in the decisions you’ve made.
Get a couple of birth preferences written out, maybe one or two and then when you go into labour, get your birth partner to show your midwife.
I think birth preferences are really important, firstly for you and your birth partner, you don’t want to be having conversations and making decisions during labour. It’s also important for your midwife – so get a couple of birth preferences written out, maybe one or two and then when you go into labour, get your birth partner to show your midwife. It’s really important that you understand that you can’t plan it from a-z, you have to think plan a and plan b.
What inspired you to write your book?
You! You women inspired me to write my book. I have been blogging for quite a few years and I would get emailed every couple of days by women asking questions so I decided I’d write a book. I did a bit of research and realised there was nothing written by a British midwife available for modern women. So I wrote it for you, and your friends, and your friend’s friends, and the people you meet in your antenatal classes.
I’m overdue by two days with my third baby. What happens if I refuse to be induced at 12 days?
The first thing is that you don’t have to do anything, or feel pressured into doing anything you don’t consent to. The most important thing is that you have the ability to make an informed choice. Nobody is going to force you into a hospital, onto a bed to have a pessary or have your waters broken. Nobody is going to force induction.
I am now so happy that there is this amazing online community through bloggers and Instagrammers who are sharing the reality of motherhood
The most important thing is you have a balanced discussion with your midwife or with your obstetrician about induction – go through the pros and cons, the benefits and the negatives of having an induction. If you’ve already gone into labour naturally twice with your other babies, there’s no reason why you’re not going to do the same. Remember that only 5% of babies come on their estimated due date so don’t get too fixed on that date.
My first labour was really traumatic and I went into it so confident and excited. I’m now pregnant again, how do I get over being worried about my next delivery?
Hypnobirthing! You can practise hypnobirthing techniques for any labour. There’s a really good company called London hypnobirthing run by Hollie De’ Cruz – I downloaded her mp3s and listened to them in labour for hours. Genius.
Is your second labour generally faster?
Yes, it is. Your body has done it before so there’s muscle memory; your uterus is a muscle and your vagina is full of lots of muscle and tissue, so it’s much faster. So much so that people don’t believe you and nearly have their baby in the waiting room.
I had a baby four months ago and am feeling a bit low about things and am not sure what to do.
I think you need to really talk to someone. Some good organisations are PANDAS, but you can also go to your GP or let your partner know how you feel. It’s not normal to not feel ok, but it’s ok not to feel ok. So don’t worry alone, don’t suffer in silence, go and talk. You may just need some extra support, you may need some counselling, you may need some medication. Your GP will be able to advise you accordingly, but do talk to someone and don’t sit at home and worry about it.
Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re amazing – us mummies need to support each other! I love seeing your posts about your family and how you are balancing everything.
Well that is so nice and you know what, when I had my first daughter nine years ago there was nothing, there was no Instagram, there was no Facebook-lives, there was just nothing and I felt so isolated and alone. I am now so happy that there is this amazing online community through bloggers and Instagrammers who are sharing the reality of motherhood – the highs and the lows. I always say, one-minute motherhood can make you feel amazing and the next minute it can make you feel like you’re failing. So keep doing what you’re doing – you’re all amazing!
Find out more about Clemmie's 'How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out' here.