Giving birth may be the most natural thing in the world but it can also be surrounded by apprehension and concerns.
When Jacqueline Traynor had her first child she was 18, her fourth arrived when she was 34.
She admits there were huge differences in the maternity care she received with changing healthcare policies and ideas about how mums-to-be and their babies should be cared for.
Always a maternal person and as the oldest daughter in a family of six, looking after youngsters was something that came naturally.
When the opportunity presented itself to make caring for ‘ladies-in-waiting’ her new business, she knew it was the right career move.
Lazy Daisy Birthing is a franchise which provides an array of classes for mums before and after birth, as well as ones to benefit infants.
“But they are not just beneficial during the pregnancy and postnatal period, they are fun for mums and babies,” said Jacqueline.
“Birthing classes are suitable for all pregnant mums from the 14th week of pregnancy right up until their baby is born. These give women the opportunity to take 90 minutes a week to relax and focus on themselves and their baby.
“The classes are a lovely mix of gentle movement, breathing techniques for labour and birth, pregnancy and birth education, and relaxation. They are small, informal and friendly, providing a great opportunity to ask questions and get to know the other mums in the class.”
A trained midwife, Jacqueline (49) said Lazy Daisy Birthing is never meant to take away from what the NHS provides for expectant mums, but it is a different experience and one that complements what is already there.
She said: “Mums in Forth Valley get four parentcraft classes from the NHS and these are really good, but they don’t provide what we do, which is an opportunity to learn gentle movement for alleviating pregnancy related aches and pains, while gently building up core strength and birthing muscles to ensure your body is ready for an active labour and birth.
“However, although it sounds a bit ‘hippy’, it’s certainly not about tree hugging, more about offering the opportunity to enjoy a 100 per cent natural birth.”
As well as being better for mums, she said it can also save the NHS money as newly delivered mothers who have had an easy, natural birth require less after-care and develop fewer complications.
“One thing we have in common with the NHS is wanting to see a healthy mum and baby at the end of the pregnancy,” she added.
Born and brought up in Grangemouth, Jacqueline is a former pupil of Sacred Heart Primary School, but in her early teens her father’s job as an insurance agent took the family off to Wales and the North of England. When she came back to Falkirk, she did office work before marrying and starting her family which has now grown to two sons and two daughters.
When her family were older she went back to work in the constituency office of Labour politician Michael Connarty and was involved in the day-to-day business of helping to juggle the diary and workload of the Westminster Member of Parliament.
She then took some time out and when she decided the time was right to get a new career, she was accepted for the midwifery course at Stirling University in 2008, qualifying three years later.
After spending a year on the wards in the newly-built Forth Valley Royal Hospital, she decided it was time to work for herself and opted for the Lazy Daisy franchise, but only really concentrated on setting up classes six months ago.
She now runs three from the Life Fit Wellness Centre at The Hub in Falkirk town centre and another from her home in Kinnaird Village.
“I wanted to do something linked in with my midwifery training and this seemed the perfect solution.”
One of those who said she benefited from the Lazy Daisy Birthing classes, which runs across the UK, France, Australia and the United States, is first-time mum Karen Peyton.
Originally from New Hampshire in the USA, she and her husband Brad moved to London a few years ago and came to live in Wallacestone last September.
Karen (27), who was a web designer before giving birth, said she had been checking out what different ante-natal classes could offer when she discovered Jacqueline’s.
She said: “It seemed to provide what I was looking for and I went along to a block of six sessions, although I think if I’d discovered them earlier might have gone to more.”
When daughter Jade Josephine was born on March 11 – 10 days after her due date and weighing a healthy 8lb 3oz – in the Birth Centre in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Karen found she was well prepared.
“The classes had really helped and it was great knowing what to do and what was going to be happening. I’d definitely recommend them and thanks to Jacqueline for giving me the tools to make it through.”
Once baby is here there is also the opportunity to take part in post-natal and infant massage classes. The youngest babes can go along to the Tinies class, while those slightly older go to the Wrigglers, but that depends on each individual and can be four months or six months – whenever they start to become a bit more lively!
Giving birth whether it’s for the first or the sixth time is a special experience and Jacqueline is delighted to be doing her bit to make it a more memorable time for mums – for all the right reasons.