Splash down


Knocked up? Worried that ante-natal classes are going to have you humming Kumbya as you openly talk about fannies? Well, it doesn’t have to be such a procreational horror show; cue The Doctor and Daughter’s school of learning run by father Roger Marwood and daughter Rebecca Maberly. No nonsense, fully genned-up (he’s a obstetrician, she’s a mother of two), this is where answers are straight and people are normal. Don’t believe us? Beth and Matt are checking out the sessions every week as they head towards splash down. Here’s how they got on in week two.


I felt so much more relaxed coming along to the class this evening – even though Rebecca had warned us we’d be discussing the “nitty gritty” of labour. I felt a bit daunted when I spotted a model of a pelvis and a slightly battered looking ‘baby’ in a bag but was relieved when Rebecca reassured that we wouldn’t be getting on the floor for any demonstrations.

Tonight’s class focused on the different stages of labour, particularly the early stages – the signs to watch out for, how to know it’s real labour, when to go in to hospital and what to expect when you get there. I’ve been fearful that I’ll get to hospital mid-labour, only to be told I’m 1cm dilated, or that it’s just trapped wind. Rebecca shared her experiences of labour, and was very honest about the pain and how it feels so we weren’t fobbed off with any talk of ‘just breathing out the baby’.

Roger has so much knowledge – I’m sure there’s not a complication he hasn’t seen or a situation hasn’t been in – he told us about babies born in car parks, in lifts, and out the front of Chelsea and Westminster hospital. Some of it was a bit scary to hear, but I’d much rather be armed with information and able to prepare than living in a bubble completely unaware of what’s to come! I think Matt loved it – he loves anything medical, but I was a bit pale by the end.

It was really reassuring to hear about what we can expect when we show up at the hospital – from who and what is likely to be in the delivery room, to how to push effectively (Rebecca does a fantastic demonstration!)

We were also encouraged to start thinking about our birth plan but not to get too hung up on it. Like what we’d like to happen straight after birth, pain relief options and what things we’d like to include or avoid. I know births can’t be planned, but I think it’ll help us to prepare for a few eventualities if we’ve thought through in advance how we’d like to handle them.

This time the handout was on the stages of labour and what to pack in your hospital bag – pretty handy stuff.
I’m actually looking forward to next week’s classes – a session with a lactation consultant and more on labour – pain management, interventions and all the scary stuff.


Possibly the most useful class for me. Part of being an expectant father is accepting the fact that you’re now more of a sideshow. All the focus is (quite rightly) on the mother. But prospective fathers have concerns too.

How will I know when she’s in labour? What should I do when she is? What can I do to help? These and many other questions were answered. Even if some of the answers are “keep quiet and do as you’re told” its pretty useful to know that in advance.

How do I measure success? Do I feel more prepared for the birth of my daughter? Yes and that’s how I measure success. So this week was a success.

Also the biscuits were nice.

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Anna Whitehouse

Founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse likes super hero cape-making classes and dislikes the naming of celebrity couples (TomKat, Brange etc.) She tries (and often fails) to parent the shit out of life.



Turns out I’m not an afternoon person either.


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