From this April, pregnant women will be able to claim a payment of £190, called the Health in Pregnancy Grant. The aim is to help pregnant women stay fit and healthy in the run up to the birth and help meet some of the extra costs as the big day approaches.
Every mum-to-be who is registered with a midwife or GP will be able to claim this grant. If you are pregnant you just have to ask your midwife for a claim form at your first antenatal appointment after the 25th week of pregnancy. Once you’ve completed the form, send to HM Revenue & Customs within 31 days and HMRC will then pay the money directly into their bank or building society accounts. And it is entirely up to you how the money is spent. If you’re expecting a baby on or after 6 April 2009, you will be eligible for the payment. Here are some ideas of things that you might choose to spend that money on to promote health during pregnancy and beyond:
“This is an ideal time to enjoy the benefits of holistic treatments.”
At Natural Nurture holistic therapies in Brighton, pregnant women can receive a holistic package to treat their mind, body and soul. Lucy Corkhill, therapist believes that women experience not only physical changes, but deep emotional and spiritual changes as well during pregnancy. “This is an ideal time to begin (or, indeed, continue!) to enjoy the benefits of holistic treatments,” she explains. “Having trained specifically in massage for pregnancy, birth and the post-natal period, I am keen to help my clients enjoy this special journey. I have also had the opportunity to support clients during labour and birth and am happy to teach the birthing partner massage and reflexology techniques so that they can feel a valuable part of the whole experience.” A series of massage treatments can lessen morning sickness, ease an aching back and help your body to relax at a deep level, whilst preparing for childbirth.
WHAT YOU GET: Your grant will allow you to indulge in five heavenly treatments.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
There are a number of fantastic, inspiring books about pregnancy that make valuable reading at this important time. Choose well and your reading matter can really empower you and help to make the birth process a magical experience for you and your new child. We recommend the following, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, Birth Your Way and Homebirth by Sheila Kitzinger, New Active Birth and The Water Birth Book by Janet Balaskas, Birthing from Within and accompanying Journal by Pam England, The Secret Life of the Expectant Mother by Carl Jones, Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond by Francoise Freedman and the Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed.
WHAT YOU GET: All of the above and you’ll have only spent half of your entitlement.
STRETCH YOUR BODY
Birthlight is a charity that focuses on an holistic approach to pregnancy and birth using Yoga and breathing methods to enhance your and your babies well-being. They run pregnancy yoga classes and childbirth preparation courses all around the UK. They also produce a Yoga Birth CD containing deep relaxation and breathing practices. Some organic yogawear from Gossypium that can also be worn as leisurewear (those fold over trousers are very supportive of your growing bump too) and you are set to go.
WHAT YOU GET: A series of six sessions, a CD and organic yogawear and you’ll still have some change left over.
PREPARE FOR BIRTH
Women in labour are often drawn to water for its gentle calming effect. La Bassine birthing pool provides a sanctuary for the birthing woman, a space where she’s in charge of her body and where she’s able to offer her baby a gentle entrance to the world. At Made in Water they offer several water birthing products including a complete pool kit that can easily be installed in your home.
WHAT YOU GET: A birthing pool and accessories and you’ll have plenty left over, perhaps to treat yourself to some organic toiletries for pregnancy and labour.
LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
Tamara Donn is a childbirth educator who runs Woman to Mother workshops in Hertfordshire. She hosts a selection of retreats and events for pregnant women including a one-day retreat and a regular meet up called the Birth Art Cafe, where expectant mums can explore their feelings around pregnancy through creative pursuits such as painting and sculpture in a warm, welcoming environment.
WHAT YOU GET: You could treat yourself to the retreat and six Birth Art Cafe sessions with your money.