Jo Terry, aka Melbourne Midwife

Melbourne Midwife: Childbirth Educator Jo Terry

Childbirth can be a scary prospect – but it doesn’t need to be with the right guidance, knowledge and support. That’s why booking in some childbirth education can help the (very normal) anxiety that creeps up as your due date approaches.

Jo Terry, aka Melbourne Midwife
Jo Terry, aka Melbourne Midwife

I’d been interested in childbirth education from early pregnancy. For me, knowledge is power and fear comes from the unknown. But all that seemed to be available through my hospital was Zoom sessions. If I’m honest, I didn’t like the look of virtual group classes. It sounded pretty impersonal, and I found them quite expensive for a lesson I might feel disconnected from.

Easing Childbirth Anxiety with Melbourne Midwife Jo

Soon we were approaching the third trimester and hadn’t booked any birth sessions. Then a lovely midwife at one of my hospital appointments at the Royal Women’s in Melbourne recommended at-home childbirth education classes by Jo Terry. Otherwise known as the Melbourne Midwife, you can check out Jo’s Instagram here: @melbournemidwife_.

The midwife at the hospital gave me a bit of background: Jo used to run the Childbirth Education Department at the Women’s. I’ll preface that with the fact that the Women’s has an impeccable reputation as the best hospital for maternal care – public or private – in Victoria. And it’s public, so free.

Jo’s department at the Women’s had changed and she no longer worked in that role. Instead, she’d started up her own business under the name Melbourne Midwife. I felt like very much the insider with this personal recommendation from a professional. Jo’s services comprise lactation consultancy to childbirth education, bodywork and baby settling.

Offering classes from $150 to all-inclusive packages of 3 sessions for $600, Jo helps get mums-to-be, their partners and support people ready for the rollercoaster of the birth experience and life with a new baby. The sessions are in-person, either in a group or privately in your own home. I was really excited about this so messaged Jo the very same night to book a private session in with her.

Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding Home Education

Since our first, personalised 2.5 hour session at around 28 weeks, I’ve started to look forward to the birth more. It was fun and super insightful. Jo brought all sorts of wondrous tools in her little suitcase, such as a knitted placenta and umbilical cord (really!), life-size toy pelvis, some baby dolls, and information cards, plus her warm, friendly presence and no-nonsense attitude.

Mexican technique Rebozo Manteada
Mexican technique Rebozo Manteada

Being apart from our friends and family back home, we have felt isolated, alone and even more anxious about this whole experience. Having Jo here felt like a distant auntie coming to visit, with all the right know-how for an invaluable few hours of education, settling nerves and building our confidence.

For example, Jo taught us about the pros and cons of all the main pain medications, plus some info on other interventions. She spoke to us a lot about how to get through a ‘normal’ birth feeling empowered. We learned about the benefits of delayed cord clamping, and how to not feel pressured into agreeing to interventions that may not be necessary. Many people don’t fully understand what they’re agreeing to, and if they did, they might not actually want them.

Andrew benefitted from learning bodywork methods to assist in easing my pregnancy aches and pains, and to help me progress through contractions in labour when the time comes. These include Mexican technique Rebozo Manteada, Shaking the Apple Tree, and more – techniques described on American website Spinning Babies. Many of these are designed to help baby align in the optimum position for birth, while balancing the pelvis in preparation.

Empowered To Decide My Birth Preferences and Plan

Jo’s teachings have helped me put together a birth preference plan and form informed decisions about what I want. I have developed a stronger trust and belief in my body to handle childbirth. For sure, the sessions have proven very empowering. This is one of the benefits of hiring a doula (around $1,000). You can get a feel for that via a session or 2 with Jo, building up your own confidence, self-belief and education. We had a second session at 34 weeks as a refresher on bodywork, plus more on breastfeeding and baby settling.

As my pregnancy is currently considered low risk, the possibility of traditional, natural birth is in my favour. My intention is to avoid interventions such as C-section and epidural – even morphine if I can help it. I feel equipped with a good amount of knowledge and tools to back up my choices. While every birth is real, incredible and 100% valid, it seems the fewer interventions you can muster, the better the outcomes for mum and baby. I guess you have to approach any huge, scary prospect with some kind of game plan and just do your best.

Finally, I’m thinking about live streaming the birth for our families back home – but don’t want to distract from an intimate, oxytocin and melatonin-filled atmosphere… Will have to just bring the camera kit and play that part by ear.

Phone Jo on 1300 295 130 to book the dates that suit you best, or check out her website.

Deni Kirkova
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