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Oxytocin, Newborn Photography, and the Royal Surrey Maternity Unit.

As many of you may know, although I’ve been a newborn photographer in Guildford, Surrey for the past few years, I lived previously in Wimbledon, where my daughters were born. Both of my deliveries took place in a local hospital where I was cared for by wonderful staff, but I couldn’t help but think at the time how cold and daunting the environment was. Stark white walls, squeaky linoleum floors, industrial furniture; hospitals don’t particularly remind me of home.

Giving birth is a natural process, as we all know, and it’s one which comes easiest if you’re relaxed. “Nesting” is our instinctive urge to get things ready for baby arriving, whether that extends to scrubbing the skirting boards or just cocooning in bed. Feeling comfortable and safe is an incredibly important element to giving birth, and inversely, labour can be hindered if we are put in an unfamiliar environment.

Creating a relaxed atmosphere is key for any hospital birth, which is why antenatal teachers often recommended that you pack a pillow, blanket, or something that reminds you of home in your hospital bag. Not only can this help during both labour and birth, but by putting you more at ease, breastfeeding success can also be more likely. In an ideal world, a birthing unit would feel like a home away from home.

We all know how stretched our amazing National Health Service is, which is why I reached out to my local maternity unit to collaborate on revamping the rooms. The Royal Surrey Maternity Unit has been working on a fantastic initiative in-house, revamping some of their rooms. I was fortunate enough to be able to play a small part in this process by offering donations of my artwork.

As a baby photographer in Guildford, the images that I take aren’t only adorable to the newborn’s parents; looking at pictures of a baby actually releases dopamine and oxytocin, the “feel-good” hormones. Oxytocin is arguably one of the most important hormones in childbirth as it plays a role in contractions, lactation, and bonding. The power of the brain!

Hanging on the walls in the newly refurbished birthing rooms are now a selection of beautiful newborn photographs, softening what can often feel like a sterile environment. In conjunction with the amazing work that the midwifery team has been doing, the rooms are now a warmer, welcoming space for all guests to the unit. My thanks go to the team at the Royal Surrey Maternity Unit, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with such a passionate and supportive group of individuals.

Did your hospital have homely touches? It can make a world of difference. If you’d like to learn more about booking a baby photographer in Guildford or the wider Surrey area, don’t hesitate to book an initial consultation.

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