Author Archives: team

  1. Beating the Incontinence Stigma: The Best Postpartum Pads and Pants 2024

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    A lot of mums feel embarrassed about the changes in their bodies after giving birth, but they shouldn’t.

    1 in 3 women experience urinary incontinence, and studies show that 10% of mums suffer with bowel incontinence after giving birth. Embarrassment has led those suffering with incontinence to not report their symptoms. The National Childbirth Trust reports that 38% of mums who suffer with incontinence admit they were reluctant to speak to their GP at first about the symptoms associated with it.

    Incontinence and the shame around it is so common among both new (and experienced) mums that the MASIC Foundation have gathered stories from those suffering with it. Many women share how they feel“ unclean, degraded, unhappy and isolated” when suffering with their symptoms, and Luce Brett (author of PMSL) shared how mums shouldn’t hide away when it comes to expressing how they feel.

    But, just because it’s not often spoken about does not mean it doesn’t happen!

    So, why does it happen?

    It makes sense that urinary incontinence and/or bowel incontinence symptoms arise due to the toll of childbirth and pregnancy on the body. Your pelvic floor muscles (which support your bladder, uterus, and rectum) can become weakened during pregnancy due to the weight of your growing baby, and during delivery as your baby passes through the birth canal.

    Due to the stress on your pelvic floor muscles before and after birth, the pressure on your bladder may lead to it leaking without your intention – e.g. when laughing, coughing, or moving suddenly such as during exercise. It is possible to experience a greater urgency to wee, or a mixture of both stress and urgency on the bladder.

    Bowel incontinence is common because during the process of labour, pushing can harm the muscles that open and close your bowels. Signs that you may be experiencing bowel incontinence include: finding it difficult to hold in poo when you need to go, passing wind without intention, or you may be noticing stains in your underwear as a result of either factors.

    The Mumie app contains loads of resources around incontinence of the bladder and bowels, plus lots of other taboo topics like prolapse and even the best way to poo for your pelvic floor. Sign up using the link here.

    There are ways to alleviate both the pains and discomfort of incontinence during your postnatal period and beyond.

    To start you off, we’ve done the homework for you and have put together a variety of incontinence pads and pants available across a range of needs:

    For those with heavy flows:

    Abena premium | Single-use | £4.99 for 15 on Amazon

    Budget:

    Boots Ultra Slim Maternity Towels 12s | Single-use | Winged | £1.55 at Boots

    Best for night-time

    Always Discreet Incontinence Pads Plus Woman Ultimate Night X 12 | Single-use | Not winged | £4.89 (Boots)

    Budget:

    Boots Everyday Maxi-Towels Night 10s | Single-use | Not winged | £0.90 from Boots

    For those who have sensitive skin:

    TENA Lights Sensitive Ultra Pads (16 pack) | Single-use | Not winged | £2.99 Superdrug (on offer £2.50 as of 18/3/24) or £34.99 for 8 packs of 16 on Amazon

    Best discreet

    TENA Discreet Extra Incontinence Pads for Bladder Weakness 10pk | Single-use | Not winged | £2.55 Boots (26p per pad) or £14.40 for 72pc multipack at Amazon

    Budget:

    Always Discreet Sensitive Bladder Pads Plus Women Long x20 | Single Use | Not Winged | £4.89 for 20 (24p per pad) at Boots

    Best long-term/reusable

    Best for bowel incontinence

    Staydry Extra Plus Pads | 10pk | Single Use | Boots £2.29

    Managing your symptoms

    If you are suffering from incontinence, the NHS recommends starting with exercising your pelvic floor muscles. There are a range of resources online to help you with pelvic floor exercises, with full instruction provided in the Mumie app, videos on Youtube, and specialist apps such as NHS recommended ‘Squeezy’.

    Sometimes lifestyle changes are recommended to alleviate symptoms, such as diet changes, and reducing alcohol and caffeine where appropriate.

    Don’t forget to contact your GP

    It is typical to experience incontinence within the first few weeks after birth, but some women experience certain symptoms for longer. Incontinence is unfortunately common after having a baby, but should never be accepted as “normal.” Be sure to check in with your GP if you have concerns about ongoing, worsening or unusual accompanying symptoms. It’s important to remember that incontinence is a treatable condition in most cases.

    Tayla Halfacre is a Writer, Director and Editor. Her work often centres gender, sexuality, and social impact. She has published poetry in Cobra Milk and has poetry forthcoming with Carrion Press. In 2022 she was selected to be part of the Writer’s Lab with BFI Network X Northampton Film Festival, and selected to develop her play ‘Lesbian Line’ based on the community support landline by The Masque Theatre and Playhouse Theatre. She is interested in reducing stigmas and raising awareness around women’s health.

  2. International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring Inclusion for New Mums

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    International Women’s Day marks an occasion for collective global activism as we celebrate the fight towards a gender equal world. The campaign theme for IWD 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. Today the world pauses to reflect on the experiences of women everywhere, and this year, Mumie want to continue raising our voices in encouraging the discussion of postnatal journeys.

    Often we find that the mother’s story after giving birth goes missing in the narrative. It’s important we raise awareness of postnatal experiences and work together to ensure that new mums feel heard, understood, included and valued, today and every day.

    Understanding maternal mental health

    Although as a society we are starting to talk more openly about mental health, there is still a lot more work to be done in normalising the conversation, and this includes discussion of perinatal mental illness, which affects up to 27% of new and expectant mums.

    It’s very natural to experience a range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth. After all, this is a huge life event. But when this starts to impact day to day life, it’s time to seek help and advice from your GP or health visitor. There is already a reasonable level of awareness of postnatal depression, but it’s well recognised that many women go undiagnosed. Although the ‘baby blues’ is considered normal in the first two weeks after giving birth, when feelings of sadness, low mood and lack of energy persist, it is important to talk to someone. Often women do not realise they have postnatal depression, or they may not want to speak up about these issues, for fear of judgement. As a society we need to ensure mums feel confident in raising these issues and looking after their mental health after giving birth.

    There are other postnatal mental health issues that are not as often discussed, and it’s important to raise awareness. These include postnatal anxiety, which involves feelings of unease, worry or fear, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which involves obsessive and compulsive symptoms, as well as difficult intrusive thoughts that affect daily life, and postnatal PTSD, also known as birth trauma, which develops because of traumatic events during childbirth. It can be difficult to unpick what might be happening, which is why the Mumie app includes a symptom checker to help explore and understand why you might be feeling the way you are, and guide you to the right help.

    Remember that there is support available. As a new mum it is not your fault you feel this way, and it does not mean you are a ‘bad mother’. Being open and honest if you are struggling is the bravest thing you can do for yourself and your baby.

    Let’s keep talking about perinatal mental health as often as we can, to increase societal awareness and normalise mum mental health. Find out more in our blog on maternal mental health.

    Breastfeeding in public

    Firstly, if you are breastfeeding your baby, you should do so wherever you feel most comfortable. If that means you’d rather breastfeed your baby in private, with no one else around, that is totally acceptable.

    As you start getting more confident, you may feel open to breastfeeding in front of other people, in public spaces. There is a lot more inclusion and acceptance of breastfeeding in public such as in cafés, shopping centres and on public transport, but there is still more work to be done. NHS guidance encourages breastfeeding women to:

    • Know your rights. It’s illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public space.
    • Plan ahead. Have a think about where you will feel most comfortable breastfeeding when you are out. This is something you can discuss at a local breastfeeding group, or chat to your midwife or heath visitor about.
    • Consider your clothes and bra. This depends on what you feel most comfortable in, and whether you prefer loose or stretchy tops. You can also consider wearing a breastfeeding bra (we love Cake Maternity – get 15% off selected collections with code MUMIEH15) or a baby sling which allows you to breastfeed while baby is in the sling. We’ve tried the Ergobaby Omni 360 sling which once you crack it, makes breastfeeding on the go a breeze.
    • Take someone with you. If you’d rather not be alone when you go out, bring someone with you, like a friend with an older baby who knows where to go, or your partner or mum.
    • Avoid public toilets. Do not let anyone make you feel like you have to go into public loos to feed your baby.

    Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural process and no woman should be made to feel ashamed or discriminated against when feeding their baby in public.

    Breastfeeding and going back to work

    Although some women may have a longer maternity leave, others may return to work. This is a topic that needs to be more openly discussed, as it is often believed that returning to employment means you have to stop breastfeeding. In fact, return to work is often cited as the most common reason a mother will end her breastfeeding journey prematurely. However this needn’t be the case; there are lots of options.

    Whilst some women may arrange childcare close to work so that they can breastfeed during breaks, or before and after work, others may express breast milk by hand or using a pump so that someone else can feed their baby while they are at work. We recommend the Elvie wearable breast pump for collecting on the go or for a more traditional pump we have found the Medela Swing Maxi Double comfortable and efficient to minimise your pumping time!

    However, employers do have certain legal obligations to breastfeeding mothers. You should give your employer written notification that you are breastfeeding. They must then conduct a risk assessment, and by law they must provide suitable facilities where you can rest. It is good practice for employers to provide a private, healthy and safe environment for you to express and store milk. This should be a clean, warm, private room, not the toilet. Some employers have a breastfeeding policy, and this can include provisions such as a break allowance to express milk, a secure and clean fridge for storage, and flexible working hours.

    Get in touch with your HR department and discuss your options early, and have a read of our blog on making breastfeeding at work, work. This is an important conversation for new mums to have, and you should always feel comfortable, included and supported by your employer, and in no way at a disadvantage. You should not feel you have to stop breastfeeding just because you are returning to work.

    ‘Mum shaming’ and ‘bounce-back’ culture

    Social media platforms such as Instagram have given way to the concept of ‘idealised motherhood’ or ‘picture-perfect motherhood.’ This can be dangerous for new mums, with research finding that nearly two-thirds of mums surveyed agree they have driven themselves to exhaustion with the pressure to be ‘supermum’, and one in five saying the plight has affected their mental health.

    Comparing yourself to other mothers and trying to meet unrealistic standards can cause feelings of guilt and high levels of stress. Fear of judgement and others seeing imperfections, and not prioritizing guilt-free downtime, are all a result of pressure to be ‘supermum’.

    The modern mother is not only expected to ‘naturally’ excel at parenting, but to also look great while doing so. ‘Bounce-back’ culture puts unnecessary pressure on mums to ‘get back in shape’ and return to ‘pre-baby bodies’ as soon as possible – once the baby is born, the media messaging is not to rest and recover, but to snap back into the bodies and behaviours you had before getting pregnant. This is a dangerous narrative, and society’s treatment of the modern mother has to change. ‘Mum shaming’ is not acceptable in today’s world – there must be understanding, inclusion and compassion for mums whose bodies and minds have been through so much, and who are simply trying their best for their new baby each and every day.

    To mums – be kind to yourself. You are doing your very best, and it’s okay to remind others of that if you feel anyone is pressuring you to ‘bounce back’. Be honest about how you are feeling, look after yourself and love who you are now, with your precious new baby that you couldn’t have brought into the world without such a strong body and mind.

    Let’s keep the conversation going

    There is empowerment in not only inspiring others to understand the experience of a new mum, but also in seeing women themselves feeling inspired to be included, and taking control of their own relevance and sense of belonging.

    Let’s raise awareness of mums’ lives after they welcome their baby into the world, so we can keep the conversation moving, open up understanding of the range of postnatal experiences, and inspire the inclusion that all new mothers deserve.

    Karen McCusker is a Copywriter from Ireland, with a passion for creating meaningful connections with others through language. Her goal is to amplify women’s voices and experiences through her writing. She describes herself as a storyteller at heart, and the ultimate “Swiftie”

  3. An Unexpected Postnatal Diagnosis

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    Most of us have dreamed of being a parent. We imagine how wonderful it will be, what our children will look like, spending holidays watching them play on the beach. We know that it’s not going to be easy, of course – the sleep deprivation, sacrificing your social life, the everlasting ‘mum guilt’. But nonetheless, we crave it.

    Having your baby diagnosed with a disability may feel like all your expectations, hopes and dreams for the future have just come crashing down around you. Everyone will deal with an unexpected diagnosis differently. There’s no textbook here, and struggling with the news is just as valid as taking it in your stride. As well as processing the potential long-term implications, you may also be dealing with a prolonged stay in hospital before being able to take your baby home. Don’t underestimate how hard this can be.

    You will probably go through a horde of emotions; grief for the baby you thought you were going to have, anger that it’s happened to you, sadness that life no longer looks the same. These feelings might linger for weeks, months, or even years; it’s a process that may take time, but you WILL get to a point of acceptance, and contentment.

    If you’re in the early days following a diagnosis, and you’re not really sure which way is up, here are a few tips to guide you along that road to contentment.

    Communicate

    Communicate openly with your partner, your family, your friends. A lot of people will be unsure about how to react to the news too – it’s hard for them to land the balance between being supportive and understanding, without tipping over into pity and patronisation. Take time to explain things to people. Having them treading on eggshells for fear of saying the wrong thing is only going to make them feel awkward, and you feel frustrated. Have open conversations rather than bottling up little irritations; there’s only so much that bottle will hold.

    Acknowledge your true feelings

    Be honest with yourself from the start. When there’s a flood of tears sitting just behind your eyes and someone asks, ‘how are you?’, let those tears escape. There’s no shame in feeling overwhelmed, scared, or desperately sad. Remember emotions are complex, and not mutually exclusive; you can love your baby immensely and still feel angry. Mental health is at the forefront these days and there’s lots of support out there. Your GP or Health Visitor will be able to signpost you to the most appropriate help if you need it – don’t be afraid to ask. There are also services you can self-refer to if you prefer, such as Home-Start or your local NHS Improving Access to Talking Therapies (IAPT) service. Click here to search for your local service.

    Keep a diary

    You may never read it again, you may dig it out in 10 years and see how far you’ve come, or you may publish it! Regardless, the simple act of writing can be a helpful way to process things. From facts, feelings and helpful advice you have been given, to ignorant comments you wish you’d never heard, writing it down helps. And it’s a great way to pass help pass those long days sitting beside an incubator in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

    Surround yourself with the right people

    It can be exhausting explaining things over and over, to people who love you and want to support you, but just don’t quite ‘get it’. Having a conversation with someone who knows what sats, UACs, CPAP, Nutriprem and SaLT* are, will be a mighty relief. Find these people. There’s no substitution for someone going through the same thing as you – whether that’s talking to other parents during your time in NICU, or finding local disability support groups. You will probably feel more comfortable talking about your true feelings with these people, without the fear of being judged. People on the same journey will become an invaluable source of knowledge, advice and support, and lifelong friendships often bud from these unique shared experiences.

    Embrace the highs

    Parenting is riddled with highs and lows. I think it’s fair to say that if you have a child with special needs, the lows will be lower, but the highs will be higher. You will see other typical kids smashing their milestones without any real effort at all. Yes, their parents will be proud. But as a parent of a child with a disability, when you see the determination, the hard work, the strength it takes for your child to grasp that toy, or to take their first step, you won’t just be proud, you will feel like they have just won an Olympic medal. Embrace these highs, they are humbling and beautiful.

    Don’t compare your baby to others

    This is easier said than done, and it might take years before you can truly do it! Seeing other children race ahead in their development compared to yours is hard, there’s no denying it. You may find social media can be very isolating in these circumstances, and giving yourself a break from it might be helpful. Try to concentrate on your child alone. See their progress, accept it might be slower or more limited, and remember how rewarding those achievements are going to be.

    So, you may have found yourself on a different path to the one you expected, a member of a club you didn’t anticipate joining. But having a child with a disability will open up a new world for you; a world of humility, appreciation and gratitude. The experiences you will have, and the people you will meet along the way are going to enrich your life in ways you haven’t yet imagined. Take a minute to read this poignant short story, ‘Welcome To Holland’ written by an American author, Emily Perl Kingsley, who had an unexpected diagnosis of Down Syndrome when her son was born. It beautifully captures the experience of receiving a diagnosis, and serves as a metaphorical reminder to embrace life’s winding path. Holland is beautiful, too.

    Sophie Platt lives with her husband, two young girls (Megan and Jessica), and their daft spaniel, Louie. While her post-natal journey with Megan was very typical, Jess was born 2 months prematurely, with a congenital heart defect and Down Syndrome, giving Sophie first-hand experience dealing with a wide range of circumstances. When she’s not wearing her ‘mum’ hat, Sophie works as a small animal Veterinary Surgeon, and enjoys dabbling with some veterinary and medical writing in addition to her clinical work.

    *Sats = oxygen saturations; UACs = Umbilical Artery Catheters, used to measure blood pressure in tiny babies in neonatal care; CPAP = Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, a form of breathing support used in neonatal units; Nutriprem = an infant milk formula designed for premature babies; SaLT = Speech and Language Therapy, also useful for assessing a baby’s swallow

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Privacy Policy

Updated: 18th May 2023 This privacy policy explains how Mumie ("we" or "us") collects, uses, and shares information about you when you access or use our website or web application ("App")  collectively our "Services".  Mumie is committed to complying with data protection and privacy law. We take your privacy seriously and are committed to protecting your personal information. Please read this policy carefully to understand our practices regarding your personal data.

Information We Collect

We may collect the following types of information when you use our Services:
  • Personal Information: We may collect personal information, such as your name, email address, baby's date of birth and contact information when you create an account.
  • Health Information: We may collect health information such as your demographics and aspects of your medical history to provide you with personalised health recommendations and to help you track your progress
  • Device Information: We may collect information about the device you use to access the App, including the type of device, its operating system, and other technical information.
  • Usage Information: We may collect information about how you use the App, including your interactions with forms, features and content available through the App.
  • Website usage: Website users do not create accounts, however, may still be subject to certain passive data collection. Such passive data collection may include cookies (please refer to separate Cookie Policy), IP address information, location information, and certain browser data, such as history and/or session information.
Mumie is intended to be used by women who have recently given birth. It is not intended to be used by children.

How We Use Your Information

We may use the information we collect for the following purposes:
  1. To Provide Services: We use the information to provide you with the services offered by the App, including personalised health recommendations, and to improve the quality of those services.
  2. To Communicate: We may use your contact information to communicate with you about our Services, including updates, promotions, and other news.
  3. To Improve the App: We use the information to understand how users interact with the App and to improve its design, content and functionality.
  4. To Comply with Legal Obligations: We may use your information to comply with legal obligations, such as responding to court orders or complying with applicable laws.
We will store this information within our App so that you can have access to it for as long as you are our registered user. We may also use it for statistical and research purposes, but only in an aggregated and anonymised format (i.e., in a format that does not allow us to identify who this information relates to). The information you provide will be processed on one or more of the following lawful bases:
  • The consent you provide to us at the point of collection of your personal information, including explicit consent for processing special personal data to include health data
  • The performance of the contract we have with you
  • The compliance of a legal obligation to which we are subject
  • The performance of scientific research, preparation of statistics or public health activities
  • The legitimate interests of Mumie, you or a third party, where not overridden by your interests, fundamental rights or freedoms

How We Share Your Information

We may share your information with the following types of entities:
  1. Service Providers: We may share your information with service providers that help us operate the App or provide the services offered through the App.
  2. Business Partners: We may share your information with business partners, such as insurers or healthcare providers, to provide you with more personalised health recommendations.
  3. Legal Authorities: We may share your information with legal authorities, such as law enforcement agencies or courts, to comply with legal obligations or in response to a legal request.
We may share your information with other parties with your consent. Your information will not be transferred out of the UK.

Third-party links

The App and/or website may include links to third-party websites, plug-ins, and applications. Clicking on those links or enabling those connections may allow third parties to collect or share data about you. We do not control these third-party websites and are not responsible for their privacy notices and practices. When you leave the Web App or Website, we encourage you to read the privacy policy of every website or app you visit. In the event of acquisition of Mumie, your data may be shared with the new owners.

Marketing

We may use your contact details to provide you with information about our work, events, services and/or activities which we consider may be of interest to you. Where we do this via email, SMS, or telephone, we will not do so without your prior consent. You are free to opt out from receiving marketing communications by following the "unsubscribe" link in our email, or by contacting us directly. We will get your express opt-in consent before we share your personal data with any third party for marketing purposes.

Security of Your Information

We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal data from being accidentally lost, used, or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered, or disclosed. Your data will be stored on a secure web server, with the app hosted on a trusted host provider with regular security update enhancements. Your personal data can only be accessed by those within Mumie who have a genuine need to know. They will only process your personal data on our instruction, and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality. We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected personal data breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a breach where we are legally required to do so. While we will use all reasonable efforts to safeguard your personal data, you acknowledge that the use of the internet is not entirely secure and for this reason, we cannot guarantee the security or integrity of any personal data that are transferred via the internet. We can not be held responsible for unauthorised access or use of your information that is beyond our control.

Data retention

We will only retain your personal data for as long as reasonably necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for. We may retain your personal data for a longer period in the event of a complaint or if we reasonably believe there is a prospect of litigation in respect to our relationship with you. Typically, we will not keep your personal data for longer than 5 years after you have closed your account on our App or stopped using it, after which point personal data will be destroyed. We may anonymise your personal data (so that it can no longer be associated with you) for research or statistical purposes, in which case we may use this information indefinitely without further notice to you.

Your Rights

You have the right to access and control your personal information, including the right to be informed about what data we hold, the right to access this data, the right to rectify inaccurate data, the right to erase your data, the right to restrict or object to your information being used, and the right to move your data to another business. If you have any questions about your rights or would like to exercise your rights, please contact us using the information provided at the end of this policy. When signing up to our app you will be asked to provide your consent to share your information. You have the right to withdraw this consent at any time and may do so by contacting us. You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues (ico.org.uk) We would, however, appreciate the chance to deal with your concerns before you approach the ICO so please contact us in the first instance.

Changes to This Policy

We may update this privacy policy from time to time.  If we make changes, we will notify you by revising the date at the top of the policy and, in some cases, we may provide you with additional notice (such as adding a statement to our website homepage or sending you a notification). We encourage you to review the Privacy Policy whenever you access the Services or otherwise interact with us to stay informed about our information practices and the choices available to you. Your continued use of our services after the effective date of the updated policy will constitute your acceptance of the revised policy.

Contact Us

The Party responsible for the processing of your personal data is Mama Health Ltd. The Data Protection Officer (DPO) is Dr Laura Davies. The Data Protection Officer may be contacted using the contact us page on the website. If you have any questions or concerns about our privacy policy, please contact us using the contact page on our website or by emailing us at hello@mumie.health
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