There’s small army of women who specialise in helping mums that are pregnant

As a newborn baby and family photographer based in Twickenham, I spend a great deal of my day around little people and their families. I talk to a lot of women about their birth experiences and how we prepared for the arrival of a new baby. I’ve also met a lot of lovely local women who provide really valuable services and support during pregnancy and the immediate antenatal period.

One thing that has always stuck in my mind is that I wish I had known about these women when I was pregnant or when I just had my baby! It’s for this reason that I’m writing this post. If you are pregnant or have just had a baby and live in South West London, this list will be really useful!

[DISCLAIMER: I have taken the portraits of the woman with an asterisk (*) next to their names. The rest of the photos were provided by the women themselves] 

1. Nafisa – pre/post natal masseuse & reflexologist

Nafisa gave me a 5 minute taster session when I met her at the same event I met Sophie the hypnobirthing specialist. It was the most relaxing 5 minutes! Maybe it was because I was quite tired, but I think it’s more likely due to Nafisi’s amazing techniques.

Nafisa’s based in Teddington and has created a little oasis of calm in her garden massage room. Since becoming a mother her work has naturally become more women focused, including prenatal, maternity & baby massage. If you’d like to try out a lovely massage, here’s her site: http://nafisa.co.uk/

Nafisa portrait

2. Madeleine Boot – founder of Sheen Slings

Almost every mum I know with a new baby has a baby carrier of one sort or another. The key is finding the best one that’s right for you. 

I didn’t know that there were such things as sling libraries until my little one was too heavy to be carried around in one and it was too late to try different options. Madeleine is really passionate about helping families make life with their little ones as wonderful as possible. She’s is formally trained as a Babywearing consultant (as well as having a PhD in Immunology!).

Sheen Sling library has regular drop in sessions and has over 70 slings you can try and hire. 70!! It’s really worth checking it out: https://sheenslings.com. 

Madeleine Boot

3. Wendy Flynn* – personalised pregnancy notebooks

Wendy is one talented lady! 

Wendy trained as a graphic designer and makes the most beautiful notebooks you can imagine. Her company is called Doris and Fred, named after her grandparents. She has such a wide range of books she creates that I asked if she also does a pregnancy one and newborn baby books. Of course she does! Here’s a link to her pregnancy book: https://www.dorisandfred.co.uk/products/pregnancy-journal. Here’s a link to her baby books: https://www.dorisandfred.co.uk/products/nanny-child-minder-babysitter-parents-book.

Wendy Flynn

4. Nargis Ahmad – Pregnancy and newborn / baby Osteopath

When my baby was only a few days old, I took her to see a cranial Osteopath around the corner from where I live. 

Unfortunately that particular Osteopath no longer practices there. Instead, I’ve found Nargis who works out of Teddington. Nargis is passionate about helping families who want to take a natural approach. Nargis also has great tips for keeping you comfortable throughout your pregnancy! One thing I think is awesome about her is that she runs a laughter group! Here’s her website: http://www.nargisahmad.co.uk/babies/

Nargis Ahmad

5. Alison Brake- Counsellor and Psychotherapist

The post natal period can be a bit of a rollercoaster and sometimes it helps to have someone to talk to.

Alison is so easy to talk to that it’s not surprising that she’s a really great therapist. She specialises in families going through transitional periods, including the emotional challenges that mums often face post-natally. She works out of Maple Leaf Clinic in Twickenham (where I first met her) and is incredibly passionate about the work she does. I highly recommend checking out her mental wellbeing blogs. Here’s her website: http://www.alisonbrake.com/home

Alison Brake

6. Petra Stanek Aston- local manager of mum2mum market in Teddington / Twickenham / Hampton

Having a baby is expensive when you think about all the stuff they require. That’s why going to a nearly new sale is a very good idea.

Petra is a really hard working lady and she puts so much effort into running the local branch of the mum2mum market. If you’re pregnant and looking for some high quality items for your new arrival, it’s really worth going to one of Petra’s markets.

She organises these events about once a month and they take place in Teddington, Twickenham and Hampton. Here’s a link to her Facebook page which has all the details about her upcoming markets: https://www.facebook.com/mum2mummarket.Teddington/

7. Kate smart – fitness trainer for all stages of motherhood 

Kate is so highly recommended that her name pops up on my Facebook feed all the time! She’s really passionate about what she does and her goal is to help women to “regain and restore their fitness both inside and out”. She says that she really “appreciates that the social and empathetic element to fitness training is what gives mums their mojo so I bring my empathy and humour to every session!”

Here’s her website: http://katesmartfitness.com.

 Kate Smart Fitness

8. Katherine AINSLIE* – BUSYLIZZY Richmond

Katherine is a really lovely mum who runs the Richmond branch of Busylizzy. Busylizzy is a fitness and wellbeing membership group for mothers where mums pick which classes they want to attend depending on the membership level they choose. The best bit is that there’s no crèche required as your baby comes along too! Classes are split into 3 areas: mums to be, mum fitness classes and baby classes. They also run regular events and talks (including baby first aid. I also run mini photo shoots for them.

Here’s where you can get more info: https://busylizzyrichmond.co.uk 

Katherine Ainslie Busylizzy

9. Lauren Roberts – founder of Mumming

 ‘Mumming’ is a local and online co-working, connection and wellness club for women based in South West London and Surrey. Lauren founded ‘Mumming’ as a way to empower work-at-home mums. From personal experience, I know that being a work-at-home mum can get lonely at times so being part of Mumming has really given me the opportunity to meet and work with local mums that are in the same situation as me!

So if you’re a work-at-home mum, here’s how to check out what Mumming is all about: https://www.mumming.org

Lauren Roberts

10. Claire Day* – Wills Consultant

As a parent, the last thing we want to think about is something as awful as what would happen when we die. Apart from sorting out the finances, what would happen to your children? Appointing guardians is an important factor to consider when making a Will. Without a Will, the children may go to a guardian who wouldn’t have been the parents’ first choice, and who may not even be a family member or friend or in fact anyone known to the child. A Will can also ensure that the children’s inheritance is correctly looked after until they can legally inherit it. 

Here’s how you can contact Claire to discuss making a Will: www.almondwills.com

Claire Day 

11. Rebecca Lee-Wale* – Baby naming celebrant

If you’ve just had a baby and are thinking of having a naming ceremony, I highly recommend getting in touch with Rebecca. She’s an Independent Civil Celebrant that delivers a ceremony driven by the wishes, beliefs and values that you want. It kind of sits between a religious service and a humanist service. 

Here’s her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/daisychaincelebrantservicesuk/

 Rebecca Lee-Wale

12. Sally Wilson – Personal Trainer

Sally offers mobile pregnancy and postnatal Personal Training (1-2-1 and small group) in and around Richmond upon Thames. The cool thing about the way she works is that she’ll come to your home with all the equipment so it’s perfect for that’s early postnatal phase when you struggle to leave the house! 

Here’s her website: http://Www.sallywilsonpersonaltraining.co.uk.

Sally Wilson Personal trainer

13. Sylvia Boker – Bushy Park Buggyfit trainer

Sylvia loves being a Personal Trainer and really looks at it as the best job in the world. She’s really passionate about the Buggyfit concept where you exercise outside with your baby. Bushy Park is such a great location too! Sylvia is convinced that social exercise with other mums is a fantastic way to get in shape. It’s also a great way to keep connected with other mums! Once you’ve had your six week postnatal check, you and your baby can come along to classes in Bushy Park. Plus, there’s no running with buggies so you don’t need a special pushchair either. All classes are designed with new mums in mind.

Here’s the link to her website: https://www.sylviaboker.com.


Sylvia Boker

14. Jo Warboys* – Mobile Massage Therapist 

Jo loves being a massage therapist. She has such a lovely and warm personality that you instantly feel at ease with her. I agree when she says that self care and ‘me’ time is one of the best ways to keep you on tip top form! Jo is a specialist in pregnancy, post natal and c section scar massage. Anyone will tell you that pregnancy really changes your body – your posture, the way you walk, run & even stand. A regular pregnancy massage can help alleviate a lot of symptoms, increase movement, reduce pain and more importantly allows you to prepare for the birth. Here’s her website: https://themobilemassagetherapist.co.uk

Jo Warboys

15. Michelle Gerlis – Doula

I never really knew what a doula was until it was too late to use one.

Michelle is such a lovely and kind person. She’s so passionate about what she does and has years of experience. She first became interested in being a doula when she was a birthing partner for a very close friend.

That was over 20 years ago and she hasn’t looked back since. It’s her goal to make sure that families have the most positive birthing memories possible. She’s also set up the Twickenham branch of the Positive Birth Movement. Here’s her website: https://www.positivebirthmovement.org/listings/michelle-gerlis-homeopath-arh/

Michelle Gerlis

16. Sophie Fox – pregnancy hypnobirthing expert

I first met Sophie at a Mush event in Twickenham for mums to meet other mums. 

Sophie has such a calm aura around her that I completely understand why she’s a hypnobirthing expert.

She’s a mother of twin boys and birthed them naturally using her hypnobirthing. When I asked her why she got into hypnobirthing, she explained about how the process of giving birth is unpredictable and there are no guarantees as to the type of birth you’ll have. But, it turns out, mums who do hypnobirthing go on to have less medical intervention (I wish I knew that!).

She was saying how even mums who do need intervention say they found hypnobirthing a useful tool to stay calm and in control. She does hypnobirthing classes in areas around Richmond-upon-Thames. Here’s her website if you want more information… https://www.hypnobirthingforyou.co.uk

Sophie Fox

About me…

I’m Andisheh and I live in Twickenham Green (where this photo was taken by a work experience student who’s been with me this week). As you can tell, I like to keep things pretty relaxed and laugh alot! I really hope you’ve found this information useful but I’d like to know if you have someone you’d recommend. Please fill in the comments section or email me (andisheh@andishehthomsonphotography.com) and I’ll update the list. I just ask that they live in or not to far from Richmond, Teddington or Hampton.

Andisheh Thomson photographer