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The State of Birth

15 & 16 October 2022

Keynote Speakers and Teachers

Not ready to book yet? Find out all the latest updates here:

Speakers bios


In collaboration with

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Dr Rachel Reed

Dr Rachel Reed is a midwife, author, teacher, researcher, and international speaker. Her focus is childbirth physiology, care provider practice, and women’s rights (and rites). Rachel co-hosts The Midwives’ Cauldron podcast and writes the award-winning blog MidwifeThinking. She is widely published, and her most recent book is Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage. Rachel has provided midwifery care for many women and attended births in a wide range of settings and circumstances.

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Nadia Raafat

Nadia is a senior yoga and meditation teacher, trained in a variety of yoga and meditation traditions and disciplines: Hatha, Yin, Mindfulness, Yoga Nidra and Hypnosis.  

She is a perinatal and pelvic health specialist, childbirth educator and doula with over 15 years experience in the field.

Nadia produced the Yoga and Mindfulness for Pregnancy & Birth DVD, and in person course which has been taught to 1000s.  She also directs the Mindfulness for Pregnancy & Birth 100 hour Teacher Training Programme.

Nadia is a former journalist, mother of 4 and lives in Kingston, London.


Tessa Venuti Sanderson

Tessa Sanderson PhD is an experienced yoga teacher with 16+ years of teaching pregnancy yoga and birth preparation. She is the Prenatal and Postnatal trainer for the Yoga Teachers Forum.


She is the author of Pearls of Birth Wisdom: An Inner Journey with Insights, Stories and Practices and The Pregnancy & Birth Colouring Book with Yoga Nidra. She has also written and illustrated children's books about changing bodies and periods.


Tessa collaborates on projects with midwives through her local Maternity Voices Partnership and is passionate about supporting physiological birth through excellent antenatal education.


Mandy Rees

Mandy Rees is a mum of two daughters and the founder of Mother for Life. She is an expert in perinatal wellbeing. Mandy champions motherhood through Mother Circles; the bringing together of mothers in safe, supportive and non judgemental spaces.

She is a healer who works energetically with her intuition. Mandy is also trained in yoga and baby massage. She is a women's emotional health coach and birth rewind practitioner.

She has created a unique course training other women to lead their own Mother Circles as Mother Circle Guides.

Mandy is on a mission to fill the world with safe, supportive spaces for mums where they are seen and heard. Spaces that empower mums to fulfil their own needs as well as those of their family and to raise the value of motherhood on a global scale.

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Maya Louisa

Maya is an EmbodyBirth Practitioner and Bellydance Birth Educator.  She has taught dance for 10 years and her specialisation is Dance & Sensual Stretch classes.  Maya also creates waist bead jewellery based on her African heritage.

IG @maya_louisa

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Deepa Santhosh

Deepa is a birth educator, doula, hypnobirthing practitioner and a breastfeeding specialist . She started her career in maternity care over 10 years back as the first doula in Chennai, India. 

She moved to London in 2011 and has worked alongside midwives as part of the infant feeding team including leading the Baby Friendly project for a London NHS Trust. She was selected for the "Aspiring Improvers Program 2019" at UCLPartners to be trained in Quality improvement (QI) in health care and is particularly interested in optimizing normality in maternity care.  Deepa is currently doing her pre-registration MSc Midwifery in Oxford Brookes University.

Her QI projects were about increasing active and upright birthing in Delivery Suite and also around increasing #JoyAtWork for midwives in a maternity unit. Deepa strives to be a change agent and her recent #StayHydrated social media campaign about access to water bottles for midwives and nurses during ward shifts at all times brought immediate change in hospitals on their "access to water" policy.

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Lorena Rodrigo

Lorena is a yoga teacher, sound therapist and Reiki Master in the Reading area. She is passionate about motherhood and she also has a 3 year old daughter named Ariana. Her classes and sound sessions are nurturing and caring and she weaves meditation, philosophy, myth and breathing techniques creating a wholesome experience. Her session will be a gentle sound bath including gong, crystal bowls, chimes, rain stick and many other sacred instruments that will create a beautiful relaxing and mindful experience, a sound journey.


Lolly Stirk

Lolly is a pioneer in her field. Her career, spanning 35 years, has been dedicated to creating and developing the ideal yoga practice for pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond. She began studying yoga in 1969 and with the birth of her daughter in the 70’s she was drawn into the world of birth.

As a doula at hundreds of births, and a certified Hypnobirther, she formulated the term ‘Hypnobreathing’, an essential practice which she passes on in her classes.

Lolly continues with her work in London in her private practice, and at the leading centre Triyoga, where she teaches pregnancy yoga and Active Birth/Hypnobreathing Workshops on a regular basis.

She is also a founder member of YogaBirth, for whom she mentors students and runs a postnatal training course. She runs independent workshops and training courses in this valuable work in the UK and internationally.

For enquiries please contact Tessa at or Julia at

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