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The State of Birth

Online symposium 2023

18th & 19th November 12-4.30pm GMT

Join us for this online weekend retreat to learn from key figures in the pregnancy, birth and postnatal world.

Subsidised places available for student midwives (£35), concessions (£45) and those experiencing financial hardship (please email here)

Payment plans also available.


Receive life time access to all sessions and support material will be available to you after the event.

Symposium Programme

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Megan Rossiter

Antenatal & Hypnobirthing teacher, Founder of Birth-Ed

Keynote talk ~ How candid birth knowledge can empower: Owning the birth experience


If you haven't seen the incredible photos and videos that Megan shares on Instagram, get over there now @birth_ed. These candid images show what birth really looks like.

Saturday  12:00 GMT

In this session, Megan Rossiter of Birth-Ed will:

*share raw photos of birthing and the postnatal period that have made a big impact on her IG grid

*explore the candid knowledge about birth that changes expectant parents' choices 

*reflect on how immersion in all-things-birth supports parents to trust themselves first

*challenge the 'one-size-fits-all' messages of short antenatal education courses

Birth-Ed podcast

Megan Rossiter is an Antenatal & Hypnobirthing Teacher and Founder of Birth-ed®. In her work supporting 1000s of families in their preparation for birth and early parenthood, she aims to put women and birthing people back at the centre of their birth experience and to develop the trust they have in themselves- bringing together evidence based information, passed down wisdom, science and tips on navigating the maternity system (with a huge side order of nuance, kindness and warmth). 

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Carmen Cardosa Rocha

Doula, Birth Mindset Coach, VBAC Mentor

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean and Mindset: Healing deeper level beliefs

Saturday  13:05 GMT

In this session, Carmen will:

  • discuss how parents' agency in obtaining a VBAC starts with changing deeper level beliefs

  • explain the power of visualisation to overcome childhood conditioning and previous birth stories

  • share a visualisation that she uses with her VBAC doula clients

  • use her own story of VBAC2 to illustrate the change that's possible and necessary to achieve a VBAC

  • show how feeling emotion when using affirmations is key to unlocking their potential

IG @thequantumbirthdoula



Carmen is a mama of 3, VBA2C Queen, Birth Mindset Coach, Transformational Coach, VBAC Mentor and Doula. She is here to revolutionise birth through the power of the mind, so that expectant parents can find their true potential, and birth their baby on their terms. Mindset is everything when it comes to birth!


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Nadia Raafat

Senior yoga & meditation teacher, perinatal specialist and doula 

Yoga Nidra - Relaxation time!

Saturday  13:50 GMT

In this session Nadia will deliver a wonderfully nourishing yoga nidra to refresh you.  The theme will be sanctuary and finding a safe space withing yourself.

Have cushions and a blanket to hand, to get comfortable and cosy.

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 specialist  (Pregnancy, Birth Prep, Postnatal, Baby Yoga,), a pelvic health specialist, childbirth educator and doula with over 15 years experience in the field. 

Nadia is the producer of Yoga and Mindfulness for Pregnancy & Birth DVD and Online and In-person Course which has been taught to 1000s and has devised and directs the Yoga & Mindfulness for Pregnancy & Birth 100 Hour Teacher Training Programme. 




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Emma Mills

Consultant Midwife, clinical research lead and co-author of Your Birth books

The power and legacy of midwives holding space for birthing experiences

Saturday  14:20 GMT

In this session Emma, you will:

  • hear how confidence in the local maternity service has increased through the books and highlighting lived experience

  • understand how experiences of local maternity services are listened to and the initiatives that have resulted  [I was thinking of the user group and women's circle here]

  • explore how the UK maternity system and physiological birth can be demystified for those in our care when we are open to listening and elevating their perspectives


Books: Your Birth: Stories from Midwife-Led Areas

Your Birth: Stories from Consultant-Led Areas

Royalties from the books go into a health care fund for the Aneurin Bevan Maternity Department to purchase items such as rebozos, peanut balls etc.


Dr Tessa Venuti Sanderson

Senior yoga teacher & trainer, founder of Practical Birth Preparation Workshop training & author 

Practical session: Embodying biomechanics for birth before labour

Saturday  15:10 GMT

In this session with Dr Tessa Venuti Sanderson, we will:

  • experience a sequence of yoga movements incorporating biomechanics for birth principles

  • reflect on how embodied knowledge of these techniques prior to labour will enhance their uptake and success

  • be signposted to resources to share with your own patients/ clients

Tessa Venuti Sanderson PhD is an experienced yoga teacher with 17+ 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.


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Pam England

Founder of Birth Story Medicine, Former nurse-midwife

Getting to the heart of the birth story: Listening beyond the medical story

Saturday  15.40 GMT

In this session with Pam England, you will:

  • Reflect on the dominant stories of birth in our culture

  • Understand the underpinning seeds of birth stories

  • Learn what is the Heart of the birth story and why it is important to understand this when working with parents after challenging births

  • Experience and take home a teaspoon of Medicine for dealing with difficult birthing stories

Pam practiced as a nurse-midwife before earning a Master's degree in psychology/ counselling with an emphasis on perinatal issues.  She now trains others to facilitate Birth Story Medicine.


Discounted places available for student midwives and charity workers (please email here)


Charity Partner

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Kelly McLaughlin

Chiropractor, Founder of Hayley & Kelly community


Sunday, 12:00 GMT

In this session with Kelly, you will:

  • consider a model for supporting someone to thrive in pregnancy before pain occurs

  • understand the role of the sacrotuberous ligament and the function of the sacrum

  • learn the gentle 'Sacral Buckling Technique' to share with birth partners to use if there is 'failure to progress'

  • explore how chiropractic care is not simply 'turning a breech baby' but working to maximise optimal foetal head position when head down

Kelly-Jane has run a busy, family-based practice with her husband Liam, over the past 10 years. She is also a devoted mum to 3 busy boys all of whom are home-birthed, un-medicated and home educated. An inspirational teacher, Kelly trains chiropractors across Europe in how to build family-based practices with a specific focus on caring for pregnant ladies.


Optimising neuro-biomechanical wellness in pregnancy: a chiropractic approach

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Mafe Toledo

Dance artist and movement teacher


Sunday, 12:50 GMT

In this session, Mafe will:

  • show how she supports mums with their babies to find connection to their postnatal bodies

    support you to go inwards for a mindful moment away from the screen

  • connect you to body processes which are always present such as your breath and heartbeat, providing grounding

  • bring you the opportunity to explore the creative potential of your moving body, just as she does with mothers

    bring circle time to the session to foster connection and community



Mafê (read Mah-Fay) is a community dance artist and movement educator based in London. Since becoming a mum, Mafê has delved deeply into the process of self-discovery that is Motherhood and from this experience she developed her Mum & Baby classes.  She has been working in partnership with arts/sports organisations and children centres, offering these classes to families who would not normally have access to these services and mums experiencing mental health difficulties.

Mafê’s dance practice is deeply rooted in somatic education, and more particularly Body-Mind Centering, an integrated approach that looks at the body systems and movement development from an experiential perspective.  She is currently training as a Somatic Movement and Infant Development Movement Educator.

Practical session ~ Freedom through Movement: Connecting with the mothering body

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Monica Tolofari

Retired Midwives and founders of the Oxytocin Measures website


Linn Shepherd


Sunday 13:40 GMT

In this session with Linn and Monica, you will:

  • learn how women and birthing people have their own natural oxytocin, which must to taken into account when administering intravenous oxytocin 

  • understand how the concentrations of synthetic oxytocin have been increasing off licence over the last thirty years

  • examine the data on the link between higher concentrations and increased prevalence of postpartum haemorrhage

  • reflect on whether expectant parents can give full informed consent if this context is not shared

  • consider the questions they can ask of their healthcare professionals

Monica Tolofari was a Consultant Midwife in Birmingham and in June 2018, she trained as a Cultural Ambassador under the RCN’s initiative to support BAME staff facing discriminatory working practices in the NHS.

Linn Shepherd is a retired nurse-midwife from Scotland, who practised midwifery in Scotland and England until leaving to raise her children. She has investigated with Monica the early research that underpins the instructions licensed for intravenous infusions of synthetic oxytocin, for outcomes of enhanced obstetric labour comparable to those of spontaneous labour.

Concentrations of synthetic oxytocin and postpartum haemorrhage

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Judy Cameron

Retired midwife, elder Pregnancy Yoga teacher, YogaBirth trainer


Sunday, 14:30 GMT

In this practical session with yoga elder Judy Cameron, you will:

  • understand why and how movement is a route for developing, or re-developing, trust in the birthing body

  • explore how movement (yoga, dance, tai chi...) builds confidence through connecting with an essential sense of self

  • examine how movement supports an understanding of birth as something rhythmical rather than static

  • experience a practice to be aware of how you are in your own body as a perinatal professional

  • reflect on when there is discomfort in your body, the connection to someone else is disrupted as a birth partner or professional.

Judy worked as a midwife in the NHS for many years but since retirement in 2014 she teaches her own classes in Yoga for Pregnancy, Couples Birth Preparation workshops, Postnatal Mother and Baby Yoga. As Co-Director of the YogaBirth Teacher Training, Module Provider for both the BWY Pregnancy Module and Postnatal Module.

What movement teaches us about birth:

An experiential session


Presented by Leila Baker

DoulaUK podcast host & Side by Side Doula Services

State of Birth Awards

Sunday, 15:20 GMT

In this session Leila Baker will present the awards for the following perinatal professionals who've been voted best in their community:

  • Midwife

  • Doula

  • Birth educator

  • Pregnancy yoga teacher

  • Pregnancy pilates teacher

  • Hypnobirthing teacher

  • Chiropractor

  • Osteopath

  • Acupuncturist

  • Reflexologist

 Deadline for nominations 1st October.

Closing circle

Sunday, 15:30 GMT

This session with Julia and Tessa, you will:

  • have an opportunity to share your takeaways from the symposium and set your intentions for taking action in your community

  • experience being in a talking circle

  • be part of creating a vibrant network of perinatal professionals.


Tessa Venuti Sanderson PhD

Yoga Teachers Forum Pregnancy Trainer and author of Pearls of Birth Wisdom

Your host for the symposium


Tessa spoke last year on how to take a trauma-informed approach in maternity care.  In 2021 she won two awards for her pregnancy and birth preparation classes: the national Luxlife Parent & Baby Award and the local Small Business Award for 'Well-being & Activities' created by MP Matt Rodda.

She specialises in body-based support for people with birth trauma and creating safe spaces through circle-holding.

'Think of your voice as a verbal hand hold.'

'Be present to your own needs if you want someone to safely relate to you.'

'If we can attend to the external safety, they can focus on their internal experience.'

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FEDANT National Registration Number (13398)

Ready to join us?

6 CPD hours - certificate available


Supporting pregnant women who have fled violence or traffickers

A percentage of the profits from the symposium will be donated to this wonderful charity.


When you book your place, we commit to donate one tree

“When women gather, something else becomes possible. Ours is a different kind of power, a different kind of responsiveness, receptivity, subtlety and co-creativity.

We need to gather, to inspire and encourage each other, because it's time for a different relationship with life on this planet of ours.” ~ Clare Dubois, Founder & CEO, TreeSisters

Why join us?

* Inspiring speakers to recharge your passion and bring fresh enthusiasm and knowledge to your clients and patients

* Life-time access to all the sessions
* Watch the symposium at your own pace again and again
* Be part of a community of pregnancy, birth and postnatal professionals that want to make a difference
* Support The Happy Baby Community Charity - a percentage of profits from this event will go to the charity

* Have a tree planted on your behalf through the TreeSisters charity when you book your place.

* Recharge the enthusiasm and passion for what you bring to your pregnancy and postpartum communities.

For enquiries please contact Tessa at or Julia at

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