Birth Stories:

Christian Petersen


Photo: What a beautiful tummy!

The beginning of life!

Naomi and David came to me feeling very excited about the arrival of their baby.    A number of factors influenced Naomi to chose an elective ceasarian.  On the due date we were nervously waiting in the theatre for Dr Candice Roberts to arrive. Naomi asked, in addition to her husband, to have her doula in the operating room with her(which she was glad to learn was allowed). She gave me a camera and asked me to take pictures of the birth.  This was wonderful – the pictures and video were amazing, and having the documentation of the baby’s first moments outside of the womb are so important to be able to watch again and again!

Christian was born via natural ceasarian section. This would be a different procedure from the normal c sections which  prevent the mother from seeing the arrival of their baby. In the natural c section the screen between the mother and the operation is removed for the mother to witness the birth of her baby.  Her husband lifts up her head and she is able to see her little baby being lifted out of the womb.  Dr Roberts also believes in the delayed cord clamping which means waiting 2 to 3 minutes after the delivery of the baby before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. During this time, blood continues to pulse from the placenta to the baby until the pulses naturally stop around 3 minutes. The transfer of blood from the placenta to the baby is most effective if the baby is placed on the mother’s abdomen or lower.

Research has found that delayed cord clamping allows 20 to 40 mL more blood to pulse from the placenta to the newborn, carrying with it an additional 30 to 35 mg of iron [2].  As a result, babies have higher newborn hemoglobin, lower risk of anemia at birth and through 2-3 months, and higher iron status and storage through 6 months of age [2, 3].


Delayed cord clamping gives your baby more iron. Why is this important? The extra iron is stored and becomes your baby’s main source of iron until she starts eating solid foods, particularly if you breastfeed. Your baby will use that iron to form red blood cells and transport oxygen, to build muscle, and to develop her brain cells. Severe iron deficiency can cause anemia, but iron deficiency during infancy (even without anemia) also increases the risk of cognitive, motor, and behavioral deficits that can last into adolescence



In Alberlito Hospital in Ballito in KZN a baby is allowed to be skin on skin in the theatre which is not always protocol for our South African hospitals.

There are now a multitude of studies that show that mothers and babies should be together, skin to skin (baby naked, not wrapped in a blanket) immediately after birth, as well as later. The baby is happier, the baby's temperature is more stable and more normal, the baby's heart and breathing rates are more stable and more normal, and the baby's blood sugar is more elevated. Not only that, skin to skin contact immediately after birth allows the baby to be colonized by the same bacteria as the mother. This, plus breastfeeding, are thought to be important in the prevention of allergic diseases. When a baby is put into an incubator, his skin and gut are often colonized by bacteria different from his mother's.


As a doula I am able to give my clients time and support which allows them to experience the baby s routine without getting nervous or feeling that they cannot cope.  This support is vital as the parents arrive home with a newborn and everything that they thought would happen changes!

Naomi and David have done so well adjusting to Christian s needs and settling into life at home. Christian is thriving on his mum and dad’s love and care and it is exciting to see him starting to smile and take in the surroundings of his home.

David is an ex Mala Mala ranger and it is fun to see him with his little tiger by the tail!

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What I Do

I am living my dream while working with mums and babies. I see mums when they are 34 weeks pregnant and then go to their homes once they go into labour. I stay for the full duration of the labour and after the birth I assist them with breast feeding. I do another visit after the birth to see that all is well and to help where I can.  Mums are always welcome to call me in the event that they have any questions, whether before or after the birth. I am passionate about my work as a doula and I care and love all the families with which I work. Once you have been present at a birth you feel part of the family and it’s wonderful to hear news of the new baby’s life as he or she grows.

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