Archive | Birth

“A Class Act” Hulda talks about antenatal classes in the Liv Magazine

“A Class Act” Hulda talks about antenatal classes in the Liv Magazine

Posted on 02 October 2015 by Kristrun


“Looking for an antenatal class “made and led by people who know their stuff”? Your first stop after the little blue line appears should be Annerley, a Hong Kong institution that has gently steered baffled parents-to-be through the process of pregnancy and birth for well over 20 years. Founded by midwife and mum-of-four Hulda Thorey, whatever questions you have, you can be sure that the team at Annerley will have heard them before.

When asked how best expectant parents can prepare themselves for what’s to come, Hulda suggests that the one-size-fits-all approach taken by many hospitals is rarely the best option. “Have positive, professional and ethical healthcare. Mix different professionals and make informed choices. Take antenatal classes that are personalized and don’t assume everyone wants the same!”

Click here to read the full article>

All our antenatal classes are personalized with a private birth planning session after the group sessions have been conducted.

For a private consultation with the midwives – please email us to

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About Grandparents

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About Grandparents

Posted on 07 September 2015 by Kristrun

Most of us were lucky enough to grow up in a loving family and environment.  Most of us have parents that we love and who love us back.  As mentioned in my last blog, parents can be helpful, and also unhelpful, when it comes to the first days with a new baby, partly because when they were raising their children, the environment and advice was very different to now.

It is hard for parents to abandon their beliefs and habits and they do not always understand the way our generation does things as parents – all the access to courses and information, how we research and investigate before we do anything.

In fact, our parents are often of the belief that despite it being great to be able to get support from the internet and our friends, the overflow of the same is only making our lives more confusing and frustrating. Taking away the independence and “get on with it” parenting.

Of course, we all know this and probably agree to a point, but we cannot go back in time.  And to be honest, there are so many things from the past that we are grateful to not have to go through. I am not even going to start the list of comparison.

What I wanted to remind us all of was that grandparents, despite their perhaps different opinions and other difficulties (the typical MIL issue), are not something we should take for granted.

The day will come, and has already come for some, that the grandparents will say goodbye for good. There will be no more remarks or comments, no more unrealistic demands or opinions, no more decisions on how to split the holidays etc. 

And in my opinion, to have grandparents in my children’s lives, is such a treasure.  They add such tremendous value and richness into the lives of those kids – they teach them so much by just being there.  By their manners, their personalities, the way they speak, think, the things they have gone through in life, their way of handling situations, money, travels, how they hold books when they read and how they patiently cut the food for the children.  How they have time, and make time, and quietly teach them without teaching them.

Everything about the grandparents is different and not easily emulated by those of a younger generation.  It is something that comes from living through the times they lived through, growing up amongst larger families and more generations of people under the same roof. Having gone through the times where money, electricity, heat, access to all sorts of products and services was limited, travel was not an option so easily and more and more.

If we grew up in a loving household where our parents were kind to us and did their best, our parents deserve, however annoying they may sometimes be (I mean this in a humorous way), that we treat them with dignity and kindness back. Perhaps they can sometimes just have their way with the kids, without us getting annoyed.  Perhaps it will not do any harm to our children.  And perhaps, we need sometimes to slow down and remember to enjoy all the moments that we have with our own parents too. 

Every year I try and “let go“ of my kids for a few weeks and they grow up in the arms of their grandparents. I try and let them not be guests in the homes of their grandparents, but rather to live with them. I am lucky, as the grandparents have health and the willingness to offer and welcome this.  They get something out of it too, of course.  But it is not something I take for granted. 


Of things in life that my children have, I rate this amongst the highest of all things.


Hulda 2015


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About support

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About support

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Kristrun


Most of us have many loving family members and friends that surround us when we have a  baby. Even if we are living away from home, often our nearest and dearest will come to visit to offer their help and support and of course many others want to feel involved and offer advice. I remember it being so nice when the extended family offered to help and even just spend some time at home with us and the new baby, once some time had passed and we were getting used to this new reality. Luckily for most new parents, the support is genuine and needed.

Last month, I was seeing a woman at home to help her with breastfeeding.  She was having a hard time adjusting her sleep to the baby and breastfeeding was more tiresome than she had expected.  I guess we have all been there at some stage.  What caught my attention was that she kept repeating to me how supportive her family was and that she really should be grateful.

She had a little bit of – again what most of us have unfortunately – the ‘good girl’ syndrome.

She felt she should be grateful, even though actually the support that she was getting was entirely on the terms of the givers – not the receiver. The kind of things she was hearing, I have heard many times before….

“He is just hungry, I really think we should give him some formula, you have had no rest“

“If you want us to help, we need to be able to soothe him, and obviously we cannot breastfeed him.“

“You really should go out more, it will do you good, plus we have not seen any of Hong Kong during our stay here…. let’s go for lunch.“

“A baby should self settle, crying does no harm to them“

The thing is, all of the above can be said and may sometimes be appropriate, but it is NON-SUPPORT when it is given in this format.  It is not actually helpful, especially in a case like this, where the mum was just in a very normal situation – baby was sleeping well but waking up reasonably often, gaining loads of weight and nothing wrong with him.  But what has got to be remembered is that our parents’ generation grew up in a different environment to us.  They received very different instructions and advice from those in the know and sometimes, despite their best intentions to support, they just don’t actually know how to.  Hence the comments that don’t help.  So it is important, before inviting them, to ask yourself if they will actually be helpful, i.e. are they happy to just hang around you on yours and your baby’s terms.

Another comment I had from a lady not so long ago threw me completely.

“My husband is so happy how everything is going well but he really thinks that I should stop breastfeeding now“.

The couple had a two months old baby that was happily breastfeeding, no problems at all.  The opinion expressed, was because the husband was uncomfortable with his wife breastfeeding right from the start – happy to tolerate it for a certain amount of time – but was of the opinion that it was inappropriate and unnecessary. He was formula-fed himself, as his mother had reminded him, and he really did not see the need for it.

A part of me wanted to scream.  Sorry – but I really feel that that this is simply not even something that anyone, but the mum, can even have an opinion about, let alone express it to the mum. How dare anyone suggest that she should not feed her infant when everything about it is going very well?

A part of me remembered that this is actually, all about how people are raised, what information they are given and so on.  Of course this dad really must not know any better.

So parents, we really do need to educate our kids well.  Raise them up in an environment where this is not even a debate.  That they understand that breastfeeding is normal for babies for as long as mum and baby want it and nobody should question that.  Equally, that when someone bottlefeeds their baby, they are not entitled, as kids or adults, to judge that.

And when we grow old ourselves, let’s try and remember, when our kids have children, that we can support them a lot.  But it is not our role to tell them how to do things.

“Surely this kid needs to socialize“ – I was once told about a 3 week old.

Hulda x

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Top labour tips for Sassy Mama from Hulda

Top labour tips for Sassy Mama from Hulda

Posted on 10 July 2015 by Kristrun

laboutips“1. Before you go into labour, think about this process as a journey of physical and psychological endurance, where both of those needs (physical and psychological) need to be nurtured and taken care of just like on a normal day, but in a much more intensified way.

2. This means that you need to absolutely make sure that you eat, drink, pee, sleep and move around regularly at all times.

3. You will be affected by those around you greatly, so make sure that they are people you like and trust and will not only take safe care of you but who will support you on your terms.

4. Pick a hospital and caregivers that are likely to meet your needs. For example, if rooming-in after the birth is not available, then don’t expect to be able to breastfeed successfully. Similarly, if C-section rates are very high in the hospital you are giving birth in, you are not likely to have a normal vaginal birth. If pain relief is important to you, you may have to educate yourself on how the hospital provides this and what you have to prepare for.”

Click on Sassy Mama to read the full article. 

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.


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Birth – gratitude – love

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Birth – gratitude – love

Posted on 03 July 2015 by hulda

I will never let you go

I will never let you go

Today is the day, that 18 years ago, I gave birth to my first baby.

I remember every little detail of that day.

It was more important to me that any other day in my life, although others were to follow when my other little babies were born.

But it was such a special day -  filled with kindness, hardship, patience, pain, unpredictability, sunshine, music, pressure, excitement, anticipation, warmth, love and relief.

It was a long day that started two days earlier actually, by me being induced after being more than 2 weeks past the 40 weeks of pregnancy.  I had no real expectations and did not know that induction meant anything different than a normal start of labour.  Except for the lack of candlelight on the bathtub and an exciting 100km drive to the hospital.

But apart from that, I was not concerned – I was in a very nice hospital with very nice people around.  My family were coming and going while the induction was starting, I was walking around in the park outside the hospital, food and drinks were served and finally, waters broke and the real work started.

I never forget that feeling, the waters breaking.  A flood of warm liquid everywhere, over me, on the bed, floor, everywhere.  A slight feeling of, not shame, but some strange sensation that I was looking ridiculous to the people around me, the midwives.

But they seemed happy and things were progressing.

Stumbling to the toilet where I sat on a birth ball, vomited into the sink and someone had the shower-head with warm water on my back.

Mess, pain and desperation for an hour or so.

Does it really have to be this way?  Would a C-section not just be better?

A warm smile from the midwives.

Sun shining through the glass of the windows.  Enya singing.

Pethidine.  Calm, sleep, smiles.

Sit up on the bed, husband behind, pressure, hands on the baby’s head, enormous pressure, hair between my fingers, midwife sat on a stool on the floor as I was standing with my butt resting on the side of the bed. Finally head out – what a relief after two days of labour.

The music gently in the background, shoulders out and the most beautiful feeling in the whole world when the 4 kilo boy scrambled into my hands and onto my chest.

Smiles, kindness, relief and an enormous feeling of something I had never felt before.

Waking up the next day, remembering that something absolutely amazing, amazing, amazing had happened, but not sure what? Like the day after Christmas when you had your very favourite gift, except 100 times stronger.

Looking to the side and seeing the little bundle in the cradle next to me, remembering what it was that had happened.

Such love I never felt in my life before.

Since then, never wanting to let go of him.  Kept him in my arms, fed him, had him next to me in the bed for as long as I possibly could do.  And he was always happy.

Now, 18 years later, trying to let my baby fly on his own wings into this world, but the love is no less.

I remember every detail of that day.  The smell, the touches, the sounds, the feeling.  Still brings tears to my eyes.

Thank you everyone that made it that way.

Family, midwives, friends, and Starri, my baby, thank you all.


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The newborn baby at birth – from the baby’s perspective

The newborn baby at birth – from the baby’s perspective

Posted on 12 May 2015 by Kristrun

Your newborn babyYour newborn baby will be fully conscious and flooded with new feelings and experiences – the feel of air, the force of gravity, the feel of your skin, the sight of shapes and colours & the sound of un-muffled noise. Her spine will stretch and extend fully and after a few moments she will take her first breath and feel air in her lungs for the first time. When she is breathing comfortable, she will open her eyes if the room is dimly lit and her body will gradually unfurl until her fingers unclench and she opens her arms in greeting. The process might take many minutes to complete. She will be comforted by loving surroundings, dim lighting and the sound of your familiar heart beat and voice, the smell of your body and the warmth and protection of your embrace.

Your baby is able to see, albeit with vision that is a little blurred, at a distance of 10-12 inches, so she’ll be able to see your face as you hold her in your arms. This is comforting – newborn babies like to focus on soft, rounded objects. Soon she will wriggle slowly towards your breast and when she touches the nipple she’ll latch on and begin to suck. Some babies turn very soon to the breast and begin to suck and taste the rich colostrum, but most need to establish breathing confidently before sucking. We recommend that you give the first feed within an hour of giving birth.

First movements

Within minutes of being born many babies look meditative and beautiful. Your baby may make the transition from womb to outside world with ease and equanimity, and with just a few cries to expand her lungs. Within minutes she may be calm, still, and alert, blinking as she takes in the new space round her.

At birth your baby has the reflexes and ability to begin to move and explore her surroundings. The sequence begins with a cry and breathing. Her eyes then open and her fists uncurl, she will touch her face and search the air, your breast and your skin. Her eyes will look to the sound of your voice and she will gaze at your face. At birth babies often remain awake, calm and alert for an hour or two to meet and greet their mum and dad.

Crying and breathing

Babies cry at birth not as a signal of distress, but as a reflex needed to expand their lungs, thus allowing the air to displace the liquid that filled them in the womb. This fluid is absorbed into the baby’s circulation and excreted in the urine. The baby’s system adapts quickly to accommodate this new source of oxygen, and her lips may change from blue to pink. The drop in temperature your baby feels in the cooler air at birth is the stimulus for the first breath. You can see the top baby monitors reviewed by Stoltzy’s Best here to see the breathing conditions of the baby.

If you have given birth in an upright position your baby will have been born head downwards, which helps mucous and amniotic fluid to drain away naturally and clear the passages for breathing. It is not necessary to routinely apply suction to the baby’s nose and mouth but if your baby needs assistance to establish breathing, it will be available.

Your baby may seem shocked or upset, take a while to breathe and perhaps cry for a few minutes. When she becomes calm and is breathing easily she will gaze at you with a peaceful expression. She’ll respond gently as you talk to her and touch her, count her fingers and toes, and marvel at her features. Skin to skin contact helps you to feel each other and creates a powerful bond.

The umbilical cord

The umbilical cord pulsates after birth giving your baby a double lifeline and source of oxygen while breathing is established. Your caregiver checks your baby’s well-being by feeling the pulsation in the cord. It is safe to do this, with your baby in your arms or on your tummy, until the cord stops pulsating; your baby’s circulation will adjust without extra blood flowing into or out of the placenta.

When the cord stops passing blood from the placenta, pulsation stops and the umbilical cord becomes white and flaccid. It can now be clamped with a plastic clamp and cut about one inch from your baby’s body (she will be totally unaware of this process) – some fathers enjoy cutting the cord as a symbolic release of their baby from the placenta into the outside world. The skin will heal naturally over the next ten days – the old cord will drop off, and a neat belly button will remain. Whether it faces inward or outward has nothing to do with the way the cord is cut. If the cord is wound tightly around the neck at birth or the baby requires urgent resuscitation, it may have to be clamped immediately.

How the baby looks

Your baby’s skin is covered in vernix, a white creamy substance similar to a rich moisturizer that protects her in the womb. It is good to leave this on the skin. Her head may be elongated from the moulding of the skull bones, and the skin on the scalp may be swollen. These changes begin to revert within hours.

Smell, listen and keep your baby very close to you to begin with. Let her gradually get used to the brand new big wide world.

Best of luck

The Annerley team

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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“Call the midwife” Hulda interviewed by Playtimes in April 2015

“Call the midwife” Hulda interviewed by Playtimes in April 2015

Posted on 06 May 2015 by Kristrun

Call the midwife - playtimes Annerley“Hulda Thorey midwife from Annerley, says: “It is very common to have some spotting, especially early in the pregnancy. If [it happens] later than 20 weeks [into your pregnancy], see your doctor – it might be a haematoma or placenta problem, which needs to be watched. There are many reasons [spotting might occur] but it is always better to check.”

Hulda midwife from Annerley says: “Don’t worry. If there has been no bleeding or infection, you and baby are safe, and you should let it [your worries] go. The exact amount of alcohol that a woman can drink during pregnancy has not been fully researched. The baby is amazingly well-protected inside you. But [now that you know you are pregnant] any kind of intoxication is something that should be avoided.”

To read the full article on Playtimes - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book.  More information about our services on our website.



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Breathing and relaxation with Hulda head midwife

Breathing and relaxation with Hulda head midwife

Posted on 29 April 2015 by Kristrun

Hulda our head midwife has been asked many times to record her relaxation routine.  A very important part for preparing for childbirth is to practise breathing techniques. And now she finally has. 15 minutes talk where Hulda guides you trough breathing and relaxation for labour and birth. Useful for both both partners when preparing for childbirth. Enjoy!






Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Pregnancy reminders by trimesters (including the fourth)

Pregnancy reminders by trimesters (including the fourth)

Posted on 20 April 2015 by Kristrun

blogremindersCongratulations on your pregnancy. Here are some timely reminders:

First trimester

  • Book an appointment with a midwife or doctor to discuss your options regarding care in your pregnancy.
  • Take folic acid and eat a lot of green vegetables during the first weeks.
  • To decrease nausea, drink a lot of water, and try not to mix fluid and solid food too much. You can also try to have dry snacks ready and available when you get out of bed in the morning.
  • A healthy mix of exercise and good sleep is important, so pay attention to both.
  • Yoga and Pilates are great ways to stay active and flexible.
  • Start finding information about pregnancy, birth, and learning everything on the fetal heart rate chart, there are endless options, and you may want to figure out your own way of enjoying pregnancy.

Second trimester

  • Make sure you have enough comfortable clothes and shoes. You will need 2-3 comfortable trousers or skirts and tops that are not too tight or thick, since hormones often make women sweat a lot and feel warmer than before they became pregnant.
  • By now you have probably decided what kind of maternity care you will be using and appointments should be every 4 weeks.
  • Book your antenatal course.
  • Around 19/20 weeks a structural ultrasound scan is performed, to confirm the length of pregnancy and do a complete check on the growth and development of your baby.
  • Attend antenatal classes in preparation for the childbirth. If you are aiming for a normal birth, perhaps do some extra classes to prepare for that.
  • Have a look at your options regarding maternity leave. The Hong Kong rules for maternity leave allow 10 weeks of paid leave, ideally 2 taken before the due date. Some companies have flexible options, but you will have to check this out in time. If your maternity leave is short, perhaps consider the option of taking an extended unpaid leave for 1-3 months, or work part time in the first weeks. Again – be sure to discuss this with your employer in time.
  • Make sure you get plenty of iron. Green vegetables, lentils, meat, cereals and berry juices are good sources of iron.
  • Think about what your options for the actual birth are, and perhaps write down your ideas, to talk through with your midwife and obstetrician.

Third trimester

  • Your pregnancy is nearing its end. Antenatal appointments are now only 2 to 3 weeks apart and will probably move to weekly appointments.
  • Shopping for baby equipment is a good idea. Find out what you can borrow and what needs to be bought. Compare prices. See what friends have bought.
  • Make a list of names, phones and emails of people that you want to contact when either in labour or after the baby is born.
  • Buy some breastfeeding bras and tops to use after the birth. You will need them in the hospital as well.
  • Think about baby names. Are you married? Are you both citizens of the same country?
  • Plan your postnatal period, home visits for breastfeeding support.
  • Do a tour of the maternity ward. Ask the midwives to show you the moms and the labour rooms, and ask them about what options you have when in labour. Even though this is not the time to discuss it in detail, it may give you an idea about the actual policy at the hospital and what views the midwives have towards birth.
  • Do a trial trip to the hospital from your home. How long does it take? Put a waterproof pad in the car (if you have one), so you can sit on it on the way. Or pack one to have in the taxi. Your waters may break and this can be stressful, if you have nothing to protect the seats. Also, it might be a good idea to place a firm pillow in the car – you might need it while having contractions.
  • Pack your bag for the hospital.
  • If you have other children at home, make sure you have plans for their care while you are away, especially if you start labour in the middle of the night.

Fourth trimester

  • Your baby is born. Find ways to sleep while your baby sleeps.
  • Breastfeed on demand.
  • Get a midwife to do your postnatal checkups at home (if not already planned).
  • Use white noise for soothing baby.
  • Lots of skin to skin contact.
  • Swaddle safely.
  • Bed share safely.
  • Eat well. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Get to know your baby, be creative when it comes to soothing your baby. Don’t forget – your baby has been in your womb for a long time. Create the same feeling, walk around, use slings or carriers. Keep the baby close to you. Your baby will gradually get used to the outside world but right now she is used to a dark, warm, rocking environment.
  • Plan outings in small steps – go to places you know. We have a baby and breastfeeding clinic here at Annerley, for example. Ideally at first, only go where you have been before.
  • Go for short walks – wearing your baby – often a great way of soothing.
  • Enjoy getting to know your baby and try not to plan other jobs. Your baby will be your full time job for the first few months.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Normal, not natural

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Normal, not natural

Posted on 13 March 2015 by Kristrun

Annerley Low 10Annerley is a private organization. We are not innocent, any more than others in such a position, of using catchy titles, promotional texts and other ways of grabbing people’s attention. We do however, try to limit it to no-nonsense and something useful.

It bothers me endlessly how so many concepts seem to have been labelled and commercialized.  Why does everything have to be called something catchy?

Natural birth for example.  I use this term often myself but it really annoys me and I mean to stop it.  It is as used and stretched as “natural” labelling on food products: it does not really represent anything anymore.  And it puts pressure on people to perform in a “natural” way or else… What does natural stand for in labour, for example?

Can we please just call vaginal births NORMAL BIRTHS?  And natural parenting, what is that?  Normal parenting please.  The extremes of this world are starting to annoy me so much. It makes life too hard for us all. There is so much hypocrisy in it anyway.  How can you be all natural in one aspect of your life and the rest is all screwed up?  What is the point of it anyway?

And then there are the definitions.  “I failed to do Hypnobirthing” someone said to me the other day.  “What a load of nonsense,” I said.  There is no such thing as failing in, for example, Hypnobirthing.  It is just a method that you can use the way you choose, even if someone has labelled it and trademarked it.  Same for “Baby-Led Weaning”.  It does not have to be all or nothing, or else you have failed in the method.  There is nothing natural about this all anymore, just pressure to follow someone’s instructions as if they were a god and desperate to get all the credit, and income, from it.

In my opinion, average is good.  Normal is great. Natural…I am not so sure.

From the grumpy corner,


Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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