A midwife who has been helping families in Ilkley prepare for the birth of their babies for more than three decades has been announced as the winner of the Independent Midwife of the Year 2022/23 at the Prestige Awards.
Founder of My Calm Birth Ltd, Amanda Wardle, is a private independent midwife and hypnobirthing teacher, offering a range of antenatal and postnatal packages for families in the Ilkley and Harrogate areas.
Her wealth of experience working previously in the NHS and privately means that she is able to support clients during this important time of their lives.

The judges praised the approachability of Amanda, who describes every appointment she makes as if she were visiting a friend. Amanda is committed to making pregnant couples feel completely supported through their antenatal and immediate postnatal periods. Most of the work is carried out face-to-face in the comfort of clients’ homes at times to suit them. Remote consultations are also available for those not living in the Ilkley area. Amanda also offers award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal courses, treatment for breech babies and birth trauma support.

It’s difficult to find the words to explain what Amanda Wardle has meant to us – not only during our birthing experience but throughout the whole pregnancy!

I came across Amanda’s My Calm Birth website after a recommendation from a friend. I was to be a first-time mum, and at 37 had heard a lot of horror stories from friends who had had children! Their births had all been in hospital, which is fine, but they all said the same thing – they didn’t feel in control and it wasn’t a positive experience, which didn’t sit right with me.

Following a quick chat with Amanda we clicked – her knowledge was vast but more importantly she was a genuine, caring lady who was passionate about providing the best care she could for the couples she worked with. We signed up straight away to her hypnobirthing programme “the wise hippo”. The programme provided us with the tools we needed to decide on what was going to be the right birth for us along with instilling confidence and trust in me and my husband. We attended the programme for 4 evenings in the comfort of Amanda’s home – to say we were clueless at the start was an understatement but by the end, we really started to question more deeply the connection between how the mind and body were working together to assist not only in labour but life in general. The sessions gave us the information we needed to prepare for the birth of our baby – my physical needs, the birth planning and my husband’s role so we could ensure we were all calm, relaxed and in control.

As my pregnancy progressed and We became more empowered we started to question where was the best place for us to have the baby – the hospital was the only place I initially considered but over time we realised that actually, our “best birth” would be at home! Amanda had given us the techniques that enabled us to make this informed decision and she spent hours with us answering our questions and concerns!!

Further, into my pregnancy, we asked Amanda to be our “independent midwife” and she took over my prenatal care from 30 weeks. Our little boy was showing to be “back to back” in the womb so Amanda taught us “spinning babies” techniques which we practised at home to try and encourage him to move into the correct position – which he did the day before I went into labour! If we had not had these techniques I doubt I would have had the natural birth that followed! This was just another strand to Amanda’s knowledge as she is the only certified parent educator in Yorkshire. I also attended her weekly Pregnancy Relaxation Evenings which enabled me to have some “me time” whilst I was still working!!

ruth, husband and baby Casper - born at home

My actual birth story seems really boring – I’ve no horror stories to tell my friends! I was 8 days overdue when my contractions started, at home on Boxing Day night! Looking back on the 28 hours Amanda was such a calming presence – she routinely monitored me and my baby and we all felt at ease. She also made sure my husband was involved at every stage – filling the pool, ensuring I was hydrated and fed, etc. I had a few wobbles when I asked my husband to take to me Airedale for “pain relief” but Amanda quickly re-focused my mind to my hypnobirthing techniques and we managed each contraction one at a time. Our baby boy, Casper, was born perfectly and calmly at 6.10am on the 28th December, in our front room in the water pool. It was an exhilarating ( but exhausting) experience and one I am proud to share – one we would not have achieved without Amanda by our side.

Amanda continued to provide care for 8 weeks after Casper was born – I looked forward her coming over so we could chat and she could ensure that I was recovering so I could provide the best care I could for my baby.

I have absolutely no hesitation to recommend Amanda to any of my friends or family. Couples spend thousands and thousands on their weddings and holidays yet question investing in the most important event in their lives – it’s worth every penny to have Amana by your side!

Thank you!!

Ruth Jarvis x

amanda and abby at hypnobirthing refresher course by my calm birth

Hypnobirthing refresher for a hypnobirthing teacher!

Just recently I was asked to do a hypnobirthing refresher session for a hypnobirthing teacher and her partner. Now, why on earth would she want to do that you may ask! After all, this particular teacher has lots of experience and teaches hypnobirthing courses every week herself. Not only that, but it’s her fourth baby and she has successfully ‘hypnobirthed’ her babies in the past. So, why would she want to spend her time and money on a refresher course?

Here are a few things that I would like to think were worth the couple’s investment in time and money –

Making the commitment to doing a refresher course meant that there was dedicated time to concentrate on baby number four. It could be so easy to just think that this is not important, I’ve done it all before, I know everything there is to know about hypnobirthing etc etc. But, taking time to prepare for a baby whether its your first or fourth is so important. Every pregnancy, labour, birth and baby are equally special no matter how many times you’ve done it before.

Birth partners need refreshers too. It’s an important role supporting a woman through her labour and birth. A little recap will reap benefits on the birthing day/night and ensure that everyone remains calm and relaxed throughout. It’s also really helpful for the birth partner to remember all the lovely relaxation techniques that should be practised on a daily basis. How great to be reminded that you need to go and listen to your MP3’s and have a bit of ‘me time’!

Taking time out to discuss what’s important, any worries, any special plans, means that the upcoming birth experience can be the best it possibly can. You are working as a team leaving nothing to chance. A good birth preference (or birth plan) can then be written and shared with your care providers.

The session can act as a springboard to remind you of your daily practice and give a little ‘push’ in the right direction.

You can read about the session on Abby’s website.

Convenient Continuity… Why Choose an Independent Midwife

Doctors surgeries, inconvenient times, rushing from work, waiting for an appointment that never seems to come, then feeling rushed, not listened to and sometimes like your just another number in a sea of other women?

These things simply DON’T HAPPEN in the world of Independent Midwifery!! It’s one of the many many reasons I chose care with Amanda.

From my very first contact with Amanda I felt listened to, understood and important. There was never a rush, agenda or urgency over our time together. Our ‘appointments’, if you can call a coffee and a chat with someone who is now more like family than our Midwife, were convenient, attentive and felt like ‘me time’.

Amanda worked her diary around my busy shift patterns, and if we needed to rearrange it was never a problem. We met in our own home, and it always felt like they were on our terms with no agenda or time constraints.

We grew to know each other over our 9 month journey and built a relationship of trust and understanding that allowed me to feel safe with the choices I was making and that I would also know who would be holding my hand as I welcomed our miracle earthside, another huge benefit of our care package.

Midwifery care is about being with women, advocacy, supporting choices and empowering through education. Independent Midwifery provides this and so much more; It provides relationship, trust, power, comfort, bravery, meeting you at your point of need.

So if your considering it, have questions, want to meet and discuss more than get in contact with Amanda and ask the questions.

Bailey Warner

Amanda gave me information I couldn’t find in books

“Amanda’s support throughout my pregnancies and birth was one of the best things I ever did. She entered my house a midwife and left a friend. After starting my pregnancy with NHS midwives I found myself lacking individual support. What a joy to have Amanda joining me in my home, sharing a cup of tea and cake, at a time that fit around work and no eye on the clock. It was fantastic being able to not mess work around with awkwardly timed appointments.

Amanda gave me the information I couldn’t find in the books I read, she answered my endless list of questions in an intelligent and intuitive way not only providing me with the facts I needed but efficiently unpicking my fears. In the space of a couple of weeks of meeting her, I realised that it was my birth experience and I had choices. With my first pregnancy I decided to try for a home birth, Amanda empowered me to labour comfortably at home knowing when to ignore me and give me space and when I needed her support and encouragement. My home birth unfortunately didn’t work out, I moved to hospital but having Amanda for the start with her vast professional experience made a potentially unsettling experience calm. Through Amanda’s support and care in my second pregnancy, I felt confident to try for a home birth for a second time this time finding myself with a perfect baby boy after a 40 minute completely drug-free labour. I thought that being in a hospital would offer me support, my two experiences couldn’t be more different. In hospital I found myself very much alone with a long walk to the loo, a newborn who I couldn’t leave and only the things we had guessed to pack in my bag (which my husband had left behind in the rush!). The professionals that I originally wanted to be around changed shifts so I didn’t see the same person more than once, the lack of continuity of care meant having to explain my situation every time I saw someone new. What I found with this kind of care was I couldn’t control my experience, I had to wait until it was convenient for someone to discard me. With my second birth three hours after starting my labour I was sat on my own sofa, with my baby in my arms eating a jacket potato my husband made me, being able to curl up in my own bed with my own shower and loo next door and my husband with me. I thought I would feel alone at home, far from it, Amanda round the corner but most essentially offering the continuity of care. Being able to text Amanda with a quick query, ‘is this ok, should I be worried?’, five minutes later fears allayed, cracking on as opposed several hours waiting round in hospital. Amanda’s breadth of professional knowledge and experience genuinely far outstripped anyone’s I met in hospital. I always knew the advice she gave me was the very best, she sees the whole picture from start to finish as opposed to NHS staff who see a snapshot of the whole experience. Amanda knew me and respected me, she was with me through the whole journey so we never had to waste time filling in facts. To have the same person supporting me before and after the birth was absolutely fantastic, I’ll never forget sitting with Amanda with my two children in a heat wave with our feet in a paddling pool!

In one of the books Amanda lent me, it said if you go into a nursing home and asked old ladies about their birth experience they remember it with clarity. The birth of your child is pretty much the most incredible thing that will happen to you, Amanda allowed me to own my experience replacing fear with control and joy. When I am an old lady I will remember my birth experience in a positive way and I will most definitely remember Amanda.”

Lucinda Warnes


Time to find my zone

“We were lucky enough to have Amanda Wardle, My Calm Birth, support us during pregnancy, throughout the birth and after our little girl was born. From the moment we met I knew I could trust Amanda, and I felt she immediately understood what was important to us. She took the time to get to know us as a couple and offered a calm presence both in person and over the phone.

For the labour it was important for me to stay in control and although I hadn’t predicted it, to be left alone! I found myself in my own zone and Amanda was respectful of me and my wishes throughout (even when my wish was for everyone to ‘shut up!’), offering reassurance and guidance when needed. I know that for both my mum and husband the experience was also completely magical, which wouldn’t have been possible if Amanda had not enabled us to create the calm birthing environment we wanted.

My little girl took a while to appear but at no point during labour did I sense anything being wrong. Had I been in hospital I am certain they would have intervened pretty quickly, taking my labour out of my hands. In the weeks after our little pudding joined us, Amanda offered advice and support for everything from feeding to looking after myself.

The whole experience has been fantastic for us and I know that the calm, positive and relaxed environment our little girl entered into has helped her be the most chilled baby around, content and happy with the world. We can’t thank Amanda enough and are already looking forward to having her with us for our future pregnancies!”

Elizabeth, Paul & Baby Grace

Support with absolute superb style!

“Amanda was the best thing that happened to me during my surrogate pregnancy. Gushy testimonial, I know… But when it comes to writing a testimonial about a midwife, if she’s really worth writing about, it can’t help be filled with lovey dovey stuff. I couldn’t have had anyone better to look after me. I gave her such a challenge too!

She not only had to support me, pregnant with a baby due to go back to her parents once born, but Amanda had to simultaneously support the mum and dad too. She did it all with absolute superb style. We all felt safe and nurtured. We felt extremely confident in her care. We felt like she had all the time we needed. Amanda truly gave 100% and more.

If you’re lucky enough to have Amanda in your birth space, to look after you ante/post-natally, you’ll no doubt be very happy you have. The baby is now 19 months old and we all still love her. I’ve met a lot of midwives over the years of having my own babies, but Amanda was (and still is) just the best”.

Jay Kelly

Support, encouragement and reassurance

Amanda was an amazing midwife, and without doubt contributed to my confidence in the pregnancy and birth experience. Her experience really shone through, and I was always confident that I was in safe hands. Amanda provided excellent support in both pregnancy and during the birth. In pregnancy, one of the things I remember most was her taking the time to talk about any issues or concerns around the pregnancy, whether about the physical, emotional or developmental aspects.

For instance, when thinking about decisions around taking maternity leave, Amanda discussed the importance of the period of pregnancy in the development of babies’ developing neural pathways, something I hadn’t considered previously. Amanda’s insights and knowledge seemed to extend far beyond NHS experiences, as was apparent when I shared information with other mums-to-be at antenatal groups. Amanda always provided really valuable information enabling myself and my partner to make informed decisions. I also felt that I could ask Amanda about anything, no matter how small – she was just a text or phone call away.

When my waters broke three weeks early, Amanda was very calm and supported my decision not to be induced, instead monitoring myself and baby. When I went into labour, Amanda was amazing – she provided the right amount of support, providing encouragement and reassurance, and I was totally confident in her approach – hands off to give privacy until necessary intervention was needed, and then open discussion and decision making. Unfortunately, after around 12 hours of labour, baby’s heart rate, my heart rate and temperature started to rise, and after examination, we made the decision to transfer to hospital where a C section was necessary. I feel totally confident that we went at the right time. Amanda accompanied myself and partner in the ambulance, which was incredibly reassuring, and then care was handed over professionally to the NHS. I know that the decision to transfer was the right one at the right time, and that we had done all we could at home. While the birth journey didn’t go as planned, throughout the whole time I knew that myself and baby were in safe hands with Amanda.

I would whole-heartedly recommend Amanda. If anyone would like to hear more or talk to myself or my partner, just email and we can arrange a time to chat, karina.croucher@gmail.com”

Karina & baby Charlie