Karen Hall

Podcaster, breastfeeding counsellor, mother and parenting support specialist.

Nearly ten years ago I had a baby and my life changed in ways I could never have predicted. Most new parents would say that. Becoming a parent is a profound transformation; for me it created a whole new career, a passion, and a network of amazing people.

First I got involved with a large UK parenting charity, and trained as a Breastfeeding Counsellor, which took me until my son was nearly 3. Once I was qualified, I discovered how much I love working with groups, so as well as running antenatal sessions I now run postnatal groups (introducing solids, sleep workshops etc), and also study days for colleagues, and I train breastfeeding peer supporters. My passion is not just to support new parents but to be part of the movement that changes the world of birth and parenting, through evidence-based, parent-centred care.

Five years ago I was able to give up doing a real job and threw myself into this new world completely. I trained as a postnatal doula, but I find I have less time for doula work lately as I constantly diversify! I'm now vice-chair of the local MSLC and spending a lot more time on Sprogcast, a monthly podcast about pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

Sprogcast came about just over a year ago, when Mark Harris and I chatted on twitter about the need for a radio-style programme covering the subjects we're both passionate about. We aim to cover a range of pregnancy, birth and postnatal topics; and chat about anything relevant that has been in the news. Talking to Mark always makes me smile, and we work well together; we may have different philosophies, but we share the passion for supporting parents. The majority of our audience at the moment consists of midwives and other birth workers, but this could have appeal for new parents as well. It's been a really interesting challenge and hopefully we're getting better with each episode.

In my spare time I tidy up after my nearly-ten year old son, run, knit, and watch too much telly.