This Morning Star On Why She Wants A Home Birth With Baby No. 2

Dr Sara Kayat gets real about pregnancy cravings and the challenges of juggling third trimester chaos with a toddler in tow.
Dr Sara Kayat
Dave Benett via Getty Images
Dr Sara Kayat

This Morning’s resident GP, Dr Sara Kayat, has opened up about how she’s juggling her second pregnancy with a toddler in tow – and her plans to have another home birth.

Dr Kayat revealed she was pregnant with her second child in May this year. She is due to give birth later this month.

While she struggled with morning sickness for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, she describes the rest of her experience as “relatively straightforward and unremarkable.”

Well, aside from the weird pregnancy cravings that is... “In my first pregnancy all I wanted to eat was cheese toasties, but this time round I have been a pickle-fiend,” she tells HuffPost UK.

“I have raided every local Middle Eastern food store and have quite an interesting selection of pickles in my kitchen cupboard.”

Dr Kayat already shares a son, three-year-old Harris, with her husband Rupert Walker. She describes navigating the third trimester with a toddler as “challenging at times.”

“When all you want to do is sit down and rest in front of the TV after a hectic day at work, you are met with a never-tiring toddler who wants to do, see, and play everything,” she says.

“He also always wants to be picked up, swung around or thrown in the air, which is not particularly easy anymore.”

While her son knows she has “a baby in her belly”, the doctor notes “he doesn’t quite compute that I am increasingly physically restricted”.

“On a positive note, I am grateful that he is keeping me active and fit which should help me with the endurance required for labour,” she muses.

On prepping for a new baby

As for preparing for baby number two, well, let’s just say a lot less has happened this time around, something lots of parents will relate to – “you don’t have the time to think about it with a toddler demanding attention,” she says.

The doctor still has all the the equipment, clothes and gadgets from when Harris was born, so she adds she feels “quite relaxed” about their impending arrival.

In fact, the main preparation has come in the form of organising who will look after her son while she’s in labour.

She’s also slowly introduced the idea of a sibling to him through picture books and visiting friends with young babies.

She adds that he’s been “extremely gentle and calm around all the babies we have visited” which has reassured her ahead of their new arrival.

Raising a toddler and having a due date in autumn means Dr Kayat is well aware of the risks from winter illnesses, particularly flu, which is why she’s supporting Boots’s flu vaccine campaign.

Pregnant people are entitled to a free flu vaccine on the NHS this winter, and the pharmacy offers the free NHS flu jab at most of its stores and a private service for people who are not eligible but still want to protect themselves.

The TV doctor had her flu vaccine during her 34th week of pregnancy. “It is so important, as being pregnant affects how your immune system responds to infections, making pregnant women like me more susceptible to serious complications from the flu,” she says.

Dr Sara Kayat
Dr Sara Kayat

Uptake of the vaccine is lower than experts would like. Last year, flu vaccine uptake among pregnant women was 35%, compared with 37.9 % in 2021.

Discussing why she thinks uptake is decreasing in pregnant women, Dr Kayat suggests there are several factors at play, from finances to women thinking they do not need the vaccine because they have never caught the flu before, or because they have already been vaccinated in previous years.

“It is important to remind patients that as the flu virus evolves and changes over time, each year new vaccinations are developed to match the new flu strains, so they cannot rely on the protection from previous years’ vaccinations,” she adds.

“Extensive research shows that not only is the flu vaccine safe, but it is beneficial for both the mother and baby, with some protection being passed onto your baby, lasting for the first few months of their lives.”

Her hopes for another home birth

In 2020, Dr Kayat gave birth to her son Harris at home after he arrived 10 days early. She had a water birth in her bath, with no midwives on hand. Her husband caught her baby and the GP says active labour lasted a grand total of two hours.

This time around, she plans to have another home birth. “I had an extremely positive birth experience,” she says of her son’s birth, “so I hope to have another home birth this time round.

“I found it so empowering and loved how raw and animalistic it all felt. I am truly excited to do it all again.”

Dr Sara Kayat has partnered with Boots to support its flu vaccination campaign, which encourages all those eligible for a free NHS flu jab to book as soon as they can. Book an appointment here.