More newbie questions. There are a few different types of childbirth classes out there and I don't know if I'm aware of all the options or how to compare. Any suggestions? Where do I start?
Former Bradley graduate here too. Although, my instructor (who runs the free-standing birth center in town and is a doula herself) incorporated other things into the class which was really nice too. She threw in some helpful yoga moves, some meditation and relaxation techniques, whatever she felt has helped people along the way. In fact, I don't think her class is even described as a full-on Bradley class anymore, I think she's since customized it even further...
Anyway. I agree, it really helped my husband even more than me, I think. My same instructor runs a refresher course that runs for a single afternoon, I might sign up for it just for his benefit since it's been five years since we've done this.
I took a hypnobirthing class (through the hospital) with #1 and while I enjoyed it while I was going through it, I didn't get much out of it (neither did DH) that helped with the birth or postpartum - I felt really unprepared. I took a midwife's class for #2 - a very natural birth type class, and felt very prepared. A very small class (4 couples), loads of time to ask lots of questions and we went over everything from pregnancy and birth to postpartum and baby care. We even discussed hospital births, interventions, medications just in case we needed them. It was excellent. I agree with pp, the more time and information provided by the class is better. I would recommend more independent-type class - meaning not directly sponsored or associated with a hospital or birth center - as those may be more slanted towards what they want for outcomes or how they want your birth to go (not always but it was the case for me). My sister loved her Bradely classes.
I agree with finding an independent course if you can, the hospital will have its own biases. Also more individual classes rather than one intensive class is good, gives you time for the info to sink in. And I haven't taken a Bradley course myself but I think it is important to find a class that puts a lot of emphasis on the support person's role. We did a class taught by a longtime doula and it was really helpful. It was good for both of us, of course, but I think it was even more important to find a class that kept DH engaged and involved, because let's face it, he did not spend his time obsessively reading every pregnancy and birth book he could find at the library like I did.
Also I would recommend a breastfeeding course for both of you. There were times at the beginning when I was struggling with getting a good latch and DH helped a lot with some things that he remembered from our course.
Can I say that this just made me cry...I know pregnancy hormones had a lot to do with the crying, but what a sweet, sweet man.
My partner read the LLL Breastfeeding book all the way through (kept it in the bathroom for reading material). If you have a partner who reads information better than listening to it, that is an excellent resource and helped my partner help and encourage me, sometimes even by referencing page numbers for me to reread.
I didn't do any birthing classes, but we both made sure to keep open lines of communication about what I wanted, what might make him uncomfortable or nervous during the birth, etc, and I found that that method likely worked better than a class environment would've for either of us, but neither of us works well being talked at with information, we both prefer to read it.
Just something to think about, definitely not shooting down birth classes or anything like that, just sharing a different viewpoint.
We did a Birthing From Within class with a doula friend of ours. It was really small (3 couples), and helped in unexpected ways. We had planned for a HB, and really didn't foresee anything getting in the way of that. In the class we talked about our fears and I came to realize I was really afraid of the hospital, and of losing control (like being hooked up to machines and being given drugs). Just realizing that that was even a fear of mine, and really taking the time to say it out loud and have people hear me... that was huge for me. Well, we ended up transferring to the hospital 24 hours after my water broke and we still weren't in the pushing stage and it was actually a relief! Everything I had feared about being/birthing in a hospital couldn't have been further from the actuality of my experience! But the biggest part of that for me was that I went into it without fear, and I don't know that I could have done that had I not taken that class.
Wow, sorry for the rant! Short story: I enjoyed my Birthing From Within class and got a lot out of it!
With my first son (ESP), we just did the hospital classes. There were many on all sorts of issues, including BreastFeeding, and even certification for infant CPR. I also did extensive home study by reading every Expecting book I could get my hands on. I also asked every mother I already knew or met for first time questions and learned very practical stuff from the trenches that way.
This time I am so caught up in mornning sickness that I have done some reading but more just on where I am in the pregnancy and mommy blogs of the same nature. I don't think we wil be ablle to afford Bradley classes though they seem very comprehenisive. There are some free classes offered at a cloth, natural attatchment parenting type store in my area. Many are free and on topics I am interested in. I will probably avail myself of those.
I checked out "Husband Coached Childbirth" by Robert A. Bradley from the library. I devoured it yesterday. Some of it seemed like a document of its time (ie. original publication date of 1965) and it was tough to read statements like "Don't just act like a lady; dress like one." I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
How contemporary are Bradley classes? Do they adapt the diet to vegetarians if needed? Do Bradley classes also explain in a matter of fact way the procedures they are trying to avoid ie. CSections/epidurals as a 'just in case'? I'd like to be prepared for best case scenario and worst care scenario.