The doulas that my midwife's practice usually work with, also offer one-on-one childbirthing classes in your home, but their classes are composed of only four 2-hour sessions. While I don't need to make a decision for some time (only just found out I'm pregnant), I'm trying to figure out the pros/cons of going this route vs. bradley classes.
One one hand, since I think we are going to get a doula, it seems like having the person who will be helping me in labor also teaching me the techniques would be useful. On the other, 4 sessions just doesn't seem like enough, and I'm wondering if the 12 session Bradley classes might be better, since it allows more time for practice in between, even though there would be less individual attention. All advice welcome!
Really good question. Having a Doula is a wonderful thing. I LOVE Doulas and think they are SO worth the money. Even with a great husband/partner as a coach, an experienced Doula is an amazing asset. While it sounds great to have the Doula that is helping you teach you childbirth classes I have to admit, I'm a bit skeptical when I hear about classes that are less than 8-12 weeks long. There is just so much information to cover I wonder how 8 hours of instruction can possibly encompass everything you learn in the Bradley Method's 24 hours of instruction. Its also really important to be doing exercises, nutrition, etc for at least 3 months before the birth, longer if you can do it. Three months is the magic number in so many things like training for a marathon, rehearsing a play, taking a college class, etc. It might also be wise to find out what childbirth organization your Doula is accredited to teach through, research about that organization and what they offer and see if you agree with their philosophy.
I wrote a blog post about online and distance classes, but it has a lot of info on what a good natural childbirth class should encompass. I also wrote a bit about the advantages of having small class sizes with other students. Its here: http://treeoflifenj.wordpress.com/
HTH, and congrats on your pregnancy!!!
Cindy + DH Paul = DS1 (4/26/06), DS2 (11/30/07), DD (12/20/10) & surprise 4th edition coming in April 2014.
Bradley Method Natural Childbirth Educator, Doula, and Breastfeeding Counselor
I don't like doulas. I've personally seen them mess up the groovy wife-hubby vibe that can happen during birth. This makes some men back off because they feel they have no place in the birth of their own child. Then, cause I'm thrifty.....why pay someone to do the things that a loving, educated partner can do for you anyway? Now, if you are missing a partner or giving birth with a medical support team you don't trust... there might be some room for a doula Guido to help you with the medical staff.
I would take the Bradley classes. I took them with dh when I was pregnant with our second baby and they were great. I like that Bradley incorporates so much about nutrition and exercise into their classes. It's really about healthy pregnancy and birth.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
I LOVED my Bradley classes. Even though I ended up with a C-Section I am still so glad I took the classes. They taught me about pregnancy itself and what I learned from them is invaluable. I always recommend Bradley classes to anyone I know who is pregnant.
A'ing, ,,, Momma to one DD 1/1/12 . Trying to and hoping for a next time!
I started out teaching Bradley Method and I really do love the method. I have been on a hiatus for nursing school for quite some time and stopped teaching. I am now a doula and offer my own brand of childbirth classes. They are 5 weeks long and cover all of the basics of Bradley and have other techniques and information added in. I have not had any of my students complain about the short sessions, having too much information, or not having the information they needed. I would encourage you to ask the doula/CE if you can see an outline or a list of topics that will be covered in the classes and compare it with what you will be getting in Bradley. Best of Luck!