Yet another yes vote for Bradley!! SUCH a positive experience for us, and I credit it 100% for our three natural births.
I was the person who cried at a paper cut. I lived in fear of how I'd ever have a baby when I was petrified of an IV, no less the epidural! Imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that giving birth didn't actually require needles!
I spoke to a number of different Bradley instructors on the phone (within 45 minutes of my house). Clicked with one right off the bat, and asked her to put our names down on her list immediately. I got the paperwork, returned it the same day with full payment, and was so happy to have found something that made sense to me and I could really believe would work. When we walked out of the first of 12 classes, I honestly think I cried - with such relief that we'd found something so amazing. I didn't have an ounce of fear from the end of the first class on.
Didn't look to see where you are - our most amazing Bradley teacher moved to California a few years ago.
Best things about Bradley -
**it is natural
**it is safe for you and baby
**it gives your dh many ways to help you
**you both learn SO much about birth; you are a health care consumer
**it teaches you to work WITH your body
**it works in any situation - hospital, birth center, homebirth (I know because I did all three.)
**you get to learn in a small group of four or five couples in the comfortable environment of your Bradley teacher's home
**it also touches on breastfeeding, circumcision, immunizations, etc.
**because of the small group, we became friends with the other couples and have had dozens of Bradley reunions, go to each other's kid's birthday parties, etc.
I honestly found birth to be practically painless. There is definitely a LOT going on; you feel a lot of intense feelings, both physically and emotionally - but I really didn't perceive it as pain. It is muscles working. When you run a long way (or a short way if you are me...
) your leg muscles are sore; you can feel them; you get tired - but you aren't screaming for someone to put you out of your misery. It is just hard work. But you can do it!
I found that I knew so much more about birth than my friends who took other classes, and even more than some friends who had already given birth! You really learn what is normal, how to deal with it, how to avoid problems by eating enough protein, doing birth exercises, practicing relaxation with your partner, what the hospital terms are, etc.
I really can't say enough about Bradley. I am so, so thankful that we found it.