We're trying to figure out what birth class to participate in. I was wondering if anyone could tell me more specifics about the Bradley method...the philosophy, pros/cons, experiences. I am choosing between a bBradley course and another that seems less structured.
My first baby was born in 1990, and I drove 90 minutes to take a Bradley Class. I am not sure how things have changed since then. It emphasizes the normalcy of pregnancy and prepares you to be a very good consumer, not just a victim on hospital routine. Teachers are independent of the hospitals, not just hospital spokemen. I enjoyed it very much, even though I was shocked by the reality of labor. Just lying there and relaxing didn't do it for me, but I'm not sure if there is anyway that we can really prepare.
In short, Yes, I recommend the Bradley Method.
Of course, I am going to tell you how fabulous classes are....but I will also tell you some of the honest feedback that I have gotten from past students about the 12 weeks classes.
The academy videos are good, but outdated. I try to show as much "outside" birth videos as I can.
They complain about the 12 weeks at the time, but are always grateful for the in depth classes after they go through their labor and delivery.
Bradley Teachers are very passionate and sometimes have a hard time separating strong opinions from the philosophy of The Bradley method...
Having said all of that, I found classes to be so informative and empowering that I wanted to spread the word! The most important message that I got from going through our classes almost 4 years ago was how important it is to reasearch your decisions and to take responsibility for the safety of you birth. I feel like that mentality didn't just help with my birth decisions, but my parenting decisions.
I also appreciate about The Bradley Method the message about how your body is capable of doing amazing things and that the strong sensations during labor is just muscles working to bring the baby out. I like that the message is not "Painless" labor, but how to work with the positive pain and avoid unecessary pain by tuning in to your body. I also love the focus on husband/partner also being informed of and involved in the process.
Sorry to be so wordy, I could go on and on. There are many childbirth methods out there because different things work for different people...Find what works best for you and your husband...good luck!
Love the Bradley classes. They are a college class in childbirth... my even had required reading. I had two hands off natural births in the hospital attended by certified nurse midwives. My hubby was super good and did all the great stuff daddies should do. We knew we could refuse eyedrops and vitK for the baby and the danger of circumcision. All because of Bradley!
I took the Bradley class, and found it extremely informative. I was successful in having a drug free natural birth in a hospital. I am really happy I took the class because it educated me to stand up to the nurses/doctors when they wanted to do things that really weren't necessary (like pitocin). It also teaches your partner alot and makes them more involved than I think they would be without it. I recommend taking the class
another vote for the Bradley Method. i had two natural births in a hospital...and with the second was glad to have an educated hubby to do the blocking (group b + and refused antibiotics, didn't want the monitor, an iv, etc.).
we, too, thought the 12 week commitment was a bit much, but are sooo glad we did it. like op, we learned a lot about vit k, circ, breastfeeding (our instructor tandem and extended nursed...and was open to showing you the how-to's).
i honestly did not do much relaxing during labor, but our instructor did show us some positions for active labor that i found helpful (sanity saving). dh and i both learned the 'correct' terms and felt we were educated when talking to our midwife.
finding an instructor in your area, the cost...and i really can't think of anything else.
good luck on your journey.
I used Bradley w/ my first and later became a teacher. I think it's an excellent class for first time parents, and is the best class out there for getting dad involved. If dad doesn't want an active role, Bradley will probably not work (unless the class wins him over, which does happen sometimes). Interview teachers-finding one you like is worth driving if you have to.
When my wife originally told me that she wanted to have a home birth I was (understandably) a bit shocked. It was so "out of the ordinary" and took a few months to digest. I was never against it, as I am very open-minded, I was just cautiously worried.
When we were about 28 weeks, DW and I were in the same situation as you trying to decide on a birthing class. She decided on the Bradley class, which I was all for, but since she had done all the research I didn't know what to expect. I couldn't figure out why we were going to spend an hour a week for 12 weeks working on breathing. (wrong!)
Having just completed the class a little over a week ago (props to our incredible instructor, Lori in Columbia, MD) and having a wonderful UC that resulted in a darling daughter born yesterday (4/2) at 8:18am, I can say with certainty that the Bradley class was invaluable at teaching us what to expect and how to handle it.
We learned so much and I am so thankful for what the Bradley class has taught me. It certainly opened my eyes in a way that I didn't even know was possible. So tell your husband that the Bradley class is endorsed by males as well - and go hurry and sign up before the class is full!
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.
I think there are pros and cons to the Bradley method. The pros have already been listed...so allow me to share some cons.
--DH needs support too. Mine should not have been my coach. In our situation, we both needed our hands held.
--The only tools for pain coping I learned were relaxing and breathing, neither of which worked for me.
--DH couldn't help me relax or massage me bc there was no room in the hospital bed for that. (Supposed to be birth center, long story)
--So much of the education that was so beneficial filled me with dread for having a hospital birth. Bradley dispelled my fear of childbirth but unfortunately replaced it with a fear of hospitals, doctors, and nurses.
: So when we found ourselves in this unfortunate situation, we both fell apart.
--There is a false assumption that with preparation you can control the outcome. Preparation helps, of course, but PG women need to be told that no matter what they do and how much they prepare, things happen and it's not necessarily their fault.
Amazing... although BIG con-- on our instructor's part.
She was there from the beginning to the end but then we didn't hear from her after she left the birth center shortly after our sweet baby was born... did I offend her? I have no idea. I thought she would call to at least check on us but NOPE-- nothing.
The BRADLEY METHOD on the other hand is amazing-- I truly believe I will become a teacher someday-- after I have more experience under my belt aka more kids!! And I will definitely follow-up... how unprofessional... really left me feeling terrible, but that's the past, gotta look to the future.
J9 in KS
I agree w/ all of the above. I would recommend the classes to ANYONE wanting a natural birth. I can't tell you how much it got my hubby involved as well. I believe education is key....to understanding...the Bradley classes work!