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We're a third of the way into our Bradley Method class, and I just wanted to plug it here for anyone on the fence about taking one. First, if you're worried about the cost, check with your health insurance, some of them (even public insurance) will reimburse you for childbirth classes (especially if they include lactation instruction, which Bradley does). Also, many instructors will take payment terms if you don't have the money up front.
DH is not excited about participating in labor/delivery, and not a fan of taking a class about it. But, because he loves me and is excited to be a dad, he's going. And he's getting some really helpful information out of it. This week we talked about diagrams of how the baby's growth affects my body, especially the internal organ shift, and he was really into that, kind of mesmerized.
It's a little oddball in that the premise of Bradley is that mammals on the founder's farm seemed to labor well without the help of intervention, so as mammals we should be able to pull that off. Bradley gives off a weird uncle vibe. They also counteract some other conventional wisdom about, say, nutrition (e.g., get more salt, not less). But it's very information- and research- driven in the end, and I feel comfortable making my own decisions based on what I'm learning.
Finally, the weekly class (for 12 weeks) may seem like a bit much, but I like two things about that. I like that there is one night each week that we set aside to talk about becoming parents. I also like that I'm learning exercises and practices that I use every day to prepare my body and my mind for birthing a baby, and even if things go down a different path when that day comes, they are exercises and practices that are still beneficial.
Natural childbirth scares the bejeezus out of me. But the class material and experience is helping me work through some of my fears and prepare, not only for birth but for parenting.
I don't think Bradley is for everyone, but if it sounds like something that's up your alley, I would recommend seriously considering it.
I took Bradley with my first baby, and I know Shelley did too - I'm now an instructor, but I am not recertifying this year. It's a wonderful class. I have had two pretty great births following the bradley method enjoy it! Class 6 is where guys usually really start to get involved
ETA: that should say im NOW an instructor, not i'm NOT an instructor
I didn't take classes, but I read a Bradley book with my first daughter. I really feel like that book (coupled with all the other research) is what really got me in the correct frame of mind to have a painless birth ♥
It's a boy! J came 6 weeks early by unscheduled c-section due to sudden and severe pre-eclampsia. My midwife introduced induction, but that was really to prime me for a c-section because it turned out I was too sick for a long labor. (And not at all dilated, not a single contraction, it would have had to be one heck of an induction.)
Not getting the natural childbirth I hoped and prepared for is something that I will feel sad about for a long time, I know. But after some consideration, I still feel like I had a Bradley delivery. Bradley was like the pre-birth version of premarital counseling for my husband and I. It helped get us on the same page, strengthened our ability to ask good questions and advocate for ourselves (because we felt well-informed, we knew what kinds of questions to ask), and the information and practices that were part of the course have been unbelievably helpful as we deal with having a baby still in the hospital and journey through breastfeeding.
I know this isn't the sort of thing that is for everyone. But if taking a more extensive course on child birth is something you're considering, I would highly recommend it. People said to us that it was silly to spend so much time learning how to push a baby out when people do it all the time. But we learned a lot more than just how to push a baby out, which is a good thing, since I didn't have the opportunity to push a baby out.
Hopefully I'll have more by way of actual "natural childbirth" to discuss with our next baby. VBAC here we come. (Or, maybe HBAC? That would be awesome. I'm ready!)