The other day as I worked on the photo book of pregnancy photos taken during my pregnancy with my almost 2-year-old, I took some time to look through my pregnancy journal, birthing class book and notes from my midwife. As I flipped through my birthing class book filled with notes in the margins, I was filled with gratitude for the weeks of learning and preparation for my second daughter’s birth.
While pregnant with our first child, my husband and I took a standard birthing class through my OB-GYN’s clinic. It was helpful, and we learned a few things, but looking back, it mostly seemed to prepare us for the hospital and all the possible interventions that might come our way. We knew fairly early on with our second daughter that we wanted to have a home birth attended by a licensed home birth midwife. We also knew we were going to need to try a whole new approach to a birthing class.
After researching many different types of natural childbirth classes, we decided on the Bradley Method. According to the Bradley Method’s website, the Bradley Method
“…teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally. The Bradley Method is a system of natural labor techniques in which a woman and her coach play an active part. It is a simple method of increasing self-awareness, teaching a woman how to deal with the stress of labor by tuning in to her own body. The Bradley Method encourages mothers to trust their bodies using natural breathing, relaxation, nutrition, exercise and education.”
It was a bit daunting to fit 12 weekly classes into our busy lives, but we felt an approach centered on self-awareness was the best way for us to prepare for our home birth. For 12 weeks we attended class with a handful of other expecting parents at our Bradley Method teacher’s home. Our teachers were a husband and wife with three children, all of whom were born using the Bradley Method, so their knowledge was particularly helpful. The class was supportive, the material was helpful – even for a woman who had given birth once before – and, I learned so much about my self through taking the class.
As we approached the birth or our daughter, we felt calm. We were prepared. We knew we could handle what was to come. Our daughter was born in a beautiful, calm and peaceful home birth early one June morning. I know in addition to our wonderful midwife, our Bradley Method classes and the techniques we learned were a major key to our success. My husband was able to anticipate my needs and support me as labor progressed. I was able to read my body, stay calm and work my way through each contraction. I’m so glad we chose the Bradley Method. I know our choice in birthing classes may not be the right choice for everyone, but it was the right choice for us.
Have you researched or taken natural childbirth classes? Do you think childbirth classes are helpful?