I’ve mentioned my fear with pregnancy before – labor. And really it’s the fear of the unknown.
How will my body react?
What will the pain be like?
Can I do it?
The unknown is scary! While I can read tons of birth stories and the process of birth in books, how do I know what it will be like for me?
But that’s not going to discourage me. I’m not going to just sit here and be scared. I’m going to do something about it.
I truly believe the more that I know going into it the better prepared I’ll feel. I haven’t touched much on my wishes, but I do want a natural (hopefully water) birth. Since this is what my husband and I both want, I went ahead and ordered the Bradley Method – Husband Coached Childbirth book as a good starting place for getting prepared.
Prior to ordering the book we had talked about taking the class, but held out on it. It’s pretty expensive and really by the time I got around the ordering the book the January course had already begun.
The book came a few weeks ago and we began reading it together in the evenings. After a week or so, Jacob told me that we should sign up for the class. I was super happy since I had wanted to do it from the get go and started checking to see if there were even any options we could fit in before Hunter gets here. I am 6 months pregnant now and the course is 12 weeks long!
Luckily, the was one beginning in early March when I’m at 29 weeks. Now you’re probably thinking…. ummm Heather, can you not do math? 29 + 12 = 41…. that’s past the 40 weeks! Well, luckily again this course is condensed into 10 weeks, ending 1 week before my due date! There’s still a risk that we won’t make it through the entire course since Hunter can always decide to show up early, but I’m willing to risk it. I’ve had the date June 1st in my head the entire time so if my intuition is right he won’t come early. He better listen to his mother! 😉
What we’ll learn
According to the Bradley Method’s site the 12 week course covers these topics:
This class deals with the history of The Bradley Method®, its philosophy and goals. It is a time to get to know us and the members of your class. During this class, we will begin to study things you can do to keep yourself healthy and low risk during pregnancy. We will introduce important pregnancy exercises and we will lead discussion of how to handle pain and give a lesson in how to avoid unnecessary pain in labor.
The primary focus of this class is on nutrition. We will discuss good nutrition during pregnancy so that you will understand which nutrients are important and what quantities are necessary. We will help you to evaluate your diet and suggest ways to improve it if necessary. We will also review the pregnancy exercises and discuss: sex during pregnancy, breastfeeding and continue studying what you can do to stay healthy and low risk during pregnancy.
During this class, we will discuss the many changes your body goes through during pregnancy. We will focus on anatomy and physiology as well as common discomforts and how to handle them naturally. This is helpful for the coach as it makes him more aware and therefore more understanding of these changes. We will also begin to discuss some of the many choices you face regarding labor and birth.
This is the first of two classes that focus on pregnancy and childbirth from the coach’s point of view. In this session we will discuss: coaching during pregnancy, the importance of natural childbirth, bonding, and the father’s role in breastfeeding. We will conclude our study on staying low risk during pregnancy and discuss drugs, myths and birthing.
This class is on how your body works in first stage labor. We will cover anatomy and physiology of first stage, stressing our respect for the natural process and examining the built-in safeguards for you and your baby. We will teach basic coaching techniques and instruct you on how to practice together. Standard hospital admitting and prepping procedures will also be covered.
This class is on how your body works in the second stage of labor. We will cover the anatomy and physiology of second stage labor stressing our respect for the natural process and examining the built-in safeguards for you and your baby. We will discuss the importance of the natural alignment plateau and the fetal Heimlich maneuver. Basic pushing techniques and second stage positions, as well as the coach’s role, will be covered. Third stage will also be discussed briefly.
Class seven covers consumer information and how to make a birth plan. We discuss: what your choices are, the importance of evaluating your feelings and listing your priorities, and meeting with your medical team to discuss your choices in a positive way. There is also a first stage labor rehearsal in this class.
This class covers two units of information. We cover various complications including cesarean surgery discussing: how to avoid these problems if possible, how to evaluate whether it is necessary to intervene, and how to handle interventions that become necessary. We also cover information on taking care of yourself after your baby is born.
This class is filled with advanced coaching techniques dealing directly with the challenge of handling first stage labor. We will go over the First Stage Study Guide so that you can be sure you are well-prepared. We will also have a labor rehearsal and do some role playing.
This class begins with an advanced labor rehearsal which helps to pull together all of the information you have learned so far. We will also cover the Second Stage Study Guide to be sure that you fully understand and are prepared to handle the second stage of labor.
At this point we will go over the B.E.S.T. techniques for labor and birth as a comprehensive review of the most important points you will use while in labor. This class also covers information for coaches on how to handle the challenges they will face in labor. Emergency childbirth will be discussed, just-in-case the baby comes before you get where you’re going. We will also participate in an intriguing discussion on the theory of “what is labor” and why it is so different for each woman and even for each pregnancy.
The last of our twelve week series begins with an advanced labor rehearsal. Next we will discuss the concluding chapter in your student workbook which is titled “Your Labor and Birth”. We will also cover: newborn care, mothering, fathering, breastfeeding, how to handle a crying baby, and adjusting to the many changes you will face during this time.
Not only is it going to be beneficial for me + my fears, but a huge help for Jacob, who, let’s face it knows less about the process than me!
I still don’t know what my body or brain will do, but at least I’m facing my fears and not letting it take over me. Jacob will be my coach the entire time and now instead of fear I’m filled with excitement for our journey together to meet little Hunter.
Who knows… maybe we’ll get some silly shots throughout it too. Big maybe. 😉
Are these common fears for first time mamas? Any experience with the Bradley Method? Please share your thoughts!