the beginnings of our bradley method class

the beginnings of our bradley method class

Jacob and I are 4 weeks into our Bradley Method class. Seems like a good time to share what we’ve learned so far + what it’s all about. I did promise after all!

At our first class we received our Bradley Method student workbook + a binder created by our instructor. This first class was okay. A basic intro to what we’d be learning and kind of getting to know each other – semi awkward.

Each week we are assigned homework + told which type of food to bring the following week. So far we’ve brought a salad, ‘meat and cheese’ dish (we brought cottage cheese and pita chips since we’re kind of obsessed with that combo) and my curried grain salad I shared yesterday.

The next week we talked all about nutrition and had to record our eats for 3 days. The only thing we had to keep numbers on was protein, aiming for 80-100 grams a day. With my normal-Heather-style-of-eating, I ranged between 102-115 grams of protein per day. I was good to go! The recommendation for the Bradley class is to follow the Brewer pregnancy diet (follow the link to read more about it). Here’s the basics of the diet:

1. Milk and milk products–4 choices
1 cup milk: whole, skim,1%, buttermilk
1/2 cup canned evaporated milk: whole or skim
1/3 cup powdered milk:whole or skim
1 cup yogurt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cottage cheese: creamed, uncreamed, pot style
1 large slice cheese (1 1/4 oz): cheddar, Swiss, other hard cheese
1 cup ice milk
1 1/2 cup soy milk
1 piece tofu, 3″x3″x 1/2″ (4 oz)
2. Calcium replacements–as needed (2 per soy exchange from group 1)
36 almonds
1/3 cup bok choy, cooked
12 Brazil nuts
1 cup broccoli, cooked
1/3 cup collard greens
1/2 cup kale
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
4 oz black olives
1 oz sardines
3. Eggs–2 any style

4. Protein Combinations–6 to 8 choices**
1 oz lean beef, lamb, pork, liver, or kidney
1 oz chicken or turkey
1 oz fish or shell fish***
1/4 cup canned salmon or tuna
3 sardines
3 1/2 oz tofu
1/4 cup peanuts or peanut butter****
1/8 cup beans + 1/4 cup rice or wheat
(measured before cooking)
beans: soy beans, peas, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzos
rice: preferably brown
wheat: preferably bulgar

1/8 cup brewer’s yeast + 1/4 cup rice
1/8 cup sesame or sunflower seeds + 1/2 cup cup rice
1/4 cup rice + 1/3 cup milk
1/2 oz cheese + 2 slices whole wheat bread or 1/3 cup macaroni (dry) or noodles or 1/8 cup beans
1/8 cup beans + 1/2 cup cornmeal
1/8 cup beans + 1/6 cup seeds (sesame, sunflower)
1/2 large potato + 1/4 cups milk or 1/4 oz cheese
1 oz cheese: cheddar, Swiss, other hard cheese
1/4 cup cottage cheese: creamed, uncreamed, pot style

5. Fresh, dark green vegetables–2 choices
1 cup broccoli
1 cup brussels sprouts
2/3 cup spinach
2/3 cup greens
collard, turnip, beet, mustard, dandelion, kale
1/2 cup lettuce (preferable romaine)
1/2 cup endive
1/2 cup asparagus
1/2 cup sprouts: bean, alfalfa

Adapted from Right from the Start, by Gail Brewer and Janice Presser Greene, from The Pregnancy After 30 Workbook, edited by Gail Brewer, and from The Brewer Medical Diet for Normal and High-Risk Pregnancy, by Gail Brewer and Tom Brewer, MD.

6. Whole grains–5 choices
1 waffle or pancake made from whole grain
1 slice bread
whole wheat, rye, bran, other whole grain
1/2 roll, muffin, or bagel made from whole grain
1 corn tortilla
1/2 cup oatmeal or Wheatena
1/2 cup brown rice or bulgar wheat
1 shredded wheat biscuit
1/2 cup bran flakes or granola
1/4 cup wheat germ

7. Vitamin C foods–2 choices
1/2 grapefruit
2/3 cup grapefruit juice
1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1 large tomato
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 cantaloupe
1 lemon or lime
1/2 cup papaya
1/2 cup strawberries
1 large green pepper
1 large potato, any style

8. Fats and oils–3 choices
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 avocado
1 tablespoon peanut butter++

9. Vitamin A foods–1 choice
3 apricots
1/2 cantaloupe
1/2 cup carrots (1 large)
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup winter squash
1 sweet potato

10. Liver–at least once a week (optional)
4 oz liver
beef, calf, chicken, pork, turkey, liverwurst

11. Salt and other sodium sources–unlimited
table salt, iodized–to taste
sea salt–to taste
kelp powder–to taste
soy sauce–to taste

12. Water–unlimited
Drink to quench thirst, but do not force fluids
Real juice or milk might make better use of limited stomach space.

Avoid pregnancy teas and juices which include nettle, dandelion, alfalfa, bilberry, or celery (they have diuretic properties).

13. Snacks and additional menu choices–unlimited
More foods from groups 1-11

14. Optional supplements–as needed
Vitamin pills, powders, herbs, yeast, oils, molasses, wheat germ, etc.
“Note: Vitamin supplements are in routine use in prenatal care; they do not take the place of a sound, balanced diet of nutritious foods.” (The Pregnancy After 30 Workbook, ed. Gail Brewer, 1978)

Yeeeaaaahhhhhh there’s a lot there. The diet looks great, especially if diet’s a problem. But, since I feel really good about my diet + all my blood work has been great, I’m going to continue eating how I do to fuel and feel good.

Our third week got into pregnancy (what goes on in the body) and the coaches role. There was actually a lot of homework for Jacob to get him thinking more about his expectations + how he’ll deal with pregnancy things. We began talking about fetal positioning too, which I talked about in my last pregnancy update, so be sure to check that out and see the video of the rebozo technique that we’ve done a few times.

I can’t really pin point when we covered why to choose a natural childbirth, but it’s probably been thrown in during each class. Our instructor has so much information that she shares, and we just try and absorb it. Still, it’s hard for me to recount exactly what’s talked about since I don’t take many notes at all.

Last Tuesday’s class was one of my favorites so far – getting into first stage labor! The first hour was chit chat about the actual stage and what goes on – dilation, effacement, fetal position – then the second hour we worked on actual labor techniques!

We got set up in different stations working through practice contractions: in the bathroom, tub, couch, birth/exercise ball, ground and browsing around a store. Both Jacob and I thought this was SOOOOO helpful, since we really have no clue what to do. In addition to our instructor her doula was there too. They both went around giving help with techniques and suggestions, showing the hubbies what to do. Seriously, so helpful.

pelvic rocking, one exercise we are supposed to do every day

The next few classes are going to focus a lot more on what to do during actual labor, so I anticipate we’ll be learning and practicing.

One thing I am loving about our class is that there are 2 other gals due right around when I’m due. One is a day after me and the other a week later. Hearing about them going through things that I’m going through too is comforting. I’ll be very excited to hear how everyone’s births went once all our babies are here!

Another thing to note on the Bradley Method is that relaxation is key. About 95% of the time I tell someone we’re talking the BM (hmmmm maybe I shouldn’t abbreviate that one?) – Bradley Method class, they ask me if it’s like Lamaze. While I’ve never taken a Lamaze class, isn’t it all about breathing? Bradley isn’t. It’s about relaxation, which is why one of the homework assignments we are supposed to do every day, is 20 minutes of relaxation together. Supposed to is the key here. We get it in 2-3 times a week.

For us, relaxation is basically Jacob giving me a massage + just talking about little Hunter together… or anything – as long as it’s relaxing! For me, I love it when he tells me stories. I heart every minutes of relaxation.

Relaxation can be tough to get in, especially when Jacob’s tired, but I guess practicing now for 20 minutes at a time won’t nearly be as draining compared to when I’m actually in labor. BUT, we’ll be filled with adrenaline + excitement then too.

If you made it this far, nice work! You get a gold star this Thursday.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be glad to answer and share more of what we’re learning. We really are loving our Bradley Classes!



my pregnancy: week 31

My brain has been all over the place this week. The closer and closer we get to May 25th, the more excited and anxious I get. Anxious in a good motivated-to-get-things-done kinda way. I still have yet to share the decor plan for the nursery, but it is slowly being worked on. Since I’ll be home all weekend with no big plans (no cycle workshop like last weekend), I hope to make a lot more progress on nursery projects. And that includes cleaning up all my clothes laying around in there!

We received a fun gift this week all the way from my aunt Carol and family in Australian.


Isn’t he cute! I foresee Hunter cuddling up next to his little owl friend in his owl room. Love it.


Speaking of Hunter, what’s he up to this week?

This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He’s probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby’s kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy. — from babycenter

He definitely moves a lot! The full body stretches where I can feel both sides of my stomach pushing out are pretty crazy. They typically happen in bed either in the early morning or late evening. Jacob loves feeling him move and squirm around.


The back pain I mentioned last week keeps coming back. It really just feels like a pinched nerve on the lower right side. I noticed it the most when I get up from sitting or laying, and walking can be pretty uncomfortable too.

During our Bradley class on Tuesday we began talking about fetal positioning and how to get the baby to move into optimal birthing position. I promise I will cover a lot more about the Bradley Method classes we’re taking (we are loving them). Different exercises (which I am supposed to be doing every day) help position baby correctly, but also this technique called the rebozo technique helps move baby where he should be.

Here’s a link to a video of what it is: rebozo techniquie

During class I offered to be the demo person while our instructor showed the technique (the movement was a bit faster than in the video). I kid you not, he began moving right away! Jacob practiced it too (and thought it was super fun giving Hunter a little shake). After a minute or two of that I was done being the demo person and went back to my seat. Hunter continued to move and my back pain felt so much relief! I ended up sleeping soooooooooo good that night. I barely moved (probably because my back felt better), which is not normal now since I’m always readjusting in bed.

Sadly the pain keeps coming back each day, but we’re going to try the rebozo method + I’m doing lots more pelvic rocks that seem to temporarily relieve my pain. Surprisingly, whenever I teach in the evening my back feels better all evening too.

There’s a crazy comprehensive site spinningbabies.com that covers baby positioning and different techniques to get him to move, which both our midwives and Bradley instructor told us about. Definitely worth looking at!

Phew, that was a lot of talk about that. Moving on….


I’ve had a very active week with something new and exciting added in – water aerobics!! It took a lot of trying on over the weekend but I found a bikini that fit AND made me feel cute in it (plus it was just $10 – total steal). I actually love my big pregnant belly in it.

The weekly workout rundown:

Saturday: 20 minute walk with Jacob + Joe
Sunday: 1.5 hours of cycling during my workshop
Monday: 20 minute walk with Joe
Tuesday: 60 minute water aerobics class
Wednesday: taught 60 minute cycle and 60 minute body pump (back to back)
Thursday: taught 50 minute cycle class
Friday: went to 60 minute full body strength workout

I’m definitely looking forward to a rest day on Sunday (teaching cycle Saturday)!

I haven’t ran for a few weeks now. The only nice day was Monday but I was extremely tired from my cycle workshop the day before so I napped instead. Naps kinda rock. If I end up running this week then great, but if I don’t it’s not a big deal. As long as I’m staying active I’m a happy (almost)mama.


I’ve felt much more emotional and cranky this past week, or maybe just more hormonal. I wanted to cry for no apparent reason a couple times. It was odd. Maybe because I had a more active week which meant I needed more rest made me more emotional….???? It’s a maybe. I am feeling less hormonal since I’ve been sleeping a bit better + adding in more naps.

Today we have another midwife appointment. The countdown continues with just 8 weeks to go today!

Back in week 15 Hunter was just one little orange, and this is what my belly looked like. Such a big change now that he’s 4 oranges!


Random bits

  • How far along: 32 weeks, 2 days
  • Total weight gained: 32 pounds
  • Favorite foods of the week: oranges (so glad I stocked up for the photos!), cottage cheese and triple chocolate cake (which gives me bad heartburn now, sad)
  • Food I’m totally bringing to the hospital: cliff shot blocks (gave me crazy energy in between my back to back classes I taught – and it tastes so good!!)

What has your favorite food of the week been?

Mamas out there – when did you start to feel the excitement/anxiousness of baby getting here?


Bradley method book

facing my big pregnancy fear

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?

I won’t.

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.

Get Educated

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:

Class 1. Introduction to The Bradley Method®

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.

Class 2. Nutrition in Pregnancy

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.

Class 3. 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.

Class 4. The Coach’s Role

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.

Class 5. Introduction to First Stage Labor

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.

Class 6. Introduction to Second Stage Labor

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 7. Planning Your Birth

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.

Class 8. Variations and Complications / Postpartum Preparation

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.

Class 9. Advanced First Stage Techniques

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.

Class 10. Advanced Second Stage Techniques

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.

Class 11. Being a Great Coach / Are You Ready?

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.

Class 12. Preparing for Your New Family

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.

My thoughts…

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!