04/5/12
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!

Heather