1. How is The Bradley Method different from Lamaze? Lamaze is famous for its “hee hee hoo hoo” breathing techniques. The reality is that this seldom works as it is patterned after the way dogs pant in labor. Furthermore, it can cause hyperventilation. The Bradley Method teaches deep relaxation and abdominal breathing to help a mother release tension and cope with the sensations of labor. (Think of how much better you feel when you begin breathing deeply during exercise.) Also, the Bradley Method offers direct labor support training to her husband or chosen partner. More than 80% of Bradley-trained mothers having vaginal births do so with without medication. (Note: Please see Lorelei’s opinion in the testimonials section. She took both Bradley and Lamaze to prepare for her birth.)
2. What about Hypnobabies? Hypnobabies offers relaxation tools and I use similar labor CDs in class during several of our longer 20 min relaxation sessions. The principle difference is the time spent teaching your husband or partner how to be supportive. Many times mothers call me having read many books or online discussions, or perhaps they’ve seen Ricki Lake’s The Business of Being Born and were inspired to really learn about their birth options and their body’s capabilities. These moms are ready! But often their partner hasn’t read those books or discussions and they have a LOT to learn as well, not just about how birth works, but also their role as a support person. Bradley classes offer that as a foundation of our method. My class also contains a full breastfeeding and newborn care class.
3. I am open to taking drugs during labor. Is the Bradley Method not right for me?First of all, a Bradley education is about so much more than the epidural! I truly believe that ALL mothers and fathers benefit from the depth of education whether they are open to taking medications in labor or not. However, mothers who have taken class and plan on using drugs to help them through labor often find one of two things: either they realize they don’t need/want the medications, or the relaxation techniques help them tremendously up to the point that they do decide on their use. Furthermore, pain relieving drugs do not always work (this is much more common than one might think), and mothers are always glad they have learned many pain-coping strategies to help them through.
4. Why are Bradley Method classes so much longer than my hospital run class? There is so much information to be covered to best prepare you and your partner for birth. Also, the most important labor-coping skill we teach in Bradley classes is relaxation. Each week different relaxation or massage techniques are taught and practiced during class so that when you are in labor you will be able to immediately relax your entire body and mind. Relaxation under physical stress is a learned skill. When a woman is able to relax through each and every contraction her labor is faster and absolutely manageable. It takes many weeks to master the skill of relaxation.
5. Why does a Bradley class cost more? My hospital-run class only costs _dollars. A Bradley method series is significantly longer and more in-depth than hospital-run courses. In addition to learning the full-scope of childbirth information, including training for your partner, the class also contains a full breastfeeding class and newborn care class. Also Bradley teachers are independent teachers, meaning that we are not subsidized or controlled by hospitals. A Bradley teacher usually has to pay her own space rental fee and she continually attends seminars and other training sessions to broaden her knowledge base and keep abreast of current trends. She must provide all of her own materials and audio-visual equipment. All of this is paid out of her own finances.
6. I am planning an out-of-hospital birth. How will the Bradley Method prepare us?Your specific needs as a couple planning an out-of-hospital birth will be addressed frequently in the course. I have personal experience with out-of hospital birth.
7. I don’t need birth classes because I had a cesarean for my first birth and my doctor does not do VBACs. So I have to have another c-section with this baby. Before resigning oneself to another c-section, consider your options. Medical research has shown vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) to be safer for mother and baby than repeat cesarean surgery (in most cases). If it is safer, why is it that so many doctors refuse to do them or scare patients from trying? The answer lies in medical malpractice insurance. Because insurance rates that cover VBAC are so very high, many doctors are not allowed to perform VBACs whether they believe in them or not. I encourage you to visit the websites www.vbacfacts.com and www.ican-online.org to learn about your rights as a VBAC patient. I will help you find a VBAC-supportive care provider. Bradley Method classes are a significant help to VBAC parents as they prepare for childbirth. (Kara says, “I really believe I would have been another statistic if I hadn’t taken this class.”)