Bradley Birth Classes? Doula?

DeljahDeljah Posts: 47Registered Users

I am about 4 months pregnant with my first child. I'm considering taking a birth class in the Bradley method. I would like to have a natural birth. But, if not drug-free, to definitely avoid c-section and minimize episiotomy.

I can take a 12-week Bradley class in my area. Has anyone here taken such as class? Was it helpful? The class costs $325. Was it worth the money vs just reading a book?

Is a doula useful if you take a birth class?

I appreciate any insight.


  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    I did self-study with the book so take this with a grain of salt. Bradley wasn't a fit for us. My husband is not interested in being an active coach for me and I've found much better support from women (my midwife, doula, etc.).

    So I see the worth in a doula, possibly one who is also willing to educate a first time mom (but usually you have to let the doula know because most won't push education on their clients). So in my experience the doula was worth more than the method (I had a vaginal birth for #1 with stadol and then a completely natural birth with #2, now planning a homebirth).

    But if you feel your husband wants to take a more active role then the Bradley method sounds like a good fit for you. I've also heard good things about HypnoBabies and the doulas that are hypno certified.
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    Both! I felt my Bradley Method classes were well worth the money, but the doulas I had were a huge help. I wish I had some for my first two births.
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I thought both were worth it. The Bradley classes were very much worth it for my husband especially, for getting him on board for a natural birth. I had a doula for my second birth and she was definitely helpful, especially since my husband and I did not have time for classes or much preparation together for number two, since we were busy taking care of number one.

    The number one most important thing for having a natural birth, avoiding an episiotomy and minimizing your risk of unnecessary c-section is to pick the right provider. Pick a mw or OB who does not do episiotomies, and you likely won't have one. Do some reading, get educated, ask your provider some really tough questions, and be prepared to switch to a different one if necessary.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I think Bradley classes are worth taking. I'm not a huge fan of the Bradley "method" (they emphasize resting and being calm through contractions, and I'm more of a stand-up-move-around-butch-through-it-sometimes-yelling type of laborer). But, the classes teach a lot about the birth process, and the benefits of natural birth.

    Pick up a copy (or borrow from the library) a copy of Active Birth by Susan Balaskas, for a different viewpoint from Bradley's method.
  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Posts: 1,353Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I enjoyed my Bradley classes, and I've also done a lot of other reading, such as The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.

    I agree with Geeky that picking the right provider is key. I switched from a hospital with a 50% C-section rate to a group of midwives who deliver at a different hospital and have a 4% C-section rate. I feel that no matter how much I educate myself, I still want a provider that I can trust to only recommend a C-section in a true emergency. If I have a provider who thinks a C-section is necessary 50% of the time, how can I trust her judgement on whether or not one is truly needed in my case?
  • DeljahDeljah Posts: 47Registered Users
    Thank you all for your responses! I appreciate the advice. I've discussed the classes some w/my husband, and he was not excited about the 12 week time frame.

    I've ordered some natural birth books from amazon, including one on the bradley method. I'll take a look at those materials and see if my husband is suited for that type of role.

    I'm pretty sold on the idea of a doula though, so that should help.

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