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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

What is natural birth?

Posted on September 4, 2015 at 9:37 AM Comments comments (41)
The night we started our seventh Bradley Method® class series in December 2011 played out like all other "first nights" of class. I am on edge all day long.  I get nervous before our students arrive: What if I forget anything?  Will they like our class?  Will our class run smoothly?  What if I leave something I need for class at home?   

The class went well, and we got a question that we have never gotten before: “What is natural birth – is it anything that doesn’t end in a C-section?”  

It made me pause and think for a moment.  My short answer in class was, “Well, I guess that depends on the person and their definition of natural birth.”  

I pondered that question all night.  Up until three months before that class, I would have said that we had three natural births and were preparing for our fourth.  And then we had our home birth experience, which re-defined “natural birth” for me.  It turned out to be the most natural birth experience we had.  

I can’t say our hospital births were completely intervention free since we were always poked and prodded by something or someone.  Heck, they weren’t even “un-medicated” – I was administered some kind of medication with each one.  With Puma, I had penicillin, Pitocin and an episiotomy; I had penicillin with Night Owl; and penicillin and Pitocin with Charger.  We did achieve three epidural-free vaginal births with a very supportive OB, though, and for that I am grateful.  

Otter’s birth gave us a new definition of “natural”.  Here are all the things we DID NOT experience during our low-risk home birth:
- A transfer from our home to another location during active labor
- Forms to fill out
- A wait in the triage area with other families in varying states of apprehension
- Vaginal exams to check the progress of labor
- Heparin lock for access to veins “just in case”
- Electronic fetal monitoring
- Mommy-monitoring Nurse coming in to check vitals
- Calls to the doctor to report on my “progress”
- Restriction of food or drink
- Beeping sounds and hospital smells that inhibit rest or sleep
- Time on back for the convenience of the hospital staff
- Episiotomy  

Our midwives were called when my water broke and they came to see how we were doing.  The baby was low and things seemed to be progressing, so they stayed.  To this day I do not know what the deciding factor in their staying was when our labor hit the start-stop mode…I do know I am grateful that they didn’t leave us.  I would have felt like another “failure to progress” and who knows what that would have done to my emotional state and our labor.  (Click here for our homebirth story.)  

At first, they checked on us every thirty minutes.  They would monitor the baby with a Doptone to assess her heart rate, and they would check my blood pressure to see how I was doing.  When it was clear that we were both handling the labor well, they checked on us with less frequency while still maintaining a trained eye on us to judge our fitness and make sure we were still low-risk and doing well.  

They asked questions.  They let me eat.  They made sure I was drinking.  They checked in with Bruss to see how he was doing and how he thought I was doing.  They offered moral support and encouragement that everything was fine although we were clearly not going to be one of those families who can say their homebirth was their shortest labor.  In an ironic twist of fate – this happened to be our longest labor, and we were so grateful to be at home with trained care providers who allowed my body and our baby the time they needed to figure out the process and have a healthy mom, healthy baby outcome.  

So now we know what all the possibilities are when a person imagines “natural birth”.  A woman and her partner work together to welcome their child, free of interference or invasive probing, supported by a team that completely believes in your abilities and will help you welcome your baby gently and lovingly into the world.  It makes me wish that there were no pregnancy complications so that every woman could have a gentle birth.  

The reality is that the majority of our students coming through class are just like we were with our first baby.  They believe that a hospital is the safest place to give birth and that an OB is the only person qualified to safely deliver your baby.  It would be irresponsible to have a baby at home, outside of the “safety net” if something were to go wrong.  

I am so grateful that now there are many more Certified Nurse Midwives ("CNM") working in hospitals.  They provide the level of belief in the natural process that we found at our home birth, while still working at the hospital setting in which most people feel comfortable.  

If a student’s care practice does not offer midwifery care, I hope that like us, they will find a supportive OB who respects their proactive approach to achieving a natural birth and helps them find a way to have the birth experience they want in the hospital.  We have a very tender spot in our hearts for our OB.  Not only did she deliver our biggest baby without an episiotomy, she also helped us have our most natural hospital birth because she believed in our ability to birth.  

There is also another option available to families in the Phoenix area.  We now have several birth centers.  Birth centers strive to be the happy medium between home and hospital for families that want to have the "compromise option".  They can offer a more relaxed atmosphere similar to the home environment, and some provide medical options at the center that would not be present in a home birth. 

I feel it is our role as Bradley Method® instructors to help every couple achieve the best birth possible for their children with a healthy mom, healthy baby outcome.  “Natural birth” will be different for each of them based on their pregnancy and their choices.  

What can you "control" in the childbearing year?
A couple will probably have more options availabel to them in labor if the mother has good nutrition, maintains a daily exercise regimen to tone their back, belly and bottom, and does some form of exercise for stamina.  By attending classes every week they learn a new relaxation technique that they can put in their labor toolbox.  We explore many, many options available to birthing couples today.  

What can you influence during the childbearing year?
We work on communication every class so that the couple is prepared to respectfully ask questions of their care provider if they feel something they recommend goes against their dream of a natural birth, or to better understand their recommendations so that they can make an informed decision.   The choice of care provider will also play a role in the way to birth plays out - are you getting red flags during your prenatal visits? Do not ignore them - ask around and find the provider that respects your rights and your knowledge as a birthing parent of *your* child.  They may be the expert in birth; you are the only one that knows your baby.

Beyond that, the rest is up to what we would call God, or a Higher Power; some people call it Fate...whatever the belief system, we encourage our students to focus beyond the "how" of their birth story:
- What will you learn from this birth journey?
- Where will the transformation from Maiden to Mother happen for the woman?  Where will the transformation from Stag to Father happen for the partner?
- How will your partner disappoing you? How will they rise to the occassion, and maybe even surprise you?
- What was your most brilliant moment?

We look forward to sharing the information taught in Bradley Method® classes with our students.  We strive to equip them with the tools they need to assess situations that present themselves in pregnancy and labor.  When we hear that a baby is born and nurses readily at the breast, we know those parents worked together to achieve the ultimate Bradley Method® outcome: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.   

What does "natural birth" mean to you?

Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.  


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Birth Story: Penelope

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 9:12 AM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
It’s birth story day!!  This week I am sharing a birth story from our Fall 2012 class.  In today's video, Courtney is talking about her family's birth journey with our Winter 2012-13 class.  Jake was working, so Courtney shares his words of wisdom for coaches, too.

Here is their backstory: 

  • Courtney was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes via blood glucose test (usually administered between 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy)
  • High Blood Pressure was measured at office visits from 36 weeks on; whenever she checked her blood pressure at home, it was normal
  • Midwife recommended induction at 38 weeks due to risks of having gestational diabetes (large baby, possible stillbirth) – Courtney negotiated for more office visits, more monitoring, and extra ultrasounds to “buy” two extra weeks of pregnancy


How their birth journey progressed:
  • Courtney and Jake agreed to induction on her due date with prostaglandin gels
  • After about 12 hours at the hospital, the couple was told that labor had not progressed enough so they agreed to an amniotomy (artificial rupture of membranes)
  • Baby was born vaginally with no other interventions at 11:56 pm


In Courtney's own words:

 

Video Highlights:
Note: Looking back, Courtney was so grateful she advocated for a longer pregnancy.  One of the biggest concerns about gestational diabetes is that babies are larger than average.  At birth (40 weeks gestation), their baby weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measured 21 inches long.  This is clearly *not* a baby that would be called “large for gestational age” when you consider the average birth weight for a term baby is about 7.5 pounds.

Which labor tools worked for you to manage the intensity?

  • Changing positions and moving around: we the used birth tub, knees on bed and arms draped over back of the bed, side lying position
  • Being surrounded by people who support your choices is probably the most important thing: husband spoke up and asked people who were in the room to leave; midwife was amazing; everyone on staff who walked in the room acknowledged reading and supporting their birth plan
  • Peppermint oil for nausea – helped control the pace of her breathing
  • Unspoken communication with a loving coach – even though it felt silly at the time, the practice in classes and at home paid off because he knew what she wanted with the wave of a hand.

 
What would Jake (husband) say if he were here?

  • Be prepared for everything
  • Expect everything to not go the way you want it
  • Try to predict what she needs so she does not have to say it


Some images from their birth:
 
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Early labor after induction with prostaglandin gels. They are using the labor position we call "The Prom Dance".
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Using the deep tubs available for laboring at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
The awe that hits many couples after Sweet Pea arrives...we hope that you are supported in your birth choices so you can feel awed by your birth journey, too.
 
PostScript:
Courtney and her husband Jake were the last couple that enrolled in that class series with a last-minute phone call, “We really need to get into this class!”  You would be hard-pressed to find a birth worker who would say no to them!!  It is so humbling to hear that saying yes to them when we had a full class already made a big difference for their birth. I praise God for His wisdom and His incredible design.

 
What did you learn from your birth journey?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

Suggestions for an effective labor rehearsal

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (2)
Originally published February 2011 ~ Updated July 25, 2014

The class topic last night was first stage labor.  This stage is characterized by a progressive intensification of the sensations in labor.  A mom will experience her contractions, or her “surges”, getting increasingly stronger and longer with less time between them, as she gets closer to the pushing phase of her labor.

Why do a "labor rehearsal" when labor is so unpredictable?? Mostly to train you and your partner into some "muscle memory".  By practicing different positions and reminding yourself when/why they are effective, that body of knowledge is more readily accessed when you are in labor.  Even if you forget your "playbook", you have some tools that you can use without referring back to a print-out of labor positions. (Although, HERE is one that I share with students.  I used it to prepare for our births and often use it as a reference in our classes.)
 
We had our couples do an active labor rehearsal.  As a reminder to them, and as a practice tool for anyone reading this who is striving for a natural labor, here are our tips on having a good labor rehearsal.

 
1. Have a good guide at your fingertips.

The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson ArizonaWe have the advantage of a student workbook with illustrations to follow.  There are also resources out on the Internet with ideas for different positions to open the inlet of the pelvis to make room for baby.  The key is to try all the different positions.  Try to practice at least two simulated contractions every day, and you will find that you will have put your body in the different positions before you start labor. 

This is important for the following reasons: You will know if you can do them – if it hurts, maybe it’s time to do more stretching, or find other positions that have similar benefits without being uncomfortable.  You can also start making a list of the ones that feel really good, keeping in mind that this list may change as you are progressing through labor.
 

2.  Once you are in a position, don’t change it or move around during a contraction.

The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson ArizonaAgain, the key is to simulate labor.  Once mom starts having stronger surges, she will be physically unwilling or unable to move while she is having a contraction.  So train your muscle memory the right way from the beginning. 

That’s not to say that you will stick to one position during the course of your labor.  It’s likely that there are several positions that you will try, and you may eventually gravitate to a few that seem to be the most effective.
 
3.  If mom has to go to the bathroom, someone needs to go with her.
In actual labor, a coach or one of the assistant coaches must always stay with mom.  She is in a vulnerable time, PLEASE stay by her side.  If mom is not comfortable having you in the bathroom, getting over the emotional hurdle will be better dealt with outside of labor.  It sounds weird, maybe?  It is possible that emotional barriers can keep labor from progressing.  Who would want bathroom issues to extend the amount of time you are having contractions?  Another thought: why delay meeting your baby?
                      
This is what we personally experienced: if you leave mom alone, she may fall – this could drastically alter the course of your labor.  Additionally, there is no guaranteed labor pattern – just because you have been having surges 5 minutes apart and you think she has five minutes before her next contraction doesn’t mean she should “go” alone.  If she starts having contractions on the commode, she isn’t going to be able to move.  It is possible, since the bladder is emptied, that the contractions will feel stronger after she has voided since it has made room for baby to descend, and she will want your help handling the stronger sensations.  From our own personal experience, I know we hit “transition” in the bathroom in 2 of our 3 labors.  It was a good thing to have someone with me to help me manage the mental gearshift and the sensations.

4.  Coaches need to practice multi-tasking with every simulated contraction.

The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson Arizona
Coaches, you have a good job during labor.  You are the person that can make all the difference in mom’s confidence in herself and her ability to birth.  Prepare by working out your “athlete” at home and learning how to be the best coach for your team well before labor starts. 

Regarding such things as touch, music and environment: do you know her likes? Dislikes?  Do you know which relaxation techniques work for her?  Can you massage, talk, and time her contractions simultaneously? 

If you answered no to any of these questions, then we encourage you to start finding the answers!  And practice until you are doing several things at once without having to think too much about what you need to be doing to keep your partner completely relaxed through her labor.
 
5.  Watch mom’s key tension indicators.
The three main areas where mom will hold tension are her face (especially the jaw and brow areas), her hands and her feet.  Can you do the checkpoints in #4 and observe her for relaxation, too?  Most coaches need lots of help learning to do all these things at the same time.  You can find an assistant coach who is there to help support coach as he strives to do all these things.  Or, the assistant can help the coach to get mom as relaxed as possible so her body can get down to the business of having the baby.  The more efficient her labor, the sooner you will all be holding your baby in your arms.
 
The Bradley Method® class first stage labor rehearsal - classes convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Payson ArizonaA key thought is PRACTICE MAKES PREPARED.  As in all things where we seek to succeed, good practice leads to better results versus going in without any prior mental or physical preparation.  As labor has mental, physical and emotional aspects, we really encourage our students to allocate time every day to train their muscles and minds for the challenge of labor.
 
Some other tidbits from class:
TRANSITION
No first stage labor rehearsal in class is complete without a discussion about "transition", the time between the active stage and the pushing stage of labor.  Although it might be an emotional time, transition is a good thing – it means your labor is almost over. 

Question directed at Bruss: Which one of your labors had the worst transition?
Answer:  There was not really a worst. You need to look for signs and prepare yourself ahead of time, prepare yourself now. Since transition occurs at the end of labor and you are caught up with the whole process of labor, know what to look for.  There will be distinct signs and they are different for everybody.  In our case, Krystyna got really abrupt.  Up to that point, she would communicate with “this feels”…or, “please try”… transition was marked with, “I told you not to do that!”
 
I also reminded our class of a birth story they had heard where the couple’s only sign was a physical sign: mom started burping out of the blue, and it lasted a little while.  When she calmly announced, “I think I have to push”, it turns out she really and truly was ready without having the self-doubt or the pendulum swing of emotions.  (For the whole story, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDI61YWV5G0 )
 
HOSPITAL CARE
We were lucky enough to have two nurses join our class last night.  They were attending as assistant coaches-in-training for one of our moms.  I took advantage of the situation to ask the nurses who makes the best patient.  My goal was to illustrate the point that you are the labor you bring with you, especially in a hospital situation.  We encourage our students to write a birth plan to use as a communication tool, and to use positive communication (important at all birth venues).  The idea is that you are all on the same team and you wouldn’t be there if you didn’t feel some element of safety in the hospital.  As long as labor is progressing without complications, a couple is reasonable in their requests, and the care provider has signed off on the birth plan, it should not be difficult to have the hospital staff support your choice to have a natural labor.

Question:  Who makes the best patients, or who are the patients that are the easiest to work with?
Answer:  They are willing to work with patients who want to work with them.  They also appreciate patients who respect their medical training.  When it comes to requests, i.e. birth plans; patients who are nice get their way!
 
PRACTICE MAKES PREPARED
I want to encourage you to make the effort to practice what you want to happen on your baby’s birth-day.  We encourage our couples to do ten minutes in the morning before they get started on their day, and right before bed at night.  What better way to help mom feel safe, secure and stress-free?  She can go about her day knowing that she and baby are important enough to merit the time.  At night, she will sleep better after a good relaxation session.

We can attest to the fact that yes, it is hard to find the time.  In reality, you don’t find time – you have to make the time available.  It is worth it – even if you end up with interventions, the fact that you gave it your best effort makes for a labor that you can look back on with an element of pride.  The natural labor and birth you want is a reality – and the more you practice, the more likely you are to achieve the birth story you want for your family. 

There is another element to a successful labor beside preparation – and that is a well-rested team – and that is a post for another day.  Happy Practicing!!
 
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

Let Go and Give In

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 9:27 PM Comments comments (0)
There is one concept that has become so clear to me – it has taken me almost four years of teaching The Bradley Method® to really “get” the beauty of the method we teach.
 
The catch-phrase of Bradley™ classes is: Relaxation is the Key to Labor.
 
Why:  Relaxation is the tool The Bradley Method® teaches to allow a mother to immerse herself in her limbic brain center – the one that deals with her emotions.  What she is feeling is crucial to the progression of labor.  She must let go, give in, and allow her baby to come out.  

A mother must feel safe enough to allow herself to be vulnerable.  
In order for labor to progress, a woman must SURRENDER to the process happening within her without trying to control it.
 
What she feels influences her endocrine system, which in turn will make the hormones she needs for labor to progress *or* the hormones to inhibit labor until mother feels that she is in a “safe” place.  The brain receptors will accept either oxytocin to promote labor or adrenaline to inhibit labor - never both at the same time.

Her feelings also influences the autonomic system, meaning all the things that happen without conscious effort: heart beat, breathing, digestion, etc.  If she feels safe, her heart rate and breathing will be calm and allow her to enter a state of deep relaxation and embrace the sensations of labor and work with her bofy.  If she feels frightened or defensive, her heart rate and breathing increase, inhibiting her ability to relax and give herself over to the process of birth, and she will fall into the fear-tension-pain cycle.
 
Dr. Sears says it another way:
“In a satisfying birth you must surrender to your body, yield to your urges, tune in to yourself, open up, and let baby come out”
~The Birth Book, page 137
 
So how do we get to the maximum state of deep relaxation? Dr.Bradley identified six factors that were common among the mammals he observed in labor. (Husband-Coached Childbirth, 5th Edition, Pages 57-61)

ONE: Darkness and solitude
ONE: Darkness and solitude
The beginning of changing states from conscious to limbic brain center.
TWO: Quiet
TWO: Quiet
Keeping outside noise and distractions to a minimum allows a mother to continue into the limbic state and altered consciousness.
THREE: Physical Comfort
THREE: Physical Comfort
Follow your instincts and allow the sensations of labor to guide you into the most comfortable position for each contraction
FOUR: Physical Relaxation
FOUR: Physical Relaxation
Relaxation of uninvolved muscles during labor – difficult for human mothers to imitate if the mental and emotional relaxation has not happened yet. Practice during pregnancy can help her when she needs this skill during labor.
FIVE: Controlled Breathing
FIVE: Controlled Breathing
The only breathing "taught" by TBM is deep abdominal breathing. As labor intensifies, the Coach can help the laboring mother go back to her breath.
SIX: Closed Eyes and Appearance of Sleep
SIX: Closed Eyes and Appearance of Sleep
This allows the mother to turn inward and focus her energy into "The Zone"


A good foundation in methods and techniques for physical, mental and emotional relaxation is part and parcel of applying the six needs for a natural childbirth.  

Do take the time to practice relaxation techniques every day as you prepare for your birth.  A course in The Bradley Method® will offer couples 11 different relaxation tools for their toolbox to address physical, mental and emotional relaxation.
 
As much as you are spending time to plan Sweet Pea’s nursery, finding the best gear for them, and taking care to find the best care pediatrician, invest time in preparing yourself for their Birth-Day.  Barring any true complications [1], your ability to relax and embrace your labor will allow them to have a healthy, low-risk start in life.

Need more convincing?  Here are some excerpts from a position paper printed in the New Zealand College of Midwives Journal [2] that makes a case for the importance of an empowered birth experience in which a mother is allowed to labor according to nature’s physiological design.
 
About the hormonal process of birth:
“It has been known for some time that hormones influence the functions of organs within the human body but scientific advances have led to an understanding that neurohormones are also intricately intertwined with emotions (Pert, 1997). Hormones are chemical substances (messengers) secreted into the blood or body fluid that exert a physiological effect on other cells in the body (Blackburn, 2007). They facilitate the maintenance of an optimal internal environment, initiate corrective and adaptive responses to any deviations from normal physiology and direct human behaviour. Neurohormones are hormones which are synthesised and released from neurones; as such they are secreted within the brain to work both on the neurones in the brain and on different sites within the body via the blood stream (Douglas & Ludwig, 2008). These hormones have subsequently been found to influence behaviour because they have an effect on how the body adapts physiologically (Cacioppo & Berntson 2006).
“Integrating contemporary scientific knowledge with women’s descriptions of their feelings during labour improves our ability to theorise, and to comprehend the complexity of the physiological, emotional and physical changes that occur during labour and birth. This mind/body/behaviour concept supports health professionals and women to a better understanding of labour physiology. Midwives need to explore ways of maximising and enabling the instinctive drives that support the woman’s physiology. This may include reviewing the birthing environment to ensure the woman can go into ‘The Zone’. There are simple but key environment enablers such as keeping the lights low, staying quiet during contractions and not making eye contact. Ensuring women maximise the limbic brain connection is about supporting them to ‘disconnect’ with others during labour whilst also maintaining the usual physical and emotional midwifery care.”
 
On the rite of passage encompassed by pregnancy and birth: 
“Pregnancy and the process of labour and birth are designed to bring about behavioural changes which culminate at the birth in maternal attachment and mothering behaviour. The hormones that are necessary for social and maternal bonds are also those responsible for the initiation and continuation of labour. As such the process of pregnancy, labour and birth is not just a physical process but also a transitional process in which the woman is prepared (biologically and emotionally) to become a mother and exhibit maternal behaviours. The feelings and behaviour women exhibit during labour may be strong indicators of normal labour physiology and that labour and birth are proceeding normally.”
 


Do you have a favorite relaxation technique that helped you during pregnancy and/or birth?  
Please leave a comment - it will be moderated and posted.

[1] There are true complications of pregnancy and childbirth.  When the benefits outweigh the risks, those are the times when medical intervention is desirable and appropriate for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  A comprehensive childbirth course like the Bradley Method can help you have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy and learn the communication skills to navigate those situations. It is possible to have a healthy start in spite of complications.

[2]Dixon, L., Skinner, J., Foureur, M. (2013). The emotional and hormonal pathways of labour and birth: integrating mind, body and behaviour. New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, 48, 15-23. http://dx.doi.org/10.12784/nzcomjnl48.2013.3.15-23
 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

You Are Important And Able

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 7:37 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

We have one family in our Fall 2013 series left to hear from...so far nine Bradley babies have arrived safely earthside!
I saw this thought today and thought of them, and all the other mamas out there that read our blog.  It is so crucial that you remember that your labor is going to lead to your child's Birth-Day.  You have every right to expect to be treated with dignity throughout your pregnancy, labor and birth.
You Are Important
  • You have been chosen to carry life - two souls, two hearts, two brains...in one body.
  • You alone can carry this person safely to term (for them).
  • You are the only woman who can speak on behalf for your child.  And you will...you are willing to face down lions for them before, during and after their Birth-Day.
  • You alone can decide to labor for them, and how you will labor for your Sweet Pea's best birth.

You Are Able
  • You are not alone - you are embarking on the work that countless, amazing women have done before you.
  • You are a legacy - you have the strength of generations of women before you in your family line that birthed before medicine got involved - otherwise your family line would have ended long ago.
  • You are willing - you chose to see the pregnancy through to this date - you can see it through to the Birth-Day.
  • You are not alone - you have a loving Coach and/or a Doula who are ready to be your voice when your voice is turned inward towards your child.

You have every right to informed consent, and you have every right to dignity in birth because You Are Important and You Are Able to give your Sweet Pea every opportunity for their best possible birth.


Own it - Think it - Be it - you can totally rock your birth!!

Was there a mantra or principle that helped you rock your birth? 
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.



Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Wishes For Your Birth Journey

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)
Tonight is the first night of our Winter 2013-14 series.  It is always exciting for us to welcome a new set of students.  We love sharing our passion for healthy pregnancy and natural birth with families who want the best starts for their babies.

Even though there are many options for birthing families, we are still committed to sharing The Bradley Method® because we like being able to offer a birthing class that honors the loving partner as the mother's best coach.

Our Birth-Journey Wishes for all our new students:
  • That they form a community of like-minded families to share and grow with in the parenting journey.
  • That they accept responsibility and do their best with the two aspects of pregnancy that they can control: toning exercises for the back, belly and bottom, and good nutrition.
  • That they do their due diligence and find the right care provider that will support their birth choices, and help them have their best birth possible.
  • That they practice their relaxation techniques at home: these minutes a day turn into a lifetime of benefits for their baby when they can avoid or minimize the use of interventions during their baby's Birth Day.
  • That they enjoy the time and take advantage of the communication exercises to continue laying a firm foundation for the rest of their relationship.

We wish all birthing families preparing for their Spring babies the very best class experience!

What wishes do you have for parents embarking on their Birth Journey?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.




Why we teach Bradley™ classes

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)
Why do we teach Bradley™ classes?

Tonight is the night we start another new class series…and tomorrow we get to share time with some alumni students who are joining us for their second series.  They are taking the classes to spend time preparing for the newest addition to their family.

There have been a few “new” birthing methods* to pop up since we have become instructors.  Hypnobirthing just got a huge boost thanks to the royal birth in England.  Yet, despite all the bright, shiny distractions, Bruss and I remain steadfast in our choice to continue teaching The Bradley Method® classes.  We still feel it is the most comprehensive program out there.

We love sharing the information that helped us to have four great birth experiences together.  The way we teach the Bradley Method® doesn’t paint an idealized, sometimes unrealistic picture for a “perfect” natural birth.  We do teach a couple how to build a foundation for their best possible outcome: that looks different for everyone based on a lot of factors that are not in anyone’s control.  

We do teach how to have a low-risk, healthy pregnancy.  We talk about exercise and nutrition as a building block for good outcomes, and follow-up on these every week.  We teach the path of labor, relaxation techniques, and comfort measures so that our couples have a full toolbox of options when they are in labor and so that they can labor in confidence without fear of the unknown.

In addition, our classes talk constructively about variations of labor so that a couple has had some exposure to possible “forks in the road”.  If and when they should face a decision point, it will hopefully not be the first time they are hearing about the variation(s) or possible complication(s).  They have some information, and resources to find more so that they can make an informed consent decision.

As parents, we know that the Birth-Day is really not the end of pregnancy.  It turns out to be the first day in a long journey as a family together with a new baby.  We know it’s not adequate because even the best books on the topic are incomplete.  However, throughout our classes (and in one dedicated class) all of our couples are also introduced to the concepts of breastfeeding and parenting before we complete their series.  We also share lots of resources for them to do their own research in the direction that they feel led with those choices.

Our favorite aspect of teaching a 12-week Bradley™ course is the camaraderie that develops between the couples.  It is a gift to watch a room of complete strangers on the first week turn into a group of friends saying “see you soon” on the last night of class, three months from now.  It is so neat to watch these families support each other, share childcare and celebrate milestones together.


To answer the question I started with...We teach Bradley™ classes because we believe that birth is important.  We want to make a difference and positively impact a family's birth experience, no matter which way a baby is born.  We feel we have succeeded as teachers when our couples have an empowered birth experience with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

So, please join me in wishing our new students the very best as they embark on the journey of learning with us.  We hope to be the teacher that they need at this point in their pregnancy.  Three cheers for the Fall 2013 classes!

*Birth is birth is birth.  What is new is the packaging and the presentation of the message to leave a birthing woman to labor uninterrupted, offer support as she asks or as she needs it, and care providers please stay hands off unless it’s clear that the MotherBaby need assistance for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome – otherwise, just “catch” and thanks for your watchful waiting with your trained head, heart, and hands :)

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Coach's Corner: Why Take Childbirth Classes?

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 4:37 AM Comments comments (0)
The information shared in a Bradley Method® class helps a couple do a Benefit-Risk analysis with each other, and their care team, "if or when" they come to a decision point in their labor.  When used wisely and at an optimal time, interventions, procedures and/or drugs can be used appropriately.  They become tools that facilitate a "Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby" outcome.  If you are not educated about or prepared for some of the risks, you may end up wishing you had known a little more.

My opinion is that for parents-to-be, birth education is a highly recommended component of birth preparation.  It does not, by any means, replace  a competent, caring medical team.  What birth education does do is prepare you to actively participate as an *educated* consumer in the pregnancy and birth of your children.

Best,
Bruss

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now. ~KRB

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

5 Things You *Can* Plan For During Pregnancy

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)
We welcomed “our” first baby from our Winter Series – it is always a thrill to hear a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth story.  It is even more exciting to see the joy radiated in the face of the transformed new mother, the proud new father, and then see the fruits of their labor snuggled up in mama’s or papa’s arms.

There is one important thing we want to convey to families.  The day of your baby’s birth is the birth of your family.  With subsequent babies, it is still the birth of your next family, as a family of __, whichever number that happens to be.  It is a day we hope you will treasure and celebrate, because it the day your child was welcomed into your loving arms.

While all of our students sit through twelve weeks of class in preparation for a vaginal, anesthesia-free birth (weeks that FLY BY faster and faster every time), the reality is that every family is going to have their unique birth story.  Some students are going to have a fast labor.  Some students are going to have a slow labor.  Some students will choose to use some kind of pain relief system other than abdominal breathing and relaxation techniques.  Some students will deliver vaginally, and some students will welcome their babies via a cesarean birth.

The message we hope to convey to our students is that information and knowledge increases their opportunity for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome regardless of the method of delivery.  We educate them on the importance of staying healthy and low-risk by being mindful of all the things they can control.
1) Diet.  They can be diligent about following the pregnancy-eating plan laid out by Dr. Tom Brewer.  It sets them up to build a strong baby and a strong, healthy pregnant body that will excel during the rigors of labor.

2) Exercise.  They can follow Dr. Bradley’s exercise plan that builds stamina and strengthens the muscle groups that a mama will need in labor: her back, her belly and her bottom.  It is most effective when a mama does all the exercises as suggested in the student workbook – a weekly progression that eases any mama into a healthy routine, even a mama who did not have a regular exercise plan before she was pregnant.

3) Education.  Do you know the physiological process of labor?  Do you know what to expect as you progress through labor?  Do you have strategies to cope with the sensations of labor and have you practiced them more than once?  Have you learned about the different variations and complications of labor, and have you and your birth partner talked about strategies and choices you would make if you face them in your labor?  (P.S. You will learn all this and more in a Bradley Method® class.)

4) Care Provider Choice.  Are you with a care provider who supports your birth choices?  Do they believe in the natural process?  Do you know their cesarean rate?  Is it reflective of the beliefs about birth that they claim to have?  Are you confident that you haven’t ignored any “red flags” that may have come up in the course of your pre-natal care?  And if any of these are a, “No” answer, what are you doing about it?  Have you asked your friends or a birth worker in your area to help you find a care provider you will be at ease with?

5) Rest.  This seems to be a common denominator between the low-risk families who have births that are close to their wish list, and families that make different choices.  As long as the mother and coach rest at some point in their labor, then they can usually make it through to holding their baby on the outside with fewer intrusions and interventions.  We found this out the hard way – when you do not rest, you have to make different choices because there is a limit to the human body.  Labor is some of the most rewarding and some of the hardest work a woman will do in her life – and the body does much better when it can performing at it’s peak.  Rest, or lack thereof, can definitely influence a family’s birth experience.

We want all our students to know that they have set themselves up for success – they have done a lot of things right to maximize the opportunity for their wish list to come true.  As long as all things stay healthy and low-risk, then they have a really good opportunity for an anesthesia-free vaginal birth.

We also hope we have shared the correct information for them to make informed consent decisions.  There are times when there are choices to be made in spite of doing lots of things right.  Communication skills and key informed consent questions are a part of our coursework as well.  At the very least we hope that they will remember these questions:
  • Is mom okay?
  • Is baby okay?

If you get a “no” to either of those questions that is when you rely on the trust relationship you have built with your care provider.  You trust that the team you chose will get you to the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome however they need to get you there and that you will look back with no regrets.  Again, if you don’t have this level of trust, have you thought about finding a care provider that you do trust implicitly?
As long as both of those are “yes” answers, then you can go on to the next series of questions:
  • Tell me more about what you are recommending.
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the expected benefits?
  • If we say yes to this, what else are we saying yes to – what other interventions are likely to happen?
  • Are there any alternatives?
  • What happens if we just wait and see?
  • Can we have a minute to talk about it?

There will be times when a couple has to deviate from their wish list because the birth moves on from healthy and low-risk to one with true complications of pregnancy.  These are situations that fill the room with people and actions need to be taken.  There are also times when you are still having a calm conversation, and the choices a couple make together and in conversation with their care provider prevent the room from filling with people so that some variation of a gentle birth is possible.  Sometimes that means a transfer to a hospital setting for closer monitoring from a birth center or a home, and sometimes it can even mean a different birth than you planned for no matter the setting (one such example is a natural cesarean – read more HERE).

Even when families do not end up with the birth that they prepared for, many of them come back and tell us that they still had a positive birth experience.  They report feeling empowered by their communication and the decisions they made together, they make a good recovery from interventions or cesareans thanks to the diet and exercise plan they followed throughout the course of class, or that there were no regrets about their choice to change care providers.  

The biggest boon , very much "in my opinion", is that  Bradley™     babies that thrive because they were built to be strong, healthy babies, building block by building block with a good diet during pregnancy.  In addition, many Bradley™ mamas commit to breastfeeding, some despite tremendous obstacles because they want "something" to work out, especially if their Birth Wish List had a lot of deviations.  While it is hard for some and not the choice for everyone, these moms do not regret the extra time and effort to develop the breastfeeding relationship they have with their babies.

Our parting wish and prayer for all of our students is that they have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome that brings a couple closer together as they build the foundation for their family.  We hope that couples use the skills they learned in class to communicate and to work together, that they trust the mother’s instincts about what kind of birth their baby needs, care providers that support their choices, and when needed, have the skills to safely bring the family to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. 

We wish them a birth experience with no regrets and a foundation that is built with the knowledge that their child was, “brought into this world [intentionally,] knowingly, and with great joy” as they start the next step on the journey with their new family.  
 (Quote is from the completion certificate found at the back of The Bradley Method® Student Workbook – revised with our own wishes for our students.)

What do you think leads to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.    

Top Ten Reasons To Take A Bradley Method® Class

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 6:46 AM Comments comments (78)
Top Ten List: Reasons To Take A Bradley Method® Class

     We had the privilege of starting two new Bradley Method® Class Series last week.  We are teaching a Friday night series with First-time parents, and on Sunday we are teaching our Bradley Method® "Next Class" with alumni families who are expecting baby number two. 
     Some of the thoughts shared when we asked our students "why are you here today" inspired today's post.  The first time moms who have been hearing that they are "crazy" because they want to "go natural" were so relieved to see a roomful of people who were making the choice to prepare for a natural birth, just like them.
 
Date Night – Spend one night (or afternoon) a week with your beloved and do something together to honor the birth of your child.  Whether you spend a little time visiting in the car or breaking down the class on the way home, it’s class time + conversation that the two of you are dedicating to prepare for the birth of your baby.
 
Our Bradley Method® instructor would make yummy chocolate chip cookies for us!Snack – I remember being hungry when I was pregnant and looking in the refrigerator, the freezer AND the pantry and finding that there was nothing in there that I wanted to eat.  Bah!  Then I got cranky.  Most Bradley™ classes take a snack break.  Whether it’s provided by your instructor or your peers, its one time that day that you will get a yummy snack without putting time or thought into it.
 
Camaraderie – Think you are alone experiencing the creaks, groans and squeaks of pregnancy?  Spend a little time talking to the couples on either side of you and you will find out that there are other people making sounds they never knew they would make, having heartburn that could fry an egg, and the concerns that have plagued pregnant women since time immemorial.
 
Our Series 2 group gathered together for an Easter Egg Hunt - fun was had by all!Community – Those people you see in class for twelve weeks?  It’s likely that they are going to be people you keep in touch with after class is over and you are holding your babies on the outside.  Even though they are complete strangers the first class session, like you, they are choosing to prepare for a birth with little to no interventions or anesthesia.  Maybe your friends and family are telling you, “Take the drugs – that’s what they are there for,” or, “You don’t get a medal for natural birth.”  The folks in class with you are a sign that you are not alone in your choice.  Together you will learn to say, “This is the choice that works for our family.”   You can gain confidence in your choice when you see how many other like-minded families are around you that understand and support your choice because that is a choice they are making for their families, too.
 
Communication – The foundation of any win-win relationship is the ability to communicate effectively.  Each week of class there is a different communication exercise to build skills between the couple, to help you clarify what you want and your priorities for your birth experience, and how to express that and evaluate what you are hearing from your care provider.
 
Healthy, whole food nutrition is a foundation for a healthy, low-risk pregnancyNutrition – Although it is seemingly basic, it is one of the easiest things that a couple can control in their efforts to have the birth that they want.  More and more studies are confirming what Dr. Bradley and Dr. Brewer knew – good nutrition is one of the foundations for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  By making good, whole food choices that yield a daily protein count between 75-100g of protein, a family can lay a good foundation to have more options during a normal, low-risk birth.
 
Exercise – The next building block towards having lots of choices in labor is a mom that has the strength and stamina for her particular athletic event.  Some mamas have a “sprint”, some mamas have “marathons”, and most fall somewhere in between.  The Bradley Method® exercise program is designed so that a mama does some form of cardio to build her stamina and it incorporates exercises to strengthen her back, belly and bottom.  The mom who does these things increases the likelihood that she will be able to comfortably move through her labor to ease baby into position and still have the energy for her pushing phase. 
 
Comprehensive Education – Yes, we are definitely the “longest” childbirth class among the list of recognized “brands”.  By choosing our class series that is 12-weeks long, you are choosing a method that covers many different aspects of pregnancy, the process of labor, natural labor coping techniques, birth plans, variations and complications of labor (and knowing the difference between the two), postpartum care, breastfeeding and newborn care on top of the weekly focus on communication, exercise and nutrition.  While there are other “brands” that teach shorter sessions, we are confident that our approach allows couples the greatest opportunity to prepare for the birth that they want and life together as a new family.
 
Relaxation – Relaxation is the key to The Bradley Method®.  Dr. Bradley believed that a woman who could relax her body by focusing on abdominal breathing and nesting like other perspiring mammals was a woman that could labor and birth without drugs.  His theory proved out:  his natural birth rate was 94-96%, depending on the year.  Our classes not only remind mothers how to do their abdominal breathing, we also instruct couples on eleven different relaxation techniques that address physical, mental and emotional relaxation.  A couple that takes a Bradley™ series theoretically has a toolbox full of techniques to use during labor.
 
Practice Makes Prepared – Every couple has the opportunity to take the material home and make it their own.  By spending a minimum of five minutes a day practicing the weekly relaxation technique and practicing one of the many laboring positions we teach throughout the series, a Mom and her Coach are ready for a normal, low-risk labor.  If they take the communication lessons to heart, they have spent time outside of class preparing a birth plan that works for their family, and they have an idea of how they will choose to handle any variations of labor they may face so that if their labor follows a curvy path, they can handle the twists and turns with confidence.  Above all, a well-trained Bradley Method® couple trusts in the process of birth and they know to follow the Mom’s instincts + communication with the coach and the birth team towards a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

Would you add anything to this list?
 
Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

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