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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

To Eat or Not To Eat…

Posted on November 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM Comments comments (32)
To eat or not to eat…That was the question for families planning a hospital birth.  When you are laboring at home or a birth center, you have the freedom to eat as your appetite dictates.  If you choose to have a hospital birth, you are at the mercy of your doctor’s orders and the nurse’s interpretation of the hospital protocol.  

We love it when science catches up to Dr. Bradley.  Anecdotally, we could tell students that it was safer to eat before/during labor since anesthesia has changed from the days of "knock'em out, drag 'em out" birth, as Dr. Bradley called it.  Women used to be under general anesthesia, which is administered differently than today's spinal or epidural blocks.  

We are so excited to update this post (and our class info!) with a press release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):

"Most healthy women can skip the fasting and, in fact, would benefit from eating a light meal during labor, suggests research being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2015 annual meeting. Improvements in anesthesia care have made pain control during labor safer, reducing risks related to eating, researchers note."
ASA Press Release, "Most healthy women would benefit from light meal during labor", October 24, 2015

For other reading,  HERE is some research I had found before this 2015 press release to make the case for eating and drinking in labor (in case you want to do more poking around the subject).

Now...how long will it take for hospital protocols to change and reflect these recommendations from ASA? As we found out the hard way, sometimes the doctor approves something but if it is not in writing and signed off on the birth plan, it probably isn't going to happen in the hospital setting. The nurse will follow the hospital protocol or they may invent their own interpretation if none exists to cover their liability.  If you are going to have a hospital birth, I have a strong opinion about getting your wish list signed so that the nursing staff has “permission” to “break the rules” if they feel that something you are requesting is out of the ordinary.  Maybe you could ask for a copy of the ASA press release to be included in your chart that goes to the hospital.

Dr. Bradley always advocated that a healthy mom should eat if she is hungry and drink if she is thirsty.  As he said, “Birthing is like playing a full game of football without any substitutions.”  He recognized that labor is an athletic event, and that a well-nourished athlete would perform better than a hungry one.

Science and the ASA catch up to Dr. Bradley:
"The research suggests that the energy and caloric demands of laboring women are similar to those of marathon runners, Harty said. Without adequate nutrition, women’s bodies will begin to use fat as an energy source, increasing acidity of the blood in the mother and infant, potentially reducing uterine contractions and leading to longer labor and lower health scores in newborns. Additionally, the studies suggest that fasting can cause emotional stress, potentially moving blood away from the uterus and placenta, lengthening labor and contributing to distress of the fetus."  

A Note About Hospitals and Nourishment
If you are having a hospital birth, you need to find out how your care provider feels about nourishment during labor, even with this announcement by the ASA. If your care provider is on board with mom eating and drinking as her body directs, great!  Get it into your birth plan, aka "wish list", that you have permission to eat and drink.  If they restrict intake, you need to think about your options.  You may question whether or not your care provider is truly supportive of your plans for a natural birth.  

You should also ask what the hospital policy is on food and drink during labor when you do your hospital tour.  It helps to know what kind of potential situations you may be facing so you can avoid stress-inducing encounters during labor.

The potential conflict between a laboring mother’s needs for nourishment and her care provider or hospital protocol comes from the days when general anesthesia was standard for hospital births.  There was a very real danger of a mom “aspirating”, meaning that food or drink the mom had consumed before labor would be regurgitated and accidently enter the trachea and lungs, creating a life-threatening condition to mother and baby.  [See reference 1]

From the press release:
"Researchers said aspiration today is almost nonexistent, especially in healthy patients. In the United States, there was only one case of aspiration associated with labor and delivery between 2005 and 2013, involving a complicated case of a woman who was obese and had pre-eclampsia (a precursor to eclampsia, or high blood pressure that can lead to seizures), according to the American Society of Anesthesiology’s Closed Claims Project database. Researchers also noted that no cases of death due to aspiration were reported in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2005, compared to 1.5 cases per 1,000 during the 1940s. They say this is likely due to advances in anesthesia care, including increased use of epidurals and spinal blocks in place of providing anesthesia through a mask over the nose and mouth. Before these improvements, women were more likely to need a tube placed in the windpipe for breathing, which potentially increased the risk of aspiration." 

Although very few women have births under general anesthesia nowadays, the practice of restricting food and drink still persists.  You may hear it called “NPO”, which stands for the Latin, “non per os”, meaning nothing by mouth.  With the press release from the ASA, we can keep our fingers crossed that hospitals will start to change their practice protocols.

In the past, it was likely that you would only be allowed ice chips if you opted for an epidural.  The chance of needing general anesthesia was within the realm of possibility since some moms and babies “crash” after the epidural dose is dispensed.  As with all labor interventions, you don’t know how you will react until it’s administered.  Although it’s a small percentage of women that have life-threatening complications, the prospect of the drugs dropping your heart rate, blood pressure or respiration to dangerously low levels exists once they are in your bloodstream.  In the instance of a “crash”, you would need general anesthesia to perform an emergency cesarean to save your or your baby’s life, thus your nourishment options become limited to ice.

Eating and Drinking During Labor
Have your refrigerator stocked with your favorite healthful foods and/or meals as you near your estimated due date.  Labor is a funny thing – you never know what your body is going to like.  If you think you are in labor, you can go through Dr. Bradley’s list of things to do to see if you are in pre-labor (contractions slow down or stop) or actual labor (contractions continue at same pace or get closer and harder despite the change in position or activity).  To "test" for labor, he suggests that a woman should eat, drink, go for a walk, shower and nap – in that order.  

When you start with the “eat” part of the list, it will be more satisfying to eat something you really enjoy.  If you are not in labor, at least you ate something you like and you can move on with your day with a tummy-full of your particular “comfort food”.  If you are in labor, then you have eaten something that is fueling your body for the labor.  It will put you in a good frame of mind if you ate something that is a favorite and you create a positive emotional state.

The best drink during labor is water.  Water is a key to staying hydrated and avoiding the slippery slope of interventions.  A hydrated body has the energy for the work of labor.  Ample water also allows for effective hormone distribution throughout the body: the chemicals and hormones being made to stimulate and progress labor are able to circulate freely.  If you have a longer labor, consider an electrolyte replacement: trace minerals added to the water you are drinking, Emergen-C makes a powder, or coconut milk is a "natural" version of sports drinks.

Dehydration causes a spike in temperature and blood pressure, while at the same time depleting your energy by as much as 30%.  Can you see that simple dehydration can also be interpreted as the mom being “in distress”?  Your care team will not want to take a chance of making the wrong call, so they are likely to intervene or suggest drastic measures to “save” mom and baby.

Whether you are laboring at home, a hospital or birth center, small-portioned, protein rich snacks are nice to have on hand.  As your labor progresses, a laboring woman’s appetite will naturally decrease as the body shuts down other functions such as digestion to allow for full focus on the progression of labor and birth.  

Here are some foods that we and other students have found useful for quick energy boosts when mom doesn’t have the desire to eat a full meal.  These snacks are also handy for the coach to get the energy boost he needs to be a great support person for mom.  We don’t want hungry, cranky coaches during labor!!

What the ASA recommends:
"A light meal could include fruit, light soups, toast, light sandwiches (no large slices of meat), juice and water. Most women lose their appetites during very active labor, but can continue to drink fluids such as water and clear juices, researchers said." 

- Honey sticks.  According to honey.com, “Honey is also a rich source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, which makes it ideal for your working muscles since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are necessary in the diet to help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which are the most important fuel source for athletes to help them keep going.” [2]

- Trail mix.  You get the nice variety of nuts, dried fruits and if you want, candy, in one bag.  I found myself picking out my favorite nuts and fruits and snacking on them – literally one or two at a time – as we got into the active phase of first stage labor.

- Protein bars or chews.  Look for bars that are low in carbs and added sugars –the key is to provide an energy boost without an energy crash afterwards. We have had students that use the “PowerBar” brand Energy Bites, as well as Gel Blasts that are bite size energy foods.

- Handful of nuts.  If you have a favorite nut (besides your coach-lol), bring some with you.  You can eat 1 or 10, whatever you are in the mood for.  I like nuts because you get the energy boost in whatever quantity you are in the mood to chew and swallow.  Trader Joe’s sells packages nuts in handy single serve packets.  I usually eat 2 or 3 pieces, and Bruss would finish off the bag for his energy boost.

- Popsicles.  While working hard in labor, a popsicle can be refreshing.  To prevent an energy crash, look for a brand that uses natural fruit as a sweetener instead of added sugars.  Added bonus: you can also push it against the top of your palate to stimulate oxytocin production.

- Applesauce cups.  Provide potassium along with a little protein.  The nice thing about applesauce is that while some people prefer them cold, they don’t need to be refrigerated.  Again, look for naturally rather than artificially sweetened sauces.

- Banana.  Another source of potassium that is portable and easy to eat.  To prevent a sugar burst, pair this with a cheese stick to balance out the carbs.



- Soup or clear broth.  Campbell’s came out with the “Soup at Hand Cups” that are single serve, portable and microwaveable.  They were a God-send during our third birth.  The nurse didn’t want me to eat “just in case”, but she was okay with me drinking – hence, I could drink my meal and stay nourished through our 34 hours at the hospital.

- Single serve smoothies or juice drinks.  I am thinking along the lines of Stonyfield Farm Smoothies or Drinkable Yogurts for a liquid protein boost, or the Odwalla line of Protein Beverages.  It’s a little sip of something sweet with carbs that still offers a protein source for energy.

As you noticed from the list, some of these foods need refrigeration or a heating source.  These are considerations if you are having a hospital birth.  It stands to reason that if you will not have access to a refrigerator or microwave, the items that won’t stay cool with an ice pack or the foods that need to be heated need to left out of the cooler.

The bottom line: eat to appetite and drink to thirst for the best labor possible!  I hope this list gives some ideas with which you can fill your refrigerator or cooler.  What did you eat during your labor?

Disclaimer:
Bradley Method classes offered in Arizona convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Payson, AZThe 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®.

References:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_aspiration

[2] http://www.honey.com/nhb/benefits/natural-energy/

Q&A with SPB: Benefits of Meditation

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Here is the video with the answer to today's question.  Keep scrolling for more of the information we learned in our Bonus Class with Jennifer, and for links to on-line meditation resources!



What is meditation?
The practice of concentrated focus to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.
(Adapted from the definition in the Farlex Medical Dictionary)

Different ways you can meditate:

Focus on:

  • Sound
  • Object
  • Visualization
  • Breath
  • Movement
  • Attention


Why do we want to reduce anxiety in pregnancy?

Anxiety during pregnancy may:

  • Lead to low birth weight
  • Increase the complications of labor
  • Increase the risk for miscarriage
  • Increase the risk of birth defects
  • Lead to premature delivery
  • Increase the use of prescription medications
  • Make pain worse during labor
  • Stress family members


What are the benefits of meditation?

There are three main benefits of meditation that you can access whether you are pregnant or even if you are not:

  • The more a person meditates, the higher their endorphin levels.  Endorphins are the pain-relieving and pleasure-enhancing hormones - we can always use a boost!
  • Increased levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) - it is an immune-boosting hormone that defends against disease, improves mood, balances brain chemistry, benefits vision, hearing, muscles, bones, and regulates blood pressure.
  • Increases levels of melatonin - it is a hormone that improves sleep, assists with a general sense of well-being, and it crosses the placenta! Your baby benefits from that sense of well-being, receiving the assurance that all is well. Good levels of melatonin have been shown to lead to an improvement in relationships with others.


In addition, clinical evidence illustrates that meditation is highly effective in the treatment of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance dependence and abuse, ulcers, colitis, chronic pain, psoriasis, and dysthymic disorder.

Three main kinds of meditation that have been scientifically studied:

Mindfulness Meditation
This type of meditation comes out ot the traditional Buddhist meditation practices.  In formal mindfulness practice, the meditator sits with eyes closed, focusing the attention on the sensations and movement of the breath fro approximately 45-60 minutes at a time, at least once a day.  The essence of mindfulness meditation is not what one focuses on, but rather the quality of awareness the meditator brings to each moment.  "The goal of mindfulness is for you to be more aware, more in touch with life and whatever is happening in your own body and mind at the time it is happening - that is, the present moment." (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Relaxation Response
This is another kind of mental focusing.  Meditators are taught to focus upon the repetition of a word, sound, prayer, phrase or movement activity (including swimming, jogging, yoga, and even knitting) for 10-20 minutes at a time, twice a day.  They are taught no to pay attention to distracting thoughts and to return their focus to the original repetition.  

Transcendental Meditation
This has its origins in the Vedic tradition of India.  The meditator sits with eyes closed and concentrates on a single syllable or word (mantra) for 20 minutes at a time, twice a day.  When thoughts or feelings arise, the attention is brought back to the mantra.  Jennifer mentioned one of her favorite types of focus music are the kirtans by Govind Das & Radha.  

How to work it into your daily routine:
Jennifer mentioned that it takes 14 days to get into the habit of a daily meditation practice.  The really amazing difference it can make is that not only will it improve your pregnancy experience and quite probably enhance your labor and birth, you can also reap the benefits during postpartum, and beyond!  All the hormones that are created (endorphins, DHEA, melatonin) are a HUGE plus for sleepy, tired parents of newborns. 

I hope you are now inspired to find a way to work even a minute of mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine.  Our attending students received a handout that Jennifer shares with all her clients with three simple meditations that can be done in under five minutes; plus they got a nifty magnet with over a dozen affirmations that can be used as focus points.  

These are some online resources for free recordings that you can play if you want some guided meditations to get you started, or if you just need fresh ideas to work into your daily routine if you are already meditating:

www.chopra.com

www.freemindfulness.org

www.relaxationresponse.org

Local resources:
www.meditationlearningcenter.com

www.pathsofgrowth.com

www.moxiemeditation.com

Jennifer is a knowledgeable midwife and hypnotherapist.  If you would like to be in touch with her with one or both aspects of her business, here is her contact information:

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

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®.

Birth Story: Marathon Labor

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (503)
Christine & BJ Bollier 
Bradley Method© Birth Story

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonOur goal is to prepare families to have a natural birth by teaching a mom and her loving coach to labor together.  The reality is that even with the best preparation, birth is unique, fluid and unpredictable.  Our experience as natural childbirth educators is that even if your birth does not go according to your plan, a comprehensive education like The Bradley Method® will pave the way for you to have your best possible birth with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
 
This story is a great example of making your wishes known, persevering through a long labor that stalled (The Bradley Method® calls “the stall”, aka “failure to progress”, a “Natural Alignment Plateau” or "NAP"), and making decisions as the labor progressed for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth experience.  Even with an intervention they did not initially want or anticipate, they were able to have the vaginal, unmedicated birth they had prepared for.
 
One of my favorite quotes from the video is Christine’s statement, “I was tired, but I was never scared, because I knew what to expect.”
 
 Link to video: http://youtu.be/PmlPITHsFio

Here is a quick summary of their labor:  She started with contractions around 15 minutes apart on a Thursday morning.  They went to their doctor’s appointment that afternoon and decided to go home and let their labor progress. On Friday, they were timing contractions throughout the day.  When they got to five minutes apart, they decided to go to the hospital because of the impending blizzard (they live in Payson, AZ).  By the time they were all checked into their room, it was 2:30 am on Saturday.  By Saturday evening at 6:00 pm, they hit a NAP at around 8 cm dilation.  They made the decision to accept an amniotomy (breaking the bag of waters) at 10:00 pm.  Their son was born on Sunday morning at 3:30 am.
 
When the Bollier's time their labor, they call it 36 hours from the contractions that were 6 minute apart  on Friday afternoon to the time when he was born on Sunday morning.  They both stayed awake for the whole of that time, save a few cat naps that happened between contractions when they were both exhausted.  It is good to note that they did sleep on Thursday night when contractions were still in the "putsy-putsy" stage.
 
I am so glad she talks about how she experienced contractions – that’s a big question mark for first-time moms.  Christine says she felt them as rhythmic and internalized them – she says she could have painted you a picture of the contractions.  I love that perspective!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Birth plan

  • They did their work throughout and after Class 7 when we talk about writing the Birth Plan. 
  • They got great ideas, and then took it to their care provider and asked her, “Is everything realistic on here?”  She went through it line by line and said it was all in-line with what was possible in a hospital setting. 
  • Care provider signed off on plan, put it in file, sent it to hospital to give the staff their a heads up on their desires for their birth. 
  • When it was “go time”, they arrived at hospital with several copies of plan and 3 dozen cookies.
  • Everyone who walked into the room was offered cookies and a birth plan

 
Changing the Plan

  • “Going in, we knew there might be a possibility that things were not going to go to plan.”
  • Came to terms with making an adjustment
  • Once the bag of waters was broken, contractions completely changed and things progressed quickly
  • Christine reasoned with herself, “This isn’t going to be how I planned it, but if I give up one thing, the birth can still happen unmedicated like I want it to”

 
Christine’s Insight:
Q: What did BJ do as a Coach that helped you the most?
A: He kept me from freaking out when it had gone on for so long.  
As she explains, he kept her on track through the exhaustion. BJ kept her calm with reassurance; he also pointed out the progress they had made. 

Loosely paraphrasing: [The hard part] wasn’t the pain – it was the exhaustion.  I knew the pain was purposeful because I was getting a baby.  [Contractions] came in bursts and they were not constant - it wasn’t miserable pain or constant pain from an injury that hurts all the time. Looking back a year later, [a contraction] was such a short period of time.
 
BJ’s nuggets of wisdom
Education & knowledge quell fear – having notes at my fingertips kept me from getting scatterbrained while I was watching (coaching) my wife through labor.
 
Postpartum advice for the husbands: Don’t be proud – just say yes.  Don’t be too proud to accept help – it’s a gift.
 
On the lighter side, you’ll hear the inauguration of the term “The Splash Zone” – now that we know our student’s perception of watching all the birth videos from the first row of chairs, it’s what we call that front line when we show birth videos in class - lol.
 
QUESTIONS FROM THE CLASS:
Q: Were you both awake the whole [36 hours of progressive labor]?
A: Yes…If I had it to do over again – we would rest throughout labor.  You’ll hear it in class that you should rest.  Seriously – REST.  After the baby is born, you are playing catch-up with sleep.
 
Q: What can you tell us about breastfeeding a newborn?
A: Get your hands on reading material, borrow books, have phone numbers of support people you can call, have a good structure around you to encourage, inspire, and inform you.
 
Invest in good bras – wear a tank top with shirt underneath at this age (son is about 11 months old in this video), after the infant stage the nursing cover is not staying on!
 

Did you have a long labor?  What labor management tips would you share with first-time parents?
 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®.


 

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®.

 

Info Sheet: Choices in Childbirth Education

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (30)
What! A Bradley Method® teacher writing about other kinds of childbirth education??  Yes, absolutely!

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe Bradley Method® is designed for families who are planning to have One Mama who wants to prepare for a natural birth + One Coach who is invested and wants to be the main coach for the mother, and in some cases we train assistant coaches as well. There are so many other dynamics and variations in mothers and in their pregnancy.  Today’s information sheet will look at the different childbirth preparation options and offer links to find out more about the different courses offered if The Bradley Method® is not the right fit for you.
 
Why would I do an information sheet on this topic and allow other educators to "brag on" their classes?? It is because I believe that there is no “one size fits all” childbirth education class.  If one method were perfect, there wouldn’t be so many options out there.  

Each method speaks to the people who are attracted to the principles offered in that course.  When we do presentations about natural childbirth and our classes, we offer an evaluation guide so that families can weigh any method against their own values and desires for their birth.  Just like individuals are unique, they must find the education that fits their personality, timeline and budget.

HISTORY:
Once upon a time, birth was a community event.  Children were born at home; families and neighbors experienced birth with all of it's beauty, goopiness, noise (or lack thereof) and rare complications (most complications of birth happen at a rate of 2% or less).  Birth happened to us and around us - it was part of life and living.

Then birth started to move to the hospital.  Parents went away to have babies, and came back with siblings.  Children were no longer privy to what happened during birth.  And birth changed - it became medically managed because true, uncomplicated childbirth has a very hard time showing up when you take a mother to a place where she has to birth with an audience of strangers.  We began to lose our knowledge and trust in birth - many of us have never experienced a live birth until it happened to us.

Hence, the "birth" of childbirth education classes: to teach mothers and their partners how birth looks, sounds, and is likely to proceed if it is allowed to happen as nature intended.  Little by little, hospitals and care providers in the hospital setting are open to the idea that interfering with birth is the problem, not the process of birth itself.

PROS
Most courses will cover provide some, if not all, of these benefits:

  • You learn about your body and how it works in labor; develop confidence in your body's ability to birth.
  • It is a bonding experience with your partner - although they may never experience pregnancy, they learn how they can play an active role in your pregnancy and birth 
  • Learn positions and techniques for labor
  • Learn comfort measures and pain relief options (natural and medical) 
  • Learn about interventions and how to evaluate them
  • Learn how to advocate for mother and baby with positive communication techniques
  • Learn about variations and complications of childbirth
  • Learn how to embrace your birth experience, even if it deviates from your plan


CONS

  • You are an educated consumer - some care providers are not as excited about that as you might imagine.


A closer look at the choices in childbirth education 
Note: this section will be updated as I receive first-hand descriptions of the courses from educators in our area who teach these classes. 
 
In our area (Phoenix, AZ), most childbirth education courses run between $250 - $350, regardless of length.  Most courses are 3-6 weeks long.  If you do the math to figure out the cost per hour, that makes our 12-week Bradley™ course the best value for the money! However, budget is only one factor when considering a childbirth education course. 
 
Here are some questions you can ask when you are considering which class is best for you:
 
Asking these questions first will pre-qualify any classes you may be considering:
- Do you have a class that fits my due date?
- Is it offered at a convenient time, place, and location?
- If not, do you offer private instruction?
 
If you are a good fit so far, consider asking these questions next
- What are your qualifications, training and experience?
How many children have they had using this method, how did they receive training in the method (reading, correspondence course, in-person training (who was their trainer?), webinar), how many courses/couples have they taught?
- Who do you work for?
Are they independent or paid by a third-party? Are they representing information or are they promoting an experience?
- How do your methods and techniques work in labor? What are your method’s natural birth rates?
Most educators have a statistics sheet from their organization, or they may have an account from their students.
 
To ensure the best quality of instruction, it might be important to know if the childbirth educator you are considering is a current affiliate with the certifying organization, or if they were just trained and never completed their certification.  For example, we must carry our most recent affiliation certificate with us when we teach.  We are required to re-certify every year.  Someone thinking about Bradley™ classes would want to know if the class is a Bradley Method® class, providing the most current workbook and updated information (our organization publishes updates to our course outline every year), or is it a class “just like Bradley™” taught by a former instructor who no longer has access to the most current information and might only be teaching their favorite parts of what the method offered them?
 
Here are descriptions of the most common childbirth education methods.  Each of the websites listed below has links to find an affiliated instructor in your area for that “brand” of childbirth instruction.  
 
The Bradley Method®
Teaches about the process of a healthy, low-risk natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can have the best birth possible while striving to have a natural birth. The Bradley Method encourages mothers to trust their bodies. Families are encouraged to have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy based on the foundation of nutrition, exercise, and the avoidance of harmful substances. As part of a comprehensive education couples are taught the stages and physiology of labor, comfort measures, and how to use natural breathing + relaxation techniques during pregnancy/labor. (See our course outline HERE)
12 classes @ 2.5 hours each
 
Lamaze
Ferdinand Lamaze was a French obstetrician who in the 1950s developed a method of childbirth preparation using behavioral training to reduce pain and anxiety in labor.  Modern-day Lamaze focuses on six Healthy Birth Practices.  From their website: “The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices help simplify your birth process with a natural approach that helps alleviate your fears and manage pain. Regardless of your baby’s size, your labor’s length and complexity, or your confidence level, these care practices will help keep labor and your baby's birth as safe and healthy as possible.” 
 
Hypnobirthing
Also called the “Mongan Method”. It is a childbirth education curriculum that emphasizes self-hypnosis.  This method believes in trusting Nature’s way of birth and the simplicity of birth.  Only a few key techniques are taught because the premise is that repetition instead of variety is what gets best results.  
5 classes @ 2.5 hours each
 
Hypnobabies
The curriculum is adapted with permission from Gerald Kein’s “Painless Childbirth Program” techniques. Instead of using simple relaxation, breathing or guided imagery, hypnosis scripts are used as the primary tool for pain management.  Hypnobabies scripts are written to train the inner mind that contractions in labor will be felt only as pressure, tightening, pushing, pulling and normal baby movement sensations.  Scripts are meant to be listened to daily during pregnancy and through the process of labor. 
6 classes @ 3 hours each
 
Birthing From Within
The premise is to understand the power and life-long impact that "birthing from within" offers all participants in birth, therefore mothers/partners prepare for birth as a Rite of Passage.  One intention is to co-create holistic prenatal care that is informative, transformative, and builds a foundation for birthing in awareness in our birth culture, whatever the birth location or outcome or events of the birth.  Another intention is to prevent or minimize emotionally difficult births (for parents and professionals) through compassionate, honest preparation.
 
BirthWorks
From their website: “believe that the knowledge about how to give birth is born within every woman. Therefore, birth is instinctive and what is instinctive doesn’t need to be taught. We help women to have more trust and faith in their own body knowledge that already knows how to give birth. This is a unique approach that is empowering and transforming in nature.”
 
Independent Classes
Many doulas and former childbirth educators will do a one- or two-day intensive program, or they are available for private childbirth classes.  I have a running list of these options for the instance when we get a call from a family that doesn’t have twelve-weeks for a full Bradley Method® course.  Your area Bradley™ teacher may also keep this kind of list, or call a doula in your area to see if they or any of their colleagues teach private, non-branded childbirth classes.
 
Hospital Classes
Most hospitals that have labor and delivery units will offer childbirth classes.  In general, they are taught from the “this is how we do labor and delivery” and “how to be a patient” perspective.  You may hear about the most used options (epidurals) and common interventions in the hospital setting.  It is very rare to have these classes include preparation for true natural childbirth.  It may be beneficial to take this class to understand the birthing culture in the hospital if you are having a hospital birth.  It may give you a truer picture of what your hospital birth could be like than you will get from your care provider.  You are a patient in the hospital for the entirety of your hospital stay – they only show up for the last few minutes of your labor.  If you hear/see too many red flags, then you can consider other options: does your care provider have privileges at other hospitals? Maybe you want to take a closer look at birth centers in your area, or consider changing to a home setting?
 
The bottom line is that there are several options in childbirth education and preparation.  Choose the method that speaks to your heart – and get the information from the people that are passionate  about and currently affiliated with the method that they teach.

We wish you all the best as you do the research to find the best method of education for your Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Birth-Day.


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®.

The Uterus and the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (27)
The woman who taught my Doulas of North America (DONA) training course was kind enough to allow me to post this to our blog.  She is an accomplished doula, doula trainer, and author. Besides her passion around childbirth, she is also a dedicated state representative for District 16 in Arizona.  She sent this message to an SPB student who she knows through her political career.
 
GUEST BLOG POST
by Kelly Townsend, CD (DONA)
 
There is a psychosomatic approach to childbirth that is often ignored in the United States.  Over in Sweden and other parts of Europe, Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology is pretty big, and it’s no surprise that they also have the best maternal and fetal outcomes over there.

The thing is, the uterus is affected like the heart is during stressful situations.  When you are startled, your heart beats faster, right?  Much the same, when there is any stress, fear, tension in the muscles, etc., it sends a message to the sympathetic nervous system that there is danger present (not really, but this is the response to fear during birth) and the body goes into an effort to "protect the baby." 


The myometrium is the muscle of the uterus.  It is one muscle with three distinct layers, each with its own responsibility. 
  • The outer layer contracts and opens the cervix, and pushes the baby out. 
  • The middle layer supports the blood vessels. 
  • The inner layer contracts the uterus back down after the baby is born. 
Image source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/myometrium 

BUT – the inner layer also becomes rigid during times of stress.  Like the heart beating faster, the inner layer fights the outer layer and tries to stall the birth, protecting the baby from whatever is causing the mother to worry or be tense.  Thus, labor takes longer. 
 
This is the only time in the human body when there are opposing muscles working against each other.  All other muscles work in tangent, one relaxes while the other contracts (think biceps and triceps).  When opposition happens within the uterus it slows down labor, and it also causes pain. 
 
Try this example: Have someone try to extend your arm while you are making a muscle.  If they have any strength, it would start to hurt after a short while because you have resistance on your muscles. 
 
Just the same, the uterus starts to hurt quickly after this process starts.  So then contractions become painful.  And the laboring woman gets scared and tenses up because it hurts.  And that tension continues the inner layer's resistance because the "danger" is intensifying.  It’s not really danger, it's the fear+tension. Since the body doesn't know the difference, it causes the inner layer to get rigid.  And so begins the vicious fear-tension-pain cycle.

How to fix it?  Well, first: what do you do to counteract the heart beating fast?  Slow deep breaths!  Hence, this is why we breathe deep and slow from the abdomen during birth to enter a state of deep relaxation.  Childbirth classes will tell you that this is important, but during labor, if the woman doesn't know why it is so important on the inner layer of the uterus, she can be tempted to throw it out the window.  So it is a fantastic incentive to remain very relaxed and calm, with tranquility as the goal.  

Second, the positions she uses and the environment she is laboring in can influence her feeling of safety.  She can use upright positions, total relaxation, the tub, soft music, dim lights, etc., whatever it takes so that she can feel safe.
 
And let me say this now, if she doesn't feel safe where she is – whether it be on a physical, mental or emotional level, that inner layer is one heck of a fighter and will stall the birth.  My hunch is it can even prevent someone from going into labor. 
 
A woman has to be safe and secure in order for that inner layer to relax so the outer layer can be relaxed.  Something as simple as a loved one not being in town yet can keep that inner layer rigid.  And something as emotional as prior abuse, or some kind of relationship conflict with the husband or other family dynamics; really any emotional "hurdle" that has to be overcome can cause a mental hold on labor and delivery.  

If you are Christians, I can also provide you with a ton of spiritual ideas to help in this area.  There are scriptures and/or prayers during birth that help. 

Anyway, as the coach your job is to help her stay as calm and secure as possible.  Use as few words as possible during active labor/transition, because hearing and absorbing words takes effort and that distracts from her staying in a tranquil state.  Instead, tell her before hand if she tenses muscles, you will gently touch them and that is a signal to her to release the muscle.  Tense muscles = tense inner layer of the myometrium.  So a wet noodle kind of approach if at all possible.  

If you find that labor is slow to start, ask her if there is something that she is worried about or not yet ready for.  And then at the end of the day, ask her to tell you when she is ready to surrender to the process.  That word surrender - it is the one word that sums up childbirth on her part.  Many things you cannot control during birth, but that is the one thing you can control and that is surrendering.  Kind of paradoxical.

Blessings to you and happy birthing!
 

You can check out Kelly’s book on Christian Childbirth HERE.

What has been your experience with your uterus, safety and surrender in childbirth?
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



Recharge Your Birth

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Here is an affirmation to remember and use in many labor situation: whether you have a sprint where your brain is running to catch up to your body, or a marathon where energy conservation is key, or anything in between.  There comes a point in most labors where the mother needs to focus on gathering energy so she can get past the tiredness and have energy to finish the labor and push in the second stage of labor.

In my mind, energy was vortex-shaped and I needed to center that vortex on our birth.  However it plays out in your mind, envision any tiredness in your body being exhaled out.  As you inhale, breathe in the energy around you - maybe it will help to imagine it as a bright yellow or white light filling your body and squeezing out all the tiredness.

This is how I start this affirmation:
Inhale "With each breath"
Exhale "I exhale tiredness"
Inhale "I breathe in energy"

then

  • Exhale " I exhale tiredness" and push your breath out to the bottom of your belly
  • Inhale "I breathe in energy" and fill your abdomen and lungs with light and breath

and repeat until you are in a deep relaxation and/or it stops working.  You can start over with this one, or maybe it's time to try a new affirmation to center your intentions.  The whole goal of these affirmations is to build positive energy as you work through labor to have the birth you need for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

Since it works in reverse of how we think of breathing (inhale-exhale) every time I start this centering process, I start with the first phrase to get on rhythm with the exhale-inhale pattern of the affirmation.


What are phrases that help you find energy when you need it?

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

Monday Mantra: Gift of Birth

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 2:18 AM Comments comments (0)

A couple of birth stories have really brought to mind a mantra that was so beneficial to Bruss and I when we were laboring with Otter:

"We will give our baby the gift of the birth that she needs."

It was so important to us that we have undisturbed time, free of the pressure of "the clock" for things to happen, free of vaginal exams that have always been difficult for me due to past trauma, and most of all - we wanted to be free of any interventions.

Believe it or not, even though we were birthing at home, there were things our midwives were prepared to offer us to help "speed things up". We asked the two most important evaluation questions, "Is Mom okay? Is Baby okay?"

Once we were assured that we were both laboring beautifully with no signs of distress, we politely declined and kept on the course to birth - no interventions, no exams, no time pressure.

We knew that the best Birth-Day present we could give her was an undisturbed birth.  Although it took a heck of a lot longer than we had anticipated since we were laboring out of the hospital (my labor always slowed when we transferred from our home environment to the planned hospital births), we were happy to give her just that: time, patience and the birth that she needed.

How this mantra applies to your story is going to be unique and individual.  I would love to hear what you did to give your baby the birth that (s)he needed.

What did you do to give your baby the birth that (s)he needed?
Please leave a comment below - it will be moderated and posted.

Want to read Otter's birth story? It's in two parts - startHERE


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

Labor Tools: Water

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM Comments comments (0)
The main topic of our Bradley Method® class on Friday night was the first stage of labor.  Through the course of class and discussing labor techniques, one of our students asked if we had used a birth tub, and was it a wonderful as they have heard.  I had to answer honestly, “I don’t know!”

What we do know and teach as part of the Bradley Method® curriculum is that water IS an effective labor tool for pain relief.  It is one of several comfort measures we discuss.  (Side note: It has many applications besides labor – think of the whole philosophy and practice of hydrotherapy.)  Personally, this is one we used effectively in all four of our labors. 

According to Penny Simkin, founder of DONA International and doula extraordinaire, “A warm shower anytime during labor is a marvelous soother and pain reliever, especially if you can sit on a stool and direct a hand-held shower head just where you want it (on your front or back). The warmth and skin stimulation reduce your awareness of the pain.” [1] (emphasis mine)
 
As far as using a birth tub: Laboring in a birth tub turned out not to be an option for us – in our first two labors, we weren’t educated enough to know that you could take a bath in labor even if your bag of waters had ruptured.  If you like baths – yes, you can!  As Henci Goer points out in her book, “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth”, there is research that shows you will not increase your risk of infection. [2]

I think of it this way: Do you remember that experiment in science class when you put a tissue inside a glass, turned the glass upside down, and then put that glass in a bowl of water?  What happened if you pulled the glass straight up?  The tissue was dry!  Your vagina works in a similar way – there is air in the vagina that prevents things from going upstream unless they are forced (i.e, risk of infection from a vaginal exam).

By our third labor, we knew better and were thinking of using our tub at home before we went to the hospital.  However, I fell down hard in early labor so we went to the hospital to check on the baby.  Because my bag of waters had already broken, we were admitted.  Our local hospital did not have the option of birth tubs at the time.
 
When it came time for our fourth labor and planned homebirth, we considered laboring in a tub since by that time, I had heard so many positive stories about laboring and birthing in a tub.  The deal-breaker for me was finding out that we would need a fish net to scoop out any “particles” – no thank you!! I am pretty squeamish when it comes to things floating in water.  I will say that a great majority of the birth stories I hear from women who plan to labor and/or birth in water are positive ones, they enjoy the overall experience, and they would do it again.
 
Setting up the ball for Krystyna to use in the shower||Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonMy amazing husband/coach did his part by holding the shower head over my lower back and waving it back and forth in active labor – all four times.  I remember our homebirth best: as we got into active labor, we used a birth ball covered with a towel in the shower so I could rock through the contractions and have the water on my back.  As labor intensified, I made a nest with towels and did tailor sitting, and eventually lay down in a side relaxation position so that Bruss could focus the water on my hard-working uterus.  We labored that way until it was time to push.

Laboring in the shower - natural childbirth || Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson









Coach Bruss timing contractions || Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

 










I included some links below to explore if you want to learn more about using water as a pain management tool, and also a link to Waterbirth International if you are exploring water birth.
 
Did you use water as a comfort measure? What worked for you?
 
REFERENCES
[1] https://www.childbirthconnection.org/pdfs/comfort-in-labor-simkin.pdf
[2] http://www.hencigoer.com/betterbirth/sample/

LINKS
More from Penny Simkin, DONA
http://www.birthlore.com/class/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Showers-in-Labor.pdf
 
Barbara Harpber – Waterbirth International
http://www.waterbirth.org/research-documents

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





A Visit with Rhondda Hartman

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (459)
I first "met" Rhondda Evans Hartman after the publication of her second book, "Natural Childbirth Exercises for the Best Birth Ever".  As with many meetings these days, our first interactions were via email, Twitter and Facebook.  Through the course of correspondence, it was arranged for her to come visit Phoenix, Arizona.  That visit finally happened last weekend.  It was such a treat to meet her in person!  

As it turns out, my suspicion that her personality is the "real deal" was more than true.  In person, Rhondda is every bit as lovely as I expected.  In addition, she is a wealth of information about breastfeeding, the birth of the natural childbirth movement here in the US, and life in general.  As a mother to five and grandmother to nine, she is a Wise Woman with more than one book left in her if you ask me!  I really hope she and her "book shepherd" will turn her memories and experiences in the natural birth community into her next publication.  And she probably has a parenting/relationship book tucked away somewhere, too!

Here are some of the pictures from our weekend and time together.  We packed A LOT into our brief visit.  I definitely made a new friend and learned so much.  Our Bradley Method® students going forward will definitely benefit from the training sessions we had with her on the Bradley™ exercises and her lesson on mental relaxation.

Saturday, March 22, 2014
Teacher training


Meet+Greet+Book Signing

Bruss's cousin Ernie, who was a Husband-Coach back in 1964

Pictured here with Rachel Davis of Birth & Earth

Rachel, Anne (one of Rachel's students), and Rhondda with Baby L.

Anne, her mom, and Rhondda with Baby L.
Ann is a big fan - she birthed her posterior baby naturally 
thanks in part to the inspiration from Rhondda's newest book.
Read her birth story HERE.

Rhondda autographs her award-winning book at Saturday's event

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Meeting a fan of her first book at church




 












Chihuly Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens 
Reuniting with Bruss' cousin Barbara (Ernie's wife) who took Rhondda's classes as one of Dr. Bradley's patients in 1964

Fall 2013 SPB Class Reunion

Teaching the postpartum exercises to some of our alumni students

Monday, March 24, 2014
Lunch Date 

Rhondda's friend Schotze, Bradley™ mom of 4, was personally trained 
by Dr. Bradley to help other couples achieve a natural birth

Teacher Training
Two more area instructors take advantage of Rhondda's visit to receive information from the creator of The Bradley Method® exercise program

Leading the "Relaxation" portion of our class on Monday evening:

The Bradley Method® instructors personally trained by Rhondda:




It was such an amazing weekend.  Thank you, Rhondda!  We are so pleased to announce that Rhondda has agreed to come back in November to be our Keynote Speaker for Bradley Day 2014!

You are welcome to contact me if you would like an autographed copy of Rhondda's newest book.  We have a limited amount available at the weekend's special price!

Do you have a favorite "natural birth how-to" book? If so, what is it?
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®.




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