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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Patient Rights

Posted on September 25, 2015 at 9:39 AM Comments comments (30)
Thank you to one of my colleagues, Rachel Davis, for suggesting this topic.  

I originally shared this after one of our couples had an unplanned unassisted birth couple encountered in the hospital, and they were not treated very kindly upon arriving or throughout their hospital stay.
 
Most people would not expect their baby to be born at 35 weeks.  In addition, they had not counted on dealing with hospital protocols since they had planned a homebirth.  The other situation they hadn’t planned on was giving birth away from their community.   They were familiar with their local hospital in northern Arizona - it was beyond their imagination that they would spend their first week of their child's life having to deal with a major hospital in central Phoenix.
 
Their situation underscores the importance of having a well-thought out and written birth plan no matter what kind of birthplace you have chosen.  Wherever you are planning to give birth, Bruss and I suggest that you think about writing two birth plans.  Write one for a normal, uncomplicated birth at your chosen birth place. Also consider writing one that has your wishes written down in the event of complications, and that factors in hospital care if you are planning to birth at home or birth center..  Once you have talked these out between yourselves and your care providers, write them down and have a copy handy at all times.
 
You just never know how the birth journey will unfold…in the event of unforeseen circumstances, your birth plan can act as a compass for your decisions.  It can also remind you of the decisions you made when you took the time to research your options and when you were not under pressure.  You can then evaluate the current situation with a little less emotion and a little more reason.

There are two sections to this post.  First, I highlight the main points of your rights as a patient in the hospital. I encourage you to remember that you are the CONSUMER of health care, not a helpless being at the mercy of the staff.  The second section reviews some basics of informed consent so that you have an idea of how to receive the right care for you after asking questions that other people have found helpful to gather complete information before accepting or declining treatment.
 
PATIENT RIGHTS
For a full Pregnant Patient and Obstetric Patient Bill of Rights, I am going to refer you to a link on Doris Haire’s Alliance for the Improvement of Maternity Services (AIMS):
http://www.aimsusa.org/ppbr.htm
 
One of the reasons so many of us feel pressured to make choices against our instinct or desire for as natural experience as possible is that sometimes information is relayed in such a way that implies that you are a bad parent if you deny treatment to your child, or they imply that by not choosing something you could harm your child.  How many parents are strong enough to follow their instinct with pressures like time, fatigue and shock also factoring into the situation?
 
Whether you are planning to give birth at home, in a birth center, or a hospital, I encourage all pregnant mothers and their coaches to become familiar with the AIMS Pregnant Patient Bill of Rights in the event that you end up in a hospital for whatever reason.  I suggest that you print out the American Hospital Association's "Patient's Bill of Rights," (http://www.patienttalk.info/AHA-Patient_Bill_of_Rights.htm)  as well as the AIMS Pregnant Patient Bill of Rights and bring them both with you in the event of a hospital visit during your pregnancy and labor.

I will summarize some of the points here and encourage parents everywhere, that pregnant or not, if you are in a hospital, there is very little that you can be forced to do or take for yourself or your child.  You have every right to ask and be told the benefits and the risk of EVERYTHING they recommend as treatment, and you have the right to refuse.

These are what I chose to pull our from both of the Bill of Rights documents as your rights as a pregnant and an obstetric patient:
- to considerate and respectful care.
- to obtain from physicians and other direct caregivers relevant, current, and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. 
- to ask and be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other health care providers, or payers that may influence the patient's treatment and care.
- to make decisions about the plan of care prior to and during the course of treatment and to refuse a recommended treatment or plan of care to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy and to be informed of the medical consequences of this action.
- to be informed of any potential direct or indirect effects, risks or hazards to herself or her unborn or newborn infant which may result from the use of a drug or procedure prescribed for or administered to her during pregnancy, labor, birth or lactation.
- to be informed, not only of the benefits, risks and hazards of the proposed therapy but also of known alternative therapy.
- to be informed about how a drug or procedure may adversely affect her unborn baby, directly or indirectly, and that there is no drug or chemical which has been proven safe for the unborn child.
- if Cesarean birth is anticipated, to be informed that minimizing her intake of nonessential pre-operative medicine will benefit her baby.
- to be informed of the areas of uncertainty if there is NO properly controlled follow-up research which has established the safety of the drug or procedure with regard to its effect on the fetus and the later physiological, mental and neurological development of the child.
- to be informed of the brand name and generic name of the drug in order that she may advise the health professional of any past adverse reaction to the drug.
- to determine for herself, without pressure from her attendant, whether she will or will not accept the risks inherent in the proposed treatment.
- to know the name and qualifications of the individual administering a drug or procedure to her during labor or birth.
- to be informed whether that procedure is being administered to her because a) it is medically indicated, b) it is an elective procedure (for convenience, c) or for teaching purposes or research).
- to have her baby cared for at her bedside if her baby is normal, and to feed her baby according to her baby's needs rather than according to the hospital regimen.
- to be informed if there is any known or indicated aspect of her or her baby's care or condition which may cause her or her baby later difficulty or problems.
 
INFORMED CONSENT
What is informed consent?  According to Doris Haire:
 "Most courts consider that the patient is 'informed' if the following information is given:
•    The processes contemplated by the physician as treatment, including whether the treatment is new or unusual.
•    The risks and hazards of the treatment,
•    The chances for recovery after treatment.
•    The necessity of the treatment.
•    The feasibility of alternative methods of treatment.”

You can ascertain this information by asking questions.  For a more comprehensive look at positive communications and informed consent, refer to page 55 of The Bradley Method® Student Workbook.
 
I suggest that you start with questions that establish how the mother and the baby are doing.  Always use names to remind the care providers that they are making recommendations for another human being, not an ambiguous test case:

  • “How is (Mother’s Name) doing?  Are her vitals still within an acceptable range?”
  • “How is (Baby’s Name) doing?  Are his or her vitals still within an acceptable range?”
  • “Do we have to make a decision right now?  How much time do we have?”

 
If both are well enough and there is time, then you can continue with questions such as:

  • “What is the problem?”
  • “What are the symptoms or test results causing concern?”
  • “Could this be normal?”
  • “What is the most likely cause?  Are there any other possible causes?”

 
If the care provider agrees that Mother and Baby are well enough to let labor proceed and let nature take her course, continue to trust that Mother and Baby are working together and that you will be meeting your baby in due course.  You can address other probable causes – is mom hydrated?  Is she emotionally ready and relaxed enough to accept her labor?  Are you using the best positions in the appropriate stage of labor to allow gravity and physiology to move things along?
 
If after asking this series of questions Mother and Coach decide that further action is worth exploring, then you can continue with these questions:

  • Paraphrase it back to ensure you understand what the recommendation is.


  •  You want to listen well, and paraphrase again.  You can also ask if their opinion is based on fact or observation.


  • Ask to see the insert if it is a drug and there is time to read it – you may be surprised at what is in the fine print and the care provider fail to mention.


  • Side effects are very important to know, especially if it is something whose short-term or long-term effects on an unborn child or a newborn are unknown.


  • Again, care providers have routines based on what their protocol is – sometimes there are other options that they don’t mention, not from malice, it could be simply because they are not accustomed to being asked for alternatives.


  • Who are you talking to?  Nurses come in many varieties: a student nurse, an LPN (one year of schooling), an ASN nurse (two years of schooling), a BSN (four years of schooling).  Beyond that, how long have they been working as a nurse?  If you are talking to a doctor: are they a resident (student) doctor, or an attending (more experienced) physician?  How long have they been a resident or an attending? 


  • Knowing the level of experience of the information giver is an especially important question to ask if you are in a teaching hospital.  Every family needs to make a decision regarding their comfort level with students literally practicing on you based on their individual preferences.  On a personal note, while I am all for medical students learning, when it come to my body and our child, I want a trained and experienced professional to work on us.  I am okay if a student wants to observe, however, only someone with extensive experience and knowledge is going “to do” something or administer something to us.


  • In the interest of full disclosure, here are other very important questions:  1.) You want to know how they will measure the efficacy of the intervention.  2.) When you accept one medical intervention, it is likely that other interventions or compromises will follow.  If there is time, you want to hear all of the other interventions or protocol they will have to follow that may be a result of the first intervention you agree to have. 


  • Back to full disclosure – there are ways to phrase things that force you to make an immediate decision.  If you ask "how will you know it's working, and what happens next" questions, it provides the opportunity for the care provider to tell you the other side of the story, or the whole story in regards to their recommendations.

 
One of the reasons it is so important to take care when choosing your care providers and medical facilities is that sometimes there isn’t time to ask all these questions.  If Mother and Baby are already compromised and there is no time to ask questions, you must trust that the care providers and the birthplace will do the best for your family.  Do you have this level of trust with your care provider?  Do you have this level or trust with the birthplace?  If you answered “no” to either of these questions, it’s time to seriously consider making a change.  Although true complications are rare, if you are part of the small percentage, you want to ensure that you have the best chance for a good outcome despite any complications that may arise.
 
You have a couple of options in a hospital setting in the event that you want to choose differently than your care providers are recommending and/or if you feel like your concerns are not being heard by your care provider.
 1.  If you have done your research and you have heard the benefits and the risks of a procedure or drug, and you are confident in your decision and want to refuse, hospitals have documents called “Against Medical Advice” that you can sign.  You accept the risks inherent in your decision and relieve the hospital of liability.

2.  You can ask for an Independent Patient Advocate.  This person acts as a liaison between the patient and the care providers.  It puts someone in between you and the care provider, and it is implied that they would convey information in a neutral way.  Sometimes taking away the “authority” of the person conveying the information relieves the pressure and lets a patient make a decision without feeling the pressure of “The Doctor” or “The Nurse”.
 
There is no decision, big or small, that you will regret making as long as you keep in mind Dr. Bradley’s ultimate outcome: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.  As long as your decisions are made with the best results for these two people in mind, then you can find peace of mind that you are making the right decision for you and your family.
 
 
Bradley Method classes offered in Arizona. Convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Ahwatukee and 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. 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®.
 

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®.  


We are now enrolling for our
Spring 2016 Series 

For more information or to register,
please call us at
602-684-6567
or email us at

Q&A with SPB: Healthy Pregnancy

Posted on July 6, 2015 at 11:46 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Question: What can I do to have a healthy pregnancy?

Answer: A lot, actually! Come to Saturday's class to learn more about what any mom can do to lay the foundation for their Sweet Pea to have a healthy start in life.

See today's VLOG HERE
or click

We are excited to announce another Healthy Pregnancy Classes at Modern Mommy Boutique this month!  It is a two-hour class designed to introduce the basics of having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy that is best for mom and best for Sweet Pea.

As childbirth educators, one thing has become painfully clear over the last five years...no matter how many things a family will "do right" during pregnancy, we just don't know what the birth journey will hold until they are on the other side, holding their baby.  The one thing we can all share, in spite of whatever happens during birth, is the opportunity to give our Sweet Peas a healthy pregnancy.  We all have the ability to be intentional; to provide a place for our baby to grow and be nourished through the pregnancy.  If you or someone you know is interested in setting a great foundation for their child's life earthside, please join me!  

In the class, we will cover how to the foundation for a healthy pregnancy.  We'll introduce basics like exercise (no previous fitness level required) and nutrition to build on to keep the mama and the Sweet Pea well, plus substances and environmental factors to avoid.  We will also do a mini-relaxation workshop so that participants can have a few basic tools to practice during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.  We know that meditation, even a minute a day, can make a difference!

This class is designed to be an informative session to get your pregnancy off to a healthy start, or to make sure you are having the healthiest possible pregnancy!  Couples in the first, second and third trimester are welcome.   Included in the tuition is a 1-on-1 call follow-up call with Krystyna, as well as a take-home packet for you to use as you continue through your pregnancy.  Tuition for the 2-hour session: $10/couple

I hope you can join me - please call or text 602.684.6567 to register.



JULY CLASS


AUGUST CLASS


Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included in this video and blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer/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 and video contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 




Q&A with SPB: Changing Locations During Labor

Posted on February 10, 2015 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)
I taped my first vlog this morning!!

When to go to the birthplace is a common question we get from our students, who are still primarily choosing to birth in a hospital setting. This information is also applicable if you are transferring to a birth center or having a non-emergent homebirth transfer.

A non-emergent transfer is the most common type of transfer when it happens in a homebirth setting.  The midwife and patient decide together that the family wants a different kind of observation if they feel things might be shifting away from healthy and low-risk.  

So, with that being said, here is today's Q&A:


























Do you prefer to read about it?  Check out these blog posts from our archive:

Kudos and thanks to Jen McClellan at Plus Size Birth whose message to "Capture Motherhood" has inspired me to be okay in front of the camera again.  This adventure into "vlogging" would not have been possible without her support and encouragement <3

What tips would you share with a family who wants more information about making the trip from home to their birth place?


Disclaimer:  
The material included in this blog and video 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 and video 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 in this video do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Dr. Bradley's Nutrition Tips

Posted on October 14, 2013 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)
Today we take a look at Dr. Bradley's advice to mamas about pregnancy nutrition.  One of my favorite things about doing these at-a-glance tips is going back into his book (I need to do it anyway for re-certification at the end of the year) and reading his gems about pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.

In reading about nutrition in Chapter 8 (How To Live With A Pregnant Wife) of his book, "Husband-Coached Childbirth", I am reminded again why we teach these childbirth classes.  He has a no-nonsense, practical explanation to help mamas avoid heartburn in pregnancy by eating slowly and eating more frequent, smaller meals.

"One, there isn't as much room.  The rising uterus limits the space.  Two, there is a delayed emptying time of the stomach in pregnancy from the muscle-relaxing effects of hormones.  Food tends to stay there and form gas, especially foods that are slow to digest, such as cauliflower, onions, green peppers, beans, etc.  This results in "heartburn" of pregnancy.  Nothing to do with the heart, but it produces gas and pressure under the ribs."
~Husband-Coached Childbirth, 5th Edition, p.165

Besides asking your care-provider for antacid suggestions, the book goes on to suggest the natural remedy of eating papaya as a natural antacid (that also counts as an orange-yellow fruit/vegetable for their Bradley class nutrition tracking!).

What did you do to help you avoid heartburn in pregnancy?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.

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


Keys to Labor: Pushing

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM Comments comments (0)
Here is another installment in our "It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" series.  Dr. Bradley had revolutionary ideas to share with the public when we started his obstetrical practice in the 1950's.  He was not the only person advocating natural birth, however, he is one of the first to advocate for fathers to be the coaches and in the hospital delivery room at a time when partners were relegated to hospital waiting rooms.



Here are his keys to pushing:

Key #1: Wait until the urge to push is overwhelming.
Dr. Bradley was a big proponent of saving energy and tuning-in to the body to birth as instinctually as possible.  

Key #2: Use effective pushing positions.
Dr. Bradley believed that squatting was the most effective pushing position.  However, if that wasn't going to happen for whatever reason, he wrote that, "It is not necessary to have the knees far apart.  This assures us that the mother's back is rounded like a ball and the baby comes sliding out - like on a slide."

Key #3: Athletic breathing.
In his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth, Dr. Bradley uses the analogy of an athlete clearing out stale air before performing in an athletic event.  Basically, during the second stage, a mama pushing is acting like she is running a quick sprint.  As the contraction builds, she should take three deep cleansing breaths.  Before exhaling on the third breath, she should tuck her chin to her chest.  She uses that air to create a cushion behind the diaphragm to push to the point of comfort, holding her breath as long as it's comfortable.  If the contraction is still strong after she exhales, she can take another deep breath and trap that air for a second (and third push) as long as the contraction feels "push-y".

Key #4: Relax the Kegel Muscle.
Now this is always the hardest one to explain because you have to feel it to understand how it works in practice.  The idea is that only the abdomen and the uterus need to work during a contraction.  The Kegel, which up to this point (hopefully) has worked beautifully to tuck the baby's chin to their chest into an optimal fetal position, now needs to relax and open to allow baby a smooth passage earthside.

I hope you are enjoying these "Dr. Bradley's Keys".  Next week, we will look at his postpartum instructions.


 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®.
 


What Is The Bradley Method?

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM Comments comments (28)
I had the opportunity to participate as a panelist this weekend at the Healthy Happy Baby Expo.  I realized that I have never articulated what The Bradley Method® is in a nutshell before.  I will spend the next few weeks trying to capture the essence of The Bradley Method® in these little slides...let me know if you have any questions that I should address!

A little note about the apple image...Dr. Bradley was ahead of his time in thinking that every baby had the right to choose their due date without interference simply because the mama had passed her estimated due date.  He used the analogy of an apple tree in his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth: some apples fall early, most ripen at around the same time, and a few are going to ripen after most of the crop has been harvested.


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®.

 

Bradley™ Classes and The Next Baby

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM Comments comments (0)
We have had parents take a Bradley Method® class series with baby number two (or three) when they had never taken a series with previous children.  The question is: is there value to taking a class series when you are pregnant with other children, when you
have already taken classes with another pregnancy?
 
I think that depends on the individual couple.  We made the choice to take a second complete class series because we only took 9 of the 12 classes in our first series.  Bruss also traveled; while I attended 9 of those classes, he only came to five or six of those.
 
We also ended up taking classes with a different teacher.  We were apprehensive at first – who likes change?  It turned out to be a great thing.  Our new teacher offered a different perspective on the same material, and we got to make new friends as well.
 
Here are the benefits we saw of taking a second series:

It was time to honor our new baby.  It’s easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” with your first-born.  For most of us pregnant with number two, baby one is already active and engaged in the world.  They require your time and your energy for the better part of your day.  Taking the time to prepare for our second child’s birth was time we spent enjoying the pregnancy without our older child.  It was just baby and us again during class time.

It was our weekly “date night”.  That adorable toddler?  As sweet as she was, our conversations revolved around answering all her inquisitive questions.  Not a bad thing at all!  However, our drive time going to class was spent connecting with each other as a couple.  Sometimes we were even able to sneak in a little snack stop before class if we got it together and dropped her off at our sitter’s house early enough.

It was the beginning of sibling preparation.  In retrospect, it prepared our daughter to spend time away from mom and dad and still feel valued.  My aunt took care of her while we were at class.  This same aunt is the one we planned to come stay with her until my mom flew in from Chicago.  This time with other adults allowed Ysabella to do something fun without us – she knew it was possible.  She learned to do things without mommy.  Later, after baby arrived, she continued to enjoy doing special things without me, like going out to get breakfast with Daddy while Mommy and baby slept.  She loved this time without me, and she made a decent transition to being an only child to being the big sister.

The material was new again.  First time parents have no idea what to expect from labor and birth.  A mom has no clue what contractions feel like.  A coach has no idea how (s)he will react when they see their partner in labor, and there is nothing they can do to fix it – all they can do is support.  The couple does not know how long their labor will be.  They do not know what their normal gestation is:  is MomBaby an early bird, on time, or a late bloomer?  So many unknowns! 

Going back to class, the material made sense in a different way.  We knew without a doubt that we had to be serious about doing the exercise assignments so that I would have energy at the end of a long birth (back then, Ysabella’s 26 hour labor was “long” to us – haha!)  I wanted to go for the accountability of tracking nutrition and doing the homework assignments.  It was also interesting to learn from the questions our new classmates asked – in that sense, it made it a completely different class.

For Bruss, he was hearing it for the first time, and classes 10-12 were new for us, too.  I also found we paid more attention to the different positions to use in labor and during the pushing phase.  Whether it was new material or a different presentation of the material, it really stuck this time and we made good use of the information in our second labor.

We knew what we wanted to change.  We could look back on our first labor and learn the lessons.  We knew what worked for us, and we knew what we wanted to do differently.  Knowing what we wanted to improve on helped us pay attention in class, even though the syllabus, the workbook and the movies were the same.  The desire to have a different birth, one without the use of Pitocin, helped us focus on the things we wanted to do better.  The classes were a positive step in having the Pitocin-free birth that we were preparing for and wanted to achieve.
 
I am looking forward to teaching our first The Bradley™ “Next” series to our alumni students that are pregnant with their second babies.  We also have a couple joining us who took classes from another teacher and is new to our area.  Since we have the unique opportunity to form a class just for second-time parents, we are also going to spend some class time on sibling preparation.  It will be fun for these families to prepare for their next child together, and for all the big brothers and sisters to have other peers with new babies in the house.
 
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®.

 

Relaxation Practice

Posted on July 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM Comments comments (0)
Standing position
Standing position
Leaning forward is a position for managing back labor - it helps get a posterior baby with the hard part of baby's head against mom's back off of her sacrum and ease some of the nerve pain that makes back labor so uncomfortable.
Rocking or Rhythmic Motion
Rocking or Rhythmic Motion
Some couples find it feels better to rock and sway in rhythm to her breathing - obviously not in labor in this picture - it's the closest I could find in my images!
Seated position
Seated position
Another choice for back labor that has mom leaning forward; also good for rocking and rhythmic motion when you use a birth ball or a rocking chair. This particular scenario allows access to massage mom at many different points.
Tailor sitting
Tailor sitting
Mom can stretch and encourage baby down in this position without exhausting herself by walking through early labor.
Resting
Resting
There are resting postions that can still allow the uterus to fall forward and work with gravity to get baby into a good position. Conserve energy and be efficient at the same time since you never know how long and/or intense your labor will be until it's over.
  One of my favorite sayings is, “Practice makes prepared”.  We had a wonderful confirmation in class this week of why it is so important to practice and prepare for the labor you want.   

 Our relaxation session in our last class was for both the mother and the coach to make a list of positive things the mother could think about during labor.  They were then to use these ideas during our relaxation practice/labor rehearsal portion of class.  Coach had a great list going that included what he called his “secret weapon”.  It was going to be his “go to” story to tell his wife when the going got tough in labor.   

 The time for relaxation practice/labor rehearsal arrived.  We dimmed the lights, put on our relaxation music, our students got into their first “practice position” from our diagrams of labor positions.  Then we did our first “practice”.  I timed the contraction by announcing how many seconds had elapsed (I call out 15, 30, 45 and 60 seconds).  Coach started with one of the ideas his list.  Mom did not like it – the story made her laugh instead of relaxing her.   

 We did our second practice, trying out a different labor position and the same scenario with music and lighting.  I timed again and Coach went back to the verbal coaching we have been using up to this point in classes, “words of encouragement”.  Mom reported feeling much more relaxed and Coach made an “uh-oh” face.   

 I asked him what was going on since he had just coached his wife through a great minute of relaxation.  He replied that his “secret-weapon” is a story that is along the same lines as the story that made her laugh, and she prefers words of encouragement…what was he going to do?   

 We reminded our couple that this is exactly why we practice in class and we encourage them to practice at home.  We are teaching them several ways that are effective at managing the discomforts of labor so that they can fill their toolbox with several different ways of relaxing mom.  If you don’t practice before you get into the hard parts, it’s unlikely you will be able to improvise since there are so many ways to manage labor.   

 By the same token, we tell couples every labor is unique, so it’s important for a coach to have a “Top Five” list of moms’ favorites so they know what to try first.  On top of that, we remind them that the most important factor for coaching is to be flexible.  Sometimes coaches find that the things that work in class do not work in labor.  Sometimes the list of “Top Five” turns into the one thing that works.  And it has happened that none of the coping techniques the couple liked in class helped, and they pulled from some of the other relaxation techniques we had covered and that they had practiced at home “just in case”.   

 It is exactly for those reasons that home practice is vital.  Mom can review techniques on her own and create her list of favorites.  Coach can review techniques and practice scenarios in his head while he is on his own.  The most important component is to practice together for the direct feedback.  Practicing together builds the coach’s confidence that he knows what he is doing and he will do well as a labor coach.  It builds the mom’s confidence that she will be able to rely on her coach.  Our personal experience is that this sense of safety and security, which leads to the ability to complete surrender during the labor experience, is the key to allowing labor to progress to the intensity that helps us meet our baby earthside.   

 We reassured Coach to keep those stories in his toolbox because laughter is actually a great coping technique.  It’s not comfortable during a contraction because it adds tension to an already tight body part – not ideal when a mom is trying to work with her body.  However, laughter is great tool to reduce adrenaline.  This is a huge plus because adrenaline inhibits oxytocin.  Receptors in the body can only accept one or the other, not both.  The other plus to laughter is that it releases endorphins, which can act as analgesia and promote a sense of well-being – both good things for a mom in labor to welcome their child.  We encouraged Coach to bring those stories out between contractions – they definitely deserve a place of honor in their personal toolbox.   

 I don’t liken labor to a final exam because sometimes the most prepared couples end up with a birth that doesn’t go according to their wish list and I don’t want to convey to them a sense of failure.  It is true that labor will test the couple in ways that they probably have not been tested before, and the more they practice at home, the better prepared they are for their experience.  Although the weekly assignment is for twenty minutes per day, even one minute of practice is better than none to build a couple’s confidence.   

 Being prepared for this experience will definitely improve the likelihood of having the labor they have practiced for.  Whether they have a “textbook” birth or a birth with variations, our happiest couples are the ones that feel they used their information from class and worked together to choose the birth of their child as a team for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.   

What has been your experience?  

More about laughter and endorphins: http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/laughter.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphin   

More on labor positions:
Postions for Labor and Birth
Managing Back Labor

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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