Being pregnant again, I am looking back on the thing I did with my daughter and how I prepared. The best preparation for our family was the Bradley Method of Husband Coached Childbirth. It prepared me physically and emotionally, while informing and preparing my husband for his critical role in helping me through our daughter’s birth. Over the next few weeks, I hope you will follow along with my own adventures in reviewing the class I took a couple of years ago while you complete your own local course! I have lots of info in every post from researching natural childbirth, discussions with my care providers, classes in the hospital, workshops with my midwives, and more. So it should be a great natural childbirth overview!
When I was 6 and a half months pregnant, my husband and I began looking for childbirth classes because I wanted to give birth without any medication. This is a choice way beyond environmentalism and “going green” for me. I have never reacted well to almost any medication and it has been a desire of mine for as long as I can remember. We did the Bradley Method because it fit our needs at the time and now our needs have morphed so therefore, so has the information I have on natural childbirth.
Thank you for supporting our family by purchasing through affiliate links on this page. I am not a doctor, nurse, or in the medical field. All posts are informative, based off of my experience in labor and birth, with my care providers, on the Bradley Method classes that I attended, and other workshops and classes I have gone to over the years. Please make informed decisions with your doctor, midwife, and/or any other care providers.
In order to prepare for this, I again did my research on what the best course of action would be. In my research I found so much on the Bradley Method and it just seemed to be the right fit for me even when I originally planned on having a hospital birth with my doctor with my first daughter. I know I needed classes, but I knew that also just going through the book and workbook would be a huge asset to preparing. We started the class with about 4 or 5 other couples and a handy-dandy workbook. Overall my favorite concept of the night that had me sold from the start… AS IF TRAINING FOR A MARATHON, CHILDBIRTH IS A PHYSICAL ACTIVITY THAT NEEDS PREPARATION. Wow! What a concept. It really made me think that so many women go into childbirth with the wrong mindset and do not see it as a training program from day 1. Well, at this point I knew this was the perfect class for me.
After learning how and why to do exercises and what nutritional goals I needed to try to implement, the week started! So I am going to go through what I did this week, why they said it was important, and my thoughts and feelings about it.
This week in my natural pregnancy review class with my midwives included going over proper vitamins, supplements, and other resources. Because I had to have an emergency cesarean with my first, this week was also looking into ways to prepare my body and become familiar with my scar.
Here are just some of the ways I worked on preparing my body and my homework for the week
Walking at least 5 minutes a day – ok, check. That’s easy. Even a large parking lot requires five minutes of walking to and from your car. Easy.
Tailor sitting often—also known as “Indian style” or “sitting on your pockets” or “criss-cross applesauce” if you have a 5 year-old. I can do this. Just a little bit of work training myself to favor the floor over the comfy couch. Apparently this is supposed to train your baby to not cling to your spine, rather sit forward and also can help lessen or prevent varicose veins because it increases circulation and moves the uterus forward. Not a problem, just some adjusting for this one.
Massage My Perineum/Scar – Not everyone has a scar, I know. But prepare our bodies as we need to in order to give birth is important. For me this meant not just doing stretches of the perineum, but it also meant approaching and becoming familiar with sensations in the area of my c-section scar.
Squat often—this one… not on the normal side. It is supposed to strengthen your thighs and legs, but do you really want to squat down and stay down to pick up your shoes? NO! Just bend over and get them… but that’s no longer an option apparently. Squat to load the fridge, squat to pet a dog, squat to get in a cabinet, oh the squatting! I can’t handle it. Not a fan. And apparently some women voluntarily choose to give birth like this? Count me out. Even though I don’t want to do this one, people do it because it can shorten the birth canal and open the pelvis up to 10% while birthing. So, I will make-do and do them anyway. And I just might eat my utterings of hate for them later.
Butterfly stretch with tension 3x—I use a band for the resistance, whereas they recommend your partner. It is just easier for me to do it on my own time and not bother him. This is fine. Stretches my thighs and it’s not squatting.It is supposed to help in the second stage of labor because it helps build muscle to reduce shaking during labor.
Pelvic rocks —this position is basically me on all-fours rocking my hips back and forth. It’s the cow and cat positions in yoga if you’re familiar. It is supposed to tone and condition the low back, which is great, I am just sore because it’s not altogether natural and now I am starting this strange workout almost 7 months pregnant. It is also supposed to relieve pressure down there which really would make a great exercise for when in labor because it also makes the baby come forward and away from your spine. So, like I said, I am sore, but that’s only after I do the exercise. While I do the exercise I feel awesome! This exercise can also help with circulation, getting baby to flip if breech, and in digestion
Kegels – One word: ick. I don’t know what it is about them, but they’re not comfortable to me. BUT I will do a million in one day if they truly do cut down on pain in childbirth. So I have done them, hoping I am doing them right (because, really, how do I know?)
YOGA – This became something I did from going to many local meetings and workshops. Mom after mom woudl say how yoga helped them feel better in subsequent pregnancies and they wished they had done it the first time around. I also spent time talking to my chiropractor on how to implement helpful exercises for my specific body. She also gave me some basic stretches to do when days were busy and I compiled a list of great ways I stretch every day even with a toddler.
Complete a Nutrition worksheet—This is supposed to see what kind of protein you’re already ingesting. It is recommended 80-100g per day for pregnant women. This was super easy, just write down what I ate and record the protein count. For my first, my doctor said 70 was good, but with my second, my midwife was urging me to get as much as possible.
Relaxation—The point of this is to have your partner understand what different parts of your body feel like when you’re tense and when you’re relaxed so that in the coming weeks, he too is preparing for childbirth and can play an active, helpful role. This went ok. It is hard for us to find time to do it, but I did some of the relaxation techniques on my own and we did the couples’ version a few times.
Have you “Kegel’d Today?
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!