What Is Your Experience with Natural Childbirth Methods?

Updated on May 16, 2008
L.N. asks from Chino Valley, AZ
27 answers

As background, I took Bradley classes before my birth and am now training to teach Bradley. I've been wondering what other methods are like since I don't know too much. I've only read one book each for Lamaze and Hypnobirthing.

So what has been your experience with the different methods? If you took a class, how long and in depth was it (what topics were covered)? What's your impression of the effectiveness?

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D.H.

answers from Denver on

I agree with many of the posters that prenatal yoga helped immensely (all that meditation, focus, breath, and flexibility work). I also had a doula and could not have been happier with my birth experience.

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S.M.

answers from Casper on

I've heard such good things about hypnobirthing. My friend has 5 kids and read the book before her last. She said it was so much better than all the others.

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K.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

for my pregnancy, i've studied lamaze. i think it helped. what prepared me physically more, i think, was doing prenatzl pilates. What is Bradley?

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A.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I used the hypnobabies program while preparing for the birth of my twins. I joined the hypnobabies yahoo group for online support and I also bought the program used on ebay. I just studied by myself. It was AMAZING! I was able to relax through the labor. My water broke at 7:00 am. I was having really hard labor after that but I was able to relax and it felt to much easier than with my first.

By the time we made it to the hospital I was already at an 8 and they escorted me to the OR where I had my babies naturally by 9:00 am. It was a near perfect birth and I give all the credit to the hypnobabies program. I was the talk of the hospital. All the nurses couldn't believe that I gave birth to twins natually and so easily. They didn't even realize I was that far into my labor when I came in because of how calm I was. I can't believe what a strong tool your mind is and how you can ease the pain. I don't remember all that I learned but I highly reccomend that program.

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M.M.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I had bradley classes with my first pregnancy and greatly enjoyed them. I most appreciated the ways that bradley included and made dad a huge part of the process of labor pain relief through practiced relaxation and strengthening your relationship with your partner.

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M.M.

answers from Great Falls on

Water !!!
In France, they researched a lot about it,
on the Black Sea, in Crimea,
there was a group of people who led through mamas giving birth
in the sea, surrounded by DOLPHINS.
some give birth in the little pool right in their homes also :)
I am sure if you google you will find lots of interesting info

My girl was born in the wilderness of the forest, no doctors, as we lived in the place very far away from any dwelling of anybody else. She is 17, and a happy girl, we both healthy and all :)

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S.M.

answers from Denver on

Bradly is a great method for natural birth I felt that with the parents that I had helped in the labor room that did take a bradly method class, if the got an epidural there was alot of guilt.

I teach a Chilbirth education class that focuses really on everything natural from birth to postpartum to baby 101. I also took my training through CAPPA and have been a doula for 6 years and had a really huge idea what I wanted to teach and how. I would find a few classes in denver, and see if the teachers will let you sit in. Some let you do it for free some will charge. Then you can see what you like and then decide what is the best route to take.

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N.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I took a Hypobirthing class and it was good, but a little strange to me. They kept saying let the docter know what you want (but it was my first and I didn't really know what i wanted, because it was such a new experience). At the hospital I would do what the class taught me and I would get in trouble by the nurses so I would stop because I didn't know what I really wanted. I still ended up having my baby natural but it wasn't painless. So, it worked until I listened to the nurses...
I don't know anything about the Bradley method but maybe you could help women who don't know what they want, help them distinguish and look deep to find out. So, for me I had to many options and it needed to be narrowed for me. I think my class was 6 sessions. I hope that answered your questions or atleast shed more light on the subject.

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S.L.

answers from Fort Collins on

We did Bradley with my first birth. While I loved the in-depth classes, and I thought the information was awesome, I had issues with the husband-coached aspect of Bradley. It felt like too much to ask of my husband, who was also afraid and going through the birth of his first child, to be the calm, cool, collected coach. Also, as I was laboring, I didn't want him coaching me! I wanted only to hear from women who had birthed babies. As a result, I was interested in what my midwife had to say, not my husband. My husband also felt like it was too stressful, and I think he was afraid that he had failed me.

For my second birth, we took the Bradley classes again. We liked getting the refresher of information, it helped get us back into "birthing mindset," and we met some great people whom we are still friends with a year later. However, I also read an amazing book called "Birthing from Within." It gave me some great pain management techniques that supplemented the Bradley breathing, and helped me relax more fully. More importantly, this book talks a lot about the emotional aspects of labor and birth in addition to the mechanics. It encourages women to look within themselves to find what each of us needs to birth our own way. It was very empowering, and it helped me move out of the mindset of someone telling me what I needed to do and helped me learn to trust myself, to trust my body to know what I needed. There are Birthing from Within classes offered. I know there is an instructor in the Ft Collins area.

For our next birth, I am thinking about doing a HypnoBabies course. The truth is, I think it's fun exploring different birth options. I learn so much about myself through each journey. Both my daughters were born at home, and each birth has been an incredibly affirming, empowering experience. I can truly say that my births were the most amazing experiences of my life. Not because I got a baby at the end, (though of course that is mind-blowing and wonderful!) but because of the journey that I took, my own power that I discovered, and the trust I learned to place in myself. I came out of each of my births knowing that I am a stronger, more capable woman. I think THAT is the important thing about a birth experience.

Best of luck,
S.

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C.A.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I am expecting my first child this summer and have chosen to go with hypnobirthing. Though I have never given birth myself, I have yet to speak to anyone who has used this method and not raved about it! Both of my sisters have used this method as well, which is where I heard about it in the first place.

The only issue I have heard is that since most people believe that childbirth=pain, it takes some spine in order for some doctors and nurses to support you in what you want. Though many doctors are supportive of the method, midwives are generally much more likely to support this technique. The times where a person reports not achieving a pain-free birth are usually because a doctor or nurse intervened because they did not understand the process.

The classes were small and intimate, only lasting three hours a week for four weeks. Imagery, fear release, and other such topics were covered, mostly focusing on how a woman's body is created to work correctly during birth and why pain was introduced to childbirth (mostly because of fear).

My husband and I have been practicing the methods and feel more and more comfortable and excited about it every day. I have even been able to use the techniques to work through other struggles before the baby has arrived. I would strongly recommend this method, and love to tell my friends how great it is!

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A.W.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi L. have you talked w/ a doula? My doula is very knowledgable and I am sure would talk w/ you in depth. She actually just put her business here on Mamasource. Check her out her business name is Serendipity Doula Birth Services.

Good luck.
A.

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A.P.

answers from Denver on

I took a childbirth class (with a combination of methods addressed) that was helpful. I would also recommend yoga. You need to learn how adults learn and strategies for teaching adults. It would be helpful to have medical knowledge to address questions the new parents will have. Give the class time to learn from each other. My favorite and most beneficial parts of the class were at the beginning where we got to know the other people taking the class and we talked about our fears, hopes, etc. At the end of the class a group of parents from the previous class who had already had their babies came in and told us about their birth experiences. Don't do a lot of lecture. Make it student-centered and interactive. Make it hands-on. Have lots of visuals. Sounds like fun. Good luck. By the way --- I'm a teacher.

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C.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I birthed 2 babies naturally. The first time I took a class called "Birthing from Within." There is a book by the same title you can read. It is a cool idea since it helps you deal with your fears constructively and draw upon your primal roots. It has a lot of cool activities you can do involving visual art.

The second time I read Hypnobirthing and listened to the tapes. The breathing and self-talk involved in Hypnobirthing is also great. The second birth was much faster and easier, but they almost always are, right?

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J.D.

answers from Denver on

I did the Bradley Method, but what I thought was most important to having a natural birth, despite being induced with a lot of pitocin was my doula. Without her assisting my breathing and relaxation during back labor, I most likely would have ended up with an epidural. I tell all mommies to be--get a doula. It helps you because someone is there to focus on you and tell you what is normal and how to progress and it helps dad be able to have his own experience (because, let's face it, they are generally freaked out during labor watching the woman they love go through so much.)

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L.S.

answers from Missoula on

Dear L.,
I used the Lamaze classses when I had my childern, in the late 70's. I attended Bradley classes with my daughter when she was expecting in 2003. I was amazed at the at the new things I learned. The Bradley method is more in depth and detailed. My daughter was so comfortable with the knowledge she recived that both her childern were born in her home with the help of a midwife.

Congratulations on your new baby! Have a Wonderful time teaching and helping womem becoming new Moms.
L. S

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A.U.

answers from Provo on

I have done Lamaze and Hypnobirthing. I honestly think that Lamaze didn't really help at all. I don't feel I learned anything in the class that I didn't already know (granted, I come from a home where my Mom is a nurse and was also a Lamaze instructor, so...). Anyway, I was looking for a better experience for my second birth and found Hypnobirthing. It is amazing! The class was a two-hour class every Saturday for somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks (I don't remember). They encourage you to practice each day on your own too(which definitely helps). It's been almost two years so the details are a bit fuzzy, but it covered the basics of labor and delivery, of course, and time was also spent on helping mothers get over fears and misconceptions they may have so that they don't go into it stressed out. My instructor actually used to be a Bradley instructor, but one class on hypnobirthing (her friend taught it so she just came to support her friend) and she was convinced. I am too. It wasn't a pain free experience for me, but it was lessened so much that I was able to just sit calmly the whole time. It was so peaceful and perfect. I recommend it to everyone. Even if a person wants a medicated birth, it also helps in the beginning stages.

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S.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My last 3 births have been all natural with the hypnobirthing technique. There wasn't a class in my area with the first one so I read tne book and practiced wth the tapes. The next one, I lived in a new area without a class but found a great hypnotherapist and went to her twice to prepare. ($120 total- cheaper and better than an epideral) It helped so much and I felt much more in control. I didn't have a painless childbirth but I wanted to be able to feel and know what my body was doing so I would classify it as pressure not pain. I love the method and how it empowers women and helps you get to the bottom of any fears instead of just coaching. This last birth, there was a class available but we didn't do it because of the time committment. My husband is a champ supporter while in labor and delivery but we just weren't the type to get into the practicing together and all that, he just felt cheesy and wierd about it. But I know it works great for other couples. Most importantly, I am SO happy I have used a midwife. They are WAY more supportive of natural childbirth and patient and willing to put in the time for nature to take it's course. If a person is low risk, a CNM is the way to go! Best of luck in teaching- giving confidence to women in their bodies is so neccessary!

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N.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I worked in a place that Hypnobirthing was talked about often and HIGHLY suggested for natural childbirth. I read the book and was nonbeliever until I went into Labor. I used Hypnobirth to ease the pain and help me through much of my labor. I think HAD i taken the class I would have been able to actually make it through until the end. I would NOT suggest taking the class from Moun Timp. Women's Health Center in Utah County. I do not know a SINGLE person that took the class from there and was satisfied. They do not teach the class the way it is intended and not fully like they are told to do. With my next baby I am going to take a Hypnobirthing class and use it.

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A.M.

answers from Great Falls on

Voice Movement Therapy. I just had a baby at home (my first) in water and the VMT training that I had been doing for the year prior, REALLY helped. As I was going through transition, to me and a lot of women the most intense part of labor, I was able to make a sound--a tone--that in my mind was the sound of that particular contraction, and each one felt unique. As I expressed it in this way, I was able to fully feel everything, to get inside the intensity and ride the wave. I believe that, VMT or not, this is what most women do in labor, it is completely instinctive. The advantage of VMT is that I felt vert comfortable sounding, and had cultivated a curiousity and capacity to use sound to be present with my VMT instructor. Voice Movement Therapy is quite new, but it uses some of the roots of psycho-drama and other older methods to find the authentic voice by allowing sub-personalities to emerge and become conscious through experiential play/sounding/singing/dancing/breath-work. I was not into this kind of thing when I started, in fact I spent sessions unable to make any sound at all, but soon I was able to do more and more with my voice, and because of these explorations I was truly able to harness my own innate capacity to become present through sound which really helped my labor. I felt I was able to fully experience the labor without wanting to be somewhere else. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to find skills within themselves to be used in labor.

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H.W.

answers from Denver on

Hi L.,

I too delivered my son with a doula after taking Bradley classes. From talking with my friends who did Lamaze or hynobirthing classes, I feel that a person needs both Bradley and hypnobirthing, especially if they don't have a doula. Bradley gives the how to and why natural birth is so much healthier for mom and baby and how to work within hospital protocol to keep natural birth a reality; hypnobirthing provides more practice with pain relief and going within. I felt that my Bradley class did not prepare me enough with visualization and relaxation classes. I will take a refresher Bradley course next time, and take a thorough hynobirth class also. I had an amazing birth experience, I just want to see if it can be better - crazy, I know.

Congratulations and good luck with your business!

H.

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A.T.

answers from Denver on

I was a regular at a prenatal yoga class with a fantastic teacher from the time I first found out I was hapai until a while after she was born. Lamaze class was kind of remedial for me, my husband HATED the class, it was useful to know what would happen at the hospital, how things progress EXACTLY...but otherwise, I can't imagine being READY to give birth naturally after only 5 classes.
I was overdue a week, in labor for almost 2 days, then doc said pitocin(?) to get things really moving, 7 hours later I pushed for one hour and Fiona arrived. All without pain meds of ANY kind, I only credit this to my natal yoga classes and my husband's support.
Good luck with teaching L.!

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R.M.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I never took any classes, but I know they can be helpful. My aunt is a big proponent of the Bradley method. What I can tell you is that it is about mind control and you need to have your mind made up that an epidural is not an option. I felt as thought I was in a "zone" with both of my deliveries. Almost an out of body type feeling. The other thing that was extremly helpful was having a midwife. She instructed my husband on pressure points and other helping tips the whole labor. Lastly, most of my difficult laboring was done in the jetted tub-extremly helpful! Good luck!

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K.H.

answers from Denver on

I've had two naturally -- the first I had taken Hypnobirthing class. While I didn't have the painless expierence some seem to have, I did very well considering I had 5 hours of backlabor... my midwife said she was impressed with how I handled it so I can't imagine what it would have felt like had I not gotten in my "zone" with breathing and imagery. I will also say about Hypno, that you should really, REALLY stress to the fathers/birthing partners how vitally important their role is in helping mom keep her focus on relaxing. Second birth I just read a little from various books and did a water birth -- a wonderful experience.

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A.S.

answers from Denver on

L.,
I also took a Bradley class before my own birth. I'm also studying to teach childbirth education! But I am studying through an organization called CAPPA. This is because, I couldn't afford the Bradley tuition. CAPPA does not teach any specific method and instructors basically write their own cirriculum. In my education, I've been reading a Lamaze textbook, and I observed a 6 week CBE class. The class was good, and taught alot of natural stuff, but went over c-sections more in-depth then my Bradley class did. It was a mixed class of those interested in natural birth (the class was taught at Mountain Midwifery), and those having hospital births. There was not nearly the depth or focus on coaching that was in Bradley. But from what I'm learning, most classes (not taught at hospitals) don't have that and are about 6 weeks long, not the Bradley 12. We did a few visualazation excercises, and some different relaxation methods, but nothing like Bradley. We watched a few videos as well. Nutrition was covered only briefly, and there was no required reading.

Does this answer your questions? If you'd like to, you may email me for more info, etc.

A.
[email protected]____.com

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S.R.

answers from Fort Collins on

I would recommend reading Birthing From Within by Pam England. You can visit their website, www.birthingfromwithin.com to check for childbirth classes in your area.

There are so many different techniques for natural birthing, and I actually found that I drew strength from several different sources during my birth, especially when things took an unexpected turn and the main technique I had learned (hypnobabies) was not being effective for me anymore. Another great book I would recommend reading is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.

Best wishes to you and your family!

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A.B.

answers from Boise on

I took a one day class that touched briefly on the Bradley method and Lamaze(without advertising as such).
I decided to have a doula instead and couldn't have been happier. I labored and delivered in under 6 hours without pain medication or complications. The doula (who happened to be my sister) kept me focused throughout. She incorporated breathing techniques, massage/acupressure, and visualization.
We talked about the birth a lot before it happened and she knew exactly what I wanted out of the experience and what I would tolerate in case of complications. We had discussed hypnobirthing methods, but I know myself too well and it would not have worked. (We practiced some before the birth to be sure).
I guess that is what I liked about having a doula. She knows all the different techniques and is able to create a plan that fits your needs, likes & dislikes, etc.
I'm not sure if this helps any, but good luck with your endeavor.

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R.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I took a Hypnobirth class from Claire Stanley in Salt Lake City, Utah. She teaches a mix of Bradley and Hypnobirth and a dash of her very own greatness. She is a wonderful woman who made me feel confident and secure about my birth. I did not use any pain medications for my birth and am so proud of what I was able to do as a woman. If you can get down here (I know it's far), she is an amazing person to observe. The classes were only 5 weeks, but we had homework and worked at home and used recordings of hypnosis to practice with. Those recordings were exactly what I needed in the car on the way to the hospital. I was so calm the nurses thought they were going to send me home! 2 hours later my daughter was born. It was amazing!

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