Mondays, beginning April 4
Saturdays, beginning March 5
Classes run 5:30-7:30 p.m., although we can nudge the time a bit, depending on class consensus. The first class always starts at 5:30.
Classes are held at Bellani Maternity on Rte. 2 in Warwick: 1276 Bald Hill Rd #150, Warwick, RI 02886. 401-822-9900.
Classes are kept small, usually 4-6 couples. Once you decide to register, please contact me to be sure there's room in the class and that the start date hasn't changed.
The Bradley Method: the best way to prepare for a birth!
Jennifer Block, the author of Pushed, an excellent, very well-researched book on modern American childbirth says this:
"In her . . . study of childbirth today, Morton found that with the exception of the Bradley Method, which encourages women to 'be an advocate for yourself and what you want,' most (childbirth classes) are focused on a similar acceptance of medical routines." (p. 166)
According to Dr. William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N in their bestseller, The Birth Book, "If a mother truly wants a natural childbirth and wants to deliver in the hospital, Bradley classes give her the best odds of achieving the birth she wants." (p. 56)
No other method prepares couples better to have the natural, healthy births that are their babies' birthright.
Early Pregnancy Classes
I also offer Bradley EPC for only $40 for the 2 classes. These cover nutrition and exercise while pregnant, discovering your options, and choosing an obstetrician or midwife that suits you.
Contact me for more info.
Most of the students who take Bradley classes are married couples, but any pregnant woman with or without a partner is definitely welcome. Some students bring an additional support person with them to a few classes; that's fine; there's no extra charge.
I welcome a limited number of doulas-in-training, midwifery and nursing students to sit in on my classes to complete their requirements, learning more about the benefits of natural birth and how they can support it. If that's you, please call or e-mail me (to make sure I don't have too many professional students on one night).
When to Start Classes
The ideal time to start classes is about 14 weeks before your estimated due date.
The class fee is $350, which includes your workbook, many handouts, and my large lending library.
Most people pay the full amount at the first class, but you can pay weekly or every other week. You can pay me with cash or check, or (through Bellani Maternity) credit card.
What I teach is personal, so payment can be, too. I might be interested in trading my expertise for yours. Generally I barter for up to $250 of the $350 (so I can cover my costs). Some of my students have traded photography, carpentry, auto, and electrical skills, guitar and art lessons - even the use of a vacation home - to lower their costs. Look for creative ways to pay for what you need. (A family member can barter on your behalf.) A bank's not interested in your skills, but I might be.
Why do hospital childbirth classes cost less than Bradley classes? Because the hospital benefits from you taking their classes. It gets a compliant patient, and that can translate into big bucks.* But I have no hidden agenda. You are getting the value from my classes, and you really get your money's worth - for this birth and all future ones!
My previous students are welcome to sit in on two classes for free as a review. I recommend Classes 7& 8 (combined), and 10 to jog your memory. For previous students taking the whole series again, I only charge half price.
Most of my students have had more babies since taking my classes -- and they've often told me that what they learned in my class proved to be very helpful in the later pregnancies and births, too. I welcome e-mails and phone calls from previous students; I'm still here for you.
Want more value?
Considering that a lactation consultant can cost over $100 per visit once you've left the hospital, my free breastfeeding expertise certainly adds to my class's value!
Those are just some of the long-term values of my Bradley classes. I don't want to be your parenting guru, but if you have a question, I'll do my best to help. Just call or e-mail or join my facebook pages. I have one for Students and one for Graduates. First, though, check out my pages Infant Care and Miscellaneous. Several frequently asked questions are answered there.
*So it's worth it to the hospital to lose money on you; their classes can be their "loss leader" because insurance companies more than make up the difference (of what the classes actually cost the hospital) with payment for so many interventions. It's in your health's best interest to be a cheap date. Remember that hospitals are very big business; they know that where you have your baby is probably where you'll go to for emergency care, sick care, and other births. They're counting on brand loyalty; okay, fine. You're the customer; make them earn your business!
............................................The 12-Class Content
I usually combine classes 7 & 8, which leaves us a class for Movie Night, but still stays within 12 classes.
Class 1 introduces The Bradley Method, your classmates, exercises, and things to consider in your choice of doctor, midwife, and where you plan to give birth. We start learning good relaxation techniques.
Class 2 covers the Brewer Diet, what nutrients are particularly important and the quantities needed. We discuss ways of increasing your protein and improving your diet. I cover a lot about breastfeeding; you won't need any other classes on it!
Class 3 gives an overview of labor to get us all on the same page, and covers how remarkably well mother and baby develop; also simple and effective ways of minimizing pregnancy discomforts.
Class 4 teaches useful communication and ways to help a laboring woman. We discuss coaching during pregnancy and labor, reasons for drug-free childbirth, bonding, and the partner's special role.
Class 5 covers the first stage of labor, and effacement, dilation, station and position. Besides these numbers, we discuss less official, but still very useful, ways of knowing how labor is progressing. We practice timing contractions and start applying relaxation techniques. This is a very full class!
Class 6 covers second stage labor - the physiology, breathing, the benefits and risks of labor drugs; the natural alignment plateau, fetal Heimlich maneuver, how and when to push, and we practice and compare birth positions.
Class 7 helps you prioritize your goals for labor and covers writing your birth plan and positive communication with your medical team. I usually combine this with
Class 8 explains variations and complications in labor; how to avoid these problems if possible, fix them naturally, how to evaluate whether interventions are necessary, and - if so -the risks and benefits of various ones.
Class 9 is advanced first stage techniques: specific actions by the coach and mother. We watch a couple of great movies which help us in labor rehearsals. I'll also teach you basics of using a rebozo (a Mexican shawl used by midwives and doulas to adjust mothers' or babies' positions in labor, increasing comfort and effectiveness of labor). You can use a beach towel or twin sheet.
Class 10 covers advanced second stage techniques, and role playing make this realistic and fun. This is our big labor rehearsal, bringing together everything we've worked on. The couple that pretends best wins the Oscar!
Class 11 is about being a great coach and being ready. The Bradley Energy Saving Techniques (B.E.S.T.) is a comprehensive review of labor. This is also when I cover emergency childbirth.
Class 12 covers the postpartum period, adjustments to the family, more on breastfeeding, infant reflexes, tests, and lots more.
We watch several short DVDs in class, and one of the movies I show is Orgasmic Birth. Seeing that this is possible is exciting! You can see how others experience a blissful birth, and incorporate as many of those elements as you wish. It's your birth -- don't just "get through it," embrace it!
Class Reunion Once all the class's babies are born, we have a fun get-together -- I'll bring the birthday cake, and everyone gets to tell their stories!
Generally: The information in my classes should not be construed as medical advice. I provide information and research on pregnancy, birth, and newborns so you can make informed choices about your care. I'm not a doctor, I'm an accredited childbirth instructor and doula.
We learn best when we’re comfortable, so bring a snack and drink if you like, and dress comfortably.
Make-ups: If you know you’re going to miss a class, please let me know so we can arrange a make-up. One make-up is free, just because I'm such a nice person; additional ones cost $25 per class. If we can’t make our schedules mesh, I can usually come to class 30 min. early or stay later to answer questions you may have on that chapter, and there’s always e-mail.
Payments: The series costs $350. Please finish paying by class 9. If your insurance company or Flexible Spending Account might reimburse you for a portion of prenatal classes, let me know and I’ll give you an official receipt.
Refunds: If you have paid in full and you decide after class 1 that it’s not for you, return the workbook, and you get a full refund. So, essentially, that class is free!
If after class 2: the refund is $250;
if after class 3: the refund is $150;
if after class 4: no refund, because it’s too late to let another couple have your spot in class.
Library: I have lots of books (and some DVDs) to lend. Please return books within 3 weeks and movies after just 1 week, so others can enjoy them, too.
Homework Answers/Study Helps: The answers are on this website. Please do the homework! We're all adults, so I won't nag, but you'll get much more out of classes if you do the homework. It makes for more interesting class discussions, too!
Your zipcode is your password, and I'll give you your student ID number in class 2.
Thanks for choosing my Bradley Method classes. I’m happy to be your teacher!
Let’s get ready for your baby’s birth!