The Bradley Method of Childbirth – still going strong

Newborn baby girlI was reminded of the birth of our babies by a post on Pinterest about the Bradley Method of childbirth.  The post was a current review of the Bradley Method.  It brought back many good memories of our own childbirth experiences.

When we had our first child many years ago, we wanted to give our baby the best start possible in life–no anesthetics, good nutrition, and a calm, natural atmosphere during the birth.

Although we weren’t able to locate a midwife that would come to our home, we did learn that Hermann Hospital in Houston had added a birthing room to its labor & delivery department.  To use the birthing room, we were required to take childbirth classes so we did some research (how in the world we did that before Google, I don’t know!) and chose classes based on the Bradley Method.

To attend 12 weeks of classes wasn’t easy for us because my husband and I were both working full-time, and the nearest Bradley instructors were about an hour’s drive away from our home.  However, we have never regretted the effort it took to study the Bradley Method.  We learned so much–the classes are really informative for first time parents who know little to nothing about childbirth (like we were the first time).  Plus, the lessons and practice gave us confidence that we could get through the birth successfully.

The classes cover all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth.  There’s even one session on what to do if the baby comes too quickly and you’re on your own to deliver.

The Bradley Method emphasizes good nutrition during the pregnancy, and, although I’ve since learned much more about which foods are good for mother and baby, the basics taught by the Bradley Method are still much better than what many pregnant women eat on the SAD (Standard American Diet).

Here’s what the Bradley Method recommends for diet during pregnancy:

Every day of the week you and your baby should have:

One quart (4 glasses) or more of milk. Any kind will do: whole milk, low fat, skim, buttermilk, or cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc….
Two eggs, (hard boiled, in french toast, or added to other foods).
Two servings of fish or seafood, liver, chicken, lean beef, lamb, pork, beans or any kind of cheese.
Two good servings of fresh green leafy vegetables: mustard, collard, turnip greens, spinach, lettuce, or cabbage.
Four or more slices of whole wheat bread, cornmeal, cornbread, or tortillas.
A piece of citrus fruit or glass of juice of lemon, lime, orange, tomato, or grapefruit.
Three pats of butter or healthy oils.
Other fruits and vegetables.

Although I don’t recommend low fat or processed milk, a quart of whole, raw milk (from grassfed cows) is a great food to start the list. Eggs, fish, liver, other meats, leafy vegetables, a piece of citrus fruit, and three pats of butter are all also excellent to eat every day. I would now encourage that all foods be prepared with traditional methods according to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morrell, and be based on the pregnancy diet promoted by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

We had our babies many years ago, and maybe there are better methods for childbirth today, but I do know that we had three healthy, full-term babies using the Bradley Method, and I had no drugs during delivery. Sounds like successful childbirth to me!

All adults now, our children are also our friends.  We love them AND we like them!  What a great family!

This story wouldn’t be complete without my husband Brice’s viewpoint.  This was his first birth experience as well.  He was always with me throughout all three births–my strength, supporter, and protector.

Here’s what Brice says:

I remember being mostly clueless like all first-time dads.  I wasn’t really completely clueless; I was a Red Cross Advanced First Aid Instructor, which is a 60-hour class that includes emergency childbirth… but I had never really thought about actually attending a birth.  I was still trying to process that I was going to be a father.  However, the Bradley method training was thorough and methodical.  Between it and the First Aid training, I was confident that I would be ready.  Carolyn was somewhat amused (?) by the fact that I carried around a complete emergency child-birth kit (it was part of my ‘standard’ first aid kit that I had put together as part of my job as a safety professional and an instructor).

Two things I remember clearly.  One was a crusty, old obstetrics nurse that I had gotten to come to one of the first childbirth first aid classes that I taught to give us more experience-based information.  One of the things that she emphasized was that childbirth is a natural process and that if the mother is healthy there are few, if any, complications.  That stuck with me, “… if the mother is healthy.”  It tied to one of the Bradley method teaching films that we saw.  It was concerned with food; specifically with ‘real food’, although I don’t recall if that was the exact term used.  The film concerned itself with the difference between what the Bradley method recommended for good nutrition (what Carolyn described) and what was pushed by advertisements and such; the highly processed foods.  The film was quite good and touched on ‘factory-made foods’, using the products’ labeling as a teaching point.  The one that jumps to my mind now is ‘Froot Loops’.  Label doesn’t say ‘Fruit Loops’, does it?  Because there was no fruit in them, only ‘fruit flavoring’.  A classic, just as the WAPF sees it.

Brice and I are two of the co-leaders of the Houston-Galveston chapter of The Weston A. Price Foundation.

My three childbirth experiences were quite different, but that’s the subject of another post.

Photo credit: About.com/Pregnancy and Childbirth

This post is shared at Real Food Wednesday.

This entry was posted in Babies, Childbirth, Diet, Health, Nutrition, Real Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Bradley Method of Childbirth – still going strong

  1. With my second child I used the Bradley method. I was so relaxed the nurse thought I was sleeping. I heard her say, ” I know she’s having contractions. How can she sleep through that?” It honestly didn’t hurt until I was fully dilated and the doctor, tired of sitting on his hands, tore me apart with his fingers. That labor (not the birth) was wonderful. My next one was born at home. One of my births was a water birth and that was wonderful!

    After having 6 natural births, I learned that it’s not so much technique but being able to relax and let your body do what it needs to do. It especially helps to be in your own environment with people that you love, though not too many. Breathe naturally but not shallowly. Be in your own space with supportive people where you won’t have to fight for what you want. Educate yourself. Believe that this is what you were designed to do. Eat right and have faith in the process. It may take having an unassisted birth but be aware you will be treated like dirt should you transfer to the hospital.

  2. Pingback: Hepatitis B vaccine for US newborns – a good idea? | Real Food Houston

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