Childbirth Preparation Methods: The Bradley Method

The Bradley Method. By using this simple and effective technique, couples are taught how to effectively work with their bodies to achieve a successful natural childbirth experience. So, what are the main principles behind The Bradley Method? How does it differ from other childbirth preparation methods? And what can you expect if you sign up for a class?

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Episode Transcript

Preggie Pals
“Childbirth Preparation Methods: The Bradley Method”

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.


Kimberly Bianco: Healthy baby, healthy mother and healthy families.  That’s what the Bradley Method is all about.  By using this simple and effective technique, couples are taught how to work with their bodies to have successful natural childbirths.  I’m Kimberly Bianco, a Doula and Childbirth Educator who teaches The Bradley Method, and this is Preggie Pals, Episode 26.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Sunny Gault: Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego.  I am your host, Sunny Gault.  Have you joined our Preggie Pals club?  We recently launched it.  This is an exclusive membership that gives you access to all of our archived episodes, written transcripts of the shows, plus some bonus interviews.  Have you ever wondered what happens after our formal interviews are over?  Well, we are keeping the mics open for another five minutes after the show so you can hear what happens.  There might be some juicy stuff.  You never know. Again, all this is for our members only and you can access it on the web or through our Preggie Pals App. That’s a free App through Amazon and Android Market Place.  You can visit our website, for more information.  Alright!  Our panelists are joining us here in the studio.  We have a packed house today.  I love it. I love it when we have a bunch of people in here.  Let’s start with Stephanie.

Stephanie Saalfeld: Hi.  I’m Stephanie Saalfeld, I am 29.  I am due January 9th with my first baby, a girl and we are having a hospital birth.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: [Laughs]  Hi.  I’m Christine Steward-Fitzgerald.  I am…., let’s see….., well, the mom to twin girls, who are now three and so I’m having number three right now.  Technically due in one day….


Sunny Gault: I know, isn’t crazy?  Flies by, doesn’t it though?  Oh my gosh.  Yeah.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: It does.  Oh my gosh!  So I’m…, let’s see, so I’m planning on having a VBAC in a hospital setting and I’m excited about it.

Sunny Gault: Fingers crossed and we just did an episode last week about V-backs, so if you guys haven’t listened to that, check that out.  Okay, Veronica.

Veronica Miranda: Hi, my name is Veronica Miranda.  I’m a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.  This is my first baby.  My due date is April 18th and I don’t know the gender, it’s just barely three months yesterday and type of birth:  it probably will be a hospital birth, but it will be a birth abroad.

Rachel Gonzales: I’m Rachel Gonzales.  I am 29.  I am a Product Rep for Doterra Essential Oils.  I am due April 10th and we will be finding out, hopefully, the sex of baby number two on Friday…., next Friday, so…., I have a two-and-a-half year old and he keeps me very busy.  We are planning a home-birth this time around.  We had a birth center water birth with my first.

Sunny Gault: That’s exciting.  Okay.  Thanks for joining us ladies.

[Theme Music]

[Featured Segments:  Empowered Birth Stories - Don’t miss this event Nov. 11th!]

Sunny Gault: Okay.  Before we get started with today’s show, Amy Salona is joining us here in the studio.  Amy is the owner and founder of Natural Baby Pros and Natural Baby Pros is putting on an event called Empowered Birth Stories and it’s coming up on November 11th!  So Amy is here to tell us a little bit about it.  Hi Amy.

Amy Salona: Hi Sunny.

Sunny Gault: Hi, so tell us, what happens at this event?

Amy Salona: Well this event is an afternoon of “Inspiration”, we like to call it.  And we have typically three women who tell their birth stories, one hospital birth, one home birth and one birth center birth and these are all women who along the way, have felt really empowered by their experience, whether through natural child birth or through receiving support from different, more natural  and holistic practitioners that help them along the way.  And so, these three women tell their stories.  This time around, it’s going to be the three women who started Natural Baby Pros….

Sunny Gault: Including you?

Amy Salona: Including me.

Sunny Gault: I don’t think I’ve ever heard your birth story.

Amy Salona: No, actually….

Sunny Gault: Well, you’ve had a couple of birth stories, right?

Amy Salona: I have had two birth stories and I have not actually told my birth stories, so this will be the first time.

Sunny Gault: Really?

Amy Salona: Yeah.  Then we have a panel of experts and this time around, we are introducing our newest members to Natural Baby Pros, our regional founding members, and these are specific professionals, whether it’s acupuncturists, or chiropractors or midwifes or doulas, people, anybody who supports birth, primarily in a holistic way, and they are there to answer questions of the audience about how exactly they can have the birth that they want.  And to do it in the healthiest way possible.

Sunny Gault: So that’s really the goal.  It’s to educate and then empower   women to have the birth that they want, regardless of whatever that is.

Amy Salona: Exactly.  And there, you know, there are things like empowering epidurals and you know….

Sunny Gault: Yeah.

Amy Salona: ….., just about knowing what your choices are and what your options are and to know that whatever it is that you have in your vision, that you have the tools and the resources and the support in the community to make it happen and even if you don’t know what you want, it’s definitely the place to really understand the full scope of what is possible.

Sunny Gault: Right. Okay, so how can our listeners get involved?

Amy Salona: Well, if you are local to San Diego, you would go to and get your tickets.  Sunny actually has a promo code for…..

Sunny Gault: Yes! If you are listening to this, you get a discount.

Amy Salona: You do.  So you would use “New Mom” to get your tickets, and get two dollars off your tickets.

Sunny Gault: Awesome.

Amy Salona: And, if you buy a Premium Package instead, if you use “New Mom Pro” you get five dollars off the Premium Package.

Sunny Gault: What’s the Premium Package?

Amy Salona: The Premium Pack is actually quite a steal.   You get two tickets to the event.

Sunny Gault: Okay.

Amy Salona: You get two free tickets to another Natural Baby Pros Event.  We have a couple throughout the year and you get this adorable fleece beanie with our little logo on top, and all of that which is actually like a 60 dollar value, you get for 20 dollars.  There is no discounts at the door, but you can show up at any time for sure.

Sunny Gault: Okay.  So, some of our listeners aren’t local though.  What are some of the ways they can get involved?

Amy Salona: Yes.  Well the best way for folks who aren’t local to get involved, is to register to be a member of Natural Baby Pros, which is free, at  and once you do that, you register to get our newsletters and things like and very shortly after the event, we will be posting these Birth Stories online.  And you can watch them for yourself.

Sunny Gault: Yay!  But if you are in town, you have to come, because I’m going to be there.  Helping to lead everything.  [Laughs]

Amy Salona: That’s right.  She is.  I was so excited for Sunny to be….

Sunny Gault: Be part of it!

Amy Salona: …., be part of it and help us to moderate the panel and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Sunny Gault: Yeah, well, I really enjoyed going last year and hearing the stories.  It’s real, it really is empowering and I think a lot of women could benefit from it.  So, Amy, thank you so much for being here.

Amy Salona: Absolutely, it’s my pleasure.

[Theme Music]

Sunny Gault: Today, we are continuing our series focused on Childbirth Preparation Methods.  These episodes are designed to give you a “Crash Course” on whether or not you would want to take a childbirth class, but it’s not intended to “replace” a class.  Kimberley Bianco is joining us here in the studio.  She’s a Doula and Childbirth Educator who teaches the Bradley Method.  Welcome Kimberly.

Kimberly Bianco: Thank you very much.

Sunny Gault: Okay, so I went to the Bradley website, which we’ll put the link on our website as well and the website calls “The Bradley Method”, “The Most Successful Form of Childbirth Education In The World”, which seems kind of loaded, doesn’t it though?

Kimberly Bianco: Wow.

Sunny Gault: That’s a huge statement!  [Laughs]

Kimberly Bianco: I did not write that.  I’m just going to put that out there.


Sunny Gault: But you are obviously an advocate of The Bradley Method.

Kimberly Bianco: Oh, huge.  Absolutely, absolutely.

Sunny Gault: Why is it a good choice?

Kimberly Bianco: Well, it was a choice that I…., that I took with my son.  It was the childbirth method.  What I…., the way that I went into this and the way that I’ve gone into any kind of procedures, I want to have all the information that I possibly can.  If someone’s going to do anything to my body, I want to know what it is, I want to know what my options are and The Bradley Method was the most comprehensive class that was out there, and I believe to this day, that it’s still is the most comprehensive.  I mean, we…, we really teach about anatomy, we really…., we teach relaxation, but our couples understand what is happening to their body throughout the entire process.  And so, what I like to teach to my students is, Education…., you know, Teaching Through The Fear.  So, if you understand what’s happening to your body, then you are not afraid.  It’s like turning on the light in a darkened room.

Sunny Gault: Yeah.  We should say two of our panelists here actually had or experienced The Bradley Method with their first babies.  So Christine and Rachel, I’d love to have your take on this.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Yes, absolutely.  No, I have to agree.  I think it is the most comprehensive.  When I was first starting out and looking, well, I know I need to take some kind of class and I think the options were well, there’s maybe a two week class or a few days and I thought, well, okay, what can you learn?  And then when I learned that The Bradley Method is 10 to 12 weeks, I thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s really comprehensive.” And then when I got into it, then I thought, “Wow, it really does cover such a wide range of topics,” and the more I took it, I thought “This is really good information.” And it gave me that confidence to do “A Natural Un-medicated Childbirth”.

Sunny Gault: Good.

Rachel Gonzales: Yeah, I definitely thought it was very empowering and I thought it was very beneficial for my husband as well to give  him some things to think about  and be prepared for, but you know I did kind of a combination of different methods and we did Birthing From Within as well, but I think, for me personally, I gained the most from the information…,  I didn’t take a Bradley class, but I had the book, I had you know read the whole book, I’d done plenty of research and the thing that probably got me through…., the things that got me through labor, I think, were the things that I learned from The Bradley Method and so, you know, I think it’s very valuable information and I’ve recommended it to all of my friends to, you know, at least read if they are not going to do a class.

Kimberly Bianco: Right.  Right.  There’s a lot of methods that are out there and I always tell my students, there’s great complements.  “Birthing From Within”, “Hypnobabies”, “Hypnobirthing” are all great complements because they do talk about Relaxation and Relaxing the Mind and I always tell my students and even my clients, as a Doula - 80% of this, is “Mind”.  It’s “Mind over Matter” you know, 80% of this really being able to wrap your head around what’s happening and being able to relax.  And that’s really…., really a key.  But, you are right, we are definitely the most comprehensive, and again, I think that, I mean, by the time my students leave, I’m asking them repeatedly, “Do you have all the information?”  And I tell the guys, this is like a “Game Book”.  You know, if you are ready, you go in, “Okay coach, I’m ready, let’s go in.  Let’s do this thing and let’s..., you know, hit the field running”.  But that’s…, that’s what I think people are really gaining from these classes.  What I like to see is the couples come together and the dads really gain their sense of understanding and empowerment even, equally so, sometimes more than the woman, that “This is my responsibility, this is my birth, this is my experience, just as much as it is her’s”, so I’m really am encouraged and excited by my dads, because they just come in and  they are like “Yeah, we can do this!” and I’m…., and they are truly an effective and essential part of the whole entire birth experience.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: No, I have to agree, I think, I mean, it really puts the dads in the place of “The Coach”, rather than being “The Observer”.

Kimberly Bianco: Right. Absolutely, and that’s really my goal when I teach these classes.  I tell them, “Look it’s up to you.  You are the person in that room who loves her more than anybody else.  Whether I’m a Doula, you know, I love my clients, but you love her and you can talk her off the ledge and you know how to keep her calm and you know what her triggers are, better than anybody else in that room”, and that’s what she’s going to need during that time.

Sunny Gault: So if you have a husband like mine, [Laughs], who doesn’t really get all of that, quite frankly.  I mean, he’s very supportive of me, but he’s not the comforting and nurturing type of man.  He is a caveman.  I would term him as a “Caveman”.  He would, you know, just take a whole turkey and just bite it in half.  So, I’m thinking, you know, for women who have husbands like that, that still love them dearly, is this maybe not such a good choice, would you say?

Kimberly Bianco: No, I don’t think so.  I think that I’ve had a lot of “cavemen” go through my classes and I’ve have had a lot of “cavemen”, who I’ve been a Doulas with and I’ve seen a lot of dads, who whether…., you know, and I don’t want to keep referring to being ‘as a Doula’, but it does carry over, they kind of take a back seat, though, “Okay, someone’s here”.  It’s like, “No, no, no.  This is not your experience”.  You may not be the comforting…, the person who does the massage.  You may have a touch that she just is not…, you know, “Don’t touch me!”  Really, you know, I’ve had dads who I’m like, “Don’t, don’t, don’t do that.  Don’t massage her like that.  You’re hitting her, you are not massaging her…”

Sunny Gault: [Laughs] That’s my husband!  You’ve met him!

Kimberly Bianco: I have!

Sunny Gault: You have met him, that’s great!


Kimberly Bianco: It’s quite bizarre, how it all came round.

Sunny Gault: I know.

Kimberly Bianco: But…, but there’s so many different ways.  I mean, every guy…., there’s something that he can do that’s going to help her through that process.  You know, he may not be the massaging technique person, he may not be the emotional connection that she needs. He might be able to bring her the ice water.  He might …., be able to be the buffer between the medical staff.  But I think what Bradley really does, is it shows him, that in his own way, he really can be an effective part of the birth process and he should be a part of the birth process.  Just because you are the one carrying the baby, does not make this any less of his birth experience.  And that’s what I really try to impart to my students and to all my dads, that, you know what?  This is your birth experience.  And they all…., they find their way.  And that’s the whole key, is really just helping them find their way in this process.

Rachel Gonzales: Just to add to that, I totally agree and I think that Bradley, in our experience, gave enough options that, you know, there are plenty of technicalities and things that he could relate to.  My husband is extremely like, way more caring and into massaging then I am, we are like totally the opposite here, where I’m like, “I’m in labor, touch me and die!”


Rachel Gonzales: So, you know, he wanted to do everything, but for me, it was better because I’m like, “Here’s a list of things you can do,” and you know, he had…., it just gives you plenty of options.  There is Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D.  I mean, there is a whole list of ways to be prepared and I mean, that…, that’s why it worked for us.

Kimberly Bianco: Yeah, and we…, you know, through the course of the classes, we talk about all different kinds of relaxation:  emotional, mental and physical are the top three times or the top three types of relaxation.  And so, it also gives couples enough time to sit together and to talk about what they anticipate that they are going to need in their birth experience and it may not be…, you know, “I need you to touch me.”  I’ve had moms who think they want to be touched in labor and then when they go into labor, like “Don’t come near me, don’t touch me!”  So there’s different things that you can do.  You don’t really know who you are going to be when you are in labor.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Right.

Kimberly Bianco: If you’ve never gone through it before, you don’t know what color your animal is going to be.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Right, and I think also, I mean, I have to say, my husband was involved throughout the pregnancy and I think one of the things is that Bradley gave us the tools to prepare for it.  So it wasn’t just once we are in the labor room, but I think he was really learning how to be a support partner, you when it came to diet, like the Brewer’s Diet for example, I mean, that was one of the things I really strongly believe, helped me carry my twins to 40 weeks.  And so, he was that encouragement saying, “Hey, did you get enough protein today?


Rachel Gonzales: My husband had a chart.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: ”Did you do your kegels?”

Sunny Gault: He would do little Kegel stickers.

Kimberly Bianco: There’s always something that a guy will attach himself to and identify with.  And if for nothing else, if for no other purpose, then, they understand the birth process and then they themselves are not afraid.  Because a lot of times, they go into this and they are terrified.  “What’s happening?  Why is she in pain?  Why are we doing this?  Let’s just get the Epidural because, you know, she’s in pain”.  To understand the actual process and what’s happening, if that can kind of take away that fear and at least calm him so that he has an understanding, then that’s great too.  And it works that way as well.

Sunny Gault: So what are some of the main principals behind the Bradley Method?

Kimberly Bianco: Well Dr. Bradley based his…., his practice and his theory on a book called “Childbirth Without Fear” by Grant Dickley-Reed and the idea was that…, there was a couple of different principals.  This was during the 1950’s, where he felt that a dad should be in the room with mom, because she, he was that strong…, that strong person.  The person that loved her the most that responded…, that she responded to.  He also felt that women should be able to eat and drink in labor, which I know is still kind of a sticking point with a lot of doctors and hospitals and so forth.  The woman, on average, a first time mom is in labor about 11 to 17 hours and so the idea, the concept that someone should not be able to eat or drink for 17 hours or more, as a Doula, as a husband, who’s not going through anything near as strenuous, I would never go 11 to 17 hours.  I’ve only had a cup of coffee and a granola bar this morning and I’m already feeling a little….


Kimberly Bianco: You know, it just doesn’t fly.  He felt that they should be able to eat and drink in labor.  He also felt that she should be able to move around in labor.  And Dr. Bradley was raised on a farm in Denver, Colorado and so he watched warm-blooded, air breathing mammals giving birth: so cats, dogs and sheep, and they all did primarily the same thing.  They would go into a corner of the barn, they would go under a house, they would go somewhere in a cool, dark place, they would assume a sleep-like position, they would…, and it was basically just deep abdominal breathing.  And it was a very relaxing method.  And while they were working hard, he observed that they didn’t look like they were actually in any kind of pain.  And, so he basically translated that over to “This is what Natural Birth looks like”, and if allowed, if a woman allows her body to do what it’s supposed to do, it will instinctively do what it needs to do.  And that was pretty much the principal that he…, that he built The Bradley Method around.

Sunny Gault: So what are some of the key things that separate it from something like Hypno-Birthing or something that you are deep into relaxation and concentration?

Kimberly Bianco: Right, right.  Well, the biggest…, the biggest difference between “Hypno-Birthing” and “Bradley” is that, we really do talk about what’s happening to your body.  I spend a lot of time on “Anatomy”, the physiological side effects.  What’s going through…, The Stages of Labor, The Stations of Labor.  We talk about contractions.  We know how long they are supposed to be.  We know which contractions are effective and which ones are not.  I’m not an expert in Hypno-Birthing.  I’ve had clients, as a Doula, who have done Hypno-Birthing, so my understanding is very basic.  I’m just going to preference that.  My understanding is that, it’s more of, “Don’t tell me what’s going on, I just really want to relax.  And the more discomfort I’m in, then the deeper in relaxation I want to go to”.  The principal with Bradley is, “The discomfort equals progress in labor”, for the most part.  Now, obviously, there’s extreme pain, which usually…, you know, which could constitute that there’s something else going on, but for the most part, the more pain, the closer the contractions, the more intense the experience, the closer we are to the end.  So it’s really, really more of an education purpose.  When it comes to something like Lamaze Method, Lamaze has a…, they follow a breathing pattern that’s supposed to replicate kind of a rhythm.  There’s the three “R”s, there’s the Rhythm, Ritual and Relaxation.  With Bradley, we don’t do any kind of pattern breathing.  It’s just deep, [Sound of deep breathing in…] abdominal relaxation, and what that does, is it supplies more oxygen to the…, to the muscles, it allows the blood to circulate  through the body more effectively and it basically just allows the body to respond more effectively to the…, to the birth process and gives it what it needs:  More energy, more blood, more oxygen, to complete the birth process.

Rachel Gonzales: I think that also, just to keep adding, helps a lot with the fear factor, like we…., we have…, Veronica and I have spent a lot of time talking about fear factors with labor and when you know the technicalities and you know what to expect, then you don’t freak out that you don’t know what’s happening to your body.  And I’m just a technical person anyway.  I have to understand everything down to the last little everything.  Every detail, so understanding what was happening and how a baby was moving down and out and you know, with each contraction was very beneficial for me.

Kimberly Bianco: I have had moms come to my classes, who were on their second baby and the first one, they said, you know, “First contraction, we ran to the hospital, because we didn’t understand.  She was in pain, we thought there was something wrong.  So, it’s the understanding of, “How long can I stay at home?  I’m more…, I’m the most comfortable at home and that’s where I can be the most relaxed”, and then that transition over to your birth place, whether it’s a birth center or a hospital or a home birth, whatever, there’s a…, there’s a sense of everything’s happening all at once and oh my gosh, I’m having this baby”, and sometimes, there’s that fight or flight instinct that kicks in and labor can actually stop, and so, it’s understanding , getting past that point and getting to the hospital, when contractions are effective and the dilation…., you know, the way that…, that we…, that my students understand it is, you know, we go to the hospital when contractions are anywhere between  three to five minutes apart, closer to three minutes apart.  I’ve been doing this for a couple of hours, as long as everything seems to be going on progressingly, you know, progressing fine.  Most moms end up at the hospital between somewhere around five or six centimeters.  Ideally,  at that point, labor isn’t going to stop and it’s going to continue and it’s going to…, and then that way, we know that it’s effective and that we can, you know, we can go natural.  About 88…, 85 to 88 percent of all the couples who take Bradley, go completely natural, with no drugs, less episiotomies, we have a very, very low C-Section rate and I really believe that it’s because of the Educational purpose.  The people understand.  And they know the questions to ask.  I make…, I really want to make sure that my students are, what I call, “Informed Consumers”.  You’ve got all the questions, you know all the options, you know all the scenarios that could potentially come into play, and you’ve made those decisions ahead of time.  So in my classes, I do talk about Epidurals, I do talk about forms of Induction, natural and medicated.  We do talk about complications and variations, so again it goes back to that whole really, really comprehensive education and really comprehensive content, in that, everything is covered.

Veronica Miranda: Kimberly do you ever feel that some of your clients have information overload and it just…., because I mean, there’s a lot to learn and we are not like, I’m not trained as a physician, I might be…, just find out I’m pregnant and start learning about birthing process and all the options available and sometimes, I have to close the computer and I’m exhausted and I don’t want to read anymore.  You know, I mean…, but I want to be informed, but it just sometimes feels like so much!

Kimberly Bianco: Well I think the internet can be our friend and it can also be our foe.

All: Yes.

Veronica Miranda: A lot of scary stories.

Kimberly Bianco: Yeah, I think that people…, you know and I…, it’s not that I don’t want you to be educated and I’m not saying that we’ve got the all…, you know, that we’ve got all the information.  I bring in a lot of supplemental information to my classes particularly, but, yeah, I do think that people get information overload and I can identify those students in my class and I tell them in the beginning, “Look, I don’t want you to be watching all those pregnancy shows on TV…”


Kimberly Bianco: Yeah, I had a girl come in one time, just white with fear.  “I had this friend and she had this horrible birth and they strapped her down on the table…”  and I said, I looked at her and I said, “You really had a friend that went through this?”, her husband said, “No, no, no, she was watching like one of those terrible….


Kimberly Bianco:…, shows….,  and this woman was like…, I think she was a street person and she couldn’t take drugs…,” and I said, “Okay, what is your reality?  Is that your reality?  Are you a street person?  Are you taking street drugs?”  Because you have to…, so you have to really put it in the concept and say, “What’s my reality?” , and yes, there is a lot of information out there.  I really try to guide them in the right direction and say, “You know these are great books over here.  I have a library that I recommend,” but there is times when I say, “You need to shut down, because we can get information overload, we can get squirrelly and then that leads to a lot of false fears, you know, the “What ifs?” and it’s  like that’s probably not going to happen, so let’s not go there unless we need to.

Rachel Gonzales: And yeah, again, I have to say I like the idea that Bradley, because you are going over such a…, you know, period of time, you have that time to sort of absorb everything and remember, you know, we had home-work that we had to go through, we had our little work-book and it gives you that sense of “Okay, I need to sort of be…, I need to put some skin in the game and really put effort into the preparation”.  It’s not about, “Okay, I’m going to learn stuff and then okay, child birth, but there’s things that I need to actively do throughout the pregnancy and I can be pro-active and I think that’s part of the empowerment.

Kimberly Bianco: I tell a lot of my students, you know, you wouldn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m going to run a marathon,” and then just put your shoes on and start running.  You have to train for it.  Your body, it takes nine months to go through pregnancy and that’s not coincidental.  Your body has to go through these changes and you have to go through those changes as well.  So, while people that say, “You know what?  I’m due in two weeks, can you teach me The Bradley Method?”


Sunny Gault: Yeah.

Kimberly Bianco: “Well…., we could talk…., but I don’t know how effective….”  So it’s not that it doesn’t work, but I really think that the more you understand the process and the more that you especially go through  the relaxation, that’s really key, is learning how to relax and get to a deep state of relaxation between the contractions, so you allow your body to get that rest and that…, you know, and get ready for the next contraction.  And then also to relax during the contractions, is really key, and that just takes practice and time.  You know, I mean, I relax and I meditate and it’s been…., it’s taken years.  It’s something that’s really learned.  So yeah, that it’s not coincidental that Bradley Classes are you know, the 10 to 12 weeks.  Some people teach less, some people teach eight weeks, but Bradley has 12 units of  material, it is very, very comprehensive and it is built that way, you know, for a reason.

Sunny Gault: Yeah, we are going to talk a little bit more about that, about the classes and what people can expect, when we return.  We’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

Sunny Gault: Okay, we’re back and today, we are talking about The Bradley Method.  Kimberley Bianco is a Doula and she’s a Child birth Educator teaching The Bradley Method.  So, Kimberley, let’s talk about the classes and what people can experience if they sign up.

Kimberly Bianco: So, it is a 12 week course or a 12 unit course, or 12 units within The Bradley Method.  We talk about the history of Bradley, who Dr. Bradley is.  We do…, in the first class, we’ll do some exercises, some pelvic rocks, we’ll talk about kegels and squats and different things that you can do to stay comfortable throughout the pregnancy and then also positions that you can utilize in labor.  We also talk about nutrition and the anatomy of the pregnant body, where the different organs are and why you have to pee all the time and why you have indigestion and why you pee when you stand and cough and sneeze and laugh, and why you are feeling, the farther along the pregnancy, basically, what’s going on.  And then, also, what you can do to alleviate some  of those pregnancy discomforts and stay comfortable.  We spend…., I spend quite a lot of time on what we call, “The Emotional Sign Posts Of Labor”.  There is a theory that the only way that you can tell what’s happening in labor is to do a vaginal check.  I do not recommend, I actually forbid my dads to do any kind of vaginal check on their moms, some dads go, “I’m I supposed to be doing that?”, No, no, you are really not.


Kimberly Bianco: There’s a theory called…, well it’s not a theory, it’s actually, the principal of the emotional sign posts of labor and we go through psychological changes and emotional changes that manifest themselves in different ways, throughout the different stages of labor.  So in the beginning, she might be kind of in what we call the “Putzy, putzy stage”, and nesting and doing that sort of a thing.  And then, as she’s getting into more of the active labor, some of the sign posts and the way and some of the things she’s going to say and the way she’s going to act, and so dads can look for that.  And then we also talk about Transition, when some dads refer to her as becoming the “Incredible Hulk” and …,


Kimberly Bianco:…., turning green and doing all kinds of things like that, which you know, but sometimes…., but we talk about why that’s happening and then also, during the pushing stage and then emotionally, what she looks like and some of the things she’s going to say and when that happens.  We also talk about a really, what I consider a key element, which is called NAP, which is the Natural Alignment Plateau, usually happens somewhere around six to eight centimeters when the contractions are continuing at the same intervals, but things are happening internally, maybe she’s not dilating, maybe she’s kind of plateauing in her dilation process and what’s happening inside and what they can do, changing positions, maybe doing some natural methods of augmentation as opposed to, you know, breaking the waters and things like that.  We also will do Birth Plans in the class.  So what we call now, Birth Wish Lists.  And what that means, again, I bring in different medical interventions into my class, probably better than 90 percent of my students go through, have the births in hospitals and that’s what primarily I would think because of insurance purposes, so again, under the understanding  of being an informed consumer, I think it’s really, really important that we talk about those things.  So we talk about due dates and we talk about inductions and epidurals and all the different drugs that they might, whether or not they actually are administered, what they might come in contact with.  And what that means, and the pros and the cons, so that they understand the risk factor in each one of those things.  We also do talk about complications and variations.  So understanding, I know that Christine had a C-section, understanding what that is ahead of time and if we do have a C-section, what our options are going to be.  You know, you might not be able to follow your Birth Plan as you were hoping to, but there are still some things that you can do, to help make this a really good, positive birth experience.  We also do talk about breastfeeding.  I also bring in New Born Care, Family Dynamics, Post Partum Care, people think post partum depression, but it’s really just more like Post Partum Care, what that looks like and yeah, and so you really understand, it’s not just…., it’s all about the birth, but, you know, after the birth too, you go, “Okay, so now what? ….. I’ve read all these books about birth but I have no idea what to do with this live being that they’ve sent me home with, that I really wish somebody had come screaming down the halls going, “This woman has no idea what she’s doing with this child!  Stop!  Stop! Stop!”


Sunny Gault: Right.

Kimberly Bianco: And so we talk about that as well too.

Sunny Gault: Yeah.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: So, do you have to do your classes with a partner?  I mean, do….

Kimberly Bianco: No, absolutely not.  One of the things Bradley does…, it’s also referred to as “Husband Coached Child Birth” and personally, I’ve been trying to get them to change that to “Partner Coached Child Birth” because I get all different family dynamics in my classes.  I’ve had single moms, I have had…, you don’t have to do Bradley with a partner, I mean, it does actually help.  I would recommend that if somebody doesn’t have a partner, if it’s a single mom, that they maybe have a friend or a family member, someone that they can trust, to be with them during that process.  What we find with Bradley couples or Bradley students is that in the hospital or in a Birth Center, when they realize that you’ve done something like Bradley, the nurses or the staff tend to maybe kind of back away because they go, she knows what she’s doing.

All: Yeah, yes.

Kimberly Bianco: And I think that’s fantastic.  It’s a huge complement, you know, it’s like, “Hey, I don’t….”, that’s one less patient, I guess that they have to be concerned with as far as charting and they have…, their jobs are huge.  I have the highest respect for the nursing staff and the hospital staff.  Their jobs are enormous.  So if you’ve got a patient who knows what she’s doing, you know, then it’s one less thing that they really have to kind of worry about.  Getting her chips and massaging her, ice chips and that sort of a thing.  But if there is somebody that you can trust to have with you in the birth, I think that that’s…, that that’s ideal.  There are some people I would recommend you not having in the room with you.  And it’s usually somebody who doesn’t understand what you are trying to go through.  Well-meaning parents or in-laws or things like that, “Why is she going through this?”, you know, to them it looks like pain, when you are really just working hard and trying to get through the contractions, and so, we talk about that as well.  Who would be an appropriate birthing partner for you.

Sunny Gault: Christine, you went through the actual classes?

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Yes I did and you know, I think it really did…, it helped us incredibly and you know, Kimberly to your point, it is interesting I think, when we went in, had our birth planned and my husband and I, we went to the facility and I’ll just say, we wanted to know and do Natural Child Birth and the facility we were at was respectful of that and tolerated that, but they certainly were not actively participating with us.  So I think that’s part of, you know, what our challenge.  We had a very professional labor delivery nurse, but she certainly was sort of, you know, standoffish and she did the charting and so, I think, you know and I see the role of having a Doula as well.  I think it’s just really incredibly important that the husband, you know, he’s there, or the partner is there and it’s great to have an advocate as well, who can kind of remind you of the thing that you’ve learned in the class.

Sunny Gault: Yeah.

Kimberly Bianco: Yeah. I make it…, I make this point several times in my classes.  “I’m not your doctor.  I am not a replacement for any kind of medical advice.  I will not tell you what to do.  I will not tell you not tell you to go against doctors’ advice.  I will tell you if you ask me, ‘If I was in your situation with the same factors, this is what I would do, but this is my comfort level and you have to determine what your comfort level is.’”

Sunny Gault: Okay Kimberly, well thank you so much for being here today…,

Kimberly Bianco: Thank you so much!

Sunny Gault: ….., and for sharing all this great information with us.  Of course we want to hear about your experience giving birth using The Bradley Method.  You can post a comment on our website or chat about your labor and delivery on our Face book page or through Twitter.  If you are posting to Twitter, be sure to use the hash-tag - #PreggiePals.

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[Featured Segments:  Pre-natal Fitness Tips - Fitness for each Trimester]

Sunny Gault: Before we wrap today’s show, here are some Pre-natal Fitness Tips from Lisa Draksmann of Stroller Strides.

Lisa Druxman: Hi Preggie Pals, this is Lisa Druxman from Stroller Strides, where it’s fun to get fit with your baby and meet other new moms.  And I am here to share my Pre-Natal Fitness Tips with you today.  And what I want to go over  in the next couple of moment is on:  How your work-outs might change from Trimester to Trimester; because it does change.  First I want to say that you can start working out at any stage of your pregnancy, so long as your doctor doesn’t say you have any contra-indications.  A lot of people think, “Well, if I wasn’t working out before, then I shouldn’t be working out,” not true.  This is the best time to start taking care of your body and to get fit.  I mean, obviously, if we can get you working out before that’s even better, but we’ll still welcome you to start working out at any time.  So let’s take a look at the First Trimester.  If you were previously active, don’t worry, you’ve got really little to no changes.  Do what feels right and feels good.  If you were in-active, you do want to start slowly, and, again, I want to put it out there, for anybody, you check with your physician first.  You should be doing moderate exercise for about 60 minutes, most if not all days of the week.  And that should sound familiar because that’s what all of us should be doing, even when we are not pregnant.  Now a lot of women don’t feel well when they are in their first trimester, so that’s what you have to listen to your body.  But as far as exercise goes, you can do whatever you were doing before, if it still feels good.  Now going into that second trimester, oh, that’s like our “Glowing Stage” right?  We are really starting to feel better and we are wanting to start moving.  This is where I want to say, consistency is key.  It’s really important that you are consistent with your work-outs, throughout each trimester, really.  So, you shouldn’t think that, “Oh, when I get to next one…, I don’t need to working-out that much.”  So start really setting the stage for when you are going to be working-out and how often you are going to be working-out.  Now, it’s true, at this second trimester, this point that we are no longer going to be laying on our backs after that first trimester.  And then finally, for your third trimester, maintain.  If you don’t have any contra-indications, you are able to stick to your program, your body might tell you, “Alright, I don’t feel good running anymore.”  So start to walk more instead.  So, it’s just important that you listen, that you’re still consistent.  If you drop out in your third trimester, you could lose any of the benefits that you had before.  So make sure to stick with it, listen to your body and just have a great pregnancy. Thanks for listening to today’s tip and be sure to listen to Preggie Pals for more great pregnancy tips.

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Sunny Gault: That wraps up our show for today.  If you have a question or comment about our show, we would love to hear it.  Send us an email through our website or call the Preggie Pals hotline at 619 866 4775 and for our regular listeners, don’t forget to check out the Preggie Pals Club and you can learn all about it on our website .  Coming up next week, we are breaking down The Top Ten Foods to Eat While Pregnant.  Thanks for listening to Preggie Pals, your pregnancy, your way.


This has been a New Mommy Media Production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only.  Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts.  Though such information materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problems or disease or prescribing any medication.  If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.

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