Class 1 Summary Handout

-We are here to help provide you with information about natural childbirth. We are not medical providers and cannot give medical advice. We will refer you to your care-provider should you have a specific medical question.

- Make-ups and switching classes: When we teach two classes simultaneously, you are more than welcome to attend the other class if you cannot make your own. Otherwise make-ups are offered 30 minutes prior to the next consecutive class. If you need to miss two consecutive classes, we can do one condensed make-up for both of those classes.

- We teach a ten week series instead of the normal twelve, and we have found students enjoy this more. You will still get all the same material, however we don’t do quite as much review, and rather than watching most videos in class, we have them available to borrow

-borrowing books and DVDs: You are welcome to borrow books and videos from our lending library. We ask you bring videos back the next week. Husband Coached Childbirth and Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth can be borrowed for 4 weeks. All other books can be borrowed for two weeks. 

Ways of Handling Pain

Sleep - Dr. Bradley recommends using a sleep imitation when labor gets really hard.

Cry- Crying can create tension or release tension. Make sure you put a time limit on it.

Bath - Many care-providers will not allow you to take a bath in early labor as it can slow down your progress. It will generally make the contractions slow. Great for long labors when you need some sleep or a break.

Scream - like crying it can create tension or release it. You should know which it does for you. Try to use a low-pitched scream.

Put Pressure on it - back rubs, double-hip squeeze

Privacy- For most women, privacy is needed to really open up and allow labor to progress. If you think about pooping, you  generally don’t want to do it in front of other people. You will be using the same muscles to push your baby out that you use to poop.

Sympathy- You can seek a little sympathy, but don’t let it consume you, because it will make the pain worse.

Support- You will need tons of support: physical, emotional, and mental

Abdominal Breathing - The Bradley Method does not teach anything but natural abdominal breathing. Deep breathing will help you relax.

Drinking water - If you are dehydrated, your hormones and your muscles will not be able to do with they need to do effectively. Always drink plenty of water.

Urinating - If your bladder is full during labor, you will likely not be able to dilate efficiently. It will take much longer. You need your bladder to be empty. It will also relieve some of the pressure you are feeling.

Change Position- This is really important during labor. What works for one person may not work for another person. Change positions between contractions and not during them, though. Lying on your back is never a good position.

Relax- This one is huge. You will need to practice relaxation to be able to achieve a relaxed state of mind and relaxed muscles. We will go over different relaxation techniques throughout the class.

Shower- This one is great. Most birthing facilities have showers, and you can do this even if your water has broken. Dad needs to be in the shower helping to physically support mom. 

Praise - Dads cannot give enough praise!

Call Care-Provider - If you are even scared or unsure about what is happening, calling your care-provider can provide you with reassurance.

Vocalize - Make sure you use low-tone, low-pitch noises.

SW PG 6. Myths V Pregnancy Goals

All statements are false.

Staying Healthy and Low-Risk

You will have a lot more options on how to labor and birth if you are healthy and low-risk.

Class 1 Material- Exercises

Tense/Relax Technique-  Read through this on pg 9, and practice twice a day for the week.


Tailor Sitting - This posture exercise will help ensure that you have an anterior baby. Posterior babies are generally longer and more painful labors. 

Squatting - This exercise will take practice for most moms. Just remember that your center of gravity may be off, and you will only continue to grow larger. Have dad stand opposite of you to provide support.

Pelvic Rocking - Tones and conditions the lower back and abdominal muscles. If you are feeling pain in your lower back this position can help as it moves the baby off of your spine.

Butterfly - This exercise will allow you to pull your legs back more comfortably in the second stage of labor.

Kegel - Helps maintain good muscle tone in the pelvic floor. You will need to practice kegels every day.

picture of the pelvic floor muscle

Side Relaxation and Sleep Position - safe and comfortable position for sleeping and relaxing. 

Study Helps

  1. tailor Sitting
  2. squatting
  3. kegel
  4. butterfly
  5. regular physical exercise
  6. pelvic rocking
  7. side relaxation
  8. event, coaches
  9. back, belly, bottom
Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, PhD (Hon), is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee. The 41-year-old midwifery service is noted for its women-centered care. Early in her career, Gaskin learned an effective method for dealing with a feared obstetrical complication (when baby's shoulders become stuck during birth) from indigenous midwives in Guatemala.