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4:04 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Looking back at the Bradley Method

ThinkStock image

ThinkStock image

Lately, a lot of people have been making comments to me about how relieved I must be to not be pregnant anymore. My twins are nine months old now so I'm not sure what's brought on this influx of like-minded comments, but it has got me thinking about how much I loved being pregnant, even on the bad days.

I loved knowing that my children were safe inside me, quietly cuddled against one another in a peaceful and oblivious state. It continues to amaze me that I was very aware that they would never be so well behaved again. The experience of being pregnant with twins was humbling and awe-inspiring. It amazes me still that my body was able to create two perfect (and I mean perfect!) little humans with hair, nails, round ears and 20 toes! It occurs to me that one reason why we all got through those first nine months was in part due to the birthing class my husband and I attended. We chose to take 12 weeks of Bradley Method classes with a woman who lives in Dewey.

The classes were not cheap but I had an HSA of sorts through my work so they reimbursed me the couple hundred dollars it cost. However, knowing what I know now, I would pay the money regardless; that's how much I think they paid off.

The Bradley method is a 12-class birthing course based around the idea that husband and wife are a team in the delivery room, that the mother has every right to know everything that will happen to her and the child(ren) every step of the way, that any woman is able to go through delivery without pain medication and at the end walk out of the delivery room, and that diet and exercise are essential to a healthy pregnancy and safe birth. While I ended up having a cesarean section, T and I still relied on the relaxation techniques we learned. I firmly believe that the focus on my and the babies' health was what allowed me to carry my twins to 38 and a half weeks.

Carrying twins, I was expected to intake between 80 to 125 grams of protein a day and gain upwards of 45 pounds. The Bradley Method places high value on a diet filled with protein, fresh vegetables and fruits. Protein is essential to developing a strong placenta and of course a healthy embryo(s). In addition, fresh fruits and vegetables were important in keeping my body fit and ready for the marathon of pregnancy and delivery. (For example, vitamin C is crucial in creating a strong immune system and helps to strengthen the placenta and uterus. Plenty of rest was important but so was exercise.) In our classes, T and I learned that doing between 100 - 200 kegels a day would strengthen my pelvic floor and support the uterine wall. Kegel exercises may be joked about, but studies have shown that a strong pelvic floor helps to prevent premature delivery.

Each class focused on a different aspect of pregnancy and birth from relaxation techniques to easy exercises to the various stages of labor and delivery. One day, T and I practiced the various birthing positions that would allow me the greatest comfort during deliver. Another day, T practiced different techniques to keep me relaxed as relaxation and breathing is the key, according to Bradley, to having a near-pain free and medicine free birth. Perhaps not everyone will buy into this method and while I can't attest to how well that works in delivery, I do know that due to the focus on my nutrition each of my twins weighed more at birth than most single babies. I do know that being relaxed in the delivery room allowed me to be more focused on the arrival of my children and to soak in the awesomeness of the moment. I also know that being well informed, asking lots of questions, knowing what questions to ask and being prepared meant that we had no surprises along the way and could spend time welcoming our twins.

For more information about the Bradley Method check out www.bradleybirth.com

Jill Craig was education director for the Highlands Center for Natural History before embarking on her most recent, and favorite, adventure - that of stay-at-home mom to twins Max and Olivia. Their palpable joie de vivre inspires Jill's writing and invigorates her own passion for nature and life. To see the original blog post go to www.prescottmomsblog.info