FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Are taking childbirth classes even relevant anymore? Can’t I just find everything on the Internet?

Birth and early parenting are on a completely different experiential and processing level than Google searches. It’s simply insufficient for the journey you are embarking on; labor and birth are part of a different realm. If we look only at the birth experience (and my classes cover way more than that, but let’s simplify here) and compare it to having to run a marathon (which is a good analogy) – Internet searching is not going to prepare you such an intensive physical, mental, and emotional event.  In this regard, I don’t recommend online classes, either – people rarely complete them and you are missing the human element that is essential to positive outcomes. This is all about human relationships, working with your nervous system (which operates on millions of years old programming), and obtaining a deep internal trust and knowing – for you, your partner and your baby. You are putting yourself in a very vulnerable position when you are not working with another human being whom you trust and can reach out to.  Classes give you structure and help you make sure each week you are dong the things you need to do to be ready for birth and baby. Besides, classes are fun; Internet searching is not.

 

Why should I take childbirth classes?  Giving birth and parenting are instinctive and natural.

If you plan on birthing by yourself out in wild and parenting away from society, then you might have a good point. However, most of us birth and parent within complex modern societies that directly impact those experiences. Current social norms and medically institutionalized practices often undermine the dozens of natural processes that contribute to your and your baby’s wellbeing. It sounds like you want to do things your way and have a good level of trust in yourself – that’s great! If this is so, you will really benefit by making sure you have a good understanding what you and your baby need physically, mentally and emotionally as well as be armed with knowledge and skills so you really can birth and parent the way you want.

 

Aren’t 12 weeks overkill?

Short answer: No.

Long Answer: I’ve been a parent for 23 years. I’ve worked with new parents for almost two decades. The number one thing discussed amongst professionals who work in the pre-and-perinatal psychology as well as breastfeeding fields is the importance of quality prenatal education for parents for a good start for baby and for parents. As a parent myself, the most painful experience of all is regret. The 12 weeks is essential.

 

What do you mean by ‘natural’ birth?

Natural birth is simply the normal physiology of the labor and birth processes. There are dozens of interlinking processes from pregnancy through the postpartum period that evolved over millions of years – they are amazing and powerful. I want you to understand these processes and to be able to support them for the best pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences. Most of my couples desire to have an un-medicated birth without epidural anesthesia (pain medication) and with minimal interventions, which is commonly viewed as a ‘natural’ birth.

 

What if I don’t have a natural birth, end up with an epidural, or have a c-section? Are you going to shame me?

Thank you for asking this. Oh, my goodness, NO! That is totally not my style. You are safe in my class and working with me. This whole course is about helping you and your partner to be prepared so that you can have the best experience possible and to be able to make informed decisions that support your parenting goals. We can’t control everything in birth and parenting, and I completely trust your decision-making. The most important thing is love and bringing you and your baby into relationship with each other – that is the foundation of health and well-being.

 

This sounds great, but I am going to miss a couple of classes. Is this okay? How do I get the missed material?

We meet for three months, so it’s pretty common for couples to miss at least one class. My classes are recorded and I will send you the recording of the missed class as well as handouts. You can meet with me before or after another class, or connect with me on Zoom/FaceTime/Skype if you have questions about the material.  If you are away and in a time zone that syncs up with class, you are welcome to attend the class live online through Zoom. Just connect with me ahead of time so we can set this up.

 

At what point in my pregnancy should I sign up for the course?

Starting the course anytime between 20 and 26 weeks gestation is ideal. But, I have had many mothers who started class at 28+ weeks, too, and it works out fine. Contact me if you need more guidance.

 

So, I see you have PowerPoint. Is this just boring lectures?

A PowerPoint is simply my class outlines right there to share with you all. My visual learners love it. It keeps me on track and makes sure I don’t forget anything essential that I want you to know, or that we need to practice in class. Some parts do have me talking more and sharing information directly (the only way around this is to assign major reading during the course and have discussions about the material; however, most of my couples are busy professionals who do not have time to do this amount of reading during the week).  We also do lots of physical hands-on practice, see videos, have discussions and play games. I use a variety of learning tools. Generally, we have a lot of fun – there are some good laughs.

 

Why do you teach from your home?

For a couple of reasons: Renting space in LA is prohibitively expensive.  Renting space would mean raising my prices – a lot. Free parking. Enough said. Flexibility – if I am need to reschedule a class due to being at a birth or illness or for any other reason (doesn’t happen a lot), we can work this out easily as a class without having to check in with anyone but ourselves. Privacy and intimacy –  We use the back room of the house which feels separate. It’s more conducive to the subject matter at hand. A clean bathroom – I know it’s clean. I am the one doing the scrubbing. We can see trees from the window and a little bit of the ocean – much better than being holed up in a windowless room.

 

What if I don’t have time to take a 12-week course?

I gently want to remind you that you are currently gestating a real live baby and will be giving birth to this beautiful child shortly. All current research points to this time being foundational for human well-being and health throughout the life span. You are literally creating a human being.  I have many types of couples in my classes – parents who are teachers, graduate students, nurses, doctors, lawyers, all sorts of business professionals and tradesmen- all busy people. They made time for their baby. If you don’t make time for your child, who will?  Your baby is counting on you. Please look at the question that pertains to missing classes to see if this would help you.

 

What if my partner doesn’t want to take a 12-week course?

It’s hard to address this one if I don’t know the exact reason for your partner’s objection. Please call me if you want to troubleshoot this. Sometimes, partners feel this way until the first class, and then they realize how valuable class is and that sets them at ease. If your partner is a male, he may just think you’ve got this covered or someone else (like the doctor or the midwife) will handle all this and he doesn’t understand the full ramifications of what is about to ensue. So, let’s try putting the shoe on the other foot: If your partner was the one about to have a living cantaloupe come through his male parts and wanted both the living cantaloupe and his own body and mind to be whole and sound, you can bet he would make you take a 12-week course and would be willing to pay double.  Am I right?

 

What do you mean by ‘husband or partner coached’?

The term  “coach” was used by Dr. Bradley as a metaphor to help fathers (who were most often husbands in the mid 20th century) understand that their role was an active one during the pregnancy, labor and birth, and postpartum. Dr. Bradley liked sports and thought that this was an image that would help men understand that they were not bystanders. Who knew that the term “coach” would become such a hot commodity in the 21st century?

 

What if my husband or partner doesn’t want to be a “coach”?

If your partner feels nervous about being the sole support person during the labor and birth, this is totally understandable and normal. It will be important for you to have someone there who will be another source of support like a doula, or sometimes some couples have family members take on this role (and they are welcome to attend class). Even if your man doesn’t have to bear to full brunt of the role of support person for you and baby during labor and birth, this does not let him off the hook. As a father there are still a lot of decisions to be made and a lot he can do to invest into your and your baby’s well-being. Having a partner who is overly afraid and/or ignorant of what’s going on is a liability. Most women I know expect their partner to have a near equal parenting role; if this is you, I suggest making sure you partner is well-educated so that he does know what do to. Not knowing how to support you and baby can lead to a lot of resentment down the road in your relationship.

 

What if I don’t have a husband?

All mothers and babies need support in order to thrive. They can’t do it alone. The term “husband” refers to a person in your circle who is committed to you and your baby – who will support you during pregnancy, labor and birth, and hopefully throughout this child’s life. This person is most often the baby’s father – it doesn’t matter whether you are married or not. Some of the teams in my classes have been same sex couples as well as mother and daughter. Your support person can be your boyfriend, your partner, your husband, your sister, your mother, your wife – whoever is willing to be there for you and your baby.

 

 

What if my doctor says I don’t need childbirth classes?

I am not sure exactly why you doctor made this statement. In Bradley, we are big on communicating with your health care provider, so you might want to inquire more from your doctor about the reasoning behind his/her statement. However, I also want you to consider this – throughout history, society and those in power have thought that women did not need to learn to read or do math, get an education or go to college, own property, work, or vote. When you do not have basic knowledge and freedoms you are left in a vulnerable position dependent on the ideas and beliefs of others. This is your baby and your birth, not your doctor’s. You live with the outcome.

 

 

I have a doula.  Do I still need childbirth preparation?

It’s great that you have found a doula to help support you during your birth! This is becoming much more popular and studies show that having continuous support during the birthing processes leads to better outcomes. However, your doula is simply not going to be able to teach you what you need to know as parents in one or two meetings before the birth. When you are well prepared and educated, you are then able to make the most of your doula because she can have effective discussions with you and work with you on a deep level because she can move beyond the initial stages of education.

 

Do you do condensed classes?

No. I do not teach a shortened Bradley series for several reasons. My contract with the Academy states that I will teach 12 weeks – and I will not violate that intellectual property and that commitment I made. Many of my couples do not have a doula and want to do the birth themselves – they absolutely must have the 12 weeks. If you do not have a doula, the only childbirth education I can recommend is a 12 week Bradley series whether you are planning a natural birth or not. A shortened course means that I would have to leave a lot of material on the cutting room floor – you’ll never see it, never know it. You and your baby are too important for me to do that. So, I don’t.

 

This looks amazing. How do I sign up?

You can sign up here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about my Bradley Method® series

Are taking childbirth classes even relevant anymore? Can’t I just find everything on the Internet?

Birth and early parenting are on a completely different experiential and processing level than Google searches. It’s simply insufficient for the journey you are embarking on. Labor and birth are part of a different realm.  If we look only at the birth experience (and my classes cover way more than that, but let’s simplify here) and compare it to having to running a marathon (which is a good analogy) – Internet searching by itself is not going to prepare you for such an intensive physical, mental, and emotional event.  In this regard, I don’t recommend online classes, either – people rarely complete them and you are missing the human element that is essential to positive outcomes. This is all about human relationships, working with your nervous system (which operates on million-year-old programming), and obtaining a deep internal trust and knowing – for you, your partner, and your baby. You are putting yourself in a very vulnerable position when you are not working with another human being whom you trust and can reach out to.  Classes give you structure and give you the opportunity each week make sure you are dong the things you need to do to be ready for the birth experience and your baby. Besides, classes are fun; Internet searching is not - I find it leads to an increase in anxiety.

 

Why should I take childbirth classes?  Giving birth and parenting are instinctive and natural.

If you plan on birthing by yourself out in the wild and parenting away from society, then I could totally see this possibility. Or, if you live in a micro-community that has a strong knowledge of all the natural processes that affect mother and baby as well as the wisdom to honor these processes, then maybe it's not necessary to take classes because it's all ingrained within your community (I don't know where this might be in the U.S. and certainly not in L.A. Please contact me if you live in an amazing community like this - I want to know more!)  The truth is, most of us birth and parent within complex modern societies that directly impact these experiences and that do not have adequate support structures in place. Current social norms and institutionalized medical practices most often undermine the dozens of natural processes that contribute to your and your baby’s well-being. It sounds like you want to do things your way and have a good level of trust in yourself – that’s great! If this is so, you will really benefit from making sure you have a good understanding what you and your baby need physically, mentally and emotionally as well as be armed with knowledge and skills so you really can birth and parent the way you want. Class will reinforce your strong sense of self-knowing.

 

Aren’t 12 weeks overkill?

Short answer: No.

Long Answer:  I’ve worked with new parents for almost two decades. The number one thing discussed among professionals who work in the pre-and-perinatal psychology, infant health and well-being, as well as breastfeeding fields is the importance of quality prenatal education for parents for a good start for baby and for parents. As a parent for 23 years, I can assure you hat the most painful experience of all is regret. The 12 weeks are essential.

 

What do you mean by ‘natural’ birth?

Natural birth is simply the normal physiology of the labor and birth processes. There are dozens of interlinking processes from pregnancy through the postpartum period that evolved over millions of years – they are amazing and powerful. I want you to understand these processes and to be able to support them for the best pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences. Most of my couples desire to have an un-medicated birth without epidural anesthesia (pain medication) and with minimal interventions, which is commonly viewed as a ‘natural’ birth.

 

What if I don’t have a natural birth, end up with an epidural, or have a c-section? Are you going to shame me?

That is such a great questions - thank you for asking. NO, i would never shame you. That is totally not my style. You are safe working with me; class is a safe container and energy field. This whole course is to lift you up and help you and your partner to be prepared so that you can have the best experience possible and to be able to make informed decisions that support your parenting goals. We can’t control everything in birth and parenting, and I completely trust your decision-making. The most important thing is love and bringing you and your baby into relationship with each other – that is the foundation of health and well-being.

 

This sounds great, but I am going to miss a couple of classes. Is this okay? How do I get the missed material?

We meet for three months, so it’s pretty common for couples to miss at least one class. My classes are recorded and I will send you the recording of the missed class as well as handouts. You can meet with me before or after another class, or connect with me on Zoom/FaceTime/Skype if you have questions about the material.  If you are ill, or you are away and in a time zone that syncs up with class, you are welcome to attend the class live online through Zoom. Just connect with me ahead of time so we can set this up.

 

At what point in my pregnancy should I sign up for the course?

Starting the course anytime between 20 and 26 weeks gestation is ideal. But, I have had many mothers who started class at 28+ weeks, too, and it works out fine. Contact me if you need more guidance.

 

So, I see you have PowerPoint. Is this just boring lectures?

A PowerPoint is simply my class outlines right there to share with you all. My visual learners love it. It keeps me on track and makes sure I don’t forget anything essential that I want you to know, or that we need to practice in class. Some parts do have me talking more and sharing information directly. The only way around this is to assign major reading during the course and have discussions about the material; however, most of my couples are busy professionals who do not have time to do this amount of reading during the week and besides I want you working on more important stuff related to your baby.  In class, we also do lots of physical hands-on practice, see videos, have discussions and play games. I use a variety of learning tools. Generally, we have a lot of fun – there are some good laughs.

 

Why do you teach from your home?

For a couple of reasons:

  1. "It's the right price," as my mother would say. Renting space in L.A. is prohibitively expensive.  Renting space would mean raising my prices – a lot - or be forced to cut necessary material. I don't want to do this.

  2. Free parking. Enough said.

  3. Flexibility – if we need to reschedule a class due to my being at a birth or illness or for any other reason (doesn’t happen a lot), we can work this out easily as a class without having to check in with anyone but ourselves.

  4. Privacy and intimacy –  We use the back room of the house which feels separate. It’s more conducive to the subject matter at hand.

  5. The view - we can see trees from the windows and a little bit of the ocean – so much better than being holed up in a windowless and stuffy room.

  6. A clean bathroom – I know it’s clean. I am the one doing the scrubbing.

 

What if I don’t have time to take a 12-week course?

I gently want to remind you that you are currently gestating a real live baby and will be giving birth to this beautiful child shortly. All current research points to this time being foundational for human well-being and health throughout the life span. You are literally creating a human being - your precious child - who will be part of your life forever. I have many types of couples who take my course – parents who are teachers, graduate students, therapists from a wide variety of fields, nurses, doctors, lawyers, tradesmen, and wide variety of professions - all busy people. They made time for their baby. If you don’t make time for your child, who will?  Your baby is counting on you. Please look at the question that pertains to missing classes to see if this would help you. Please contact me if you would like help figuring out a solution.

 

What if my partner doesn’t want to take a 12-week course?

It’s hard to address this one if I don’t know the exact reason for your partner’s objection. Please call me if you want to troubleshoot this. Sometimes, partners feel this way until the first class, and then they realize how valuable class is and that sets them at ease. If your partner is a male, he may just think you’ve got this covered or someone else (like the doctor or the midwife) will handle all this and he doesn’t understand the full ramifications of what is about to ensue. So, let’s try putting the shoe on the other foot: If your partner was the one about to have a living watermelon come through his male parts and wanted both the living watermelon as well as his own body and mind to be whole and sound, you can bet he would make you take a 12-week course and would be willing to pay double.  Am I right?

 

What do you mean by "husband or partner coached"?

The term  “coach” was used by Dr. Bradley as a metaphor to help fathers (who were most often husbands in the mid 20th century) understand that their role was an active one during the pregnancy, labor and birth, and postpartum. Dr. Bradley liked sports and thought that this was an image that would help men understand that they were not bystanders or spectators. Who knew that the term “coach” would become such a hot commodity in the 21st century?

 

What if my husband or partner doesn’t want to be a “coach”?

If your partner feels nervous about being the sole support person during the labor and birth, this is totally understandable and normal. It will be important for you to have someone there who will be another source of support like hiring a doula, or sometimes some couples have family members take on this role (and they are welcome to attend class). Even if your man doesn’t have to bear to full brunt of the role of support person for you and baby during labor and birth, this does not let him off the hook. As a father there are still a lot of decisions to be made and a lot he can do to invest into your and your baby’s well-being. Having a partner who is overly afraid and/or ignorant of what’s going on is a liability. Most women I know expect their partner to have a near equal parenting role; if this is you, I suggest making sure you partner is well-educated so that he does know what do to. Not knowing how to support you and baby can lead to a lot of resentment down the road in your relationship.

 

What if I don’t have a husband?

All mothers and babies need support in order to thrive. They can’t do it alone. The term “husband” refers to a person in your circle who is committed to you and your baby – who will support you during pregnancy, labor and birth, and hopefully throughout this child’s life. This person is most often the baby’s father – it doesn’t matter whether you are married or not. Some of the teams in my classes have been same sex couples as well as mother and daughter. Your support person can be your boyfriend, your partner, your husband, your sister, your mother, your wife – whoever is willing to be there for you and your baby.

Do I need to take a separate breastfeeding class, or do you cover this?

I do cover the basics of breastfeeding in my course, so you do not have to take another breastfeeding class. You are completely welcome to take a breastfeeding class outside of our course, if you would like to. It's important to listen to yourself and do what you feel is right for you in order to feel prepared in a way that you feel good about. For some families, taking an additional breastfeeding course is a financial burden for them, so I incorporated basic breastfeeding knowledge beyond a typical Bradley® course because I happen to be well-trained and have extensive knowledge about breastfeeding (as well as personal experience as a successful breastfeeding mother myself).

 

What if my doctor says I don’t need childbirth classes?

I am not sure exactly why you doctor made this statement. In Bradley®, we are big on communicating with your health care provider, so you might want to inquire more from your doctor about the reasoning behind his/her statement. However, I also want you to consider this – throughout history, society and those in power have thought that women did not need to learn to read or do math, get an education or go to college, own property, work, or vote. When you do not have basic knowledge and freedoms you are left in a vulnerable position dependent on the ideas and beliefs of others. This is your baby and your birth, not your doctor’s. You live with the outcome.

I have a doula.  Do I still need childbirth preparation?

It’s great that you have found a doula to help support you during your birth! This is becoming much more popular and studies show that having continuous support during the birthing processes leads to better outcomes. However, your doula is simply not going to be able to teach you what you need to know as parents in one or two meetings before the birth. When you are well prepared and educated, you are then able to make the most of your doula because she can have effective discussions with you and work with you on a deep level because she can move beyond the initial stages of education.

 

Do you teach condensed classes?

No. I do not teach a shortened Bradley® series for several reasons:

  1. My contract with the Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth states that a Bradley Method® group series must be for 12 weeks. The "method" of TBM is the 12 weeks, which is evidence-based and is how the course is designed to be taught. I will not violate that intellectual property and the commitment I made.

  2. Many of my couples do not have a doula and want to do the birth together – they absolutely must have the 12 weeks. If you do not have a doula, the only childbirth education I can recommend is a 12 week Bradley® series, whether you are planning a natural birth or not.

  3. A shortened course means that I would have to leave a lot of material on the cutting room floor – you’ll never see it, never know it. You and your baby are too important for me to do that. So, I don’t.

  4. It's a matter of honor and ethics.

  5. I love babies - I want the very, very best for each new soul who comes Earthside.

 

This looks amazing. How do I sign up?

You can sign up here. I look forward to meeting you in class!

If you have a question and can't find the answer here, contact me

Chance

only favors

the prepared mind."

~ Louis Pasteur

Bradley Method Classes

Birth Doula Services

Lactation Counseling

One-on-One Coaching

Supporting and empowering families in

Brentwood, Culver City, Encino, Malibu, Marina Del Rey,  Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Topanga, West LA, Westwood, Woodland Hils & Los Angeles, CA

Susan Martin

AAHCC, CLEC, PPNE

Phone: 310-359-3485

E-mail:

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