Birthing Naturally: Partner Supported Childbirth Method
Harmony’s series on Birthing Naturally offers a practical system of simple, effective, and proven natural labor techniques, taught by long-time Bradley Method instructors.
Birthing Naturally classes provide objective and non-judgmental class instruction on the foundation of evidence-based research. We prepare the expectant person and partner by encouraging them to feel empowered, make informed decisions based on education and scientific research, trust in one’s body, and surrender to the natural unfolding of labor and birth.
Our classes are taught with a light-hearted, caring, and evidence-based approach. We incorporate simple and thorough techniques that enable the birthing person to channel one’s strength, confidence, and relaxed disposition when preparing for labor and birth. Students will learn practical tools and techniques that help minimize discomfort and encourage the smooth progression of labor and birth while sustaining confidence in one’s abilities to labor and deliver with beauty and strength.
At the end of each class, students will practice a different relaxation technique. Students will practice the various physical, mental, and emotional types of relaxation with the support and guidance from their partners. Birthing partners will also learn how to actively support the expectant person during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period.
Our course includes 8-weeks of instruction (including weekly relaxation techniques and instruction in how partner may best support the expectant person), a Birthing Naturally Study Guide, birthing videos, and other helpful resources.
Detailed description of what is covered each week…
Class 1: Introduction To Birthing Naturally
This introductory class allows students time to get to know the instructor and other classmates. Students will learn how to stay healthy and low risk during pregnancy. We will discuss the importance of regular exercise and the importance of practicing various relaxation techniques that can be used to cope through the laboring process. We will also discuss other pain coping tools and methods to avoid unnecessary pain during labor.
Class 2: First Stage Labor
Students will learn the 3 phases of 1st stage labor, the physiological and emotional response to each phase, and the physical characteristics of what to expect during the latent, active, and transitional period. Participants will learn how to time contractions and distinguish the meaning of the length and frequency in order to identify what phase of labor they are in. Students will learn to identify female reproductive anatomy and how it relates to the birthing process. Various terminologies including cervical dilation, effacement, and station will be defined and clearly explained. We will discuss the indications of ‘true-labor’ vs ‘false-labor,’ learn methods to naturally stimulate or expedite labor, learn natural pain coping techniques, and recognize the time frame of when to make the transfer to the hospital or birth-center (for those delivering outside of the home).
Class 3: Comfort Measures / First Stage Labor Rehearsal
As the previous class examines the ‘theory’ of first stage labor, this class provides the ‘practical’ application by means of a first stage labor rehearsal. Birthing persons and their partners will learn various comfort measure techniques and learn how and when these techniques are best used. We will learn how to breathe during the different phases of labor and how to identify and remedy hyperventilation. Students will practice various positions and movements used to encourage the progression of labor and result in ideal fetal positioning. Partners will learn how to best support the expectant person through the application of massage, counter pressure, verbal encouragement, support, and guidance.
Class 4: Second Stage Labor
Second stage labor (aka the pushing stage) is a time of empowerment and active participation. Students will learn about the physiological processes of 2nd and 3rd stage labor, understand the process of fetal descent through the pelvis, how to encourage ideal fetal positioning, and learn how one can best support the perineum to avoid tears. Birthing persons, with the support of their partners, will actively practice various pushing positions such as squatting, hands & knees, side lying, and the use of a birth stool. Various breathing techniques and pushing styles will also be covered. Individuals are encouraged to discover what position, breathing technique, and pushing style works best for them.
Class 5: Evidence Based Care
An ‘evidence-based’ approach to prenatal, labor, and postpartum care is one where parents are encouraged to make informed decisions based on the most current and relevant scientific research available. Students will learn how specific medications and medical interventions are administered, their effects, benefits, risks, and alternative possibilities. We will provide an extensive explanation of the various types of pain management options (e.g. Epidural, Spinal, CSE, Fentanyl, N2O) and induction methods that are currently available in hospital settings. Students are encouraged to feel empowered and responsible for the decisions they will choose to make regarding their labor and birth and to recognize that there are always two sides to every issue. The topics covered in this class are approached in an objective and non-judgmental format.
Class 6: Variations & Unexpected Situations / Cesareans
As the percentage of cesarean sections in the U.S. rises, well above the optimal rate, it is important to acknowledge this reality and consider ways to prepare oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally in the event a surgical delivery is anticipated. The purpose of this class is to increase an awareness of what medical indications necessitate the need for surgery, understand the prepping and surgical procedures involved, and learn how to encourage and expedite recovery after surgery and during the postpartum period. Practical tools and techniques that may help reduce the possibility of surgery, such as methods to encourage proper rotation of a breech presentation, will be covered. Students will identify what questions to ask their care-provider and learn what alternatives are available as it applies to surgery.
Class 7: Preferences In Childbirth
Writing out a personal ‘birth plan’ (commonly referred to as a Birthing Preferences or Wish List) allows one’s care provider to understand and respect an individuals hopes and wishes regarding their labor and birth. We will offer tips and suggestions in how to word, format and develop your preferences in such a way as to retain the enthusiastic support of your birth team. Once students have evaluated their priorities, they will be able to express themselves, keep a positive attitude and be able to emphasize their wishes in a manner that is both open and flexible. Newborn procedures that are preformed immediately postpartum will also be addressed.
Class 8: Postpartum Preparation
This segment will introduce the various prenatal, labor, postpartum, and infant care supplies that may be used to enhance comfort and recovery. We will discuss breastfeeding anatomy & physiology, positioning, how to promote a proper latch, and the use of certain supplies that may encourage a gentle and efficient breastfeeding experience. We will also discuss what to expect of a newborn baby and learn about newborn tests and conditions (such as PKU and the different types and treatments of Jaundice).
This series is 8 weeks long to include time for mental, physical, and emotional preparation and practice, ways to stay healthy and low risk (which may help avoid later complications and allow for more options in labor), building confidence, education, and improving and mastering relaxation skills.
$450 per mom or couple
10% discount with Prenatal Basics Package.
*Advance registration is required.
- Class Format8 weeks, 2.5 hours each week. 20 hours total.
- TimingWe recommend scheduling this class to end by 35-37 weeks of gestation, to allow time to incorporate what you gain into your birth preparations, reduce anxiety, and positively influence your birth mindset.
- Upcoming Class Schedule For Birthing Naturally
Advance Registration is Required
1 Spot = 1 Mom or Couple
*Dates are in chronological order
Day Date Time Instructor
Register Sundays 7/19 - 9/6 6:30 - 9:00 pm Lori Ismail 6 Register Sundays 9/20 - 11/8 6:30 - 9:00 pm Lori Ismail 8 Register Mondays 11/23 - 1/11 6:30 - 9:00 pm Lori Ismail 8 Register
More Dates & Wait Lists: Add your interest and availability to be contacted about new dates or cancellation openings
- Materials$25 to be paid to instructor at start of the class.
Class fee includes all other materials.
Classes meet as small groups in a comfortable, nurturing class environment.
- Why is this class now called Birthing Naturally instead of the Bradley Method®?
Both of Harmony’s Birthing Naturally instructors are formerly certified Bradley instructors, until 2011, who believe in and birthed their own children using the Bradley approach!
Unfortunately, the Bradley organization does not allow for any variation from their original class structure, and it has become clear to many former Bradley instructors that there is a little bit that Bradley leaves out, or that isn’t quite as effective as it could be – and we could not make those changes while using the Bradley name.
With great respect for the role the Bradley Method has played in childbirth preparation over the years, we felt these small updates are truly important to helping parents prepare, so we have opted to let go of the Bradley name, in order to provide the most thorough preparation.
What changes are we talking about?
We can now offer a much more up-to-date, modern set of study-guides and workbook (not the old ’70s version many parents complained about!).
Our Birthing Naturally class takes place in 8 weeks of 20 hours, rather than 12 weeks of 24 hours, since many Bay Area families found it impossible to work 12 consecutive weeks of classes into their schedules. We can do this by offering some of the healthy pregnancy topics and review topics in home study modules that can be done on your own schedule.
We have also found it crucial to include the common practices and routines of Bay Area birth facilities and doctors/midwives, and to be able to address the needs, experiences, and decisions our local families are most likely to encounter, which are not the same across all areas of the country.
In this way, your Birthing Naturally class provides everything from Bradley, brought into the 21st century, and you have more options for scheduling and options for more in-depth supplemental classes in the areas of Breastfeeding, Newborn Care, and the Post-Birth Adjustment separately, if you desire.
- Cancellation Policy
Click here to read our cancellation policies.