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Bradley Method Childbirth Classes

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Classes & Lessons > Bradley Method Childbirth Classes



May 2009

Re: Hypnotherapy for labor pain management

I haven't taken a hypnobirthing class, but I highly recommend Nancy Bardacke's mindfulness meditation classes for childbirth and parenting. She teaches at the Osher Center at UCSF and also in the East Bay. She is a former midwife, so very knowledgable about the childbirth specifics, but the class concentrates on learning the ins and outs of mindfulness meditation, and using it to get through childbirth as well as the challenging early days of parenting. She is a warm and wonderful teacher and mindfulness meditation is a really useful skill and tool. Out of 12 couples in our class, I believe 10 gave birth naturally, so there's obviously some tendency towards natural childbirth, and the techniques were obviously useful (definitely they helped me achieve my goal of natural delivery). But it's really very open. The class is not very didactic about childbirth, nor is it anti-epidural, etc. The best part about the class is that we totally bonded with our classmates and we s! till get together monthly or more for gatherings which include meditation but also lots of social times with our kids. The support from this group was really crucial in the early days and I'm so glad I took the class for that reason alone. I realize the chemistry is different with every group, but we really feel like the class has been a blessing in many ways. You can get my email from the moderator if you want to talk some more. Shannon


I also wanted to use natural pain management for my birth. I took a Bradley class and found it very helpful. Specifically, the relaxation techniques, which our instructor coached us through and then assigned as homework, were a great resource. The philosophy about breathing naturally during labor made sense to me, too. I appreciated the way the Bradley course really educates you about birth: knowing more helped me relax more. I didn't take other classes, so I can't compare, but I'd give my Bradley teacher, Kim Winkleman (510-504-2288), a thumbs up.
The only class I took was the Bradley method class. I loved the volume of information the class provided (a 12-week program). I believe the best way to birth is confidently and to minimize fear. Information is a powerful tool is this respect. Although I didn't always agree about everything in the class, you use what information you find useful and disregard the rest. I also strongly recommend the book: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, a world renown midwife, who teaches you to trust your body and builds your confidence by describing other women's childbirthing experiences. Feel free to contact me if you would like more info emilie
May 2009

Re: Birthways vs. Kaiser for childbirth prep class

Hi there- You didn't mention it, but have you considered Bradley Method? I took the course and I feel like it prepared me incredibly well for labor. If anything, I felt like I really knew what to expect with this huge ''unknown'' event that was about to take place. Bradley Method focuses on knowing what to expect and how to cope, so that the ultimate goal is to go drug-free. For some reason or another, it is not always possible to do so, and this method does not ''berate'' you for that. More than anything it prepares you for the journey so that you are able to do your best!

We met some great couples in the class and we still get together all of the time - even now that our little ones are 7-8 months old, and I see our kids growing up together.

The class takes a lot of dedication - about 8 weeks, and focuses on ''Husband Coached Childbirth'' - so both partners should be present for each class. It really is a great way to get actively involved in what is about to be one of the biggest events of your life! Drop me an email if you would like more info! Caroline


My husband and I are Kaiser members, and we took both the Kaiser classes (free) and a 10 week Bradley Method class with Sabine Henrie in Berkeley (http://www.teachstreet.com/teacher/sabine-henrie). The two experiences were like night and day. The Kaiser class skims the surface. I still think you should take those classes, because if you are going to give birth at Kaiser, that will give you some insight into the ''Kaiser'' approach to birth, but the Bradley Method classes we took were amazing and full of so much rich information, not only on preparation for birth, pain management, possible drugs, possible positions, but also all the emotional issues that come up between you and your partner, nursing issues, caring for your newborn, resources, etc. etc. It was really amazing and so was our teacher. It is not just for people who want a ''drug-free'' birth, because all the preparation you do will help you if you are in a situation where it is too early for medication. With the classes we both felt more more emotionally prepared and educated to make decisions for ourselves. I was going to go drug-free, but with unforeseen complications, I was able to navigate my way through a myriad of issues without freaking out or giving in to the pressures of more stronger medication/cesarean. Contact me if you want to talk more. Elisabeth
April 2008

Hello, I am looking for current recommendations for Bradley Childbirth Prep Classes. The archives are quite old. Specifically I am looking for folks who love their Bradley class in the East Bay. Who is your teacher? Where do they teach? How much do they charge? Why do you enjoy your class? Thank you in advance for any guidance! ramare


My husband and I took a Bradley class with Sabine Henrie (SABINEH@AOL.COM) in Berkeley in spring 2007. We loved her approach: she is very supportive of whatever her students want for their births and extremely knowledgeable. I especially appreciated that she is interpretive -- she teaches the spirit, rather than the letter, of Bradley's ideas (after all, Bradley never updated the details of his methods to keep with the times!) Sabine continues to be a great resource, and I feel very lucky that we chose her to help us prepare for a natural childbirth. happy with our Bradley baby
I would recommend Zann Erick very, very highly. She is actually trained in Lamaze and others as well as Bradley. She lives and holds classes in San Francisco, just off 280. My husband and I live in El Cerrito, and we would often meet there for the class (he would come straight from work in Marin and I'd come from work in East Bay/Berkeley). Those that teach in the East Bay weren't holding classes late spring/early summer 2007, so we looked into teachers in SF. It is *totally* worth the drive to attend Zann's classes. She is just fantastic. Extremely knowledgeable (and qualified), empathetic, funny, intelligent, practical. An excellent teacher. Her course really helped us prepare as much as we could for the birth of our son. Hope that helps! Laura
Sabine Henrie, Berkeley, 843-2091. Excellent teacher/facilitator, knowledgeable, experienced, caring, down-to-earth. An awesome way to connect with other parents-to-be (make friends for life). Sabine will always work with parents to spread out payments if necessary. Happy Bradley Parent
We took our Bradley class during Spring/Summer 2007 with Sabine Henri (her contact is - SabineH@aol.com) located in Berkeley. The class ran for 12 weeks, 3 hours a week. It was truly one of the best experiences preparing for the birth of our daughter. Sabine is the most compassionate, loving, and knowledgeable person regarding birthing I have ever met. Her classes were exceptionally organized and presented in digestible portions. She continues to be a huge support for anything even months after our daughter was born. I believe the fee was $325 and included so much material and books. The fee was a small price to pay to learn from Sabine and reap the endless benefits of her knowledge and support. I highly recommend her Bradley class to anyone wanting an exceptional birth preparation class. Shelley
My husband and I LOVVVEED our Bradley class! Our teacher is Sabine and she is smart, experienced and supportive to all kinds of families, situations and birthing choices. Her email is: SabineH@aol.com and I think she charges somewhere around $300 for the whole program (something like 6, 3 hour sessions with materials).

Why we liked the class? At first, I must admit that my husband was skeptical, asking if he really needed to go, but once we were there, he realized that the partners role was one of the main focuses of the class. We learned all sorts of techniques for not only coping with the experience of childbirth, but for feeling empowered, knowing all the options available, being able to make educated decisions, and not feeling guilty nor cheated if we ended up with a different experience than we had planned. I highly recommend this class - ESPECIALLY with Sabine. Nydia


I can't say enough good things about my Bradley experience with Sabine Henrie in North Berkeley. I think it made a world of difference in our experience - we went in with so much confidence and education, and even if things hadn't gone as perfectly as they did, I think that we would have been able to handle them.

Sabine is such a caring, patient, respectful individual who fosters a really positive, nurturing outlook towards the birth, the baby, and each other, I'm so glad that we took our class with her!! We actually looked forward to it every week and missed it when it was over! I wish she offered a class on how to handle parenting as well as we handled childbirth! ;)

I was also really grateful to have Sabine to talk to post-partem when I was trying to adjust to new motherhood and needed a sympathetic ear and some loving support. I recall the class being around $325, but no doubt was worth every dollar and more. Our birth experience was priceless! We are also still close with the 4 other families in our class and get together frequently - it's awesome to go through such an incredible time with folks of the similar thinking and now we all have kids the same age to play with :) Good luck! Anna


I *highly* recommend Sabine Henrie's class. Sabine is located in central Berkeley (classes are in her home), her prices are reasonable, and she is an awesome teacher -- low-key and laid back, patient and super-nice, while being fabulously thorough and knowledgeable. It was easy to ask questions in her class; also she provided lots of resources (books/videos), manageable practice exercises, and good socialization time with the other families. 18 months later we are still meeting regularly with our fellow Bradley classmates (as well as still seeking advice and resources from Sabine herself!). You can reach Sabine at sabineh at AOL.com or at 510-843-2091. Good luck! Lily
Not sure if I can answer all the questions but my wife and I took a class in Berkeley with Sabine Henrie (SabineH@aol.com). As a partner I can point to lots of things I learned in her class, like how to spot this stage or that, how to position myself or how to position my wife. But the most important thing I can say is that in the moment and the many hours leading up to that moment, I was confident that I knew what I needed to in order to support my wife. My wife was not only more confident in herself but also able to let go of some of her fear and tension. Because of this and her confidence in me, I believe Sabine's well-conducted class ultimately allowed us to have a our daughter born with the least possible medical intervention. Sabine has wonderfully diverse classes and was able to make this Texas-raised guy (who consults his brother-in-law, the doctor, on just about everything) feel at ease and ultimately prepared for the roller coaster of childbirth. Pleased Bradley Dad
To those interested specifically in Bradley Childbirth classes, but more generally to anyone interested in preparing to give birth, or support the giving of birth, I highly recommend Sabine Henrie's classes.

Sabine's Bradley class was an enriching experience. We learned about all aspects of growing a baby and giving birth, from the physiological to the emotional and institutional. Class conversations helped couples better understand their respective expectations and concerns about the birth process. In small groups or as a class we would often discuss and work through our most pressing concerns. Sabine has much wisdom and knowledge on almost every aspect of the birth process, though she was never overbearing with her point of view and she would always point out the limits of her knowledge and expertise. She respects the different hopes and expectations that each individual has for the birth process, while at the same time challenging everyone to be aware of and consider the trade-offs inherent to our choices.

I was initially quite reluctant to ''waste my time'' sitting through a childbirth class, and I am an impatient student if my ''teacher'' does not seem to be an expert in the field or is not able to respect and understand my values. Needless to say, I learned much from my Bradley class with Sabine and have great respect for Sabine as a teacher and guide. She helped us learn to understand and trust our instincts, instilling in us the confidence to give birth without excessive reliance on medical interventions. She is also quite familiar with the scientific and medical literature on child birth, and the advantages to medical intervention under particular contexts, and she helped us develop techniques to communicate to our doctor, nurses, and midwifes our expectations for the childbirth. Sabine has many resources in her extensive library which are available to students to borrow, and she makes herself available outside of class for individuals who have concerns, including post! -birth.

Her class costs $325. Her class is run out of her home near downtown Berkeley. You can reach her at (510) 843-2091 or at sabineh@aol.com . Good luck! Allan


My husband and I took the Bradley Method Childbirth Preparation class with a really cool woman named Sabine, who lives in Berkeley. Her number is 510-843-2091. I think she charges about $325, and the series runs for 12 weeks. She will usually work out a payment plan with you if you can't come up with the money all at once.

What I loved about Sabine is that she wasn't militant in her approach. No harsh judgment. She prepares you for a natural childbirth, but also prepares you how to ''let go'' of your idea of what constitutes a perfect birth if medical intervention becomes necessary.

My husband and I had a beautiful experience: I wound up having to be induced because I broke water and was Strep B positive...and I had not dilated much 26 hours into labor. After another 15 hours (post inducement), I was only at 3 cm., and finally consented to an epidural (this sometimes relaxes you enough to dilate). I was disappointed, but I called Sabine and cried, and she told me I was doing a great job of advocating for my baby in the areas I could (I refused an internal monitor, and I did make proactive decisions). She made me feel better. By the time the baby was born, the epidural had essentially worn off, so I was able to push efficiently. I used a nurse practitioner at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I was able to have a vaginal birth (first time mom) at 42, with no tearing...despite the fact that about 10 minutes before my baby was born, an ob/gyn barged in and said we needed to think C section...because it had been too long. I told her to hold her horses (after I found out the baby wasn't in immediate danger), and pushed three more times, and the baby was there. I was able to take control like that, because I had learned that it only takes a bit less than 5 minutes or so to get a baby out through C section, and so I had a little more time to push. I wouldn't have known that had I not had the class.

My mom, my sister and my female cousin were in the room with me, and witnessed the real TEAM that my husband and I were during the process. They said it was the most incredible and beautiful and connected/intimate thing they had ever seen. Sabine helped us to identify the strengths that we already have in our relationship to help me cope with the pain and fear. For example, my husband's voice is low and comforting. I didn't want him turning into a manic chearleader, screaming at me to ''breathe'' or ''push''. Instead, he cradled me in his arms, and spoke calm, reassuring things to me. He calmed me down. We are very physical, normally, so he massaged me and we even kissed like teenagers part of the time. He did many things to help me...but all of these helpful things were approaches we were able to discuss beforehand. He KNEW what I needed...and he KNEW how to read me. I told him how I react when I'm in major pain or stress, what to look out for. Sabine and the Bradley Method had him completely prepared, knowledgeable about the things that were happening around him.

By the way: my husband is French, and doesn't speak much English. He is introverted, and I was worried about his ability to be my advocate. But he was prepared, and he was GREAT...and I really don't think I could have done it without him.

And we became more connected through that process than either of us ever imagined. We are very grateful to Sabine and the Bradley method...and I really highly recommend it.

The final benefit? We still get together with the parents and babies in our Bradley group, 14 months later. We have such a special bond with all of the babies. We went through this all together...and I have no doubts that we'll be friends for life. We owe so much to Sabine and the Bradley Method...and so does my beautiful little girl. Good luck! If you need any more info, feel free to write to me. Robynn


To the person wondering about Bradley Childbirth Prep. Classes: I can highly recommend Sabine Henrie, in Berkeley. She is an extremely warm, empathetic woman - herself a mom of two boys, so she knows what she's talking about! - my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed, and benefited from, the chance to learn about relaxation techniques for labor and birth from this very lovely woman. We actually ended up being induced and from there having a medicalized birth (epidural) but still found the course well worth the time and money as essential prep for the hours of labor we went through in any event! In fact, I look upon my birth as a wonderful, empowering experience (though it didn't go as planned) and attribute much of this to the learning we gained directly from Sabine. Good luck with whomever you decide to go with and enjoy your birth! victoria
I just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughtful and complete reviews of East Bay Bradley Classes. We are signed up to take Sabine's class starting in May, and we are now totally confident that the class is exactly what we need to prepare for our birth experience. I appreciate the time and energy it takes to respond. Much thanks! Rachel A.
March 2001

I've just looked at the recommendations for Bradley coaches on the website, and was wondering if anyone might have other suggestions nearly a year later. Driving to SF is really not an option, so unfortunately the raves about Zann Erick (sp?) won't help much. If anyone has any Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito recommendations, I'd be thrilled to hear them. Also, as very book-oriented people, I'm wondering if my husband and I could learn what we need to know from reading (I've heard "Natual Childbirth the Bradley Way" is good)? Any thoughts? Much thanks. Heather


I too wanted to find a local Bradley class and did a posting, but didn't get any recommendations. I haven't found anyone in time, but did learn a few things that might help you. Bradley classes take 10 weeks, and the instructors are not allowed to teach them in shorter durations, so start early in your search. There is a doula/instructor named Christina Gonzalez who was really helpful, but I don't know for sure she is teaching classes right now. If not, I'm pretty sure she could refer you to someone. Her email address is: R6kids at prodigy dot net There is a place in the Tri-Valley area (Pleasanton?) which I believe is called The Birth Room. They might teach Bradley classes there. Good luck! Angela
Bradley Method: Ellen Klima in Oakland is really good. I'm in her class right now and have been satisfied. I also have a friend who did not attend Bradley classes, but went by the book, and her labor was very beautiful. Good luck either way! Krista
May 2000

We're interested in finding a good childbirth class. Does anyone know of and/or have any experience with Bradley method classes? What is the current thinking about Bradley, Grantley Dick-Reed and Lamaze approaches? By the way, this is our second pregnancy, but will (we hope!) be our first natural birth (our first born was locked into a breech position by the umbilical cord). We would like to try something like the Bradley approach. Lisa


I must most highly recommend Zann Erick for Bradley birth classes. Contact at (415) 333-3394. 2 years ago we completed a Bradley based birth class which was one of the richest shared experiences my husband and I have ever had. This class was so valued, not necessariily because it was Bradley based though that was also a gift, but because the teacher is one of the wisest, most imaginative, far-seeing, articulate, and warm people I know. She was a midwife for many many years attending thousands of births and has also been an active child-birth educator for many years including I believe teaching medical students. (I interviewed several Bradley teachers by phone and Zann had much more experience than some-- thus our decision to drive to San Francisco for the classes- well worth it.) Zann not only covered all the usual stuff about upcoming births-- pain managment etc. and had a fantastic variety of videos, printed info, etc. that she shared with us, but placed all of this information in the context of birth as an invitation to our growth and expansion as human beings. This meant, for example, discussing a wide variety of amazing birthing styles and practices in our and other cultures (often with films thereof) which then broadened our vocabulary of birthing choices for ourselves. Another example: she discussed power dynamics between doctors/ hospital staff and maternity patients and gave us some tools to help ensure that our births were in line with our deepest values in whatever way/ place we chose to birth (no judgement ). Yes, the class informed us about our upcoming birth, but much more than that it was about what it means to be human and how this relates to our birth and childcare choices. Andrea
I believe that the quality of teacher will determine the quality of the class. I interviewed several teachers before choosing one - They had different philosophies, and vastly different levels of experience. We took this class from Zann Erick in San Francisco (30 years as a birth educator, midwife, has attended thousands of births etc.) and it was worth every penny of the $260 cost and the drives to San Francisco. I came away from this group (6 couples) with an understanding not only of options around the birth process, and specific ways of influencing the outcome of my own experience of giving birth, but also of the power dynamics which get entangled in relationships between husbands and wives, clients and doctors and hospitals, etc. I therefore have friends who had the exact same types of intervention that I did (which ideally I would have liked to avoid), but who came out of the experience feeling terrible - like something was done to them... that they were another body on the Alta Bates Hospital birth conveyor belt, while I felt like I made choices which were, under the circumstances right for me. It was a much broader education than any of the other classes/ lectures we attended.

5) I also very much enjoyed the community and moral support found in the YMCA pre-natal swim classes, and the Yogalayam prenatal yoga classes. Yogalayam also offers a prenatal intensive birth prep series for women and partners which I really liked. Some liked it a lot. For others it was a bit too "Berkeley"!


My husband and I attended a nine-week Bradley method class to prepare for the birth of our child and benefited from it immensely. Our instructor was Ellen Klima. The classes are at her home in Oakland near the Mormon Temple. Her phone number is 530-8751. You can sit in on a class to see how it fits your needs. Good luck!
I would advise the person who asked for a teacher to at least make contact with Ellen Klima in Oakland to judge her own rapport with her. I took Ellen's class in 1997 and while I do agree that it promotes natural childbirth without drugs (that is the Bradley Method), I never "subscribed" to it as the only way and nor did Ellen. She is teaching the Bradley Method as the preferred or intended way and I got excellent information from this class as a first time mother. Everyone in class knew that I was open to an Epidural (the question was asked) and it was accepted. When my baby turned breech, Ellen was right there for me with helpful and speedy recommendations which I highly appreciated but did not follow. Instead I had my doctor Heather Irwin successfully turn my baby around. Ellen went right along with that. Whatever works is what matters in the end - she has that flexibility! She just wants you to make informed decisions but she does not question your decisions. This proved true again when I told my birth story of giving in after four hours on Pitocin, getting an early Epidural at 1.5 centimeters (my water broke 20 hours earlier), diliting to 10 in two hours, and being all refreshed to push my baby out in sixteen minutes - and the baby's heartbeat never changed during the whole time. Ellen was delighted to hear that it was such a smooth birth and at our following baby gatherings, she was also acceptant that my baby was now on the bottle. She never made me feel bad about anything, but it also takes ones own strength and confidence to realize that I am not giving birth for some teacher and that I don't need to please anyone but myself. If I didn't believe that, I could have made myself very uncomfortable and insecure, having had such an anti-Bradley Method birth.
I took the classes offered at Kaiser and they were okay as far as they went, but when I went to give birth, I was extremely glad my husband and I had also taken a course in the Bradley Method of natural childbirth. We knew much more than our Kaiser classmates (some of whom were at the hospital on the same day we were) and, because of the training, were ableto manage the pain without drugs. We ended up with substantially the birth experience we wanted. There are several Bradley instructors in the area (you can get a contact list by contacting the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth, 1-800-4-A-Birth, or www.bradleybirth.com); we liked Ellen Klima, who teaches in Oakland. (Nov 1999)
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