When Kevin and I were trying to decide which "method" we were more interested in, we looked them all up, thought about them, and decided on the Bradley method. It wasn't hard for us to make that decision, as it's all about dad-centered coaching and teaching you all about what's going on in your body. With my type A personality, I like knowing exactly what my muscles will be doing at any given time. I am usually better when I'm armed with rational, scientific information. Which is why a method like the Hypnobabies doesn't seem like something that would work for me. (However, I do have a version of a hypnobirthing book that came with a short cd, and I will definitely read the book and try it out before totally dismissing it - you never know!) And instead of trying to control your breathing into unnatural patterns, the Bradley method teaches you to relax completely and breathe normally.
The class was $300 for the 12 weeks, which breaks down to $25 per 2-hour class. We also had to purchase 3 books for the class: Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley which focused on speaking to the dad about what his role is going to be in the whole pregnancy/birth process; Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon, which was more about the physical process of labor and exercises to do to prepare; and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League, which appears to be the nursing bible.
Personally, I feel like I could have skipped taking the class. Like I said, I'm type A, so I do a lot of research and reading. Most of what was talked about in class is stuff I got straight from the books. I didn't need to hear the teacher repeat the same information I read the night before. What I DID enjoy, however, was getting to be around other pregnant women and the dads. It was nice to have some time each week to see everyone's growing bellies and hear their stories. I will miss all that. I also enjoyed when we did our exercises or practiced relaxing as a class.
And I think the class also helped Kevin and me connect. We have this thing in common (having a baby), and the class made us focus on it. And a bonus - we took the class early enough in the pregnancy, that now we have 11 more weeks to keep going, talking, and practicing our techniques so that I'm the most prepared I can be for a natural birth in less than three months!
I'm glad to have my Monday nights back. All in all, I will probably skip taking a class the next time around. I can spend my money elsewhere and meet other moms another way. But if you're someone who needs to learn from a teacher and hear the information, a class may be the way to go for you! And it may be cheaper... I live near a larger city, so I don't know if that had something to do with the cost. Definitely weigh the pros and cons of paying for a class, to see if it's right for you, and ask for references from previous class takers. You never know, maybe I would have had a more meaningful experience with a different teacher?
I am looking forward to when we (all the couples in the class) have our babies, because we're planning on a reunion potluck to share our birth stories and cuddle with lots of squishy babies. Hopefully we'll all be able to share how the Bradley method helped us have a natural birth. We'll see!