by Sunny Layne
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- The labor and delivery of a child used to be a monumental task that the mother did mostly on her own. One couple is teaching a childbirth method that trains dad as coach and mom as athlete.
In her series "Oh Baby," News Channel Seven's anchor and new mom Sunny Layne shows us the Bradley Method.
Erin and Paul Simmer lead about eight couples at a time through Bradley method child birth classes.
"It's really based on an idea that it's a family event. That the husband coaches mom through labor," Erin said. "It's not something mom has to do on her own but something the two do together."
After growing together while taking the classes with their first pregnancy, the couple says they wanted others to have the same positive experience.
"We see that the couples get closer," Paul said.
Through a series of 12 weeks, couples learn about nutrition, critical communication, and natural labor techniques, although it is not required to have a natural labor.
"I'm Scott, she's Sarah, we had Jacob September 21st. He was a Bradley baby."
Students also hear "birth stories" from previous Bradley couples who visit with their new arrivals.
"My labor started Friday afternoon," former student Sarah began.
In the Bradley method, couples learn together and bond together through lifelike situations, like this labor rehearsal.
Here, couples practice various positions to ease the stress of labor. The mother-to-be holds an ice pack for the duration of a typical contraction to get her mentally prepared for the big day.
"We go to the hospital after and it's fun to see changes," Erin said. "The dads are usually glowing and so excited to see baby and so proud of their wife and what they have accomplished together. It's really neat to watch them grow."
Twelve weeks is quite a commitment, but the Simmers say the class sets a precedent of learning and growing together.
"So you take a look at what is the baby eating, what is the baby wearing, what kind of diapers are we going to have, because you learn so much in Bradley, you just kind of keep on going," Paul said.
Reporter: Sunny Layne