What is the Bradley method of child birth?

In the late 1940s, the American obstetrician Robert Bradley developed a method of childbirth that was unique for the time. This method is based on the idea that childbirth is and should be a natural process. Further, it assumes that, with the right preparations and precautions, most women can avoid pain medications and medical interventions during the labor and birth process. Proponents of the Bradley method suggest that around 90 percent of women who use the Bradley method to deliver vaginally can do so without pain medication.

The Bradley program typically lasts for 12 weeks. It is more intensive than other childbirth classes. The Bradley method assumes that it takes months to physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for parenting and childbirth. Thus, the program attempts to address all aspects of childbirth, as well as other issues related to pregnancy and the postpartum experience. The Bradley method relies on an educated partner to act as the childbirth coach.

Here are some of the topics covered by the Bradley method:
– Relaxation techniques to be used during labor and birth, used to manage pain
– Distractions techniques that remove the focus away from the pain during labor and birth
– Breathing methods to aid in relaxation during labor and birth
– How to avoid unnecessary interventions
– How to reduce the risk of needing a C-section
– How to help your partner be a coach on labor day
– The stages of labor and techniques to deal with each one
– Breastfeeding
– Common pregnancy complaints and symptoms
– The importance of diet and exercise during pregnancy
– “Tuning-in” to your own body and trusting the natural process
– Immediate and continuous contact with your new baby
– Being prepared for emergency situations.

While most metropolitan areas have access to a Bradley instructor, this is not necessarily the case everywhere. The cost of Bradley Classes varies depending on individual teachers and the area in which the classes are offered. Bradley Method instructors are certified through the “American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth” – the training program designed by Dr. Bradley and those that followed him.

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