Bradley Method

The Facts About The Bradley Childbirth Method

The Bradley Method of childbirth was developed in the 1940′s by Dr.  Robert A. Bradley, an American Obstetrician.  It is based on the  philosophy of ‘natural childbirth’ (drug free) and was pioneering in the  involvement of fathers during the birthing process.

The Bradley Childbirth Method is a 12 week course that teaches parents how to control the pain of  childbirth.  It advocates natural childbirth philosophies and is also  called ‘the husband coached’ birthing technique.  It encourages parents  to use deep breathing and relaxation exercises as a means of coping with  labor.

The Bradley approach rejects the idea of ‘distraction’ as a  way of dealing with childbirth and disputes the use of painkillers and  cesarean sections unless absolutely necessary.

However, classes  that focus on the Bradley Childbirth Method do prepare parents for unexpected  complications which may result in a cesarean section or other forms of  intervention. His methods also include advice on nutrition and diet for  the Mother during her pregnancy, which inevitably has a positive effect  on the growth and well being of the fetus. The expectant Mother is always  encouraged to take reasonable and regular exercise, so that she is  properly conditioned to give birth.

The Bradley Childbirth Method also  educates parents about the different stages of labor and teaches them  how to react to the Mother’s changing body. The Father is assigned the  role of ‘Coach’ during the birthing process, keeping the Mother focused  on the task at hand, helping with breathing exercises and giving plenty  of reassurance.  Different forms of massage can also be used.

Bradley Childbirth Method FAQ

What is the Bradley Childbirth Method all about?

Bradley Childbirth teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. They believe that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally. This course is a system of natural labor techniques in which a woman and her coach play an active part. It is a simple method of increasing self-awareness, teaching a woman how to deal with the stress of labor by tuning in to her own body. It also encourages mothers to trust their bodies using natural breathing, relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and education. For more information from their website:

How is The Bradley Childbirth Method Unique?

The Bradley Method of childbirth teaches couples ways to stay low risk. While occasionally there are risk factors out of your control, staying healthy and low risk can help to avoid complications. Low risk mothers have more choices. Relaxation is the Key during labor. It is the safest and most effective way to reduce unnecessary pain and to handle any pain that you do experience.

Why 12 weeks?

They believe if you do this full course you are more likely to have an unmedicated birth. Some reports state “The fewer the weeks of childbirth education” the higher the rate of medical intervention.

The Bradley Childbirth Method explains it like this: There is a difference between learning information and preparing the body physically for an athletic event. No one would go out for an Olympic event with less than 3 months of training. Shortening the time of preparation for birth is like being in a rush to prepare pasta for a dinner party and cooking it for only half the time. Pasta takes time to cook and the human body takes time to prepare for birth.

When should I start?

Healthy nutrition, appropriate exercise, and pregnancy information can be of benefit throughout the entire pregnancy. For most couples, the fifth month is the suggested time to begin a Bradley Method class series as they seriously start training for labor and for their upcoming role as parents. The earlier you start, the better prepared you’ll be physically, emotionally, and mentally. In many areas, early pregnancy classes are also offered.

What does The Bradley Childbirth Method Teach?

  • Natural childbirth – Nearly 90% of Bradley Childbirth moms having vaginal births do so without pain medication.
  • Active participation by the husband as coach.
  • Excellent nutrition (the foundation of a healthy pregnancy and baby).
  • Avoidance of drugs during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, unless absolutely necessary. No drug has been proven safe for an unborn baby.
  • Training: “Early Bird” classes followed by weekly classes starting in the 5th month and continuing until the birth.
  • Relaxation and NATURAL breathing – can be effective pain management techniques with training according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • “Tuning-in” to your own body and trusting the natural process.
  • Immediate and continuous contact with your new baby.
  • Breastfeeding, beginning at birth provides immunities and nutrition.
  • Consumerism and positive communications.
  • Parents taking responsibility for the safety of the birth place, procedures, attendants, and emergency back-up.
  • Parents being prepared for unexpected situations such as emergency childbirth and cesarean section.

    Are there any books I should read before I start?

    There are several great books on natural childbirth and pregnancy:

    Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley, M.D., Marjie Hathaway, Jay Hathaway, James Hathaway

    Natural Childbirth The Bradley ® Way by Susan Mc Cutcheon, AAHCC

    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding distributed by La Leche League International

    Children at Birth by Marjie and Jay Hathaway, AAHCC * Currently Being Revised – Available at some local libraries

    Assistant Coach’s Manual Susan Hathaway Bek, Marjie Hathaway, AAHCC


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