What is the Bradley method of childbirth
This method embraces the idea that childbirth is a natural process and that, with the right preparation, most women can avoid pain medication and routine interventions during labor and birth. It’s named after American obstetrician Robert Bradley, who developed the method in the late 1940s.
The program lasts 12 weeks and is more intensive than other childbirth education classes. You typically start the program in your fifth month of pregnancy, but “early bird” classes are sometimes available. Proponents claim that nearly 90 percent of Bradley-trained couples have had spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal births.
The Bradley philosophy says that it takes months to prepare for childbirth and parenting — mentally, physically, and emotionally — and prides itself on addressing all aspects of natural childbirth, as well as many pregnancy and postpartum issues. The course also emphasizes educating partners to be effective coaches.
What will my partner and I learn in a Bradley course
To make sure the classes are thorough and personal, classes are limited to eight couples and are often even smaller. The course will address:
- Nutrition and how it affects a growing fetus
- The importance of exercise (when appropriate) during pregnancy
- Common pregnancy symptoms and complaints, and how to cope with them
- Techniques for relaxation during labor and birth, with an emphasis on natural breathing methods to help you “tune-in” and manage your pain rather than distract you from it
- Methods to help your partner be an active participant and a skilled coach on labor day
- The stages of labor and how to cope with the changes your body experiences during each one
- Medical interventions and how to avoid unnecessary ones
- How to reduce your risk of having a c-section and what to do if it becomes medically necessary
- Making a birth plan and how to communicate effectively with your medical team
- Breastfeeding, caring for a newborn, and adjusting to your role as parents