"The current theory of natural childbirth is that we should study the animals and, by intelligent reasoning, learn to do through training and practice what they do by instinct."
-- Robert Bradley, MD
The more natural the birth, the better the experience will be for baby and mom, according to advocates of natural childbirth. Therefore, the goal of Bradley educators is to help women have a drug-free birth, with as few medical interventions as possible. Dr. Bradley recognized that women need instruction and support in order to imitate the process animals follow instinctively. Because of his belief that the father of the baby is the best person to serve as teacher and supporter throughout the labor, his method is also called "Husband-Coached Childbirth." Dr. Bradley advocates a hospital setting because of the possibilities of complications in any labor; however, many Bradley followers opt for homebirths.
-- The Bradley Method offers 12 classes starting during the fifth month of pregnancy
-- Active labor techniques for the mom and active participation of the partner as coach
-- Relaxed breathing
-- How to tune into your body and trust the birth process
-- Proper nutrition and avoidance of drugs during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding except when absolutely necessary
-- How to understand your options and communicate positively with others involved in the birth
-- Information about complications that might make a natural birth impossible
What You Might Like
-- If you are committed to having a natural birth, then this method shares that goal and will offer a great deal of support in maintaining it; instructors tout the 86 percent drug-free, vaginal birthrate as the measure of Bradley Method success
-- Encourages strong partner involvement
-- Because of the emphasis on minimal intervention and Dr. Bradley's assertion that his methods reduce pain and make birth enjoyable, anything less might feel like failure
-- His belief that husbands are the best childbirth coaches ignores the many situations in which women might choose a different birth partner '- as well as the research that suggests a female attendant is often the best coach for a woman
-- Does not allow for choices regarding pain medication except when medically necessary