Everything You Need to Know About the Bradley Method

By Maria T. Pepin

What is the Bradley Method of Childbirth?

The Bradley Method (also known as husband-coached childbirth) embraces the idea that childbirth is a natural process and with adequate preparation and education, most women can avoid pain medication and interventions during labor and birth. It was developed in the late 1940’s by American obstetrician Robert Bradley. The program lasts 12 weeks and stresses the importance of healthy mothers and babies. Nearly 80% of Bradley mothers having vaginal births do so without pain medication.

Getting started

During your entire pregnancy ~ healthy nutrition, exercise and education is extremely important. Couples typically enroll in a Bradley course during the fifth month of pregnancy. This way, they have plenty of time to start training for labor and their upcoming role as parents. Remember, the earlier you begin, the better prepared you will be physically, mentally and emotionally.

Bradley Classes

Check with your obstetrician or hospital on finding a Bradley class in your area. You can also contact The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth or visit www.bradleybirth.com. Certified Bradley instructors have gone through an extensive training program with the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth and are required to complete continuing education requirements every year.

When you enroll in a Bradley course, you will be happy to see that the classes are small, thorough and personal. This way, your instructor has the opportunity to get to know you and meet your needs. You will learn all about nutrition and your growing fetus, the importance of exercise, pregnancy symptoms and how to cope with them, relaxation techniques during labor and birth, active participation of a loving partner or coach, the stages of labor, medical interventions and how to avoid unnecessary ones, how to reduce your risk of having a c-section, making a birth plan, bonding with your baby and breastfeeding.

Fun Resources

Here are some great books you may want to check out during your pregnancy:

* Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley, M.D.
* Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way by Susan Mc Cutcheon, AAHCC
* The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

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