What Is Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth?
You might be shopping for the best natural childbirth method that matches your preferences and lifestyle. Here’s one that you might consider applying.
The Bradley Method of natural childbirth is only one of many methods of prepared childbirth. It is a medicine-free method of labor with only the husband by the woman’s side to support her during the process. Also known as the original “husband-coached” delivery method. Bradley teaches nutrition and exercises to prepare for the big day. Classes usually start in the 5th or 6th month of pregnancy. It incorporates deep breathing and coaching the laboring mom to look inward and focus upon what her body is doing – opening up to allow her baby to be born. Bradley promotes drug-free births (better for motherhood moments) and is used by a lot of home birth moms.
According to Dr. Bradley, a laboring woman has six needs. They are relaxation, breathing, dark room, closed eyes, quiet, and comfort. The Bradley Method controls the body with proper diet and nutrition.
History of the Bradley Method
In 1947, Dr. Robert Bradley, living on the farm, discovered that giving birth doesn’t have to be so dragging and difficult. He observed that animals giving birth were calm, not suffering in the process, and not needing intervention. He took note of what the animals did instinctively and decided to apply the same principles for humans to use in giving birth.
Other Natural Childbirth Techniques
Here are other natural childbirth techniques in line with the Bradley Method.
- The Lamaze Method Childbirth – the most widely used approach in the U.S. started by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze. This method utilizes controlled deep breathing, massage, concentration, and control during contractions to reduce discomfort and pain.
- The Alexander Technique – developed by F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) after discovering a technique for sitting, standing, and moving safely, efficiently, and with ease and applying it to a pregnant woman who needs to learn to release muscle tension, breathe properly, and restore her body into its original poise and posture. With simple modification in her movement, calmness and focus help open the cervix for the baby’s coming.
- Hypnobirthing – started In the 1940s by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read. Hypnosis during labor brings total relaxation to the woman giving birth. Women who tried this method reported that they felt calm, aware and in control while lost in a daydream.
- Water Birth – the mother goes through childbirth in a portable tub wherein the baby is delivered underwater. It can be more relaxing, and less painful to be in the water. Water Birth, however, is not recommended for women with high-risk pregnancies.
How Does the Bradley Method Natural Childbirth Work?
Let’s take a look at the natural childbirth classes offered by the Bradley method.
The Bradley Method series is designed for small classes because it entails a lot of individual attention. It’s a standard length of 12 weekly classes; starting in the 5th month of pregnancy. The instruction comes with a student workbook with pictures and illustrations. The sessions will teach you the following:
- The importance of pregnancy nutrition and exercise.
- Pain management with the use of relaxation and breathing techniques
- Practice run through labor experience
- The involvement of father-to-be as coach
- How to reduce the probability of a cesarean birth
- Postpartum care
- Breastfeeding concerns
- Birth plans, etc.
The Advantages of Applying The Bradley Method
Why is the Bradley method beneficial? The advantages include the following:
- The Bradley method is beneficial for parents as they prepare for unassisted births.
- It aids the couple with techniques to practice for reducing the perception of pain and staying relaxed through the medication-free childbirth.
- It also educates the couple about self-care as new parents along with the expectations when their baby arrives.
Will the Bradley Method Work for Me?
Here are 7 reasons that could help you decide if you need to join the Bradley Method natural childbirth class.
- You want your husband to be the hero! You want the father-to-be actively involved in what you’re going through and how you’re feeling prenatally and during labor, thus letting him in the labor and delivery room to give you support.
- You’re looking for a comprehensive childbirth education because becoming a parent is the greatest responsibility you’ll ever endure and enjoy! When you decide to have a baby, you’re in it for life. Enhancing the well-being of your child’s life is part of the Bradley method’s goal.
- You want a relaxed birth experience amidst daily stressors, thus relaxation could not be more crucial. This method offers a variety of relaxation exercises to prepare for labor. It is important for parents-to-be to identify areas of tension and facilitate deep relaxation exercises to alleviate them.
- You value pregnancy nutrition. The Bradley Method encourages moms to eat healthy with high protein and zero harmful substances, essential to protect and promote the well-being of the fetus, thus having a low-risk pregnancy and labor.
- You don’t want to take medications during pregnancy and birth. There are some drugs that are declared safe during pregnancy. However, The Bradley Method class offers alternative ways to manage pain and discomfort during pregnancy and labor — from prenatal exercises to movements during labor.
- You prefer to slow down hospital intervention during birth. In the Bradley Method, parents are encouraged to gather information and try to avoid unnecessary hospital interventions.
- You want to breastfeed and learn about it before childbirth. You understand the benefits of breastfeeding and have access to a support network that can make breastfeeding more manageable.
Bradley Method vs Lamaze Method of Childbirth
Bradley method is the opposite of Lamaze. In a comparative study, it was concluded that birthing women who enrolled in Bradley classes were more likely than Lamaze classes to question and criticize some conventional hospital birth experiences such as electronic fetal monitoring and episiotomy. Also, they are critical to the validity of home birth, as compared to the Lamaze Method of childbirth. Bradley classes also strongly encourage women to question the decisions of physicians and resist medical intervention. Women who enrolled in Lamaze classes, however, experienced more medical intervention during childbirth than women enrolled in Bradley classes.
If you choose a natural preparation for childbirth, do highly consider the Bradley Method. But whatever natural childbirth method you decide on, make sure you weigh in all the benefits and drawbacks for you to have a safe delivery.