The Bradley Method®
Dr. Robert A. Bradley The Bradley Method® of natural childbirth (also known as “husband-coached childbirth”) is a method of natural childbirth created by Dr. Robert A. Bradley (1917-1998) and popularized by his book Husband-Coached Childbirth, first published in 1965. Teachers of The Bradley Method® believe that - with adequate preparation, education and help from a loving, supportive coach - most women can give birth naturally, without drugs or surgery. The Bradley Method emphasizes measures that can be taken to help keep women healthy and low-risk in order to avoid complications that may lead to medical intervention.

The primary goal of The Bradley Method® is healthy mothers and healthy babies. The method holds that, in most circumstances, a natural (drug-free) childbirth is the best way to achieve that goal. Over 86% of Bradley mothers having vaginal births do so without drugs[1]. The classes teach nutrition, relaxation and natural breathing as pain management techniques along with active participation of the husband as coach. Parents-to-be are taught to be knowledgeable consumers of birth services and to take responsibility in making informed decisions regarding procedures, attendants and the birth place.

The “Method” itself is first of all application of what Dr. Bradley termed “the six needs of the laboring woman,” most notably deep and complete relaxation and abdominal breathing, but also including quiet, darkness and solitude, physical comfort, and closed eyes and the appearance of sleep. Secondly, the Bradley Method relies heavily on training fathers to be labor “coaches,” or partners. Bradley teachers usually supplement these primary techniques with training in different labor positions and comfort measures. In order to master the ability to relax completely as a pain relief tool, couples are taught several different relaxation techniques and encouraged to practice relaxation daily, so that the mother can rely on a conditioned relaxation response to her partner's voice and touch.

Dr. Bradley developed his method during the era of what he referred to as “knock-em-out, drag-em-out obstetrics,” when “twilight sleep” and general anesthesia were common in hospital deliveries. Having been raised on a farm and having witnessed many animal births as a part of farm life, Dr. Bradley believed that women, like the animals he had observed growing up, could give birth without drugs or distress. Based on observations of perspiring mammals during labour and birth, he developed a childbirth method to teach women to do the things that animal mothers do instinctively. Soon after starting to implement his new childbirth method with pregnant nurses as a trial, Dr. Bradley began to believe that the presence and support of the father during labour and birth was important to the mother's success in achieving a natural birth. He became a pioneer in including fathers in the birth process and eventually expanded his childbirth method to include extensive instruction of the father as labour coach.

Bradley Method instructors are certified by the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth (AAHCC).

Excerpt from: wikipedia.com