What is Bradley Method of Giving Birth?

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A lot of women who go for vaginal delivery seek epidural or spinal anesthesia during labor. Doctors also recommend administering pain relief medicines to the pregnant woman upon request. But most women would prefer an easy and less painful vaginal delivery, without any medical intervention, if possible. And that is doable with the Bradley method of childbirth, which aims at offering a natural birth experience to mothers seeking no medical intervention. In this article, we will discuss everything related to the Bradley method of childbirth. Read on to find out everything that you need to know about this method.

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In this article:

What is the Bradley Method of Childbirth?
When Can You Attend the Classes?
What is Taught in Bradley Childbirth Classes?
Relaxation Methods Taught in Bradley Classes
The Benefits of Bradley’s Method
Disadvantage

All You Need to Know about Bradley Method of Childbirth

What is the Bradley Method of Childbirth?

It is a natural childbirth method designed in the late 1940s, by the American obstetrician Dr. Robert Bradley. Bradley’s technique aims to encourage ladies to go into labor and deliver the kid while not taking any pain medications. It seeks to offer a natural, painless, and pleasurable birthing experience to the expecting moms. Bradley’s method may be a 12-week program that tells the expecting couple concerning diet, nutrition, relaxation techniques, labor, postpartum experiences, nursing, and husband’s role. This method is also known as ‘husband-coached childbirth’, as the husband plays a key role in helping the wife with postures and breathing techniques to manage pain during labor. And this elaborate preparation needs to begin way before your due date.

Read More: Is C- Section Delivery Safe for Me and the Baby?

bradley method of birth

When Can You Attend the Classes?

You can start attending classes from the fifth month of pregnancy so that you have enough time to practice labor techniques. It is a 12-week course. Usually, the Bradley institute instructors conduct the classes at your home, so that you are comfortable enough to ask queries if any.

What is Taught in Bradley Childbirth Classes?

Bradley’s technique emphasizes the natural biological process experience, but it also prepares the couple for unexpected complications and emergencies that might require a C-section.

Here is a brief overview of the 12-class course:

  • Classes 1-3 focus on nutrition, exercise, and pregnancy. The Bradley Method follows Dr. Brewer’s diet. These sessions also teach you kegel exercises, tailor sitting, squatting, and pelvic rocks, which help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and get the baby into the right position.
  • Classes 4-5 focus on the role of the coach (husband) and introduce the parents-to-be to the first stage of labor. This session helps you adapt to new habits and attitudes, understand the process, and apply what you have learned.
  • Class 6 introduces to the second stage of labor.
  • In class 7, the couple makes a birth plan not exceeding 15 pages.
  • Class 8 prepares you for unexpected situations during delivery and also focuses on the postpartum preparations.
  • Classes 9-10 teach about the pain management techniques for the first and second stages of labor.
  • Class 11 teaches the husband how to be a good coach. The couple is made to rehearse and practice all the techniques they have learned.
  • Class 12, which is an optional session, covers topics on breastfeeding, care for the newborn, and your role as a parent.

Above all, the course aims to teach you techniques that ease labor pain by relaxing the body.

Relaxation Methods Taught in Bradley Classes

Here are a couple of relaxation techniques of the natural childbirth you’ll practice at home.

  • Sleep imitation is one of the best relaxation techniques to practice during the first stage of labor when the pain is frequent. Begin by resting on a bed with your eyes closed and face relaxed. Slowly start breathing, consciously, with your belly. This helps you relax and sleep. If you are able to sleep during the early contractions, you will have enough energy to prepare for the next stages of labor.
  • The breathing technique taught in Bradley’s method helps you to focus on counting the breaths. Also, the length of the breath you exhale should be longer than the length of the breath you inhale. This helps you deal with labor pain better.
  • Creating a pleasant ambiance in the room: A quiet room with diffused lighting and soft music creates a recreational environment, which works well for you during the first stage of labor. Combined with the controlled breathing technique, a relaxing ambiance can help you deal with the labor pain effectively.

Besides these, you may also learn other relaxation techniques, some of which may work for you and some may not. The aim is to find the one that best helps you deal with the pain.

The Benefits of Bradley’s Method

Here are some good things the method has for the mothers:

  • It teaches a woman how to relax during labor and childbirth.
  • It explains the complications that may occur during pregnancy. It also informs about the risks of using medications or drugs during labor and the necessity of a c-section during delivery.
  • It also focuses on nutrition during pregnancy, while teaching the mom how to stay healthy and minimize the risk of complications in pregnancy.
  • It emphasizes on partner or coach’s support during labor and delivery.
  • It helps develop a great bond between the mother and the baby.

Disadvantage

The only disadvantage of this method is that it encourages women to avoid medical intervention like C-section. This can make some women reluctant to opt for the procedure even in the case of a medical emergency.

The Bradley method of childbirth is useful and will make labor simple. That being said, medical intervention should not be shunned entirely if there is a need for it. Talk to your doctor before you enroll in this program. Having a supportive doctor onboard your birthing plans can make the labor and delivery safe for you and your baby.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4744344/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430326/

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