After growing up on a farm and watching animals giving birth, Dr. Robert Bradley, an established OBGYN, decided that women in labor didn’t have to be knocked out to deliver a baby. Dr. Bradley believed that women could give birth the way nature intended. What he also knew was that women needed to fall in love all over again with their partners/husbands instead of with their obstetricians. So he set out to train nurses to teach couples about the normal processes of labor and birth. The husbands/partners learned how to support and encourage the pregnant woman during pregnancy, labor, and birth, and together create the birth they envisioned for their own child.
Teachers of the Bradley Method® are trained by The American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth (AAHCC), which is a privately owned company founded with Dr. Bradley. The AAHCC says that nearly 90% of Bradley® students who give birth vaginally, do so without medication. Though that is an impressive statistic, the reality is that there is one thing you can count on during labor and birth – THE UNEXPECTED! That’s why Bradley Method® students are prepared for variations, unexpected situations, and even emergency childbirth, breastfeeding, and postpartum. Though many people think the ultimate goal is a natural childbirth, it is really a healthy baby, and a birth experience in which the mother feels supported, safe, and able to work with her care providers to make decisions together.
Today, there are hundreds of teachers trained and certified to teach The Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth. In San Diego County, there are 14 Bradley Method® teachers from which to choose. Some are brand new San Diego Bradley® teachers, known as Provisionals. Most San Diego Bradley® teachers have an average of 5 years experience. And a just couple of teachers have over 20 years of experience teaching hundreds of couples how to have the safest and healthiest birth possible. Couples receive 22-24 hours of instruction in their Bradley® childbirth classes. The course is designed to span a 12 week period, but for convenience, quite a few San Diego county Bradley Method® teachers have had to teach 3 hour classes over an 8 week period. Most women do not register for class with 12 weeks remaining till their due date.
The ideal time to begin a childbirth class is in your 5th or 6th month of pregnancy. Now, most pregnant women don’t know this important piece of pregnancy trivia! The majority of women don’t think about taking a childbirth class until they approach the 7th or 8th month. Reality begins to set in and they realize some preparation might be in order. So, out of necessity, local Bradley® teachers have had to cover the entire curriculum in a shorter time frame.
Preparing for your baby’s birth takes as much time and commitment as, say, preparing for a marathon, or studying for an important test for employment. In addition to essential topics like excellent nutrition during pregnancy, you will learn and practice 12 different relaxation techniques. You’ll learn exercises to help you be more comfortable and healthy during pregnancy and birth, in addition to positions to help labor progress, and help you cope with the stresses of labor. You’ll learn about the normal, natural processes of labor and birth. Essentially, your fears will be replaced with knowledge. Most couples feel very prepared for any situation.
What questions should you ask a prospective Bradley Method® teacher or any childbirth educator:
- What is her teaching experience?
- How long she has been teaching?
- What is her philosophy of labor and birth?
- Does she have testimonials from past students or can she refer you to past students to talk to?
- Does she give additional resources, materials, and information?
- What kind of DVD’s does she show in class?
- Does she have guest speakers?
- Is there a limit to the number of students in her classes?
- What if I still choose to have an epidural?
Remember that the ultimate goal is to have a healthy baby. But it isn’t the only goal! Since the birth of a child is an extremely significant event in a woman’s life, each mother needs to feel respected, informed, capable, and strong. Begin, as soon as you’re able, to learn as much as you can to have the safest and healthiest pregnancy, labor, and birth possible. You will be so glad you did!
Liza Janda AAHCC, Certified since 1995
I’ve been a Bradley® teacher since 1995 and have taught hundreds of couples here in San Diego county over 20 years. Most of Bradley Method couples near me come from these areas in San Diego County: 92081, 92083, 92084, 92008, 92009, 92010, 92056, 92057, 92054, 92069, 92078. My Prenatal Yoga and Bradley Method® classes are held at Babies in bloom Birth Center and Boutique.