The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth® teaches expecting parents that labor and birth are natural physical processes of the body. The process of birth is inherently safe unless you start labor artificially, speed it up artificially, remove pain by using medication. By using the standard medical interventions, which are routine in every hospital in the U.S., you actually increase risks of health and safety to both the mother and her baby.
During 22+ hours of Bradley® class time, parents will learn so much more than what is taught in a traditional childbirth class. The philosophy of the Bradley Method® began with Dr. Robert Bradley. Dr. Bradley grew up on a farm and watched many animals give birth. By observing the behavior of laboring animals he saw that labor and birth was a normal process. His own father told him to observe and not intervene or distract the animals. When he got to medical school and began to practice obstetrics, he saw the complete opposite occur. Soon he decided to go against the common obstetrics medical practices to be a proponent of supporting and encouraging mothers, rather than medicating them and tying them down to a delivery table.
It’s best to start your childbirth classes in your 5th or 6th month. This allows you to prepare both your body and your mind for labor, birth, breastfeeding, and new parenthood. The Bradley Method® advocates the idea that preparing for labor takes just as much mental and physical preparation as training for a marathon or any test of endurance. Since there is a lot of fear and misinformation surrounding labor and birth, the Bradley Method classes are very thorough in covering topics you won’t find in a lot of other childbirth classes:
- The importance of nutrition and how it benefits both mother and baby. Mothers are encouraged to keep track of their nutrition.
- Exercise is very important in preparing for the hard work of labor. It is a physical and mental test of endurance. But if prepared for it, it is something most women can handle.
- Breathing and Relaxation are the keys to the Bradley Method®. It is essential to learn how to breathe deeply and to learn how and to practice relaxation techniques. Students learn 12 different relaxation techniques to find what works best for themselves.
- Bradley called the birth partners/husbands/ fathers “coaches”. He emphasizes that praise and encouragement and physical and emotional support are another essential element of helping mothers have positive birth experiences. Bradley® coaches have a good understanding of what is normal and how to help the laboring mother.
- Learning the right questions to ask so that parents are fully informed. Any decisions made that affect mother and baby can be made with the care providers. When you are informed and part of the decision-making process, there is less chance of later regretting a decision.
- Breastfeeding is the best food for your baby. Since breastfeeding can be a challenge for most new mothers, Bradley® students are well prepared to get a good start and to have resources when they need help.
- Students of the Bradley Method® are prepared for all kinds of situations, from Cesarean sections to emergency childbirth.
And most of all…Have a Happy Birth Day!