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The Bradley Method

husband-coached-childbirth-bradley-175wWhat is the Bradley Method?

The Bradley Method® also known as husband-coached childbirth, was developed in the 1940's by Dr. Robert Bradley. The method teaches that birth is a natural process and encourages the use of a labor coach (in the majority of cases, the father). Currently, Bradley is taught by instructors certified by the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth™ (AAHCC).

The Bradley Method promotes good living habits while pregnant in order to avoid pregnancy related complications that may make a natural birth impossible or more difficult. This is done through nutrition, exercise, and the avoidance of substances that may harm the baby or complicate the pregnancy.

Father – The Birth Coach 

Though still an important feature, this birth method is less focused on the elimination or control of pain than some of its contemporaries. The key focus is in controlled relaxation during birth, which is coached and encouraged by the birthing partner, who receives as much training as the mother.

The involvement of the birthing coach is a crucial element of the Bradley method, and is why is it often also called husband-coached childbirth. Dr. Bradley believed that the presence of the father during the birth was an important part of a successful natural birth.

Why 12 Weeks?

The standard series of classes in The Bradley Method® is 12 continuous weeks, taken the last trimester of pregnancy. So, why 12 weeks?

  • In attending a full 12 week series there is an increased likelyhood of unmedicated birth
  • Gives time for the birth mother to prepare her body physically
  • Time to learn squatting, the only exercise we know that gives elasticity to the perineum (more likely the mother will stretch without tearing)
  • Time for daily practice to have noticeable results with the kegel muscle
  • Time to build stamina with regular exercise
  • It takes time and repetition to learn and develop new habits and confidence
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Practice, practice, practice - this takes time
  • Relaxation is a skill, it takes time to get good at it
  • Getting ready for birth takes time

Where can I Learn More about The Bradley Method?

If you would like to know more about The Bradley Method® we recommend reading Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth (20 May 2008) by Dr. Robert Bradley or Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way (1 July 1996) by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg.