Many expectant mothers opt for the Bradley method of childbirth, but before you make this important decision for your childbirth, it is important to fully understand your options.
What is the Bradley Method?
The Bradley method is an approach to a natural childbirth with the goal of not using medications during the birth and relying heavily on a husband or birthing coach. While many women opt for a medically-assisted birth for the pain and to ease the process, many experts believe that the best way to ensure both the mother and baby are healthy is to have a completely natural birth, albeit in a safe and supported environment.
By training the husband, father or birthing coach about the basic needs of a woman in labor – relaxation, abdominal breathing, quiet, darkness, solitude, closed eyes, and physical comfort – delivering the child can be a much more peaceful and comfortable experience. The Bradley method techniques include teaching the husband/birth coach in different labor techniques and methods of comfort, making them an ideal, supportive coach by the time the delivery day arrives.
The benefits of the Bradley method include the following:
The lead-up to the birth will also include altering the diet in a healthy way, which has a range of long-term benefits as well. By involving the partner in the birthing process, rather than including them as a passive observer, it creates a more harmonious and holistic space for new parents.
The preparation for delivery will also make you more physically and mentally fit for the difficult process of childbirth.
Bradley Method Exercises
The most common Bradley method exercises to prepare a woman for childbirth include the following. These can strengthen key muscles needed for childbirth, and become more comfortable with your pregnant, changing body.
- Relaxation techniques
- Cat/cow positions
Bradley vs. Lamaze Method vs Hypnobirthing
The three most common approaches to childbirth are the Bradley method, the Lamaze method, and hypnobirthing, but there are some key differences between the three.
- Bradley focuses on relaxing the muscles, instead of tensing up, when the contractions come.
- Lamaze focuses on set breathing patterns and specific timing to guide you through the difficult parts of the birth.
- Hypnobirthing is quite similar to the Bradley techniques, although it is much more about meditation and the elimination of negative thoughts, and is not adequate for preparing a woman for complications.
Word of Caution: The guidance and literature on the Bradley approach to childbirth dismiss the importance and critical role that doctors can play during the birthing experience. Avoiding the use of medication is a very clear goal of this method, but be aware that when certain complications arise, medical intervention is sometimes required to ensure the health of both the mother and child.