Are Bradley® classes right for you?

As seen in the April 2006 issue of New Health Digest

The Educated Parent:

Are Bradley Method® Childbirth Classes right for you?

Amy V. Haas, BCCE

Congratulations! You or your partner are having a baby! What next?  To start with you might want to look into childbirth education classes. The good news is that parents have many different options with regard to the birth of their baby. Today’s educated parents often like to ask lots of questions, and be proactive in their health care choices. If you fall into this category then classes in the Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth may be for you.

The Bradley Method® of Natural childbirth was started by Dr. Robert Bradley in the 1950’s after he felt horrified by how women were treated during labor and birth.  He set out to assist women in having healthy natural births with a minimum of intervention.  Over time, he observed that both the mothers and babies were healthier and recovered faster with proper use of natural methods. He later founded the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth with Marjie and Jay Hathaway.  Today Bradley instructors are trained and certified around the world.

Bradley Method® classes are based on the premise that pregnancy and birth are natural phenomena in a woman’s life. As such, women will benefit from learning how to work with, rather than against, their bodies, and to appreciate the value of having a loving person to support and assist them.

The classes are extremely comprehensive.  A 10 – 12  week course covers topics such as: pregnancy nutrition, pregnancy exercises, how to stay healthy and low risk, relaxation techniques, deep abdominal breathing, natural labor/comfort techniques and positions, the pros and cons of medical interventions, how to prevent or handle emergency situations, breastfeeding, newborn care, postpartum, and more. This type of class is perfect for those who want to learn as much as possible about the birth process and avoid the risks of unnecessary medical interventions, drugs, or surgery

Families who choose the Bradley Method® usually desire to have a loved one –husband, partner or friend — trained as their primary labor assistant, or at least thoroughly educated to know what to expect, what is normal, what is not, how to help and when to ask for help.  Women who are supported and assisted in labor by a well trained loving partner feel safer and more secure. Data show that they are more likely to have a healthy normal birth.

Many couples in Bradley® classes choose to hire a professional labor assistant, or Doula, and Bradley® instructors encourage this. The presence of a Doula has been shown to reduce unnecessary intervention, requests for pain medication, and surgical births. A well-trained Doula acts as an assistant coach, supporting the couple as part of a team.

The primary focus of the Bradley method® is a healthy baby and mom. For the majority of women this is best achieved through a healthy natural birth.  Bradley method classes teach specific techniques to achieve this goal and give families the information they need to make important decisions that are right for their family and their individual circumstances. Families learn to work with their medical care provider as a team preparing for a healthy normal birth. They have an excellent understanding of when choosing more interventions may become necessary and can make these decisions with confidence rather than fear. Data shows that Bradley students generally have the highest rates of drug and surgery free births.

The goal is not an idealized “perfect birth”, but rather to educate yourself so that you can be a healthy mom, have a healthy baby and a positive birth experience. After all, birth is a natural physiological process in which both woman and infant will benefit from loving support!

For more information on The Bradley Method® please contact :

Rochester Area Bradley instructors.

Fairport  425-7105


Or the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth  1-800-4-A-birth


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