If you are considering natural birth it is very important to plan the following things: adjusting your diet, closely coordinating with a supportive midwife, planning with your partner, and so on. Having all of these concerns covered may seem like a lot of work for two people, which is why there are specific curated methods that wish to make it easier for you, while still letting you maximize your knowledge and control over your pregnancy. In this article, we talk about the Bradley method and how it can make your journey to natural childbirth smooth sailing.
What is the Bradley method?
The Bradley method believes that childbirth is a natural process that can help you avoid technological interventions and pain medications once followed correctly. It is a 12-week program that promotes trusting one’s body and preparing it mentally, physically, and emotionally. Besides going full circle on natural birth and the weeks that lead to it, it also teaches you postpartum principles that can help you be an effective coach to your partner. It is named after the obstetrician Robert Bradley who introduced this method in the 1940s.
The Bradley method thrives on intimacy, which is why classes are usually limited to eight couples or less per session. It elaborates on the following:
- How nutrition affects a developing fetus
- Why exercising is important for pregnancy
- How to cope with common pregnancy symptoms
- Breathing and relaxation techniques that help you manage your pain during childbirth
- For your partner: how to be a skilled coach and participant during labor day
- Coping with the different stages of labor
- Medical interventions and how you could avoid unnecessary ones
- How to reduce your chances of going through a c-section and knowing what to do when it deems necessary
- Making a birth plan and effectively communicating with your medical team
- Postpartum knowledge: breastfeeding, caring for your newborn, adjusting as parents
Preparing yourself for natural childbirth comes with a lot of great benefits.
While we may very well be aware of the importance of carrying out a healthy diet pregnant or not, the Bradley method emphasizes on the need to eat healthy for both you and your baby. Carrying out a healthy diet reduces the risk of complications, keeps your weight in check, which can contribute to a smoother delivery, and can make your pregnancy more pleasant. This diet also comes with some safe exercises to be practiced, which keep the blood flow properly.
Reduces anxiety during childbirth
Natural childbirth knowingly comes with a wave of pain and discomfort, which can cause anxiety and restlessness when coming unprepared. The Bradley method stresses the importance of relaxation and being able to keep the pain at a minimum by learning how to tune in with your body and maintaining a healthy and relaxing environment. This involves deep breathing exercises, progressive relaxation methods, the use of music and meditation.
Safe and secure
The irony in today’s world is that natural childbirth is perceived to be very risky, even though it has been done ever since the world has known reproduction. In fact, natural childbirth is how the majority of mammals deliver their children in this world, this is why the Bradley method encourages we humans to do the same without compromising safety. While going through an epidural or a c-section may seem like the way to go for most women, these processes come with a long list of risks that can actually be avoided by going through the natural route and educating oneself before the big day. If this hasn’t convinced you enough, this method also claims to have 90 percent of its proponents going through spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal births.
Promotes the partner’s active participation
One of the great things about natural childbirth is the active involvement of one’s partner. The Bradley method not only sees the father as a secondary proponent in this process, but actually emphasizes the father’s vital role and empowers him to be an effective coach and advocate to help his partner relieve of the stress that comes with giving birth. While this is primarily made for the father-to-be, some women opt to have their mothers, sisters, or other companions to carry out this role.
Provides postpartum support
The Bradley method doesn’t end the moment your baby is brought into this world. It also guides you through the adjustment period of becoming parents and walks you through all the benefits and proper practices to carry out during breastfeeding.
Empowerment through childbirth
Childbirth should be a journey that empowers a mother and her partner, rather than it being a hard puzzle that intimidates them. This method lets you believe that it is possible to learn how to take control over your own body, while still being able to naturally bring your child into this world through the safest and best way possible.