Childbearing can be a frightening prospect for many expectant mothers. Stories are legion about the pain caused as an infant travels through the birth canal.
One of the best ways to cope with the ordeal of labor and delivery is proper preparation. Advanced preparation can help women learn techniques that can make childbearing easier, less painful as well as less frightening.
There are several different methods that women can tap into to prepare for childbirth. One such method is known as the Bradley Method.
Developed in the 1960s by a husband and wife team, the Bradley Methods aims to help expectant parents assist each other in coaching the laboring woman through the experience of childbirth safely and less painfully. The primary emphasis of the Bradley Method is on helping a woman to stay low risk and thus avoid any unnecessary medical interventions. Medical interventions can lead to unwanted complications and increase childbearing risks for mother and baby.
The Bradley Method involves attending 12 classes at a local Bradley teaching center. Participants learn about the stages of labor, proper nutrition, exercise and use of breathing techniques to cope with pain. Prospective parents are urged to sign up during the woman’s fifth month of pregnancy in order to have adequate time to learn all aspects involved in this method.
The first class starts with an introduction to all aspects of childbearing as well as the principles involved in the Bradley Method. Subsequent classes focus on nutrition, labor and delivery choices, the coach’s role in the birth and the first and second stages of labor. In the following weeks, students learn about creating a birth plan, potential complications that may arise during the birth, how to handle such complications and how to discuss their choices in advance with the medical team as well as during the laboring process.
Labor and Delivery and Care of the Newborn
Classes continue for several weeks. During the later classes, students learn about advanced first stage techniques for coping with labor when it starts, first stage rehearsal techniques, second stage rehearsal techniques for both coach and partner as well as how to use the BEST, or Bradley Energy Saving Technique, to help a woman keep up her energy as labor progresses and how to cope with an unexpected emergency childbirth. Classes conclude with materials relating to the care of a newborn, the psychology of becoming a parent and learning to be an effective parent.