From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to have a natural birth. I, however, did not know much more than that, so I began to research. The Bradley Method kept popping up in the blogs I was reading and in my Google searches, so I looked further into it.
First of all, The Bradley Method is a natural childbirth course that focuses on relaxation techniques and a “husband coached” birth process. This childbirth method was developed a while ago by Dr. Robert A. Bradley and it became popular in the 60s, so the term “husband coached” is a little antiquated. But the main point of The Bradley Method, focuses on a partner or coach to help mothers through the natural birthing process.
The classes last a few weeks, depending on how many times a week and how many hours a day you meet. Our class was on Sunday evenings from 6pm to 8 pm and lasted about 12 weeks. Since this is a “husband coached” course, it is recommended that both you and your partner attend all classes together.
So the pros and cons…
Let me start with the cons.
- It lasts a long time. We had to commit for 12 Sundays, that means no weekend travel plans for us. Now you can do it another day of the week, but still, 12 weeks is a lot.
- It is pricier than other birthing classes. Some hospitals offer classes for a much cheaper rate and some birthing centers include classes with the overall price, so in comparison The Bradley Method costs much more. But keep in mind IT IS 12 WEEKS LONG. Other classes are only a couple of hours or at most a couple of days.
- It can be a little outdated at times. You can imagine that a 12 week long class would need to incorporate videos to keep things interesting. Well some of the videos shown were very old fashioned. I do not think there has been a Bradley Method video made since the 60s. Also, the book was originally published in 1965, so there are a few things that the feminist in me found cringe worthy.
Now for the pros…
- The Bradley Method is a thorough class that will educate you and your partner on topics that you might not have even thought about researching. It will introduce you to things and topics that you may have not even heard of prior to taking the course.
- Your husband/partner will learn so much, and this will help you tremendously during your birth. No matter how many times I told my husband about all the research I had done or sent him links to articles, he never really paid attention until we took The Bradley Method Class. He read those books and did all the exercises and homework.
- It focuses on more than just the childbirth process. Although the main focus is to have a natural childbirth, you also focus on things such as your nutrition, breastfeeding and postpartum care. You look into different forms of pain relief, vaccines, and different things that may arise at your birth to prepare you when you have to make decisions so you are not caught off guard in the middle of a contraction.
- Your Bradley Method teacher becomes a priceless resource. To become a Bradley Method teacher you have to have taken a Bradley Method class, had a natural childbirth and complete other qualifications as well. That means your teacher has literally gone through what you are trying to achieve. I text my teacher multiple times, even after the class ended to ask for advice, resources and encouragement.
- You will meet other like minded people. The Bradley Method is usually for naturally minded people and if you are in the course, it usually means that you have some natural or “crunchy” tendencies. Remember, you meet for 12 weeks in this class so you will no doubt get close to your classmates. It is an excellent way to get new mom friends that you will no doubt need once baby arrives. Now that all the babies have been born from my class, we are getting together for a potluck!
So there you have it, a review of The Bradley Method Class from someone who has taken it and who successfully had a natural birth. My overall opinion of this class, is that without it, I do not think my husband and I would have been able to have the birth we did. Hopefully this helps in your search of prenatal and birthing classes.