Making the decision to have a "natural" — i.e. unmedicated — birth is an intimidating one. But just because you're going through the process sans drugs doesn't mean you can't take assistance elsewhere. There are many different techniques to get you through an unmedicated birth with minimal pain, but the Bradley Method may be one of the most popular. In researching and preparing for labor, learning how to do the Bradley Method could come in handy.
According to Baby Center, the Bradley Method embraces the idea that women can give birth without medication, provided they have the proper mindset going into it. The method, which is divided into 12 week classes that typically begin during the fifth month of pregnancy, is a holistic course that focus on all aspects of your health that are essential in order to have a successful natural birth.
With a simple glance through the Bradley Method website, you might be taken aback by the one of the very first statements you read. According to the website, it's the "husband-coached natural childbirth" method. Wait, what? Before you let that somewhat un-empowering and outdated statement deter you from learning more about the method, it's important to know that the Bradley Method centers around the importance of a "support person" in your labor experience. It can be your husband, your partner, your midwife, your mom — whoever you want to be there.
A support person isn't the only focal point of the method, however. During the sessions, you'll learn about proper nutrition during pregnancy to prepare your body for labor, exercises that can prime your body for natural birth, as well as information about the stages of labor and what your body needs during each. The instructor will teach your partner how to best help you during each phase (because, honestly, their help will be invaluable during contractions,) and what is happening to your body and your baby during labor so that they can be prepared as well.
According to the Dr. Axe website, the Bradley Method has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety leading up to and during labor. The method teaches breathing exercises, visualization and meditation techniques and more to help mothers stay calm and focused during contractions and while pushing. The site also claimed that the method has a very high success rate, meaning that most mothers who take the course go on to give birth completely naturally. You can find a class in your area by searching your local hospital's website or using the Bradley Method's directory to search.
Although it can seem like a lot of information to take in, signing up for the Bradley Method might be one of the best decisions you can make to up your chances of having a natural, medication free, childbirth.