Medication Free Labor And Delivery

One of the earliest methods devised for natural childbirth was the Bradley Method, also known by the term “husband-coached childbirth.” This method was created by Dr. Robert A. Bradley (1917-1998) and was set forth in his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth. Those who teach this method believe that women can give birth without any need for drugs or surgery by being prepared for labor and delivery, obtaining childbirth education, and by having a supportive birth partner by their sides. There is an emphasis in the Bradley Method on measures the pregnant woman can take to remain healthy so that her pregnancy remains low-risk, thus avoiding complications that can lead to the necessity for medical intervention.

Drug-Free Childbirth

The Bradley Method has as its primary goal healthy mothers and babies. Bradley believed that a drug-free childbirth is the best way to achieve this aim. One study found that 86% of babies born using the Bradley method come into this world via vaginal birth and sans pain medications. Couples taking classes in the Bradley method learn about proper maternal nutrition and are taught relaxation and breathing techniques that can help manage pain. Spouses or partners are taught to take an active part and are called “labor coaches.”  The expectant couples are taught about various services available to them during labor and delivery so that they can make responsible, informed decisions.

Twilight Sleep

Bradley was a pioneer in developing his method, since he did so during an era he referred to as, as, “knock-em-out, drag-em-out obstetrics,” in which laboring women were administered general anesthesia as a matter of course. This type of anesthesia was known as “twilight sleep.”

Dr. Bradley grew up on a farm and having witnessed many animal births, he believed that woman were not dissimilar from animals in that they might give birth without any necessity for drugs. Bradley observed the instinctive measures taken by animals and thought that woman might be able to learn what animals already know. He began by enlisting the help of pregnant nurses to try out these techniques. Not long after, Bradley began to believe that the supportive presence of fathers during the labor and birth process might be an integral part of making natural childbirth successful. Dr. Bradley started to tutor fathers in assisting their wives during childbirth.

Today, instructors of the Bradley Method receive certification from the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth. The method is taught in 8-12 sessions during which expectant couples are taught how to manage pregnancy and delivery in a more instinctual manner to avoid medical intervention as much as possible.

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