Dick-Read's ideas were at first ridiculed, and he was expelled from the London clinic he had set up with a group of fellow obstetricians. The publication of his first book, Natural Childbirth, met with much opposition amongst the medical profession. It was only much later, when he published Revelation of Childbirth (which was later retitled Childbirth without Fear) which was also aimed at a general readership, that his philosophy captured the public’s imagination. Soon he was invited to lecture tours all over the world, turning Childbirth without Fear into an international bestseller. However, he still thought much of his work was unfulfilled, and felt that the seemingly unstoppable tide of medical innovation which was meant to ease women's experiences of childbirth only achieved the opposite.
Grantly Dick-Read had fought in the First World War where he was seriously injured. His recovery period inspired some of his philosophy. After divorce from his first wife, he met Jessica, who rescued his abandoned manuscripts, and convinced him that he owed it to women to persevere.
In 1956 he became the first president of the UK's Natural Childbirth Trust (which later became the National Childbirth Trust), the foundation of which he inspired, and which was first proposed by an advertisement placed in The Times by Prunella Briance.