The Bradley Method® of natural childbirth (also known as "husband-coached childbirth") is a method of natural childbirth inspired by Dr. Robert A. Bradley (1917–1998) and popularized by the book Husband-Coached Childbirth by Bradley/Hathaways.
Executive Directors Marjie and Jay Hathaway, after giving birth to their fourth child James in Denver, Colorado (who is now Executive Vice-President)... came back to California and founded the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth® and coined the name The Bradley Method® which incorporates Husband-Coached Childbirth and expands it by including the works and knowledge of experts including; Thomas Brewer, MD (Nutrition), Rhondda Hartman, RN (Exercise), Marian Tompson (Breastfeeding, La Leche League), Victor Berman, MD and Salee Berman, CNM (Birth Centers), Arnold Bresky, MD (Natural vaginal breech and twin births), Paul Fleiss, MD and Jay Gordon, MD (Pediatrics), and many other medical professionals and countless thousands of Bradley® instructors and all those Bradley® Births they have learned from, and especially all the contributions of the Hathaways.
Teachers of The Bradley Method® believe that with adequate preparation and education along with help from a loving, supportive coach, most women can give birth naturally - without drugs or surgery. The Bradley Method® emphasizes measures that can be taken to stay healthy and low-risk to help avoid complications that may lead to medical intervention.
The primary goal of The Bradley Method® is healthy mothers and healthy babies. The method holds that in most circumstances, a natural childbirth (drug free) is the best way to achieve that goal. Over 87% of Bradley® moms having vaginal births do so without drugs. The classes teach nutrition, relaxation and natural abdominal breathing as pain management techniques, and active participation of the husband as coach. Parents-to-be are taught to be consumers of birth services and to take responsibility to make informed decisions regarding procedures, attendants and the birth place.
Dr. Bradley developed Husband-Coached Childbirth during the era of what he referred to as "knock-em-out, drag-em-out obstetrics," when "twilight sleep" and general anesthesia were common in hospital deliveries. Having been raised on a farm and having witnessed many animal births as a part of farm life, Dr. Bradley believed that women, like the animals he had observed growing up, could give birth without the need for drugs. Based on observations of perspiring mammals during labor and birth, (unlike another popular method which is based on dogs giving birth. note: dogs do not have sweat glands and have to pant to cool themselves down... Bradley® moms are not dogs!), he incorporated these techniques into his practice to teach women to do the things that perspiring mammal mothers do instinctively. Soon after starting to implement these techniques with pregnant nurses as a trial, Dr. Bradley began to believe that the presence and support of the father during labor and birth was important to the mother's success in achieving a natural birth. He became a pioneer in including fathers in the birth process and eventually expanded his practice to include extensive instruction of the father as labor coach.
Bradley Method® instructors are certified by the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth® (AAHCC). The terms "Husband-Coached Childbirth" and "The Bradley Method" have been registered in order to protect the consumer, ensuring that only those currently certified by the AAHCC can teach The Bradley Method®.